Archive for August, 2007

Breakfast for dinner

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

Sometimes we really enjoy a big breakfast-type meal for dinner. Yesterday, I got some decaf coffee brewing, and mixed up some orange juice to serve with whole wheat buttermilk pancakes and sausage. It was so good!

hmpglogo.jpgUsually I serve a pork link sausage with such a meal, but tried a new sausage which I sampled recently at Costco: Sausages by Amy, Apple and Gouda Cheese Chicken Sausages. The sausage was on the sweet side, making it a good accompaniment to the meal. Also nice to know, they contained no nitrates, nitrites or MSG.

My pancake recipe is a combination of a traditional buttermilk pancake recipe and a whole wheat pancake recipe given to me by a friend 25 years ago. For these pancakes to be light and tender, it’s best to grind your own wheat right before making them. We prefer hard white wheat. The red wheat is heavier and gritty-er (not a word, I know) and the soft white wheat doesn’t have enough substance. So, here’s my recipe:


6 eggs, separated
3 cups buttermilk
3 cups water
½ cup vegetable oil
6 cups whole wheat flour (freshly ground)
2 Tablespoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt

Pour egg yolks, buttermilk, water and oil in large bowl and blend.
Combine dry ingredients and sift into the liquid mixture. Mix lightly.
Beat egg whites until they will stand in peaks and fold in gently.
Bake on heated griddle which has been lightly greased.
Makes 20 to 24 griddle cakes.


Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

There are still seven of us at home (down from eleven) and we’ve been doing dishes by hand for perhaps the last six months. This isn’t because we can’t afford a new dishwasher – we can – but I have been uniformly disappointed with all the dishwashers we’ve had here in the past 16 or so years. These are my complaints:

  1. Even if I thoroughly rinse the dirty dishes first, the dishwasher takes the dirtiness from the plates and silverware and cements it inside the glasses, which were barely dirty to begin with.
  2. I haven’t met a dishwasher yet which can deal with oatmeal, refried beans, or egg left on plates or bowls.
  3. Soup bowls have a special immunity to dishwashers. No matter what soup is served, remnants of it remain solidly affixed within the soup bowls (which were practically rinsed clean to begin with – duh!)
  4. Our water is not smelly, nor does it stain, but our dishwashers have all died an early death. They last about two or three years, max. This could be because we have a large (smaller number at home now) family, and we like to bake, thus producing a large volume of dirty dishes.

This is my question: Do you know of a dishwasher which stands up to heavy usage AND gets the dishes clean? I do not even require that it handle pots and pans. If you know of such a trusty automated servant, please let me know. 🙂 Otherwise, we’ll keep washing dishes the old-fashioned way.

An interesting “brain” fact

Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

I’m still making my way through the book The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge, M.D.

Here’s a portion I read today that I find both hopeful (as an older middle-aged person) and amazing:

We now know that exercise and mental activity in animals generate and sustain more brain cells, and we have many studies confirming that humans who lead mentally active lives have better brain function. The more education we have, the more socially and physically active we are, and the more we participate in mentally stimulating activities, the less likely we are to get Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Not all activities are equal in this regard. Those that involve genuine concentration – studying a musical instrument, playing board games, reading, and dancing – are associated with a lower risk for dementia. Dancing, which requires learning new moves, is both physically and mentally challenging and requires much concentration. Less intense activities, such as bowling, babysitting, and golfing, are not associated with a reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s.

These studies are suggestive but stop short of proving that we can prevent Alzheimer’s disease with brain exercises. These activities are associated with or correlated with less Alzheimer’s, but correlations don’t prove causality. It is possible that people with very early onset but undetectable Alzheimer’s begin slowing down early in life and so stop being active. The most we can say about the relationship between brain exercises and Alzheimer’s at the moment is that it seems very promising. – pages 254, 255

Baking Today

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

41ehsxzusml_bo2204203200_pilitb-dp-500-arrowtopright45-64_ou01_aa240_sh20_.jpgWe’ve been out of home made bread for about a week now. With so many errands to run and back-to-school shopping to do, sometimes baking falls by the wayside. So, today, I’m baking bread. The recipe is elsewhere on my blog. I’m also making a granola recipe which we have enjoyed for the past 25 years. It’s Simple Granola from the More With Less Mennonite Cook Book. So – without further ado – here is the truly simple, and truly tasty granola recipe:


Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Combine in large mixing bowl:
3 cups whole wheat flour
6 cups rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut
2 teaspoons salt
Blend together separately:
½ cup water
1 cup oil
1 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
Add blended liquids to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Spread out on 2 greased cookie sheets and bake 1 hour, or until dry and golden.
Store in covered containers.

Another Doggie

Friday, August 17th, 2007


This photo is of Lydia holding our neighbor dog, Max. He is such a rascal, running away from his loving owner to the house where all the children are. Our neighbor knows to come looking here first when her doggie disappears. She told me the other evening that Max is happier and more willing to stay home now that they have gotten him a pet, a cute kitten they rescued and nursed back to health. Diddy the Kitty and Max sleep on the same blanket together, and “wrestle” with one another. I saw them in action, and they are truly great playmates. Still . . . We don’t mind having Max wander over our way once in a while. 🙂

Paedobaptism – Why?

Friday, August 17th, 2007

Another site I love to read is the Reformation 21 blog. A posting today by Ligon Duncan is an excellent synopsis of WHY Presbyterians (of which I am one) baptize believers AND their children.

The various ministers who write for Reformation 21 do not agree on everything, but they state their beliefs with intelligence and graciousness, and sometimes with humor. 🙂

The Importance of God’s Unpopular Promises

Friday, August 17th, 2007

blue-letter-bible.jpgI very much appreciate Bob Hoekstra’s Day By Day Grace devotionals which are available on Blue Letter Bible. The devotionals are short yet pithy, and address many aspects of the Christian life. I find them easy to apply to my life.

Can you guess what he means by “unpopular” promises?

Mexican Coleslaw

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Salad Ingredients:

1 head green cabbage, quartered and shredded

1 can of black olives, drained and sliced

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 bunch green onions, sliced

Handful of fresh cilantro, stems removed, finely chopped

Dressing Ingredients:

2/3 cup sour cream

2/3 cup prepared Ranch dressing

¼ cup lime juice

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Mix together all dressing ingredients and pour over the combined salad ingredients. If the salad is not moistened enough, add some mayonnaise, as desired.


Shredded Jack or cheddar cheese

Cooked little shrimp, or sautéed bits of chicken


We made “burritos” using the Mexican Coleslaw and the garnishes. The salad is also good scooped up with tortilla chips.

A delicious accompaniment to this meal is corn on the cob.

The Dog Days of Summer

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Here is a shot of our dog Lassie (so-named when her owner was a very little girl and didn’t care that the doggie wasn’t a collie):


And, yes, it is hot today! 80 degrees Fahrenheit (about 26 degrees Celsius, eh?) is hot here.

Dog Days

1. The hot, sultry period of summer between early July and early September.
2. A period of stagnation.

[Translation of Late Latin diēs canīculārēs, Dog Star days (so called because the Dog Star (Sirius) rises and sets with the sun during this time) : Latin diēs, pl. of diēs, day + Late Latin canīculārēs, pl. of canīculāris, of the Dog Star.]

This definition brought to you courtesy of

Hot or not, though, I need to get started on dinner. I’m trying a nummy-sounding new recipe. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Some Favorite Children’s Books

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

My friend Mrs. Darling from Dishpan Dribble recently posted a recommended reading list for children at her site. Inspired by her effort, I went back through the records of some of the books the children read when they were little. This is a greatly abridged list of the most cherished books, and doesn’t include much of the nonfiction that they read. Were some of these books your children’s favorites as well?:


Adler, David

The Cam Jansen series

Alcott, Louisa May

Little Women (and other books)

Alexander, Lloyd

Time Cat (and other books)

Arnosky, Jim

Crinkleroot’s Book of Animal Tracking

Barrett, Judi

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Bemelmans, Ludwig

The Madeline books

Boston, L.M.

The Stones of Green Knowe

Brink, Carol Ryrie

Caddie Woodlawn

Brink, Carol Ryrie

Winter Cottage

Brink, Carol Ryrie

Two are Better Than One

Burstein, Chaya M.

The Mystery of the Coins


Parsifal Rides the Time Wave

Chute, Marchette

The Wonderful Winter