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Author Archives: howsyourlovelife

Gluten Free Banana Nut Pancakes

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Two of my dearest friends came for a visit last weekend, it’s amazing what a few hours of intense laughter and intentional conversation can do for the soul. My job was to bring the nourishment, and one of my friends is totally gluten-free. I wanted to have the classic comfort breakfast of pancakes and bacon, so I googled gluten free pancakes and found this gem. We liked them so much I made them the second morning too, and now today is my third time this week!

My favorite thing about this recipe is that you can have a plate full of pancakes without the usual food coma. You throw everything into the blender, what could be simpler? I found the recipe at mountainmamacooks.com, but I added a handful of pecans to the mix. To make the kids happy, you could probably serve with a few mini chocolate chips.
Gluten Free Banana Nut Pancakes
2 c gluten free oats
1 1/4 c vanilla almond milk
1 large banana
1/2 t cinnamon
1 heaping T local honey
1/4 t sea salt
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 egg
1/2 c pecans
Place all ingredients except egg in blender and blend until smooth. Add the egg and pulse a few times until incorporated.
Using 1/4 c scoop, pour onto a hot griddle that has been coated with butter or coconut oil. Cook until brown and perfect.
Serve with maple syrup. Make about 10 5 inch pancakes.

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Garden Work

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Each summer I volunteer some of my time at a local farm, pulling weeds, harvesting vegetables, mulching, filling CSA bags with goodies, whatever needs to be done. And if you’ve spent any time on a farm, you know that there is ALWAYS work to do.

My daughter had heard about this non-profit farm and years ago we visited it to see how we could help, over the years I keep returning. It requires a beautiful drive in the country to get there, and while I’m enjoying the scenery, I usually pray that God will use me at the garden, placing me with someone who needs a listening ear or encouragement, and He never fails to answer. I’ve had some wonderful conversations while working alongside interns, other volunteers and the farm family over the years.

Last week I drove out to the farm on a beautiful day, praying en route that I could be used to minister to whomever needed it most that day. I arrived and heard voices in a remote area of the farm, I followed the voices to find one intern (there are usually several) weeding a large area with a group of mentally challenged adults and a man who led the group. I quickly jumped in and began cleaning out the area alongside, making conversation as we worked. I was delighted to meet this group of young people who were willing to do hard work, and the intern kept complimenting and encouraging them. Before long, the group announced they were leaving the farm as their time was up, and the Intern said she had plenty to do elsewhere, would I be willing to continue weeding the area I had been working? Of course.

I started the lone task and before long became bored and hot. I kept looking around for someone to come and join me but there was no one to be found. This is unheard of, usually there are people all over, looking for ways to help each other. I found myself talking out loud to God: Lord, I feel like I’m missing something, I come here to help and I asked you to provide someone who needed ministering and I’m out here  alon…….oh. Suddenly I realized I was out in His creation, with no phone or distractions, open and available to hear from Him about how best to help someone. I was the one who needed it most that day.

For the next hour, I opened my heart to hear about the places that God wanted to work in me, about the sins I needed to confess and the weak areas that needed to be strengthened. I have often said that I feel closest to God when my hands are in the dirt, and this day was a gift just for me, as I pulled the weeds and dead layers from around leeks, onions and chard, God was doing the same in me. After all that was removed, it looked like not much was left, but what remained was strong and healthy, much like my own heart. I walked away from the area when my work was complete, never seeing another person at the farm that day.

As I was  driving home, I thought about my part in this; I was open and available, without distractions, doing work and asking God to show up. These are all things I should be doing regularly, because God is always willing to do His part. What seemed wrong and out of the norm was exactly what I needed that day. God has surprised me so many times in my life by allowing me to be used by Him in ministering to others in creative ways, and He did all over again. Just for me.

If you’re interested in a local non-profit farm or looking for a place to volunteer, I can certainly vouch for this this one: http://www.keipos.org/

Shrimp Avocado Salad

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I saw this recipe within my photos on my phone, I often snap pics of of food ideas to try later. Unfortunately I didn’t get the website in the picture, and I can’t find it when I search, so I can’t give credit for the recipe. I made this for lunch yesterday and had a tough time waiting for the flavors to meld,  taking spoonfuls every few minutes. This is the perfect summer dish, especially if you’re pulling cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and herbs out of your garden!

Shrimp Avocado Salad

2 c cooked shrimp, tails off

1 large cucumber, diced

1/3 c red onions, chopped

1-2 avocados, diced

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped

2 ears roasted corn

1 1/2 t salt

1 t garlic, minced

1 t pepper

1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

1/4 c olive oil

3 T red wine vinegar

juice from 1 lime

juice from 1/2 lemon

2 t cilantro

Chop all those veggies and shrimp and place them in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl mix the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours before serving. 4 servings.

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Thank You for Your Time

BillygrahamI have a friend named Sean who knows Billy Graham. For years my friend was a manager at a hotel that connected to a hospital, the same hospital that Mr. Graham visited regularly to have tests run. At some point during his stay each time, the evangelist would come into Sean’s office, take a seat and talk with him. About life. About God. About the state of the world and the state of his heart. I was amazed by the idea of such an icon taking the time to get to know this young man. But what impacted my friend most by the whole interaction was the way it ended each time. Billy Graham always said the same thing as he was shaking his hand and leaving his office, “Sean, thank you for your time”. Wow. Can you imagine?

Is it possible that our rarest commodity is time? In this age that values money and materials above all else, perhaps what we should be most acutely aware of is the way our time is spent. We each have choices to make every day; spend hours in front of screens, drinking in the latest/funniest/edgiest offerings by creative strangers or share our dreams and hearts with those in the room. Have you ever had someone you trust and admire pour themselves into you, investing their time and attention into your story? If so, you know the feeling of worth this gives, have you then turned around and done the same thing for someone else?

It’s been at least a dozen years since I’ve heard this story, but it still stays with me. When I am leaving a meeting or an interaction that involved someone choosing to spend their time with me, I try to remember to thank them for their time. If it’s good enough for Billy Graham, it’s good enough for me.

Lights

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Last week a friend and I visited a museum downtown, there was a temporary exhibit on Light that we were both interested in, so we took the afternoon to do something a little different. I have never regarded myself as artistic or particularly creative, so for me viewing art and seeing light and color tends to be a flat experience, while some of those closest to me see technicolor and life. This recent adventure started off similarly; my friend kept trying to show me beauty and magic and I saw mirrors reflecting not much of anything.
But then, we walked into a separate room that contained various glass objects on tables scattered throughout. There was a young man sitting near the door, so I approached him and asked him what we were meant to see there. The guy lit up, he came from around his desk and walked us to the first exhibit and showed us that instead of looking at the object, we should focus on the shadow it created. The next one cast a great prism onto the wall behind it, and suddenly I saw what the artist wanted us to see! Lights from the ceiling were placed just right onto the glass pieces, which dispersed color all over the place. It was beautiful. For the first time ever, I found myself excited to go to the next table to see what else was in store for us!
It occurred to me that recently I have been more willing to ask the expert in the room what it is that I am meant to see, instead of relying on my own ideas and limited experiences. Sometimes I even think to do this before reading a passage of scripture, or listening to a sermon; God, what am I meant to see here? When this happens, fresh wisdom rains down, opening my eyes to what has always been, but I was previously unable to see. I really want to hold on to this revelation because when I am willing to be open and teachable, light shines through.

https://thekaneko.org/seasons/light/

photo by Andreas Resch

 

What Donald Trump Taught Me About Marriage

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Donald Trump is constantly in the news, and recently I was reading about the new tax plan he is unveiling. The writer said that this was a pyrrhic victory for Trump, using a word I had never seen before, so I looked it up. It gives me great satisfaction to see a word well-used, in the right time and space, and I enjoy learning something new, so this one was doubly pleasing. In fact, I woke up the next two nights with the word at the forefront of my thoughts.
Pyrrhic victory – noun – a victory won at such great cost to the victor that it is tantamount to a defeat. Ouch. I wondered why this term had lodged itself so firmly in my head, to the point that I found myself discussing the term with others. And then it hit me.

Early in our relationship, patterns were established between my guy and me, that we would argue until he finally gave in. He once joked that I could murder someone and convince him he had done it. For years in our marriage, I was guilty of choosing an empty win at all costs; sacrificing rationality, consistency and certainly the feelings of my guy, in the name of winning the day.

It took years for me to really see that in winning the battle I was losing the war. A pyrrhic victory, because in conquering, I was choking our relationship, snuffing out trust and respect as I went. I think we are often short-sighted in our closest relationships; so eager to be heard and understood that we are willing to do anything to win. What I realized over the years is that when I take the time to listen to my guy’s heart, pray for understanding and reception and make it my goal to argue for us, instead of with him, we both win.
Maybe Donald Trump could learn something from my marriage….

Salted Caramel & Glazed Pecan Ice Cream

77B843A0-0195-4055-8A55-D4DA534A0C27Today is my Mom’s birthday, and she is visiting us this week. Caramel has always been her favorite flavor, and if you can incorporate some pecans and ice cream as well, you’ve hit a home run with her. I think I knocked it out of the park this year. I got the ice cream recipe from bare feetinthekitchen.com, but added some glazed pecans, served it over a warm brownie with homemade whipped cream. Happy Birthday!!

Salted Caramel & Glazed Pecan Ice Cream

3/4 c Brown sugar

6T butter (I use salted)

1 1/2 c heavy cream

1 c milk

1 t vanilla

pinch salt

3/4 c Glazed pecans, chopped

Heat the brown sugar and butter over medium heat, stirring constantly till thickened and syrupy. Remove from the heat and slowly pour in the whipping cream. Whisk until incorporated and then add the milk, vanilla and salt. Refrigerate till chilled and pour into an ice cream maker. Allow to process until Ice Cream thickens and add half the pecans into the maker. Spooon the ice cream into individual containers and add pecans throughout and on top.

*photo from Williams Sonoma

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