Undistracted Devotion – Part 2

In part 1 of this series, I shared the call that Paul presents in 1 Corinthians 7 to live holy both in body and spirit as women of God, and remain devoted to service of our King. How do we go about this?

First, I would like to address a comment I received on the previous post. This woman brought up a few valid points that would be important to address before we move on in. I wish to thank her for presenting these concerns and allowing me the opportunity to address them

Rita W. said:

This is all very interesting but I can tell you from having been unmarried and married that being married is a much healthier and joy filled life.There is not more time when a woman is single totally the opposite. If you need gas in the car even though tired or ill you must get it yourself and the same with groceries, errands, house cleaning, repairs etc. There is no one to share life with and no one who asks how you are doing? The married are interested in their own lives how husband or wife is doing and the rest of the family and rightly so. At the same time singleness is treated just like you did – how wonderful it is – how glorious to serve? When is there time or the funds after taking care of mother and father? My opinion is that this post is tilted in the wrong direction. Ask a single girl and if she is honest she is exhausted and lonely and hanging to the scriptures for dear life. Praying that somehow life will expand to include more family, friends, and if meant to be a future husband.

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Soup Remedy for Colds

My friend, Scarlett, passed this recipe on to me. Looks like a wonderful natural soup for those lovely colds!

She said:

I thought I’d share this recipe that my step Mom, Mimi, gave me for when you have a cold or are sick. Cobe and I had some tonight and it actually tasted good.

Garlic Soup

8 cups chicken broth
25 cloves of garlic (peeled)
1 TBSP ginger
1 TBSP paprika
pinch of red pepper
1/2 cup lemon juice

Place in pot and cook until garlic is soft and then eat it all.

Thanks Scarlett! This will be excellent to have in the repertoire for the next illness! Always good to be prepared in advance!

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The True Woman: Chapter 4

This is chapter 4 review of our book study. This post will remain at the top of the blog for the week. Please proceed down for other posts.

“Christian women, you must be the brightest pattern of kindness and mercy which our selfish world contains, and add to temperance, patience, and godliness, Christian kindness and charity. Such a character cannot be unnoticed or unacknowledged…” Female Piety

This quote begins chapter 4 of the True Woman, and is such a powerful encouragement for Christian women to stand out as lights of love in a dark world. As discussed in Chapter 3 with the truth of our redemption, Susan Hunt now delves into how we can live as a reflection of our redemption.

“To reflect redemption, the true woman must grab the promises of God and integrate them into every aspect of her life.” pg 83

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Spring Cleaning & Allergy Solutions

Picture of Karis from the weekend showing off her new trick of being able to pull herself up!

We had a rather full weekend at our home, so I will be delaying my post on the 4th chapter of the True Woman for tomorrow, Tuesday. It seems that the discussion is just getting started on chapter 3 anyway.

It was such a lovely weekend here in Vancouver, WA! Couldn’t help but get out there and enjoy the weather…although I had a fierce attack of allergies! Ahh! That lovely watery, itchy eyes, runny nose attack!

So I got some of that spring cleaning motivation this past weekend. The one area of my house that I felt was really calling my name was our garage. It is a small one car garage, but it is still amazing how disorganized it can get. Well, my husband and I set our minds to it on Saturday, purchased an extra storage rack (love those sturdy metal ones from Costco!), and set to work.

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Q & A: Food Questions

1. As far as soaking grains. The recipe I used called for milk and I just soaked in soured milk (I use raw). Then I read your post regarding using buttermilk and kefir. Is soaking in milk (soured or not) okay or should I replace the milk with buttermilk or kefir?

Yes! You can use soured milk, as long as it is raw milk/cream as it has naturally soured and collected the good bacterias from the air. I wasn’t aware of this until doing a little research today. I found this article very helpful with tips on using sour milk. I never knew that sour milk was still so good for you!

2. I bought some kefir grains so I am hoping to start making it in a few weeks. Do you add the new batch of kefir to any you may have leftover from previous batches?

I use a batch at a time. As each batch is made in a quart size jar, I store it in the refrigerator until it is all used. I don’t combine batches, but I am sure you could, as I don’t see any problem with doing that.

3. I found your recipe for pizza crust and would like to add that to my monthly menu. What kind of cheese does your family use?

I use a combination of cheddar cheese and mozzarella for my pizza. I purchase raw cheddar cheese from Azure Standard. We love this cheese! I grate it all up and freeze in smaller portions in order to extend it’s life. Azure sells 5 pounds for approx. $23 dollars. I also use a small portion of a natural whole milk mozzarella. I have not found a better source for this though, as organic mozzarella is extremely expensive. I have yet to find a source for raw mozzarella. Any one else have a better source?

4. This is an elementary question, but exactly how does one go about kneading dough? It’s the kneading part of baking bread that scares me!

First off, your question is not elementary at all!

I actually use a Bosch mixer to do my kneading for me. I love my Bosch! It works wonders for mixing up anything and includes a powerful blender as well. Read my review of it here. If you have a Kitchen-Aid mixer, they sell a kneading attachment, for it to do that as well. If you have the money, these are wonderful investments. The bosch has a 25 year warranty, or something like that.

Here’s an article on wiki about how to knead by hand with dough. It has pictures and all! I have done alot of kneading on my own in the past, and it is really pretty simple.

Hope that helps! Don’t be intimidated! It is well worth it.

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Where Bulk Buying Goes Wrong

Have you ever considered how the thought of buying in bulk might just be causing you to use more? I love buying in bulk and do highly recommend it for saving money on groceries. I buy grains, beans, oils, meat, etc. in bulk and save money regularly. I highly recommend finding a friend to split things with if you don’t have the room for it all…it works well…but do proceed with caution!

Studies have shown that large packages encourage consumers to increase the amount of a product they use. This has been true of me lately. I look at my 5 pounds of cheese and it looks like a ton. So I just think I have a lot to use, and use in excess without thinking that this needs to last 2 months. Hmm…

Realizing this truth came about by reading an article on the topic in The Tightwad Gazette.

Here is what she says:

“A Harvard Business Review article reports that consumers who purchased large containers of Creamette spaghetti, M&M’s, Diet Pepsi, Crisco Oil, or Mr Clean ate more, drank more, and poured more than people who bought smaller containers of the same products. Wharton School marketing professor Brian Wansink said that’s because consumers know they got the product for a lower unit cost and thus fee justified in using more. “

The solution: She goes on to say the solution is not to avoid bulk buying, or purchase smaller containers, but to be aware of this human tendency to overuse bulk-purchased items and modify your actions accordingly! Use less…This has really helped open my eyes lately!

Also be aware that buying in bulk may not always be the cheapest option. I have realized this lately while evaluating bulk purchases from Azure Standard versus single purchases from my local Trader Joe’s, and come to realize that not all things are cheaper in bulk!

That’s my frugal tip of the day!

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Lotion, Aftershave – Natural Alternatives

There is one product that meets all of these needs without doing a thing, except rubbing it on! Can you guess what it is? This product is fabulous for you health both on the outside and the inside. It feels wonderful, without being too greasy or messy. It is all natural! When purchased in bulk and used for other things (listed below), it can be quite reasonable!

What is it?

Coconut Oil!

Lotion/Moisturizer - a little dab will do you! Scoop out and rub on your skin. Sweet fragrance as well. I have replaced all my miscellaneous lotions with this one product!

Aftershave – I told my husband he just had to try it as an aftershave, and low and behold it worked. I love using it as well after shaving those sensitive areas. Calms and refreshes.

For Married Women -It also works well for that special hubby and wife time.

Other uses I have had success with:Deodorant

Cooking uses:

replacing oil/butter/shortening in baked goods
melting and adding to smoothies
greasing pans with it
any other ideas?

I am a huge fan of coconut oil (if you haven’t noticed already)! The more products I can cover with just this simple natural alternative, the more I save and the more I rejoice! I just found a recipe for toothpaste that uses it as well. Can’t wait to try it and share the results (if successful)! The way I am going, pretty soon this will be the only product in the bathroom! ;)

Buy it here at:

Mountain Rose Herbs

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Q & A: Buying Grains

My question is about buying grains. I’ve noticed that you are always writing about grinding your own flour. Could you give me some tips on this? I have no idea where to even start.

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Undistracted Devotion -Part 1

1 Cor. 7:34-35

“The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This I say for your own benefit…to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.”

What is Paul saying here? Paul commands above all that we remain undistracted and devoted to the Lord. This is not a command limited to the unmarried. Indeed no, this command is given to all! Is this possible while serving a husband? Taking care of children? Indeed it is possible.

As a single woman, there is so much more freedom, time, and extended energy capacities to extend in service to the Lord; therefore, she ought to be focused on seeking every opportunity to invest in the lives of others. If she is living a life of sacrifice for others, she will not feel any need to be on the lookout for a godly husband. God will provide one in His perfect timing. But at the same time, I believe it is very important for a young woman to be actively learning and preparing for marriage. How does one maintain a life of devotion to the Lord in whatever season she is in?

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The Value of Soaking your Whole Grains

Photo credit

Using whole grains in your cooking/baking is the first and one the most significant step you can take towards improving your nutrition. Whole grains include: whole wheat, kamut, spelt, brown rice, oats, any many others. Unlike white flour, whole grains keep the bran & germ together and in tact, which supplies you with all the nutrients. It is important to note that making the switch to whole grains is easier than you think. In fact, many recipes can be switched white flour with whole wheat flour without any difficulty. But, just because you have or are in the process of switching to healthier grains does not mean you are getting all the nutritional value. Have you ever considered that whole wheat and other whole grains might be very difficult for your body to digest?

Grinding Your Own Flour

Fresh flour contains all the vitamins and minerals missing in commercial flours. It includes the bran which is vital for a healthy colon and weight control. It is economical. Within 24 hours up to 40% of the nutrients have oxidized. In three days up to 80% of nutrients have oxidized, so using freshly grained flours preserves all the wonderful nutrients. Read more benefits here.

I personally use a NutriMill grinder. You can read more about this particular grinder at Pleasant Hill Grain Company online (www.pleasanthillgrain.com). It has worked splendidly for me! They have wonderful customer service as well. This is the one of the best investments you can make towards becoming more healthy and nutritious in your cooking. Check out this article to compare different mills. I store mine on my kitchen counter, because it is small and convenient for easy access. I have ground everything from beans, to grains, to corn in it.

Phytic Acid Prevents Digestion

Unfortunately, whole grains contain phytic acid in the bran of the grain which combines with key minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc and prevents their absorption in the intestinal tract. This makes it more difficult to digest properly. Soaking, fermenting, or sprouting the grain before cooking or baking will neutralize the phytic acid, releasing these nutrients for absorption.

This process allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to not only neutralize the phytic acid, but also to break down complex starches, irritating tannins and difficult-to-digest proteins, including gluten. For many, this may lessen their sensitivity or allergic reactions to particular grains. Everyone will benefit, nevertheless, from the release of nutrients and greater ease of digestion.

How to Soak

1. The first stage of preparation is to soak the whole grain flour in an acid medium and liquid. The basic idea is to soak all the flour with the liquid ingredients and 1 Tbsp of an acid medium per cup of water called for in the recipe.

- If the substance is too dry to mix well (i.e. more flour than can mix evenly with the liquids), you can also add the liquid oil and sweetener (honey, maple syrup or agave) called for in the recipe to the mixture. This will help maintain a moist consistency that is easy to combine with the other ingredients after soaking.

- Acid mediums options include: cultured buttermilk, milk kefir, coconut kefir, water kefir, cultured yogurt, whey, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Dairy product acid mediums must be cultured!

- Make sure to use warm filtered water/liquids for soaking. Warm water is necessary for the soaking process to be effective. Warm the water/liquids until they are bath water temperature before adding to the grain/flour.

- Brown rice, buckwheat, and millet do not have as high of phytate content and thus need only be soaked for 7 hours (these are great last minute grains if you forget to soak, won’t be a big problem – also recommend purchasing brown rice pasta for this reason as well)

-All other grains (whole wheat, spelt, kamut, oats, etc) should be soaked from 12-24 hours, with oats have the highest level and best soaked for 24 hours.

2. Leave your grains soaking at room temperature on your counter. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, or with a plate to prevent it from drying out (especially in the case of a dough). After soaking, you add the remaining ingredients, if required, and proceed with recipe!

Sue Gregg shares two other benefits to soaking: “There are two other advantages of the two-stage process. Several hours of soaking serves to soften the grain, resulting in baked goods lighter in texture, closer to the texture of white flour. The longer the soaking, the less necessary is baking powder. Baking soda, alone,¬†will give enough rise. Secondly, this is a great step in convenience, dividing the task into two shorter time periods, cutting the time needed to prepare the recipe right before cooking and baking when you feel
rushed to get food on the table.”

Another benefit I have found to soaking is that it absorbs the liquids and expands the grains, making a larger quantity in the end. This is very true especially with my soaking oatmeal. If I forget to soak, it results in a smaller batch, but if I soak it increases the quantity and is more satisfying and filling as well. Soaked baked goods and cereals are always lighter in texture as well, and not dense as their unsoaked wheat¬†counterparts. Don’t quite know why this happens, but it extends the food budget further! Whole grains overall are much more satisfying and fill you up longer than white products…so once again, more value for your money!

Soaking Cereals

Simply soak your cereals in half the quantity of water called for in the recipe with the 1 Tbsp acid medium per cup of water for 12-24 hours. When you are ready to cook, boil the other half of the water before adding the soaked grain. It will be ready in 5 minutes!

For our regular twice a week breakfast of oatmeal, I soak 1 cup of rolled oats with 1 cup of water and 1-2 Tbls of kefir. I let it sit covered overnight. In the morning I put 1 cup of water to boil on the stove. When it is rolling, I add the soaked oats and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so. We then add ground flax seeds, dried cranberries, chopped apples and sometimes a little mashed bananas and there you have an excellent high fiber breakfast.

Soaking Quick Breads

For quick breads (waffles, pancakes, muffins, etc) add 1 Tbsp of an acid medium (best with cultured buttermilk or kefir) for every cup of water called for in the recipe, cover and soak as recommended above. If the recipe calls for buttermilk already, soak in the buttermilk or replace with kefir (which is my favorite!).

I replace buttermilk with kefir completely most of the time without problem. If desired, you can also add all the other liquid ingredients besides the egg, leavenings, and salt in the soaking mixture as well. This helps maintain a moist dough. After soaking, I simply add the egg, leavenings and salt called for in the recipe. Sue Gregg incorporates this idea in all her breakfast recipes. See recipe below. She has other sample recipes on her website.

Whole Grain Pancake/Waffle Recipe – includes instructions on soaking! This is simply delicious!

Soaking Beans

Beans should be rinsed then soaked with 1 Tbsp whey or lemon juice per cup of beans. After soaking, drain, rinse and start with fresh water. Follow the recommended quantities as you would normally.

Soaking Yeast Breads

Soak flour, and 1 Tbsp vinegar or kefir for every cup of water called for in the recipe (leave 1/2 cup of water for activating yeast later). I like to also add the oil and sweeteners to maintain moist dough, otherwise cover tightly with plastic wrap. After soaking, active the yeast in the remaining water with a tsp of honey. Proceed with the recipe.

My Homemade Bread Recipe – with soaking instructions!

Soaking Brown Rice

Combine your rice and all the water called for in the recipe with 1-2 Tbsp of acid medium and let soak for 7 hours. I combine these ingredients in the pot I will cook it in. When ready, simply turn it on and cook as usual. My recipe is to soak 1 cup brown rice to 2 1/4 cup water, with 2 Tbsp of kefir. Heat to boiling and then turn to low heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

For more recipes, view the recipe index. Most of my recipes include soaking instructions.

Soaking is actually quite simple. The key: thinking ahead! Write it in your schedule! Each morning after breakfast and making dinner preparations, I also ask myself if I need to soak anything for the next day. I quickly combine it and let it sit on my counter.

Further Reading

Urban Homemaker articles on Soaking here & here
How I use kefir and the wonderful benefits

Tammy’s Kefir Making Instructions
Two Stage Process - introduction to soaking by Sue Gregg – I drew much of the above information from this article
Sue Gregg’s Breakfast cookbook is my favorite intro to different whole grains and how to include them in your diet. This book shows you how to grind grains in your blender for many morning breakfasts. Works wonderfully!
Be Kind to Your Grains – article by Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions on why we should soak our grains

Two other good options that accomplish the same benefits as soaking, include using sprouted flour or sourdough methods.

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