Monday, February 27, 2017

Hot Oatmeal Porridge

Part way through perfecting a killer coffee cake recipe... I threw myself a curve ball.  Sure, let's take gluten out of my bag of tricks for a while and see what happens.  Why not?!  What could possibly go wrong?  (Besides the coffee cake he refused to eat?)  Truth be told, if it hadn't been the only thing in the house, I wouldn't have eaten it either.  Ok, so perfecting the coffee cake will have to wait for another day.  No problem.

Fine, I'll go back to enjoying oatmeal for breakfast. My Austrian starts making faces when I pull out what he calls "porridge" for breakfast but I have finally got a recipe he delights in teasing me about... but still eats.  And good news... what we don't eat, the dog will make short work of (only no raisins for dawgins). 

So here's how I make oatmeal that even an Austrain-whose-mother-loved-porridge will eat.  And this morning I measured what I was using so I could share this recipe with you. 
1 cup water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon raw honey
pinch sea salt

I bring this to a boil until the raisins have plumped and the coconut oil is melted then I add
1/2 cup gluten free oatmeal - quick oats.

Cook gently, stirring often until it is the consistency you like.  This won't take long at all if you purchase quick oats, and yes of course you can use butter instead of coconut oil, yum!

This recipe makes more than enough for one person for breakfast, and my dog gets what I don't want.  But like I said, dogs shouldn't have raisins, so I make sure I've picked them all out before I offer it to her.  If my Austrian is home, I double the recipe and add less raisins.

Jamie Oliver has all kinds of gourmet ideas for dressing up oatmeal such as apple and blackberries, bananas and almonds... and all of that sounds amazing. However, at my house we're slightly more likely to garnish the oatmeal with the ever-charming gummy bears which is always good for a laugh.

What is your favorite breakfast food on a cold winter morning?  Let me know in the comments.

Stay Tuned,

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tiny House Summit

I am so pleased to be included in the Tiny House Summit going on today through Saturday.  There is an amazing breadth of experience in this collection of Tiny House people!  My session is called "Lessons I Learned from my Tiny House" and so I hope you'll drop by today and check it out.

Also check out my post over at about my history with living tiny, and some photos of our place.

The Tiny House Summit is free to sign up and watch this week, after that I believe the event will be available as a package for a price, that you can then enjoy at your leisure.  And what an amazing resource it will be!

Stay Tuned!

Friday, January 27, 2017

"Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

When there is a tear in the fabric of our shared humanity, those who would mend are called upon to speak. This morning I'm reminded of the words Ronald Reagan spoke at the Brandenburg Gate in the summer of 2007.

"Behind me stands a wall that encircles the free sectors of this city, part of a vast system of barriers that divides the entire continent of Europe. Standing before the Brandenburg Gate, every man is a German, separated from his fellow men. Every man is a Berliner, forced to look upon a scar. . . . As long as this gate is closed, as long as this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind. . . .

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate.

Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!
Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

This speech was written by Peter Robinson, who was in his thirties at the time. The speech was opposed by Colin Powel (Four Star General), George Shultz (Secretary of State), Sen. Howard Baker (the President's Chief of Staff), and Tom Griscom (Director of White House Communications), they all said the language was too strong, too offensive. but the President was told he could read that key line, or skip it. The choice was his.

History tells us he chose well.

We can be the people who build walls, or the people who tear them down. It all comes down to fear, and courage, and these are not the property of any political party. No matter what our politicians choose to build or evoke, *we the people* can be people of reconciliation.

"For He has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation." (2Cor5:19)

An excellent essay by Peter Robinson, telling the story of writing this famous speech.

Stay Tuned,

Friday, January 20, 2017

Jesus on Stage

I listened to Paula White, Franklin Graham, and President Donald Trump today. There were some bold declarations about God and Jesus in the inaugural ceremony this morning. You'd think I'd love it when someone gets on the national stage and declares Jesus is Lord. After all, I'm a follower of Jesus. I'm supposed to be jazzed by that stuff, right? Truth is, I'm not.  

American Flag Sound Sculpture
Jesus lived an intentionally homeless life on purpose, but our culture is focused on keeping and consolidating wealth. Jesus went around healing people at every opportunity, but the Affordable Care Act that brought health care to a lot of folks who weren't insured is being dismantled with no alternative in sight.  God commands 'The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt; I am the LORD your God."  How then do we demonize immigrants and promise to deport them all?  If you're going to talk about Jesus, and declare him to be The God, then how about working for the things that matter to him?  Jesus commands us to care for "the least of these" and reminds us that when we see the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, stranger... we are looking into the eyes of Jesus. 

So how then, do we pray and declare the name of Jesus in a political event without the character of God in our work and expect it to have credibility?  I don't have the arrogance or audacity to speak of what annoys God, but I do know there is a really big Commandment about not taking His name in vain.

It's something I'm thinking about.

Monday, December 26, 2016

New Goodies

 I enjoy creating quality graphic designs for authors to use in their marketing, and it's one of my very favorite things!  There are three main reasons this work is so close to my heart.  First, I respect what it takes to get a book from one's imagination to the page and through the publishing process.  Secondly, books are gifts to civilization.  Third, I'm sure I'm not the only one that can say that a book changed my life.  And finally, sometimes the authors are just as interesting, if not more so... than the books they write.  It's a pleasure to work with Patricia V. Davis on her Cooking for Ghosts project, and I am impatiently looking forward to reading the next books in her trilogy!
 If I can help you with your own book project in 2017, I'm here.  Check out the links above that explain the custom recipe and food and photography services I offer, as well as the graphic design work I do for authors.
I look forward to working with you to make 2017 a momentous year for your next book.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I Love to Weave

As soon as the weather starts turning colder, I want to have my hands in the yarn! 
 I started dying yarn in lots of wonderful colors.
 And then I began to explore weaving on a pin loom which was essentially a cardboard box, a bunch of pins, and some careful maneuvering.
 After a number of projects on the box, I started eyeing a loom and a friend loaned me one.
 By spring I was completely hooked.  There were so many wonderful ways to make glorious colorful cloth!

This new project gave birth to one of our many inside jokes.  My Austrian mentioned a space where I might like to go and do some "looming" so I got up and put on what I hoped was an ominous face, and went and stood right over him.  When he finally got a little uncomfortable with me standing there and looked up at me, he said: "What are you doing?" and my answer was "Looming."  We both laughed and laughed!  From then on we both prefer the word "looming" to "weaving" and will make a silly ominous face when we say it.
I enjoyed the borrowed loom so much that we were soon putting together our own loom and stand so that the fun could continue.
 I weave with the whole range of colorful yarns, exploring the possible color and texture combinations. I discovered weaving in the Japanese Saori style, which is an improvisational style of weaving, much like jazz.  I also discovered Sakiori weaving, which means weaving with recycled fabric and was the Japanese way of using up clothing that had been worn out to make a new garment.  These concepts quickly became a part of me.
I learned all about yarn sizes (baffling to be honest) such as fingering weight, DK, and worsted.  I still have to refer to a handy chart I made for myself because I don't remember these not-at-all-intuitive-terms.  I learned all about heddles, warp and weft.  I did some dying experiments and dyed yarn and fabric, then cut the fabric to use as the weft in the dyed yarn.  That was fun.
As usual, in the summer we got busy with other things, and some other projects intruded on the weaving studio a bit.  Thankfully, I'm back at it now and looking forward to sharing my next new projects with you.  I'm working on a few Christmas presents, and when those are finished, I'd really like to weave some things I can wear.  I've discovered "slow fashion" which is a way of saying that the item is hand made with care, not mass produced.  I have so many ideas, and I've been collecting yarn (rather unlike the minimalist me) and many lovely things will be come from the studio in the coming days.  I will continue my quest to release beauty, because at some very basic level, this is my calling. 

Stay tuned,