Sunday, July 30, 2017

Fresh Tomato and Cilantro Salsa

Hard to believe but we are out of salsa, again!  This time I wanted to record our favorite recipe amended with fresh tomatoes. I don't mind making a quick batch with canned tomatoes but when Roma organic tomatoes are available at Sprouts for $0.68 per pound, why would you use canned.  The salsa is delicious, this recipe is a keeper! 

Fresh Tomato Salsa Recipe

  • 3 cups peeled, diced Roma tomatoes
  • 3  fresh jalapenos, no seeds, unless you want in HOT
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro
  • 1 Table. cumin
  • 2 tea. garlic salt
  • 1 tea. salt
  • 3 table. lime juice

Begin by washing your vegetables.  Next core your tomatoes.  To remove peels, fill a large pot half-way with water, bring to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, add tomatoes one at a time until (about 8-10 tomatoes). Boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove tomatoes one at a time with slotted spoon and plunge in an ice water bath. The skins will slip off the tomatoes.

Dice your onions and jalapenos. Throw all ingredients in the blender and blend to your preferred consistency.  This recipe make about 1 quart fresh salsa!  

The salsa can be stored in the refrigerator to keep fresh. But if you don't want to take up the room in the refrigerator you can boiling water bath process it for 15 minutes. 

To can the salsa for long term storage, I heated the salsa in my Instant Pot it brings the salsa up to temperature so much quicker than using the stove. Next heat and fill you Ball Pint Jars making sure they are properly sanitized.  Also due to the acidity of this recipe, wipe down the rims of the jar with vinegar before sealing.  Store salsa in the refrigerator after opening a jar.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Canning Pasta Sauce

About one day every six months we make a batch of pasta sauce and today was that day!  We make some batches with meat in the sauce, but today we were making just a good marinara sauce. 

Pasta Sauce
25 lbs. Roma tomatoes
2 onions
2 large yellow bell peppers
2 large green bell pepper
4 (Oz) cans tomato paste
1/4 c. soy sauce 
3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 c. salt
8 cloves garlic chopped 
3 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 cup fresh basil
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 1/4 c. Lemon juice / or ¼ tsp Citric Acid  in each jar

Begin by washing your vegetables.  Next core your tomatoes.  To remove peels, fill a large pot half-way with water, bring to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, add tomatoes one at a time until (about 8-10 tomatoes). Boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove tomatoes one at a time with slotted spoon and plunge in an ice water bath. The skins will slip off the tomatoes.  

I ran the tomatoes through a tomato press to separate the ‘meat’ of the tomatoes from the seeds.  
Chop up green peppers and onions.  In a large stockpot, or Instant Pot,  combine the tomato pulp, and all the other ingredients, except lemon juice/Citric Acid. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 4-5 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or ¼ tsp Citric Acid, to each hot 1-quart jars.  25 lbs. of tomatoes will yield about 10-11 Quarts.  Ladle hot mixture into jars, leaving 1/2-in. headspace at the top. Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids. Process for 40 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Better a small serving of vegetables with love

    than a fattened calf with hatred.

Proverbs 15:17

Monday, July 24, 2017

Allen Summer Sounds Concert

Sissy and Abigail joined the Bailey's at the Joe Farmer Recreation Center Amphitheater, for live music performed by "Downtown Fever." The music ranged from classical to contemporary pop hits. It was hosted by the City of Allen and the Parks and Recreation Department where Gracie works.

Frankie won a free t-shirt and the girls enjoyed food from the food trucks, specifically In and Out Burger! 

After the concert, there was an extravagant fireworks display!

Seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.
I Samuel 16:16

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Jon's Birthday

Tomorrow is Jon’s birthday but we celebrated today because Caleb works on Sundays.  Jon’s favorite comic book character when he was a child was Spider-man.  So of course it’s Caleb’s favorite, too.  In fact the first comic book Jon bought Caleb was Spider-man vs. The Vulture.  The newest Spider-man movie, Spider-man Homecoming features the Vulture as the bad guy.  It’s the perfect way to celebrate with Jon! 

After the movie, Caleb grilled steaks for Jon’s birthday while Jon checked the fluids on Caleb’s Jeep!  What a great Dad! 

Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
    whose quiver is full of them.
Psalm 127:3-5

Tee Time

Caleb made a quick trip home for Jon's birthday tomorrow.  Jon had a few thing to take care for work this morning so the girls and I took Caleb to Topgolf to hit a few balls.  

The softball girl beat us all, no surprise!  But the very best part was getting to catch up with the boy and his summer working with the Baytown congregation. 

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.  Colossians 4:6

Friday, July 21, 2017

A Day of Services

Today Abigail and the McDermott youth met up at the church building for a day of service.  Abigail's group was assigned to the Preschool.  Other groups worked at elderly members homes, yard work, cleaning detail, etc.

The girls pulled everything out of the preschool's store room, sorted, re-boxed and labeled all the supplies.  During the school year the room gets a lot of use by the classes and desperately needed sorting and restocking for the new school year.

After several hours of work the groups met up at Main Event for a late lunch and some bowling! A nice way to celebrate their efforts!

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Matthew 19:14

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Canning Yukon Gold Potatoes

One of my favorite vegetables are potatoes, specifically Yukon Gold.  They are a delicious, buttery side dish to any meal.  But I am not always in the mood to wash, peel and cut them. 

Many years ago I started canning potatoes.  I can pick a day when I'm in the mood and enlist the help of the girls and sometimes, Jon.  With quart jars prepared I can quickly heat and make yummy mashed potatoes.  They can also be used in a vegetable soup, or loaded baked potato soup.  We've also drained them and add them to a breakfast casserole, potato salad, cottage fries, there are lots of options! 

First you begin by washing and peeling the potatoes. I usually place the cubed potatoes in a large pot with cold water and a splash of lemon juice to keep the potatoes from turning brown. You can estimate an average of 2-1/2 to 3 pounds per quart.  I began with 15 pounds of potatoes and finished with 11 quarts. 

Once all of the potatoes are washed, peeled, and cubed, drain of the water.  Cover the cubed potatoes with fresh water, bringing it to a boil I used my Instant Pot, for 2 minutes and drain again. 

In sterilized Ball Wide Mouth Quart Jars place 1 teaspoon of  chicken bullion, 1 teaspoon Morton Canning and Pickling Salt and 1 clove of garlic. Fill hot jars with hot potatoes and fresh hot water, leaving 1-inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids/rings and process in the Pressure Canner for 35 minutes for pints and 40 minutes for quarts at 10 lbs. of pressure.

And now I have 11 quick go to jars for meals prepared on a lazy, Netflix watching afternoon! 

Better a small serving of vegetables with love
than a fattened calf with hatred.
Proverbs 15:17

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School 2017 is a wrap!  Our new Children's Educator Coordinator was thrilled with the week.  She said she had nothing but positive and glowing feedback on the choice to move from the musical to the children's format.   The classroom teachers said the children paid much closer attention to the lessons because their friends or older siblings were involved!  That's a win!! 

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, 
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Luke 18:16

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Vacation Bible School Rehearsal

Today was our final dress rehearsal and taping of our VBS production.  Rather than doing a musical production we chose to video tape the kids, my Bible Bowl student, as the Bible characters. 

The idea was that at VBS we would be sitting on stage in a Bible Drama class with Bible Class Betty.  Bible Class Betty would introduce the stories and would tell the class to, 'imagine themselves in the story.'  At that point we fade out on the stage lights and project the video tape production of the kids acting out the stories. 

We deliberately picked simplistic scenes and costumes complete with name tag signs around the kids necks as they acted out the story.  The simple format was to put more emphasis on the Bible lesson instead of the performers. 

I love the idea that the kids are teaching other kids.  You don't have to be a certain age to share the Bible.   

Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
Deuteronomy 4:9

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On the Mend

The girls may kill me, but yes I did snap pictures of them while we were at the doctors office again today.  The girls and I have been sick for the last two weeks.  We went to the doctor a week ago and were diagnosed with a persistent cough and were each given steroid shots and antibiotics. 

We felt a little better with in a day of the the steroid shots but a week later we are not feeling any better.  So we are back to the doctor. The newest diagnoses says Frankie has bronchitis, Abigail has walking pneumonia and I have bronchitis AND walking pneumonia! 

We are now armed with stronger antibiotics and steroid pack.  Hopefully this will put us on the mend especially with VBS quickly approaching! 

the Lord will send fearful plagues on you and your descendants,
 harsh and prolonged disasters, and severe and lingering illnesses.
Deuteronomy 28:59

Monday, July 10, 2017

Swinging Clubs

It's Monday morning meaning we would normally be hanging out at the pantry, but today we were told to take the day off!  There is a large group of volunteers serving today so we got the day off.  Even better news was that Ms. Gina has secured someone else to take care of the paperwork! So we are clip board-less, no file folders to follow-up on, no notebooks, no volunteers lists, no work logs, no computer entry to worry about! 

We met up with our partners in crime, the Baileys for a morning of fun.  Normally the Baileys would be with us at the pantry but with the day off we all got to enjoy a little play time. 

We headed to Topgolf, a golf driving range of sorts with  climate-controlled playing "bays" similar to a bowling lane.  They also have an impressive food and drink menu!  We enjoyed some chips and queso and pretzel bites while taking turns teeing off. 

I'm not sure that any of us will make the Masters Tournament but it was a fun filled morning with great friends! 

Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow

    is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.
Proverbs 25:18

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Tournament Play

Abigail's select fast pitch team, RAGE got in a couple of games in bracket play this afternoon. After 8 hours of conditioning and practice on Friday, then three games yesterday, only two games were a welcomed change for today! 

She had a couple of good games.  She'n hitting really well these days and it's fun to watch her play!  The team didn't place but it was a good day.  Some inclement weather brought in a little cooler weather for the tournament. 

Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  I Corinthians 15:57

Saturday, July 8, 2017

North Texas Fastpitch Camp & Tournament

Yesterday was the skills camp for the North Texas Fastpitch.  Today the teams began the pool play for all 14U-18U age teams.  

The girls played games at several ball fields around Plano.  Abigail's Rage team had three games today.  Tomorrow will begin the actual bracket play for placement in the tournament.  

Abigail caught for one of the games and played outfield for the other two. She's hitting really well and even though the team didn't do as well as we hoped, but there is always tomorrow afternoon. 

For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Psalms 149:4

Friday, July 7, 2017

She's Got Skills

My favorite softball player had to be out at the ball fields at six thirty this morning to check in for a softball conditioning camp.  Coaches from nine different colleges were on hand to give pointers to the high school players and meet the players.  

Abigail along with four other players from her Rage team attended the skills clinic where they were split up and assigned to new teams based on their positions.  Specific skill clinics were held for the catchers and pitchers. 

It was a long day, but the girl had a blast! 

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.  Colossians 3:23-24

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day

This is a glimpse for the grandparents of Caleb’s Fourth of July celebration. Caleb was able to enjoy the fireworks and Independence Day celebration on the bay at Baytown.  

The minister at the Baytown congregation Josh, and his family invited Caleb to meet up at Mont Belvieu City Park for a cook out.  

Afterwards Caleb headed to Bicentennial Park for the celebration by the bay.  The first act was Grand Funk Railroad. The band has toured for the last 48 years, preforming hit rock ‘n’ roll songs such as “Walk Like a Man,” “The Loco-Motion” and their first No. 1 hit, “We’re an American Band.”

The headliner for the celebration was country music singer Josh Turner, who performs hits like “Lay Low” and “Hometown Girl,” “Firecracker,” “Would You Go With Me,” and “Your Man.”  After his performance the city put on a spectacular fireworks display which was enhanced by the reflections on the water. 

All the people of the land rejoicing and blowing trumpets, and the singers with their musical instruments leading in the celebration.  2 Chronicles 23:13

Monday, July 3, 2017

Just Another Monday

Just another Monday, which means we are back at the pantry serving our neighbors in need. For years the kids and I have served at the pantry every Monday.  On Wednesdays we pick up pizzas from a nearby city.  On Thursdays we pick up breads and desserts from a local grocery store. On Fridays we pick up at the grocery store, plus the local coffee house and pizzas from another local store.  

That's just our work on week day.  On the weekends I process the paper work from the three weekly outreaches, plus the Saturday outreach.  Abigail is a big help to me in setting up the upcoming weeks flyers, volunteer paperwork and computer outreaches.  At the end of each month I complete the multiple monthly reports.  

It's consumes so much of our time, it's almost a job.  The up side is that we've done it for so many years that we have great friends that help us out.  The photo on the bottom is our friends the Baileys.  They have helped us at the pantry and with recruiting donation though Ella's Girl Scout troop.  

The cases of formula pictured came from a pediatrician friend at church who has made several similar generous donations!  Other friends from church bring in monthly donations, many friends have come to volunteer their time with us.  Our great supportive friends, and knowing how much of a difference we are making have made that time worth while. 

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.  1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Sunday, July 2, 2017

David and Goliath Rehearsal

It's that wonderful time of the year, the time when kids 'Roll the Gospel Chariot;' when refrigerator art is made; and when Bible Stories come to life on stage.  That time is known as Vacation Bible School.

I've written a series of four stories taken from I & II Samuel.  The theme I picked was 'A Heart Like His.' It chronicles the stories of David's relationships with Saul, Jonathan, Abigail and Mephibosheth.  

This year we are working with an all youth cast.  I think there is something inspirational about the kids in the audience seeing their peers teaching the Bible stories.  Our youth interns were responsible for directing, filming and editing our stories. I'm looking forward to the final production! 

He raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’
Acts 13:22