Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Net Negative Calorie Foods

Catabolic foods are those foods which actually contain fewer calories than it takes to consume them.

For example an egg is 70 calories, but when the egg is hard boiled the human body burns more than 70 calories to digest that hard boiled egg. (Mind you, chewing is part of the calorie burning too -- no swallowing whole.)

I recently, happily, discovered that there are bunches of foods that are "net negative" or at least "net neutral" in their calorie content. I thought I'd share my list.

Fruit: (fresh, raw, and preferably organic)

Veggies: (raw or lightly steamed, and plain)
Brussels sprouts
dill pickles
green beans
red cabbage

Protein: (clean, homegrown, and poached)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Has it really been a week since I last posted? This past week flew past in a rush of things that must be done and projects that took longer than expected. Meanwhile....

Meanwhile the tulips bloomed.
Echoing the pink of the cottoneaster ("ca-to-ne-as-ter") buds.

Balancing against the delicate lacework of the deutzia which is also budding out.

And the daffodils, which scared me by blooming out in gold and orange trumpets, have obligingly faded to a lovely matching pink.

Very satisfactory.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Looking Back

A milestone in the blogging world, the 500th blog post offers a chance to look back over the accumulated postings and realize how far we have travelled together.
At first I thought I might let it pass without comment. Then again...

... a montage of photos from posts over these last two years might be just the thing to mark my 500th post.

Also, I just realized I actually have followers. And none of you are related to me! Thank you. I have no idea how anyone managed to figure out following when I didn't have a button up (I've put one up now) but I am delighted you did.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Forty Soldiers

Both Matthew and Luke record Jesus’ teaching that we should not fear those who have power over us in this life. Matthew 10:28-32 says, "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground without the Father’s knowledge. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore, do not fear. You are of more value than many sparrows. Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven."

In 320 AD, in an area known as Sabaste (now part of Turkey) a Roman legion was garrisoned. At that time the Emperor Licicnius was persecuting Christians and ordered that all those who would not worship the Roman gods should be killed. The Commander of the Legion at Sebaste assembled his men. Any who were foolish enough to follow this Christian God, he commanded, step forward to be put to death. Imagine his surprise when FORTY of his bravest and best soldiers stepped forward, saluted, and announced that they were followers of Jesus.

Now, Commander Vespatian, didn’t really want to kill forty of his best men, and he didn’t want to order his men to kill so many of their comrades – so he decided to let them think about it overnight and he would ask again in the morning. But in the morning the forty soldiers were still steadfast. Hoping they would change their minds the commander ordered them to be imprisoned and brutally beaten.

For three days the men endured by praying and singing Psalms, and on the evening of the third day when they were brought before Vespatian again they still stood strong. “We have made our choice.” They said. “You may kill us if you must. These soldier bodies belong to the Roman Emperor, but our souls belong to the One True King.” Commander Vespatian was left with no choice.

It was the middle of winter in Sebaste, Vespatian ordered that the men be stripped down and marched out into the middle of a frozen lake to die of exposure. Still hoping that some of the men might recant he also ordered that large bonfires be built on the shore of the lake and warm baths prepared. Across the ice of the lake could be heard the chant of the men. “Forty soldiers for Christ we stand. In God alone we place our hope and we are not ashamed.”

As Vespatian stood on the shores of that frozen lake, throughout the night the chant of the men could still be heard, but growing weaker as the cold began to take its toll. “Forty soldiers for Christ we stand. In God alone we place our hope and we are not ashamed.

Towards morning one lone figure could be seen creeping back across the ice. History records his name as Melitis. And as Melitis shivered by the bonfire on the shores of the lake, across the ice the chant of the men began again “Thirty-nine soldiers for Christ we stand. In God alone we place our hope and we are not ashamed.”

Vespatian looked in disgust at the shivering soldier. Then this man, this commander who had beaten the Christians, jailed them, and ordered their deaths, suddenly threw off his own clothes and ran out onto the ice towards the men shouting “Forty! Forty soldiers for Christ we stand. In God alone I place my hope and I am not ashamed.”

Today, let's ask ourselves: Are we standing on that shore?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sing a Song of Sixpence

front of Sixpence quilt

Counting House, the full-size quilt pattern got shrunk last week, into a mere Sixpence. That was the easy part. The new baby-size quilt design went together smoothly and I had a blast picking out the color pallet.

Then I decided to machine quilt in "bubbles" (aka "river rocks") a freehand machine quilting design that is.... well, it uses a lot of thread.

close up of freehand "bubbles" machine quilting

I had to make a run to the shop for more thread half way through.

Seven empty, brand-new spools of thread later it was done. Took me twice as long to quilt it as to piece it in the first place. But I do love the texture of a heavily quilted quilt.

back of quilt

The Nursery Rhyme

Sing a song of Sixpence, pocket full of rye
Four and twenty blackbirds baked into a pie,
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing.
Wasn't that a dainty dish to set before a king?

The king was in the Counting House, counting out his money.
The queen was in the parlor eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird and nipped off her nose.

The king called his doctor who sewed it on again
He sewed it on so neatly the seam could not be seen.
Sing a song of Sixpence pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked into a pie.

Monday, April 12, 2010


"I do not value any view of the universe into which man and the institutions of man enter very largely and absorb much of the attention. "Man is but the place where I stand; and the prospect hence is infinite. It is not a chamber of mirrors which reflect me. When I reflect, I find that there is other than me. "Man is a past phenomenon to philosophy. The universe is larger than enough for man’s abode. "Some rarely go outdoors, most are always at home at night, very few indeed have stayed out all night once in their lives, fewer still have gone behind the world of humanity, seen its institutions like toadstools by the wayside."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What Makes Success?

Success, defined by the world it means money and some degree of fame.

Defined by me it means that on average more people like you than hate you even if most people have no clue who you are. There's a solid roof overhead, and a garden in your yard. You have a moral character, and use your brain for something more than filling your head. And whatever happens here on Earth, you know you're saved and won't be separated from God in the next life.

That's success.

On that level I'm successful. Notice how I have carefully constructed a definition of success that conforms to my situation so that I can claim to have achieved 100% success? Still, I think it's a valid definition.

Several other definitions exist by which I could not be viewed as successful, for example I am completely lacking in the fame and fortune departments. But I think everyone succeeds differently. Would I be happy living up to someone else's definition of success?

Isn't being content with your life actually one of the signs of success? I think it is. I think we get hung up on making other people believe we are successful ... but when we get in a quiet corner and let God show us our hearts are we happy with who we are? With what we have achieved in our lives?

When we feel we have failed... Is it because we have failed to meet someone's definition of success or because we have failed to meet our own definition?

What makes success?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Behold Spring

The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven -
All's right with the world!
~Robert Browning

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pieces of My Day

"Is it so small a thing,
To have enjoy'd the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved, to have thought, to have done?"
-- Matthew Arnold

"Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems."
-- Rainer Maria Rilke

"All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar."
-- Helen Hayes

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."
-- Margaret Atwood

Monday, April 5, 2010


4 cups old fashioned Oats
2 cups Coconut shreds
2 cups slivered Almonds

toss together

3/4 cup vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Honey

toss together

spread flat on a sheet pan
bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes

add fruit after it cools

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thought for the Day

The death of Jesus Christ was not a murder committed by the Jews or by the Romans. He chose to die.

The death of Jesus Christ was an assisted suicide. We assisted... I assisted. Our sins held Him on that cross.

...for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place.
Acts 4:27-28 [ESV]

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Onion Rye Retrospective

Baking Onion Rye Bread makes me think of monks in dark brown robes baking in outdoor ovens and stone hearths. It is a lowly bread the smell almost earthy and definitely homey, reminding me of peasants and vows of poverty and [non sequitur] the time my sister won the county fair blue ribbon with this recipe.

When it is rising the bread grows gradually. If the room is too cold the dough will not rise properly and the loaf will be small.

Emotionally, our warmth might come from the love or approval of others, but like the bread we also need physical warmth. Something we take for granted sometimes. I see in my head the scene from The Muppet's Christmas Carol: The rats (clerks) in Scrooge's chilly London offices being refused coal and singing "Tropical Island in the sun..."

The warmth of the sun or the warmth of a smile, when that is missing from our lives we do not feel like rising to our best.

Although in the end all the ingredients will come together to make the bread dough, some are not naturally inclined to mix. The oil sits in patterns atop the molasses and yeast sponge. Stirring the waters only breaks the larger dots into smaller dots of oil sitting on top, it will take the addition of flour to make the two work together. Which is true of people sometimes too.

My loaf of Onion Rye Bread, like all bread began as a yeast sponge. Dry active yeast and warm water. In days gone by this sponge would have needed to sit for half an hour or more, but technology and society have worked their magic even on baking and yeast is instant now.

I am grateful for this, but I am also grateful that the entire baking process still takes time. That although the yeast is instant there is still the mixing by hand, the waiting to rise, the kneading with floury hands, rising again, and the slowly spreading smell of freshly baked bread.

Grateful that some things happen quickly and some things take time, in baking and in life.

Two Loaves Onion Rye Bread

3 1/2 - 4 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups rye flour
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon salt
4 Tablespoons onion flakes
1/4 cup oil
2 cups lukewarm water
1/3 cup black strap molasses
2 Tablespoons yeast

Mix yeast and water; add rest of ingredients, flour last; knead well.
Let rise for 1 hour; form loaves; raise 1/2 hour more.
Bake 375 degree oven, 30 - 45 minutes.