Who Is Your Leavening Agent?

August 17, 2013

When matter of a certain sort contains a leavening agent, it ferments . . . becomes inflamed . . . aroused to a high degree of passion . . . and what, you may be asking yourself, is calling these thoughts to mind on this gray and rainy Saturday?  Is it because I’m the one in the house who is awake?  Partly, as grumpy needed a nap.  Is the quiet getting to me?  You could say that.  Is it the bread in my oven and the other loaf on the cooling rack?  Yes, that’s part of it.  Has the hope of a rising sun brought to mind thoughts of the risen Son?  Yes, that too.  Still . . . think about it.

We’re all down sometimes.  Maybe that’s not such a dreadful thing . . . not a permanent condition . . . not a death sentence . . . but merely a step in the process and if we but rest and let the leavening work in us, oh what a change will be the result in us!  In any event, it somehow seems brighter to me just now though the rain still falls.

Oh, my house smells wonderful too with one loaf of cinnamon bread cooling nicely on the rack and another, white soda bread, finishing up in the oven.  Drop in, won’t you?  Perhaps a glass of sweet tea and a bit of bread?  Perhaps a smear of butter, pimento cheese spread, blueberry jam or strawberry preserves?

Psalm 118:24

King James Version (KJV)

24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice

and be glad in it.

Life without Jesus?  Unleavened, unseasoned, and certainly not sweet

Life without Jesus? Unleavened, unseasoned, and certainly not sweet

Quick White Bread – No Yeast

August 14, 2013

This is Irish Soda (white) Bread.

irish soda white bread

It is not the dark and raisin filled bread I recall from childhood. It is a basic white bread with baking soda as leavening rather than yeast. It calls for butter milk instead of white milk as the magic with the leavening is enhanced. I used a butter milk alternative this time for the first time in this recipe with good results.

This loaf can be made on a lightly greased baking sheet as a round “artisan” type loaf and cuts can be made (cross) if desired. The ingredients are few and likely things you have:

2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk with 1 tbsp lemon juice added in lieu of buttermilk

sift tog first 3 ingredients, add milk and mix to form a soft dough. Pour into lightly greased loaf pan or form shape desired on baking sheet.

Bake at 375 for approx 35 minutes or until nicely browned on top.

I have read differing opinions on switching whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour. I have not tried it but would recommend using a bit less flour and depending on how the dough feels (whole wheat will be more dense as a rule) add a bit more if needed. I have seen comments on bread making which suggest splitting the flour to half all-purpose and half whole wheat, while others go with entirely whole wheat. When I have some whole wheat on hand, I’ll try it.

irish soda white bread sliced

Nutella Cookies – 3 Ingredients!

August 12, 2013

Martha L Shaw - Poet, Writer, Author, Artist

Digital Camera
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Nutella
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 350. Makes 24 cookies on ungreased baking sheet.

Combine 3 ingredients to form dough. It will be a dry and dense dough. I recommend using your hand (keep one clean, silly. You know the phone will ring.) This will go quicker with mixing it by hand IMPO.

Place one inch balls on cookie sheet and press/flatten a bit with a glass.

Bake for about 8 minutes.

There are different variations out in cyber space. Some call for adding 1/2 cup of sugar. I prefer them without. If you have a really really “bad” sweet tooth, go on and add the sugar. I do not believe they need it. Yummy!

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Cinnamon Bread Recipe

August 9, 2013

Here is the recipe for the cinnamon bread pictured in my Bread of Life post.  I just ate two slices with butter for my supper.  Yum!



½  cup butter, softened

1  cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup milk plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Cinnamon/sugar mixture:

1/3 cups sugar

1  teaspoon cinnamon


Cream together butter,  sugar, and egg.  Add butter milk or milk and lemon juice, flour, and baking soda.  Put 1/2 of batter (or a little less) into greased loaf pan

Mix in separate bowl the 1/3 c sugar and cinnamon.  Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in loaf pan.  Add remaining batter to pan; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping.  Swirl with a knife.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min or until toothpick tester comes clean.

Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

Note:  we drink only skim milk or 1% milk.  I used 1% milk and lemon juice in lieu of buttermilk and it came out great.

cinnamon breadslice

Almost too pretty to eat!

Cooking and Life With Christ

August 3, 2013

I sit this morning in a quiet sunny room.  I’m the only one out of bed.  My coffee is nearby and I’m considering baking some biscuits to enjoy with last night’s homemade blueberry jam.  So simple yet to me such a treat.  As I sit and sip and consider some fussier things to make or do, I hear a voice from the nearby television set.

“This is such a simple thing to make yet my family loves it so.  I love making it for them.”  I have a sudden image in my mind of Jesus on the beach tending the fire and cooking a few fish for His friends, calling out, perhaps “bring me  a few more fish, men!  You must be hungry after all that work.”

Imagine, you are overburdened with work.  You spend so much time fussing.  You approach the shore after all that time spent battling the waves tossing you about as you try to catch more fish.  You draw the boat forward and secure it and you’re feeling as though just one more step will be your undoing.  What happens next?

The Lord Himself asks you to hand “it” to Him as He intends and desires to “handle it” all for you.  He seeks to carry it from here and offers rest to you.  How simple, how delightful, how . . . difficult to accept.

Why- why do we make things difficult rather than handing “it” to Him.  We’re not wimping out as it were.  We’re not giving up.  We’re simply taking something He sees as small and receiving something so ENORMOUS in return.  We receive His love . . . so freely given.  He takes “it” from us.  We rest in Him.  It can be simple if we let it be.  It’s what we need.  It’s what He desires to give.

 Love . . . trust . .  . surrender . . .  receive.  

Biscuits and jam coming up!  

Want some?  Just say the word!



Somebody pass the jam, please!

Blueberry Jam Recipe – In Time For Breakfast!

August 2, 2013

Blueberry jam – just enough and no scientific gadgets needed!

Get out a skillet, pour in 3 heaping cups of blueberries and 3/4 cup of sugar.

Have clear jar(s) ready. This will make about a cup or slightly more depending on how thick you want it. Have a wooden spoon and potato masher ready.

Begin on low to medium heat and stir continually until blended and sugar melts. Mash the berries to release juices, then increase the heat to maintain a low boil. Stir constantly to reduce splashing and keep jam from burning. In less than 30 minutes you’re done! You will notice as you stir that it is becoming thicker and that as you drag the spoon across “the red sea parts” so to speak. I like it really thick and so ended up with a full cup. You might get more if you want a thinner jam. If you’re an early riser you can have this done in the morning and cooled in time for sleepy heads to enjoy on biscuits or toast! It’ll easily keep in the refrigerator for 4 weeks or so, but I doubt it’ll last near that long! You may easily double the recipe.If you’re a newby to jam, you’ll think your skillet is way too big, but you want a lot of bottom surface since it’ll reduce better that way! If some sticks on, next time stir more and perhaps a slightly slower boil – BUT DO NOT SCRAPE OFF THE STUCK ON PART.


Sweetened Frustration – Along with a Cashew Brittle Recipe!

March 24, 2013

Ah, change, new seasons, lambs, lions, and general discouragement . . . how they do mount up.  My left foot is still swelling and painful and my 3 day work week begins again tomorrow which means more pain . . . what to do?  Pray a lot, rest a lot, try not to be frustrated, continue as caregiver to elderly parent who lives with me, wonder why she thinks it’s her turn to be grumpy?  Nope, foot still hurt.  What next?

Mom napping . . . try new nut brittle technique!  The result?  Delightful caramel color, slightly browned flavor, cashews instead of peanuts, and here it is waiting for you to drop in for some with a cuppa . . . yes, I designed and made the quilted table-cloth too.

Digital Camera

Cashew Brittle:

In a microwave bowl mix:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

Cook in microwave on high for 4 1/2 to 5 minutes depending on your microwave.

Remove from microwave and stir in:

1 Tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup cashew pieces (or your choice of other nuts)

Cook for approx 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds on high.

Final step, stir in 1 tsp baking soda then spread onto waxed paper and allow to cool completely, then break into pieces and nibble away.  It should keep for a couple of weeks or so depending on climate, but I doubt it will last that long!


Quilt?  I had a fat quarter I liked, selected some scraps in suitable colors, chose a simple star block pattern, and the results are what you see here!

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