Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm nearing the end of a spiritual fast.

""...we are a spirit, we have a soul and we live in a body." -- Susan Gregory

Last year I joined Lighthouse Baptist Church. I discovered that the church goes on a fast every January. I'm not sure how many years they have been practicing this but this is my first year.  It's called the Daniel fast after what is described in Daniel 10:2-3.This biblical fast is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose.

Our pastor instructs us that according to the Bible, there are three duties of every Christian. We are to give, pray, and fast (see Matthew 6). We focus our prayers and eat only certain foods. 

There are a number of scriptures we use during our fast. These are:
The food we can eat are all things vegan except:
  • sweeteners, natural and artificial
  • leavened breads
  • refined foods
  • deep fried foods
  • solid fats
  • anything artificial and processed
  • any beverage but purified or filtered water.
Specific details are listed on this Daniel Fast blog

I'll post my thoughts and revelations about my experience after the fast has concluded. I'd be interested in hearing what others think who have been on or considered the fast.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Black bean burgers

I first fell in love with a black bean burger at the Renaissance hotel in Glendale, Arizona. They serve a huge, luscious black bean burger topped with melted jack cheese and smothered with freshly made guacamole. It was so unexpectedly delicious. I wanted that same burger back here in Maryland.

It didn't occur to me to try to make my own black bean burgers until I started on the Daniel fast. So, I went to my favorite online recipe source, I found this recipe:

Rated: rating
Prep Time: 15 Minutes Ready In: 35 Minutes
Submitted By: LAURENMU Cook Time: 20 Minutes Servings: 4
"Spiced up with chili sauce, cumin, garlic and chili powder, these quick and easy black bean burgers will make you forget all about frozen, packaged veggie burgers. They're great on the grill or baked in the oven."
1 (16 ounce) can black beans,
drained and rinsed
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 2
inch pieces
1/2 onion, cut into wedges
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 egg
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon Thai chili sauce or hot
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1. If grilling, preheat an outdoor grill for high heat, and lightly oil a sheet of aluminum foil. If baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C), and lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a fork until thick and pasty.
3. In a food processor, finely chop bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Then stir into mashed beans.
4. In a small bowl, stir together egg, chili powder, cumin, and chili sauce.
5. Stir the egg mixture into the mashed beans. Mix in bread crumbs until the mixture is sticky and holds together. Divide mixture into four patties.
6. If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2011 Printed from 1/26/2011

and also this recipe

Rated: rating
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Ready In: 20 Minutes
Submitted By: Laura Wimbrow Cook Time: 10 Minutes Servings: 4
"A salsa and sour cream sauce helps dress up these hearty vegetarian burgers. 'My fiance, who's a confirmed meat-and-potatoes man, loves these sandwiches and asks for them often,' relates Laura Wimbrow of Ocean City, Maryland."
1 (15 ounce) can black beans,
rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons salsa, divided
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
4 lettuce leaves
4 slices reduced-fat Cheddar
4 hamburger buns, split
1. In a large bowl, mash beans with a fork. Add the rice, onion, egg and 2 tablespoons salsa; mix well. Drop by 1/2 cupfuls into a large nonstick skillet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Flatten to 1/2-in. thickness. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until firm and browned.
2. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and remaining salsa. Place a lettuce leaf, burger, sour cream mixture and slice of cheese on bun.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2011 Printed from 1/26/2011

and I took a little bit of this and a little bit of that and made my own burgers. I topped it with grilled onions and had a side of sauteed mushrooms and asparagus. YUMMY!

This is definitely a keeper!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My brave niece in Yemen

I have this courageous, driven, brainiac niece who's living in Yemen for a few months to learn Arabic and gain some cultural experience. She just posted these awesome pictures of Sana'a, Yemen.

Yummy vegetable stir fry

Today I made vegetable stir fry for lunch. I dug out fresh veggies from the frig and the pantry.

 I had broccoli, carrots, cremini mushroom, green bell pepper, celery, yellow onion, scallions, garlic, and ginger. I prep everything.

If you're not familiar with fresh ginger. It's sold in the produce section and looks like this.

You have to peel it and you'll end up with a fibrous, yellow flesh underneath.

Here's what fresh garlic looks like.

I made a sauce from these ingredients and set it aside. I didn't measure anything. I just added this and that until it tasted good.

I don't have a wok. I also don't have peanut oil for stir frying. So, using what I have. Here's what I did:

  • Heat a black iron skillet over medium high heat until hot.
  • Add about a tablespoon of room temperature canola oil.
  • Add sliced onions and stir fry until just soft.
  • Add minced garlic and ginger and stir fry until fragrant.
  • Remove the vegetables from pan, swish around hot water to clean, and wipe out any bits out. (Burnt garlic is just nasty.)
  • Dry and reheat skillet until hot. 
  • Add about a tablespoon of room temperature canola oil.
  • Stir fry the broccoli florets until bright green and still very crunchy.
  • Add celery and green bell peppers; stir fry about 30 seconds.
  • Add carrots and mushrooms; stir fry about 30 seconds.
  • Return the onion, garlic, ginger mix to the skillet; mix well.
  • Add the sauce; mix well.
  • Turn off heat and let the residual heat finish the cooking to the desired crunchiness.
  • Mixed one more time to thoroughly blend the flavors, adding more sesame oil because I love the nutty flavor.

Serve over steamed brown rice.

That's my yummy vegetable stir fry! I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In a perfect world

What would you want in your perfect world? What would you do? What would it look like? Who would be there? Where would you live?

Today, I was thinking about this question. In particular, what would I like to do for a living? I am grateful for my job and my colleagues. They have been and are wonderful. However, in my perfect world I would paper craft, write, and research on the web for a living. That would be heaven on earth. (Do you remember that line from Rush Hour 2?) I figure I have many more work years to go so there's still a chance that this can become my reality. Please pray for me.

I found this blog, A Beautiful Ripple Effect, which lead me to this blog, Besottment by Paper Relics. The first one would help me examine the life I live. The second one would help me document my journey. Both topics I am passionate about. I wonder where people get time/make time/get into a routine to do these things? Sometimes I feel like a rat on a wheel just going through the motions. I want to really experience, live, and enjoy life every day. Is that possible?

I find bits of time here and there to create things that are beautiful to me, like these cards below. It brings me great joy when I'm in my creative zone. I just don't get enough time to spend in the zone. 

The card above was inspired by this card.

The card above was inspired by this card.

This final card above was my own design. I hope you have a blessed day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"Abrahamic" Faith

Today's sermon was about Abraham's faith as discussed by Paul in the book of Romans. But, to understand more about Abraham's faith, you'll need to read his story, which starts in Genesis 11:26. But, the part of the story I'm going to tell below has a brief mention in Genesis 11:30 and picks up again in Genesis 16.

Abraham was 85/86 years old and never had any children by his 74/75-year old wife. Surely, Abraham's line would end with his death. Sarah felt bad about this situation and tried to rectify it by doing something crazy. She tells her husband to sleep with her servant Hagar (Genesis 16:1-4) When Hagar finds out she's pregnant, she starts to despise Sarah. Sarah doesn't like this and "mistreats" Hagar. Hagar runs away but returns when an angel tells her to go back. Hagar gives birth to a son who is named Ishmael. Abraham becomes a father for the first time when he's 86 years old. But, he still didn't have a child from his wife.

Fast forward 13 years. Enter God. God tells Abraham that he'll be the father of many nations. He will make Abraham very fruitful. By this time, Abraham is 99 and Sarah is 90 years old. I know men can still be potent way past the years that women stop. But, 99 and 90? Incredible! That doesn't deter Abraham. He believes God and knows it will happen. Sarah, on the other hand, laughs at the absurdity. (Genesis 18:10 -12) As a sign of His promise, God tells Abraham that all of the males in his household (including servants) must be circumcised. (Genesis 17:10-14) Can you imagine being circumcised at 99 years old with no anesthesia? Cringe.
As God had promised, Sarah gives birth to a son (Genesis 21:1-7). They name him Isaac. Abraham becomes a father at 100 years old! Praise God! This is an example of Abrahamic faith and its blessings.

May you develop Abrahamic faith too.

I am obsessed with calendars.

I don't know what it is about calendars. But, I love them. I think it's the organized, logical, straight little boxes on the page that fascinate me. I can never have too many calendars around the house. 

About 5 years ago, I decided to make my own calendar pages to use for my family's schedule and then save in a scrapbook album. I include short newspaper articles on the page adjacent to each month. I want my descendants to see what a typical month was for our family within a typical month around the nation or world.

My friend Kim liked the idea and asked if I would make her calendar pages too. Then, our friend Renee wanted pages too. Maybe I should set up shop? Hmmm.

Depending upon my mojo, I make 3 - 4 months at a time.Each month includes a scripture and sometimes an inspirational quote.  Here are January, February, and March 2011 calendar pages.

 January's scripture is:

Proverbs 4:23-24 (New International Version, ©2010)

23 Above all else, guard your heart,
   for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
   keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 

"January" is made with American Craft thickers (or a close imitation). The original blue was too bright for the look I wanted.  So, I sponged tan paint onto the letters to tone down the color. (Did you notice that I didn't get to the "11" in 2011? LOL)

I bought this Spellbinders Shapeabilities set on clearance at A.C. Moore for $8(?). I used it to make the snowflakes for January.

I've been enamored by shiny little things lately. As a result, much of my work has taken on glitter and rhinestones.

February's scripture is:

Ephesians 5:5 (New International Version, ©2010)

5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

March's scripture is:

Proverbs 4:18-19 (New International Version, ©2010)

 18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
   shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
   they do not know what makes them stumble.

I hope you enjoy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Calling all black bean lovers

I love beans of all types. A few years back, I stumbled across a recipe for Big Sur Black Bean Soup and I LOVE it. I hope you do too.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

You're Good. I'm Good.

‘Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ ~Lao Tzu

One of my favorite subjects to read is self-improvement. I'm all about becoming a better human and a better steward of God's world and all that's in it. A great blog for self-improvement is ZenHabits.

Ecstatic Synonyms, Ecstatic Antonyms |

Ecstatic Synonyms, Ecstatic Antonyms |

That's where I am. Would you like to join me?


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Casting Crowns - Slow Fade

Jill Scott "The Way"

Jill Scott "Hate On Me"

Jill Scott - My Love

Musiq - Halfcrazy

What I made for Christmas

This year I decided to make Christmas gift tags for gifts for my friends at the office. I gave them with 5 different designs: Rudolph; Santa, dove; mitten; and, Christmas tree. I later came up with a 6th design which didn't make it into the gifts this year.

This tag was made using:

This mitten was made with:

The Christmas tree uses:
  • Cricut Doodlecharms Cartridge
  • Studio G Glitter Glue
  • The Punch Bunch Big Sky Flake

     Rudolph was made with:

    This is the tag that didn't make it into the gifts this year. It's made using:
    • Stampin' Up! 2 Step Bird punch
    • Stampin' Up! Little Leaves die 
    • Stampin' Up! Ornament punch
    • dimensional dots

    Santa was made with:
    The stocking shape came from the Cricut Doodlecharms cartridge. I used a dimensional dot under the bow on the stocking.

    I used stamps to decorate the envelopes.

    I made two cards for Christmas. One is an ornament on leaves and the other is a front door.

    Here you can see where I used dimensional dots under the ornament (on the right) and the door panels (below). I learned how to make the door card at one of the Stampin' Up! Club meetings held by Monica Reynolds.

    I gave little milk cartons filled with Ghirardelli caramel squares and Hershey Irish Creme Kisses to my co-workers and Stampin' Up! club members. The milk cart is a Sizzix Bigz die from Stampin' Up! This is a better picture of the Stampin' Up! Ornament punch shape too.

    I hope you enjoyed these.