As we worked to manage the springs literally flowing straight out of the ground the first Spring season we spent in our new home (Spring 11 approaching now), I decided to pound a small section of leftover PVC pipe into the bank above one of the seeps to see if I could get it to flow out the pipe. It did, and still does – every Spring – for several months, usually.
God provides many “signs” of Spring approaching. One of ours here on Mt. Snowberry is flowing water, straight out of the ground, in a dozen or so areas of our 38-acre mountainside property, even up toward the top of what you can see in the picture below. Our property ends where the sky meets the land.
There are spots during the Spring, where you will be walking along and step right into a water flow coming out of the grassy slope.
We have come to the conclusion, over the years, that this mountain is just one big crumbling rock with varying amounts of dirt on it. The mossy greens that grow around the springs are a unique and welcome pop of color as we transition from white snow to gray death to Spring.
Spring seems to be early this year; although it is supposed to snow in a couple of days. The tender young grasses are beginning to poke through in this favorite deer trail that goes right over a rotting log left over from the wildfire that took most of the timber from our side of the mountain more than 50 years ago.
Water flows, in this endless cycle that God created; nourishing, enriching, carving, sustaining life – and soothing, as I sat and listened to the sound of the water arriving on the rocks below the pipe. Thanking Him today for His generous provision!
It is not important to everyone – and that’s perfectly alright – but I get a great deal of personal satisfaction from growing, preserving, and cooking many of the foods that we eat through the year.
Although our freezer space is limited, and I cannot put up dozens of these, one of our favorite ways to preserve a God-provided abundance of tomatoes and peppers over the last several years has been the “salsa kit.” This collection of ingredients common to our favorite fresh salsa gets frozen and vacuum sealed, then popped back into the freezer for preparation later. (I freeze the kit IN the unsealed bag, then seal the kit – this helps the vegetables to hold their shape).
For us, each kit contains fully ripe tomatoes, bell pepper, hot pepper, onion, and garlic. What peppers we use varies, depending on what we have ripening at any given time. If I don’t have any bell pepper on hand, I will occasionally pack a kit without it and buy a bell pepper at the store when I know I am going to use the kit. Most of our kits are made with Early Girl tomatoes, but we also use Romas.
Because most of the time there are just the two of us, we make a small kit. You can make them whatever size fits your family or entertaining needs.
This year, for the first time, I made several of the kits with the Sun Gold cherry tomatoes we grew. This single plant has produced an astounding quantity of larger-than-average, candy sweet fruit – much more than we can possibly eat. Some of them end up sliced and dehydrated – excellent – and the rest have ended up in the salsa kits – or directly into the mouth from the garden!
To prepare the salsa, I empty the contents from the vacuum bag into a cake pan with some olive oil (you can use your oil of choice) and a splash of lime juice, then roast the vegetables in a preheated 350º oven for 30 minutes or until you achieve the doneness you prefer.
Once the components are finished roasting, pull the pan out of the oven and let it cool a few minutes; then toss it all in the blender with a little more olive oil and lime juice, cilantro (either fresh or dried) and whatever spice seasonings you like in your salsa. We keep ours pretty simple and usually only include a little salt and pepper. Depending on your blender, you may have to cut the onion, garlic and/or peppers into smaller pieces before blending.
These kits can also be used to make a quick tomato sauce for Spanish rice or a pasta dish – or it makes a marvelous, flavorful tomato soup on a cold winter day. Yum!
Most, if not all, of us have times in our life when things don’t go exactly as we had planned – a relationship that didn’t turn out, a career that didn’t pan out, a friend that ran out when you needed her most – but God’s plans are frequently different than ours.
When circumstances warrant, there are occasions when we have to set aside our wants and needs and just simply “do what needs to be done.” Hopefully times like this are few and rare, rather than “the norm.”
Heart’s Desire was written in the midst of one of those life challenges. Thankfully, God eventually changed the circumstances – albeit not as quickly as I would have hoped for – and His plans for the better; and there is no longer a conflict “in the mirror.”
Are you thankful today for where God has you right now? Even if you are caught in a conflict you didn’t ask for, have you told him so?
Icicles this size only form once in awhile. We generally do not let them “grow” so long. When the pastel “baby blanket” sunrise reflected in each one of them on this Winter morning, I was very grateful that neither we nor the wind had knocked them down! The frigid “bars on the jail cell” became something truly beautiful and inspiring.
We all build for ourselves prisons of one sort or another, even if we have never been anywhere near a “jail.” We unintentionally limit God’s work in our lives, and we lock ourselves up in our own little worlds and leave Him out of them more often than we should. Have you allowed one or more “prisons” to be created in your life? Take steps today to unlock all of your potential for service to Him and to be all that He would desire for you to be.
…tempted and tried, I need a great Savior … Rev. Elisha A. Hoffman
Who says food has to be boring? Our evening meal one night last week wasn’t planned that way, but it ended up being “fun food.”
Hashbrowns, made with 75% garnet yam and 25% red potato, pre-cooked with fresh ginger, red bell pepper and sweet onion, create the nest for avocado halves (nesting them in this way helps to keep them level for your eggs). A few minutes under the broiler to get the egg whites cooked through completely, and you are ready to dish up sunshine on a plate!
We commonly use zucchini, rather than red potato, but I forgot to get some out of the freezer before I started preparing our “fast real food.” Sweet potatoes work just as well, if that’s what you have on hand. A few turns on the pepper grinder finish it off with multi-peppercorn goodness.
We are blessed to be able to buy farm fresh eggs from friends all year long, and this is one of our favorite ways to incorporate them into a healthy, real-food eating plan.
Filled through and through with healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, moderate carbs – and great taste – this dish is easy to make and a joy to eat!
Thank you, Lord, for your abundant provision and the knowledge we have available to us to eat healthy foods.
Today’s post is a partial re-post from a 31-day series written last year on my Puttin’ in Time on the Rockpile blog. Because it is time to process this year’s horseradish crop, I felt it was timely to re-introduce the information in a new venue.
Our whitetail buck for the year is already chillin’ out to be packaged tomorrow, so hunting was out and processing horseradish root was in today.
Horseradish has been used medicinally for centuries, for everything from appetite stimulation to liver detoxification. Unless you are allergic to it, there is much evidence that incorporating horseradish root into your diet is a good thing. We also use the smallest, new leaves in pesto and have even dehydrated some of the small leaves to use in soups and rice dishes.
The first year we grew horseradish, we got ½ cup of finely ground root. The second year, our crop ended up being three full cups of ground root. January came along and we were already out! Last year and this year, we have a tremendously abundant harvest of horseradish, and I began grinding this year’s crop today.
For the first time ever, we are going to wash and vacuum seal some sections of root, peel on, to grind later and see how that works. Working with horseradish is almost like making pepper jelly – pretty hard on the sinuses!
Because I like to have the grind on horseradish be very consistent and very fine, I use my Magic Bullet for the grinding. There are several options for this type of powerful mini-food processor if you don’t already own one. We chose the bullet because one of our sons had one and it was working very well over a period of time. Look for bargains, but be sure to buy a new one in its original packaging.
Most of my horseradish roots this year ended up being 1” to 2” in diameter. I wash and peel the root, then slice off just over ¼” slices on a cutting board and cut those into four pieces. Doing this keeps you from having any long fibers to jam up the blades on the food processor.
It is important to pulse the root pieces until they are fairly consistently ground, then finish it off with 30 seconds or so of continuous grinding. Slicing them across the grain is a lot of work, but it is so worth it if you care about consistency in your end product.
Vacuum sealing and freezing ground (or whole) root is fairly new to us. Initially, I simply put the ground root in glass bacon bits jars and put in about a tbsp. of lemon juice, then froze it. When I would empty a jar, I would take another out of the freezer and put it in the condiment bin in our refrigerator. With plenty of bacon bits jars on hand, I will freeze some that way and vacuum seal the rest. My very helpful husband is the one who suggested vacuum sealing some whole and unpeeled so that it can be “fresh ground” later on. It is certainly worth a try!
Keep in mind that there is quite of bit of liquid in fresh horseradish root, so you will need to set the filled bags in your freezer (upright, so they don’t spill out) until frozen, THEN vacuum seal them.
One of our sons who lives out of state would like us to include a vacuum-sealed package of home-grown horseradish in the next “care package” we send him. He is also hoping for venison to be included. We will make him wait until he is here for Christmas to partake of some bacon-wrapped venison tenderloin with an accompanying horseradish sauce made with homemade mayonnaise …
We attempted to replant our horseradish root in a new location last year. The newly planted area progressed slowly this year, but we could not eliminate it from the old location. Be sure to NOT plant horseradish where you don’t want it forever. Apparently the only way to get rid of it is heavy-duty weed killer, and we do not want to use something like that in our rock garden, so we will now have horseradish growing in two locations! To combat the “weedy” look, I cut the leaves off (you can use a few of the new, little ones in pesto) and tossed them in the compost pile every couple weeks.
Tomorrow will be a great time to pick the rest of the lemon thyme and get it in the dehydrator! I just read yesterday that thyme was “good medicine” for many health issues, not just a great seasoning.
Psalm 128:1-2- How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, Who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you. NASB
One might ask, “Why do you include food tips and recipes alongside devotionals and relationship advice on a Christian ‘living’ website?” Simple. Because God has called us to spread the Gospel and minister to others around us, I believe it is important that we pay attention to our health and wellness so that we have the strength, endurance and mobility to “be all we can be” and “do all we can do.”
This is not to say that those who are ill or sickly cannot minister to others or serve the Lord in various capacities. Of course, they can! However, if we have the option to be well and whole, why would we choose to neglect ourselves, either physically or spiritually?
Something to think about! We all make choices that effect our environment, our food intake, our exercise and our mental fitness. Those choices should be the most informed, most God-pleasing choices we can possible make. To do otherwise is to limit ourselves!
As I was reflecting on the idea of the man and woman in a serious relationship shouting at one another, or making remarks purposely meant to hurt one another, it occurred to me that this type of behavior is totally incompatible with “one flesh.” When a man and woman marry in a Christian relationship, they become truly one flesh under the headship of Christ.
If we take this concept seriously, and as God meant it to be, then it is clear that any time we hurt our sweetheart, we are truly hurting ourselves. My husband and I are each half of a whole. We are connected, through Christ, literally. Therefore, if I was to lash out at him in anger (much less physically lash out – a totally foreign concept to me), I would literally be hurting my own self. Now, who in their right mind would choose to do that?
If a Christian couple argues and fights, then I would have to question whether they were truly one flesh. That would be an indication to me that they had some serious work to do on their marriage and their relationship, both with Christ and with each other.
One of the reasons I choose to not “hang out” much of the time with most of my women friends (including some of the Christian ones) is that I find it very difficult to enjoy the company of people who spend far too much time criticizing and tearing down the person who is supposed to be the other half of their whole. I have been around women who scarcely have anything to say that does not involve complaining about their husbands.
Please examine your attitude toward your husband or wife; and if your conversations not only about him or her, but with him or her are characterized by criticism and discontent, I would urge you to pray for a heart of compassion and kindness and true love toward the other half of your whole – sooner than later! It is not God’s plan for us to tear apart His workmanship. Love your everyday valentine with your whole heart!
Our family believes in the importance of eating healthy, whole foods the Lord has provided for our nourishment and well being. We grow as many of our own fruits and vegetables as we can and purchase many items through a local online “farmer’s market” where local vendors sell everything from homemade laundry soap and lip balm to meat, vegetables, fruit and bread. What a gift to be able to not only support our local growers and producers, but to know where these items came from and who made or grew them!
Here on Mt. Snowberry, we drink raw milk, make our own butter, yogurt and soft yogurt cheeses – and we grow our own horseradish, garlic and herbs, as well as plums, apples, cherries, blueberries, black currants, blackberries, apricots and summer vegetables.
No, we don’t have a cow – we buy local raw milk. No, we don’t have a big “garden” – we grow foods among the flowers in our rock gardens. Yes, we breathe fresh mountain air and enjoy the peace and solitude of our perch on the side of a hill overlooking one of the most beautiful little farming and ranching valleys in America.
We are looking forward to providing tips and recipes for food growing, preparation and preservation that may help you maintain better health. There are no doctors in our house, and nothing you read here should be interpreted by you as medical advice. All health decisions should be made based on your own understanding of health issues and potential treatments, whether you visit a traditional medical doctor or a naturopath – or none at all.
One of the sweet fellowship opportunities that I believe many couples miss out on is morning coffee together. Each morning – and yes, we’re talking about seven days a week – my amazing husband brings me coffee in bed. While he is down the hall lovingly stirring in the homemade dark chocolate cocoa mix, I prop up the pillows and make the bed ready for him to slip back in and share our morning fellowship time.
On weekdays, there is no practical reason why I should wake up two hours earlier than necessary for me to get ready for work. But God has asked me to fellowship with my husband, so we wake up and start our day together in the Lord – 365 days a year. Paul tells the Ephesians in 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her …” It is my firm belief that this practice of morning fellowship time together falls under that instruction.
I will acknowledge that since our children are grown and gone, this is more easily accomplished by us these days than by couples with small children. It can, however, be done by couples with children – if not every day, then at least a few days a week. Couples who make this “togetherness” a habit can adapt and modify the fellowship time to fit into their family life and schedule. When your children are grown and gone, you will have established a practice that can then be made a 365-day-a-year blessing!
Work schedules may interfere with morning fellowship together. If that is your situation, find another time of day that you can share each other’s company.
And if you don’t drink coffee, there’s always tea! Sharing fellowship time at the beginning of the day – before work and chores and ministry service, etc. begin filling our minutes and hours – not only helps strengthen the Christian marriage, but it sends us out into the rest of the day better equipped to handle everything that life throws at us!
Make a practice of daily fellowship as a couple – you will be blessed beyond measure!