Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Holiday Nut Loaf

I made this recipe last year and it was a big hit. I am making it again this year for my Thanksgiving main dish. The recipe is from the Seven Secrets Cookbook by Jim and Neva Brackett:

1 cup tofu and 1/2 cup water (or 1 cup soaked soybeans with 1 cup water)

2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)

1 TBS Bragg Liquid Aminos or 2 tsp soy sauce

1/4 cup gluten flour or cornstarch

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 TBS onion powder

1 tsp ground sage or Italian seasoning

3-4 cups soft whole grain bread crumbs

2 cups pecans (may use walnuts, almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds or cashews)

2 cups finely chopped onions

1. Blend tofu (or soybeans) with water, garlic, and seasonings.

2. Combine remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add blended tofu or soybeans and mix well.

3. Place mix in lightly oiled or nonstick loaf pan. Cover with foil and bake at 350F for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes to give it a chance to set up before removing from the pan. Turn upside down onto a serving dish. Garnish with fresh parsley or kale and serve with Simple Gravy or Sweet and Sour Tomato Sauce.

Sweet Tomato Topping

8-ounce can crushed pineapple

8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 TBS molasses

1/2 tsp basil

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Combine ingredients in a small bowl.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Animal Assisted Therapy-4H Group Lesson

The 4H Vet Science programs has 10 group lessons per year and 10 individual lessons. Yesterday was the group lesson on Animal Assisted Therapy. For this lesson a woman came in with her guide dog in training. We learned that this woman has been training guide dogs since she was 9.

We also learned that a candidate must be at least 17 to receive a guide dog and the candidate only pays $1. That dollar gives them full ownership of the dog! The dogs can only work for about 10 years before they must retire. I guess since dogs years are approximately a multiple of 7, that sounds about right. :)

The dog that we got to meet is named Ziva. Ziva is a black lab and is very playful and sweet. Given the command "find the girls", Ziva can locate the women's restroom. She has been known to insist that the water fountain is the restroom, but she is still learning and doing quite well.

Around May or June of next year, Ziva will go on to school with a professional trainer to learn the other necessary skills of possible leading a blind person. If she passes with flying colors, she will then be placed with someone based on need and temperament. If she fails, there are a few other jobs she may be able to qualify for, or some will get her as a pet.

We learned that one dog is being trained to detect high and low blood sugar levels from the smell of the saliva of his caregiver. Wow, who knew??

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bird Watching Class

Yesterday I attended a bird watching class given through my city's Recreation Center. I was lounging around when I got up and my son came into the room with his pair of binoculars. I immediately remembered that my class started at 8am! I love how God sends me gently reminders.

At any rate, I grabbed my binoculars and my daughters bird guide and headed off to class. I couldn't find the directions on line and wound up having to call the Rec Center for directions so needless to see I was about 10 minutes late! When I arrived the class had just finished introductions and was looking at the first set of birds.

The instructor kept commenting on how he had never seen such activity at this park. I believe it was God answering my prayer to make the class a great experience that would ignite a desire to study birds. :)

The original plan was for me to take the class with the kids, but they were not old enough. So I decided to go and see how it was done and then bring the information home for us to use as a part of our studies. It was so funny to see how I was the youngest person in this class. I think the person closest to my age had to be in their late 50's! I love it when this happens because then I have such a vast amount of knowledge to draw upon.

We walked the trails through the park and saw woodpeckers, and warblers. I think I saw more cardinals than I have ever seen in my life. There were blue jays in the tops of the trees. I saw more mockingbirds than I care to count. :) The instructor pointed out KingFishers and a few other birds that I don't remember off hand. Next time I take the class (yes I plan to take it again) I will take a small notebook to write down the species.

My instructor had an ipod with him. Now this day in age that shouldn't be odd except that he must be over 70 years old and it didn't have any music on it, only bird sounds!! As we moved up the trail he would play the sound of the bird he expected to be in that area to get them to come up. And then he kept making this little bird sound with his mouth. How exciting! Who knew I could have so much fun watching birds. I see a bird unit study coming up very soon!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Prayer Journal-Flight TWA 800

I have been impressed more and more lately to keep a prayer journal. I pray for others often, but, I never write those prayers down. For me, there is something powerful about writing things down. I am very much a technological kind of girl. I have a laptop, an I-touch, a get the picture, but I still keep a paper datebook and I still find pleasure in writing things by hand.

This morning while I was having my quiet time with God, I thought of a lady who lost her four children in TWA flight 800 on July 17, 1996. What's odd about this thought is that were 240 people that lost their lives on that flight and this lady has been on my mind ever since. This morning I prayed for her and I wrote my prayer down in my journal. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will comfort her and give her the peace that passes all human wisdom. I have no idea why this lady stays so heavily on my mind and after so many years no less, but I am learning to be obedient to the promptings of the Spirit. I pray that one day whether on this earth or in the earth made new, I will get to speak with her and hear of her story of how she made it through.

Is there a seemingly random person or a thought that comes to your mind often? Consider writing it down and presenting it before the Lord in prayer.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Quilting Project

Before I mentioned a website called Craft Hope that is hosting a quilt give-away this month. I started working on my quilt and bought enough material to make 2 of the same kind. I will give one away and keep one for my son as a Christmas present.
In the picture above you can see several of the prints. There are 3 horse prints. I sewed the last strip on wrong. The cowboy print in the corner is supposed to be in the other corner so that the horse prints make a diagonal. At least that's what I saw in my mind. I did the second one correctly and am still trying to figure out if I want to "fix" this one before I finish the quilt.
Here is a closeup of one the middle horse fabric. I thought this was very "Texan" and boyish. I love the burgundy and cream and tried to bring that out in some of the other squares.

So next I need to purchase the batting, and cotton flannel material for the back. I hope to be finished by the end of the week.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Blood Center Field Trip

This week the kids and I went on a Field trip to the Blood Center. At first my son was very nervous about going. I guess he thought someone was going to poke him with a needle.

Once we got there, he calmed down quite a bit. There were many things to keep his attention.

Here is a rack of blood ready to be taken to the lab

Here is a lab technician sorting blood and getting it ready for the hospital.
We learned about plasma (on the right) and how the blood is prepared. The kids learned how blood is made in the marrow of the bones, and how blood cannot be manufactured by any outside source. The machines behind the rack that look like washing machines are centrifuges. The kids learn how the centrifuges are used to separate the blood.This picture was taken inside the refrigerator. There was a freezer next to it. We learned that the blood is never frozen (only the plasma is frozen) and cannot be stored for very long before it is no longer usable.
We ended our tour by checking out some of the cars outside. All of them have lots of colorful designs on them.

The kids had a great time and now we excited to do more follow up on blood and how it works in the body!