Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Gevulde Boterkoek

Gevulde Boterkoek (Butter cake with Almond Paste)
I remember the first time I made a version of this recipe, I was a teen and hanging out with a friend who also happened to be half dutch and she showed me how to make it. I was surprised at how easy it was, yet so yummy. This is a great traditional Dutch treat. Eaten in moderation, of course ;) This version is filled with almond paste so you don't even use almond extract. This was adapted from a recipe book, "The Netherlands Cookbook"
For the dough, knead the 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, and pinch of salt. Divide the dough into two and press one half into a buttered 8 " pie pan. 
(you may notice how my pan looks nice, clean and clear...forgot to butter the pan :( and so my cake stuck real good. No worries though, it was still easily eaten up!) 

Make the filling with 1 cup of ground almonds, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, grated peel of half a lemon. After the ingredients are blended, place the almond paste on top of the dough layer and smoosh flat to cover most of the dough. Press the other half of the dough on top of the almond paste to cover completely. It helps to press the dough out a bit flat on the counter before you put in the pan.

Bake in oven at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 1 hour. Cool and then cut into wedges.

This cake always gives me home-y feelings.

The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. Psalm 126:3-6
I was thinking about feeling home-y and came across this verse and it feels so good for me to hear this right now. I have recently been told by my doctor, that I can no longer drive due to having epilepsy. I was diagnosed with epilepsy about a year ago. I find this so hard to accept. To be honest, I have cried a lot over it. I've told myself there are so many other things that are much worse. Yet I feel I need to mourn the loss of this freedom and convenience. I am grateful to the Lord for so many things, first I'm grateful that the Lord has been leading me to a place of being confident to face things that are scary and difficult. He has been teaching me to have a better attitude and be optimistic, looking on the bright side of things. I realise again and again, that He does things at perfect timing.
I'm grateful that I can and have been all along, able to walk my kids to school. No inconvenience there. I am grateful that I don't work out side of the home, no extra inconvenience there either. I am grateful that I am not too far from a few stores.
I was told by a friend: "I wonder how the Lord is going to use this. Its gunna be something big". Awesome! Thank you Lord for what hope I have in you! And Lord willing this isn't a forever thing. Lord willing I can find the right medication to stop the seizures. I Do Know for Sure, I am Not alone in this season of my life, or any time.
I have this truth to take with me in my times of shedding tears, if I allow God to use me, He will turn them into shouts of Joy as I come home.
Gods word gives me home-y feelings.... more.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Psalm 84:2

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord,
my heart and my flesh cry out for the Living God.
Psalm 84:2
So often I think on verses that are dos and donts. Forgetting to just revel in the Lords presence, savour the peace of Gods love. Praise is so often reserved for victories, or tangible blessings. Too often I hold God in the position of a daddy to go to when I need things. Forgetting that His blessings have already come fully. If there were no other tangible blessings or every imperfection corrected on my own strivings during this life, I will have received everything I already need. I just need to accept it. He has taken me as I am, and wants me to constantly give my life over to Him and let Him guide my steps. That is the ultimate blessing and nothing else compares to that. And so I should sing and have this attitude written on my heart and constantly on my mind: My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord, my heart and flesh cry out for the Living God. Then the cravings in me will be met with God's love. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Smart Snack

Chocolate chip filled raspberry cubby holes. Does that makes sense to you? Well you can see what I mean...

This was a fun, tasty idea I got from a magazine recently. Not saying that the only way I eat healthy is if there is something extra sweet added, or that I'm a closet non-veggie/fruit consumer. I didn't say that.... Man o man, I need to eat more healthy. Pretty bad when I have to just try and eat at least one healthy food a day. Here is to heading in the right direction!
What do you have on, easy, tasty and healthy snacks?

Friday, 17 January 2014

Philippians 4:6

This verse was committed to memory soon after I went through the hardest struggles and hardship of my life. It was so eye opening to me at that time. I came to understand that worrying is even a sin. The Lord didn't leave me alone to fend for myself though. He tells me to ask for what I need! And not to be a spoiled brat in this, but remember what I've received and be grateful to the giver. God always brings everything to balance. He loves me and wants the best for me. It might seem like whatever is happening cannot have a good outcome but He knows, that's why we call Him God. 

Monday, 13 January 2014

COURAGE for 2014

Last year I was inspired to pick a word for the year 2013, to encourage us. Frustrated by my children's lack of kindness for one another, making a habit of constantly picking on each other, preying on each others weaknesses, and deliberately hurting others feelings, hu hu hu (panting)... I picked the word KINDNESS. I came up with a slogan too. Its to the point, and I made who ever disrespected an other, have to repeat it: ~Feelings get hurt like a punch in the gut. So if you have nothing nice to say, keep your mouth shut!~ This was typed out in big letters, with a picture of a guy throwing a big punch. And hung up. Needless to say this was memorised pretty well and quickly. The kids got pretty tired of me getting them to repeat this. Another one I felt I needed for slightly different situations that arose was: ~Feelings get hurt like a kick in the knee. I must be kind to others if I want them to be kind to me!~ I am happy to say that the hurt feelings were brought down significantly. To remind us of our goal I made up pretty bunting with the letters for kindness on each little flag. I kept it simple with the flags made of card paper. I painted them with acrylic. I used a sponge to cover the card with paint. Next I used a small piece of bundled burlap to dab a rough border around each flag.Then to hang it up I used brown string.
This year I know we all need to remember to step out in COURAGE a lot more often. Especially with having recently moved half way across the country. Its hard to settle in and establish a new way of life, for each of us. New surroundings, work, school, church, neighbours, friends, stores, etc.
But sadly we can all lack a degree of courage. Life can start one off with situations that can damage, hinder, or completely spoil that courage that God wills for us. I speak from experience. Sadly that rubs off on our children from our view we have of ourselves.
But here is a definition the dictionary has, that puts it plainly: the courage of ones convictions the confidence to act in accordance with ones beliefs. 
We have no excuse to act out insecurely, because if we love, believe, and walk in Christ, that goes against what you believe. That's called a contradiction. 
Courage through Him, covers most of what the christian life calls us to: Courage to love, courage to do what is right, courage to stop doing what is wrong (change is hard even when its for the good), courage to step out and stand up for Christ or a brother/sister, courage to get out of your comfort zone (get out there and join in with others), courage to be yourself, courage to speak your mind, courage to face uncertainties, courage to deal with hardships, courage to forgive, courage to put others and God first, courage to heed or consider an others loving advice...
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.  1Cor. 16:13
In any situation, we should ask ourselves "IS THIS WISE IN THE EYES OF GOD?" If the answer is yes, have the confidence to do it! If the answer is no have the courage to turn away! The Lord will provide the wisdom to know the difference and what you need, to carry out His will. And doing His will is most fulfilling!
Also have you ever thought about how the word encourage comes from the word courage? Here is another dictionary definition: to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence.
All this courage has a chain reaction. I don't believe anyone can say they have more than enough encouragement. We can all use a bit more.
It makes me think of the Nike slogan: Just Do It. Having a grand thought or a nice idea is useless, if not acted upon.
"Beautiful thoughts hardly bring us to God until they are acted upon. No one can have a true idea of right until he does it." -Willeam R. Inge
So this all, like most of what I write about, is my own pep talk, but my hope also is to encourage from my experiences and struggles.
Not to forget, here are the slogans for Courage 2014:

Have Courage to say
Courage to do
Gods will,
He has for you.
Be a sample of Christ’s example.
Encourage through your courage.

Joshua 1:9 This is my command--be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."