...an odd combination, you say?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Crockpot Pumpkin Tikka Masala

This is a recipe which has changed over time. I originally got it from some website, or a few. But like all my recipes, I’ve changed them so much that I feel as if the time has come for me to make it my own. I use Garam Masala. I make it in a crockpot. I use pumpkin. I know I had a recipe with all of these qualities at some point, but I can’t find it anymore. So here’s mine. It also easily converts to vegan or vegetarian as well.

What you need:
·         Bit of Olive Oil
·         1lb. chicken breasts (or more or less)
·         1 29oz. can of tomatoes
·         1 13oz. can of pumpkin
·         8oz. of chicken broth
·         1-2 packets of Trader Joe’s broth concentrate. This stuff is pretty much the only non-whole food on here. But wow. It makes things GOOD if you haven’t tried it yet.
·         3 cloves garlic (omit if doing Low FODMAP)
·         1 in. piece of ginger, chopped
·         1-2 tbsp. of Garam Masala spice
·         1 tbsp. of Paprika
·         2 tsp. salt
·         ½ tsp. pepper
·         ½ tsp. cinnamon
·         ¼ tsp. nutmeg
·         (1) 13oz. can of full fat coconut milk (I prefer this one’s flavor for this recipe).  Hold this until the end!
·         Serve it with rice or cauliflower rice
·         Garnish with Cilantro or other herb if desired.

·         Drizzle bottom of crockpot with olive oil.
·         Put chicken breasts into the crockpot.
·          Throw everything else in except for the coconut milk.
·         Give it a quick stir.
·         Cook on high for 6-8 hours.
·         Stir in coconut milk just before serving.

·         Serve over rice with cilantro to top it. 

Saturday, June 03, 2017

My Non-Dairy Yogurt Recipe

I haven't used this blog in years, but alas, I need a place to post my non-dairy yogurt recipe for which my friends have been asking me. So nothing exciting, unless you're off dairy and you want to make your own yogurt. Then it's VERY exciting.

Non-Dairy Yogurt

This recipe is designed for a yogurt maker which has (7) 42oz. jars. The first time, you’ll need to make the starter batch, then without the 7th jar each time a new batch is made.
I have found the best success to my tastes using 1 13.5oz. can of reduced fat coconut milk and the remaining soy milk. But the varieties of milks and combinations you can use are many. Almond Milk, however, will not work for some chemical reason which I haven’t taken the time to research. Unless you take the time to make your own Almond milk, but I’m not doing that.

What you need:
·         (1) 13oz. can of reduced fat coconut milk (I prefer this one’s flavor).
·         22oz. Soy milk (or other—once again, this is a preference).
·         2 tbsp. coconut sugar (or other sugar)
·         1-2 packets yogurt starter (if doing it the first time)
o   1-2 probiotic capsules if doing it successive times
·         1 pkg. of unflavored gelatin (or fruit pectin or other product, if vegan).

·         Add milks and sugar to large sauce pan. Bring to boil, stirring frequently,
·         Slowly sprinkle in the gelatin, stirring constantly.
·          Remove from heat.
·         Let cool to 93-98 degrees (otherwise the heat will kill the good bacteria).
o   it takes about 1 hour for it to cool for me.
o   I hear you can make this process go faster by putting the pan in another pan of cooler water, but I’ve never done that.
·         If it is your first time,
o   pour about 6-8 oz. into a measuring cup of some kind. Once its temperature has dropped to the mid-90’s, add the yogurt starter and stir.
o   Add the gelatin packet to this mixture.  Stir well.
·         If it’s not your first batch, take your starter batch and add the probiotics and gelatin. Stir well.
·         Add either of these small batches into the large sauce pan.
·         Pour whole batch into small jars for your yogurt maker.
·         This also a way to make it without a yogurt maker in a crockpot, those are readily available online.
·         I let mine sit for about 8 hours, but once again, this is to taste. The longer it “cooks” the tangier it gets. I used to think this also made it thicker, which I why I let it sit longer, but now I’m not so sure.
·         For thicker yogurt, add more gelatin or tapioca or potato starch.
·         For thinner yogurt, omit the gelatin.

·         I’ve placed about a tablespoon of fruit preserves in the bottom of each jar before I put them in the yogurt maker with really good results. 

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tea, the Universe, and Everything.

Earlier today certain friends and I were sitting around talking about the proper way to accomplish proper tea. It reminded me of this short essay by Douglas Adams who wrote concerning life, the universe, and everything. I may not agree with him on most things, but I enjoy him immensely and I certainly agree with him on the topic of tea. You can find the essay from The Salmon of Doubt here, along with an animated visual apologia for the proper way to add milk to one's tea. Go and watch it. For now, enjoy your tea properly.

One or two Americans have asked me why it is that the English like tea so much, which never seems to them to be a very good drink. To understand, you have to know how to make it properly.

There is a very simple principle to the making of tea and it's this - to get the proper flavour of tea, the water has to be boiling (not boiled) when it hits the tea leaves. If it's merely hot then the tea will be insipid. That's why we English have these odd rituals, such as warming the teapot first (so as not to cause the boiling water to cool down too fast as it hits the pot). And that's why the American habit of bringing a teacup, a tea bag and a pot of hot water to the table is merely the perfect way of making a thin, pale, watery cup of tea that nobody in their right mind would want to drink. The Americans are all mystified about why the English make such a big thing out of tea because most Americans have never had a good cup of tea. That's why they don't understand. In fact the truth of the matter is that most English people don't know how to make tea any more either, and most people drink cheap instant coffee instead, which is a pity, and gives Americans the impression that the English are just generally clueless about hot stimulants.

So the best advice I can give to an American arriving in England is this. Go to Marks and Spencer and buy a packet of Earl Grey tea. Go back to where you're staying and boil a kettle of water. While it is coming to the boil, open the sealed packet and sniff. Careful - you may feel a bit dizzy, but this is in fact perfectly legal. When the kettle has boiled, pour a little of it into a tea pot, swirl it around and tip it out again. Put a couple (or three, depending on the size of the pot) of tea bags into the pot (If I was really trying to lead you into the paths of righteousness I would tell you to use free leaves rather than bags, but let's just take this in easy stages). Bring the kettle back up to the boil, and then pour the boiling water as quickly as you can into the pot. Let it stand for two or three minutes, and then pour it into a cup. Some people will tell you that you shouldn't have milk with Earl Grey, just a slice of lemon. Screw them. I like it with milk. If you think you will like it with milk then it's probably best to put some milk into the bottom of the cup before you pour in the tea.1 If you pour milk into a cup of hot tea you will scald the milk. If you think you will prefer it with a slice of lemon then, well, add a slice of lemon.

Drink it. After a few moments you will begin to think that the place you've come to isn't maybe quite so strange and crazy after all.

1 This is socially incorrect. The socially correct way of pouring tea is to put the milk in after the tea. Social correctness has traditionally had nothing whatever to do with reason, logic or physics. In fact, in England it is generally considered socially incorrect to know stuff or think about things. It's worth bearing this in mind when visiting.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"There's something stuck in your teeth" and other reasons why we need the Church

Other reasons include, "you're being an idiot"' and "you're being mean" and various other adaptations of the same theme. But ultimately, we need people in our lives who tell us things that are not comfortable, who will tell us things we will not like, who will tell us the truth, and who will love us while doing it.

That's what I've learned today. Churches aren't just buildings we show up to Sunday morning, they are buildings that happen to hold people who hopefully love us well enough and know us well enough to show us things about ourselves that aren't pretty in order to show us our true beauty.

I have had my share of hurts in churches, I'm still not even sure if I'm in the right place or have made right decisions. But this I do know: I know that the church extends beyond brick and mortar. The church is made up of people who can be pretty darn ugly to each other. But nonetheless people, who if they tough it out, eventually learn to see the beauty of Christ in each other and love one with the deepest of love because it is a love that defies conditions.

I've been doing a lot of thinking on this lately. I'm working on finishing up an ecclesiology (the study of the church) class in addition to other things. I love it when my academic life serves to dig things up in my heart, when the two intersect. Not as much as I'll love having this class off my plate so I can move on to other things, but still life can't be all perfect.

But it is just this lack of perfection that reminds me that the church is not a dead thing, but a living thing. It forces me to remember why I fight for the church, even when it breaks my heart.
So those of you who are in it with me. Thanks. I need you.

Are you sure I don't have anything in my teeth?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A little nerdy.

I'm sitting in class and Dr. MacKenzie just whipped out some hebrew off the top of his head. Rolled off his tongue. Why am I surprised? I shouldn't be. Of course he speaks hebrew, I've just been in his class for two years now and have never heard him do it.

Now he's quoting Einstein again, from a personal conversation they had, of course.

I started writing this about how lately I've felt myself dress more nerdy and librarian-ish than normal. I think I'm getting tired. Well, at least I realize it. When I start buying nerdy, someone needs to shoot me. Assembling nerdy from pieces that are not inherently nerdy I think can still be forgiven. There is something kind of fun about my green cardigan and reading glasses--with rhinestones of course. Nerdy with style.

Maybe I'm just not making much effort. Maybe I'm enjoying living the grad school stereotype. But seriously, friends, don't let me go too far down this road.

Ryan has told me I need to lighter things once in a while, just to keep things interesting. Does this count?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A good word from an old friend on Christmas

Maybe one day I'll have something of my own to say. For now, I give you wise words from our old friend Augustine:

The things of earth are not merely good; they are undoubtedly gifts from God. But, of course, if those who get such goods in the city of men are reckless about the better goods of the City of God, in which there is to be the ultimate victory of an eternal, supreme, and untroubled peace, if men so love the goods of earth as to believe that these are the only goods or if they love them more than the goods they know to be better, then the consequence is inevitable; misery and more misery.
~ City of God: Book XV, Ch. 4.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

It's quite nice when one's studies bring one to a work of beauty in the midst of chaos:

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; Bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell; the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs-
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

By Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89), Oxford.