Gluten Free & God Seeking

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Grandma's Recipe For Dandelion Honey

  Aren't dandelions weeds? That's what I thought for years. Several years ago I learned that dandelion leaves made a good tea for liver detox.  So I started drying it along with my peppermint, lemon balm, feverfew, calendula, roses, lavender for teas and the rosemary, basil, and oregano for cooking.  But that's as far as I went.    When I visited my aunt in Kansas in 2010, I went through all my grandmother's recipes.  What's this recipe in my grandma's recipe box for dandelion jelly? It interested me that my grandmother would make a jelly from things I thought were just weeds--so I wrote it down. 

Grandma B's Dandelion Jelly

Pick dandelions:  In the morning pick 4 cups of dandelion blossoms without stems.

Prepare jelly:  Boil the blossoms with 4 cups of water for 3 minutes.  Drain off the liquid.  Then add  1 package of pectin,  1 t of lemon juice, and 4 1/2 cups of sugar.  Boil for about 3 minutes. 

It made me laugh when she wrote at the bottom dandelion jelly tastes like honey.  I thought with 4 1/2 cups of sugar it better!    Needless to say for  the past 4 years that recipe just sat in my recipe binder.  That is until I went to a farmer's market with my daughter this spring and there on a table was a recipe for dandelion honey.  What interested more was the information they gave about all of vitamins and minerals dandelions contain!

    Who would have thought. Most of the time I'm yanking them out and throwing them into my compost bin.  And by the way most of my dandelions grow in the the alley and near my compost bins!  So they're organic on top of it!  So far this year I've made three batches of dandelion honey.  

    When I made it a few weeks ago with some of my grandkids I canned it small half pint jars.  By the way I've done this twice with my grandkids, and they loved it!  Must be something about making food out "weeds" in the yard!  The recipe below is a combination of these two recipes!  And yesterday I did some searches on dandelions and if you look at the next section you can click on those links and learn some more about their health benefits.

Dandelion Honey 

1.  Pick dandelions: Pick a bunch of dandelion heads in the morning when they're open. You will need 4 cups for this recipe.

Simmer dandelions:
(1)  Place 4 cups of dandelion heads in a pan.
(2)  Add 3 cut up lemons (I have just used 1 cut up lemon and it works very well.)
(3)  Simmer for 30 minutes.
(4)  Turn off stove and let steep overnight.

3.  Strain dandelions in the morning - Put a bowl under the strainer:
 Strain through a cheesecloth or I just used my small strainer.  Press the dandelions into the strainer to squeeze out all the juice.

4.  Make the dandelion honey:
(1)  Pour the strained dandelion liquid into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. 
(2)  Slowly stir in 2  1/8 cups of sugar (I just do 2 cups--and what a difference from my grandmother's old fashioned recipe!)
Note:  If you want to make this a bit thicker, then add 1/2 package of pectin like my grandmother used to do. It will give it just the right amount to give it more of that honey consistency and not make it turn into a jelly (that is unless you want it to!)
(3) Simmer for  1 1/2 hours.  Make sure the mixture does not turn dark that means it's going to taste like burnt Carmel!

5.  Pour the honey into clean jars and refrigerate.

6.  Canning the dandelion honey:
I've done a lot of canning and I was making blueberry jam when I was working on this honey so I washed up some of the half pint jars, filled them with hot water until they were ready.  And then when the dandelion honey was done, I ladled it into the jars, put on hot lids, and stuck it in the canner for 5 minutes.  Click on the link if you want to see some directions for canning jam.

When two of my grandkids did a sleepover, they helped me on the last stage of this dandelion honey and we put it in our tea. You can see my oldest granddaughter stirring the sugar into the strained dandelion liquid. They thought it was pretty cool and asked for a jar to take home.

Health Benefits of Dandelions

Today I checked out some sites on the health benefits of dandelions.  I was wondering about this because of the information  I read on the above sheet from the Farmer's Market that highlighted the nutrients in the flowers for this dandelion honey. I was a bit skeptical, like really? So on one site the gal humorously wondered why people were throwing pesticides on dandelions when they are so full of nutritional benefits, and who decided that the dandelion was an ugly weed instead of an herb?? I've known for years that dandelion leaves are helpful for detoxifying the liver, but I learned on Nutrition and You and Organic Facts that they do so much more than that! They point out a few precautions that some people's skin might be sensitive so just take a little to see how your body responds.

And if after reading that you want to know how to dry dandelion flowers and leaves to make your own tea, you can find that information on Garden Guides.

Other jam posts you can check out on this blog:

Making Low Sugar Blackberry Jam
How to Make Low Sugar Raspberry Jam
Homemade Apple Butter
Triple Berry Low Sugar Jam
How to Make & Can Your Own Blueberry Jam
Just Like Grandma's Homemade Low Sugar Strawberry Jam

Other canning posts you can check out on this blog:

Making & Canning Applesauce  
Tasty Countertop Pickles - Naturally Fermented Without Vinegar!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Why is the Background of the Book of Hebrews Important?

Sun setting over the boardwalk.
 Of all the epistles Hebrews is the only one not written to a church or a believer.  But what is a Hebrew?  Have you ever thought about that?   In chapter 1 of the Life-Study of Hebrews Witness Lee shares that the first time the word Hebrew was used was in Genesis 14:13  where Abram was called the Hebrew. He said that the root of this word means "to pass over." 

     Stephen gives a fascinating account of Abraham's experience of leaving  Acts 7:1-5.  When Abraham was in Ur a city of idolatry, the God of glory appeared to him.  God told him to leave  Ur and go to a land that God would show him.  Step by step he followed God across the Euphrates River and into the land of Canaan.  

   This background about Abraham is important because the writer wanted to impress upon these early Jewish believers that they need to cross the river of religion.  The background information on page 10 helped me understand what was happening to the early Jewish believers at this time:
In A.D. 63 Ananias, one of the high priests in the Jewish religion in Jerusalem, rose up with the Sadduccees and Pharisees to persecute the Hebrews.  At that time those dear Hebrews appreciated the Lord Jesus, but they were unwilling to forsake their old religion. Eventually the Lord sovereignly raised up a 
circumstance which forced them out of it….Perhaps the high priest said, "If you want to remain here with us, you must be like us. Don't be such a Christian--be a Jew. Be a typical Jew. If you want to be a Christian, get out!"...The epistle to the Hebrews was written for the purpose of confirming to the staggering Hebrew believers the genuine Christian faith and to warn them not to deviate from it. They had to forsake their Jewish religion (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Hebrews. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1975, Print).
In this chapter brother Lee also points out that the persecution the Hebrews were going through was not coming from the Romans or heathens but from Jewish officials (Hebrews 10:39). That was  a hard pill for them to swallow, and it actually made them doubt the stand they were taking as believers in Christ. 

     At this juncture the book of Hebrews was written to  to strengthen them to follow Jesus, the captain of their salvation and cross that river.  Throughout this book the writer draws a clear contrast between Christ and the Jewish religion in order to motivate  them to cross over.

     Brother Lee closed this chapter with saying that even we today might find ourselves in need of crossing a river. We also need to be the river crossers.   

You can  also listen to live excerpts from these messages on Hebrews on The Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee.  You will enjoy listening to both  the excerpts  from these spoken messages and the helpful and enlightening commentary of the radio hosts.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Just Like Grandma's (But Only Gluten Free) Blueberry Cobbler

My grandmother used to make berry cobblers in the summer.  Her berry cobblers not only looked beautiful with their mounds of sweet white dough perched on top of a pan of thickened  berries,  but they were also downright delicious!  Especially with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream. (Yum) I had some blueberries I needed to use up this week so I decided to make a cobbler with them last night.    

Some of them were from some blueberries we had picked with our grandkids and one of our international students.  I told our two students that I usually make a  crisp or something to thank everyone for their help. Earlier this week I made blueberry jam out of most of them. So anyway while my husband and students went to the store for the ice cream, I worked on making the cobbler.

  This recipe comes from two sources--the fruit bottom comes from a handwritten recipe I got  from the recipe notebook at the farm berry, and the topping recipe comes from a recipe I wrote down years ago from my husband's grandmother's cookbook.  When I made it years ago for some blackberries we had picked,  it reminded me of the cobbler my own grandmother used to make. Making a cobbler each summer is probably just another one of those things I do in her memory.

Blueberry Cobbler - for an 8 x 8 pan

1.  Prepare Fruit: (Substitute 4 cups of any berries or fruit)

(1)  Measure out 4 cups of blueberries (or a bit more) into a saucepan.
(2)  Add  1 1/2 T of butter
(3)  Add  1/2 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 t of vanilla
(4)  Stir in 2 T of rice flour and bring to a boil.  Stir for 1 minute or until the berries are thick.
(5)  Taste and make any adjustments.

2.  Meanwhile prepare the dough - In a small bowl put:
(1)  1/3 cup of rice flour, 1/3 cup of sorghum flour, and 1/3 cup of tapioca flour
(2)  Stir in 1 1/2 t of baking powder and 1/2 t salt.
(3)  Cut in 1/4 cup of butter with a pastry blender or knives.
(4)  Stir in 1/2 cup of milk

3. Put it together:  Put the thickened berries into the bottom of an 8 x 8 pan and then with a spoon put mounds of the dough all over the top of it.

4.  Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes.

Other Gluten Free Baking & Desserts on This Blog:

Gluten free and Low-fat Banana bread
Fall Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread
Delicious Gluten Free Zucchini Bread
My Favorite Gluten Free Cranberry Nut Bread

Gluten Free German Apple Cake
You Won't Believe It's Gluten Free Carrot Cake
Judi's Super Moist Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Judi's Gluten Free Orange Chiffon Cake
Delicious Gluten Free Rhubarb Cake
Grandma's Gluten Free Applesauce Cake
Old Fashioned Gluten Free Banana Cake
Rosie's Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Gluten Free Cowboy Oatmeal Cookies
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
The Best Gluten Free Recipe for Snickerdoodles 
Gluten Free Rocky Road Brownies
Mark's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies - Made Gluten Free!
Judi's Gluten Free Oatmeal Craisin & Coconut Cookies

Cornbread & Rolls:
Beth's Amazing Gluten Free Cornbread 

Crisps & Pies:
Lena's Rhubarb Crunch (A crisp with a gluten free top and bottom crust!)
Delicious Gluten Free Apple Crisp
Ginger's Outrageous Apple Pie

The BEST Lemon Meringue Pie with Mrs. Lauralicious Gluten Free Pie Crust

Desserts with Fruit:
Sensational Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake
Banana Nutty Muffins
Gluten Free Tremendous Pumpkin Muffins

Bursting with Blueberries Gluten Free Muffins
Toni's Outrageous Gluten Free Corn Muffins
Sassy Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Baked Coconut Pudding
Tangy Lemon Pudding

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How to Make Your Own Strawberry Leaf Tea

Last  year I bought some strawberry plants.  This spring I noticed how thick they were with leaves, and I thought to myself I wonder if I can dry these and make my own tea just like I've done with peppermint and the other herbs I've dried for the past 12 years.  So when I had a free moment at work this spring, I Googled it and found out on Local Harvest that strawberry leaves don't just make a good tea but they have medicinal benefits just like so many other herbs.  

   I learned from that site that strawberry leaves and raspberry leaves have similar properties.   They said that because these leaves are rich in tannins they're beneficial for the stomach related complaints like pain and diarrhea.  Strawberry leaf is also great for joint and arthritis pain.  

   Also because strawberry leaves are rich in vitamin C,  they're great for healing wounds and building resistance to infection. You can check their site and find out more!  

  I have the practice of always checking at least two sites so that I can verify the facts.  This morning I found on Live Strong a great article called What are the Health Benefits of Strawberry Leaves?  Here's what I learned:

1.   Mostly used for stomach pain.  Strawberry leaf tea helps balance the acids/bases in your digestive tract 
2.   Helps improve digestion. 
3.   Reduces nausea, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.
4.   Besides that these leaves contain vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, iron, and calcium that help overall health.
5.   The caffeic acid in strawberries is a natural diuretic that pulls water out of the joints and this helps alleviate the pain and swelling of arthritis and rheumatism.

Of course, they point out the following precautions:  it's common knowledge that you should check with your doctor if you're on prescription drugs before you take herbal teas because they may cause an interaction. And if you are allergic to strawberries, you definitely shouldn't drink the tea!

How To Dry  Strawberry Leaves for Tea

1.  Local Harvest points out that they cut the leaves after the flowering stage.  Live Strong says along with the leaves you can dry parts of the stems and flowers.

2.  Rinse strawberry leaves and place on a rack that allows air to circulate.  

3.  I usually leave my herbs and plants to dry for about 2 weeks because there's nothing worse than going to all this trouble and having them mold.  When it's warm in the summer I check after a week to see how they're coming along. 

4.  Break the strawberry leaves up with your hands as you put them into a jar.

5.  Label and date.

Other Blogs on Making Herbal or Flower Teas:

How to Dry Herbs to Make Your Own Herbal Teas
How to Dry Herbs to Spice Up Your Cooking!
How to Brew  a Cup of Medicinal Herb Tea
5 Great Uses for Dried Lavender
How To Dry Roses & Make Your Own Rose Tea, Rose Oil & Rose Water
How to Make Calendula Tea, Calendula Oil & Salve
More on How to Make Your Own Herbal Teas

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What Does the Account of Onesimus Show Us in the Book of Philemon?

   The book of Philemon is more than a story about a runaway slave.   And you know that’s about all I would have gotten from it if I hadn’t read the Life-Study of Philemon.  One thing that touched me from my reading was learning more about the background.  Onesimus was a slave who had runaway from Philemon (who had been saved earlier by Paul) and who was an elder in the church in Colossae.  So under the Lord’s sovereignty Onesimus got put into the same Roman prison as Paul.  Paul shares in his letter to Philemon that while in prison he had brought his slave Onesimus to the Lord.  Paul’s speaking about this is very tender:

I entreat you concerning my child, whom I have begotten in my bonds, Onesimus…Him I have sent back to you—him, that is my very heart…. Philemon 10, 12B

Last week I listened to both of the radio programs on Philemon that are put out by Living Stream Ministry’s radio program called Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee, and I really enjoyed listening to them. I would highly recommend these to you because it is great to hear actual excerpts from these spoken messages, and the radio host and his guest have great conversations that give further clarification about these excerpts.
A place where I had lunch this past week.

During the first radio program a brother shares that Paul’s letter shows that his attitude was not like he was conducting a gospel campaign in that prison to win souls, but that he was begetting a spiritual child.  

They also shared that Onesimus’ salvation is striking because he was a slave,  and slaves in the Roman Empire had no rights and were treated like animals.  That's why Paul's charge to him in verse 16 to receive him not as a slave but as a beloved brother is very touching.  I was helped by Witness Lee’s explanation in chapter 2 and on pages 9-10 why this account is important to the Body of Christ:

The first church, the church in Jerusalem, came into existence approximately 34 or 35 A.D. The Epistle to Philemon was written about thirty years later....In the Epistle to the Colossians Paul emphasized that all the believers are part of the new man. Furthermore, in the new man there cannot be Greek and Jew, slave and freeman [Colossians 3:10-11]. Philemon was a freeman, and Onesimus was his bondservant.  But in the new man they were of equal status. 
...The Epistle to Philemon should be  regarded as a continuation of Colossians 4 and considered as an illustration of how in the new man all social rank is put aside. In the previous message we pointed out that this short Epistle serves the special purpose of showing us the equality in eternal life and divine love of all the members in the Body of Christ….Ranks have been abolished because the believers have been constituted of Christ’s life ( Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Philemon. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry. 1980, Print.).

You can  also listen to live excerpts from these messages on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon on The Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee.  You will enjoy listening to both  the excerpts  from these spoken messages and the helpful and enlightening commentary of the radio hosts.

List of Other Life-Studies on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, & Philemon:

What is Paul's First Exhortation in 1 Timothy 2:1?
How Can You Be Nourished With the Words of the Faith in 1 Timothy 4:6?
From the Life-Study of 2 Timothy - How Did Paul Inoculate the Church Against Decline?
Why is the Word Healthy Used So Much in the Epistle to Titus?
Why  Should You Avoid Questionings in Titus 3:9?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Joann's Oriental Gluten Free Meatballs

We have been hosting a family from Taiwan already for 3  weeks, and the mom has made some Taiwanese food for us each week--already we've had rice noodle, fried tofu and vegetables, and pork and pepper stir-fry.  

This week she taught me how to make oriental meatballs. We made these with ground turkey instead of beef, and you couldn't tell. These make a lovely appetizer! A student from China told us they make the same thing but without the rice.  We used Thai sweet chili sauce to dip them in.

 JoAnn's Oriental Gluten Free Meatballs 
Makes 30 meatballs

1.  Bowl #1:
(1)  Soak 2 cups of sticky rice (also called sweet rice) in a medium size bowl with water to cover for at least 6 hours.
(2)  Drain.

2. Bowl #2: 
(1)  Soak 4 Chinese mushrooms in a small bowl in warm water for 1 hour to soften.
(2)  Then mince.

3.  Bowl #3:  Put 1/4 cup of dried shrimp in a small bowl to soften and then mince.

4.  Bowl #4:  Finely slice 1 green onion and put it into a bowl.

5.  Bowl #5:  Mince up 3 cloves of garlic.

6.  Bowl #6:  Put 3/4 lb of ground turkey into a bowl and mix it with 1 T of gluten free tamari.

7.  Bowl #7:  Chop up 3 T of cilantro

8.  Combine ingredients in the ground turkey bowl:
(1)  Add 1 egg and the contents of Bowl #2, 3, 4,  and 5.
(2)  Grate on your finest side 1/2 of a carrot over the bowl.  
(3)  Then add seasonings:  2 T gluten free tamari, 1 T + 2 t rice mirin, 2 t sesame oil, 1 t salt, 1/2 t black pepper and 2 t tapioca starch.

9.  Make meatballs:
(1)  Put about a cup of rice on a small salad plate and about 1 of tapioca starch.
(2)  Male a 1" meatball.
(3)   Roll it into the rice making sure  the  rice coats the meatball and sticks to it. Add more tapioca starch if you need to.
(4)  Set them on a dinner plate.

10.  In an electric put a small rack that a plate can sit on.
(1)  Put about 3 cups of water in.
(2)  Steam the meatballs for 10-15 minutes at medium-high heat. Check and make sure the rice is tender.
(3)  Add more water before you steam the next plate.

Other Chinese recipes on this blog:

Delicious Gluten Free Beef Broccoli Stir Fry
The Best Gluten Free Mongolian Beef Stir Fry
Gluten Free Ginger Beef Stir Fry

Gluten Free Chinese Almond Chicken Stir Fry
Amazing Gluten Free Chinese Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
Gluten Free Garlic Chicken Stir Fry
Gluten Free Chinese - Chicken Broccoli Stir Fry
Gluten Free Chinese - Spicy Kung Pao Chicken Stir Fry
Gluten Free Chinese - Authentic Chinese BBQ Chicken
Rose's Chinese Yellow Curry with Chicken & Vegetables
Gluten Free Chinese - Fantastic Soy Sauce Chicken

Tofu & Vegetable Stir Fry
Orange "Beef" Tofu Stir Fry

Steamed Scallion Ginger Fish with Stir-Fried Bok Choy
Fantastic Mahi & Vegetable Stir Fry

Gluten Free Gluten Free Chinese Fried Rice
Fantastic Mahi & Vegetable Stir Fry

Chinese Chicken Soups  - Bok choy chicken, chicken & spinach, and chicken & cabbage
Gluten Free Chinese Hot Pot
Chinese Egg Drop Soup
Chinese Egg & Tomato Soup

Gluten Free Chinese Chicken Cabbage Salad
Roses's Refreshing Cucumber Salad
Chinese Mandarin Salad & Thai Peanut Dressing 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Why Should You Avoid Questionings in Titus 3:9

We have to pay attention to what we're actually spiritually eating.  I was listening to Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee last week, and this was the bottom line of Program 7.  And here's the connection--in Chapter 3 of his letter to Titus Paul gives him a strong charge:

But avoid foolish questionings and genealogies and strifes and contentions about the law, for they are unprofitable and vain.  Titus 3:9

Enjoying the view off the marina with family.
Before that verse Paul lists a number of positive things like our Savior God, God's kindness, love, mercy, grace, and eternal life. I like the way Witness Lee points out that this chapter shows us in our practical Christian experience what belongs to the tree of life (go back to Genesis 2) and what belongs to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 

The fact that Genesis portrays these two sources as fruit from trees gives us a big clue that we're either eating what's going to spiritually give us life or what's going to give us death.   Here's some excerpts from page 47 of chapter 6 of the Life-Study of Titus that helped me see this better:

The negative things dealt with in verses 9 through 11 should be avoided….Those matters are of the tree of knowledge that is deadening, matters that belong to the tree  of knowledge and kill their victims….The Lord's ministry is not the teaching of any individual. The ministry is the teaching of God's New Testament economy. This means that the Lord's ministry is the healthy teaching which conveys to us the New Testament economy….God's economy can be likened to a kernel or a grain….The content of the teaching of the New Testament economy is the all-inclusive Christ and the church as the Body of Christ. Any teaching that deviates from this central focus should be regarded as a differing teaching. (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Titus. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry. 1980, Print).
So to me this means you can either eat questionings about minor truths or get stuck in genealogies, or debates about the law.  On the program the hosts likened that to eating the inedible parts of certain plants like their leaves or stems. We usually eat the parts of the plant with the most nutrition.  I like that our brother has helped open the truth what the kernel in the Bible actually is--it's the Christ who is now the life-giving Spirit living (1 Corinthians 15:45B) within our spirit (Romans 8:16) and the church which is the Body of Christ (Ephesians 5:32). I'm so thankful that these Life-Studies and broadcasts are so full of spiritual nourishment  and encouragement!  

You can  also listen to live excerpts from these messages on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon on The Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee.  You will enjoy listening to both  the excerpts  from these spoken messages and the helpful and enlightening commentary of the radio hosts.

List of Other Life-Studies on 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, & Philemon:

What is Paul's First Exhortation in 1 Timothy 2:1?
How Can You Be Nourished With the Words of the Faith in 1 Timothy 4:6?
From the Life-Study of 2 Timothy - How Did Paul Inoculate the Church Against Decline?
Why is the Word Healthy Used So Much in the Epistle to Titus?