Monday, December 18, 2017

Archive for January, 2004

Spiritual Housewifery

We all get discouraged at times with our homemaking. And the scriptures say in Proverbs 14:1 … EVERY wise woman builds her home and the foolish plucketh it down with their hands. The scriptures, in Romans 6, speak of yielding our members to righteousness … our members being our flesh … like our hands and feet and minds.

So, here is a way to use these scriptures. Proverbs 14:1 does say “every” wise woman, not just some wise women. If you are a wise woman, you will build up your home. Sometimes we just want to sit on the couch and look out the window in discouragment. And yet, we must yield our hands to God. We must yield our hands to His righteousness. We must yield happy hands to our mixing bowls. We must take on our aprons and pick up our wooden stirring spoons. We must yield our hands to our rolling pins to roll out our pies and cookies for our families.

When I get up in the morning to care for my family, I begin right away to yield my mind to my home making. My mind may want to dwell on the negative or the past, but I say, “No, I must be a kitchen saint and an example to my grown children and their children. And I must submit to my own husband as unto the Lord.” I must serve the Lord, not as a man pleaser, but as a God pleaser. So when I wake up in the morning, I get dressed and put on my apron and look to my pantry to see what I will make for a family meal for today. I make sure my table is cleaned off and pretty and neat and, often, I light a little scented candle to put on it. And I will lay my Bible out on my table, open to a scripture, usually in Proverbs, about the wisdom of God. And when I go by my Bible as I do my housework, I read a scripture and try to meditate on it.

But through obedience to God as a keeper at home, I continually take on my cloak of humility as a servant at Home. I know that I want to be a wise woman and I want to please the Lord. I have six children and two baby grandchildren that Papa and I happily help with. And often, the family comes over for a meal, as we invite them often. I want to be an example to them of the word of God and of a wise woman. Papa still goes out to work, even though he is at a retirement age. We feel we must be examples to the young families about us.

Upon my old wooden family table, I set a kerosene lamp. As I light it, I think of how the wise virgins had their lamps full of oil when the bridegroom came back for them. If an angel was watching you through your kitchen window right now, dear Mother, would he have a good report of faithfulness to tell the Father about? Or would he say “Mother is slow in faith and will not yield her hands to her mixing bowl … or to a hanky to dry her children’s tears.”

Dear Mothers, we only have one life to live for Christ, and only what is done for Him will last an eternity. Where is your treasure laid up? Is it in the bank, or in stocks and bonds? Or is your treasure in heaven … your rewards that rust can’t corrupt or a thief steal?

Dear Mothers, yield your eyes unto the word of God that says that EVERY wise woman builds her house. Yield your hands to your sewing and to your brooms to sweep your kitchen. Yield your minds to songs of joy and praise as you thank the Lord for a kitchen to clean and children to teach and dishes to wash. Keep your stoves warm with meals prepared with loving hands … don’t let your kitchen lights go out or your stoves grow cold. Keep your warm heart lit with songs of joy as you yield your minds to wisdom.

We all have children that we are praying for. We all have times of discouragement. But we must keep our candles in our windows, dear Mothers, calling our prodigals out on the dark night. We must not falter or fail, as He hears our prayers.

We must set our hearts upon Him and upon being wise women who build up their homes.

Winter Pies and Biscuits

Good Morning. Oh, Jim and I had such a good sleep last night! The new part to the furnace makes the heat so much more even and warm.

Jim will go to work mid morning. The corn pone I made for him last evening, he wasn’t that crazy about. But when David came to pick Baby up, I sent the rest of it home with him. He and Tiff will love it. I also sent some pumpkin pie home with him. I made the pumpkin pie with the cream I had bought at the Amish lady’s house. Instead of evaporated milk, I used the cream. Boy, is it rich (and fattening, I am sure.)

But, wow, did Papa love that pie! I think most men love pie.

I could never make a crust until the past few years. I made crusts but they tasted like cardboard. I would follow the directions (God forbid) and I just couldn’t get the crust right. But, finally, I learned what the feel of it should be and threw the recipes away. The dough should be like this. It should pretty much hold together, even before you add the water, with just the shortening and the flour. The pie dough shouldn’t need anymore than like a fourth cup of cold water, or less. This should hold it together. I was so used to making baking powder biscuits, which is a light dry mixture with the shortening cut in the flour, and you need a lot of liquid to hold this together. But pie crust is mainly held together with the shortening. Sounds horrid to eat that much grease, but store bought snacks are surely worse, and a good pie will absolutely send a man home to eat it.

When the children were young, I would make a few pies, and Papa would take a whole pie and look up at me from his chair at the the head of the family table and say, “Where is everyone else’s pie?” (As if I had made a whole pie for each of the kids and my hungry husband and myself — seven or eight pies!) I would gently, with a smile, take the pie from him and cut him a big piece and tell him if he wanted more, he could have it. He couldn’t eat a whole pie, but he was wishin’ he could.

This morning, I have a big pork chop I got out of the freezer, left over from another meal, out for Jim’s breakfast before he goes to work. I will fry it and cut it up and make gravy and then bake some baking powder biscuits. I don’t think it is that cold out this morning but, I guess, it is to get below zero again. But Papa’s tummy will be warm, happy and full anyway, huh?

Home Work

I am up in the night … couldn’t sleep. Dan was here last evening and we had supper with him. I hardly had anything done when he came, as Jim and I had been gone. So I had housework to catch up on before I went to bed but didn’t do it, as I was exhausted. I am up doing it now, as we are going out of town this morning.

We are going to this warehouse in Kalona, Iowa. It’s a little Amish village. They get dented items, etc. and sell the stuff for cheap. I use loads of the diced tomatoes and I get them for 25¢ a can. But, anyway, they just do this two times a week, and ya gotta get there right when the store opens because folks line up outside to get in. I get a lot of stuff for about twenty bucks — a whole cartload.

Ya know, when Jim’s life changed, I went off welfare and when I did, I decided to depend on Jim’s paycheck, which was minimum wage. Really, we had a lot less to deal with than the families on welfare. We got down to the bare necessities. When I went to the store, I just bought food to make things with, not a lot of mixes unless they were really cheap. As far as soap went, I bought dish soap and laundry soap. No shampoo, as we used dish soap on our hair. I used vinegar and soda to clean with and, sometimes, I barely had laundry soap, so I would wash the towels in vinegar. I ran out of soap so much that I did begin making my soap. I made laundry soap and regular hand soap. Folks would give me their lard after butchering a hog and all I had to buy was a can of lye, and I had soap to last me a good long while.

Also, I used my wringer washer and I could do three loads of wash with one deal of soap. I would do the towels and wash clothes, etc. first, and then whatever light items like underwear on the second load. Then on the third load, I would do the dark clothes. If the water wasn’t too bad, I did the throw rugs on the fourth load. But with that many children, I washed every other day. I had the wringer in the kitchen with no drain, of course. I would then have to haul the water out in buckets.

In the summer, we used this water to water the garden and flowers. Of course, I didn’t do all this by my lonesome. The kids all had to help me and they were good helpers. I would have several buckets and it went pretty fast. It’s just whatever ya get used to. And my garden loved the soapy water, and things bloomed and grew like wildfire. The lye soap water kept the bugs off my plants, for sure.

We had rabbits and dogs and cats, of course. Well, I bought oatmeal in bulk and, every day, I would get out a big pan and make oatmeal for the dog and her puppies, which she was always having. I saved all of my leftover fats from fried meat, etc. and put it in the oatmeal for flavor. All the food scraps went into the oatmeal for the dogs and cats.

For the rabbits, I saved all of my peelings. I had loads of potato peelings. We bought rabbit pellets, too, as they seemed to need them to grow right, but we made the pellets last a long time, believe me. We gave the rabbits leftover breads, too. Rabbit manure is worth its weight in gold. That stuff will make anything grow. I could grow all sorts of vegetables with it. I really wanted the rabbits mainly for the manure. You can put it on fresh and it won’t burn the plantsI also grew lots of comfry to feed the rabbits, too. We had the healthiest rabbits one could ever hope for. Each one was a prize.

Well, all of our animals were healthy and thrived on the food we gave them.

Of course, I grew many herbs, too. I just made whatever I could with what I had. If I went to a store and saw something I wanted but had no money to buy it, I would just go home and try to create it. I was crazy about herbs and flowers, so I went home and grew the ones I wanted. A package of seeds don’t cost much.

The main crop I babied the most in my garden was tomatoes. To me, if you had enough tomatoes, it was money in the bank. I use still a lot of tomatoes. In the summer, I canned tomates whole. Also, I made ketchup and tomato sauce. I would just cut my tomatoes up and send them through the blender. I didn’t peel them. We ate a lot of soups and stews, and I used this sauce for a base. If my sauce turned out thick, then fine and if it didn’t, fine, too. As it will thicken up in the soup, anyway. You can put tomato paste in it to make it thick.

With that many to feed, we used up a lot food. And if you were too picky, then you got left behind … it was gone by the time you figured out you wanted to eat it.

I planted stuff all around the house, in any available place. One year, I planted string beans up the front of the house. In the evening at supper time, I would go out and start pickin’ beans off the house with my strainer. Curiosity got the better of my elderly neighbor man and he hobbled across the street and asked me what on earth I was pickin’ off the house for supper. He could see I was putting the beans in my strainer (or colander, as folks call it). I had a big garden but, often, this wasn’t enough, and so I planted things everywhere I could. And the beans on the front of the house kept the sun from heating the house up in the summer. (The front of my house faces the east and, boy, would it get hot in the morning in the summer!)

But, ya know, I was fortunate to have all this work to do. These were the happiest days of my life. I had to use my imagination and I was challenged to do a good job and to keep my family afloat.

I would make cold tea all year round from tea bags. I rarely made the sun tea. I would just make up a pitcher of hot water and put the tea bags in the pitcher and then I would let it brew in the refrigerator. Of course, I learned to flavor my iced tea with lemon balm and the mints I had grown in the yard. I would just plop a wadded up spring of herbs into my tea. You have to bruise the fresh herbs to get out the oil. You don’t have to boil it; just use it fresh. I never got used to the flavored teas or the coffees, as I never could afford them back then. We just drank plain coffee.

I would splurge and buy myself a can of evaporated milk to use like cream in my coffee. We used a lot of instant milk. For drinking, I bought the whole milk, but when it got down to about half, often I would mix it with instant half and half. I used only instant for cooking. I made homemade puddings, etc. with the instant milk. I used a big box from Aldies about once a month. But I saved the good whole milk for the children to drink. They all loved milk and drank a lot of it.

Sometimes, for a soothing drink for my little ones, I made warm honey milk. I would just put warm water in a cup for the children and add the instant milk and some honey — it made a nice sweet milk for them. Also, when I would be low in whole milk, I would make egg nog. I would just put ice water in my blender and add a few eggs and the instant milk, vanilla, honey, and some ice. If you blend it real good, then it makes a foam on the top. The kids would fight over the foam. I would make sure they each got equal shares of foam.

And, ya know, I just stayed home and worked at keeping my family goin’. We never had any credit cards. We had to get loans sometimes to buy a car or get one fixed. Jim had to have a car for work. But when he was first healed, we didn’t have a car, either, and he walked to work, worked a lot of hours, and then walked home. We were always blessed to have even one car, let alone two. And we still just have one car, and I stay home until Papa takes me some place.

I still don’t like to run about. And even with no children here, I still keep busy. Having Baby Rose to care for has been the joy of my life. She has restored my life. We need each other.

A Cold Iowa Winter

Well, it’s cold here in Iowa. It is 1

Potato Soup

It’s early in the morning and I am starting some potato soup. I have the kerosene burner on in the living room and want to have the kitchen stove going, too. So I will peel the potatoes and put them in my pot and let them cook in the oven. I had the butcher crack some ham hocks in the middle, so I have two pieces about the size of a baking potato. I put one in my soup. I put in salt and pepper and an onion slice, to be discarded. I put in some cut up carrots, just a little for color. I like my potato soup to look mellow and sort of yellow. I put in celery seed, as I had no celery.

Also, I get a bottle of McCormicks Soup Greens? I splurge on that. I got mine on sale for a buck, but I imagine it costs more than that, usually. But it lasts a long time. I use it for soups. I sprinkle about a tablespoon over the top. It has dried bits of tomatoes and carrots and other greens. It just makes your soup look festive, ya know? Colorful and appetizing.

Papa and I have to do errands this morning, so my soup will just simmer in the stove for the morning. I put it on about 350

Simple Recipes

Yesterday, I had a wonderful day. My dear friend Nancy came to visit.

I fixed a macaroni salad, or you all call it Pasta Salad. I just take a package of the shell macaroni and cook it. Then I add a bottle of Italian oil and vinegar dressing. I just put in what ever fresh vegetables I have. I had a lot left over from the holidays. So my salad had onions and green peppers, carrots and celery, and chopped up tomatoes. Then I put in a can of drained black olives. Then, of course, some salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Jim wouldn’t eat this stuff if I paid him a million dollars, but I made it especially for my friend Nancy and me. We loved it and had lots of the homemade bread to eat with it.

The fellowship was sweet, let me tell ya, and after Nancy left, I just savored the memory of her. She has been a good friend now for at least 25 years. An old friend like her surely is a reflection of yourself. They remind you of where you have been and where you are going. She is truly a kindred heart.

Ok then, it is now morning. I wanted to tell you of a simple breakfast recipe. I am making this for Papa’s and my breakfast. You just beat up 4 eggs in a bowl and add 2 cups of milk. Then add 12 of the little saltine square crackers, crumbled up. Then take the velveeta cheese in the big box? And add about one fourth of this cheese, cut up. Probably about a cup of this, or maybe a cup and a half? Just mix all of this together and put it in a little square pan and bake it in the oven on moderate heat.

Now that is the basics. Now you can add what ya want to this or just make it plain, like I just told ya.

Like this morning, I made ours with a half a pound of sausage. I fried it first and then put it in. Or you could add fresh spinach or any vegetable, like onions and peppers or tomatoes. Just whatever you would put in an omelet. This is called a baked egg omelet, and this would serve four people. But when the kids were all home, I made this in a 9×13 pan and, of course, doubled the recipe. If I gave Papa a spinach egg omelet, he would murder me, but some of you would like it. I would. But, no, I make his plain with just eggs, milk, crackers, and cheese and, when I feel wild, I add the sausage … with his ok. I bet you could add hash browns to this, too, about a cup.

But you can just use your imagination with this recipe. Imagine that!

Cookin’ and Bakin’

I am up early this morning. Jim was a little sick last night, so I baked bread and made him some vegetable soup for supper. And, of course, I prayed for him. He is better today and will be able to go to work.

Last night, this is how I made the bread. I put all the ingredients in and then mixed it all up with my spoon. I had only added a few cups of the flour so it was in the pancake batter stage? At this point, I divided the mix into two bowls. The one bowl, I just proceeded to add flour to this, and I made cinnamon bread and dinner rolls. But to the other bowl, I added rye flour, some cold coffee, and some molasses and caraway seed, and I made two loaves of rye bread. They are just small loaves. I usually make small round loaves and I bake them on an old time cast iron griddle. Well, Papa was stuffed and didn’t even get to the rye bread, as it was the last to make it out of the oven. I use a hotter temperature for the wheat breads.

Also, for the liquid I used left over egg nog from Christmas. I think this bread was the softest and lightest bread I have ever made. I mean, the white bread. We haven’t tasted the rye yet but will today. It looks good but, of course, any wheat or rye bread isn’t going to rise as high as bread made from white flour. If you cover your bread right after you make it, it will keep the crust soft. I put olive oil on the rye and just butter on top of the white bread.

Boy, that Mad Cow Disease is makin’ me MAD! I have some hamburger in my freezer that I got from Aldis before the scare. And that’s the last I am buying until I know it is safe to eat the beef. Today, I will just let that 5 pound frozen roll of beef thaw out and mix it with 5 pounds of ground turkey. That will give me 10 pounds of what I will call hamburger to the family, and I am going to use this sparingly, believe me. I will probably mix a lot of half pound packages, too. Because ya know what? In soup or whatever, you can put in just a half pound of ground beef and then add a beef flavor like a beef gravy mix … or beef boullion … just anything to give it more of a beef flavor.

But, anyway, I am gonna make my beef last until things get better. The beef had gone way up in price before the holidays and now the price has gone down again because of the scare. Well, I ain’t gonna go out and buy that stuff, cheap or not, until I know things are better.

My friend Jill R. used to add a can of beef vegetable soup to her homemade soup to get the beef flavor. I think there is a variety of ways to do this and get away with it. When I make hamburger gravy for Papa, I will add a little cold black coffee to it. It browns it up and gives it a good flavor. Papa loves mashed potatoes and hamburger gravy and green beans for a supper meal.

Turkey at Aldies is just like 69

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