Prawn Garden Salad

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The autumn is closing in, and summer will soon be a memory; so why not cling to those last moments with “sunshine food.”  We were not in the mood to make an extensive meal today, so something simple was on the cards.  Summer and simple = Salad.  This is a creamy version with a fair helping of mayo to bind it together.  This has the effect a little between the texture of coleslaw, and that of a typical leaf salad.  The mayonnaise also helps my wife keep her keto fats up as well.

Ingredients:

  • Prawns (shrimp) 100 – 120 g cooked/peeled king sized
  • Lettuce (iceberg) 3 cups shredded
  • Red Bell Pepper 1/2
  • Tomato 1/2
  • Spring Onion 1 large
  • Capers (optional) 1 tsp
  • Mayonnaise 3 rounded Tbs

Method:

Dice the onion, tomato, and pepper and place in a large bowl. Spoon in the capers. Shred the lettuce and add to bowl. Drain any liquid from the prawns and add the prawns.  Spoon in the mayo and stir until entire salad is coated. That’s it. Quick, tasty, and ready to go.

Padre

 

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Simple Garlic Rice

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Garlic Rice

This is a quick and easy dish to use as a side, or as a vegetarian main. I like garlic, and it makes for a tasty addition to the rice.

Ingredients:

  • Garlic 3 to 4 cloves
  • Butter 2 Tbs
  • Rice (Basmati or white long grain) 1 1/2 cups
  • Water 3 cups
  • Salt 1/2 tsp

Method:

In a medium pot melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.  Peel and sliver the garlic and fry until lightly browned.  Add the remaining butter and the rice, stir until the rice begins to brown.  Pour in the water and cover the pan.  Raise the temperature to high and bring pot boil.  Reduce heat to low boil and cook for 10 minutes.  If using an electric hob turn off heat and allow residual heat to cook it for 10 more minutes.  If on a gas hob reduce to a flickering small flame for 10 minutes.  Remove the lid and look for gaps in the top of the completed rice where bubble came through. If ready double check that there is no remaining liquid, if there is allow another minute or to. When dry, then serve.

Padre

 

Awe: The Power and Glory of Nature (A glimpse of God)

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John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, said “To look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is to me impossible.”  His statement mirrors the words of Psalm 19: 1, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” 

Fjord Mist

I have compiled a small “bucket list” of natural experiences which are awe inspiring. I have not managed to see/experience them all. How about you?

  • Seen a sunrise √
  • Seen a sunset √
  • Seen the ocean √
  • Seen a mountain √
  • Seen a rainbow √
  • Seen a double rainbow √
  • Seen the world from a mountain top √
  • Experienced a lightening storm √
  • Experienced a typhoon or hurricane √
  • Been at sea √
  • Experienced a storm at sea √
  • Witnessed a birth √
  • Seen a volcano √
  • Witnessed a volcanic eruption
  • Seen a geyser
  • Experienced an eclipse √
  • Seen a comet √
  • Experienced an earthquake √
  • Seen a waterfall √
  • Seen a great waterfall (Niagara or similar) √
  • Seen the Grand Canyon
  • Been to a rainforest √
  • Been in a desert √
  • Been to a glacier
  • Been in a cave or cavern  √

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The wonder and awe of creation is tremendous.  The wonder and awe of the Creator is beyond measure.

I hope to finish my list someday, but what I hope for even more is the day when I come into contact directly with the Supernatural Creator of it all.

Padre

Quotes on Joy

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In Philippians 4:4 the Apostle Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” These words were penned while Paul was in custody, and yet he is joyful, and calls upon the church at Philippi to take the same outlook in the Lord.

Joy isn’t always a state of ecstatic happiness, though it includes it, but rather a peace and contentedness in the situations in which one finds them self.  This is especially true for those of faith, who no matter what their immediate temporal concerns, remain children of God, and heirs to the promise of eternal peace.

“If you have no joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.” Billy Sunday has struck onto the nugget of wisdom here.  He reminds us that or Christian life is a sanctified one, and as such we should hold onto the joy, if of nothing else, that fact.

Again, this may not be a giddy happiness, but a calm assuredness of heaven’s promises. C. S. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.” While Lewis’ words may not have been in exactly in that context, the application is sound.  Joy can be serious.

But what about fun? Okay, it need not all be “serious.” One of the great benefits of being in God’s family is the pleasure of sharing and “enjoying” the company of our brothers and sisters.  We are never alone in this world.  God is with us, but wow, look at the “pure joy, ” including happiness, fun, and even giddiness, we can share with our fellows.  As an aside, do we thank God for this daily? We should! Remember 1 Thessalonians 5, Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances . . . (vs 16-18).” Rejoice in all things, and then be thankful for the joy.

Whether with our brothers of sisters, or on our own, our Christian walk, and the fellowship with God is a cause of joy. Thomas a Kempis said, “The reflections on a day well spent furnish us with joys more pleasing than ten thousand triumphs.” yes, too often we get drawn into the mindset that we need to have had worldly success, or escapist fun to “be happy.” But, a Kempis reminds us that a well spent day is better, even if not “successful” by the standards of modern society.

Are we joyful today? Psalm 118:24 “The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.” No matter what the circumstances – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope (Romans 15:13).”

Padre

 

 

 

 

Sharing

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Proverbs 19:17 reads, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lordand he will reward them for what they have done.”

There are many who hold the view that the poor are deserving of their poverty. “If they had worked harder . . .” or “If they had more self control,” etc, etc. seem to be common reflections of “haves” of “have nots.” Others are not so blatant in their condemnation, but still shy from meaningful “charity” in the name of “good stewardship.” They don’t give out cash, as it might be misused. Okay, it may well be the case in some instances.  Some will rather give food, or assistance, and this seems a right step.  But is it stewardship or prejudice which limits openness to giving?

Are we to be judges? I saw an interesting video a while back of some street people in a UK city making fun of the turbans of some passing Sikhs.  How ironic is it that later the same neighbourhood was visited by members of the Sikh community to distribute langar (free food offerings) to those in need.  An offer even open to those who had previously ridiculed them.

I have written before about Mother Theresa and the Missionaries of Charity who worked (and work) with the “poorest of the poor.” The example, they follow is of the early church, All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need (Acts 4:32-35).”

And this in turn was an application of Jesus’ words in the parable of the sheep and goats.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’(Matthew 25: 34-40).”

Stewardship is the management of the property of others.  We are not the owners or processors of this world and its wealth.  It is God’s creation, His world, His abundance. We are mere caretakers of it while we pass through this world below. Let us think twice before being stingy with what we have been blessed with the use of. “Sharing is caring,” not just to those who receive, but also of Him who has provided.

Padre

Walsingham Farm Shop

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Walsingham Farm Shop

If it hasn’t been made clear in previous posts, I like farm shops. The opportunity to get locally grown produce; organic goods; and non-generic varieties which are not available in big supermarkets are all the pluses of these outlets. I have visited and reviewed several of these in the past. Some are “high end,” others “local and basic,” The Walsingham shop is the best of both worlds. It is relatively small, and the aisles are narrow compared to some.

That said, it is the quality though that makes the difference. The butchers is really high quality! The lamb and beef are grass fed and local. There are some spicy pork sausages available, which are not overpowering, but leave just the tingle on the lips. Lamb sausage is also available, so we bought some for a change from the usual pork. The cheese counter is not extensive, but offers local cheeses, many of which are artisan types. We got a really lovely one made with multiple milks and cream. The deli counter is really broad in its offering. I was able to get several vegetarian friendly treats, including a Scotch Egg made with a mildly spiced veggie bhaji coating rolled in crushed nuts. This was superb. Other treats included a savoury frittata, which was loaded with veg. The shop also has the usual array of “farm shop” goods such as Tea Pigs, flour, and condiments.

The staff were really terrific as well.  The butcher was knowledgeable, and was quick to answer questions about the cuts and the meat in general.  Other members were friendly, and made us to feel welcome in the shop, more like guest rather than just customers.

Walsingham has lots to offer, there is of course the shrine and pilgrimage centre but there are a couple of pubs, and this great shop as well. If in the area, this is a “must sample” shop.

Padre

 

Smoked Haddock with Quark Mustard Sauce

 

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My wife is quite fond of “yellow fish” or smoked haddock.  We generally shallow cook it in milk or use it as the prime ingredient in kedgeree. This recipe uses this fish and quark to make a lower fat dish.  Quark is a milk product which doesn’t require salt or sugar in its production. It is thick and creamy, but lacks the calories and fat of its evil twin cream cheese.

Ingredients:

  • Quark 4 heaped Tbs
  • Whole Grain Mustard 1 Tbs
  • Dijon Mustard 1 tsp
  • Smoked Haddock 2 x 100-150 g fillets
  • Milk 1/8 cup
  • Oil splash

Method:

Add the oil to a suitable sized frying pan and spread evenly with a brush or spatula edge. Bring to medium-high heat and place the fillets into the oil. Allow to cook for about 3 minutes, sliding a spatula under them occasionally to keep them from sticking. Then flip the fish and add a splash of milk, then cook for 2 minutes or so.  Move the fillets to the side of the pan and reduce the heat. Add the remaining milk.  Allow to lightly boil until largely reduced. Spoon the mustard into the centre of the pan and mix well with the remaining milk.  Spoon the quark into the mustard mixture and stir until dissolved.  Turn off the heat, but do not remove the pan from the burner letting the residual heat the thicken the sauce.  Serve fish onto plates and spoon the sauce over it.

Padre

Testify or Not To Testify?

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Faith is in crisis! Now that I have your attention, it seems that in Western Europe (Britain and France especially) Christian faith is on the decline. Is this an objective statement? According to polls and official censuses the answer may be yes. Fewer people state a belief in God (according to YouGov “33% of British adults do not believe in God or a greater spiritual power of any kind”). The 2011 census had only 59% of the British population as Christian.

Many of my students express an atheistic world view. But do these views, especially those expressed in a public forum, stack up? While outward confidence in God is seen to be a minority view, especially among the young, does this mean it is actually in numerical decline? Is it an issue of being timid in the face of potential ridicule rather than a lack belief or at least hope in God.

Fair enough the scriptures, and the traditions of the champions of the faith, and the martyrs of old would hold such a “silent belief” to be a betrayal.  This is not to justify the timid by the way. I have written several times about the current obsession with worldly fame, and the desire for public acceptance.  In a world of “image,” people shy from anything that might make them “the other.”

I don’t know the answer to my previous questions by the way. Is it a real decline in the number who believe? Is it just a decline in the strength of faith and dedication? Whatever the case there seems to be an imperative for those of faith to make a stand.  If numbers are falling, are we stepping into the breech and actively “recruiting.” Are we making the witness we should? If it is that faith is meek, are we being bold examples?

If it seems that the being “faithless” is normative, are we missing the chance to say, “wait a minute – your faith isn’t alone.” In I Kings, Elijah believed he was alone in his worship of God.  God corrected him!  For those with doubts today, do we leave them with the same feeling? Is our testimony also too quiet, as to make others feel “alone?”

For those with faith, let’s make it bold.  For those with leadership, let us give example! Psalm 89: 1- 2 is a wonderful approach. I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. I will declare that your love stands firm forever, that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.” Think about it, if we all did, all the time, might the sense of decline be shown to be false.  If we have a voice of testimony, would anyone be able to hide behind the facade of their own silence?

Padre

Coconut Fat Bombs (Fat Bomb 7)

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source: prajol.com

Cocoa and Coco seem to be natural companions.  As the fat bomb variations are fun to make, and provide useful keto snacks for my wife, I gave the combination a spin. It has has a bit of a Bounty/Mounds taste, and adds another flavour to the assortment.

Ingredients:

  • Grated or Desiccated Coconut 2 well rounded Tbs
  • Cocoa Powder (100%) 1 tsp rounded
  • Almonds (optional) 10
  • Nut Butter 1 heaped tsp
  • Stevia 1 Tbs
  • Coconut Oil 3 Tbs

Method:

Warm the coconut oil to a liquid. In a food processor blitz the sweetener, cocoa and almonds (if used) until well mixed. Add the coconut and nut butter and mix well. It can be made without the nut butter, but the texture seems to suffer a little. Pour in the coconut oil and mix again until even. Spoon the mixture into an ice tray and sprinkle the tops (which will become the bottoms when finished) with a small pinch of loose coconut.  Place the tray into the freezer for 10 minutes. When set, remove the bombs from the tray and place in a bowl.  Store in the fridge until needed.

Padre

 

Change

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Demographics,technology, politics, and fashion seem to be perpetually changing. The pace of change appears to be moving ever faster. In my half century or so on this planet this is the case. A couple of years after my graduation, my high school was closed. It was later reopened on the same site with a different name, to be renamed again back to the original, but with a different school mascot.

My undergraduate college was renamed as a university. My first graduate school was renamed to sound even more important. My second grad school was amalgamated into a larger institution, and both “noble names” were blended, until the grander name, as cream does, floated upwards thus eclipsing the other.

While I was in military A school, American sailors lost their beards. I still remember how odd it was to see Chief Pinkerton without his. In infantry school and when first in the fleet we had flat green field jackets, and flat green flack jackets. These were later replaced by new ones in woodlands camouflage pattern to match our uniforms. We also had Vietnam era steel pot helmets with liners. These went the way of the dinosaurs, being replaced with Kevlar ones, with which we could not cook, dig, or wash with. Though the details are now vague to me, I think we changed gas mask models about then also. With the woodland and Kevlar change the make up of the flack vest morphed as well, to include both.

When I was at Third MarDiv, Division HQ I was issued a 1911 model 45. This weapon was the butt of jokes, and later was in turn replaced. This, however was not an issue for me as I had been sent to a battalion by then, where my TO weapon was the M16A1 or in my case a relatively well worn XM16E1. It was essentially the same as the A1 I had used in ITS, full auto and semi options, etc.  But then change struck again, and we all were issued M16A2s.  This weapon with its semi-auto and 3 round bursts took some getting used to, but was probably a good design change.

Where the world seems to have really run away with change though is in information technology.  The forces had taught me another strange and valuable skill.  I could type. I used a Selectric electric typewriter and it was quick and far easier to use than a manual. Then I went to university.  Mistakes in typing required rewrites.  So we gave in and got a Apple 2C.  Yes, 138 k of data.  We could correct mistakes without starting over.  The 5 plus some inch disks were a marvel.  But then Apple (like in the garden) led to a fall from grace. PC was everywhere, and the disks were smaller too.  Then came the what seemed annual Microsoft upgrades, and just when an operating system seemed to become second nature, they changed it.  Enter the laptop, etc, etc, etc.

Home movies gave way to video; beta to VHS; VHS to CD; and now downloads and streaming. The post office phone gave way to the home phone; the pay phone to the mobile.  Phones became cameras. Walkman became Ipod. Ipod was swallowed by the phone.  It goes on.

Education has followed suit. Many students cannot imagine “taking notes.”  “Can we take a picture of the board on our phones?” is a common question. Books are mystical things housed in a dungeon like realm known as the library.  Having to actually turn a page is an arduous task, and what if the particular book doesn’t have all you need? Might you actually have to search for another?  What a terrible waste of time. Doesn’t GOOGLE “have it all?” Okay, I am overstating (a little), but the implications are clear.

In the face of it all, I can take comfort. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever ( Hebrews 13:8).” God is “I AM,” who – was, is, and will be. When the world is a whirlwind, there is peace in the eternal. I choose to lean on the unchanging.  How about you?

Padre