Celebrating Epiphany

Jan 6th

I’m a tired Gramma. Truly, tired doesn’t quite do what I am feeling justice.  Baby R was NOT wanting to settle down and go to sleep last night, which meant neither were we.  When he finally did, I was nearly comatose from exhaustion.  He fell asleep draped across me . . . and then the hot flashes started. Good heavens.  I had my internal furnace going, and my adorable little external furnace was compounding the heat.  I gently scooted him over to the cot I had set up for him next to our bed . . . and gratefully fell back onto the bed, minus covers, to cool off.  For an hour.  At that point I felt a hand across my face, then another hand in my hair, as our little munchkin managed to pull himself back onto the bed, and on top of me. Let the furnace burn . . . for another hour. We started the whole cot process again . . . and he climbed back up an hour later.  This post is going to be very late today because seriously, it’s 2 p.m. and he’s napping – which gave me the first chance I’ve had to turn on the computer.  If you read anything that doesn’t make any sense, just chalk it up to lack of sleep.

  


Verse of the Day

January 6, 2018

Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:13

 

Thoughts on the Verse of the Day

When Jesus came the first time, he came to reveal God (John 1:18). As wonderful, powerful, and gracious as he was in his earthly ministry, he did not fully reveal all who he is. Our hope is tied to his return. When he comes this time, he won’t come to reveal God, but to reveal himself — the conquering Lord, the Rider on the white horse. Every knee will bow. We will get to see him as he really and fully is — Immanuel in power and grace, triumphant in every way. When we set our hope on Jesus’ grace when he returns, we can be confidently ready for active service to our king today. We can live under his leadership with obedience and praise today.

 

January 7, 2018

Be imitators of God as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2

Thoughts on the Verse of the Day

Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If we are to sincerely flatter God by being like him, imitation may be the most costly form of flattery as well. You see, love for God is never something that occurs just in our minds or our hearts. Love is something we do for another — it is action. John said in 1 John 4 that we must love in both our deeds and our words. Love means to give ourselves up — what we want, our rights, our desires — to honor God and serve others. This is a kind of love that can change the world, or a marriage, or a family.

www.verseoftheday.com

 

 

 

Food for Thought

As I held my grandson in my arms last night, trying to calm him enough so he would go to sleep, walking the floor with him, and rubbing his tummy and back as I realized he had an upset stomach, rubbing lavender oil on his little temples to help him relax, and holding him close as he expressed his frustration to me in the only way he could, I was taken back to when my children were small, and I walked the floor with them, holding them close, stroking their hair, rubbing their backs and praying to the Good Lord to help them sleep so I could too, I couldn’t help but be so grateful. This little human is such a blessing, tears and all, because as he looked up to me in the firelight, he reached up his little hand to my face and patted it, said something in his own little language that only he understands right now, sighed and snuggled his head into my neck. Suddenly the frustration that I had been feeling melted away, and even though I was o tired I was nearly incoherent, everything felt so right, and so sweet. These months are fleeting. He is already growing so quickly that it defies reality, so I’m going to cherish all of them, even the ones that come with tantrums. Cherish your families. They are so special and time goes far too quickly.

  

January 6 –

Cuddle Up Day –Isn’t cuddling wonderful?  It is!  Snuggling up to someone you love is one of the best feelings in the world. Of course you don’t have to cuddle with a person. You can cuddle with a pet!  I know Moose is always thrilled to get snuggles from one of us.  Every creature is entitled to being cuddled if they want – well except maybe porcupines or skunks. OR SNAKES!!  You can cuddle up in a chair with a blanket and a good book.  You can cuddle up by the fire.  The best though is cuddling with someone special, if you can. Usually my Pepsi cat is in my lap for snuggles when I am in my chair typing away.  We have had a great time snuggling with Baby R today, so we are celebrating this one the right way!

 

 

Feast of the Epiphany/Twelfth Night/Three Kings Day –The Feast of the Epiphany marks the end of the 12 Days of Christmas and is always observed on January 6th.  Epiphany, which is also known as Theophany, Three Kings Day and El Dia de los Tres Reyes, is a Christian celebration of the revelation of the birth of Jesus to the world.  This is heard most commonly in the story of the three wise men who visited the newborn Jesus with gifts, found in the Gospel of Matthew 2:1-12. We all know the story, and I discussed it at length throughout the Christmas season.  Roman Catholic and Protestant Christianity focus on the story of the Magi, but Eastern Christians – such as Greek Orthodox – celebrate the baptism of Jesus on Epiphany and consider the day to be more important than Christmas.  Traditionally Epiphany is observed by blessing the home (recalling the Magi’s visit to Jesus’ family), blessing water (especially the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized), exchanging gifts while performing “Magi plays”, to tell the story of Jesus’ childhood, and feasting, which always must include “King Cake”.  So, what is King Cake?  Well, it is a festive American bread that is a traditional part of the carnival season, and most known for Mardi Gras celebrations.  The first French settlers brought the tradition of King Cake with them when they arrived in New Orleans, and it has remained a tradition to this day.  It is baked in the shape of a circle to represent the unity of Christianity.  The bread is decorated with icing and colored sugars, which represents the three Kings who visited baby Jesus.  A small figure of the baby Jesus is placed inside the bread and the person receiving the piece of bread with the figure is the one who is responsible for making the King Cake the following year.  According to tradition, the King Cake can only be prepared between Epiphany on January 6th, when the carnival begins, until the first day of Lent.  Over time, people have made their own variations of this bread to include different fillings and toppings, but the colors are always purple, green and gold, which represent justice, faith and power, respectively.

 

 

January 7 –

Harlem Globetrotter’s Day – I remember once, at least I THINK I remember (Dad if you’re reading today comment please) that we went to see the Harlem Globetrotter’s when I was little.  I must have been quite small if we did because the memory almost seems dreamlike – which is why I am not absolutely positive we went.  What an amazing group of athletes they were, and are today.  Their story is nearly as fascinating as their talent.  (You may remember this celebration from last year, but celebrations are rather monotonous year after year – though I will try to change things at least a little.)  In 1927, after seeing the amazing potential in this group of basketball players, someone sponsored the team, and their basketball acrobatics tradition was born and has continued for three-quarters of a century.  I’m sure many of us who are at least my age will remember the names Wilt Chamberlain, Curly Neal and Meadowlark Lemon.  They have graced the court in the team’s red, white and blue uniform, entertaining millions of people – including royalty and presidents from around the world.  Though we don’t hear about them as much today as we did when I was a kid, they do continue touring today.   Do you remember watching Saturday morning cartoons as a kid? They actually had a Harlem Globetrotter’s cartoon!  I only vaguely remember it, but I find that to be fascinating, that a cartoon was made after a basketball team – even a team as good as they are!  I remember boys in school trying to copy what they’d see on the cartoons – probably a good thing our basketball hoops were outside – someone would likely have gotten hurt if they’d been in the gym – or anywhere else – while they “practiced”.  The Harlem Globetrotters makes their sport what it should be – good, clean fun.  Professional sports have turned into high-stress, yelling, arguing matches – where players are pushed to the limit.  Even children’s sports are as competitive as adult sports . . . it’s a sad cycle. Anyway, here’s a fun (and short) video of 3 Harlem Globetrotter’s taking on an entire team.  Enjoy!

 

 

I’m Not Going to Take it Anymore Day – Have you had enough and you just want to scream??? Well today’s the day to let it rip!    Today is the day to let it all out – scream, rant, rave, throw yourself on the floor and kick like you want to do but just can’t or they’ll drag you away in a funny suit.  Be discreet though – if you do all that at work, your boss may be celebrating too and not take it either. No matter what it is you are sick of and don’t want to take anymore, just make up your mind, say enough and be done with it.

 

Old Rock Day – I used to collect rocks when I was a kid.  I preferred collecting shells, but I liked pretty rocks too.  My Grandma LOVED rocks – but the ones she loved were wide, round and flat so she could line her garden paths with them.  Rocks are more than just something pretty to look at, or to line a path with – they hold history inside each of them.  I could write all night and all day and not cover everything, but one way to think about them is they are a little like Mother Nature’s diary – there is so much to learn from digging around in your own backyard!  If you live anywhere near Washington, maybe one day you can check out the Petrified Forest in the eastern part of the state.  There are some pretty incredible pieces of petrified wood, old rocks and fossils all over the place – very cool, and the experience is extremely educational!  *** funny story – I know, I always tell this one, but I love it! When my kids were little we would go visit my Grandparents, and Grandma would walk around the garden with them, walking on those flat rock paths.  She would point out the different rocks that family had brought to her from all over the place, happily remembering the love that went into lugging them from beaches and woods everywhere.  My kids knew the importance of not messing up the paths Grandma loved so much, and they would be very careful about where they stepped, and not to knock a rock out of place.  One day we were there for a visit – I’d say my daughter was about 5 or so, very girly girl . . . or so it seemed.  She had curly blond hair, a cute little outfit with matching socks and shoes, not a smudge on her.  Along came my cousin with her two little brats.  Yes, I said it – they were brats, completely undisciplined and out of control.  The girl started overturning rocks, picking berries and throwing them on the walkway (a big no-no – berries might get tracked into the house, and it was a waste of good food!).  My daughter told her to stop.  She didn’t stop.  My daughter told her again, more loudly and with a little force to STOP!  Three times was the charm.  The girl didn’t stop, so my child took matters into her own hands.  When the screaming reached our ears, we all ran outside to the garden, and there, lying flat on her back was my cousin’s 5-year old daughter, kicking and flailing, with my prissy little girl straddling her stomach, slapping the tar out of her while shouting – “WE DON’T MESS UP MEME-MA’S GARDEN! WE DON’T MESS UP HER ROCKS! WE DON’T GET BERRIES ON THE GROUND!!! I TOLD YOU TO STOP AND YOU DIDN’T!”  Each word was accompanied by a flailing slap . . .I can honestly say I’ve never seen my cousin, or her brats, since that day . . . but Grandma’s garden path was safe, the cousin’s kids had to fix the rocks and clean up the berries, and my now dirty little girl, tears staining her face, was the hero of the moment.  Oh, Grandma couldn’t show that she condoned the beating the child got, but the wink to my daughter told her that Grandma appreciated the strength and the conviction of obeying the rules and defending her great-grandma, even to the extent that she got her dress all dirty.  I know, this had nothing to do with rock day – except having rocks in the story – but it did bring a smile to my face while I was thinking of it. (I know, I tell this every year, but always makes me happy when I remember it.)

 

Orthodox Christmas –Today, according to the Julian calendar, is Christmas Day.  The Julian calendar was revised in 1923, putting it more in line with the Gregorian calendar.  Some Orthodox churches still follow the more traditional Julian calendar putting the day to celebrate Christmas on, or near, January 7th.  Many of the Orthodox Christians in our country fast before Christmas Day, using that time to prepare for celebrating for the birth of Christ.  They will be attending a special church service today, with various traditions such as lighting a small fire of blessed palms, or burning frankincense to commemorate the Magi’s gifts to baby Jesus.  They place a white cloth on their dinner tables to symbolize purity and the cloth that the baby Jesus was wrapped in, and straw may be placed on the tables to symbolize the simplicity of the place where Jesus was born.  Candles will be lit to represent the light of Christ, with the festive Christmas meal representing the end of fasting.

 

 

National Bobblehead Day – Apparently bobbleheads, those figures with heads attached with wire so they wobble around, have been around for about 100 years.  Interesting!  We are used to seeing bobblehead of sports figures, and various famous people.  I even saw a bobblehead Jesus once.  Just my own observation . . . don’t most media news people seem to be just talking bobbleheads these days? They really aren’t saying anything truthful or important – just blah blah blah while they bobble away on our TV screens.

 

This Day in History

January 6, 1838 – Samuel Morse demonstrates the telegraph.

January 7, 1610 – Astronomer Galileo discovers four of Jupiter’s moons.

 

 

Food Celebration of the Day

January 6 –

There are three food celebrations for today, and one for tomorrow. I decided for today that the one I’d choose for the low-carb recipe would be the shortbread. There’s no way to make beans low carb, and I have never made a King’s Cake in my life and though I did see a recipe for one, nobody has that kind of time. Shortbread it is! Scroll down to see the finished product and the link for the recipe.

Bean Day – Beans are awesome!  Seriously, they are!  They are a wonderful source of protein and energy.  You can store dried beans for months, or even years if stored properly, and they don’t go bad.  You can use them in soups, casseroles, or for seeds for the garden.  I’ve read several sources that listed that there are around 76 kinds of beans, but I think they must be speaking of 76 kinds of beans we currently eat in the society and around the world.  Wikipedia says that the world gene banks hold the seeds for over 40,000 different varieties of beans! The mind just boggles at that number!  It also makes me wonder why we only have the few varieties that are in the stores!?  I couldn’t find a complete list of all 76 reported varieties but I found THIS list which shows quite a few.  How many have YOU eaten?

 

List of Commonly Used Legumes

  • asparagus bean or snake bean
  • asparagus pea
  • baby lima bean
  • black bean
  • black turtle bean
  • Boston bean
  • Boston navy bean
  • broad bean
  • cannellini bean
  • chickpeas
  • chili bean
  • coco bean
  • cranberry bean
  • Egyptian bean
  • Egyptian white broad bean
  • English bean
  • fava bean
  • fava-coceira
  • field pea
  • French green beans
  • frijo bola roja
  • frijole negro
  • great Northern bean
  • green beans
  • green and yellow peas
  • kidney beans
  • lima bean
  • Madagascar bean
  • Mexican black bean
  • Mexican red bean
  • molasses face bean
  • mung bean
  • mung pea
  • mungo bean
  • navy bean
  • pea bean
  • Peruvian bean
  • pinto bean
  • red bean
  • red eye bean
  • red kidney bean
  • rice bean
  • runner bean
  • scarlet runner bean
  • small red bean
  • small white bean
  • soy bean or soybean
  • wax bean
  • white kidney bean
  • white pea bean

 

And don’t forget beans that won’t be on the eating list!  How about Vanilla beans?  or coffee beans? ooooh jelly beans! (ok, that last one is a stretch, but I know we were all thinking of them.)  Hm?  You wouldn’t put them in your soup, but they are bean products that we use all the time!  This makes me a bit hungry for a pot of ham and bean soup!

 

Epiphany / King’s Cake –

Brioche Dough: 1/2 cup lukewarm water, 110 to 115 degrees 2 packages dry yeast 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 C sifted flour 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg 2 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind 1/2 cup lukewarm milk 3 eggs 4 egg yolks 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened 1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk dime, dried bean, or miniature doll Sugars: green, purple, and yellow food coloring, pastes 3/4 cup granulated sugar (12 tablespoons) Icing: 3 cups confectioner’s sugar 1/4 cup lemon juice, strained 3 to 6 tablespoons water 2 candied cherries, halved Soften yeast in water. Combine flour, sugar, nutmeg and salt in mixing bowl. Stir in lemon peel. Make a well in center and pour into it the yeast mixture and milk. Add eggs and egg yolks, and with a large wooden spoon gradually incorporate dry ingredients into liquid ones. Beat in butter and continue beating until dough forms ball. (Mixing of the dough can be done in a food processor.) Place ball on floured board and incorporate more flour if necessary, by sprinkling it over ball by the tablespoon. Knead until smooth and elastic. Brush inside of large bowl with 1 tablespoon softened butter. Set dough in bowl and turn it so as to butter entire surface. (At this point you can refrigerate dough overnight.) Cover bowl and set aside for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Brush a large baking sheet with remaining butter. Punch dough down on lightly floured surface. Knead, then pat and shape dough into a cylinder about 14 inches long. Place on baking sheet and form into a ring. Press bean or doll into dough so that it is hidden. Set aside again to rise. When ready to bake brush the top and sides of the ring with the egg-milk mixture. Bake King’s Cake in middle of oven at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Slide cake onto wire rack to cool. Prepare the colored sugars by squeezing a dab of green paste into the palm of one hand. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the paste and rub your hands together to color the sugars evenly. Set aside and repeat process with green, then twice with purple and yellow. (Do not mix sugars.) When the cake has cooled prepare the icing. Combine the confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water in a deep bowl and stir until the icing mixture is smooth. If too stiff to spread, beat in 1 teaspoonful water at a time, until desired consistency is reached. With a small metal spatula, spread the incing over the top of the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Sprinkle the colored sugars over the icing immediately, forming a row of purple, yellow, and green strips, each about 2 inches wide, on both sides of the ring. Arrange 2 cherry halves at each end of the cake, pressing them gently into the icing.

 

National Shortbread Day – Named for its “short” (or crumbly) texture, shortbread is practically an ambassador for Scotland. Flour, butter and sugar are all you need, but feel free to add a pinch of any flavor you love.  I have to say that shortbread cookies are divine – melt in your mouth goodness in every bite.  I love the traditional ones made with sugar and all purpose flour, but I needed to find a good recipe for them that would be low-carb. Well, thanks to the blogger/food author at www.ibreatheimhungry.com I found one.  Here’s the recipe. I’ll add extra lemon flavor next time, since we love lemon so much.  Yum!

 

January 7 –

National Tempura Day – Though an iconic Japanese dish, tempura evolved from 16th-century Portuguese technique. The Japanese later lightened the batter so the food’s color showed through. I can honestly say that I didn’t think that low-carb would taste so good for something like this but it was delicious! I don’t recommend doing more than you can eat in one meal though – it didn’t translate well for re-heating leftovers. Here’s the recipe for the batter from www.mypcoskitchen.com  and a low-carb sweet chili sauce from www.healthstartsinthekitchen.com.  Enjoy!

We did shrimp and zucchini, and I am already looking forward to other things we can dip and fry in this delicious batter. If you don’t wish to do it low carb, below are some “regular” recipes for you to try. Either way, it will be delicious.

 

 

 

It’s almost time for Baby R to wake up from his nap and I haven’t had a chance to get dessert made for our dinner tonight. I need to hurry! There is so much to do! God bless you and I’ll see you on Monday.

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