Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Soul Survivor: The Reasons

God determines who walks into your's up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay,and who you refuse to let go."- Anonymous

I saw this quote somewhere, and it really made me think about how people are placed in my life for a reason...

but I never think about me being placed in someone else's life for a reason. The concept sounds simple enough...but is not.

How do you know? Sometimes I look at people around me, at how I treat them, how they treat me, how they behave...and I look heaven-ward and ask...really Lord? WHY?? If nothing else, it is my desire to fulfill God's purpose in life for if this person is supposed to be be it.

But what is my purpose in other people's life? Am I supposed to be teaching lessons? Setting examples? Being a friend, being a shoulder...and most importantly...

what happens if I fail?

It's one thing to muck up my's something else to not do right by someone else's. Lord knows I've let some people stay when they should have been exiled from my life, and let some people go that maybe deserved a second (or third...or fourth) chance.

I guess God's greatest gift to us is free will...and patience is a virtue...and guidance is divine.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Tales of a Foodie: Tea Time! An Interchangeable Recipe for Tea Breads

I'm a big fan of quick breads - it takes half the time it does to bake regular bread, and there are so many great recipes for it! I came across a recipe for tea bread a while back, and decided to try it with some variations. They came out great! Tea is definitely not just for drinking anymore! A few great things about tea breads:

* they can be made just like tea - the recipe I use requires honey instead of sugar to sweeten the bread. It really makes the flavor of the tea the star of the show, and is a great sugar-free snack. 

* they make great gifts! Divide the recipe batter up among mini loaf pans, wrap them in pretty cellophane, add a bow and tag, and you have a perfect little gift! 

* This delicious recipe is amazingly simple, so it's a great beginning project for the novice baker. 

First I'll provide the base tea bread recipe. For the tea bags, you can use whatever kind of tea you think would taste great as a bread. 

Base Tea Bread Recipe

3/4 cup  2% milk
2 tea bags
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large saucepan, combine milk and tea bags. Heat milk over medium-high heat until steaming. Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Discard tea bags. 

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl, combine tea-infused milk, honey, butter, and eggs. Gradually add flour mixture to milk mixture, stirring until blended. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. 

Below are my favorite variations:

Vanilla Chai Tea Bread

Use vanilla chai flavored tea bags. Add a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.

Lemon Ginger Tea Bread

Use lemon or lemon-ginger flavored tea bags. Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger and a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest. 

Green Tea Bread

Use green tea bags. Add 1/2 teaspoon of lime or lemon zest

You can have a slice for breakfast, or have it as a delicious snack! If you come up a variation that works for you or that you'd like to try, please share it with us! Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kiss My Glass - But I Just Opened That Bottle!

I can't tell you how many times I have opened a bottle of wine, had one or two delicious and satisfying glasses, and put it in the fridge. I go back a week later, pour myself a glass, and spit out a mouth full of vinegar. I'm going to share a few tips on storing your bottles of wine.

You don't need a special refrigerator or cellar to store wine that you want to age, or just don't want to drink right away. Any cool, dark place, such as a closet or pantry, will do. Keeping the wine out of the sunlight and at a consistent temperature is key. You should also invest in a wine rack - when the bottles lay flat, it keeps the cork wet so air can't get in through cracks and promote spoiling. Wine bottles with screw tops don't need to lay flat. 

Once a bottle of wine has been opened, you want to limit the amount of air exposure. Re-corking and refrigerating a bottle of wine shortly after opening it will keep it fresh for up to 2 days
A vacuum pump wine sealer (shown above) is relatively cheap and can keep wine drinkable for up to a week. They run around $10, and it includes a pump and a couple of stoppers. 

Hopefully this little handy post will keep you from drinking a glass of vinegar or tossing a half-full bottle of perfectly good wine. Cheers!