Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Soups? Anyone want Soups?

loading ...  ~Robert Stock

I've made two most wow-wee soups this week! 
Here is the base for the one from last night, Soup 1: 
Vegan Zuppa Toscana soup

Our little red hen was watching through my kitchen window and she just wanted to say Hey to you!

It was good. A very hearty soup, I made a bit more then what was called for using two entire boxes of vegetable broth and two cups of unsweetened almond milk instead of one.  I also threw in a couple more potatoes. I used a bag of frozen kale as well....now that is some goood stuff to have on hand.

For my veggie Italian sausage?  I made my own! Here is how:

 I opened up one of my organic kidney bean cans from my 99 cent store trip, drained and rinsed.  I put olive oil in a small pot or pan and put the beans in with fennel seed (to taste), garlic powder, dried basil, parsley, basil is always good, and a bit of Italian seasoning mixture (not too much on that) oregano is bossy don't ya know ; ) My Italian grandma from Naples really wasn't too keen on too much oregano....I also sprinkle salt and pepper or maybe some Tony Chachere's. A tiny bit of red pepper too.  I fried the bean mixture smashing the beans down with a mashed potato masher.  I made  one batch with some leftover white beans and both batches were grand. Black eye-ed peas would work too.  My kidney bean veggie-sausage looked like this when I was finished.
I put this in the soup and yes it did disintegrate but it still gave that Tuscan soup that most wonderful, homie Italian flavor.  I'm thinking this bean-sausage would do great as a side and hold it's shape on it's own though if serving it alone.

Option: I also offered our family some baked tofu to sprinkle on top.  I bake our tofu by first pressing tofu slices between clean dish towels and then sprinkling some Bragg's liquid aminos on it.  I buy my Bragg's from Vitacost.  Soy sauce will do if that's all you have. (EDIT 1.29: If you want it smokie, then a spattering of liquid smoke will work.)  I sprinkle garlic powder and a bit of hot sauce and I bake those slices for around 350 degrees on parchment paper to reduce clean-up. I use this parchment paper from the 99 cent store or Dollar Tree, I can afford this! : ) I turn the slices after a bit but I make sure this stuff is nice and baked...it gives it a good chew. I want the texture more chewie and less like custard. Baking time is at least an hour.

The tofu is an extra of course.

The soup was served over brown rice.


Soup 2  This soup I came up with, it's...Mrs Amelia's Italian Veggie Soup

This is very good if I might say so myself and my family is always pleased with it, I would serve this to company.
Mrs. Amelia's Italian Veggie Soup
  Here's what goes in my soup:

-2 cans artichokes w/juice   (Sometimes I find these at the 99 cent store)
-1 bag frozen spinach or kale
-1 box vegetarian broth (Sometimes I find these at the 99 cent  store)
-4 cloves garlic
-olive oil
-1 can black olives w/juice (99 cent store)
-3 tsp. dried basil  (seasonings can be found at dollar stores or walmart for way less)
-You may add sauteed squash ...or whatever veggie you like. A frozen veggie? Beans?  This soup with artichokes and spinach will stand on it's own though trust me.
-2 regular size cans of Italian tomatoes.  If you do not have Italian tomatoes just add a tiny smidgeon of Italian seasoning to regular tomatoes.

Gently simmer the garlic in a nice amount of olive oil only until fragrant!  No more!  We do not want browned garlic, it makes it bitter.  Then you can gracefully dump all the other ingredients in.  You may serve over pasta or rice and you will smile. : ) 

A little gift for you from Mrs. Amelia.  We love good ol' soups at our house and I hope you enjoy too.


  Today was a ring-tail-tooter day so this came in handy from Ann Voskamp's blog today.  Here's an excerpt:  

Days when it feels like the heat of Hades is burning blazes up your backside.
And just when you grip that blessed doorframe and the exit out, somebody slams that door hard, scrapes your fingers into a bloodied, mangled mess, and you’re left flailing like a fool in the heat and the hurt.

These days always come so downright unexpectedly too!  Sometimes life seems like a stuck zipper.  Ya know?  You pray over one situation...that seems to calm down and then the dad-blasted zipper acts up in another place!   An attack from a person who is normally so sweet perhaps...We're blindsided and sucker smacked.  These kind of days I feel like a refugee or a stage flunkie from an old 1960s Batman show.. "Zam" "Pow!"...I stumble off of the stage of life holding my jaw, tears flowing down on the inside.

Today I honestly was secretly telling God under my breath in my heart in a loud silence...

I know my photo is on Your fridge... I know it. 

I hope you all are having a sweet eve!  My precious daughters are in the kitchen performing beautiful art for supper.  Jem is at his desk designing his business site. I told him I need a million hugs today. All is well.  I can't complain.

Our doglets are in their beds keeping warm, Guisseppe's eye still healing...kitties roaming around. Fire blazing.
Hugs to you, and if you've had a rather crummy day...Remember.  God is already there.  Elizabeth Elliott wrote me that once she did.

  In the love of Christ  ~Amelia

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Wonderment of Ordinary Days...

Took this shot of Michelle the other morning..I rather like shots like this, they are candid and capture real life.  Like the flurry of all four of our daughters in the kitchen or Rebecca running to the car...That's what life is made of, not posed.  I hope our life is not posed!  Far too many posers these days in life wouldn't you agree?

Nothing wrong with posed shots, don't get me wrong but to me?  The real life shots are much more interesting, capturing Gifts.  Gifts.  The morning sun on hair, the enchanting young lady gracefully running towards the woods in ballet flats to the car as she cradles a book over her head to protect from the mist...fanciful.

These are some very candid shots from the other morning...Michelle grabbing some breakfast before leaving for her nanny job, the morning light was pretty upon her hair...Just her agility of balancing on the arm of the couch...neat. So Michelle.

Do you remember what I had written a couple of blogs ago on Rebecca's sweet concerns about not being able to afford any Christmas gifts for us?  It reminded me of Chrstina Rossetti's poem, 'What Shall I Give Him'... I encouraged Rebecca to make some little thoughtful love-filled gifts if she so desired from things we already had here...we as a family love Rebecca...We don't need a gift. Rebecca is our gift, we are each others' Gifts!  Jesus wouldn't want her to feel like that either, Baby Jesus was lain on hay in a manger.  Sometimes...oh sometimes it makes me sad what Christmas has turned into.  I love it but not the bondage the world has made it into in these days we now live.

Below is what she put together and I thought they were the sweetest things ever!  She made one little animal for each of us, the menagerie here is of some of our fur angels!...She made them from a soft yarn and vintage rhinestone eyes with vintage pearls.  Years ago our family, pioneers in a small waterfront town had a souvenier shop at their resort, my mom and a grandmother would make beautiful costume jewelry that was carefully placed in a showcase...It was classic 1950s all the way. The business had been established in 1920. Once in a blue moon someone of the older generation will wistfully tell of a wonderful place they would visit on the weekends...Yes, it was our family resort.  It was written in the city paper that the entire place should have been encased in glass and placed in the Smithsonian. They were right.

Rebecca's Menagerie..I am saving them safely in a crisp white box cozy in the pretty green, soft tissue paper for next Christmas....Marianna and I found a small natural-looking little tree at Dollar General on clearance for around a dollar and next year we will hang them on their own special little tree in our kitchen. These things make us happy, down to the pretty green tissue. Do you see the one with the yellow eyes on the right?  That is "Howdy" our male kitty..he has yellow eyes, he is an infp personality like me. : )

So today I am sipping on pecan coffee, yes I treated myself to a fine cup o' coffee of the most delicious variety...It's bright and sunny outside and I'm praying for the folks up north with the freezing weather they are suffering through.  I pray for them and the poor animals up there.  God help them, and God give people wisdom and mercy on their animals and any poor little strays or farm animals.

I'm listening to a new cd I just purchased and we are enjoying it: for a Rainy Day I have been intrigued by Erik Satie's Gymnopedie. I found this cd that not only opens with all three movements but continues with a good sampling of other beautiful music by other composers and pieces including Claire de' Lune.  Such pretty music...

Tonight for supper?  I'm not sure yet, I found a couple of heads of cauliflower that have been trimmed.  Marianna picked them up at a tiny town small grocery on clearance, so proud of my girls finding these deals on foods for our home...I may slice the cauliflower in thick slices and bake them with olive oil, it is delicious like that.  They are called, Cauliflower Steaks.  I make it with a vegan brown gravy and mashed potatoes and green veggie.  It's delicous.  

Guisseppe is doing well, his eye is still healing.  He did bump into a chair yesterday and re-injured it a bit, it scared me.  I will be so very thankful when all stitches and plastics are removed from this baby's eye. 

Well that concludes my blog for today. ; )  I enjoy writing and I think it's nice for everyone to glean and see into each others' homes here on God's green-earth.

Take care All, God bless all who read here, I appreciate you!

Thanks for sharing coffee with me here at the Forest Cathedral.   Love, Amelia

All that some people know about God is what they see in our lives.   Millie Stamm

Friday, January 17, 2014

Nursing Home Day...Attitudes Gratitude. Today's Most Luverly Conversation...

One of the luverly things I did this past week was visit the nursing home.  I so love it there, so many sweet, sweet friends there.  The best.  I had a birthday recently and I had told Jem that one thing I really, really wouldn't mind doing for my birthday was to spend some time with my friends at the nursing home.  I didn't get to, but maybe next year I will do that little thing.  I'm thinking I could buy some carnations and pass them out to my friends there.

If you read my last blog you will know these friends are the salt of the earth too..oh so lovely.  There are such gems there and I'm so glad my girls now in their 20s and 30s grew up with these sweet, precious people. My girls were taught that we can be friends with all ages!

The pic below?  This is our buddy, he is one of the sweetest things ever as perhaps you have already read in previous blogs.  He does not have the use of one of his hands, is in a wheel chair, deaf in one ear and only sees out of one eye. He has a speech impediment. This precious guy has no bitterness, is always helping others in the home.  I walk in his room and he is making his bed with his one arm from his wheelchair.  At lunchtime?  He makes sure everyone has their terry bibs (with his one arm).  I was watching him put his bib on, and he opened the velcro with his teeth, placed the bib around and clasped it back with that one hand.

He says... Heeeeyyyyyyy in the most darling voice. I'm not sure what happened to our buddy, perhaps a car accident or stroke?  He has a photo album in his room one of his relatives put together for him that shows his wife of young, a son etc.  What happened?  I just don't know...

Our buddy shows no bitterness, only wants to help and encourage others.  My heart is so blessed to just be around our buddy.  He needed some freshening in the diaper department and points to the area as he rolls his wheel chair to the nursing area.  I see him wait patiently in line to be freshened near the nurses station.

Sometimes the best thing we can do for our friends is just be with them.  I stand with him as he waits and as I stand I just put my hand on our buddy's shoulder.  Just stand with the comfort of a warm hand on his shoulder...Isn't that what we really want or need sometimes?  Just having a hand on a shoulder?  Having someone just with us?  Just being with a person?  A touch?  Maybe a cup of coffee...I remember when I was young and would just sit next to my Italian grandpa and we would watch tv together...He just liked me there with him.

I also met a new friend, Alma.  Alma is from Chicago and is a lovely Christian lady, tall and large framed stature with baby blue eyes, her hair, straight white and cut in a short casual cut.  She tells me she was named after a Christian missionary who stayed in their home.  They hosted many a missionary she tells me...I mention the John and Betty Stamm, the missionaries who were beheaded in China.  (The story haunts me)  Elizabeth Elliot has shared that the Stamm's were in her home for dinner not far before the horrible and grave event happened (the Boxer rebellion).  A baby girl was left behind....Priscilla.  Mrs. Stamm had left her baby on a bed with a note..Can you imagine?  A saint saw to it the baby was saved, the baby wound up in the states with relatives who adopted her.  I've often wondered about this baby....the story intrigues me and I would have or still would like to speak with Priscilla or write her.  I've tried to find her, and it seems she writes scientific articles and has not communicated with those from China.  Breaks my heart the entire thing.  Just breaks my heart.  Perhaps she is a private person and I can relate to that.  Perhaps you would like to look the Stamm's story up?  It's really just unbelievable what happened.  So very heartbreaking.

Alma was a sweetheart and was such an encouragement but upon leaving I turn and see her crying.  I say...  

Oh Alma, you're crying... 

She shares that it is so hard to know where you came from and where you are now...  I remind her God is with her, He already is.  That is what Elizabeth Elliot wrote me one time when I was carrying Rebecca and on bedrest with a bit of beta strep.

These older women...they are saints of God friends.   We need to respect them.  We need to listen to them.  Sometimes I catch a whiff of how they must feel when women usually in their 30s will sometimes ask advice etc....I take the time to answer and many times not a mere thank you or a fellow hand of friendship and I never ever want to do that to anyone.  Ever. It's a mighty bad feeling.  I'm not sure if it's the culture or what but we have some generations, seems the ones I see are in their 30s and 40s and it's not the most thankful generation I've ever seen.  How old are you Amelia?  I am 53 years young I am. : )  Maybe I'm from the old school (in a good way I hope) but I think that is the BEST school I do.  Wouldn't you agree?  Isn't the The School of Christ never-changing?  What ever happened to thankfulness?  What ever happened to kindness?   Manners?  I hope we will be like the one who was thankful not the other nine.

Today has been an awesome day with my youngest, at 20, Rebecca.  My little blonde haired blue-eyed gal.  Oh the German half sure shines through our baby girl.  It's like talking to my uncle way back from 1938 when he was young, a budding young actor from Rice...Looking at Becs sometimes is as if my uncle came back out of time and visited me in the kitchen here.

Rebecca and I talked about the author, Scott F. Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda...oh so tragic.  She shows me her pics, as I utter, Oh Rebecca, that is just sooo sad.  So very sad... 

We talk of Hemingway too...we look up his wife too.  Neither of us get Hemingway.  We talk of E.E. Cummings...his writing styles, and how some of his writing we must use caution with some of it, he get's over the top moral-wise.  No-thanks, if you know what i mean.  We certainly don't need to entertain our minds with that.  But most of it is very nice from what I've read.  Lovely actually.

Well, I just wanted to blog some thoughts here...Just some encouragements and exhortations from a 53 year young lady gleaning from life and sharing here.

So happy and thankful to those who take the time to read here.  God bless you!

At present?  I'm listening to:

Tonight?  Marianna is making a veggie-egg (from our happy hens!) casserole and I'm making fresh broccoli as a side.  Becs is planning on our family viewing the old movie, Philadelphia Story.  : )  Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant too?  How neat is that? : )

Our precious little Guisseppe
Take care All.  Blessings!     -Amelia
P.S.  Please continue to pray for Guisseppe's eye, (above) he was out of his little bed more today mosieing around.  So that is a good sign.  Such a little man...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Salt of the Earth

You know you're near a rural area, or what once was one when you pull up to the vet's parking lot ...and you see this beautiful sampling of God's creatures waiting for X-rays to be developed...

Yesterday morning started out like the day before...beautiful sunshine.  It's the kind of sunshine day that is made of the stuff my wee little girl years were made of...the times when our sidewalk to the steel garage was dyed pink with large white stones set in...Very 50ish.  My mother's flower beds, a mimosa tree...Days of me and mama going to the Dairy Palms, a little drive in place for maybe an ice cream soda or something like that...Never could get the name of that little drive-in as a little girl.  But these days remind me of those days.  Yes, those days.  Those days of the early 60s...

Yesterday as I was saying, Michelle and I pull up to the old shopping center where our beloved vet resides...The storefront looks much like the early 60s by the way...There are painted doggies and kitties in the window, remember how stores used to do that?

I'm holding our little Guisseppe in my arms in a polka-dot fleece blanket, his eye still in stitches as they are trying their darndest to save his eye.  Enter Michelle and I.  I see an older cowboy sitting in the chair, black western shirt on, jeans, boots, cowboy hat in hand.

"Is that your horse out there?"

"Yep, and I've got 16 more back home"

"That is sooo cool!"

I'm shocked at myself. I sure was chipper and awfully inquisitive in my little infp introvert self with those extrovert tendencies jumping up and down saying Let me out!  Let me out!  You know you are a showboat, come on gal!  Yeah...some of that's true it is.  Days of ballet and solos...days of modeling a coat set and hat worthy of Shirley Temple at a Kodel fashion show as a little girl with full little legs ...No Twiggy here.. No sirrie bobbie.  ...And if I allow my infp personality to move into full force, ...the whirlpool of thoughts of this moment..I would tell you about the king and queen from the play at the modeling gig in downtown, The Emperor's New Clothes, the play would intersperse between the little models years ago...I remember being on the huge stage-elevator as we went down to the dressing rooms, the king and queen actor and actress in all of their beautiful and ornate finery, incredibly realistic costumes that looked like they stepped out of a Rennaisance painting..they with their cosmetically made up faces, kindly looking down upon me taking rather good care of the little brunette girl... me.  Amelia from Seabrook.  My smalltown newspaper put a little photo of me in the paper back then...I was called:  Little Miss Amelia. I half laugh with affection back then...It was sweet.  ...Well, you just experienced a run-on thought from the infp girl, Amelia, also the last child in the woods.  ; )  It's the way my mind rolls...like a Russian doll, one inside another...one thought that leads to another...Did you know C. S. Lewis was the infp personality type too?  The various types of personalities are so interesting I think...I better stop before my thoughts go elsewhere once again.
loading ...   -Robert Stock

Back to yesterday...God is moving as we are in that waiting room, I just had the best time with that cowboy.  He at one time was a redhead I could tell, his voice like Burl Ives.  This guy was a classic, this man was also a fixture of the entire area; I find out he's probably worth quite a bit, he tells of his acres (I immediately recognize it as a well developed high dollar area)...He tells me he worked on the historical ranch near us when he was young, the very ranch our property runs to the back of...He tells me he knows Cody, our local cowboy here.  Yep, Cody has been on our property on his horse looking for his cow...I ran out in my calico skirt one summer day...

 Who are you?!

Poor Cody took it in stride just saying.. I'm Cody.  I felt ashamed, but he scared me!  My girls were horrified at me being horrified...yeah...   What is a mom supposed to do when a cowboy riding his horse tromps through our property?

The older cowboy tells me Cody is a great guy, he's ran horses all the way to Oklahoma.  He tells me Dr. H, our vet was a rodeo clown, and clowned all the way through vet school... Yeah I say....I know a young man like that too.  He always wanted to be a rodeo clown, loves being a rodeo clown but has had to quit to be an eye surgeon..guys like that have to save their hands don't ya know..   Ya know?  I think all of these guys are the salt of the earth..   

Rodeos? I'm not so sure about them anymore anyhow if you think about the humanity of it ... That's another blog.

The older cowboy tells me... Well if you see Cody, you just tell him, Buddy Heartly said Hey...I was even more intrigued...the last name is the name an exit from a local freeway.  If you were to see him, you would not think much.  The salt of the earth.  Usually the Salt of the Earth is like that...we don't notice at first.  It doesn't come with glitz and glamor and is sometimes overlooked.

These people are the salt of the earth...

Am I?

I hope so at least to others like Buddy.  He was to me.  The vets at this clinic are the same...Vets who want to help, who love animals, no white coats...This clinic has all the heavenly signs of creative messes...love the place... I so admire these folks. Salt of the Earth.

The vet's office was amused with the laughter and conversation of the hysterical woman who yelled at poor Cody.. and so was I. Amused.  I think even Guisseppe our little dog was amused as well as Michelle...

On the way out?  I ask...

Where's the ladies room?  

Oh I'm sorry, you can't use the ladies room...Dr. H is in there looking at the X-rays...

The salt of the earth.

So. Great.

Those are the sunshiny days of life...may we be the salt of the earth... Yeah.. let's loosen up and say no to stuff that doesn't matter.  If we say no to stuff that doesn't matter we'll have time to mosie and notice.  If we loosen our desires for material things, new, latest clothes etc. then what is inside is what will show...I'm learning the more simple my life, the more I can be who I really am, who God wants me to be even more.

Let's be the salt of the earth.  Be Jesus on to others... with interest and a loving heart for others...Sometimes it's hard, maybe we are needing interest too...Just give when ya see, see and give, give and *see*.   You say you are not a sensitive person?  Pray to be sensitive with the eyes of Christ...

Pray for Guisseppe please, his eye needs healing.  I'm praying and treating, treating and praying.

Thanks!   -Amelia that little Seabrook girl...

Thanks so much for reading here...the musings of Amelia, sometimes encouragements, sometimes thoughts, sometimes sharings...I sure hope you enjoy and are blessed.  The same moon that is shining on me, why it shines on you too.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Two Totally Different Kinds of Old Movies, Both Poignant, Two Kinds of Greatness

In the past several weeks we've seen two wonderful and most grand movies.   
The first is Tenth Avenue Angel (1948):

This movie was chosen by yours truly to watch for my birthday movie.  This is soooo darling. My family including four daughters, ages 20 to 31 and beloved Jem...just loved it.  There is even a Christmas miracle at the end.  See it.  You'll love it too!

The folks who live in the teeming tenements lining Manhattan’s Tenth Avenue could sure use an angel. And they have one – Flavia Mills, a little girl with big dreams who touches the lives and hearts of everyone in her run-down neighborhood. Margaret O’Brien plays Flavia with the endearing earnestness that made her the leading child star of the 1940s. A host of MGM stalwarts take other roles: Angela Lansbury as Flavia’s aunt, Phyllis Thaxter as her mother, George Murphy as an ex-con hoping for a second chance, Connie Gilchrist as a kindly neighbor and Rhys Williams as a blind newsvendor robbed by hooligans who implicate Flavia in the crime. Roy Rowland, who directed O’Brien in Lost Angel and Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, guides the story, which ends with a joyful Christmas miracle. And the cinematography is the work of Robert Surtees, who would go on to lens Ben-Hur...among other classics.

Not a dry eye at our house for sure...When the movie was over, we were all looking at each other thinking and saying... Now THAT was a good movie.  Wow.

When you see the movie, take note of the sweet Christmas, and how it flies in the face of most of what modern America thinks is "normal" now.  I don't know about you but the materialism drives me nuts, it's soooo not Christ.

This sweet little gem of a movie really validated and confirmed some things in the way of simplifying Christmas, we are going back to a more old fashioned Christmas, we always have, but this year I felt like I really did accomplish more of that old fashioned spirit, of what I've been trying for. : )

One morning I told Rebecca when she shared she had no money for gifts...I told her to make something if she liked, we would love it and I picked up my little ceramic little baby Jesus on the hay from our manger scene...I said...  

Rebecca.  Rebecca.   Look where Baby Jesus is, on hay Rebecca, we need to remember that humility and what Christmas really is.  This is what Christmas is...

Next up is Twelve O'Clock High with Gregory Peck.  This thing was fantastic...I've watched it probably four times in a week being the infp personality and soul that I am... There is something new to see every viewing.

Once again...the entire family loved it.  Totally.  Watch closely from beginning to end...There are a lot of effects and meanings here... Very neat movie.

I found myself weeping one afternoon as the movie closed...our country was so very different then...the love we had for our country was so very evident. The ending scenes...the music, oh how very, very different...

Okay, this is Gregory Peck's publicity shot from the movie...oh my is he not the man?  Marianna said anything with Gregory Peck's face on it will get readers coming!   *big smile*

Publicity shot of Gregory Peck in Twelve O'Clock High (1949)

This movie is the only one I have seen that truly depicts how the air war was conducted in the 8th Air Force. It is patterned after the events which actually occurred at the 306th Bomb Group in England in 1943. In real life, General Savage (played by Gregory Peck) was General Frank Armstrong, former commander of the 306th Bomb Group; The first bomb group to fly over Germany.

...seen as one of the most realistic portrayals of the heroes and perils of war.  Convinced an Air Force commander is at the breaking point, Brigadier General Save (Gregory Peck) takes over his struggling bomber group.  At first resentful and rebellious, the flyers gradually change as Savage guides them to amazing feats.  But the stress of command soon takes its toll and the weary general reaches his own breaking point.

     Authentic aerial battle footage and numerous acclaimed performances make 'Twelve o'Clock High' a credible, stirring tale of courage and sacrifice.

Winner of two Academy Awards. Best Supporting Actor Dean Jagger.  Best Sound  1949.
I'm also thinking that this movie is a great reminder of the sacrifice of our men for our great country.

Just wanted to share two movie greats with my blogging friends...

Today, Lea made my Grandma Oddo's pasta gravy for special company.   Wow Bella, that's Italian!   

Check the movies out if you get the druthers, I really do think you too will enjoy them as much as we did.  Two totally different kinds of movies two kinds of greatness.

Why wouldn't anyone not like old 40s movies?  They are made in a time in our country when most of the country had a healthy fear of God.  Enjoy!

Blessings!  Amelia