Summertime Cooking Swap – 2014

Confession: This is definitely the week in the summer when everything goes downhill as far as planning, cooking, and general attitude. This is the week when I realize that I am accomplishing roughly half of what I intended, my garden is weedy again, and nobody knows any Spanish yet. This is the week when everyone says “Mom, I’m hungry” all.the.time, in every language they can think of (English, American Sign Language, Whine-n-Pout, Thievery, Pantomime, Deafening Bellow, and Swahili). This is the week when the Back to School sales start lookin prit-ty good…

(I knew I would feel guilty for saying that.)

Please tell me what to cook! I’m bored to tears with my planned menus.

Last year this time we did an idea swap, remember? Still some great ideas over there for anyone who wants to browse through them. Let’s do it again, shall we? What do you like to cook in the summer?

This summer we’ve loved

  • Homemade pizza

pizza

  • Strawberry shortcake

(Here’s our new favorite recipe—I add an egg and go easy on the salt)

shortcake

  • Grilled burgers

(Gina has two winner recipes I keep using over and over: BBQ Burgers and Chili Burgers)

hamburgers

  • and Barbecued chicken salad.

salad

That’s greens, tomato, avocado, beans, corn, and cheese—topped with baked or rotisserie chicken, deboned and brushed with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Your turn! What do you like to cook eat?
Keep it relatively simple. Include a recipe or a link as you wish.

Gunmen and innocents

I wrote this post after the Navy Yard news back in September, and for some reason never got the courage to publish it. I think of it now, with Gaza and Syria and so many hurting people.

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Confession: I am so weary of people killing people.

With the news full of bloodshed, it’s tempting to believe that the world is going to the devil, that you better save yourself any chance you get while you still can, that you gotta fight to protect yourself because people are just more evil than they used to be. There are whole video tutorials of advice on how to save yourself if you’re ever in a building with a gunman.

People are afraid.

Last Sunday I told my preschool class the story of Cain and Abel, and thought of how the world must have felt with the first human blood soaking into its breast.

We call it “innocent blood,” but who is innocent?

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Only once was a True Innocent killed, in a saga so horrific the world was never the same. When His blood ran down that cross and spilled into the ground, mingling with “all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias,” the great cracking and remaking of the world began. The earth ejected him, living and indestructible; suffering became the path to victory; and that from that day forward, His people became empowered to run into dangerous situations because they know that the world can only bear innocent blood so long.

“Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead…

For behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” Isaiah 26:19, 21

The world is not going to the devil; it’s going to the Redeemer.

“Why I wish I were a Mennonite”

Confession: This almost seems egotistical for a Mennonite to link to. But a friend told me about it in the last month and I was blessed. I think we could probably take a moment to hear what Mr. Taylor had to say–to celebrate what we’re good at without forgetting we don’t have it all–

What do you think? Is he representing the Mennonites you know? What do you want to be known for?

Why I Wish I Were a Mennonite
by Aaron Taylor

Iced coffee

Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.

We realized with a small shock we’re two-thirds of the way through summer vacation. How did that happen? Oh well. Pour out another round of iced coffee; we’ll need the boost before this is all over…

iced coffee

Iced Coffee

2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup instant coffee
Splash of vanilla

Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients until dissolved.

syrup

Pour several tablespoons over ice, and fill glass to brim with cold milk. Refrigerate remaining syrup until needed.

iced coffee in a cup

There are certainly fancier versions. I like the simplicity of this one.

The recipe is from my sister-in-law Renita, who says it’s public domain for the young housewives in her community. My little secret is to make half the sugar white and half brown, for an almost-caramel twist the whole family will enjoy

fight over.

shari

Mo-o-o-ommmm….! You have iced co-o-offfffee?!?

pout

Yes dear. Go unload the dishwasher.

*****

Just kiddin.

three straws

No children were harmed or disappointed in the making of this blog post.

kids

What’s your favorite cold drink in the summertime? Want to share the recipe?