Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Forgiveness and repentance,,,,,


Recently I have received some emails asking me about true forgiveness and repentance.  Basically they wanted to know when it is OK to forgive and do you have to allow that person in your life again if you forgive and of course, what about God?

First off, I think it is always OK to forgive.  God expects us to forgive others, especially if we want him to forgive us.  But forgiveness and repentance should go hand in hand.  So, what is repentance?  Repentance is truly being sorry for the sin or offense to the other person or to God.  And trying hard not to commit the same offense again.

Here is an example:  Let's say I sinned against you or offended you in some way.  I first need to apologize.  But what if my apology is half-hearted?  What if I say something like, "I'm sorry I hurt you BUT so and so ticked me off and I blamed it on you".  Is that true repentance?  NO!!  Not accepting responsibility for my own actions and trying to blame someone else is not true repentance.  It should not matter if someone else ticked me off.  That did not give me the right to hurt you in some way.  So and so did not put a gun to my head and make me take my frustrations out on you!!

Instead, if I were really sincere and repentant of what I did my apology should go something along these lines:  "I am sorry for what I did to you, I will try not to behave that way again, please accept my apology."  No buts, no excuses, no putting the blame elsewhere.  I am truly apologizing for my actions.

The bottom line is we cannot control someone else's actions but we can control our own.  And we must strive to control our "re-actions".  People tend to have "re-actions" to different situations.  Most of the time without thinking them or the consequences through first.  If we have a "re-action" to something it is still our responsibility.  Either think it through first or deal with the consequences later.

This is how we deal with other people, we also deal with God in much the same manner.  You must be sincere in asking forgiveness, take responsibility for your actions and re-actions and be repentful in your heart.  Does it mean you will never make the same mistake again?  Not necessarily.  But the difference is if the same situation arises and you were truly repentant after the first time, you might think it through before acting.  Practicing to control your emotions and re-actions will help you in each situation.  We are not perfect.  It takes time.  But people and even God will eventually get tired of you doing the same thing over and over and then apologizing without a repentant heart.

I also do not think it is always necessary to allow a person who has sinned against you back in your life.  But each situation is different.  For example, the person who abused me will never be a part of my life again.  I do not think God would require me to put myself in danger.  But as a Christian, I can forgive and love that person from afar by praying for them to turn from their evil ways and to give their life to God.  And there are the times where the sin was a one time thing and although it hurt it was relatively mild in the grand scheme of things and you feel comfortable trying again.  Either way, once there is forgiveness you should not carry a grudge.  Move on with your life, either with or without that person.

I hope this has answered some of your questions.  If not, just message me.

Until next time,,,,,,Blessings!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Roast beef,,,,,,,,,


Well this week I decided to continue on with the "good stewards" theme and show you how I saved a bunch of money with a roast beef.  I don't know about in your area but deli meats have skyrocketed in price here.  We eat a sandwich every day at the noon hour and with the price of deli meats so high I have been making my own for several months now.  To buy roast beef from the deli for sandwiches is running $7.99 lb on sale these days.  Last week when I canned the ham I had also sliced some of the ham into lunch meat, enough for almost a week.  This week I bought an eye of round roast and did the same.  I have pictures below.

Yesterday I cooked the roast in the oven and we first had a nice roast beef dinner last night.  I paid $3.59 lb for the roast, just around half of what a pound of deli roast would be, give or take a few cents.  After dinner I wrapped the roast in foil and set it in the fridge for slicing today.  My home sized meat slicer is just about 30 years old.  It has seen better days and I will probably replace it this year and upgrade to a commercial sized slicer.  I believe it will be worth the investment as the cost of food continues to rise.

I did a little research online before writing this blog and found you can pay anywhere from around $50 for a good home slicer up to a few hundred for a good commercial slicer.  There is one I spotted that looked perfect in size for about $250 that I will probably buy.  That might seem like a lot of money but if taken care of it will last a long time and pay you back in tons of money saved at the grocery store deli.  As I said, I have had this slicer for about 30 years, so I definitely got my money's worth.

My roast was about 2 1/2 lbs and cost $9 and change.  I got one nice dinner and just a little over 2 lbs of lunch meat from it.  The lunch meat alone from the deli would have cost me around $16 or a little over, so I saved about $8.50 total.

In the morning I marinated the roast in worstchesire sauce and chopped onions.  This added a nice flavor and helped to make the beef more tender.

We prefer our beef pretty rare so I roasted it in a 375F oven for about an hour and 15 minutes

I let the beef sit after roasting for about 15 or 20 minutes while preparing the other food to go with it for dinner.  This helps to stop the cooking process and lock in the juices.  Always better to let it sit a while before cutting.

I like to use an electric knife to cut most meats.  You can get the slices thin and even that way.  As you can see it is pretty rare and you might prefer your's more done.  Just add some time to the cooking if you do.  This is less than a half pound sliced up for dinner.  That is plenty for 2 people and a dog to get a taste, LOL.

Like I said in my post, after dinner I wrapped up the remainder of the meat in foil and put it in the fridge.  Now I am getting ready to slice it for lunch meat.  I like to use parchement paper under the slicer.  It keeps things neater and makes clean up easier.

The meat is on the slicer and I will adjust the blade to the thickness I want.  I prefer my lunch meat pretty thin.

Just as soon as you can put the finger guard in place and use it to hold the meat.  You don't want to risk running fingers into the blade.  Safety should always come first.  Also just a reminder, if you get meat caught up under the blade make sure you shut the slicer off before removing it.  That does happen from time to time so please do always think of safety first!!

Getting some nice slices of meat!!

Just a tick over 2 lbs of lunch meat.  The bigger chunks in the background are from not slicing to the very end which is almost impossible to do without getting a finger in the way.  I usually grind those up with celery and onions to make a meat spread for sandwiches but since there were not very many I will give them to my best buddy Rusty as a treat.

Now that the slicing is done I will put the lunch meat in a zip lock back in the fridge for sandwiches this week, give Rusty his treat and take apart my slicer for clean up.

All bagged and ready to go in the fridge.  It is such a joy to know how to stretch the food budget!!  Being frugal in this way is being a good steward in biblical terms.  The money I save in the kitchen can go to other needs or to helping the needy in my community.  I feel so blessed!!

Until next time,,,,,,,Blessings!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Canning chicken,,,,,,,


As promised I have some pictures from canning chicken this past week.  As you know my big deep freezer decided to die on me leaving with a mess of food to deal with.  I stuffed the refrigerator freezer full, an electric cooler full and a back up small fridge/freezer in effort to save everything until I could get to canning.  Alas, the electric cooler stopped running and eventually so did the old back up fridge/freezer.  I did lose some food but not much and not any meat which is so darned expensive!!

Before I post the pictures I want to talk to you a little bit about forgiveness.  We all have times in our lives when we need to forgive someone for something hurtful they said or did.  Carrying a grudge does you no good.  The bible tells us that we must forgive others if we expect God to forgive us.  I hold true to this and can forgive anyone.  However, I do not believe we are expected to put ourselves back in harms way if we feel the offense would happen again.

Recently I was the receiver of some very hurtful words.  It was not the first time.  The offender said, "it was just a joke".  That is a poor excuse to me.  Those kinds of jokes hurt!  They cut deep and not easily forgotten, especially by someone who has been the victim of verbal and mental abuse.  I did forgive this person in my heart but have chosen to cut the ties, at least for now.  I do not want the added stress in my life.  There is a lot on my plate that no one knows about but me and God.  Had it been a one time thing I probably would have chalked it up to the person having a bad day.  After all, we all have them. (In fact that is what I did the first couple of times it happened and never said a word to this person.  Perhaps that was my mistake and I should have said something sooner?)   However, this was becoming a recurring habit that I have no desire to subject myself to again.  Is it OK to choose not to have ties with a person that hurt you even after you have forgiven them in your heart?  I believe it is.  Take the person who has been brutally beaten, they still need to forgive but should they then continue a relationship with that person?  I don't think so!!  Hurtful words can often be much worse than bruises from a beating.  Those words never fade away like bruises do.  Don't be a bully then excuse it off!!

OK, enough said, I'll get off my soap box now and get to the real subject at hand, canning, LOL.

Put about 2 inches of water in your pressure canner.

Get your meat and other supplies ready.  My meat was pre-cooked and needs to be heated as I plan on putting it in hot broth and a pre-heated canner.

This was from the drippings when I roasted the chickens.  The fat rose to the the top and will be scooped out and thrown away as I do not want all that fat in my canned product.  The remaining broth will be drizzled over the chicken when I put it in the pans to heat in the oven.  I will also cover the pans with foil so it holds the moisture in and the chicken won't dry out.

I have two pans of meat ready to heat in the oven.  On low about 300F.  It will be heating while I heat chicken broth and the canner water.

Heating up my chicken broth.  This will be used to ladle over the chicken in the jars.

All my jars were washed thoroughly and kept in scalding water until ready to fill.  I use a rubber spatula to work out any air pockets that might form while filling the jars.  I pack the jars tight with meat then slowly ladle in the broth.  Leave about 1/2 inch of head-space in the jars.  Work out the air bubbles then wipe the rim to get any food or moisture removed.  Then put on the lid and band and place in the canner.

When loading the canner make sure you leave space between the jars so the water can move freely when boiling.  Don't over load the canner so the jars touch!!

Secure the lid to the canner.  Once steam starts to come out of the top where the pressure gauge goes you can then place the gauge for the amount of pressure recommended in the recipe.  This was at 10lbs pressure.

Once the gauge starts to rattle that it has reached the 10lbs of pressure turn down the heat so it rattles slow but steady.  Once you have the pressure regulated start timing.  Pints need about 1 hour and 15 minutes in the canner.  Once the time is done, turn off the heat.  It will take and hour or two to cool down enough to safely remove the gauge and open the canner.  If there is still pressure in the canner when you open it, it could blow up in your face so take caution and do not rush it!!  Before opening the canner, jiggle the regulator gauge, if no steam comes out you are safe to open but still open slowly, lifting the lid away from you as you do.  It will still be very hot.

The jars will still be very hot.  Handle with caution!!  I always set my jars on a towel away from drafts.  A cold counter or a cold draft can cause your jars to crack.  Let them cool completely.  Then remove the bands and check the seals to make sure they are tight.  Wash the jars and bands off, label with date they were canned.  No need to put the rings back on.  Store in a cool dark place until ready to use.

Canned foods can last a lifetime but will start to lose their flavor after 3 years.  By dating the label you will know when you need to rotate out your inventory if you still have some left.

This chicken will be used in stews, soups, chicken and noodles, chicken and dumplings or drained and made into a chicken salad, just to name a few things.  I canned two big batches of chicken that day and am very happy the meat did not go to waste.

The wonderful thing about having canned goods in the pantry is you do not need electricity to store them!!  Tomorrow I am going to can some left over ham.  I got a great bargain on a whole ham but it is way too much meat for two people to eat at one time.  If you have never canned before but want to try, I recommend "The Ball Blue Book of Canning".  It costs about $10 and can be found most places canning supplies are sold.  It is filled with recipes and "how to's" for the beginning canner.  I actually used this book to learn how to can and still have it today.

Until next time,,,,,,,,,,Blessings!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Things to come,,,,,,,,


This will be a short post today, I have so much to get done.  As I told you last week my freezer died with a large amount of food in it.  I managed to get get most of the food into the freezer in the refrigerator, a back up small refrigerator and my electric cooler.  I did give away a few things to some folks who could really use the help.  Yesterday I roasted 6 whole chickens and picked the meat off the bones.  I saved the broth and refrigerated both it and the meat.  Today I am washing canning jars and my pressure canner to get it ready for canning tomorrow.  I hope to remember to take some pictures of the process for posting next week.

Once the chicken is done I will be working on the tomatoes.  I had several bags of Roma tomatoes from my garden last year that I had frozen.  I did not have time to can them last year as I was in the process of moving.  Now I have no choice.  They are thawing and need something done with them.  I plan on making spaghetti sauce and perhaps some stewed tomatoes to can.  Again I will try to take some pictures of the process and post them.

I was going to start canning the chicken today and then remembered I need to make a trip to the grocery store as it is discount day and I can use that extra 10%.  I did not want to have a mess in the kitchen and have to go out so decided to wait until tomorrow to can.  Besides, it is a hot humid day today and tomorrow is predicted to be much cooler.

So, the things to come are pictures and descriptions of canning meat and tomatoes, LOL.

About a half hour ago the monthly emergency siren test was sounded.  It reminded me of how many emergencies can come up in our lives each day.  And how important it is to always be prepared.  I have a basic first aid kit in the car and one in the house for minor injuries.  There is always extra food stocked up in the pantry that is rotated out so it does not go out of date.  I also have water stored in large jugs to use for cooking, cleaning and drinking.  The water is also rotated out so it does not get stale or go rancid.  I feel blessed to have a good sized pantry room in my basement to stock up for emergencies.  I have extra soaps, detergents, paper products, bleach, shampoo, etc.  Every need can be met for several months if need be.  Including supplies for my pets.

The area that I live in in Illinois is subject to tornadoes, ice storms and sometimes large amounts of snow, also flooding, so being prepared is surely a necessary.  A few years back an ice storm left some of my neighbors without utilities for 2 weeks.  Because of the ice it was difficult to get around for a few days and to go shopping for food and supplies.  I did not have to worry because I had a full pantry and a back up plan!!  I hope everyone is prepared when need be.

Until next time,,,,,,,Blessings!!