Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Multi-Tasking Rice Cooker

So, last week we received a rice cooker for review.

I love rice cookers. I feel lazy when I say that, because rice is not hard to make. But, the rice cooker really is a handy appliance.

But, this new one is just plain fun. No, I’m not reviewing it here. I’m just going to show you one of the things we did with it last weekend.

This particular model has multiple settings to show some of the other things you can do with the appliance. And, as Alton Brown so wisely points out, there is no room for unitaskers in a kitchen. Any appliance or tool needs to have multiple uses. Why not the rice cooker?

Why not indeed?

Anyway, this particular one claimed to be able to cook a cake. Now, the directions said that a box cake would take 50 minutes, so it doesn’t save time. What, then, might be the advantage? We just HAD to give it a try to find out!

Angie and I mixed up an apple cake. Yeah, a little more dense than the regular cake mix. So, I figured it would take extra time.

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But, we mixed it up, glopped it into the rice cooker, and turned it on for 50 minutes.

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Then I came back and turned it back on, setting my timer for another 25 minutes.

Wait, what happened to the finished product?

Well…I neglected to get a picture before it was consumed. Take my word for it, though. It was not only picture-perfect, it was absolutely delicious. The texture was amazing, complete with a crispy top and bottom. Oh my!

So, what’s the advantage? Well, in the hot summer, this will let off little extra heat. The even heating made for an awesome texture. And, if you use a regular cake recipe rather than one that’s more like a quick bread, you can turn it on and then just let it switch over to warm when it’s done.

Okay, so maybe this does sound a bit like a review. But, it was more just fun. Oh, and yummy!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

We Got To!

How many times do we get excited because we get to serve?

Our plan for yesterday was for the whole family to spend much of the afternoon finishing up some work around the church, little tidying tasks leftover from a work day on Monday. Then we’d finish the evening by prepping the dinner for our association’s executive board meeting, held at our church this time around.

But I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a bus, lacking the energy to do much of anything that required me being up off the couch.

So, Doug and the kids went up to the church without me.

As the evening meal was ending and the meeting was getting started, I drove up to the church to pick up the kids and bring them home. They started sharing about the afternoon and evening, and they excitedly said, “We got to serve the meal tonight!”

We got to…

They were so excited because they were given the privilege of standing behind the food table and placing food on people’s plates. It was such an honor for them.

This is not a first, but every time it happens, it humbles me. Am I ever even half so happy to serve?

May they always have this heart. May it bleed over into all aspects of life. And may I learn from it, becoming more like Christ because of the Christ-like example I see in my children.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Not Quite Ordinary Observations

For Today...Monday, January 19, 2015

In the great outdoors...partly cloudy after a couple of days of bright sunshine. But also much warmer. Supposed to reach 69°today, which means there will be outside play in the forecast!

Within our four walls…a little more progress on the reorganization. Still need to purge and problem solve a few things in the kitchen to tackle the rest of it.

A heart of thanksgiving...for stuff. Because I get to learn to let go of it. I don’t always like to let go, but it feels good when I do it. I love to see huge piles of giveaway items or even trash, knowing that those piles mark a little more letting go. And letting go of physical things teaches me to let go of things emotionally and mentally as well, trusting God with all of it. Constantly learning.

Also thankful for sunshine and warmer temps yesterday morning when a squirrel decided to give its life in demonstration of the evils of electricity. The little bugger caused two transformers to burst into flames, knocking out power to about 600 customers at 8:00 on Sunday morning. But, the sunshine and warmth allowed us to continue on with church with only minor adjustments. What a blessing!

A heart of prayer...for Doug as he handles some schedule adjustments over the next two weeks (and myself as I also deal with some of them); for our church and the HEDUA team as we work out the practical details of maintaining a passion for service to the Lord and a surrender to His will; for spiritual needs galore.

Random observations...Does anyone else ever overcompensate for the new year? As in saying, “I just can’t believe it’s already 2015?!” then turning around and accidentally writing 2016 on something? No? Just me? Okay.

My silly children...were all a bit sluggish this morning. Hopefully they’ll pep up as the day and week move on! But, considering the amount of food all three have been eating lately, my assumption is that the sluggishness has to do with more growth spurts. *sigh*

Thoughts from the kitchen...no more deep freezer! Yay! No, that is not to say we got rid of it. Goodness, I wouldn’t know what to do without that thing! We bought a floor model upright freezer even before Olivia was born, I think, and it has survived all these years and five moves. It allows us to bulk purchase and has really stretched out grocery budget over the years, very quickly paying for itself many times over.

But, we have really wanted to figure out how to get it out of the kitchen. It’s been plugged into a pretty loaded circuit, and we’ve tripped the breaker on numerous occasions. Saturday proved perfect for working in the garage. We got it back in shape, purged a little more, AND found room for the freezer out there. I’ll have to get used to not being able to just snag something quickly from it (which means I need to keep the fridge freezer much better organized). But, it will be worth it!

 On my bookshelf...still the same books as last week, although I did make great progress on Beyond All Dreams this weekend. In fact, I’m almost done, which is a pretty rotten place to be on a Monday morning. I’d much rather curl up and finish it than be diligent!

Projects...continuing to make progress on the reorganization. Some of the kitchen changes have removed flat surfaces (like the freezer top) where some appliances, their attachments, and our cutting board holder had been stored. That problem solving is my major project for the week.

Sounds of the moment...Steven & Read playing; girlies washing dishes before school (they’re so sweet!)

From Hibbard Academy...Steven gets the day off since Read is here, but the girls and I will be diving in. I got it all planned and then promptly let it slip my mind what we’re doing this week. This, my friends, is why I have planners. Just can’t keep it all straight it my head!

A favorite thing from last week...chatting with an author via e-mail. I love my job!! And chatting with Joanna via Skype about field trips we’d love to take together when they get back to Arkansas. I love my friends!

The planner...Doug has a work day today at church. Otherwise, a normal week – I think.

Because visuals are fun...Angie’s knit project turned into a cape for Jack. I’m not sure he was entirely appreciative.2015-01-17 09.18.08