Saturday, February 1, 2014

Pop tarts and Banana Bread

I love to bake.  If I had inexhaustible energy, I would throw all else to the wind, and just bake all day.  Well, there are a few days I have thrown all else to the wind and done that.  But I didn't have inexhaustible energy.  By the end of the day, I felt like Medusa looked.  Another picture image could be Pigpen from Charlie Brown cartoon series.  Although, the reason he looked that way was from never showering...

Yep, rabbit trail.

SO, I have been chomping at the bit to do some baking posts.  Something to do with time and not enough of it.  And maybe because when I do have time, I'm baking or something else.  :-)

Homemade Pop tarts

Mmmm!!  These turned out great.  I used a Goiabada filling that is plentiful here in Brazil.  Goiabada is a sort of stiff marmalade made from guavas.  Guavas are a tropical fruit but you might be able to find Goiabada in stores in the States in the ethnic isle.  Otherwise, any jelly filling works great, or even things like chocolate bar pieces.


Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together:
2 Cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Teaspoon salt

Add with pastry blender or fork:
1 Cup butter (or margarine), cut into smaller pieces

1 Egg and 2 Tablespoons milk, whisked together.

NOTE:  Keep everything as cold as you can, even refrigerating your flour ahead of time.  I always keep my baking goods in the fridge because it stays fresher longer anyway.  This just creates a nice, flaky crust.

Briefly kneed the dough.  Don't try to make it all smooth, but leave some pea-size chunks of butter.  It does need to stick together though, so kneed enough to have a real dough.  You can refrigerate until ready to use, or move onto rolling it out.

Separate into 2 halves, refrigerate the other.  Roll out the dough to about 1/8" thickness.  Try to roll out in a rectangle shape since you want to cut 3"x4" squares out (or smaller even).

I just cut my Goiabada and stuck it in the middle of the squares.  Try to create "matching" squares of dough to go over the filling.

Cover the filled square with matching dough, crimp edges with edge of fork, and poke some holes on the top so it doesn't balloon in the oven.  And they look cool.  Before placing in oven, brush the tops with some whisked egg and lightly sprinkle some sugar on top.  This just adds a finished look to it.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Banana Bread

This keeps kids fed and helps fill up hollow legs.  Yes, I'm a professional author about hollow legs.  Having 3 boys in (almost) their teens qualifies one to write professionally about it.  And banana bread is a must have.  You'll see why below.

Double Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350.

Smooch together in a mixing bowl with beater:
 6-8 ripe bananas

Add and mix well:
1 1/2 Cups sugar
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup oil
1 Teaspoon vanilla

Mix together and add to above:
3 - 3 1/2 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons baking soda

Add the floor by hand with a mixing spoon instead of beater.  You don't want to over mix the dough.  Stir until all flour has been "enveloped" well by the wet mix.  Add more flour if needed, but it needs to be runny-ish-like...  I also like to replace some of my flour with wheat germ and oat bran, differing in various amounts but never more than 1 cup of the flour.
Butter and flour 2 molds and pour dough/batter in, leaving enough space (about 1 inch) for it to rise.  Sprinkle sugar on top.  I like to use the large grain sugar.

Bake for about 1 hour, checking by inserting a toothpick in middle.  If it comes out clean, it's done.

Allow to cool and cut into 1 inch or so pieces.  But don't turn your back...

...or all you'll have left is the heel of one of the loaves.   Sheesh.  Those hallow legs can become troublesome at times.  But, I guess that's why you are making the banana bread in the first place!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Flesh, Spirit, and Time

Time is an interesting thing.  As humans, everything we do revolves around time.  Especially in the Western mindset.  Then you move to a Latin country, and bam!, time isn't as important anymore.  People and events take priority over time.  Detailed schedules and pacing your day to accommodate events based on when they occur just don't happen.  It truly is a change of culture and way of living. 

I must be adapting into our Latin culture because I noticed I haven't blogged since July!  How unWestern is that?!  Sheesh...

In reality I have blogged many times in my head since then.  I've had some amazing pieces.  You would have been impressed.  Some deep theological/spiritual thoughts, some humor mixed with regional mishaps, some personal thoughts...  It was good.  Maybe one day scientists will learn how to infiltrate our brain and connect it to blogs, FB, Twitter...  Hmm, maybe not a good idea.  Plus, we already have that with God.  Why ruin a good thing. 

Probably the most important thing is that between then and now I have done a mega amount of growing.  Yep, mega.  There's something about living through ups and downs in life that sweetens our disposition to change.  You have to ascertain if you'll be changed toward something good, or if it sours your soul. 

The most important lesson I have been learning is I have held on to this earthly life too dearly.  It's all about me.  It's about my wants and needs and when they are not satisfied, I rebel.  Sometimes I can get really nasty (especially within my own family) or it's internal when around others. 

Why is that?  It's the battle between the flesh of this world and the spirit of God living in me.  Since we are not in our glorified bodies yet, we wrestle daily with making decisions.  So how do we make the right decision?  What is the right decision? 

Very basic to begin with.  You either believe there is a God or you don't. 

If you believe God exists, than know He has left us a manual: the Bible.  For the moment, throw out religion; that is, churches and denominations and any other preconceived thoughts you have about God.  Take a Bible and talk to God, ask Him to teach you what you need to know and begin reading like crazy.  Begin to truly understand this life. 

Christianity is and isn't about time.  It's about time in the sense that the passing/doing of an event molds you, stretches you, grows you.  Or you can be stagnant I guess.  You don't have to grow.  But really feeling life and existing through the eyes of the Creator brings contentment, even as you live in a dead world.

Pst, this is a dead world.  This is not what God intended.  But He gave free will and choice.  If you get stuck on the evil of this world, it's no wonder you get angry at God.  But the open eyes of the one that sees this free will created it, also realizes God allows you to choose.  A demanded love and respect is not love. 

So, I have been going through my own wrestling matches.  But it has helped me know God more.  The turning point was listening about Jesus' temptation and the whole 40 days in the desert thing.  There is no more powerful real-life understanding than fasting to see we are truly a meld of flesh and spirit.  I did some "real" (I've attempted before and never really learned from it) fasting during a critical time in my life.  My eyes were opened to the war of flesh and spirit.  Let's just say the spirit was strengthened. 

But it's a daily war.  And with each new battle and victory, I become better prepared for the next.  The spirit takes charge a little more each time, creating contentment over the sorrows and disappointments of the flesh.  To borrow a phrase, it's a good thing.

Do you have some time?  I encourage you to listen to this sermon/message from Pastor Bob Coy about fasting.  I think you'll enjoy it.  You'll laugh, you'll cry, it'll move you.  Just do it.  Trust me.

Find Them, Feed Them - Tempted