Why the blog?

I write as the Spirit moves me. I have prayed about what I'm supposed to do with my life a lot. A lot. Writing. Writing is what I believe God is leading me to do. Whether or not He wants me to write for anyone to read is His business. Much of my writing has been therapy for me so maybe I'm the only one who is supposed to read it. So, why the Blog? As a sounding board, a note pad, a place to keep my ideas and thoughts. A place to share and promote my books, and photography. Written prayers, a place to vent. Possibly, even a place for the unknown reader to learn about the love of Jesus.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Oatmeal Banana Bread

When I was a little girl, my mother always held onto the "rotten" bananas and made banana bread.  As an adult, I do the same thing.  I buy a bunch of bananas and the leftovers either go into banana pancakes or banana bread.  Every time I make it, I tweak the recipe just a little.  This time, I think I finally have a winner!  I'll let you be the judge.  I'm calling this "banana bread", however, there's a lot more in it than just the bananas.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup Agave
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups mashed bananas (3 to 4)
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 tsp ground cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 cup each:  raisins, shredded unsweetened coconut, chopped almonds

Process:
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Lightly beat the eggs, add the remaining wet ingredients, stir well.  Add dry ingredients.  
Spray 9 x 5 loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray (or two 8 x 3.5 aluminum pans).
Pour mix into pan(s).

Bake 50 to 60 minutes, cover out of oven with foil for 5 minutes.  (for smaller pans 35 minutes plus cover for 5).
Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then out of pan until cooled.  I like to eat it warm!





Oatmeal banana bread with lots of yummies inside.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

I absolutely love chocolate chip cookies!  Who doesn't?  Well, people with dairy allergies like me think they/we cannot safely eat them.  We are wrong.  At my grocery store I found dairy-free chocolate chips. As always, I found a way to make dairy-free cookies.   This recipe is loosely based on Nestle's cookie recipe. 

Ingredients:
2-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetend, natural apple sauce
3/4 c sugar in the raw (puree in food processor for a fine grain)
3/4 c packed brown sugar (or Agave nectar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 package of dairy-free chocolate chips

Step 1:
Mix sugars, vanilla, apple sauce, and eggs, add remaining ingredients.
Step 2:
Spray 2 cake rounds with cooking spray, pour mixture in, divide evenly.  Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes.  If your oven seems too hot, to prevent burning, turn it down to 300 and cook longer.  It's done with the top is brown and feels firm to the touch. 
Step 3:
Invert out of the pans and cool.

Dairy-free ganache:
This recipe is very loose, meaning you don't have to be exact.  Here's what I did on the last cake:
2.5 squares Baker's semisweet chocolate
1 c dairy-free chips (same ones as above)
3 Tbs coconut milk

Take a 2-quart pan fill 1/3 with water.  Set a glass oven-safe bowl on top.  It should not fit inside, rather rest on the edges.  Turn burner to medium high.  Melt the chocolate in the double boiler (the contraption above).  Use a rubber spatula to stir frequently.  Add the coconut milk a little at a time.  More milk makes it runny, less very thick. Play with it until you get the consistency you like.  The ganache should be hot but not boiling!


bottom layer of chocolate chip cookie cake

Spread ganache over bottom layer.

Finished chocolate chip cookie cake


The rest goes on top.  Let cool. Dig in. 

OPTIONAL FILLING:

1 cup peanut butter, any kind
1/2 cup dairy-free margarine or soy butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbs almond milk

In mixer, mix until smooth and creamy.  Pile onto bottom layer of cake with spatula, spread evenly.



For cookies, spoon onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, cook 3-5 minutes then flatten with a greased spatula.  Cook another 5 minutes. 



Monday, September 17, 2012

Dairy-free bread recipe

I love to bake.  The first thing I remember baking was a batch of Snickerdoodle cookies for my Grandpa's birthday. They were his favorite.  Over the years I have learned to "tweak" recipes to my own liking out of the fun of it and because of my dairy allergy.  I'm also a runner so even though I have a huge sweet tooth, I like to know what I'm eating and prefer home-made to store bought.  I bought a bread maker a few years ago and quickly wore it out.  That didn't stop me.  I simply use the recipe manual as a "guide" and mix the ingredients in my Kitchen-Aid mixer.  

Because of my dairy allergy, I've been playing around with bread recipes and have found one that I really like.  Here are two. The Oatmeal bread is below:

1 cup + 3 Tbs coconut milk, room temperature
2 Tbs coconut oil
3 Tbs molasses
1-1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3-1/4 cups Whole Wheat flour   

Put the ingredients in a mixer in order listed above.  Wet ingredients need to be warm (80 degrees F).  Let sit for 5 or 10 minutes then mix well, approximately 5 minutes. If you don't have a mixer with a dough hook, mix and knead by hand until well incorporated.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm area for 30 minutes to an hour until dough has about doubled.  (I turn the oven on to lowest setting when I start, then turn it off, put the mixer in the oven with door vented.)  Mix again for another minute (or knead by hand) i.e. punch down the dough.  Roll it by hand (shape), not on the counter, in your hands like playdough. If the dough sticks to your hands, spray them with cooking spray. Transfer dough into greased bread pan or baking sheet.  Let sit for another hour, this time on the counter is fine unless your house is cooler than 78 degrees.  In that case, a sunny window sill or the oven will work.  Take your time, let the dough rise.  Bake at 350 for at least 30 minutes.  I usually start with a cold oven, seems to give the yeast a little boost.   Bread is finished when thumping on the top sounds hollow. 

The pictures below are the loaf made today:







Oatmeal bread:
1-1/2 c warm water (80F)
2 TBS honey (raw, local)
2.5 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp salt
1 TBS olive oil
1 cup ground oats
2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Directions:  Place the water in a mixer.  Add the honey and dissolve.  Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let rest for 10 minutes.  Add salt and olive oil.  Mix lightly.  Add oats and flour.  Turn on the mixer and mix well.  Cover and let rest one hour.  Prepare your baking dish by spraying with cooking spray.  For round buns use small ceramic bowls.  You can use traditional bread pans and even free form.  Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes for small loaves or rounds, 30-35 for large loaf pan.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal bread



Do you know how many times the word "yeast" is used in the Bible?  I counted 57. (www.Biblegateway.com).

Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.



Sunday, September 9, 2012

Scars

I have a lot of scars. You know, those discolored, ugly lines on your skin (not wrinkles) that form after a cut or a wound.  Each one of them is tied to a memory.  I was looking at one the other day and realized I really have a lot.  Did that mean I was really clumsy? Did it mean I've had a very physical life? Was it self-abuse?  Some of them I call "war wounds" and show them off. Others are hidden and no one ever sees them.  

Let me tell you about a few.  My very first one is on my right ankle.  Its about 3.5 inches long.  When I was 3 years old I was riding on the back of my mother's bike.  This was before car seats and baby bike seats.  My dress somehow got caught and as I was pulling it out I forgot about my feet.  My right foot went into the spokes of the bicycle.  It happened right in front of a neighbor's house that my mother knew. I vividly remember sitting on the edge of the sink and the water being blood red.  I was rushed to the hospital where the wound was stitched up.   I can still see eight little dots on either side of the cut from the sutures.  

While I'm at my feet, there are three scars on my left foot.  One at the base of my 4th toe where I did a somersault into a carpet tack. Second grade I think.  One on the inside border where I walked into a drill my step-father left on the floor, and a fairly large scar on the top near my ankle from where my horse fell on me.  

That's kind of a funny story.  Some people came over, the day before 9th grade, that's freshman year of high school, my sister and I were asked to take their son or daughter horseback riding. I didn't want to go.  I jumped on the yearling (maybe she was 2) with no saddle.  Only the bridle and me in my flip-flops.  The horse I was riding on, in the street, slipped on some rocks and fell, landing on my left leg.  I was scraped up from knee to foot.  I jumped back on the horse and we raced home.  In the ER the doctor's were amazed nothing was broken.  The doctor said there was a rock embedded in my foot.  He holds up a bottle of something, said 'this is going to hurt' then started to pour the liquid.  I didn't feel a thing.  I recovered fully, but the memory lingers.  

I have a scar below my right knee.  Don't know from what. A scar on my right thigh from when my dog jumped into the pool and I was helping her out, one on my left from the cat.  Two of my proudest visible scars are from C-sections. I have a scar on my back from jumping over a barbed wire fence, two on my abdomen from mole removal, another on my chin from mole removal.  I have one on my left pinky from when my sister slammed a door on my hand and broke it, a long scar on my right pinky from a cat, and finally, I think, right index finger from broken glass. 

I don't remember the pain of any of these wounds.  Only the memories of the incidents remain.  Some are vague, some are almost too vivid.  

However, it's the scars you don't see that  haunt me. Those scars are the ones where the pain is remembered more than the event that caused them.  The invisible scars are the emotional scars that are not 'war wounds' and are difficult to deal with because we, I, typically do not talk about them.  I can look back and laugh about the above scars because they were mostly accidents.  Emotional scars only fade if we release them to the one who heals.

Some people have visible scars that are very much tied to the emotional ones. They are reminders of things in the past and often in the present.  Whenever I see someone with those types of scars I often want to know, what's their story, how are they dealing with both the physical and the emotional.  

Scars, both physical and emotional, are reminders. I'll never ride a horse barefoot again! I remember my children's birth every time I look in the mirror when getting dressed.  My emotional scars remind me that the people who created those scars are also wounded creatures.  Those scars help me remember to to love as I have been loved and to forgive as I have been forgiven.   Have you ever wondered why Jesus, who brought himself back to life after being beaten and crucified on the cross, left the scars on his hands?  

John 20:24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Maybe those scars were left only for Thomas. 

John 20:26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said,“Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Some people need a little reminder.  I look at my scars differently now.  Not only do they remind me of events in my life, they also remind me of Jesus. He was scarred so that I can live. 

What do your scars mean to you?

Colleen Wait Edits

Colleen Wait Edits

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This YouTube channel was created to add video to my blog.  Read it here:  www.colleenwaitwrites.blogspot.com.  I write about my life, my books, my family, my cats and kids, and of course travel.