Saturday, June 19, 2010

Grocery Store Friends

For the last couple of years I have been making friends with the workers at my local Walt's. My first Walt's friend was a manager named Bob. From there it was a guy in frozen who ended up referring to me as 'sexy' in front of the man in the pharmacy. I've had to stop being his friend. There's Jim, who loves tennis, is my age, lives at home, and is gay. Rita is a cashier who in her mid 60's works another full time job at a trucking company. When she realized I was pregnant with Anna (I was about 7 months along before she could tell) her eyes lit up and the sweetest expression crossed her face. Dan was employee of the year last year. He just completed his first year at a local community college, and is now in his summer session. He has six brothers and sisters. One of his brothers has severe epilepsy and I can tell immediately when he has been hospitalized again. His Mom is remarried and currently finishing her doctorate; she is the dean of students at ITT. Then there is Joe. I haven't asked his age, but he is old. He walks to work and I often stop to pick him up. The girls are torn between thinking that it's nice of me to do this, and that I'm strange. Joe is a prostate cancer survivor, still has his Boston accent, swears like a sailor, and smells bad. I'm sorry, but he does. He's called me his guardian angel. Today for the first time he heard that I follow Jesus.

You see, my Walt's friendships started out innocently enough, but now I have an ulterior motive: Jesus.

I'd been torn on how and when to speak to Joe about Jesus. Two days ago, when I asked Joe how he was, he said "not so good. " He had fallen and badly bruised his ribs on his right side. He shouldn't have been working as he was unable to even bend over to put a tee in the ground (the man loves golf). But there he was, bagging groceries. I told him I'd send up a prayer for him, he acknowledged it, and I was true to my word. I prayed for fast and complete healing for Joe.

I was at Walt's today and stopped by Joe to check in. I asked how he was and he told me he was much better, every day he is feeling much better. I wasn't surprised, but I was thankful. I told him in no uncertain terms that I had prayed for him and asked Jesus to heal him. He said "Have a direct line do you?" And I said "Well, I have a relationship with him, I know him personally." And he says with a smirk," You talk to him all day?" And I said, "Yes, of course." He gave me a "Good for you." Again he said that he was doing much better and I said "See? Jesus heals." At this point I'm thinking he thinks I'm a nut so I ask him about Father's Day and then we say goodbye.
I'm so glad that I finally had this opportunity today, and I'm hoping more comes of it.

I had a little inroad with Dan today too (it was a good Walt's day!). I found out he and his family are conservative. As he went back to work I threw in a "Dan, I'm so glad to find out that you're conservative, now we can really be friends." He laughed, clearly pleased. For whatever reason, this fact makes me feel like I'll be able to talk to him about Jesus at some point too.

I have loads of other stories based around Walt's. I know, it's weird, but it's kind of my mini-mission field. David Jeremiah reminded me in my devotional today: "One person praying on earth can move angels in heaven." Isn't that a great thought? I am so thankful to have prayer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Don't you love ribs?

I love summer nights. And I especially love the smell of my grill cooking up some ribs. Mmmm. Like tomato basil soup and white chocolate fruit tart, I also happen to make really good ribs. And I make my own bbq sauce. The ribs are simple. The bbq sauce, not so much. And since I'm considering bottling the stuff, I'm not sharing. The night I first made it I only made a small portion, figuring it wouldn't be anything special and that John wouldn't like it. At the table he looks in my little bowl of homemade sauce and asks, "What's that?" I answer that it's just something I mixed up. He tried it, sat back and proclaimed "That is the best sauce I have ever had. That is everything bbq sauce should be!" Score!

I know, so rude to talk about it and then not divulge. I will however be happy to have you over to try it. That is, if you like a good KC style vinegary sauce. Oh man, my mouth is watering.

Anyway, the ribs:
Huge sheet of tin foil
baby backs
raspberry vinegar*

Lay the ribs out on your tin foil. Douse each side liberally with the vinegar and then rub in a light sprinkling of paprika.
Slow cook for two hours, flipping occasionally.
That's it. No par-boiling and only two ingredients.
*Apple Cider vinegar will work too, but the raspberry really gives them a great flavor.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Statements that I love, by Holland

"Daddy look, I can see that police officer's arresters!" (Handcuffs)

While explaining to me the food pyramid, she then pointed out it is only for people in the desert.

On how I should tell John we need a water slide: "You just say 'Hey! I'm the Mom here, and I want one'"

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I'm a what?

This has been in my 'crawl' (as John would say) for the last few months. Popping up every now and then reminding of my new 'shame.' Background...

Back in April I combined Easter with Alyssa's 11th Birthday party. Great day, delicious food, family. Then extra family showed up. My uncle and his daughter were out on the Harley and stopped in to chat. Fun! I love company! I turn on my hospitality charm and offer drinks and food, chairs and conversation. In a little while Alyssa pipes up asking to open gifts and I say 'Yes, but first let me get all this cleaned up." From the other end of the room my cousin pipes up: "When did you turn into a fuddy duddy?" "Accchh, acchh (coughing, maybe gagging). "

Fuddy Duddy? Immediate thoughts: 1. You just used the term 'fuddy duddy.' What does that make you? 2. Cleaning up cake plates before opening gifts makes me a fuddy duddy? Oh boy. Good thing she isn't here everyday.

Now today I remembered this: this cousin who with another cousin (now, I'm just going to tell you, these girls are between 5 and 8 years younger than me), told me two years ago they were thinking of going to visit another cousin (we have a big family) in Mexico City, and that while talking about it, they decided there wouldn't be anyone more fun to go with then, ahem, me. Heck yeah! You know it ladies, I'm fun! F-U-N! Fun!

Fast forward two years. I'm F-U-D-D-Y D-U-D-D-Y.

I have this thing with my memory... it's not real good. Sometimes that's great- I can't remember every dumb thing I've ever done. Sometimes it's not so great- like how I can't remember upcoming events (both major and minor). So, I'm guessing that it's this 'thing' with my memory that caused me to forget that I'm not who I was. The change came so completely, and yet so subtly and gradually, sometimes I forget that I changed at all.

Hence the shock at being called a fuddy duddy. I never got the memo. Hopefully my girlfriends don't' get the memo either, because I love them and don't want them to catch on that their friend is lame.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

More food posts...

White Chocolate Fruit Tart

Oh my word. This is my favorite thing in the world. It's not my recipe though, it's from allrecipes, but I will put it here for you to drool over. The picture however, is mine, this is the one I made for Memorial Day. The star is a peach cut out with a cookie cutter.

Crust (basic shortbread):
3/4 Cup butter, softened
1/2 Cup confections sugar
1 1/2 Cup flour

1 8oz package cream cheese
1 12 oz package white chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1/4 heavy whipping cream
1 can pineapple chunks, reserve the juice
peaches are really good too
mandarin oranges, kiwi, blackberries, raspberries, etc have all been tried and approved as well!

3 T sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp lemon juice
this makes a lot of glaze, so I usually half it.

Cream your butter and sugar**. Slowly add your flour and mix well. Press into a spring form pan (this is what I use, they are the ones that the bottom releases from) or a pie plate. Prick the entire top with a fork to keep it from puffing. Bake at 300 for 25-30 mins or until lightly browned. Let it cool on a wire rack.

For your filling, mix your melted and cooled chips with your whipping cream. Add cream cheese and beat until smooth. Spread over your cooled crust and refrigerate for 30 mins*. Drain your pineapple, saving the juice, and decorate your tart with fruit.

For glaze, in a small sauce pan mix sugar and cornstarch. Add lemon juice and reserved pineapple juice and stir until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium heat, constantly stirring to thicken as you would a roux. Cool, and brush over all of your fruit. I use a small paint brush.

*I often make this ahead of time by prepping the crust, baking it off and covering. I mix the filling and refrigerate overnight. I then assemble the whole thing shortly before serving. I've made them as little individual tarts, and that works great too.

** I use my kitchen aid for all the mixing/beating steps. A hand held mixer will work great too, make sure your bowl is large enough to prevent having to clean filling off of your walls.