Canning History!

Canning season is upon us! I can’t talk about canning without there being a canning history lesson. Join me as I take us on a little “canning history adventure”. So buckle up friends. Here we go in our DeLorean with Michael J. Fox, aka “Marty McFly”. Dr. Brown has set the time for 1795 and we are about to take off and drop in on Napoleon Bonaparte.

Necessity is the mother of invention

Napoleon and the current war he was fighting, soon found frustration in keeping his army of men fed. Frazzled by the constant travel, rotting food rations, molding hard bread, or no food at all, Napoleon offered a reward for any person who could invent a way to preserve food.

Roughly fifteen years later, a gentleman by the name of Nicolas Appert wins the award which was twelve thousand francs. During the previous fifteen years before winning the award, Nicolas was a chef and worked tirelessly over that time period experimenting with ways to preserve food in glass jars for easy transport.

Appert’s method was based on the premise that food stuff such as vegetables, jam and soups could be preserved by first sealing them in a jar and then holding the jar in boiling water for several hours. All the air had to be sucked out of the jar to create a vacuum which would prevent bacteria from decaying the food. The jar would then be sealed tightly with a cork, wire and sealing wax to complete the process.

Nicolas noted (I love this part) that he really didn’t understand how it works, but that it does. Don’t you just love that?! He experimented enough to know what failure was and what success was, and that he could time and time again reproduce that success.

Nicolas (like all successful people) went on to write a book (See, back then is no different from now) which became a wild bestseller. The book was called “The Art of Preserving All Kinds of Animal and Vegetable Substances for Several Years“. Oh man! Substances! Animal and vegetable substances… I got a kick out of that.

With his recent windfall of cash, between winning the money award for inventing the glass jar food preservation method and his best-selling book (No Amazon necessary!), Nicolas opened a bottling plant that preserved food for the soldiers, using his method. This bottling plant lasted one hundred years and closed in 1933.

Looking to improve the canning game

But mankind never just settles for good enough, and in 1810 enter the tin can via Peter Durrant. Recognizing that glass jars can break, he decided to make a tinned version. This version was a cast iron that can be sealed by tin. Durrant, an Englishman, kept the Royal Navy fed with his tinned meat cans.

Whether it was glass jar canning or the cast iron tinned cans, the challenge was getting the water to boil faster. Somehow someone introduced calcium chloride, which made the temperature of the water rise faster, thus cutting down the time needed for sterilization of the jars and cans from boiling water. Genius!

From there. the idea of canning spread all over the world. The USA picked up the “Ball jar” and ran with it. Here is a quick rundown of a “Who’s Who of Canning”:

  • 1812-Robert Ayars opens the first American cannery
  • 1858-John L. Mason patents the Mason jar
  • 1884-The Ball Corporation starts manufacturing glass jars for home canning
  • 1903-Alexander H. Kerr and the Kerr Glass Manufacturing Corporation create a home canning supply business
  • 1914-Smith-Lever Act creates the official position of Home Demonstration Agent

Here’s a portion of the Smith-lever Act that created community classes:

SEC. 2. [7 U.S.C. 342] Cooperative agricultural extension work
shall consist of the development of practical applications of research
knowledge and giving of instruction and practical demonstrations of
existing or improved practices or technologies in agriculture, uses
of solar energy with respect to agriculture, home economics, and
rural energy, and subjects relating thereto to persons not attending
or resident in said colleges in the several communities, and imparting information on said subjects through demonstrations, publications, and otherwise and for the necessary printing and distribution
of information in connection with the foregoing; and this work shall
be carried on in such manner as may be mutually agreed upon by
the Secretary of Agriculture and the State agricultural college or
colleges or Territory or possession receiving the benefits of this Act.

This, if I am to understand correctly, is the genesis of the Home Economist Agent that each county, of each state, has. Let’s get back to our canning timeline!

  • 1915-Alexander H. Kerr is granted patent for his two-piece disposable metal canning lid
  • 1917- In steps the U.S. Department of Agriculture-pressure canning is the only safe way to process low-acid foods
  • 1943- Canning hits its peak. More than four billion cans and jars processed! WHOA!
  • 1945- Refrigeration hits the scene and all but elminates canning
  • 1970- Canning sees a resurgence with the use of home pressure-canners

Aw shucks! My word meter is loudly protesting my continuance of this fascinating timeline of canning history. Stay tuned friends! Till next week! Here is to good canned food, good friends, and a good life!

not shaken

Even in the Night, I Will Not Be Shaken

Shaken to my Core

If you knew me in my young years, you know that I was considered the Dairy Poster Child. I grew up on a family dairy farm. Once I left the farm, it seemed that there was nothing to talk about but cows. There was nothing like a tall glass of fresh milk right from the bulk tank. It’s what I missed the most, I think. It took me a while to get past the taste of pasteurized milk and I didn’t dare drink 2% milk. When I visited a friend’s home, they offered milk, I would ask, “Is it whole milk?”

So when I learned I have osteoporosis. It was quite a shock to me. For a day or two, I really could not grasp how it could be that my bones are not strong; that I was at risk for fractures and breakage. Adding this to all my other diagnoses was more than I could bare. LIke David, I cried out to God, “How long, oh Lord? I can’t take any more problems. Please no more pain.”

God Speaks

Since I had morning appointments that day, I didn’t get to sit down with the Lord until that afternoon. (Maybe that is why I was so shaken… I had not invite Him into my day yet.) Anyway, began giving me messages all day. As I did my study with Gracefully Truthful, He said to me, “I will not leave you as an orphan. I will come to you.” (John 14:18) Thank you, Lord for this reassurance. I began singing this song the rest of the day.

Encouragement from Friends

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”

Proverbs 16:24 NIV

They may have not known that what they shared was for me, but it was. All through the day, I received gracious words just at the right time. Have you ever seen a cross section of a bone? It’s like a honeycomb. Unless you have osteoporosis… then it’s more like swiss cheese. See National Osteoporosis Foundation

The words of my friends were like a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Friends offered up prayers. Sometimes it was just sharing a quote or a scripture. They had no idea that God inspired to share it for my purpose. That night my dear friend at Alabaster Girls post this prayer.

Father, I am loved by You, an extraordinary God, a good, good Father. Your love makes life worth living. Because of You I don’t have to be afraid of tomorrow.

You are my peace.

Thank You for Your grace that truly is sufficient to carry me through the difficult places. I don’t like the difficult places, Lord — You know that. And yet I find You there. You draw near and strengthen me. You pour out Your love on me and it quiets me, giving me strength.Help me keep my eyes on You, Lord.

In Your presence I find joy, courage, and the tenacity I need to keep moving forward.

Bless You, Lord. What a wonderful god You are.

In the Name of Jesus I pray, amen.

Nan Trammel Jones, The Alabaster Girls

But I Still Tossed and Turned for Many Nights

All these things and more I have known since my youth. I know that God will not abandon me. I know He will see me through. But I am tired andmy pain has been unbearable lately. Just the pain alone was waking my up and then my mind would start running away wondering what would happen next.

One of the girls from The Alabaster Girls group had friended me earlier that week but I was not “in the mood” to talk with a new person. She was from half way around the world. And I wasn’t share of her connection to me at that point. She kept gently prodding me to respond to her. But I like being the encourager and I didn’t have it in me to chat with someone new. Then she sent a audio clip… She sang “Pass me not, oh gentle Savior, hear my humble cry. While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.” And tears came to my eyes. It was my prayer. We chatted and I shared a bit of my story. She promised to pray for me.

Preaching to myself

On the second day, I saw the writing prompt for Five MInute Fridays – “STRONG”. I wondered, “Could I write about strong bones when it was so raw to me?” In the past, I have looked through my old posts to see if there was anything I could update and share. And there it was “When I am Weak, He is Strong“. As part of that post I shared an old hymn written by Annie Johnson Flint. I didn’t know it then, but Annie was orphaned as a child and but her teens suffered severe arthritis and was soon wheelchair bound. I’m learning more and more that it is those who go through great trial that have the most beautiful poetry and songs. Do you know her hymn, He Giveth More Grace”. That’s the grace God is giving me.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance

When our strength has failed ere the day is half done

when we reach the end of our hoarded resources

Our Father’s full giving is only begun

He GIveth More Grace, Annie Johnson Flint

I Will Not be Shaken

Finally, I stumbled on this scripture which woke me up to realize that God has got this. I do not need to be shaken. It is quite appropriate with words like: “even at night”, “my thoughts trouble me”, “I will not be shaken”, “my whole being rejoices”, “my body rests securely”, “You will not abandon me”, “You will not allow your faithful one to see decay”.

I will bless the Lord who counsels me—
even at night when my thoughts trouble me.
I always let the Lord guide me.
Because he is at my right hand,
I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad
and my whole being rejoices;
my body also rests securely.
10 For you will not abandon me to Sheol;
you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.
11 You reveal the path of life to me;
in your presence is abundant joy;
at your right hand are eternal pleasures.

Psalm 16:7-8

I Need to Memorize This Verse and Quote it in my Bed at Night

Interesting that just last year, verse 11 was my verse for the year. I should have read more of the context, eh?

A Word For You

Don’t allow the old devil to get you shaken. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus for in His presence we have abundant joy!


Once In A Blue Raccoon: Part Two

I left you last week with the story partially told of “Once In A Blue Raccoon”. Since then, if you have seen a blue raccoon, it has been at my house. In my pond. Swimming or drowning… it’s up for debate. But make a mess he or she did!

I had gone to bed around 9:30 pm, on the evening of June 9th. I left the water fountain on. Fairy lights were on as well, which I think was the major attractant to the raccoon. As if to say “Come take a dip, wreck my fountain, pull out the hose and drain the pond, leave the pump running; please.” Sigh.

In the early morning hours, after making coffee, of course, I slipped onto the deck to read and reflect when I took note that I did NOT hear my pond fountain or turtle spitter. Hmm. But I did hear a strange hum. So I sprang from my chair ran down the flight of stairs and found my pond had only inches of water left inside. The fountain lay hanging outside of the pond, the pump running with no water being pumped. The hose from the turtle spitter was completely detached.

The Crime Scene

Image by Sascha Barth from Pixabay

I didn’t realize it at first, but I was walking through the evidence. I had rushed to the aid of my poor pond pump, ran right over the body outline, and shot across the door stoop to unplug the pump electrical cord. Had I been watching where I was going I would have seen it. But I was far too concerned that my pond pump was shot.

After unplugging the pump electrical cord, I reached into the nearly empty pond and felt the pump. It was warm, but not hot, so I felt reasonably confident the pump would survive. I picked up the spitter hose that led from the pump to the spitter and reattached it. Grabbing the garden hose I began to fill up the pond.

As the pond began to fill, I let out our dog Tucker. Tucker immediately was on the case and began to sniff and sniff around the yard. Up over here and then down over there. In circles, out of circles till it dawned on me that he was following the scent of the raccoon.

As I followed Tucker following the raccoon, I could see raccoon paw prints on the driveway. They were cute, blue paw prints with splishy splashy drops alongside the footprints.

The bigger picture began to unfold as I stepped back and saw the blue body outline on the deck cement landing. Ah-ha! This is where he got out! Bet he thought he was going into some raccoon swim pool. Probably told his friends to “Wait in the shallow end where you can sit.” Then he went to the deep and got more than he bargained for. Took one big dive and hit the pump box, got scared, and tangled himself in the turtle spitter hose. And that friends, is where “the wheels fell off”- total mayhem.

Help I’m drowning and I can’t get out

Image by Andreas Hoja from Pixabay

Once the raccoon entwined himself with the hose, he probably realized it was going to be “live or die”. I’m sure a frantic swim began with raccoon arms flailing, raccoon screams, and chittering. Yanking and pulling at the hose and the fountain. Till all was disassembled and his “friends” decided trouble was afoot as the water was quickly being drained and so they promptly left.

Then after realizing he could stand in the water (this probably has described a few of us at the lake-we’ll say no more), calm returned, and with some exhaustion, he pulled himself out and laid on the patio cement landing. Let’s mark this as Crime Scene one and two. Pond and patio landing.

Crime Scene three will be the wandering trail on the grass, as the raccoon contemplated his near fate and vowed to never swim in the pond again. Crime Scene four will be the paw prints on the cement driveway leading up to the stoop under the patio.

That leaves us with Crime Scene five. Crime Scene five is another place of rest. Foot paw prints on the driveway leading up to the stoop. This is where our miscreant sits and eats my cat’s cat food, as he realizes his fur is blue… BLUE?! How in heaven’s name did I get blue fur? Ah… life choices have a way of catching up to us, sometimes leaving a mark- or dye in this case.

Book’em Danno

Image by waldiwkl from Pixabay

I hope the raccoon community got a good laugh as he returned home to the tree. But as I am reading about raccoons, they, like opossums, live a solitary life; getting together for spring rituals and then parting company. We humans mostly see mother raccoons and their kits.

I imagine he hid till dark and then headed for the nearest creek to begin the vigorous fur scrubbing to get the blue out of his fur. I and the rest of the house got a good laugh out of my raccoon tale. It’s good to have something to laugh about when the stuff of the world is so serious!

Till next time friends! Here is to good food, good friends, and a good dye job!

foot care feature

Foot Care – How to Have Healthy, Happy Feet

We don’t often think about foot care until the pain is excruciating. I recently have acquired an issue with my feet. I suspected that RA was affecting my healthy, happy feet. So did my rheumatologist. There’s a thing called Rheumatoid Nodules. RA can cause painful nodules to develop on various parts of the body, including the feet. I visited my orthopedic specialist. He suspects a neuroma of the foot. “A neuroma is a painful condition, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or a nerve tumor. It is a benign growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes. It brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot.” My orthopedic specialist focuses on knees and shoulders; so he has referred me to a foot specialist. So… we wait. {story of my life}

In the meantime, I started looking for ways to relieve the pain. My knees have been pretty painful as well so one evening I decided to take an Epson salt bath. It always relieves some of my Ra and Fibro pain. I was pleasantly surprised the next day that my foot pain was relieved as well… at least for the day. Then I purchased some Metatarsal gel footpads. These were very comfortable. Once I started walking, I never really felt them in my shoe. However, at the end of the day. I had a painful sore at the edge of the pad and between my toes where the hook had been. I only wore them one evening and the next day.

Foot Care Handbook

It turned out that NetGalley, the source I use for reviewing new books, had a new book by a reflexologist, Stephanie Tourles. It is a Foot Care Handbook. I downloaded the book to see if it might have some good advice for me. It’s a neat little handbook with five chapters.

Chapter 1 Greet Your Feet: Foot Care Basics

What would your feet tell you if they could speak to you? Probably something like, “You’re killing me! Quit wearing those ridiculous shoes!” There are basic things we should be doing for the health of your feet and, consequently, the rest of your body. Stephanie shares these basics with you and how to do them.

Did you know that you should be able to move each toe individually? It was news to me. I can only move my big toe separate from the others. I’m going to try to work on changing that!

Chapter 2: Foot Care Fitness: Stretching and Strengthening

Foot Fitness? Sure! Stephanie offers several great stretches and exercises for your feet. Foot care will relieve your pain in just a short time, I can tell you they are simple and profitable exercises.

Chapter 3: Foot Massage to Relax and Revive

The benefits of foot massage include reducing stress and anxiety, soothing the nervous system, and boosting circulation while minimizing any swelling. There’s more but I know this… It is helping my foot issues without having to get injections or surgery. A very good benefit.

She offers a recipe or two for homemade massage creams with essential oils! I didn’t have all the ingredients so I made do with what I had for the time being. Mary Kay’s Mint Energizing For Feet and Legs. Feels so good and relaxing, too.

Chapter 4: An Introduction to Foot Reflexology

I’ve always found it interesting that there are pressure points in your foot that create paths to all other parts of your body. Stephanie gives a great introduction to reflexology in this chapter. You might find you can relieve a lot of your pain and other issues if to study this chapter.

Chapter 5 Common Foot Problems, Uncommon Remedies

Here Stephanie talks about most of the common foot problems and offers suggestions on how to deal with them. An investment of $10-15 could save you lots of dollars for surgery and doctor visits.


UPDATE: Finally, two weeks later, I saw the foot specialist. The massage and exercises must have helped because he said my movement was good. No stiffness in the ankle. He decided I wouldn’t even need an injection between my toes. (PTL!) He gave me a Hapad shoe insert to try and sent me on my way… well until six weeks is up.

PS. Wide size shoes have been a great help for me

I live in Skechers! Here are the ones I love! the STATEMENTS are very flexible. You can actually fold them! The GetAways have awesome memory foam support at the ball of your feet.

Foot Care Handbook

This book is set to publish in December 2021, but you can order in advance now.

I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.

Once In A Blue Raccoon…

You might be asking yourself, “Hmm… Once in a Blue Raccoon?” What kind of recipe exchange is this? Well, friends, today it is not recipes, it’s a story. And yes, it very definitely is about a blue raccoon. Truly, if you see a blue raccoon it belongs to me; rather it has been at my home.

How does a raccoon get blue? Well, for the most part, it was very easy for the raccoon’s fur to turn blue. But getting the blue out of his/her fur, well, that’s another matter altogether. But thankfully, I do not have to concern myself over getting the blue dye out. Trying to bathe a wild raccoon to rid him or herself of blue-dyed fur would probably prove to be a daunting task. I would be up for the said task. If you’ve raised children, then the relation to raccoons probably isn’t much of a leap. I say that chuckling because as I help raise my grandson, there are days I wonder if he isn’t a part raccoon.

Raccoons equal mischief…

I told you way back, many articles ago, that I helped my DNR Wildlife Rehabilitator friend raise two batches of raccoon kits. I’ve had some experience feeding raccoons and you can always count on the following :

  • It will be very messy
  • Lots of reaching, grabbing, patting
  • Chewing with mouths open
  • Eyes looking everywhere else but their plate
  • Dumping over of all dishes
  • Touching someone else’s food
  • Growling

There. Have I not described what happens when you teach a baby through early toddler years to eat? Maybe not such much the growling. That comes from the adult supervisor- grr! Well, we have to laugh, don’t we? Life gets pretty serious and we must find our humor in everyday life and living it.

Here is the part where we enter the story of “Once In A Blue Raccoon”… not to be confused with the movie “The Blue Lagoon”. There is no Brooke Shields in my story, just some mischievous raccoon who was temporarily turned blue for his indiscretions.

Pipestone County Sherriff’s Report

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

You won’t see this story listed under the “Pipestone County Sherriff’s Report”, but it should have. The offenses?

  1. Trespassing
  2. Criminal Mischief
  3. Indecent exposure
  4. Vandalism

First, you must know that last year we installed a small pond under our patio. A very nice little pond with a turtle spitter, fountain, hosta’s, rocks, and various other flora. A nice windchime and this year’s new addition… solar fairy lights. All very peaceful and relaxing.

In order to stop having to drain the pond every 3 weeks to scrub the walls and clean off the water tubbing and fountain to free them of algae, I found this handy product called “Nature’s Blue Pond Dye“. Note it said “Pond”. It acts as a shield, preventing the light from penetrating and growing the algae. After receiving this dye I read the directions. Okay, this is concentrated. I need to be careful. Done.

Carefully leaning over the flora, I turned the cap off and tried to gently… GENTLY pour just a little when SPLASH! Out came a good fourth of a cup. NUTS! In seconds the pump pulled the blue dye into the fountain and like a Fourth of July color salute, my fountain shot out the most intense patriotic blue. My eyes quickly switched to the turtle spitter and he too began to spit forth a stream of patriotic blue! I gave a quick salute to the color show. It was Memorial Day weekend, so I felt justified in my patriotic display of blue.

And now, the rest of the story

I had gone to bed at 9:30 pm, on the evening of June 9th. I left the water fountain on. Fairy lights were on as well, which I think was the major attractant to the raccoon. As if to say “Come take a dip, wreck my fountain, pull out the hose and drain the pond leaving the pump running please.” Sigh.

Okay, friends, I will have to leave you in suspense! Till next time. Here is to good food, good friends and interesting life!

5 Steps Toward Joy in Adversity

It’s easy to lose our joy in the world we live in. 

Originally posted in ggmandy dot com on November 10, 2016 

Just watch the news or even just look at your own life, your failures, your unfulfilled dreams, the junk that life is throwing at you, and boom! you’ve fallen into the pit of despair. But I believe that we have a choice whether we stay there in the muck or find joy in the moment. The apostle Paul wrote of that joy sitting in a prison in Philippi. (Philippians 1:3-7) So if he can do it .. we can do it! Right? 

But how can we have joy in adversity? 

That is the question. And that is what I have been searching for this year. Let me share a few steps I am learning to take … 

1. Understand that joy and happiness are NOT the same things. 

You can have both or you can have one but not the other. The difference is the source. Happiness is a result of some outside force. It is dependent on our “happenstance”. We are happy because of what is “happening” to us. We are happy the day we graduate or get married or when we receive a gift. But joy is much different. It comes from inside of us. The scripture says … 

 The Lord is my strength and shield. 

    I trust him with all my heart. 

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. 

    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving 

Psalm 28:7 (NLT) 

If you take a look at the context of this verse (as with many of the Psalms) you will find that David was crying out to God. His circumstances were anything but good. He had enemies all around him, yet .. he was “bursting out in songs of thanksgiving”. Wow! Just knowing that the Lord was with him was enough to sustain him, to keep his joy. 

Steps Toward Joy Through Adversity: Understand #Joy and #Happiness are NOT the same Click To Tweet

2. Read a Psalm every day. 

As I mentioned before, nearly every Psalm begins with distress, speaking out the trouble he was in; but before he gets done, he is praising the Lord. There is nothing better for us than having an example set before us and the Psalms are it. Read one every day and you will be reminded of how awesome our God is. How much He loves you. 

3. Praise the Lord. 

We were created for praise. God made us for this sole purpose.

Psalm 148 says ” let every created being praise the Lord.”

Praise opens the door of communication with God. And that is what He desires. Being in His presence, in communication with Him fills us with joy. If we start looking for something to praise the Lord for, we will find it. There is always something to praise him for. I am reminded of a song the Imperials sang many years ago. “Praise the Lord“. It said,

‘When you’re up against a struggle that shatters all your dreams … Praise the Lord.” Every word of this song is on target. 

Praise the Lord by The Imperials

Let’s go back to that prison in Philippi.

Paul and Silas began praising the Lord. What happened next? An earthquake opened the prison doors, broke their chains, and ultimately the prison guard and his family were saved. That’s what happens when others see us being victorious in and through our struggles. We are always wanting God to take us out of the situation, but maybe God has placed us there to bring others to Him. 

4. Additionally, Give Joy to Others. 

shut-in crochet joy in adversity

I recall when I was single and lived far from home and family. I would get lonesome and depressed. So I would call home. Mom told me time and again, to get out and do something for someone else and it would help. You see when you give joy to others it comes right back to you. It’s one of those “reap what you sew” ideals. If we go around complaining and grumbling, we get grumbling and complaining in return. When we start doing for others and see the joy it gives them, guess what, we find that the joy rubs off on us! 

Since my health began to fail, I took up crocheting again. I learn to crochet way back in high school through the 4-H program. Never really got the hang of it. But I decided to give it a try once again. But I need a reason to crochet. So I started looking for who I could make something for. First there was a new baby, then a wedding. Then I decided I would make a shawl for all our shut-ins. That has kept me plenty busy. But here’s the catch … the absolute best part. When I finish a shawl. I can hardly wait to give it away. I am beside myself while I watch them open the package and take out the gift. And it’s not just a blessing that one moment. every time I see them, they speak again of how they love the shawl! And there it is .. abundant joy! 

5. Finally, some practical advice … 

A. Eat right. I know we don’t like to hear it; however, our tendency when we get down is to go eat a bucket of ice cream! Come on , you know it’s true. And I’m not saying that you can never eat ice cream. But do it with moderation. Slow down and eat a few bites. Be sure to enjoy it. And then get right back to eating right. 

B. Get your vitamins. Most of us are vitamin and nutrient deficient. So eat those fruits and vegetables. Resist the grains, bread, sugary desserts. You may need to have your doctor check some of those vitamin levels, such as Vitamin Bs and D. 

C. Spend some time outside EVERY day. Soak up some natural vitamin D. Take in God’s beautiful world. 

D. Do what your doctor says. Take you medications faithfully. 

E. Exercise. (Did I have to mention that one?)  Sorry. But it can help you feel better! 

Okay. I am #preachingtomyself here. But maybe you can come along for the ride and find your joy too! 

images created in canva for free

On My Way to Strawberry Galette

Bonjour my friends! Today I am on my way to Strawberry Galette. And lucky you! You are going to join me on this little food adventure. So buckle up and enjoy the ride. Here, hold the whipping cream, and don’t spill it, we are going to need it later!

Strawberry Galette. I found a great recipe for strawberry galette in the 2021 April/May edition of Cooks Country. Seriously friends, if you can get a subscription coupon for 40% off this is an excellent magazine to put some spark into your cooking and baking! Give it a try.

Matthew Fairman was the recipe author and article writer of the “Strawberry Galette” article. I would have like to have given you a link to the recipe as it is copyrighted, BUT… not only do you have to pay for the magazine subscription, but in order to access it online, you must pay for that too. Sniff, sniff… so sorry. But I will link you to another recipe close to it that you can use with great success!

What is a galette?

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

“What in the world is a galette?”, so glad you asked me! First and foremost it is French. Oo la la! A galette is pronounced gǝ-let’. Be sure to practice that well and get some Parisian hat and wear that to coffee. They will be talking a great deal about the new you… or at least your “look” and snooty dialect.

A galette is a flat French pastry made of pastry dough or bread. It can take on many forms from a thin pancake-like galette to a thick pie-looking galette. The fillings can range from fruit-filled to meat, but the galette is mostly known for being served around the celebration of Epiphany. Epiphany commemorates Jesus’s birth and his meeting with the three wise men. The galette has traveled the world and Mardi Gras has adopted it as their “King Cake”.

Here we go

I thought that the recipe from Cook’s Country was relatively simple, and I like simple. That’s why I thought I’d give the recipe a try. I will enclose a link to a Land O’ Lakes® here. It was relatively close to the Cook’s Country. Remember I told you to hold the whipping cream? If you haven’t spilled it, make some Tangy Whipped Cream here. That’s to put on top after the galette has baked and cooled. YUMMY!

The pastry dough was fun and simple to make. I like dough recipes. For most dough recipes, you get to take out your frustrations on the dough by kneading and smooshing. It’s like physical therapy and counseling all in one. You get to talk and squeeze the daylights out of dough instead of the person or situation. Plus, you’ll stay out of jail and that’s always a good deal! This recipe called for a food processor to help “process” your ingredients, which was fun as well. My grandson found it entertaining but a bit loud.

The filling was simple as well. The Cook’s Country recipe had you cut up your strawberries, add some sugar, and let them sit. This sitting allowed time for the berries to make a juice which you will use to make the filling. The Land O’ Lakes recipe did not do this. The Land O’ Lakes had you make the filling by boiling the ingredients and Cook’s Country has you throwing the filling ingredients together into the pastry dough and letting the oven do the thickening.

End results?

Photo by Michele Bruxvoort

While the galette was baking it smelled delicious, but thinking about warm strawberries was hard to get past. I’m used to cold strawberries on Angel Food, ice cream, hot shortcake, and so on. This probably led to me disliking the taste of the galette filling. However I had to remind myself that my American taste buds are set for sugary sweet and this galette is NOT so sweet, and that is very okay. We all need to cut back our sweets anyway.

After cooling the galette I tasted a slice. I liked the flaky crust, and the filling wasn’t sugary or overly thick; almost jam-like consistency. The whipped cream added a tangy spark. I like the galette even better the next day, cold from the refrigerator. It was something very different from my “Midwest usual” and I would try it again. Maybe a rhubarb galette!

Till next time! Here is to good food, good friends and a good life.

swollen knees

Diagnosis Knees – Osteoarthritis or RA

more diagnoses knees
created in canva for free

Once I finally had a diagnosis, I was able to get on a regimen of Savella. This relieved the majority of my pain. At least I was able to move about. We started working on reducing my 40mg of prednisone down to a more acceptable level. This was no easy feat. The pain would return with just a slight decrease. If I remember, we had to reduce by 5 mg, and then later only 1 mg. (I only recently was able to get completely off the usage of prednisone. It took me ten years!)

It’s Off to the Orthopedic Surgeon

But it only took a few months for my knees to begin to swell and be painful. So, we headed to Hughston Clinic. After x-rays and MRIs, the doctor determined that I had a torn meniscus. So we scheduled surgery. How wonderful that Dr. Collins is a Christian. By his request, he had prayer with me before we went into the OR. His staff is amazing. They checked on me several times after the surgery. I highly recommend Hughston Clinic if you live in SW Georgia.

The surgery went well, he was able to repair damage and clean out a lot of arthritis. He took pictures that showed a lot of gnarly mess. So when we met with him again, he said he would send me back to Mayo Clinic because he wasn’t certain that it was just osteoarthritis.

Back to Mayo Clinic

Already established at Mayo, it wasn’t as difficult to get an appointment. I saw my rheumatologist. He looked at the pictures and said, “This is severe osteoarthritis”. OK. No Surprise here. I was very accident-prone on the dairy farm. As a child, I was always incurring stupid injuries that weren’t too severe. I figured then that one day, I would have plenty of arthritis.

While he felt the diagnosis for knees was osteoarthritis, he decided to run the tests for rheumatoid arthritis again. Low and behold, this time it came back as R.A. We had caught it early so I was able to take Methotrexate rather than a biologic.

Why Didn’t It Show Up Before?

Apparently, the prednisone was masking the RA. I had been concerned this would be a problem all along. The steroid helped me “feel” pretty darn good, But in fact, steroids are an anti-inflammatory drug. So the numbers in the blood work came back good. I figured the steroids caused my numbers to be all over the place when I was tested back home.

swollen knees - steroids hide the real problem
photos from pixabay-Bolova59

The Methotrexate has kept the RA pretty much under control these 10 years. Osteoarthritis of the knees continues to be aggravating on a daily basis. Other fibromyalgia pains and other issues keep popping up now (10 years later). So, we are considering other medication options.

This brings us up to the Spring of 2013. Stay tuned for another addition to Mandy’s Journey with Pain or click here to see what you may have missed.


Strawberry Season Sensational Recipes

My sister-in-law from Illinois takes a daily trip to her garden to pick strawberries. I told her I wished I lived next door so that I could jump the fence and come pick a bucket full. She unintentionally acquired this strawberry patch through the neighborhood birds… I’ll say no more. With that, I give you strawberry season sensational recipes!

First up we have Charlotte Vande Zande. Char is from the Boyden, Sheldon, Iowa area. She met Calvin Vande Zande while he was a student preaching in that area and eventually married him. Had to get you your Dutch Bingo fix. Char was our daughter’s Pre-School teacher as well as a second-grade teacher. WONDERFUL teacher and person!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

  • One 9 inch baked pie shell
  • 1 quart sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons Strawberry Jell-O®


Mix sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add water and cook until thick and clear. Remove from heat and add Jell-O®. Stir. Cool. Place strawberries in a baked pie shell. Pour sauce over top. Chill and serve with whipped cream. FRESH RASPBERRY VARIATION: Substitute fresh strawberries with fresh raspberries. Substitute strawberry Jell-0® with raspberry Jell-O®. Mix according to the above directions.

Frosty Strawberry Squares

-This recipe comes from Lilian Schouten… okay, let me back up the truck for just a moment. ALL these recipes come out of the Randolph Christian School, 2012, Celebrating 100 Years Cookbook! On one of my trips to Wisconsin, I pick up one of these centennial cookbooks for Faith DeKam. Faith attended the Randolph Christian School and had lived just down and around the corner from where I lived in East Friesland, Wisconsin. There, now you got two games of Dutch Bingo in. You are set. I believe Lilian attended Northwestern for her teaching certificate. Lillian taught at RCS for 30 plus years.


  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 oz. frozen strawberries, partially thawed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup whipped topping


Stir together flour, nuts, brown sugar, and melted butter. Spread evenly in a shallow baking pan. Bake in 350° oven for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle 2/3 of these crumbs in a 9 x 13 pan. In a large bowl, combine egg whites, sugar, strawberries, and lemon juice. Whit electric beaters, beat on high speed for about 10 minutes or until very stiff. Fold in whipped topping. Spoon over crumbs. Top with remaining crumbs. Cover and freeze for 6 hours, cut and serve. Can be stored in the freezer for up to two months.

Next up we have Shirley Schueler. I gave you the 411 about Shirley a couple of articles ago. You can catch her other recipes here.

Jeanie’s Strawberry or Raspberry Dessert


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup margarine or butter- I SAY BUTTER!-M
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts

Mix and press into a 9 x 13 pan. Bake 325° for 20 minutes. Cool.


  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Cool Whip®

Mix together and spread on cooled crust.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup 7-UP®
  • dash of salt
  • 1 package strawberry or raspberry Jell-O®
  • 1-quart berries
  • Cool Whip®
  • Chopped nuts- optional

Cook sugar, cornstarch, water, and 7-UP® until thick and clear. Add Jell-O® and stir until dissolved. Add 1-quart berries of your choice. When cool, spread over cheese filling. Top with Cool Whip® and chopped nuts, if desired. Chill until ready to serve.

Strawberries In The Snow

Image by RitaE from Pixabay

This comes from Chandler Medema. I’m sure his mother Marin told him he “had” to have a recipe in the 100th Year Cookbook, to which he probably rolled his eyes. He was the 99th graduating class at RCS.

  • 1 angel food cake
  • 2- 8 ounce packages cream cheese- softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 12 ounce Cool Whip®
  • 2 pound fresh strawberries- sliced
  • 16 ounces strawberry glaze

Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Fold in the whipped topping. Set aside. In a bowl, combine the strawberries and glaze until strawberries are evenly coated. Slice the cake into thin slices and lay 1/2 in the bottom and of a 9 x 13 pan. Spread approximately 1.2 of the cream cheese mixture over the cake slices and top with approximately 1.2 the strawberry mixture. Repeat layers. Chill until serving.

The word meter tells me I am out of space. Tune in next week for some more strawberry season sensational recipes. Till next time! Here is to good food, good friends and a good life.

city on a hill

USA – Are We Still a “City on a Hill”?

In 1630, a ship called Arbella came across the Atlantic and landed at what is now known as Boston. Rev John Winthrop was a passenger along with those whom we know as the Puritans. While still on board, he gave a sermon, called “A Model of Christian Charity“, which was a challenge to the people that they would create a new nation that would be “a City on a Hill” – a light to the world. Winthrop’s sermon expounded that America was divinely purposed by God to “hold world-historical importance”. Their success would only come with “the commitment to a higher cause and the dedication to God”. [Perry Miller]

No politician had turned to this sermon as the origin of America by quoting it until Perry Miller wrote about it in 1960. Then nearly every president to hold office quoted this one thing – We were to be a “City on a Hill”.

Winthrop’s sermon gradually became the key text defining and explaining the development of American literature from its origins to the present day. By 1979, this text opened and anchored The Norton Anthology of American Literature, the most dominant anthology on the market. Countless students still read it today.

How America Became “A City Upon a Hill” | The National Endowment for the Humanities (

But Are We Still a City on a Hill?

We may be still a city on a hill that the world looks to for many things. But what are we pointing them towards? I fear that somewhere along the way, we have left God in the dust. We have returned to our idols and selfish desires.

Sometimes I feel like the weeping prophet, Jeremiah.

    … my eyes will weep bitterly,

overflowing with tears,

    because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.

Jeremiah 13:17

I look at how far the United States has fallen. My heart breaks at how we have turned away from God in so many ways. We have allowed sex, greed, pride, entertainment, and more to become our gods.

I was reminded while reading Jonathan Cahn this week that there is still hope. Cahn has been writing for years now on The Harbingers, the warnings that God has been sending us. Even before 9/11, God has been telling us that we have turned away from Him. But as He has always promised…

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:!4

The Call is to Christians

Notice that God is not speaking to the sinners here. He is calling His People, the Christians to humble themselves, pray, seek His face. You and I need to get serious about the fate of our country.

city on a hill

We need to:

  1. fall on our faces in prayer.
  2. pray for Christian leaders who will take a stand against sin.
  3. call on our country to pray.
  4. pray for all our leaders that they would turn to God as well.

It’s our only chance for survival.

Cahn points out in his book, Harbinger II: The Return, that it is not too late… yet. Time is short but prayer and fasting have saved this country in the past. It can happen again if we get serious about revival.

Were you aware that the union army was struggling to win until Abraham Lincoln called our nation to prayer?

And that very day, the tide began to turn.

Another Call to Prayer in our Nation’s History

There was another time since then that our nation was saved because the president called the nation to prayer. I remember my parents saying that this president had delayed the coming judgment on our country. Ronald Reagan called us to prayer.

I said before that the most sublime picture in American history is of George Washington on his knees in the snow at Valley Forge. That image personifies a people who know that it’s not enough to depend on our own courage and goodness. We must also seek help from God our Father and Preserver.

Abraham Lincoln said once that he would be the most foolish man on this footstool we call earth if he thought for one minute he could fulfill the duties that faced him if he did not have the help of One who is wiser than all others.

Ronald Reagan, 1982 New York Times
Reagan - city on a hill

Read Reagan’s complete speech in the New York Times

Focus on the Good

Eric Metaxas reminds us in His book, If You Can Keep It, that we must look for the good and stop focusing on all the wrong. We need to be proud of our nation. Love of our Nation needs to take precedence again. Between social media and the news, we are only hearing about the wrong things that have happened or are happening. What if we were to focus on the good things?

Like with our children, if we are constantly saying, “You are bad”, “You won’t amount to anything”. It is likely that they will indeed not amount to anything.” This is not to say that we don’t correct the wrong. But we need to find the good things and brag on those things. Then likely a child (or a nation) would begin to believe in themselves and begin doing more good.

Love not Hate

We need to love our country and the good things it has done. It’s not to say that we are perfect. No! The Preamble of the Constitution says,

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Preamble of the constitution

“… to form a more perfect union”.

That is, that we would work to make things better and better; not necessarily PERFECT but more perfect. When we realize that we are doing something wrong, we do what it takes to make them right. I am proud of how far we have come when it comes to slavery, racism, democracy. I am proud of how our country has gone and fought for the freedoms of others in other nations. We have done many things right. And we have led the way towards establishing justice, tranquility, and liberty. Like no other country… EVER.

We are Blessed

Psalm 33:12  a city on a hill

God has blessed this country immensely. We have been a “city on a hill” leading the way for so much good. But we have turned and now are leading the way in the wrong direction. (family values, abortion, greed, pride, selfishness) The Bible says “Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord.” As a nation, we are failing to keep God as our Lord. I fear there is little time left. We need to get humble, get praying and get right with God before it is too late.

Maybe God will hear and forgive us once more.

JOel 2:14 a city on a Hill

A Call to Repentance

12 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
13 So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
14 Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
16 Gather the people,
Sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and nursing babes;
Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber,
And the bride from her dressing room.
17 Let the priests, who minister to the Lord,
Weep between the porch and the altar;
Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord,
And do not give Your heritage to reproach,
That the nations should rule over them.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’ ”

Sincerely from a God-loving Patriot,


Learn More About the Founding of America


Other Resources

If You Can Keep It by Eric Metaxas

Harbinger II: The Return


Teaching American History

National Endowment for the Humanities