Reformed Grits

Merry Christmas! Or, “why the fuss?”
December 25, 2008, 12:23 am
Filed under: Faith

It's in His job description.  It's worth fussin' over, and it makes me thankful because it helps me see His fingerprints on my life:

Jesus came…  "to preach good tidings unto the meek; he
hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the
captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for
ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the
spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."

Oh.. THAT'S why the fuss!  Praise be to God for His indescribable gift… JESUS!  IMMANUEL… "God WITH US!" 


Christmas is coming…
December 17, 2008, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

And I'll be getting fat!  I've made out a preliminary menu for our "vacation time" and oh my are we in trouble.  I've decided that starting tomorrow (or Friday, not sure) I'm doing a type of "dip of the day" to leave out for all to snack on.  I want there to be free reign with it and so no one will be bugging me with "I'm hungry…!"  So I whipped out my recipe file that I accumulate over the year by tearing out pages of magazines (especially my favorite, Southern Living!) and started making a list.  I'll link where I can:
Pepper  jelly over cream cheese with Ritz (all this is is a block of cream cheese with a savory jelly poured over the top.  It's yum and EASY.) 
Warm Turnip Green Dip with pita chips
Heidi's Queso with tortilla chips (sharing her secret recipe, haha– sausage, cream cheese, and rotel!  My kids LOVE this!)
Pico de Gallo and tortilla chips
Antipasto  I use this recipe for Italian Skewers and just throw it all in a bowl, cubed.  This year I'm adding marinated mushrooms too. 
Hot Artichoke-cheese dip with triscuits (which are BOGO at Publix!)
Beer Cheese Spread with bagel chips
Shrimp Dip with Ritz  (this is just cream cheese, a drained can of tiny shrimp, horseradish, and a covering of cocktail sauce.)

Now that's just some of what I'm planning.  For Christmas Day's traditional "Appetizer Feast" we're having:
Hummus (store bought from Sam's) and corn chips
Sausage Balls
Croissant sandwich "buffet" (sliced meats, cheeses, and mustards… the hubby loves this one)
Veggies with Spinach Dip
Brown Sugar Smokies
Heidi's Queso (again!)
Jalapeno poppers
Homemade Chex Mix
Hot wings with ranch and blue cheese
Nuts (yeah, from a can… )

You know what is uncharacteristic of me about this list???  NO SWEETS ON IT?  What the heck?  I need some make-ahead bite-sized sweet ideas.  So it's YOUR turn to give me recipes or ideas!

Honey-Nut Granola
December 15, 2008, 10:22 am
Filed under: Food and Drink

I've been making this recently and my kids eat it with yogurt for breakfast, especially Greek-style which I began to love on the last trip to Scotland where it seems everyone eats it!  (Greek yogurt I mean, which is also spelled "yoghurt" or something like that… Anyhow, I digress….)
The Greek yogurt you can get at Publix, I know, and there is an "Oikos" brand or something and then there is the Cabot, I believe.  I may be wrong about that but I'd encourage you to try it.  Yes, it's terribly fattening but you can get the low fat kind.  I'm serious, look at the label.  I think butter has less fat. 
Ok, So here's the recipe with my comments included because heaven knows I can't just post a recipe without commentary… I got this from Southern Living, of course. 

Honey-Nut Granola
    (that links to the original recipe)

18 oz. regular oats (not quick oats, but the rolled.  Not steel-cut either…)  this is about 6 cups
2 1/2 c. coarsely chopped pecans
2/3 c. toasted wheat germ
1/4 c. sesame seeds (I use flax seeds, whole, not ground)
2 c. sweetened coconut (the recipe says optional but I think it should be MANDATORY!!!)
1 c. butter (hey, I never said it was healthy just because it's granola… )
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 t. vanilla extract (store bought works fine, haha, but for the love of all that is good use PURE not imitation… )
1/4 t. salt
6 oz. cranberries (we don't use these but it would be delicious and festive for Christmas I'm sure!)

Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. 
Combine butter and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.  Pour over oat mixture; stir until evenly coated.  Divide mixture evenly btwn 2 lightly greased 15×10 jelly-roll pans.
Position 1 oven rack about 6 inches from top heating element in oven; place a second oven rack about 6 inches from bottom heating element.  Place 1 pan on each rack.
Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes or until toasted, stirring every 10 minutes and switching position of baking sheets after first 15 minutes.  Spread granola on wax paper to cool completely.  Add dried cranberries.  Store in airtite container at room temp up to 3 days or freeze up to 6 months. 

2 things you wanted to know
December 10, 2008, 10:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Alrighty so I have had a couple re-occuring questions.  I thought I'd answer them for ya on the ol' bloggity since I don't get here as much as I'd like. 

1.  Why did you make vanilla extract and how did you do it? 

Ok, these are like teacher gifts for my kids' teachers, and I made some for the folks in my small group at church.  It's so easy.  You buy a liter of rum– the cheap stuff works great.  If I had to do it again I'd get the gold kind but this time I got the clear.  For one liter I got about 15 vanilla beans here  (I actually bought a half pound and split with Caroline) and split them longwise up to the last half-inch.  Another thing I'd do different would be to scrape the seeds out and put them in the rum; but as it was I just split them and shoved them in the bottle.  I shook it really well and then set it in a cabinet for probably 6 to 8 weeks.  At first I shook it a couple times a day but then probably every few days. 
Meanwhile the hard part was actually figuring out what to put it in!  I got these 2 oz bottles and also a few 4 oz ones as well.  I got the dark ones because my understanding is that the dark bottle protects the flavor but I could be mistaken.  After sitting in the bottle for a while, using a funnel I poured the vanilla (after shaking it!) into the little bottles (which I washed first, and dried) and put a couple vanilla beans in (I had to cut them in half.) 
I got Avery 8293 labels, and again looking back I'd probably get a little bigger but they are cute.  I designed a little label, added some ribbon, and voila!  It's strong, smells yum, and not only that but it really could be "vanilla rum" if you wanted… just so ya know.  :-)  Oh and when it's gone you can put more rum in the bottle and use the vanilla beans again to make more! 

2.  How did the dr's visit today go about your headaches?  What did he say?

As you may or may not know I've been to ENT's, Neuro's, GP's, oral surgeons and who knows what else about the dumb headaches that plague me.  Taking zyrtec religiously has probably knocked off 25-30% of my headaches but even that isn't good enough, leaving me with headaches probably half the days of the month or so.  Maybe less now, I'm not sure and I'm tired of charting them all.  The neurologist said they were for sure hormonal migraines because I don't have them when I'm pregnant.  Today I went to my trusty OB/GYN to get help.  He wasn't convinced they were hormonal because the pattern isn't totally cyclical but was willing to give it a shot.  He gave me 2 options:
 A.  Get an IUD because they release steady progesterone.  Um, no thanks. 
 B.  Go on a progesterone birth control pill that makes you only have a cycle 4 times a year. 
Now I'm sure to many people you may think that's a no-brainer but I have really tried to avoid stuff like this.  I'm sure you may be snickering and thinking maybe I should have tried it earlier!  HA!  Well I'm glad I didn't, first of all.  Second of all, it was because of ethical reasons regarding the primary purpose of "the pill" which isn't a consideration now.  Mr. Grits had told me that whatever the dr suggested, I just should try it.  So I told him I would.  He gave me this which I haven't read about yet so I don't know anything about it.  He told me that it would either help if they were hormonal, or it wouldn't if they weren't.  He gave me a 3 month supply so I'll know without having to shell about the bucks.  He also gave me some samples of Treximet which I haven't read about either but is suppose to be expensive.

So that's the scoop. 
Any more questions??  🙂

What scares her….
December 4, 2008, 11:05 am
Filed under: Cute kids stuff

Whenever Bee and I go to the store she is on the look out for the scary hand.  She doesn't like the scary hand and whimpers when we pass it.  I tell her it's not scary but she's scared nonetheless. 
Brace yourselves… for the scary hand….