Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

11.29.2011

Know That Jehovah He is God


Our Thanksgiving was full of festivities, friends, food, and fervent gratefulness for another year of provision and protection. Mama has been dealing with health problems this year--which makes us even more grateful for good health when it is bestowed--so the bulk of the meal was up to Lauren, Melanie, and I to complete. Thanks to Mama's help and advice, and the contributions of our friends and guests, everything came off well and without a problem!

 Since we had to rise early to pick a selection of fresh rosemary, sage, parsley, and oregano from our garden, which we then pulverized with lots of butter and coated all over the turkey, Proverbs 31:15 seems fitting: "She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants." ;-)


 Our baking was completed the night before--Old City Tavern Chocolate Pecan pie, which I made using our traditional family recipe from Philadelphia's famous haven for the founding fathers; apple pie, which Lauren carefully covered in pie crust leaves; and chocolate chip cookies, which Susanna made to munch on in the late hours of the evening.

 The centerpiece was also completed, thanks to Lauren's creativity!


And as the morning wore on, we set the table and prepared the food.


 Our guests--two families--arrived just in time!


Top Left: Susanna; Middle Left: Jonah; Bottom Left: Micah; Bottom Right: Mikaela and Lauren
 It is tradition in our household to take five kernels of corn and reflect aloud on five things for which you are thankful. These kernels of corn remind us of the hardships and privations the Pilgrims endured during 1623, when they were sometimes forced to subsist on nothing but a few kernels of corn. It was beautiful to hear everyone's points of gratefulness, and we all wrote them down on index cards which Papa collected for a rememberance.

For dinner, we enjoyed roasted turkey with cranberry sauce, gravy, and sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, fresh vegetables, pickled vegetables, green bean casserole, roasted brussel sprouts, and rolls. Delicious! The only thing I passed on--which I do every year, to be consistent--was the sweet potatoes.

After feasting, some of us felt like napping, and Darcy--our new kitty named after Fitzwilliam himself--is not one to deny himself the pleasure of such an event. 

Top Left: Lauren singing, Mikaela on the piano; Top Right: Great-Aunt Bev; Bottom Right: Mama and Papa; Bottom Left: two of our guests.
 We taught everyone a very old hymn which was new to them. After I discovered "Old Hundred" in my ballad book a month or so ago, I suggested that we sing it on Thanksgiving, since it was one of the Pilgrims' most cherished songs. It is set to the tune which we are accustomed to calling the "Doxology." Psalm 100, the basis for this hymn, was the passage the Pilgrims quoted upon reaching the New World and has a very special significance on Thanksgiving.

Make ye a joyful sounding noise
Unto Jehovah, all the earth;
Serve ye Jehovah with gladness
Before his presence come with mirth.

Know that Jehovah he is God;
Who hath us formed it is he
And not ourselves; his own people
And sheep of his pasture are we.

Enter into his gates with praise,
Into his court with thankfulness;
Make ye confession unto him,
And his name reverently bless.

Because Jehovah he is good,
For ever more is his mercy;
And unto generations all
Continue doth his verity.

Then, of course, hours of games ensued. (And yes, that is Melanie's very own bearded dragon on her shoulder.) 

We interrupted our games only to enjoy Chocolate Terrine, Chocolate Pecan Pie, Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, and Cranberry Pie with ice cream and whipped cream. Yum! 

Somewhere past ten but before midnight, the newspaper came out and we perused the ads together, laughing at and ridiculing the Black Friday craziness, but still attracted to the deals and sales. You can see Mr. W. on the right playfully covering his wife's eyes--"Don't even look!" he seems to be saying. ;-)

Our Thanksgiving was a wonderful, blessed event--I sincerely hope yours was as well!

And, on the unlikely chance that you still have turkey hanging around in your refrigerator, may I suggest a Turkey Cranberry Wreath, which is an annual post-Thanksgiving tradition, and which we enjoyed immensely for dinner last night?


Turkey Cranberry Wreath
Serves 4-6
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey
  • 1 cup shredded swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 egg white, lightly beaten

Directions:



  1. Preheat oven to 375*F. In bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, and pepper. Add turkey, celery, parsley, cranberries, and cheese and mix well.
  2. Unroll the 2 packages of crescent rolls; separate into 16 triangles in a circle on a large pizza pan or stone with wide ends 3 inches from the edge of pizza pan and points towards the outside. Points will extend off the edge of the pan (depending on size). Arrange the remaining triangles in the center of the pan, matching wide ends with triangles already in placed. The points will overlap in center.
  3. Using small rolling pin(or small round jar or drinking glass), roll over seams of triangles where wide ends meet, making a smooth surface for filling. Don't seal center triangles.
  4. Using an ice cream scoop, scoop filling evenly over the dough in a continuous circle. Sprinkle walnuts over filling.
5. Beginning with the last triangle placed in center of pizza pan, bring point of triangle straight across filling. Next, bring point of the opposite outside triangle diagonally across filling, covering point of previous triangle. The filling will show. 








6. Repeat, overlapping points of inside and outside triangles to form a wreath. Tuck the last end under first.

7. Brush top of wreath with egg white. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!




11.26.2011

Eye on the Stop Sign

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Saturday morning, way-too-early AM, circa 2002.  Papa would be on his way upstairs to roll Mikaela and I out of bed.  Grabbing a swig of water, we would stretch up and down and sideways together in the early morning dew, then trot down the driveway side by side, swinging our arms and chatting giddily.  Soon our tennis shoe-clad feet would hit the pavement, my breath would suddenly catch, and the air would eddy around me as my ponytail went flying.  Mikaela and I would run a little over a mile in the beginning—to the culvert—gasping and cherry-faced, while Papa’s long legs would take him past us at some point and on to the end of the road—the stop sign. 

Eventually, on his way back, he would catch up with us and amuse us all by listing off the foods he was dreaming of at the moment: “A big, juicy steak.  Or how about warm, melty chocolate chip cookies!”  Mikaela and I would protest at this exhilarating over food right at the climax of our run, but Papa would jovially persist. 

I clearly remember pondering Papa’s running four miles to Mikaela and my one or two, and dreaming of some hazy day when I would be an adult and would come back with my family for Christmas and go for a run with Papa.  Then—then—my tall, beautiful adult self would be able to run to the stop sign with him.  I’ve smiled at that memory since then, and have thought about it often when I have been running these last few weeks—I’m almost back to that red stop sign again after a spell of laziness! 

But I have also been thinking about that stop sign in terms of my spiritual run.  At the beginning of my spiritual run, I prayed for God to show me the next thing He wanted me to run to, and I remember Him telling me, “Truthfulness.”  At that time, I had several sins of dishonesty on my conscience that I needed to make right, and a cold shiver passed through me when God told me that.  I protested in my heart, “Yes, I know, God, and I’ll get on that soon, but it’s going to take some time.  So while I’m working on that, what do want me to also be doing?”  But this disobedience would be met with silence, and I would realize that if I didn’t run in obedience to this first mile marker of truthfulness, I would not be running in the race at all.  I would be standing still while everyone streamed around me, the sideliners cheering on everybody but me.  And so, slowly, I learned the lesson of victory in truthfulness. 

I have had other mile markers since then.  There was the mile of love that I ran, the mile of submission, and the mile of dying to self.  Each one I have struggled through, but reached still running towards that stop sign. 

This whole year, however, I’ve been stuck at the same mile marker, windmilling my arms and legs, trying to run forward to the next mile marker, but not getting anywhere.  When I asked God what He wanted me to run to this time, He replied, “Give me your whole affections.”  “Okay, Lord, they are Yours!”  “Then that means not setting your heart on worldly possessions, worldly entertainment, worldly thoughts.  That means whatever delights you the most is your god, and  only I should hold that place.”  To be honest, I would give most of my affections to God, but still rationalize a few worldly strongholds.  In truth, I am thick-skulled. 

Through the year, though, God has been stripping my affections down (why do you think He wanted me to read the book of Hosea this year?  J )  And finally, at long last, I learned again the lesson I had learned when I was working on truthfulness—I need to follow God’s steps in God’s order, or I am a cheater in the race.  Proverbs 16:9 says,



“A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”

If I had succeeded in skipping that mile of truthfulness or the mile of submission or this mile or this mile of whittling affections, then I would be like that person who runs the first mile of the marathon, steals a ride in an air conditioned car to the 25th mile, and finishes with fist pumps galore.  He received no benefit from the race other than earthly accolades, and his run was pointless.  So would my run be pointless.  I would have skipped the lessons of truthfulness and submisison and loving God alone, and when I reached the stop sign of death, in the eternal life beyond I would find that I had wasted far too much time receiving only earthly rewards and no gold medal would be waiting.   

So as I type this I am running, my eye on the next mile marker, my muscles kindling energy and bulging with the action.  Inexplicably, that crimson stop sign which marks the line of eternal life is still just as far away as it seemed when I was ten, but remains just as tantalizing as ever.  I am running with a spring in my step now, but I know the time will come again when my breath heaves in jagged gasps and I cry, “I can’t do it, Lord!  I can’t!”  But when that time comes I will look up from the asphalt, sight the mile marker with my eyes and gaze in the distance at the cherry stop sign afar off, and I will keep running. 


“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”  -Hebrews 12:1,2a


Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

11.22.2011

Besieged!

If you have yet to read "Kiss, Bed, Sweep, Church," Part I of this tale, click here and read it before you continue--the conclusion will make much more sense that way!

One day, however, everyone’s contentment was abruptly interrupted by an awful revelation—their island had been attacked, and indeed all was lost save their own small village, which was now beseiged. They had had just enough warning to close up the gates and arm the towers thanks to the brave feat of a lad who had traversed rill and river to get to them ahead of the Continent’s troops. The village was in a fit of activity, and all the fathers and sons gathered solemnly to defend the wall.

Thus, their surprise was great, when, instead of a flaming arrow shot to destroy, a pigeon was sent over the wall with a message. The villagers all gathered round, anxious to read the message, but flummoxed by the unfamiliar characters and the foreign words. The call was sent out for someone—anyone—who could translate, and all were about to dismay, ready to call for surrender, when one of the girls of the village remembered Hannah and suggested her.

Hannah was summoned from her cottage, and brought to the square, where she was quite undone by the commotion and crowd. Yet, summoning her wits about her, she slowly worked through the message, until she could confidently read aloud the translation—a call for total surrender with the threat of massacre if they persisted. Instantly, commotion became chaos and then cries of despair.



Timidly, Hannah went up to her father and whispered something in his ear, handing him a roll of paper. Her father glanced at it, then cleared his throat and shouted for silence. In his strong voice, he sang Hannah’s ballad,

Come all ye young men all,
Let this delight you;
Cheer up, ye young men all,
Let nothing fright you.
Never let your courage fail
When you’re brought to trial,
Nor let your fancy move at the first denial [1].

So the men stopped their murmuring and found their manhood again, taking to the walls to defend their families, their country, and their honor. The days stretched into weeks, and while bravery remained steadfast, gardens, larders, and cellars did not. Livestock began to be killed off. Every day, however, Hannah’s mother made an enormous kettle of stew to share with all who had no food—into the stew went the turnips, potatoes, beets, cabbage, squash, and carrots Hannah had so diligently tended. And so the hardy spirit of the villagers was not snuffed out, but continued to burn bright and hot.

Meanwhile, unbenknownst to the villagers, the Continental Army got word that their own country was now under attack from barbarians in the east, and there was little time to spare. One morning, nigh on two months after the siege had commenced, the villagers woke up to find the enemy gone. Great was the rejoicing and jubilation in the town, and though none—not even Hannah herself—realized it, the Providence of God had worked through one small girl to save their lives and fortunes.

After that, all the village girls began to follow Hannah’s example, and soon they were known far beyond the island for their diligent industry and disdain for the idle foolishness so common to their sex. And as for Hannah herself? Her character caught the eye of that brave man who had first brought word of warning to the village, and he asked her father for her hand in marriage. Both father and daughter consented, and Hannah became his wife within the year.



Painting: The Accolade, by Edmund Leighton
[1] The Ballad of the Death of General Wolfe, ca. 1759, author unknown.

11.15.2011

Kiss, Bed, Sweep, Church

Once upon a time, on our very own green, grassy, aqueous earth, only several hundred years younger than it is currently, on an island country still in existence today, in a quaint village, which was really just a collection of thatched roofs, mud-filled streets, noisy animals, and sensible, stalwart people, there was a group of females. Bonny, lithe, strong, and Christian were they, having grown up together, the whole lot of them, since infancy and been taught the Scripture from nigh the same age. They kissed their fathers when they went out to the fields for the day; they made their beds and swept the floors; and they brightened the church sanctuary every Sunday. This they were content with. Kiss. Bed. Floors. Church. What they did with the rest of their time, no one knew, but the maidens were content, and their families were content, and the village people were content. So there was no need to change the kiss, bed, floors, and church.

Photo Credit
But there was one girl. Hannah. She began to grow weary of the novels she had previously enjoyed so much, and her fine embroidery became dull too. Her muscles ached to be doing something, and her mind ached to be learning something, and her soul ached to be helping someone. So, one day, after the kiss, the bed, and the floors, she went out to garden, pulling out weeds and plucking ripe vegetables from their luscious vines. The morning passed surprisingly fast, and she discovered that she had worked up an appetite and required more than the usual fluff to satisfy her hunger. Come afternoon, she found her long-neglected dulcimer and worked at picking out a tune. And so the week went—and the experiment was so successful, it became a habit.

While her friends continued to kiss, make the bed, sweep the floors, go to church, and fritter away the remaining 161 hours of their week, Hannah kissed father, made the bed, swept the floor, gardened, made music, became proficient at the Continent’s foreign language, read the Scripture cover to cover, made meals, schooled children, scrubbed washrooms, spun wool, wove cloth, filled wardrobes with clothes, wrote ballads, befriended the orphans, traded and bartered, learned forbearance and self-denial, and strengthened her body through the vigorous exercise many of these endeavors required. It seemed to her friends that Hannah was never available to trim hats or gossip or amble aimlessly.

One day, however, everyone’s contentment was abruptly interrupted by an awful revelation—their island had been attacked, and indeed all was lost save their own small village, which was now beseiged. They had had just enough warning to close up the gates and arm the towers thanks to the brave feat of a lad who had traversed rill and river to get to them ahead of the Continent’s troops. The village was in a fit of activity, and all the fathers and sons gathered solemnly to defend the wall.

Come back next Tuesday for the conclusion! (And can you believe it--this makes 300 blog posts!)


Photograph: Requiemm

11.11.2011

Mirror, Mirror of My Heart

Photo Credit

I look into the mirror,
And I don’t like who I see.
An awkward, blemished person
Who cannot really be me.

I claw my skin and look in;
My filthy heart is rotting,
Is heinous like none else,
Is sin-clogged, hardly pumping.

I turn away, disgusted,
To beautiful Jesus' gaze.
His eyes show no repulsion
As His pierced hands touch my face.

He strips all my ugliness;
He swathes me with His beauty.
He carves out my foul, sick heart;
A newborn one He gives me. 

I smile into the mirror,
And I see Jesus, clearer. 
I go with Him; the old me
Is left beneath the mirror. 

11.09.2011

Lilla Rose Giveaway Winner!

I hope you all are having a wonderful Wednesday! 

I visit your dashboard today to announce the winner of our Lilla Rose Giveaway! 

Cue cute drumroll...
Photo Credit



The winner is Dani Marie

Congratulations, Dani!  I'm so excited that you won, and I hope you enjoy your flexi-clip as much as I have!  I got your e-mail address off of your profile, and will send that to Mrs. Moore, who will be in contact with you shortly! 

Mrs. Moore also wanted me to mention that for the month of November, she is running a special: buy at least three items, get a free flexi-clip ($15 or less). 

Thank you to everyone who entered!  I'll see you on Friday!  (-: 


11.08.2011

Opportunity


Photo Credit
Isn’t it fantastic when someone walks up to you and says, “Hey, I’ve been watching you, and you’re a Christian right?”

“Yes, I am!” You respond.

“I knew it! What must I do to be saved?”

Yeah. Except that’s never actually happened to me. Certainly it does happen—Nicodemus, anyone?—but if you go through life waiting for people to come to you and ask questions, then you’re missing opportunities. As intimidating as it can be sometimes—especially for us ladies—listening to the Spirit and then boldly speaking up when we’re prompted by Him can be the most valuable opportunites you’ll ever have.


"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek (Romans 1:16)."
Two weeks ago, for example, I met a guy, and he was sharing with me about the rough year he’d had—between his mother’s death, his sister’s imprisonment, and his father’s motorcycle accident, it had been one long rollercoaster ride. Never once did God, faith, or religion enter into our conversation. But as he left to go grab something, the Holy Spirit worked on my heart, leading me to ask him how he was dealing with his loss.

“I don’t know how I would get through something like that without Jesus!” I exclaimed. “Do you know Him?”

He said that he did—and in the same breath supplied that he’d gone to church all his life, as if that were the reason. As we talked further, it became increasingly apparent to me that he did not personally know my Lord and Savior. And then, when he soliliquized about how the Bible teaches that everything should be in moderation—nothing is bad if it’s in moderation, the Holy Spirit again was leading me and speaking through me.

“Well, you know, Scripture doesn’t actually teach that. The Bible gives us God’s holy Law, which sets for a clear standard of morality for man, declaring what is right and what is wrong. We can’t keep the Law, which is what makes us sinners.”

I got no comment after that—and just as surely as God had led me to share Truth with this man, He was now saying that the seed had been sown and I should go no further today. Pray for Josh, trusting in Isaiah 55:11:


"So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
      It shall not return to Me void,
      But it shall accomplish what I please,
      And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."
Only the very next day, I took Melanie to an astronomy presentation—the two of us walking into a room full of old, geeky guys was certainly an experience I’ll never forget! Mel graciously questioned a few of the lecturer’s facts on global warming and the “ozone hole” during the presentation, but afterwards, she would not leave until she got a chance to talk to the man, a former science teacher and current NASA ambassador. She engaged him by asking what he didn’t believe about the third day—where God put water on the earth, since he had addressed his hypothesis (and the general belief of NASA) that water had gotten on the earth through a comet.

From there, she challenged him on Truth and a Scriptural worldview in science, declaring that science could and does align with all of Scripture. I stood off to the side, wondering where this conversation was going, and if it would even do any good for a man so seemingly set in his evolutionary faith.

And then, “Can I share something personal with you?” he asked.

“Sure!” Melanie answered.

“I used to be a staunch Catholic—believed the Bible like you. My wife even converted to Catholicism when we got married. And then I went to college. It proved to me that science was right and the Bible was wrong, so I left the church.”

Pray for Les.

And this week, pray that God drops opportunities in your lap—that someone will come to you asking questions, hungry to know more about Jesus. Pray that your life brightens every corner you walk into you, so all who know you, know Jesus. Most importantly, however, pray that you are open and willing to speak and act as the Holy Spirit leads you, whether you can see an “opportunity” or not.


Photo Credit: Andre Vanrooyen
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,
   Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

11.04.2011

Kinsman Redeemer

Photo Credit
Two knights in shining armor, both manly and as true and pure as the day is bright.  Two women who could never, ever be friends.  One is a widow, the other a prostitute.  One faithful to her family, the other never faithful to anyone in her life.  One lived to bless others, the other lived for others to bless her.  The one was content with her life of sorrow, the other unhappy with her life of joy. 

The chasm between two women could never be more gaping.  Two opposite women, two worthy redeemers.  With love and passion more beautiful than any love story you have ever seen, a redeemer stepped in for the first woman.  When life seemed a hard and endless track of struggling to stay afloat, the kinsman redeemer stood up.  He redeemed her life, brought joy where there had been sorrow, love where there had been pain, and comfort where there had been servitude.  The love story of Ruth and Boaz is one of the greatest ever told, and I could hear it over and over. 

But there is a love story still greater, and it takes us back to that miserable, forlorn wretch of a woman—Gomer.  Hosea married her, loved her with all his heart, and had three children with her.  And one day, she walked out the door and didn't look back.  People looked askance at Hosea from that day forward when he walked through the marketplace, and Gomer had abandoned the care of their three children to Hosea.

If Ruth was the Proverbs 31 woman, Gomer assuredly was the Proverbs 7 woman, the sort of woman who shames womankind.  She became nothing more than a prostitute, the woman you avert your eyes from in the street.  And she gradually fell lower and lower in her whirlwind of debauchery and immorality, until her newest lover could not even feed her.  She lay in her hovel night after night and wondered why she had ever left her husband.  She shed bitter tears and even made up her mind to return to him.  But when morning's light crept in through the window, her courage always wavered. 

But while she shrank from him, Hosea quietly wended his way through the alleys and slums until he came to her lover’s house, and he faithfully left there for Gomer grain, new wine, oil, silver, and gold (Hosea 2:8).  Then he turned and traced the same route home, his heart breaking with his love for her who had so wronged him and sorrow for her betrayal.  This became his ritual of love and faithfulness to the faithless Gomer, but she never knew, and thanked her lover for the food.  And still she did not come home, and every day that she did not appear was like another stab in Hosea's heart.

The days passed, the leaves fell, and Hosea still made sure that Gomer was taken care of, even as he preached the word of the Lord to Israel and fed babies and fell into bed at night with tears on his face.  Finally, one turbulent day, he got word of a slave auction.  Gomer was one of those about to be sold. 

“Go again, love a woman who is loved by a lover and is committing adultery, (Hosea 3:1)” God told Hosea.  Hosea put on his robe, trembling with anticipation and pent-up emotions, kissed his children, and strode out of the house to redeem the woman who had thrown his love in his face.  This honorable, noble man stood in front of the slave auction, his tear-filled eyes fixed only on Gomer. 

Her cheap finery was torn, her face haggard and aged by self-destruction, her voice raspy, and she averted her eyes from his face in shame.  His wife, shrunken and despised, stood on the auction stand, and no one else in the crowd could find anything desirable about her.  But her kinsman redeemer stood in front of her, and he bought her for himself, after all those painful months.

“It’s you!” she said in a voice of awe when he came up to her.  Gomer broke down in sobs as Hosea helped her down and towards home—to redemption.  “You shall stay with me many days; you shall not play the harlot, nor shall you have a man—so, too, will I be toward you, (Hosea 3:3)” Hosea told her.  Gomer could hardly walk, she was so weak with her overwhelming amazement.  Slowly, timidly, she lifted her face, covered with shame like a veil, to look up into Hosea’s, and saw in his eyes only true, true love.

Ruth is beautiful, and the beauty of her story resonates with me.  But somehow, my tears only begin to flow when I read Gomer’s story, because in her I see a vivid picture of myself.  A girl vile and wretched to her very core, a girl deserving of no love, no mercy—only death.  And yet in the midst of my betrayal, in the very blackest, deepest moment of sin, my Kinsman Redeemer's hand stretched into the pit.  “I will ransom you from the hand of the grave; I will be your kinsman redeemer to redeem you from death. (paraphrase of Hosea 13:14 to reflect original language)” 

Boaz stepped up to the gate against poverty and a nearer relative to redeem Ruth.  Hosea stepped up to a slave auction against the glaring eyes of the world, the blatant rejection of his wife, and vile prostitution to redeem Gomer.  Jesus stepped up to the cross against all the sin ever committed, against the jeers and spitting of those He was dying for, and against my own unfaithfulness to redeem me for eternity.  For that He has my undying love.   

Don't forget to check out our Lilla Rose Giveaway that ends tonight! 
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

11.01.2011

Barszcz



If you've heard of it at all, you've probably heard of "borscht," a slavic soup which appears in various forms in Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Lithuania, Turkey, and Poland. In our family, barszcz is a well-loved part of our Polish heritage, with its unique blend of flavors such as vinegar, dill, and beets, and its special color. Who doesn't need more pink in their diet?


We began our beef broth early the day before, simmering soup bones, celery, onions, and carrots all day until we achieved a rich, flavorful base for our soup. Then we gathered beets, carrots, potatoes, and dill from our garden and supplemented with cabbage and onions from the market.


We tried chopping the beets this time, but we usually shred them, and we recommend that. Not only do shredded beets give a more pleasing texture, but they also provide the maximum amount of beautiful color.


 Be prepared for stained hands!




 Before adding the vegetables, we skimmed the fat off of yesterday's broth; strained it to remove the vegetables, bones, and meat; and then seperated the meat from the bone. Next, we added the beets, carrots, and potatoes and simmered that for thirty minutes or so, and then we added the cabbage, fresh dill, and meat. We seasoned it to taste with salt and pepper and stirred in red wine vinegar before letting the whole thing simmer for a few hours until it was dinner time.

Barszcz
~Serves 12
16 cups beef broth with soup bones
10 large beets, peeled and shredded
8 carrots, peeled and shredded
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups thinly sliced cabbage
3/4 cup chopped fresh dill
6 TB vinegar (white, apple cider, or red wine)
Sugar to taste (approx. 1-3 teaspoons)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream and dill for garnish

Seperate meat from soup bones; set aside. Add beets, carrots, and potatoes and simmer for thirty minutes. Add cabbage, meat, and dill and simmer until cabbage is tender. Add vinegar, salt, and pepper. Best the next day after flavors have melded together.



Yummy! I topped my bowl with sour cream and more dried dill and enjoyed this beautiful, delicious, and healthy soup.  


 For dessert, Mama treated us to makowiec, a delicious Polish poppy seed roll, which we first discovered at the Polish festival in September.  {cue picture from the archives}


You can find a good recipe for this not-too-sweet concoction here if you want to try it!

Also, don't forget to enter our giveaway if you haven't already--it ends this Friday!
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