30 May 2012

rather make than buy: laundry soap

      1 1/2 c Borax
      1 1/2 c Super Washing Soda
      1 bar soap

Whirl it up in a food processor or finely grate bar soap and combine in a jar. I usually do a double batch, keep it with a 1/4 c measure and use 2 T (about half of your 1/4 c measure) for a load of laundry.

Personal preferences:
  • I often put in the soap, let the washer start to fill and swirl it around til it's dissolved before I add my laundry. 
  • A sprig of rosemary, lemon verbena or a few drops of essential oil will add a light scent.
  • I've used both Fels-Naptha and some fancy soap from Trader Joes. It's really up to personal preference. I didn't notice a difference in my laundry.

18 May 2012

almond citrus cookies

These are good. Perfect for the spring time.
Some people make them as Lemon Crinkle Cookies, I was missing some stuff and added some other stuff, so in our house (at least for now) they are the one and only Burnham Almond Citrus Cookies.

Cream together:
     1 c salted butter
     2 c sugar
Whip in:
     1 t vanilla
     1/2 t almond extract
     2 eggs
     2 t citrus zest
     2 T lemon juice
Pile these ingredients on top of batter:
     3 c flour
     1/2 t salt
     1/2 t baking powder
     1/4 t baking soda
Flop around dry ingredients a little bit with fingers to make sure it'll all get mixed in when you combine everything. Combine everything. Scoop teaspoon size (really--teaspoon) lumps of the wettish batter into a 
     bowl of powdered sugar
and roll to cover. Place on prepared cookie sheet. Lightly press a
     dry, roasted almond
into the top. Bake at 350* for 9-11 minutes, til cookies appear matte. Enjoy!

15 May 2012

03 May 2012


I think of the constant heat in Phoenix, of dust storms. I think of the Planet Earth episode we watched on desserts, the waterless and extreme places where few organisms survive. I picture the dunes, the dryness, a tumbleweed blowing across an empty expanse. Brown. Brown, brown, brown.

I think of the Gorge--the waterfalls, the trails, the moss. I think of quietness and crashing waters, the life coursing down streams and clinging to every minuscule nook of rock. Green, overwhelming amounts of green and water and life arching over and carpeting beneath. Green, green, green.

I was imagining all of this because I read from Jeremiah 17 and Psalm 1 this morning. Both include vivid pictures of a vibrant, rooted, fruitful, established tree by streams in contrast to the brittle, isolated, perishing, chaf/shrub in the parched wilderness. Wow. 

                           Thus says the Lord:
"Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
He is like a shrub in the dessert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.

"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is in the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit." (Jer 17)

I'm motivated by these pictures. Motivated to find myself near a stream. One line about the dry shrub stood out to me today--it 'shall not see any good come.' Does this mean nothing good will ever happen? Or does it mean that it can't recognize the good?

The qualifications for shrubs sound extreme--for a good person like me! Listen:
      --'walks in the counsel of the wicked'
      --'stands in the way of sinners'
      --'sits in the seat of mockers'
Wicked, sinners, mockers. I don't know many of these people, do I? I've never met someone like Hitler. 

But stop. Lots of people aren't trying to be wicked, sinners, mockers. But in the past few days it's been one of David's professors, a well-meaning neighbor, people we work with, the "counsel" of NPR or National Geographic or most movies, doctors...uh, basically anyone who is not in a worshipful posture towards God. Who is a sinner? Me--when I sin! Me giving unaligned-with-God advice to a friend.

When I 'trust in man,' 'make flesh my strength,' 'turn my heart from the Lord,' when I worry about the future, spend more of my heart gathering information from experienced people than I do trusting the Creator, when my emotions are more subject to a doctor's words than on who I know God to be, when I freak out because now both cars are leaking, when I attempt to power thru or pull myself up by my bootstraps, when, when, when. Confession. That's when I'm living like I belong on a dune.

The tree-style life takes a lot more diligence. Since it's so counter-cultural it requires abnormal levels of diligence commitment and watchfulness. The instructions are simple:
      --'trust in the Lord'
      --'trust in the Lord'
      --'delight in and meditate on his instruction'
This takes time and heart-training. But the results of having roots by streams of living water? Heat's not something to fear; its leaves stay green. Drought's not something to cause anxiety; it continues to produce fruit (tangerines or pomegranates or love, peace, patience). 

This is the blessing and prosperity that I seek. I confess it's a battle constant and unrelenting. But wow! May I grow green and fruitful, rooted and established in the love that's beyond knowledge.

01 May 2012

oatmeal bread

This has been slowly becoming a part of my weekly routine. For us it's perfect because although it's slightly sweet, it can also be used with soup. The more often I make it, the easier it gets--not many ingredients, the KitchenAid does most of the work and it's yummy! I'm sure my recipe will sound awkward to people who really know about bread baking, but this is all still new-ish for me :)

Combine in mixer:
   1 c quick oats
   1/2 c whole wheat flour
   1/2 c brown sugar
   1 T table salt
   2 T butter
Pour over:
   2 c boiling water
Stir to combine. Dissolve:
   1 T or 1 pkg yeast in
   1/2 c warm water
Let it just sit there for awhile until the batter is no longer hot, add yeast solution. Stir in:
   2 c wheat flour
   3 c white flour (reserve about half c of this to mix in as needed, depending on conditions)
   3 T flax seed
Knead with dough hook in mixer for 5 min, adding reserved flour as needed so dough sticks to bottom, but also forms a ball. Scrape into a ball in the middle of bowl, cover with towel, let rise until doubled. Dump onto clean surface, form into a ball, cut in half and kneed lightly, using either flour OR water to keep hands and surface from getting dough-y. Shape into two loaves (rounds or greased bread pan). Let rise til doubled again. Bake @ 350 for 30-40 min. Cool on rack. Use or freeze.

Adapted from More-With-Less Cookbook.