Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends & family!!! – We appreciate all your support!!! Thank you

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Artsy Fartsy – Freedom of Want (Norman Rockwell)

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The most famous Norman Rockwell WWII paintings, “Freedom of Want,” was one of four paintings in a series, the “Four Freedoms,” that Rockwell created during World War II. It may not have been meant to commemorate Thanksgiving, but the painting embodies the spirit of family and Thanksgiving. 

To all our military veterans and our fallen heroes, thank you for your service and your sacrifices for America and her people. Without your courage and willingness to do what others can’t or won’t, America is still the greatest and safest nation on Earth.

Bless you all on this Thanksgiving. You are our heroes, and most of America embraces and remembers the enormity of what you have done in the name of liberty.

Norman Rockwell – Freedom From Want – High Quality Reproduction Canvas Art Print

Serving God and making dinner by The Isaiah 53:5 Project (BLW Contributor)

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“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

- Romans 5:8

The other day I was helping (by helping I mean sitting at the breakfast bar drinking coffee and watching her) my wife make dinner when I asked her if she remembered the pasta dish she used to make that was kind of like a lasagna casserole.

Having no idea what I was talking about, she asked me to describe it.

“You know? It had noodles, sauce, and some kind of cheese like ricotta or cottage cheese mixed in…and mozzarella on the top…and you baked it…” I explained as eloquently as our eight year old might have.

“Not ringing a bell, I think I would remember that.”

“I know you made it several times, even for a few family gatherings.”

“Look through the recipes; if I made it as many times as you say, I’m sure it’s in the recipe book.”

So, since my drinking coffee wasn’t contributing much to the dinner prep. effort anyway, I retrieved the green binder that contained, at least it seemed, a printed or handwritten copy of everything we have had for dinner and desert for the past 23 years and began my search.

Though a yellowed and torn recipe happily brought me back in time to a conversation my future wife and her future mother-in-law had about my favorite food, my walk down recipe memory lane failed to produce what I was looking for.

“Well, I looked through all of them and couldn’t find it.”

“Maybe it fell out of the book…Or, maybe I never made such a thing and it’s all in your head, you know your memory isn’t what it used to be.” She joked.

“I suppose you’re right.”

One thing led to another, we ate dinner, I practiced football outside with our youngest, showers, making school lunches for tomorrow, bedtime stories, TV…

Long story short, life went on and I forgot (my wife could be on to something about my memory) all about the mystery dinner I supposedly used to love.

Forgot about it, that is, until yesterday when I got home from work to find a surprise in the oven.

Turns out my wife not only didn’t forget, she went online, found something she thought was similar to what I described, bought all the ingredients, and made it just for me.

And it was fantastic.

In the overall scheme of life, this was not the grandest of gestures. It was however, a wonderful, unselfish, and thoughtful act, performed for no other reason than love and an internal desire to please someone else and make them happy. This is why true Christians worship and serve Christ.

I hear all the time that Christians only worship and serve Christ because we are told we have to, because we are threatened with eternal damnation if we don’t, or because we are brainwashed into doing so; nothing could be further from the truth.

We serve and worship Christ because we want to, because we love Him, because we deeply appreciate what He has done for us, and because we all have a genuine and sincere desire to please Him and make Him happy.

PS. In case you’re wondering, yes, I do in fact have the world’s greatest wife.

Check out other great articles from The Isaiah 53:5 Projecthttp://thei535project.wordpress.com

Wisdom Wednesdays – Acceptance

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Happy National Cake Day!!! (Nov. 26th) – Almost-Famous Molten Chocolate Cake

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Almost-Famous Molten Chocolate Cake

Almost-Famous Molten Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

For the Cakes:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 tablespoons melted, 4 tablespoons at room temperature)

1/2 cup natural (not Dutch-process) cocoa powder, plus more for dusting

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Fillings and Toppings:

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Caramel sauce, for drizzling

1 pint vanilla ice cream

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Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make the cakes: Brush four 1 1/4-cup brioche molds (or use 10-ounce ramekins or jumbo muffin cups) with the 2 tablespoons melted butter. Dust the molds with cocoa powder and tap out the excess.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Bring the milk and 3/4 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat; set aside.

Combine the vegetable oil, 4 tablespoons room-temperature butter and the sugar in a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl and beater as needed. Add 1/2 cup cocoa powder and the vanilla; beat 1 minute on medium speed. Scrape down the bowl. Add 1 egg and beat 1 minute on medium-low speed, then add the remaining egg and beat 1 more minute.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the flour mixture, then the hot milk mixture. Finish mixing the batter with a rubber spatula until combined. Divide the batter evenly among the molds, filling each slightly more than three-quarters of the way.

Transfer the molds to a baking sheet and bake until the tops of the cakes are domed and the centers are just barely set, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack; let the cakes cool until they pull away from the molds, about 30 minutes.

How To Assemble the Cake:

Make the Filling: Microwave the chocolate, cream, butter and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl in 30-second intervals, stirring each time, until the chocolate starts to melt, 1 minute, 30 seconds. Let sit 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Reheat before using, if necessary.

Use the tip of a paring knife to gently loosen the cakes from the molds, then invert the cakes onto a cutting board.

Use the knife to cut a 1 1/2-inch circle on the top of each cake, cutting almost to the bottom.

Hollow out the cake with a spoon; save the scraps. Wrap the cakes with plastic wrap and microwave until steaming, 1 minute.

Drizzle plates with caramel, then unwrap the cakes and place on top. Pour about 3 tablespoons filling into each cake.

Plug the hole with a cake scrap. Save or discard any remaining scraps.

Top each cake with a scoop of ice cream. Spoon more chocolate sauce on top, spreading it thin so it hardens into a shell.

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Boys: She’s Just Not That Into You Either by Inside my Show (BLW Contributor)

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Well we’ve all seen the film (I’m guessing!?), but what can be said for when the shoe’s on the other foot? He’s Just Not That Into You tells the tale of Gigi, a single woman in her twenties (?!) desperately looking for love. So desperate in fact that she reads every ‘sign’ wrong and humiliates herself in several ways when assuming men are into her, when they’re not. Boohoo, sad story.

I suppose it’s part true for a lot of women that when they want someone to want them, they piece together the miniscule moments they have shared together – text messages, a drink at the bar…etc, and they run wild with it hoping it all means this poor lad is hopelessly in love with her. This ultimately ends in tears when the fantasy becomes reality and they find out no such love affair has or will ever take place.

What about men though? I can’t speak for them as I am evidently not one but I do find it hillllariousss that some men are so sure of themselves and assume their game is so on point that they can just tell when a woman is head over heels for them. Sorry to be the one to tell you guys, but… she’s probably just not that into you either.

These are the types of scenarios that get guys feeling some type of way because they ASSUME women are into them or catching feelings.

#She Texts You First: Look, the guy she really wants is ignoring her and she’s bored at home watching Hollyoaks so she decides to text you as it’s guaranteed you’ll reply. Haven’t you noticed that all she does is text you? She hasn’t asked you out, she hasn’t slept with you, mate…she hasn’t even asked what your job is. She don’t care.

#You Sleep Together: Yes yes, I know women do get attached easier than men and it is usually through sex, BUT, that doesn’t mean every female you sleep with is wanting your hand in marriage. She only likes your face and the fact you occupy her when she needs it – why you making a big deal of it? Haven’t you noticed that when (and only when) you start getting shook and back away because you think she just musssst be falling for you, that’s when they start getting annoyed? Not annoyed because they want you, but annoyed because you’re acting like a child. Do not tell a woman how she feels – unless you want 3 essays before 10:30AM.

#She Opens Up To You: When you sit down and talk to a woman, the conversation can go from 0-100 real quick. You can merely talk about the weather or somehow end up talking about life and love, feelings and future plans. It’s nice to talk on a level with someone where the conversation has some depth and soul to it. you’re still friendzoned though. You’re that guy she knows she can waffle to. She doesn’t want to carry out any of these future plans with you. Maybe your mate though. Maybe she’s hinting that she needs you to have a word and maybe slip you a 20 to set her up? Awk.

#She Wants your Attention: More time women go on this long winded  journey to try and get a males attention, just to do nothing with it. It soothes the ego to know that someone is willing to talk or give up their time for them. Women need to feel attractive and desired, so they will play little games to see if you’re willing to comply.

This might make you guys think women are ridiculous and yeah, we are. but so are you. And we all play games whether we’re clever enough to know better or not. Unfortunately that’s how this generation has programmed us into thinking and being. Boohoo, sad story.

Check out the rest of this great articlehttp://insidemyshoe.com/2014/11/18/boys-shes-just-not-that-into-you-either/

 

Happy National Parfait Day!!! – Is Yogurt Parfait Healthy?

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The French word for perfect is parfait, and when you add whole grains and fruit to yogurt to create a delicious breakfast or snack treat, you are perfecting yogurt’s already considerable health benefits. Typically, a yogurt parfait consists of layers of yogurt, grains such as granola or crushed gram crackers and fruit. When the fat and calories are low, it can be a healthful choice at fast-food restaurants and coffeehouses.

Nutritional Value

When not loaded with additional sugar, low-fat or fat-free versions of yogurt are an excellent source of protein, calcium, and probiotics, which are microorganisms that help keep the digestive system working properly, according to information published by the Michigan State University. Fruit imparts a vitamin-rich and naturally sweet characteristic to your yogurt parfait. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you eat two cups of fruit a day, and a parfait will get you on your way to fulfilling that recommendation. The Harvard School of Public Health says diets rich in fruits and vegetables lower blood pressure and reduce risks of heart disease, strokes, some cancers and some eye problems.
According to Familydoctor.org, the healthiest grains to use are oatmeal, low-fat granola or crushed crackers. These grains are healthiest because they are rich in complex carbohydrates, which regulate your digestive system and your blood sugar levels.

Making it Your Own

Much of the dish’s health benefits come from how completely customizable it is, with your choice of yogurt, grain and fruit. Take a cue from the Cleveland Clinic, which recommends adding some slivered nuts, wheat germ or ground flax seeds to add heart-healthy omega-3s and fiber that will keep your digestive system in good shape. Yogurt parfaits are healthy partially because they are so easy to make. If you’re in a hurry, throw in some blueberries or raspberries that don’t need to be sliced.

Healthy Additions

You can also add easy extras that maximize a yogurt parfait’s health benefits. Drizzle some raw local honey between the parfait’s layers. Not only will it add sweet flavor, the 2012 issue of “Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine” reports honey will boost your immune system and help reduce inflammation throughout your body. Sprinkle some cinnamon to top off your parfait’s healthfulness. A study in the March 2009 “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” found that cinnamon lowers the rise in blood sugar levels following a meal.

Parfait Convenience

One of the key benefits to a yogurt parfait is that it provides an easy to make or purchase a portable and, most importantly, balanced small meal. A meal composed of all the major food categories — protein, carbohydrates and a small amount of fat — allows your body to take full advantage of the nutrients provided by each type of food.

Finding Room in Your Diet

At a fast-food restaurant or coffeehouse, a parfait seems like a healthy and appetizing option. Before you make your decision, though, take a few seconds to analyze the calorie and fat information on the parfait, which should be located either on the menu or on the ready-made parfait’s label. The American Heart Association calculates that with a typical 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, you should ingest no more than 56 to 77 grams of fat a day. Keep in mind that breakfast should account for a little less than a third of your total daily intake of calories and fat.

Credit: Live Strong

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I’m not in charge . . . and grateful by Bare Naked in Public (BLW Contributor)

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I wanted to title this post I’m sick of being grateful. . . or . . . The Universe is stupid. If you follow my blog you know that this month I’m highlighting gratitude, acknowledging life’s little gifts and giving thanks. It’s been a good exercise for me, adding positivity and happiness one day at a time. But recent days have been full of sad news and I’m a little bit pissed at the Universe. I know, I know life is not fair, but this week I wanted it to be a little bit more gentle. The passing of a dear family friend, the news of a little baby diagnosed with a terminal illness as I comforted his sobbing grandmother, and looming holiday melancholy, had me a little rattled and I think I’m falling off the gratitude wagon. When it rains, does it really have to pour?

Driving home tonight, stuck in traffic, I composed my post in my head, reflecting on the yucky week and wishing I could change the world for people I love, relieve them of hurt, pain.  I remembered that when I was a little girl I had a single prayer,  Dear God, please don’t let anyone in my family or any of my friends get sick or die. It was simple, got the job done and best of all . . . it really worked, no one I loved got sick or died. I was a believer.

There is so much to say about those decades between the faithful little girl and the non believer she became, mostly life choices taking their toll. As I inched along, staring at the red taillights of Friday night traffic, I remembered a time when I told a friend thatdecided the outcomes of my life, I was in charge. The thought of that now is laughable. I have learned that the only thing I can control is how I react to life’s happenings, the good, the bad, the happy and sad.  I can choose to be pissed off at the Universe or accept what is, find the lesson, or even find reason to celebrate.

Today, I can say that I do believe in something, a light, an eternal peace. When I hope, pray, or seek serenity, it’s a woman who is listening. And when I imagine her she looks like my mom . . . with clear blue eyes and long silver hair, she is calm, peaceful. I talk to her mostly about love and family. I believe in the energy of the Universe and that some how there is a reason for everything. I am not meant to understand how it works. As much as I want to be, I am not in charge. I cannot save the people I love from pain and suffering. I can only love them, and that I do well.

I’m climbing back on the wagon . . .  still grateful . . . .

xo

Check out other Great Articles from Bare Naked in

Publichttp://barenakedinpublic.com

Be Like Bacon – Francis Bacon (Knowledge is Power)

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Poetry Mondays – Twas just this time last year I died. (Emily Dickinson)

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‘Twas just this time, last year, I died.

I know I heard the Corn,

When I was carried by the Farms 

It had the Tassels on 

I thought how yellow it would look 

When Richard went to mill 

And then, I wanted to get out,

But something held my will. 

I thought just how Red — Apples wedged

The Stubble’s joints between 

And the Carts stooping round the fields

To take the Pumpkins in 

I wondered which would miss me, least,

And when Thanksgiving, came,

If Father’d multiply the plates 

To make an even Sum 

And would it blur the Christmas glee

My Stocking hang too high

For any Santa Claus to reach

The Altitude of me 

But this sort, grieved myself,

And so, I thought the other way,

How just this time, some perfect year 

Themself, should come to me 

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson