Amahl and the Nigh Visitors is an opera that tells about the Kings stopping for the night at the home of a poor, crippled shepherd boy and his widowed mother. King Kaspar has a very special box which makes Amahl very curious.
Our gift to you this season!
Here is Number Three in a series of lessons I have written for family Bible study or homeschool devotional time. The lessons should work for approximately ages 6 to 13, but younger or older children are certainly able to participate!
Once again we begin with a memory verse, because we feel it is very important for everyone to memorize God’s word. This builds confidence for further memory work, and also gives us each a personal library of scripture to reference whenever we need it.
Lesson Three goes into detail about who the Wise Men, or Magi, really were, how they give us a great example to follow, and what their gifts symbolize.
Special gifts you can make for friends and family included
As with the other lessons I have included sections to bring the lesson to life in many ways. There is a delicious spice cake recipe that makes enough to share with friends and family as a special gift this Christmas season. When you give them the cake you can also tell them about the Wise Men and how we are also wise today when we seek Jesus!
Also included in the lesson is a recipe to make a healing salve with frankincense and myrrh essential oils that makes enough to share. Plus a link to a heartwarming family holiday opera to watch, and lessons about art and history, too!
How do I use this lesson?
The lesson is long, and you can break it up into sections to complete over a series of days or evenings to help bring your family’s focus back to the true meaning of Christmas.
When you finish this lesson you can continue the discussion with your older children and teens about how we arrived at December 25th as the date to celebrate Christ’s birth. Use this link to read more.
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Our springtime tradition is to head out to Beck Brothers U-Pick farm with some homeschooling friends and pick buckets full of blueberries. This year we ended up with a little over 15 quarts, most of which are now in the deep freeze. I’ve kept out enough to snack on this week plus make some yummy blueberry treats like this coffee cake which was a big hit with my daughter and my husband. I was surprised because it isn’t very sweet and they both have quite a sweet tooth sometimes.
The cake was good warm from the oven and even better with a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream on top. (Get our ice cream recipe e-book for free when you subscribe to our newsletter – use the link on the right side of this page.) I adapted the recipe from one on the Zenbelly Catering website. I’m impressed with the new Zenbelly cookbook. Chef Simone’s recipes are well written and come with beautiful illustrations, but the best part is they taste so good while still being mostly Paleo. This means grain free and no refined sugars which makes me feel good. So I can have my cake and eat it, too. Plus waffles, biscuits, and pizza…
additional butter or coconut oil for greasing the pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter an 8″ square pan, or a 9″ round pan.
To make the topping chop the pecans in a food processor until they are crumb-sized. Add the almond flour, melted butter, coconut sugar, cinnamon and salt and pulse a few more times until everything is well mixed. Place the topping in a bowl and set aside.
To make the cake place the remaining 1/2 cup almond flour, arrowroot, coconut flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in the food processor and pulse several times to mix. Cut the 2 Tablespoons of cold butter into small pieces and add it to the food processor. Pulse several more times to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly. Mix the eggs, kefir or buttermilk, and vanilla in a small bowl, then add to the food processor and pulse until well mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and then scatter the blueberries evenly over the top of the batter. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the blueberries. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Grain-free cake filled with juicy blueberries and topped with crunchy pecans are featured in this not-too-sweet dessert that can also be breakfast.
1½ cups pecans (raw or crispy)
½ cup blanched almond flour
4 Tablespoons melted butter
2 Tablespoons coconut sugar or sucanat
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup blanched almond flour
¼ cup arrowroot starch
2 Tablespoons coconut flour
⅓ cup coconut sugar or sucanat
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons cold butter
½ cup whole milk kefir OR buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries
additional butter OR coconut oil for greasing pan
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and butter an 8" square OR a 9" round pan.
To make the topping: Chop the pecans in a food processor until they are crumb-sized. Add the almond flour, melted butter, coconut sugar, cinnamon and salt and pulse a few more times until everything is well mixed.
Place the topping in a bowl and set aside.
To make the cake: place the remaining ½ cup almond flour, arrowroot, coconut flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in the food processor and pulse several times to mix.
Cut the 2 Tablespoons of cold butter into small pieces and add it to the food processor.
Pulse several more times to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly.
Mix the eggs, kefir or buttermilk, and vanilla in a small bowl, then add to the food processor and pulse until well mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and then scatter the blueberries evenly over the top of the batter.
Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the blueberries.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
This coffee cake isn’t overly sweet, but it’s just right for a cup of tea and you won’t feel horribly guilty actually eating the leftovers for breakfast. Or try it with some homemade ice cream like we did. Tell us about it in the comments, or come share with us on Facebook.
I’m sharing this with Wellness Wednesday. Please stop by and read all the other blogs who have linked up with our blog hop this week!
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Pi – the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter – is a favorite of the mathematical world. In its decimal form it is a number that never ends and never falls into a repeating pattern. Pi Day is celebrated around the world every year on March 14th. This year is special because not only is it 3.14 it is also 2015 making the date 3.14.15 so if you celebrate Pi Day at precisely 9:26 and 53 seconds a.m. you can hit the first ten digits of Pi … 3.14.15 and 9:26:53 (3.141592653)
Enough with the math – on to the food! It is customary to celebrate Pi Day with, what else, PIE! So without further ado here is a round-up of some delectable pie recipes ripe for your Pi Day celebrating. Go all out and eat pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and raise a fork to Newton, Einstein, Pythagoras, Fibonacci, Pascal, Descartes and all the other great minds who made numbers look so easy. Here’s a baker’s dozen pie recipes, mostly sweet, a few savory. Enjoy your Pi and your Pie.
Pies for Pi Day
Cherries and silky smooth custard make Cherry Clafoutis from Traditional Cooking School the perfect choice for a breakfast pie.
Leave a comment on the blog with your favorite pie recipe and thank them for making your Pi Day so delicious! Then leave a comment here telling us which pie you made – and no, you don’t have to tell us the circumference or the diameter of your pie pan.
Give your special people some seriously delicious love this Valentine’s Day. This chocolate fondue recipe is simple but sublime – a treat that definitely says “I Love You!”
Fair Trade Slavery-Free Chocolate
Say “I love you” to the farmers and harvesters by using the really good stuff. Look for fair trade, non-gmo verified dark chocolate. 70% cacao or more means lots of antioxidant power. I’ve tried Endangered Species, Theo and Dagoba brands and like them, but there are plenty of others that are good – just look for the fair trade or slavery-free verification. I really don’t want my chocolate at the expense of someone else’s hardship. Plus, over the last several years the mainstream chocolate companies have realized they can make more money by fractionizing their chocolate, taking out the cocoa butter to sell as a separate product, and replacing it with an artificial emulsifier called PGPR. To those who know better cocoa butter is a natural, healthy, tropical fat, and taking it out of chocolate decreases the food value of that chocolate. So read your labels and don’t buy anything with artificial flavors or emulsifiers with capital letters for names.
Try these dipping ideas
Get creative with what you dip into this fabulous fondue! I like to keep it on the healthy side as much as possible so I usually offer big, red, ripe strawberries which are in peak season right now where I live in Florida. Banana slices are good too, as are any tropical fruit like kiwi, pineapple and even orange. Apples or pear slices work too. You can also use homemade shortbread cookies, large walnut halves, little squares of homemade pound cake, or how about homemade marshmallows?!
3/4 cup heavy cream (preferably raw but definitely not ultra-pasteurized if possible)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or almond extract OR you can make this more grown-up and use 1 to 2 Tablespoons of cherry brandy or orange liqueur. If you like coffee you could also use 2 teaspoons of espresso powder.
Dippers such as fresh fruit, homemade cookies or cake, marshmallows or nuts
Place the chocolate and the cream in a heavy-bottom saucepan and melt over very low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. This doesn’t take long at all. You are not cooking this, simply melting the chocolate and combining it with the delicious cream. Remove from the heat and stir in the flavoring of choice. Transfer this chocolate mixture to a fondue pot or individual small ramekins and serve with your choice of dippers.
Alternative Living Network is a network of Christian natural living bloggers — bringing light and life to the alternative lifestyle. We’ve gathered together to bring you the very best of 2014. In this post you’ll find amazing recipes for chocolately-goodness. There are cookies, brownies, candy, ice cream and even chocolate drinks. Many recipes are suitable for special diets such as gluten-free, dairy-free or sugar-free. Try them all and leave behind a comment – in fact we’d love it if you left a comment here letting everyone know which recipe is your favorite, and leave another comment on the recipe page to share a little love with the person who developed the recipe!
Autumn brings inspiration to so many of us. The crisp air, cooler temperatures, and colorful leaves have awakened the imaginations of writers and poets for centuries.
And then there are those of us who appreciate the four seasons like Trader Joe’s: “Winter, Spring, Summer, and… Pumpkin”.
I’ve always loved the Mother Goose rhyme, “Nose, nose, jolly red nose and who gave thee that jolly red nose? Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and that gave me my jolly red nose!”
I adore the spicy allure of the autumn season. A craving for the fall flavors of pear, pumpkin, and spices inspired this recipe. Cobblers, crisps, and pies have always been a favorite but I needed to find a gluten-free alternative. While at a local food summit, I tried an oatmeal topped cobbler that gave me the answer I needed for my dessert dilemma….. Read More Here
Toby’s Corner was one of those “special occasion” places where you took someone you wanted to impress. It was a swanky restaurant in the historic district, the old Sun Center building, in downtown Gainesville, FL. Since we were living on a beginning teacher’s salary and a graduate assistant stipend we didn’t eat there very often. But when we did we always ordered the Bananas Foster – it was their signature dessert prepared tableside with great panache. I waited for the perfect opportunity to get the recipe, all I had to do was pay attention when the waiter rolled the linen-covered cart up to the table to give us the show whose grand finale involved flaming the brandy for dramatic effect. Scribbled quickly on a scrap of paper from my purse I treasured that recipe and quickly transferred it to a notecard and stashed it in my recipe file. Now we could have that special dessert at home!
For those of you who’ve never had Bananas Foster it’s a warm caramel sauce with ripe bananas poured over vanilla ice cream for a hot-cold-creamy dessert sensation. I haven’t changed the recipe very much at all from the original, just tweaked the sweeteners so it doesn’t use quite so much refined sugar, so even if the restaurant isn’t there anymore you can still get a taste of what it was like when you make this dessert for you own special occasion. Much of the alcohol does burn off during preparation, but if you don’t want to use it then simply leave it out. The fresh orange and lemon still give it plenty of flavor. Serve this over homemade vanilla ice cream from our free ice cream e-book. To get your copy just click the link on the right hand side of this page, sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll send you the e-book with 10 delicious homemade ice cream recipes right away!
Bananas Foster Toby’s Corner Style
Have the ice cream portioned into four bowls and keep them chilled while you make the sauce. Melt together 3 Tablespoons each of butter, sucanat and real maple syrup in a wide, flat pan. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture gets bubbly and thickens. Add the juice of 1/2 of an orange and 1/2 of a lemon plus 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Stir and heat until bubbly again. Then add 3 Tablespoons each of Creme de Banana liqueur and brandy, flambe if desired, and then slip two bananas that have been peeled, sliced lengthwise and then again in crossways to form 8 total pieces into the warm caramel mixture. Coat the bananas with the sauce stirring to let them get warm, and then spoon the mixture over bowls of vanilla ice cream.
So I’ve been teaching Sunday School for the past two years now. But this is Sunday School like you’ve never seen it. I have the coolest classroom – it’s a little cafe with a real kitchen area. We teach Bible stories and use hands-on cooking projects to cement the lesson in the kids’ minds and hearts (and stomachs!) This week we’ve been getting ready for a big Open House to show off all the neat classrooms and creative lessons being used to teach Jesus’ Love to these sweet kids. I’m going to do a cooking demo for the Open House – I’m making Mud Cookies. We used this recipe when we taught about the Miracles of Jesus. In chapter 9 of the New Testament book of John it tells how Jesus made mud with some dirt and saliva, and rubbed it over the eyes of a man who had been born blind. He then sent the man to wash it off in one of the city fountains. When the man washed off the mud he could see!
Our cookies start out looking like a bowl of lumpy mud. In fact they look pretty gross – you mix cocoa powder with egg whites which looks an awful lot like dirt and spit. But soon after stirring and stirring the batter gets shiny, then you drop spoonfuls onto a parchment paper and bake them. What you get are the most deep, dark chocolate cookies you can imagine! My classroom recipe only makes 10 cookies because our little oven only holds that many, but you can easily double the recipe to make a bigger batch. And you will definitely want to do that because we discovered that these cookies make the perfect sandwich for homemade vanilla ice cream! Oh. My. Goodness. My son made the vanilla ice cream today from the Well Fed Family free ice cream ebook (have you gotten yours yet? sign up for the newsletter using the link on the right side of this website and we’ll send it to you for free!), we used these cookies to make ice cream sandwiches for dessert tonight. Perfect! They are just the right texture, just like those soft cookies that come with the eskimo pies from the ice cream truck. And oh so chocolatey! What a perfect way to use up the egg whites leftover from making the ice cream!
Mix everything together in a medium bowl. Use the honey if you don’t mind having a chewier cookie, the sugar will make it a little firmer but less nutritious. However these are dessert – so don’t feel like using honey means you can eat the whole batch yourself 😉 Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until they are dry on top to the touch but still springy. Cool on the baking sheet for a minute or two and then use a metal spatula to remove to a cooling rack. Use two cookies, flat sides together, with two tablespoonfuls of ice cream to make the sandwiches. Eat immediately or wrap in wax paper to freeze for later.
I can definitely see these with variations. Maybe sub peppermint extract for the vanilla for mint chocolate mud cookies. Or use any of the other ice cream flavors in our free ice cream ebook, wow, how about peanut butter ice cream with these chocolate cookies! Leave a comment and let us hear your great flavor ideas! Pin for later or share on Facebook using the links above the blog.
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Amy and I both owe a big heartfelt thanks to our mom for teaching us to cook. Some of my earliest memories are in the kitchens of all the different places we lived. Playing under the table while mom cooked dinner, licking beaters from the mixer after she made a cake, helping roll the Snickerdoodles in the sugar or press the crisscross marks into peanut butter cookies. As we grew older she encouraged us to find recipes we wanted to try on our own. She even encouraged us to enter the Girl Scout Bake Off. I remember when I was in 6th grade she bought ingredients for three or four pound cakes and let me practice before the big event. I actually won a prize! In high school she occasionally assigned us times to plan and make dinner, which is when I think I first tried making lasagne and french bread.
By the time I went to college I was a confident enough cook that I wasn’t forced to rely on frozen dinners or the campus cafeteria. My roommate and I actually used the kitchen in our college apartment and had friends over for homecooked meals. Cooking and eating at home saved us a lot of money when my husband and I first married and had to live on graduate student salaries. Now our kids are becoming skilled cooks in their own right. What a wonderful legacy!
Of course there were cakes every year – homemade ones which have spoiled me for any other kind of cake. I remember a big Pink Lemonade Cake with marshmallow flowers, and a Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake on my 16th birthday. One family favorite I want to share with you in honor of Mother’s Day is our Mom’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake. I can remember eating this cake as a very young girl. It is one of our Dad’s favorites, too. It goes well with a cup of coffee, or a big glass of milk. If no one is looking you can even lick the cinnamon sugar crumbs off the plate when you are done.
We’d love to hear your memories of mom, share your favorite recipe, or tell us how you first learned to cook. Leave us a comment in the comment box, or click on the “leave a reply” link at the top near the title of this article. Tell us how you are leaving a legacy of cooking for your kids.
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Strawberry Season has arrived where I live in Central Florida. Actually it arrived shortly before Christmas, just in time for winter-weary vacationers to be so overwhelmed by the sight of gorgeous, giant red berries at the turnpike plaza stops that they are willing to pay big bucks for those first fruits. Me? Well I usually wait until the season really gets going and there’s a glut of berries in need of prompt attention. I love to make strawberry jam, strawberry shortcake, put strawberries in my smoothies, pair them with blue cheese on a green salad and still have extra for the kids to snack on.
That’s why I was excited to go berry picking with friends recently. We almost missed the opportunity, it has been so rainy lately, but thankfully the rain held off long enough for us to get two flats filled to the brim with big, juicy berries! Getting them direct from the farm saved us 50 cents/lb off the grocery store sale price – and you can’t get any fresher than just picked! I froze 5lbs., made 8 half-pints of jam, made shortcake for dessert that night and still had several pounds to eat fresh this week. So I tried a new recipe. Actually it’s an old recipe – it’s from a 1932 recipe booklet from the Birds Eye frozen foods company, but I changed it to get rid of the refined white sugar. Ok, so the original name for this recipe was “Berry Cream”, but as I was serving it to my family it ended up being called – Strawberry Fluff – and now the name has stuck.