Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lamb Shanks inspired by Jamie Oliver

Who else admires Jamie Oliver, the fabulous British chef?
We love to watch any of his cooking and travel shows, and one recipe of his intrigued me, Lamb Shanks with Vegetables.
Here is a photo of the shanks and veg in their foil wrap, just after being baked in the oven.
I bought two lamb shanks from the local butcher ($7.00 each, one pound each), one leek, one red onion, 8 cloves of garlic, one large carrot. Next time I will use two carrots, they turned out delicious.
Each shank and veg will be cooked in its own foil wrap.
Rub each shank with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Cut the veg in to large pieces, take half of them and put them in the center of a large piece of aluminum foil, make a bowl shape of the foil, add the unpeeled garlic, add a shank and a half cup of white wine and seal it up very tight. Add a sprig of fresh rosemary with the veg. Cook for 2 1/2 hours on a baking sheet at 350 degrees.
Serve with a baked potato and yum is the word.
Jamie's recipe says finely slice the veg; I used big chunks. He uses a herb butter to stuff in the shanks, and I skipped that part. I also bought light sour cream and a fresh horseradish root, and my husband grated the horseradish, added lemon juice and salt and pepper for a nice side sauce for the lamb. That was the first time I bought horseradish root, and the first time we tried lamb shanks.
Here is a photo of Jamie Oliver and his website is Jamie Oliver

Friday, October 19, 2012

Autumn colors in violas

I know that you, my blog friends, live all around the world, with different seasons and climates, so some of you may wonder why I am planting flowers now. Well, my family lives in a temperate area of California, and some planting can be done in fall.
Fruit trees, trees of all kinds, and roses do well here when planted now.
This six pack of violas spoke to me in the garden store. Well, not in so many words, but they did beckon. They look very autumnal to me, with solid colors of white, orange and yellow.
Above is a photo of them still in their container straight from the store and I think they look like a fall bouquet already.

Then I planted a white viola in my frog planter and an orange one in my quail pot.
Still four more to find homes in our garden.
Are you planting? Or is your garden resting?

Saturday, October 13, 2012


sun in his fur
Originally uploaded by ilexxx

"My friend is not perfect - nor am I - and so we suit each other admirably." -- Alexander Pope

Friends are treasures, aren't they, both the fuzzy kind with 4 feet and our human pals too.

"Friendship cheers like a sunbeam; charms like a good story; inspires like a brave leader; binds like a golden chain; guides like a heavenly vision." -- Newell D. Hillis

Friday, October 12, 2012

Twelve Unlikely Heroes book review

The group gave me a copy of this book, in return for me reviewing it. Their program is great; if you like to read Christian books and post reviews of them, visit their site and see if you want to sign up to receive books to read and review.

I wanted to read the book "Twelve Unlikely Heroes: How God Commissioned Unexpected People in the Bible and What He Wants To Do With You" because I want to learn more about some of the unlikely heroes in the Bible and this book filled me in on their stories.
This book gives hope to Christians who have doubts, flaws and difficulty on their walk in the Christian faith, as the author, John MacArthur, shares the stories of 12 unlikely heroes of Bible times. “Mark and Onesimus: a tale of two runaways”, “Esther: for such a time as this”, “Joseph: because God meant it for good”, “Gideon and Samson: stories of weakness and strength” are just a few of the chapters about regular people who became Bible heroes.
Many of these names like Jonah, Gideon, Miriam and Samson, are familiar to me but I only know a few snippets about these people. MacArthur tells us more fully about them and their exciting stories.
For example, Esther risked her life to go before the king who had set a date to exterminate the entire Jewish population in his kingdom. In Esther 4:16 she said “And so I will go to the king, which is against the law, and if I perish, I perish.” Esther succeeded in saving her people as she risked instant death in approaching the king.
MacArthur gives us the background stories on these people, and the stories show how God can use anyone to do his work, even these unlikely people and even us.

Friday, October 5, 2012

We don't have to shape up before approaching God

Happy Chinese New Year
Originally uploaded by Thai Jasmine (

These flowers are so pretty that they make me feel happy. On a recent Sunday our minister included this quote in his sermon.

"There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every person which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus."

By Blaise Pascal, philosopher, mathematician, scientist and Christian

I agree with Pascal that nothing can fill this longing but God, made known through Jesus. We can buy 100 or 1,000 pairs of shoes like Imelda Marcos of the Philippines, or the cars and houses collected by foolish Hollywood stars, or the possessions owned by the bejeweled lady down the street, but without Jesus we are hollow people. Any light breeze can topple us if we have a vacuum within.

Another pearl from the sermon was how we don't have to shape up before approaching God. Flaws, addictions, imperfections galore, God welcomes each of us with open arms. My church, like many, emphasizes that you don't need to be a perfectly formed Christian to approach Jesus or to join us; all are welcome. We have a big ministry for people in recovery from all addictions, including drugs and alcohol and I love that all are welcome. Remember, Jesus broke many rules about who to spend time with, and he especially loved people who were condemned and shunned by strict rule observing Pharisees and religious leaders.

He loves you, and he loves me. Now that is worth celebrating. The flowers make me happy for a moment but we have the chance to be happy for eternity. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

And the winner of the book is ...

Originally uploaded by michaelsking

I used to pick the winner of "365 Senior Moments You'd Rather Forget" by Karen O'Connor.
The winner is Hootin Anni.
I will visit her blog and look for a way to contact this Lucky Lady.
I found this dramatic photo of a mountain in Scotland on