Monthly Archives: July 2013

Birthday Wishes

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I anointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5

Today (Friday, July 19) is Guy’s birthday!  We don’t have just grandiose plans for today, but we are hoping to visit the Kimball Art Museum and enjoy some frozen custard after a dinner of steaks grilled here at home.  I’m also posting the recipe for his birthday cake in my next installment of In the Kitchen.

Aside from Guy’s birthday, we’ve have a week full of adventure.  Thursday last week brought us a quick, hard rain.  Guy was at work, and I didn’t think anything about it except being thankful for the rain.  Imagine my surprise when, a few hours later, Campus Security pounded on our door and warned me not to head out my back door!  Come to find out, the rain had knocked out a good chunk of the tree off to the side of the apartment, and it was over the fence and into our back yard.  Friday, then, saw the seminary landscaping crew chopping down the limb and grinding it up.  Then Saturday, a tree removal company came and took out the rest of the tree.  So now, we are less one shade tree.

Working on Fallen Tree

Working on Fallen Tree

This is where it split

This is where it split

Broken Tree

Broken Tree

We’ve had rain off and on since Sunday, which has been wonderful.  Good sleeping weather and cooler temperatures (70s-80s) until Thursday.  It’s heating up again, but we’re still staying around low to mid-90s, and I’m not going to complain one bit, especially since we’re over halfway through July.  The locals here say that this rain is very unusual for July, but no one’s complaining!

Guy’s been working at Bass Pro now for almost 2 weeks, and seems to be enjoying it pretty well.  They have him in the main fishing area, although he would prefer to be in with the fly fishing section.  He comes home and tells me all about the people he’s met, the things he’s learning, and such.  Here’s a picture of my handsome man!

Bass Pro Fishing Pro!

Bass Pro Fishing Pro!

I have been applying around still, trying to find a job myself.  I had an interview this week with a company, and go back again Monday for a second interview.  Please be praying in regards to this for us!

Prayer Requests:

*  Jessi’s job interview, that a job offer will be made and she can start soon.

*  Financial concerns

*  Continued good grades/retention for Guy

*  Preparations for family to come visit in August

*  Wisdom regarding classes for Jessi – not sure if I should go part-time or full-time, due to financial concerns at this time

*  Opportunities to fellowship and form friendships on and off campus

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From the Kitchen – Reine De Saba (Chocolate and Almond Cake)

I asked Guy what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, and he said, “I want that cake from Julia Child’s cookbook – the chocolate and almond one.”  So here’s the recipe for Reine De Saba from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1.

DSCN1431

Reine De Saba

(Chocolate and Almond Cake)

This extremely good chocolate cake is baked so that its center remains slightly underdone; overcooked, the cake loses its special creamy quality.  It is covered with a chocolate-butter icing, and decorated with almonds.  Because of its creamy center it needs no filling.  It can be made in the same manner as the preceding cakes, starting out with a beating of egg yolks and sugar, then proceeding with the rest of the ingredients.  But because the chocolate and the almonds make a batter so stiff it is difficult to fold in the egg whites, we have chosen another method, that of creaming together the butter and sugar, and then incorporating the remaining items.

For an 8-inch cake serving 6 to 8 people

A round cake pan 8 inches in diameter and 1 1/2 inches deep

4 ounces or squares semi-sweet chocolate melted with 2 Tbsp coffee

A 3-quart mixing bowl

A wooden spoon or an electric beater

1/4 lb. or 1 stick softened butter

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

3 egg whites

Pinch of salt

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

A rubber spatula

1/3 cup pulverized almonds, see Note

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/2 cup cake flour (scooped and leveled), turned into a sifter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter and flour the cake pan.  Set the chocolate and coffee in a small pan, cover, and place (off heat) in a larger pan of almost simmering water; let melt while you proceed with the recipe.  Measure out the rest of the ingredients.

Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.

Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.

Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed; sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.

With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the almonds, and almond extract.  Immediately stir in one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter.  Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding.  Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.

Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with a rubber spatula.  Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 minutes.  Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle should move slightly if the pan is shaken, and a needle comes out oily.

Allow cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on the rack.  Allow it to cool for an hour or two; it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.

TO SERVE:

Use the chocolate-butter icing and press a design of almonds over the icing.

NOTE: Pulverized Almonds

These are most easily done in the blender or processor, and should always be ground 1/2 cup at a time for the blender (1 cup for the processor) with several tablespoons of sugar to prevent them from becoming oily and lumpy, which would make them impossible to combine with other dry ingredients.

Completed and decorated Reine de Saba cake

Completed and decorated Reine de Saba cake

Glacage Au Chocolat (Chocolate-butter Icing)

For an 8-inch cake

2 ounces (2 squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate

2 Tbsp coffee

A small covered pan

A larger pan of almost simmering water

5 to 6 Tbsp unsalted butter

A wooden spoon

A bowl with a tray of ice cubes and water to cover them

A small flexible-blade metal spatula or a table knife

Place the chocolate and coffee in the small pan, cover, and set in the larger pan of almost simmering water.  Remove pans from heat and let chocolate melt for 5 minutes or so, until perfectly smooth.  Lift chocolate pan out of the hot water, and beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time.  Then beat over the ice and water until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading consistency.  At once spread it over your cake with spatula or knife.

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From the Kitchen – Hillbilly Corn

This week I thought I’d post a recipe that isn’t sweet!  (Unless you count the fact that it’s made with sweet corn.)  Growing up, my two favorite ways to eat corn was either by fire-roasting ears of corn still in their husks, or by cutting it off the cob and making hillbilly corn.  We had this last week, along with some bread I picked up at the store and a whole chicken that Guy smoked that afternoon.

Hillbilly Corn

Hillbilly Corn

Smoked chicken, bread, and hillbilly corn

Smoked chicken, bread, and hillbilly corn

Hillbilly corn with all the trimmings

Hillbilly corn with all the trimmings

Hillbilly Corn

One ear of fresh sweet corn per person

1-2 tsp bacon grease

1-2 tsp oil (canola or olive oil preferably)

1 ripe tomato, chopped

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

3 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled – good way to get the grease you need!

2-4 green onions, sliced thinly (white and green parts)

 

1.  Cut the corn off the cob into a large bowl.  Feel free to run your knife along the cob to make sure to get all the juice/leftover corn pieces off the cob.

2.  Heat the bacon grease and oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet.  We have used both a cast-iron skillet and an electric skillet with good results.  Add the kernels to the skillet and let it cook.  You will want to stir frequently to prevent burning or sticking.  The corn will start to brown and get small crunchy places on it.  Cook until it reaches this point, about 10 minutes or so.

3.  Pour cooked corn into a serving bowl.  Serve with bowls of tomato, cucumber, crumbled bacon, and green onion.  Everyone gets to garnish their corn with the other veggies and bacon as they please.  Enjoy!

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Cleanliness is next to…

“In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use.  Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.  Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  2 Timothy 2:20-22

We’ve been doing a lot of cleaning over the past week.  We’re still trying to shift everything around in the apartment, finding good spots for stuff to be stored and emptying boxes as much as possible.  Every day looks more like a lived-in home rather than an anonymous dwelling.  Add to that a huge load of laundry and freshly mopped floors, and the place is looking pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Guy turned in the last part of his Greek 1 final yesterday, so we don’t have a grade for that yet.  However, that means that he has moved out of Greek 1 and is embarking into Greek 2 now.  By the end of this week, his homework will no longer be taken from his textbook, but rather from a Greek New Testament.  That he didn’t have – until last week.  We were looking at Greek NT’s, and I noticed that, for such a thin book, they were charging around $80 for the things!  Then I found a Greek New Testament combined with a Hebrew Old Testament – something else we would need to buy next year when Guy takes Hebrew.  So we bought it!  It’s a curious book, really.  Study aids, commentary sections, and other bits of info not in Greek or Hebrew are written in German!  Then the book starts with the Greek Old Testament in the front, and ends with the Hebrew Old Testament in the back.  For you non-linguists out there, this really does make sense: Greek is written left to right like English, whereas Hebrew is written right to left.  Therefore, the Hebrew Old Testament would start from the back cover and be read towards the front.

Guy starts work today.  Or, should I say, tonight.  He is to be there at 5:30 PM – ?  I’m not sure what I’ll be doing while he’s away, but it’ll probably involve a couple of movies and knitting/crocheting.  We’re anxiously awaiting what his work schedule will be so that we can try to plan our event calendar around it.

We’ve been trying to get involved in a few social groups outside the house.  Jessi’s found a knitting group that meets every two weeks, while Guy’s found a fly fishing group.  We’re excited for these opportunities, yet also know that they are not to substitute why we are here.  Rather, we hope to have opportunities to witness and tell others about Jesus.

Also, happy belated 4th of July!  We were invited to the home of the Median Adult and Family minister from Travis Avenue Baptist Church.  We had Mexican stack-ups (nacho bar), some desserts, and a homemade ice cream contest.  We then watched as several dads and kids set off a ton of fireworks.  But the best part of the location?  We were practically surrounded by fireworks shows going off: Dallas, Fort Worth, Grapevine, Benton, and who-knows-where-else were all firing at the same time.  It was beautiful, and long, and loud from the kids’ detonations.  But we were glad to be celebrating with other Christians.

We would love to hear from people back home.  The loneliness factor ramps up at times, and makes the longing for home increase.  Yet we know that God has us here to learn, not only our studies, but also how to persevere and thrive through our circumstances.

Prayer Requests:

*  Guy, as he starts the new job

*  Continued good grades for Guy, especially since study time will be reduced with the job

*  Job for Jessi

*  Financial stress

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A Final Thought…

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  James 1:2-4

This is Guy’s first finals week.  Although his Greek class is a 2-month-long class, it’s broken down as if he’s taking Greek 1 and Greek 2.  So, this week is the final for Greek 1.  He’s already had a portion of the final on Monday, concentrating solely on all the vocabulary.  Wednesday will be focused on verb tenses, endings, etc.

As we were happy to report last week, Guy will be starting a new job next week on the 9th.  He’s been getting fishing books from the library, trying to research and learn more about the fishing locally.  Missouri flyfishing, in particular, places heavy emphasis on fishing for trout.  Texas, on the other hand, seems to be more about fishing for bass and carp, although there is a decent amount of crappie in the area as well.  Here, most of the trout fishing is in the hills, which is a ways away from the DFW area.

Jessi’s up to her eyeballs in knitting and crocheting, what with starting work on Christmas gifts (yes, I know it’s only July, but these projects take a while to get done!) for the family and making nice things for the apartment.  She’s been learning how to knit intarsia, which is the knitting of pictures or motifs into a knitted panel.  She’s hoping to work her way up from that to more traditional Fair Isle projects.  Mittens, anyone?

We’re still waiting for the results of the MRIs she had done last week.  However, the x-rays showed that she is developing arthritis in her knees and that she has at least a small amount of osteopenia there as well.  Osteopenia is decreased bone density, but not as bad as osteoporosis.  Her doctor is scheduling her for a bone density test to see to what extent the osteopenia is.  If it’s enough to worry about, then we’ll be discussing medication to treat this.  It’s kind of surprising to have osteopenia at her age, which has the doctor a little concerned.

Jessi has found a group of ladies that meet every 2 weeks to knit at the Barnes and Noble on Hulen St.  She went two weeks ago, and plans to go again on Tuesday evening.  Everyone just brings their project and enjoys the chance to socialize – we don’t make any promises on the level of productivity, though!  Guy also recently discovered that a group of fly fishers also have a club, and he plans to attend that meeting, also on Tuesday evening.

We’ve come to a decision regarding which church to join.  Seminary policy decrees that we must join a local church within our first year here, so we’ve been looking at a few over the last couple of months.  We really like Travis Avenue Baptist Church.  The Adult Bible Fellowship class is friendly, with people our age and several Seminary grads.  The church also has both a traditional and a contemporary service, with plenty of opportunities to participate in music and men’s ministries.  We’ve been attending a class on spiritual gifts (Wednesday nights), and just started  a class on “The 7 Summits in Church History” on Sunday nights.  Guy and I are planning to wait until August to join, due to my needing to take off a Sunday morning from the Methodist Church I play piano for.  We’ll wait until our family is down here, since I plan to take that Sunday of anyway.  We hate to leave Crossway Baptist back home, but we’re glad to be finding a nice Bible-based church here.

Prayer Requests:

*  Friendships to develop down here, with finding good people that we can feel we can talk to and discuss the deeper issues with.

*  Finals week for Guy for Greek 1

*  Waiting MRI results and upcoming medical tests for Jessi

*  Financial concerns

*  Preparations for family’s visit in August

*  Good sleep for both of us – dealing with insomnia issues

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From the Kitchen – Oatmeal Scones

I (Jessi) must say that I’ve been becoming a huge fan of blogs.  I’ve found a few, written by lovely ladies who knit and garden and cook, that I check on frequently, loving their pithy comments, beautiful pictures, and practical advice – and recipes!  I thought then about our blog.  While our primary intent is to keep everyone posted on our latest goings-on in Seminary, I thought it would also be nice to share an occasional recipe – something we’ve been enjoying lately.  I think that I’ll title these “From the Kitchen”.  Happy eating!

Oatmeal Scones

Oatmeal Scones

The last few!

The last few!

 

Rich and Tender Oatmeal Scones

from Cook’s Illustrated

1 1/2 cups (4 1/2 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats (I find that using a little more oats for dusting purposes is better!)

1/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) plus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled

1.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.  Spread oats evenly on baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant and lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes; let cool on wire rack.  Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.  When oats are cooled, measure out 2 tablespoons for dusting counter and set aside.  Line second baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk milk, cream, and egg in large measuring cup until incorporated.  Reserve 1 tablespoon in small bowl for glazing and set aside.

3.  Pulse flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined, about 4 pulses.  Scatter butter evenly over dry ingredients and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, 12 to 14 pulses.  Transfer mixture to medium bowl and stir in cooled oats.  Using rubber spatula, fold in liquid ingredients until large clumps form.  Mix dough by hand in bowl until dough forms cohesive mass.

4.  Dust counter with 1 tablespoon reserved oats, turn dough out onto counter, and dust top with remaining 1 tablespoon reserved oats.  Gently pat dough into 7-inch circle about 1 inch thick.  Using bench scraper or chef’s knife, cut dough into 8 wedges and place on prepared baking sheet spacing wedges about 2 inches apart.  Brush tops with reserved egg mixture and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.  Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes.  Let scones cool on baking sheet on wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer scones to wire rack and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.  Serve.

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