What Happens When Women Pray

What happens when women pray photo

Every year or so, there is a theme that God chooses to teach me.  One year it was Biblical Womanhood, another it was Gratitude, yet another was Being Established.  The past 2 years have been on the topic of Prayer.

Have you ever shopped for books written about prayer??  Oh, my goodness, there are SO MANY!!  I have not actually gone looking, but when God picks a topic, it pops up everywhere.  Before I know it, I’ve accumulated a shelf full of resources without even trying.  I’ve read a little in this one and a little in that, however, my all time favorites are

1) simply reading what God says about prayer and the examples we’re given in God’s Word, and

2) Evelyn Christenson’s book, “What Happens When Women Pray”.  I found this little book at a garage sale, full of notes (so it must be good, right?).  I’ve read it 4 times, and I learn something new every time.

The Christian Missionary Alliance Church also chooses a theme every year, and their women’s ministry piggybacks on that.  This year the Alliance Women’s theme is “MORE”.

In my home church, our own Alliance Women are specifically studying how we can experience “MORE” power in prayer.  I’m so blessed to be able to do this study with my own church family, and I am over the moon to see how God is going to use these women and their prayers in the life of our church.

Prayer Is:

*A privilege*  ~My husband’s grandpa taught me that.  He called me monthly, until the day he died, to catch up and find out how he could be praying for us.  I was so blessed by this man who was not a blood relative, but who loved me so strongly in word and in deed.

*A responsibility*  ~Did you know that it is designed by God as part of our relationship with Him, and the health of our prayer life is an indication of the health of our Spiritual lives?

*A gift*  ~Imagine if we could not go to God.  Or imagine if we still, like the Israelites of old, had to go through a priest as a mediator, offering sacrifices, in order to maintain our relationship with God?  When Jesus died for us, and conquered sin and death by rising again, HE became our mediator and now we can go directly to God in Jesus’ name.

What a precious gift, and yet, it is one of the most neglected privileges and responsibilities within the Church Body today.  The truth is that too often we do not give enough thought to how and when we talk to God.  What’s more, many of us are not aware of the stumbling blocks that prevent God from inclining His ear to answer.

As my Jesus Sisters and I go through this study together, I’ll be sharing what God is teaching me in a series of posts entitled, “More Power in Prayer.”

I hope you’ll join me!

How My Family Got RID of Allergies, and You Can Too

I know what you’re thinking… I mean, conventional wisdom says that to heal an allergy one must avoid the allergen for years, radically change one’s diet, heal the gut, take buku probiotics. . . Right?  All those things are good, but no, that’s not how our story goes.

Hoe My Family Got Rid of Allergies

Our family has battled chronic allergies forever.  I have nursed my babies a looong time because studies showed it reduces the development of allergies, but my babies reacted to my milk.  They have experienced the WORST colic, and horrible, weeping eczema.  I had to figure out what I was eating that bothered them and then eliminate it from MY diet so that my milk would not be poisoning my babies!

For awhile, we had a chiropractor who did Muscle Response Testing (MRT, AKA: Kinesiology).  With my lists of “Foods We Eat,” he would pin-point which foods were the culprit.

MRT employs resistance on a muscle while exposing an individual to a test item. If the muscle stays strong, it is assumed that the test item is not a problem.  If the muscle gives under pressure, then it’s assumed that the test item IS a problem.  It sounds easy, but it is a little more complicated than just applying pressure to muscles.  If an individual is “out of balance,” as is not uncommon if your health is under assault, testing can be compromised, and it requires a trained practitioner to correct balance to garner reliable results.

MRT worked for us, but we eventually moved away from our chiropractor.  This led to challenging years of eliminating  foods, and then adding them back, in an effort to identify the problems!  😦

There were years that I had to make a meal three different ways just so everyone could safely eat. 

It.Was.Exhausting.

After so many foods had to be eliminated from our table, I prayed for healing.

BEGGED for healing.

It was the onset of a tick born illness that just put me over the top.  As I shared in my posts about my Journey to Health and Weight Loss, Part 1 and Part 2, this led my taking classes in natural health.

Along the way, God steered me to study a Natural Health modality called Health Kinesiology (HK), which uses MRT.  I thought I was learning how to test in order to figure out what we shouldn’t eat, but instead, God did something astounding.

Through Health Kinesiology, God provided a system that  not only allows me to identify allergens, but to correct the allergy.

Immeasurably more than all I had asked or imagined.  Not only can I help our family, but I can also help others.  Thank-you, Lord!!

How does it work?

  1. A trained HK practitioner uses MRT to identify allergens.  A sample of the items being tested must be physically present, however they can be sealed in a plastic bag or more ideally, a glass dish with lid.  In this way, individuals with severe allergies, like peanuts that can be air born, can still go through testing and corrections.
  2. Practitioners help the body make corrections using Accupressure~placing their finger tips on the client’s traditional Accupuncture points; instead of needles, they use only light pressure.
  3. When the correction is completed, the practitioner will retest for allergy, and it should be clear.
  4. Now comes the detox.  Lets make an analogy: Imagine your immune system like a computer that undergoes updates and has to reboot.  We may tell your body that the allergen is a harmless substance, but soldiers already have marching orders to “attack” what was previously identified as an enemy.  Detox can be viewed as time for the body to get rid of everything relating to the prior allergen, allowing all the “soldiers” to go home and get new orders.
  5. After detox has been completed, it is recommended that clients return to their practitioner to be re-tested to find whether a tolerance correction should be made before exposing themselves to the previous allergen.  Low tolerance does not engage the immune system, but can cause similar symptoms as an allergy.

Some allergens require a long correction (called a SET), which requires a trained practitioner, but some only require what is called an “Allergy Tap,” which takes just minutes, and is available for you to learn how to do at home by requesting a copy of the PDF entitled, “Cure Your Own Allergies in Minutes.”  Request the manual at THIS ADDRESS.

I have used the allergy tap in emergency situations to reverse hives and stop allergy induced nausea within minutes.  It depends upon the individual and each allergen; some require the longer correction, and some are good with the Tap.  If you have an allergy that requires the SET, you can locate a practitioner near you by contacting the International Headquarters of Health Kinesiology.

If you have an allergy that causes a life threatening response, it is not recommended that you try this correction at home.  See a practitioner who has a lot of experience.

I am so grateful for this tool which has been an answer to many desperate prayers!  It is amazing to eat without fear and be able to hold a cat without trouble breathing! We’ve cleared dozens of allergies.  

If you live with chronic or life threatening allergies, doing this is so worth it Life changingin a good way!

Blessings! ~Linda

 

 

 

Growing in the Fruit of Joy

joy bubble

 

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter 1:8,9

~This devotional was used by our women’s group in conjunction with a study from Elizabeth George’s book, A Woman’s Walk With God, Growing in the Fruit of the Spirit.~

 

Of all the Fruit of the Spirit, I find at times, joy is the one most difficult to be deceived by a counterfeit.  When hard times come, and heart break is inevitable, joy cannot be pretended.

1~ Joy is Supernatural.

Joy is only available to the Believer who is living a life in step with God.  None of the Fruit of the Spirit are available without a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, leaning in close to the Savior, walking in His will.

In John 15, versus 8-11, Jesus tells His disciples that when we bear fruit (lives oozing with Godly character) we glorify God and prove to be Christ’s disciples.  He explains how He loves us as God the Father loves Him.

He has been explaining our relationship with Him, using the analogy of a vine and its branches.  Can you picture Him, walking the disciples through a vineyard as He talks and points out the familiar vines, and paints for them a word picture they can understand and keep close to their hearts?

“Abide in my love.” He tells them.  “ If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”

And then Jesus explains why it is so important that we abide (remain, tarry, be held).

 11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”  John 15:8-11

This word, full, also means full to the brim, so that nothing shall be wanting.  It means to render complete; perfect.

Just picture your heart, so full of joy that it can’t contain anymore.  It is complete.  It is perfect; but only if we are abiding. Obeying. Tarrying for Christ and his desire for us.

2~ Our joy is Positional, not Circumstantial.

Happiness the counterfeit we most often mistake for joy, but happiness is circumstantial.  The very word tells us it is so.  “HAP” means chance.  It is the root of happen, haphazard (dependent on mere chance), happenstance (a chance circumstance), and the word “happy”.

Happiness is an emotion that changes with our circumstances, but our emotions are not a reliable reflection of the truth of our position; our situation.

Before we believe in Jesus and what he did, trusting in Him, and relying on his death, burial and resurrection as payment for our sin–before that, we were enemies of God.  That was our position.

Praise the Lord, we don’t stay there, because when we place our trust in Him and accept the beautiful gift of sacrifice he gave on our behalf, our position changes.  He removes us from the position of enemy and places us in the position of friend of God.  And now our position allows us to experience the full life and full joy that Jesus wills us to have.

But only in Christ!

The New Testament word for Joy, or Gladness, is Chara.

  • the joy received from you
  • the cause or occasion of joy
  • of persons who are one’s joy

Jesus is our salvation, and we (Believers) are the recipients of the surpassing riches of His grace (that which affords joy! 🙂  )  Ephesians 2:4-8

Our joy doesn’t disappear, diminish, or change when hard times come calling.  It stays, because He stays.  Our joy is positional, not circumstantial.

3~ “Joy looks out and up, not inward.”

God doesn’t want us to dwell on our circumstances.  He wants us to look to Him, trusting His goodness and His faithfulness, and to stay mindful of our position and His promises.  When we focus on those things, a wonderful thing happens.  Gratitude.

The natural result of Grace is Praise.

Gratitude is an essential ingredient for joy.  And, it is a commandment.

1 Thesselonians 5:16-18 tells us to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Emphasis Mine

Psalm 50:23 tells us that the one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies God.

How?  To borrow from Charles Stanley:

  • Giving Thanks strengthens our witness to unbelievers,
  • gives us eternal perspective,
  • motivates us to look for God’s purpose in our circumstances,
  • keeps us continually aware that God is close by,
  • brings us our will into submission to God,
  • and it reminds us of our dependence upon HIM.

What about Sorrow?  What place does it have for a people of joy?

Godly Sorrow is Okay.

According to Isaiah 53:3, Jesus was “… a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”

Jesus felt sorrow over our sin, and grief over what He was to suffer on our behalf.  And yet, Hebrews 12:2 explains that “for the joy that was set before Him, he endured the cross.”

How should we treat sorrow?

In the book of Lamentations, chapter 3, Jeremiah sets an example for us.  He spends the first 19 verses acknowledging his terrible circumstances, like this:

verses 17-19,

“I have been deprived of peace;
    I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 So I say, “My splendor is gone
    and all that I had hoped from the Lord.”

19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
    and my soul is downcast within me.”

But then, in verse 21 he begins to turn it around and he praises God.

“Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

And Jeremiah goes on praising the Lord.

It is okay to acknowledge our sorrow, just do not go on about it until it becomes toxic.  Turn it around and praise God.

“Although I am going through this _____________, the Lord___________________.”

When I was going through this last miscarriage, I was grieving.  I was sad… confused…helpless…frustrated.  I didn’t understand why God was allowing me to go through such loss, yet again.  But smack dab in the middle of the grief there was joy in knowing I was not alone.  God was right there in the middle of the grief with me, and he was holding me, giving me strength, and reassuring me.  At the end of the day I could say, “Although my heart is hurting, the Lord is good.  Although I don’t understand, the Lord is trustworthy.  Although I am helpless, God is my Helper.”

We will have bad days.  Some of us will have a bad decade,  but “because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed”.  Because of his love, compassion, and faithfulness our hope is anchored to the throne of heaven, and we take joy, even in times of sorrow.

The Lord is our portion… our “possession, reward”;

therefore we will wait for him.

This word “wait”, it’s a different word than Jesus used for “abide” in John 15, but it carries a similar meaning… to expect, hope in, tarry.

Isn’t that beautiful?  So many years before Jesus walked in the garden with his disciples, Jeremiah vowed to do exactly what Jesus would command them to do.

Tarry for the Lord… abide, and he will give you His joy, and your joy will be over the top, greater than all you could ask or imagine, FULL.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Gluten-Free Sourdough Biscuits

I was resistant to going gluten-free for a long time.  I had spent so long cultivating good sourdough recipes using spelt (which is glutenous 😦 )that I couldn’t bear the thought of having to learn something new All.Over.Again.

As it turned out, my oldest daughter loves baking and so she scoured Pinterest for recipes and got busy in the kitchen.  I hardly had to do a thing to find new favorites, but the thing we all really missed was a good biscuit!

Oh, we tried several recipes, but nothing really measured up.  They tended to be dry, gummy or gritty.  I just didn’t enjoy them.  And then I got a gluten free starter going and discovered psyllium husk, and voila! We have biscuits!   🙂

The sourdough fermentation makes them soft and easy on the digestion.  The psyllium husk holds moisture, acts as a binder, and keeps the texture real, not gummy.  They are soooo GOOD! THis has become a tried-and-true recipe at our house.  Everyone gets excited when Mom makes biscuits!

Biscuits, mmmmm

Mmmmmmm…..

Are you ready to try them?

To print a PDF of the recipe, click:Gluten-Free Sourdough Biscuits.

Use starter that has been fed in the past 12 hours.

In a medium sized bowl, combine:

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons fine psyllium husk powder (6.25 grams)

GF-Biscuit Flour

When these flours are well combined, cut in:

  • 1/2 cup butter

Then add:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice sourdough starter
  • 3/4 cup un-chlorinated water or milk of your preference (Take note that milk reduces the fermentation. )

GF biscuits before fermenting

When well combined, cover and allow to ferment 7-12 hours.

After fermenting:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 tsp. salt over the dough and then mix thoroughly.  It will take on an airy feeling as the baking soda reacts with the acidity, neutralizing the sour flavor and adding a small rise to the dough.

GF-biscuits after souring

Roll out to the thickness you desire.  It will not noticeably rise in the oven, so decide now how thick you want them.  I have not noticed it affecting the bake time.  My kids like them about a half inch, smaller, so they can have “more” and feel like their servings are generous.  I have also rolled them out to approximately 1 inch.  I get between 8 and 12 biscuits depending on whether I make them smaller or taller.

GF- biscuits, cutting

Use a spatula or other flat utensil to lift off up and place on a baking sheet.  You can use parchment paper if you’d like, but it’s not necessary.

Bake for 8-10 minutes on a traditional baking sheet or 10-12 minutes on a stone pan.

Allow to rest for a few minutes and then slice, butter, and enjoy!

 

 

Recipe: Gluten-Free Sourdough Banana Bread

 

The fragrant smell of banana bread wafting through the house…

Warm bread with freshly spread butter, melting in your mouth.

And you feel good because you know, even though no one else can tell, it’s sourdough, and that means that it contains more readily available nutrition than traditional breads.

What better recipe, than a classic favorite, to add to your repertoire?

GF- Banana Bread 2

This gluten-free, sourdough banana bread is a simple recipe, easy to make, and delicious!

To download the PDF of this recipe, click this link: Gluten Free Sourdough Banana Bread.

I am all about eliminating unnecessary sugar from my family’s diet.  I use stevia in conjunction with traditional sweeteners to reduce our overall sugar load.  This recipe gives you options, if you’re working the sugar out of your diet.

Directions:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (half-melted, but not hot)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown rice sourdough starter
  • 2 Tablespoons of liquid (water or milk of your preference)

Mix butter, eggs, liquid and starter together.  In a separate container, blend:

  • 1 cup sorghum flour (also called Milo flour)
  • and 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • and 1-1/2 teaspoons of finely ground psyllium husk powder (7.5 grams)

Combine your wet and dry ingredients.  Cover and allow to ferment for 7-12 hours.

After fermenting:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place baking dish in oven to heat while you finish your batter.

To your fermented dough, add:

  • 2 cups of mashed bananas (approximately 4 medium sized bananas)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • *Honey (Either 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, or 1/2 cup; see directions below)
  • 1/4 tsp. white Sweetleaf Stevia Powder (concentrated)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Mix well.  Remove pan from oven.  Rub a stick of butter along sides and bottom of pan and allow to melt.  Pour batter in pan and bake as follows:

 

 

 

Banana Bread Loaf Pan

1 loaf pan, bake for 50-55 minutes.

9×13 inch cake pan, bake 20-25 minutes.

Banana bread should be firm, lightly browned, and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

After baking, like most breads, allow to rest several minutes before slicing.

Enjoy!!  🙂

 

* This recipe uses honey for its sweetness and its moisture.  Sugar will work, but it will result in a more dry loaf.  Traditional banana bread recipes use 1 cup of sugar per loaf. For similar sweetness, use 1/2 cup of honey (8 TBS) with 1/4 tsp. stevia.  If you are in the process of reducing your sugar intake, try 1/3 cup of honey (5 TBS) with 1/4 tsp. stevia.  If you are already accustomed to low sugar, you may enjoy 1/4 cup (4 TBS) of honey with 1/4 tsp. stevia, or adjust to your individual preference.

What to do When You Have Too Many Eggs!

When I saw the Daily Post listed “egg” as a word prompt on Sunday, it made me giggle, but then I actually have something to share!

We used to have back yard chickens.  Since switching to a low carb diet, I use a lot more eggs, and I’ve been wishing I still have back yard chickens!

They are so much fun to watch. 🙂

hen layer

In the summers, when the days were long, our hens laid almost daily (sometimes twice).  I’d have 18 or more eggs a day and I had to figure out what to do with all those eggs.  We did egg salad.  We did breakfast pizzas.  And we did a variety of eggs for breakfast.  We got egged out.

Thing is, hens don’t lay when the days are short and they don’t get enough sun.  Since we didn’t want to run electricity for heat and lamps, we just didn’t have fresh eggs in the winter.  So how to save all those extra eggs?

Easy!

Don’t hard boil them to freeze.  They come back out rubbery.  Yuck.

Just crack them open and scramble them up.  Then freeze those scrambled eggs raw.

  • For single servings, freeze them in ice trays and and then transfer to freezer bags.  When you plan your meals, put the number of “egg cubes” you want into a bowl in the fridge and they will defrost by the next day.
  • For larger portions, put your raw scrambled eggs into a freezer bag.  Lay flat to freeze so it doesn’t take up much space in the freezer.  You can stack a bunch in there! 😉  Again, put your bag of frozen eggs in the fridge the day before you need them, and they’ll be ready when you’re ready to cook.

You wouldn’t think it, but I get the question about saving eggs fairly often!  Most recently it was the cashier at Aldi who has hens at home…

So whether you are buying a bunch of eggs while they’re on sale, have somehow inherited eggs like a friend of mine did, or your hens have you swimming in eggs, now you know how to save them long term.  And they’ll still taste good when you get around to eating them!

P.S. Egg cartons make excellent fire starters!  They burn hotter, longer than newspaper!  They’ve been a life saver here when the morning coals are about burned out. 😉

 

 

Caring For Your Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter

 

 

gluten-free starter care

If you have never baked with sourdough, there are a few good things to know.

What Is Sourdough?

Sourdough is a mixture of flour and water that contains wild yeasts and lactobacilli. These naturally occurring cultures actually “eat” the simple sugars in the grains, beginning the process of breaking it down.  During this process, they produce carbon dioxide, which appears as bubbles, that helps rise your dough.  These cultures also produce lactic acid which prevents the growth of harmful bacteria.

Sourdough is an efficient way to bake for your family.  As long as you save some some “starter” each time you use it, and continue to “feed” it, giving it more flour and water, it will continue to multiply and serve you indefinitely. Because using sourdough incorporates the use of these wild yeasts as leavening in your baked products, this means you do not need to buy instant dry yeast from the store… so you may expect to save time and money.

Since the wild yeasts feed on the sugars in the grains, properly prepared sourdough products are lower on the glycemic index than non-sourdough goods.   Now, let me be clear here… I said it is low-er on the glycemic index… I didn’t say it’s safe to pig out  😉 Grains are still starches that provide quick energy to the body.  Moderation, as always, please.

Also, because the sourdough yeasts begin the process of breaking down the flours you bake with, the finished product is easier on the digestive system.  The wild yeasts and bacteria neutralize anti-nutrients and enzyme inhibitors that are naturally occurring in grains, and actually produce some vitamins themselves, which means more nutrition is readily available.

Other Advantages

Gluten free grains are often more dry and gritty than their glutenous counterparts, and recipes can require more starch.  As the yeasts begin to break down the grains, they are softened, giving baked goods a more pleasant texture, and our family thinks they have a richer flavor.

How to Care for Your Starter

  • Wild yeasts do not like metal.  Whether you are cultivating sourdough, kefir or kombucha, please do not store your cultures in metal–it will kill them.  You can use metal fork/spoon for mixing your baked goods; just don’t store it in metal. Keep your sourdough starter, and unbaked products, in glass.  Except for dipping, as shown in the featured photo, avoid storing in plastics as you do not want your culture to leach chemicals for your family to later consume.
  • Only use un-chlorinated water because the chemicals will kill your starter. If you live in the city and do not have filtered water, measure your water, leave it set for 12 hours before using, and the chlorine should evaporate out.
  • If you are perpetuating more than one type of culture in your kitchen: ie, kombucha…  it is a good idea to keep a few feet between them.
  • Cover, but do not seal air tight.  Fruit flies and other insects just love fermented goodness.  If your sourdough is not covered, it will turn into an insect trap.  (yuck!)
  • Sourdough is more active in warmer temperatures, and slows down in colder temps.  If you keep your starter out on the counter in a moderate temps, it will probably need fed every 12 hours.  If you use it daily, then this is perfect.  If, however, you do not want to use it daily, store your freshly fed starter in the refrigerator and it will not have to be fed for at least a week.
  • After sitting, if there is a layer of liquid on top (may be clearish, pinkish or brownish), this is called hooch.  Just pour it off, down the sink, and freshen your starter: assuming your gluten free starter is brown rice, so feed it some brown rice flour and water.  Stir well, cover, and give a few hours for your starter to get all bubbly and active before using in a recipe.  If you are used to glutenous sourdough which can get frothy on top, it’s helpful to know that the rice starter does not get bubbly on top, but you can see the gas pockets all through the “sponge” through the side of your glass storage container.  (In the past, I did maintain a buckwheat starter, which I began following the same directions as the boosted rice starter.  It was easy to maintain.  I eventually threw it out because buckwheat is stronger smelling and the rice worked equally well.)
  • It is important to know guidelines for how much to feed starter.  Do not exceed 4:1. Four parts new flour and water to one part active starter.  You may feed your starter less, but do not feed it more than this at once because you do not want to weaken it. If your starter will be sitting on the counter all day, do not feed it less than a 1:1 ratio; One part starter to one part fresh brown rice flour and water.  So, for example, if I have had 1/2 cup of starter in the fridge all week and I take it out to use it, I am going to feed it 1/2 cup of fresh brown rice flour and stir in enough water to make it the consistency I want it.  If you make it too thin, the extra water will rise to the top.
  • If your starter sits too long and the top gets dry and pinkish, use a spoon to ladle off the top and discard.  Transfer to a clean glass container and then feed.
  • What about discarding down the sink?  The yeast is amazing for your pipes and septic.  A friend of ours is a septic designer and he highly recommends it!  😉
  • Recipes are mixed up ahead of time, and ferment to allow the wild yeasts to do their magic.  They should not ferment for less than 7 hours before baking.  If you are in a time pinch, remember that sourdough is more active in warmer temperatures.  You can place dough next to a slow cooker or place in an oven that is OFF: if you have a gas oven that is kept warm by a pilot light, or if you have an electric oven you can turn the light on to keep warm.  If you feel the oven is too warm, just prop door open a smidge by placing an oven mitt in the way so it doesn’t close completely.  Remove to complete and bake when ready.  If you have a cool kitchen in the winter, then again, you will want to let your goods sour longer, or find a warm spot for them.  If you have a HOT kitchen, your products will be ready to bake sooner rather than later.

If you have questions or need clarification, please ask about it in the comments.  If you are wondering, someone else is bound to question the same thing!

Well, now you are ready to begin baking with your starter, and I am ready to begin sharing recipes!

Care instructions are available as a PDF for download here: How to care for your gluten free starter

 

Making a Gluten Free Sourdough Starter

It was 7 years ago that I decided to delve into the world of sourdough!  I was pregnant with Precious #6, and I took a sourdough e-course from GNOWFGLINS Traditional Cooking School.  The class was awesome!  The series began with teaching how to make a starter from scratch and then how to use that starter to make everything from breads to cakes.  The course included a pdf for those who learn best from reading, and it featured videos for visual junkies like me–I learn best from watching and doing.  I was able to cultivate a starter from spelt flour (a glutenous ancient grain), tried the recipes in the e-course, and soon converted my own recipes to this more healthful method of preparing breads.

At the time, we ate a lot of gluten free foods as well.  I had been wheat free for many years, but everything I read about gluten free sourdough, which used a brown rice starter, said it could be difficult to maintain and that it may require re-starting a starter now and then.  I am all for easy, so  No, thank you!  And so I was too intimidated to try.

When I HAD to go gluten free, I missed my sourdough!  Gluten free grains can be more gritty, and I knew my baked goods would not be as nutritious or digestible without the benefits of fermentation.  Eventually I decided to just try it, and I’m so glad I did!  No more guilt for whipping up quick breads, lol!  This gluten free sourdough thing is good, and as it turns out, it’s easy too!  My starter has been going strong for about two years and I have never had an issue.

After sharing a picture of some fresh bread on Facebook, I received a lot of requests for a recipe.  I plan to teach a local class in September, and will give starter to participants, but for anyone who is in a hurry or not local, I decided to share the steps to going gluten free sourdough with you.  The first thing you need is a starter!

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You will need:

Filtered water,

Clean glass mason jar  (for starting your starter!),

a paper towel or clean piece of fabric with a rubber band or jar ring to cover the jar,

brown rice flour,

and coconut water kefir.  If you do not have coconut water kefir, you can learn what that is and how to make it HERE.

Since I didn’t invent this Boosted Brown Rice Sourdough Starter, I’m going to send you to the web site that taught me.  You can find instructions over HERE at The Art of Gluten Free Sourdough Baking.

One thing I will add to her directions is:  Follow her directions exactly on the first day. However,  on the second day–on the second feeding and following when you feed your newly fermenting starter, before you add the 1/3 to 1/2 cup of brown rice and water, first remove and discard 1/3 to 1/2 cup of starter.  If you do not remove starter before feeding, you are going to be swimming in starter, and larger quantities of starter require being fed larger amounts.  So simplify and remove some starter before feeding.  You will know if your starter is healthy if it develops lots of airy bubbles throughout the jar.  You will be able to see these developing as it ages… less after being fed and more before the next feeding.

Here is a look at my thriving starter:

GF sourdough starter 1

And here is a top view.  The top looks a little dry.  It has been sitting, covered on my counter all day.  I’m ready to use some in a recipe for breakfast and then I will feed it.

GF sourdough starter 2

If creating your own gluten free sourdough starter is not something you feel like tackling right now, but you want to get started baking, you can buy a starter from Cultures for Health.  It will come with instructions that are easy to follow.

Starters are fermented, so definitely expect a sour smell.  It is unpleasant to some people, but I promise your finished baked goods will smell heavenly and taste yummy… rarely ever a sour flavor when you actually eat it!

If you have questions, please let me know in the comments below… someone else is bound to be wondering the same thing!

Good luck, have fun, and when you have a thriving starter you can come back here to try out some recipes with me!

 

 

 

How to Make Coconut Water Kefir

In my journey to health I spent a long time eating Body Ecology style, which eliminated some foods, included some lesser known foods, and incorporated proper food combining.   I still apply some of its principles to the meals I prepare for my family.  Body Ecology founder, Donna Gates, highly recommends coconut water kefir.  She sells it on her web site, but being who I am, I opted for affordability and the challenge of making it myself.

Not to be confused with coconut milk, coconut water is found in young green coconuts, before it is replaced with coconut meat.

I was told by a “sample lady” at Costco about one of her customers who had served in the military.  He said that in times of war, when no IV fluid was available, they used straight coconut water in the IV’s of the wounded due its purity and high electrolyte content. Bottled coconut water is not as ideal as fresh, but this is what I have to use.

Kefir 4

Coconut water contains some B vitamins, and is high in potassium and sodium which are good for adrenal health.  It is sweet, as it contains easily digested carbohydrates which is what makes it suitable, temporarily, for kefir grains.

The name Kefir means “feel good” in Turkish.  Kefir contains the essential amino acid tryptophan which helps calm the nervous system and is also used by the body to produce serotonin.  Serotonin affects mood, appetite, digestion, sleep, and memory.

There are two types of kefir grains.  One thrives in milk and the other in sugar water (called water kefir).  I have not made water kefir, though I someday hope to try it.  I already had dairy kefir grains and so I use them to make my coconut water kefir.  If you have an allergy or intolerance to milk, you may want to use water kefir.

A mixture of live yeasts and bacteria, kefir grains digest sugars in the beverage they are added to, fermenting it into a sour but probiotic rich drink.  Combining the coconut water and kefir gains you the benefits of both, but with less natural sugars.  It provides good bacteria to populate your gut where most of your immune system resides and it improves digestion along the way.

Kefir 1

Here you can see my kefir grains have been busy turning this milk into a thick kefir. They tend to float up toward the top.

I use a plastic mesh strainer that came with the Kefir Kit I bought from Cultures From Health to rinse my grains.  Never use metal with your kefir grains.  Use a plastic strainer, but store your grains in glass so that your kefir does not leach chemicals from the plastic.

Kefir 3

When I wash the grains under cool water, I use a wooden spoon or clean hands to rinse the milk off as best as possible.

Because milk kefir grains thrive in milk, it is important not to keep them out for too long. They do not convert the coconut water as quickly as they do milk.  The grains will float up and down in the liquid.  Milk kefir is ready to consume 12-24 hours after adding grains, depending on how thick and how sour you want it.  I leave my kefir grains in coconut water between 2-3 full days.  I often do 2 batches in a row so my fridge is stocked and then I promptly put the grains back into milk for one or two cycles to make sure they are fed well and strong before placing them back into the refrigerator to store.  If they spend too much time in the refrigerator they will lose their ability to ferment.  As long as I give mine a couple of days in milk on the counter every two or three weeks they are fine.

Kefir 6

Once your coconut water kefir is done fermenting, strain the grains out and add to a clean glass container to either make more coconut water kefir or refresh with milk. Store your finished products in the refrigerator.

Drink 1/4 cup in your Plexus Slim for a lemonaidy taste or with meals for better digestion.  My little ones beg to drink it anytime as they are accustomed to sour flavors and enjoy them.  I love this since I know I am giving them something that will protect their immune system and benefit them in many ways.

Are you ready to add this to your wellness routine?

If you do not already have kefir grains, or don’t know anyone who can share (they multiply over time) you can order a starter from Cultures For Health.  The grains come dehydrated with detailed directions on rehydrating and using.  The website also has many video tutorials and recipes for using their cultured products.

If you would like to read about more of the health protecting benefits of kefir, Dr. Axe has a good article.

If you plan to make a boosted rice sourdough starter, this coconut water kefir is what I used to create the starter.  Look for instructions in a future post!

Can you use milk kefir grains to make kefir from coconut milk?  Umm, yes.  I did it once with canned coconut milk.  It worked.  It was also one of the few things that ever made me gag!  😉  So, you can try it if you want to.  Maybe you will like it better than I!!

Loving and Leading, Part 3, What’s in Your Hand?

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“What’s in your Hand?”

It’s the question God asked of Moses in Exodus chapter 4. Moses wanted to know what he should do if he followed God’s directions to take Israel’s deliverance to them, and they didn’t believe that the Lord had sent him?

The Lord asked him, “What is that in your Hand?”

“A staff.” Moses answered.  Then he (God) said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it.  But the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”–so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand–“that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” (verses 2-5)

Moses had every excuse in the book.  God listened to them, growing impatient when Moses finally admitted the reason for all his “beating around the bush”.  He just wanted God to send someone else.

Stephen gives us insight into Moses’s response in the book of Acts when he states that,

“when he (Moses) was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel.  And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian.  And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand.”  Acts 7:23-25

His Israelite brothers certainly didn’t see him as their redeemer at that time, and he had run for his life, living as a shepherd among the people of Midian for some 40 years.

Now God wanted to send Moses back to Egypt and to his people, but his pride had been wounded, he had a family in Midian, and he was content with his life. He hadn’t been able to lead the Israelites to their salvation 40 years earlier, so why would they listen to him now?  Send someone else!

Have you ever felt that God has given you a passion for something, but you doubted you could really do the thing your heart dreamt?  Perhaps it made no sense to you. Perhaps the timing was all wrong, and falling on your face, you were afraid to try again?  I think that is what happened to Moses.  He knew his calling, but he didn’t wait for God. He needed some humility.  This was God’s show, and God was going to get the credit for what happened next.

God had a plan, and made sure Moses was prepared.  Growing up in the home of the Pharaoh, he knew what the royal family was about, was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and Stephen goes on to tell us in the book of Acts that he was a man of power in words and deeds. (Verse 22)  Extrabiblical records tell that he was a brilliant strategist, leading the Egyptian army to victory against the Ethiopians army before the age of 30.   And Moses said he couldn’t speak very well!  😀

In addition to all of that, he was born a Hebrew and had a brother willing to be his helper, he was a shepherd who was used to leading a flock, and while I’m sure he had many other attributes we know nothing about, he had learned his lesson about humility.  Numbers 12:3 tells us that Moses was a humble man, “more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”  How would you like to put that on your resume`?  This is likely why God was willing to speak through Moses.

God didn’t need Moses, but He chose to allow him to participate in the grand plan, an honor you and I also have today.  Jesus commanded us to take the gospel into all the world.  It starts right here in our homes, our neighborhoods, the workplace–everywhere you step the light of God goes with you.

God told Moses that He would go with him (Exodus 4:12), and you and I have an even better arrangement.  If you are a redeemed child of God, you have His Holy Spirit dwelling in you, and he has promised to teach  you the words that you should speak! (Luke 12:12)

God has provided you with the Fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22-23).  He has given you spiritual gifts which the Holy Spirit gives as He wills (1 Cor. 12).  He knows the plans He has for you, and even if you are unaware of what your gifts are, they will be available for you just when you need each one. He has allowed you to have experiences that have prepared you for the next step, and will have other people in place to partner with you as you have need.  He has given you preferences and talents that will come in handy along the way, resources and tools which you will appreciate when they are needed.  He hasn’t left out a single detail.  All that is left is your willing spirit.  God will lead you to the right place at the right time, and you can watch Him work.

Is God calling you to teach release time at a school near you?  Or teach piano lessons to children who He will one day use to touch the hearts of audiences far and wide?

Is He calling you to volunteer at a Christian camp?  Or spend time with a child who is growing up in a single parent home?

Is He calling you into a relationship where you can mentor someone younger than you?  Or tugging on your heart to give extra to missions?

To teach a ladies Bible class?  Or give your car away?

Are you, like Katie Davis, being drawn to care for a people far away?

We won’t all have to travel far, and most of us will not have to wander the desert with the ones we touch, but there is a whole wide world of captives who need to be brought out.

SO, what’s in your hand?

 

 

 

Loving and Leading, Part 1

Loving and Leading, Part 2, What’s Your Story?

Suggested Resources:

Explore your spiritual gifts @ www.spiritualgiftstest.com

A Man of Selfless Dedication, Moses by Charles R. Swindoll

Just Do Something, A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will by Kevin DeYoung and Joshua Harris