Friday, October 10, 2008

Good Things

I truly appreciate the encouragement you have all been so generous to give me since my last post. I am amazed that somehow, in my weakness, I am able to encourage some of you. It is a blessing to have something to give right now. And so, that makes me think I should send a new post out. I don't have a whole lot more to report though. We are still being looked at by several churches, and we are still hoping for one of several local jobs to come through as a temporary fix. What is constantly new is the generosity of the people in our lives. One concerned reader found fault with my phrasing "we haven't had any money coming in" in the last post. I am not sure if that hurt some feelings out there or not, but I am happy to clarify. I was really aiming at a less dramatic and more concise way of saying that we have been unemployed, or without income, and some of the people who supported us financially during seminary have discontinued support. I did not mean to in any way diminish the fact that there have been many people who have helped us out. Clearly, our parents have opened their homes to us. We have had both friends and family give generously to help us make ends meet. I hope that that was not misunderstood. I would gladly brag about some of these generous saints if I felt that it was my place to do so. But I think most people would rather their giving be a private thing. Anyway, all that to say, thank you notes have been sent and prayers of thanksgiving and blessing for our benefactors have been said; make no mistake, we are extremely grateful for the people in our lives who have helped us during this difficult time.

Sometimes I just wonder how I come across. Was that explanation necessary to all? To some? What must people think of me? These are things you generally have to get over if you're going to have a blog. And I suppose, if you're going to be a pastor's wife, you have to be quite comfortable with people assuming the worst about you. On the other hand, not everyone will. But most people will tell you that there is always someone who is not happy with the pastor. Or that is what they try to prepare you for anyway, so you will have thicker skin. I have to confess that I have very thin skin. Or didn't you notice? And perhaps I should get over the desire to want to make everyone understand me and my motives so that they will be less apt to think the things that will hurt my feelings. My friend Rebekah has said it best, "Abby, you just always want everyone to be so nice!" It is more than that though. I also want us to all be honest. You can be nice, you know, without really meaning it. And so, given the choice between having someone confront me, even in an insensitive and hurtful way, or having someone be very nice to me, all the while assuming the worst about me and spreading gossip around about their suspicions and frustrations, I would much rather the confrontation. Ideally though, people recognize who other people are and what they are about, so they won't need an explanation for a person's every action; and even in the case of a person's sin or shortcoming, can confront in a loving and sensitive way.

What am I talking about? So many things. Someday, I will write my autobiography and this will all be very clear. Of course, I need to do something interesting first so that people will have a reason to read. No worries, I am certain that I was intended for greatness. Well, no, I am certain of no such thing. But I am confident that I am intended for something. And for this moment, I believe it is to share a recipe.

It is time for fall, and for all things apple, pumpkin, and cozy. If you search "pumpkin recipe" and "brownie recipe" you will find some of my favorite fall recipes that I have posted for y'all in years past. I have a real shortage of apple recipes though, partly because we eat them too fast and they are far too good that way to mess with them by cooking them, and partly because they are kind of expensive. Anyway, there is one way I cook them fairly often, the old Southern way to mess with them, fried apples. Mmm boy! I don't have to tell most of you how to make these, but for any curious non-Southerners, here it goes. You just chop you up some granny smith apples (lots because they really reduce when they cook), throw them, with the peels on, into a nice amount of butter melted in your cast iron skillet, and fry them up on medium low heat. I always put a lid on them so they get softer, quicker, and you'll want to move them around every now and then so they don't brown too much on one side or another. After a while, they will be real easy to smoosh up. Basically, you're going to end up with a hot applesauce that is way better than any applesauce you have ever tasted. That's why we don't even call it applesauce; it's in a league of its own. Put enough sugar in to sweeten to your liking, but wait until the end or it will caramelize and burn. Oh my goodness! I am going to be fixin' us some this week!

We are having a contest at our church fall festival for the best apple dessert. I can't decide if I want to jump in there and compete or just taste and learn. I may have a look-see at a few of the cooking magazines I didn't pack in storage, but I confess to not having an old standby when it comes to apple desserts. I have been known to make a nice apple pie, but nothing award winning. Chili on the other hand, I might could win with. Every year I contemplate entering the contest and I never do. My problem is that I'm not much of a chili connoisseur, so I really have no way of knowing if mine is really that good. I have tried other recipes and have never found one I like so well, so that is something, I guess. Anyway, win or lose, I will post the recipe after the contest. The festival is next weekend. In the meantime, one more recipe bears sharing, even though it has actually been put in an old church cookbook from when we put one together at our church in Birmingham. Many years later though, I have changed it a little, and most of you wouldn't have access to that cookbook anyway. My problem here is that I am no good with quantities. However much you want to make, make. How 'bout that? Seriously, I am totally making up amounts and cook times, so if you are a details person, sorry!

Potato Soup
any combination of russet, red, or gold potatoes, peels on, baked and chopped, scooped, or smooshed into bite sized pieces
carrots, peeled and chopped
onion, peeled and chopped
3 cans chicken broth
1 1/2 c. cream (oh yeah!)
1 tsp. dried basil (more, if using fresh, which I do often)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
shredded cheddar

This was originally a crockpot recipe, so if you choose, you could chop all the veggies raw and cook them in chicken broth for around 8 hours. I have no presence of mind at nine in the morning to do this, so I have revised the recipe to work for my "it's three o'clock, what will we eat for dinner tonight?" approach to meal prep. If you choose to crock pot it up, just add the basil and cream about thirty minutes before time to serve.

Here's what I do:
saute carrots and onion in butter for several minutes to soften
place cooked veggies (including taters) in a pot with chicken broth and bring to a boil. turn heat down and let simmer for a few minutes while I do other stuff- run out to the garden for basil, grate cheese, answer the phone, swap out laundry, whatever. add basil sometime during the simmer. then, like five minutes before serving, add the cream. it's sort of one of those things that can simmer for a while, or for just a few minutes, depending on how well baked your potatoes are. the starch in the potatoes thickens it up pretty nicely, I think. George's mom used an immersion blender to break it up and thicken it some when I made it the other day because we were on like a ten minute simmering schedule. the original recipe called for fat free half and half and flour as a thickening agent. but, while I almost always have cream in the fridge, I never have half and half, and I figured I could cut the calories from the flour because of all the ones I was adding with the cream. and of course, you gotta top it with some fresh grated cheddar.


jennifer h said...

Enter the contests. They're fun.

On chili, though, it seems that men with super-spicey chili always win because the judges are men who think that chili is only good when it is super spicey.

The Consumer Queen said...

Thankyou for sharing! Being a Pastor's wife is a tough Job but a blessing and God will bless you for it!

Fittsy said...

Thought you might enjoy her Oct. 13 post:

She and her twin were at AU with us, though I didn't know them. Did you?


abby said...

jennifer- still undecided about the contests- in part because who knows if we will even get there in time for the judging! am i right? :)

consumer queen- wow! those are some bigtime coupons! i am more of a "perimeter shopper" so most coupons usually don't appeal to me. but right on the front page were coupons for frozen spinach and parchment paper, two staples for us. i think i may be changing my mind about coupons!

r- yeah, i knew them a little because they were chi os, but they were a few of years younger than me. they were super sweet though. all of the sudden, everyone is talking about their blogs like crazy. darby has some cute sewing ideas. but sometimes when i look at either of their bogs, i feel too enticed by the pretty life. it's just too tempting! but, for fall, i say "pour on the pretty!" oh, and i don't mean anything bad about them when i say the pretty life, just that i have to reconcile myself to the fact that it is not for me, as i currently a 10x9 lavender room with blue shag carpet.

abby said...

somehow the word "inhabit" was mysteriously lost in the last sentence. anyway, y'all got the idea.

Fittsy said...

I hope you saw her praises for the blue ticking sofa. You're life is full of pretty already!

Abby said...

thanks, bek. you're sweet to say that. and i do miss my pretty things. right now i can barely remember that i have a couch!

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