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Author Archives: Lanie Brown, Texas real estate broker

Bible Stories for Kittens

 

 

 

Today Hubby & I said good-bye as we gave over our foster kittens to their new mom. If cats have 9 lives, we’ve seen 2 of those.

The kittens had been abandoned on a county road to meet their fates with coyotes when we noticed them. As we walked across the dirt road to check out the kittens, they came running, one directly to each of us, with expectant looks which said, “Will you take care of us? Are you our new family?” When we couldn’t place the strays in a no-kill shelter back in Houston, we committed to foster while we found a loving family to adopt them. A very nice lady had come to meet the pair and promised to take them, but she needed time to get organized with some supplies… and then Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. Suddenly, everyone had bigger concerns than prior appointments, and we didn’t know if the new mom would ever come for the “hurrikittens.” But we were grateful they were safe with us because who-knows? what could have happened to them during the hurricane if they’d been in a shelter.

This morning I told the kittens three Bible stories every kitty needs to know. Telling these Bible stories gave me a final sweet responsibility with the little bundles as I prepared for a heart-breaking good-bye:

Adam and the animals: God created all the animals, and he gave them to Adam and let Adam name them. God loved Adam and wanted him to have the animals, and He loved the animals and wanted Adam to know them and take care of them. I reminded the kittens we took care of them when we found them by the dirt road and we named them Tuohy and Maxine.
*Genesis 2:19-20.

Noah and the animals: God instructed Noah to take a pair of each animal into the ark with his family. God remembered Noah and all the animals with him in the ark. When it was safe to leave the ark, God instructed Noah to release all the animals so they could scurry about and be fruitful. God loved the animals and saved them from the great flood, and He used Noah to protect them. I told the pair of kittens we are happy we protected them during the hurricane and floods in Houston.
*Genesis 7:2-3; 8:1, 15-16.

Jesus and the animals: Every creature in Heaven and on earth sings to the Lamb of God. The animals rejoice for Jesus in Heaven, so we will see our beloved pets again in Heaven. I promised the kittens I love them and I will miss them, and God promises us I will snuggle them again one day in Heaven. Amen!
*Revelation 5:13.

I hesitated for a moment to show the kittens love, to get attached and risk my heart. But in almost the same instant I realized they should be loved. After all, some cold-blooded person had dumped them and left them to be killed. Jesus would show the kittens love. So I gave away my heart to the little love bugs. I knew God gave them to us to love and protect, and I knew one day, probably soon, He would call us to give them back. I’ve always lost beloved pets to disease and death, never by choice. It was hard emotionally to foster the hurrikittens and give them away, but we had the privilege of saving their lives and loving them, and Hubby & I agree it was the right thing to do.

 

 

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Lanie’s Pink Lemonade Cherry Ice Cream

I am blessed each month to attend Inspire Women’s Inner Circle where the sweet staff and wonderful teacher, Anita Carman, refresh and encourage women’s ministry leaders. This month we celebrated Anita’s birthday, so I brought ice cream to go with cake. I like to make a pink ice cream to match Inspire Women’s signature color, so I created pink lemonade cherry ice cream with white chocolate morsels. Here is another refreshing summer ice cream creation:

2 hours in advance, in a small bowl combine:
2 cups pitted, dark sweet cherries (I prefer Trader Joe’s frozen);
1/2 cup sugar;
Zest from 2 lemons;
Fresh juice from 2 lemons.

Let cherries macerate. When it’s time to mix the ice cream, strain cherries and reserve cherry juice. Mash half the cherries to mix in the ice cream mix, and reserve half to add in later.

In a large mixing bowl, mix on low speed until sugar is dissolved (2 minutes):
1 cup whole milk;
1/2 cup sugar.

Stir in:
2 cups heavy cream;
1/2 cherries, mashed;
Reserved cherry juice;
1 tsp Tahitian vanilla.

Turn on electric ice cream maker, and pour in ice cream mixture.
Let mix until beginning to thicken, about 15-18 minutes.

Add in:
Reserved cherries;
Heaping 1/2 cup white chocolate morsels.
Let mix another 5 minutes.

Ice cream will be soupy. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer to firm up. Remove frozen ice cream from freezer to soften for about 10 minutes before scooping.

This is so fresh and delicious! Maybe try amping up the sour by adding the zest and juice of a third lemon… Happy summer!

Unpaid ad, but FYI: My ice cream maker is the Cuisinart Classic Frozen Yogurt – Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker.

July Flame Sweet Tea

I caught an episode on Food Network where two actress friends cooked lunch and made sweet tea. Between my brother’s delicious iced coffee and my determination that my parents made a mistake and I should have been born in the South, I was inspired to create my own icy, sweet beverage. Also, my Father-in-law gets a kick out of how I drawl, “Sweet tea,” since I first ever heard, “Sweet tea,” at restaurants in Memphis. I just say it the way my friends and the waitresses said it.

The first delicious batch was traditional with thinly sliced lemon added to the pitcher. For the next batch, I decided to try peach tea, and I noticed the variety name July Flame on my box of Trader Joe’s peaches. It is dang hot in Houston these July days, so this is my refreshing July Flame Sweet Tea:

  1. Heat kettle of fresh water to a boil.
  2. While water is heating, unwrap 2 family-size tea bags and place them in a heat-safe, 4-cup measuring cup. Our house brand is Lipton decaffeinated so we can enjoy iced tea all day and evening.
  3. Pour boiling water over tea bags to the 4-cup measure mark. Steep tea for 8 minutes.
  4. While tea is steeping, thinly slice 1/2 lemon and 1/2 peach.
  5. When timer goes off, use a large spoon to remove tea bags and squeeze excess tea into measuring cup by pressing another spoon against them.
  6. Stir and melt 1/4 cup honey into hot tea. It’s best to use local honey. Let tea cool for several minutes.
  7. Fill pitcher with ice cubes, about 3/4 full. Pour cooled tea over ice. Add sliced fruit, and use large spoon to push fruit through ice into pitcher.
  8. To serve, fill a glass with ice cubes and pour tea over ice. Fish out a piece of fruit for a garnish, if you’d like. If there is any tea left after serving your friends, store pitcher in ‘fridge. It’s okay if the ice melts, but drink the tea in the next day or two.

Enjoy, y’all!

 

Lanie’s Green Granny Dressing

My basil plant is flourishing and Saturday evening Hubby grilled steak for dinner, so I hit the garden to whip up a batch of green goddess dressing for our salads. Since it was the first time I referred to my Green Goddess Dressing recipe (June 2016 archives) this season, I realized I was short parsley on the ingredients list. Rather than make a second trip to the market for one ingredient, I tried substituting Granny apple I had on-hand. It’s green, so I decided to give it a whirl, and the apple gave a nice freshness to the dressing. This is my new spin on Green Goddess Dressing I call Green Granny Dressing:

 

 

 

In food processor, blend until creamy green:
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 oz fresh basil, rinsed and patted dry (I loosely fill a regular-sized colander when I go to the back yard to pick basil, and that weighs in at 1 oz when I check it on the kitchen scale. Fresh basil at the market tends to be packaged in 1 oz containers.)
1/4 Granny apple, cored + chopped
2-3 scallions, whites + greens, sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, smashed + chopped
2 anchovy filets, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Especially tasty on a BLT salad (February 2015 archives), spinach salad with cucumbers & berries & feta or even on fresh watermelon.

 

Lanie’s “Summer Delight” Strawberry Watermelon Ice Cream

For Hubby & me, Memorial Day marks the start of summer watermelon season. We have watermelon with every meal from Memorial Day through Labor Day. With so much watermelon sliced in the ‘fridge, I decided to create a watermelon ice cream recipe. Strawberry is another summer favorite fruit, so I modified my strawberry lime ice cream recipe (June 2016 archives) to make this summer delight creation. Here is my latest scoop on ice cream:

2 hours in advance, in a small bowl combine:
1 cup fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, thinly sliced;
1 cup fresh watermelon, cut in chunks, thinly sliced;
1/2 cup sugar;
Fresh lime juice from 2 limes.
Let fruit macerate. When it’s time to mix the ice cream, strain fruit and reserve fruit juice. Mash half the fruit to mix in the ice cream mix, and reserve half to add in later.

In a large mixing bowl, mix on low speed until sugar is dissolved (2 minutes):
1 cup whole milk;
1/2 cup sugar.

Stir in:
2 cups heavy cream;
1/2 fruit, mashed;
Reserved fruit juice;
1 tsp Tahitian vanilla.

Turn on electric ice cream maker, and pour in ice cream mixture.
Let mix until beginning to thicken, about 15-18 minutes.

Add in:
Reserved sliced fruit.
Let mix another 5 minutes.
Ice cream will be soupy. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer to firm up. If you can wait long enough that ice cream is frozen hard, remove from freezer to soften for about 10 minutes before scooping.

This is a cool, delicious, summer fruit delight! Enjoy!

Unpaid ad, but FYI: My ice cream maker is the Cuisinart Classic Frozen Yogurt – Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker.

Easter Ham Soup

I started posting recipes on my blog because it’s a convenient way to keep them documented, and one of the first recipes I shared was Easter ham soup. I finished the Easter leftovers yesterday, so this is this year’s soup recipe:

Sauté in warm olive oil: 1 small yellow onion, diced; 1-2 carrots, sliced in nickel discs; 1-2 cloves garlic, minced.
Add seasoning: kosher salt to taste (I end up using 3 tsp); 1 tsp parsley; 1 tsp oregano; 1 tsp thyme; 1/2 tsp basil; freshly ground pepper.
Add: ham hock; other leftover ham, cut into chunks; 1 can diced tomatoes (no salt); 8 cups water; 1 tsp Louisiana or Cholula hot sauce.
Bring to boil; reduce to simmer. Simmer, simmer.
Remove ham hock to a cutting board, and pick off meat and add meat to pot.
Add: 1 lb lentils (rinsed). Simmer another 30 minutes, until lentils are tender.

Serve with warm, crusty bread or a grilled cheese sandwich and fresh fruit.

American AppleCherrPear Pie

American apple pie

Well, this was supposed to be a Pi Day post and I did not get the option to schedule publishing. Now you have time to run to the market for your ingredients and make an American AppleCherrPear pie for National Pi Day.

Happy Pi (Pie) Day! This year I created a new fruit pie recipe based on a family favorite. The town where my Aunt Bonnie & Uncle John & cousins and Grandma & Grandpa lived had a landmark called Bun’s Bakery which served a Delaware, Ohio-famous chappleberry pie. You can figure it out the pie is a decadent fruit combination of cherry + apple + blueberry. Nothing against Bun’s creation nor blueberries, but I don’t like blueberries in pie. I adore blueberries fresh or in a pancake or a muffin, but not so much in pie. So my twist on Bun’s signature pie is apple + cherry + pear. I consulted my Grandma’s 1950s edition of the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook to combine a few tried-and-true pie recipes. I always make a homemade pie crust and am baffled that Food Network personalities claim frozen is just as good. It is not. Start this Pi (Pie) Day recipe with a proper homemade pie crust.

Homemade Pie Crust

Sift together: 2 cups flour + 1 tsp salt.
Cut in: 2/3 cup shortening.
Add and toss lightly with a fork to mix dough: 6-7 Tbs cold water, adding and mixing 1 Tbs at a time.
Gather dough into a ball and knead a couple times. Divide dough into two portions; form into disks; wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate to chill until ready to roll.
After making pie filling, roll first portion of dough onto floured board; roll out enough that dough will hang over edge of pie dish. Roll pie dough onto rolling pin and lift gently to transfer rolled dough to pie dish. For fruit pie, I prefer to use a deep pie dish. Fill with delicious apple+pear+cherry mixture. Roll out second portion of dough; transfer rolled dough to top of pie. Fold extra dough under and pinch to seal two crusts; crimp the edges to make a pretty crust; cut slits in top of pie to allow steam to escape.

AppleCherrPear Filling

1 cup frozen pitted dark sweet cherries
1-2 fresh pears (Bartlett); pared, cored, thinly sliced
2-3 fresh baking apples (Granny Smith); pared, cored, thinly sliced
Zest from 1 navel orange
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup sugar (can substitute turbinado raw cane sugar or organic coconut sugar)
2 Tbs unbleached flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch kosher salt
1-2 Tbs butter

Measure frozen cherries into bowl. Add orange zest + almond extract; lightly toss to mix; set aside.
Prepare fresh pears and apples by paring, coring, thinly slicing. Add sliced pears and apples to cherry mixture.
Mix together: sugar + flour + spices + salt. Sprinkle sugar mixture over fruit; lightly toss to evenly coat and mix fruit.
Spoon fruit mixture into bottom pie crust; spoon 1-2 Tbs remaining juices over top of fruit; dot with butter. Place top pie crust; fold extra dough under and pinch to seal two crusts; crimp the edges to make a pretty crust; cut slits in top of pie to allow steam to escape.
Bake at 400* for 50 minutes. Check pie at 25-30 minutes; when pie crust is golden cover loosely with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning; continue baking. Cool pie on wire rack.

Serve with vanilla bean ice cream, homemade or from your local creamery. Just say “with ice cream” because this is my American AppleCherrPear pie. “A la mode” would be too fancy and, well, not American. Thank you, Bun’s Restaurant, a small-town America establishment, for many happy family memories and the inspiration. 

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