Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I came across a brownie recipe that really intrigued me.  It has no flour.  It uses black beans.  Yes, I know it sounds pretty gross by I just made them and they are absolutely FANTASTIC!!!!!!  I found the recipe at Chocolate Covered Katie.

I ended up pouring extra chocolate chips on top, letting them soften, and then spread out the chocolate like frosting.  We decided that was boring, so I sprinkled some powdered sugar on top.

They are definately two-year-old approved.  The other children found them amazingly wonderful and they couldn't taste the black beans at all!!!!

Her recipe called for canned black beans, but I was making black beans for dinner tonight so I measured out 1 1/2 cups of the soaked beans, simmered them for a while, and then let them soak in the hot water until they were soft.

Here is the recipe off of Katie's blog:

No-Flour Black Bean Brownies

  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (1 15-oz can, drained and rinsed very well) (250g after draining)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder- dutch or regular (10g) (add a little extra if desired)
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (40g) (See nutrition facts link below for all substitution notes.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup or agave (Honey will work, but not for strict vegans.) (75g)
  • 2 nunaturals stevia packs or 2 tbsp sugar (or omit and increase maple syrup to 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil (40g) (See “nutrition facts” link for all substitution notes.)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup chocolate chips (115-140g) (Not optional. Omit at your own risk.)
  • optional: more chips, for presentation

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients except chips in a good food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Really blend well. (A blender can work if you absolutely must, but the texture—and even the taste—will be much better in a food processor.) Stir in the chips, then pour into a greased 8×8 pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook 15-18 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut. Makes 9-12 brownies.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Encouraging My Son at Bootcamp

My son as been at boot camp for six weeks now.  When I got his first letter telling me that he misses us and was homesick and a few other things I search the Bible for a verse on strength.  I found this one:

 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You make your saving help my shield,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    your help has made me great.
You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.

~Psalm 18: 32-36 (NIV)

I printed it out on nice linen cream colored card stock atop a watermark of the American flag with the Marines' Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.  I glued it to this nice Marines red scrapbook paper and then on black card stock.  It looked really nice.

After I sent it I thought it would be a good thing to send him one each week.  Last week was:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

~Ephesians 6:13-18 (NIV)

This week was:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

~Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

I wanted verses that would be of help to him now as well as later when he is overseas facing danger and battle.  I hope that they are an encouragement to him.  I am so proud of my son and the man he is!

Thank you, Lord, for giving me such an amazing son.  
Thank you for giving me the privilege to raise him.  
I hope that I did my job well in Your eyes.
Keep him safe in his days to come.
Give him courage and strength.
Always let him feel you with him.
And when he feels fear or challenge or loneliness or sadness or desperation, be especially close.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A History Lesson - 14th & 15th Amendments and Some Neglected Truth About American Slavery

As I was writing up the curriculum for the state of Kansas I learned something new in history which isn't taught in school. Kansas was the first state to pass the 15th amendment. Which is a fun thing to know, however, I also learned... that when the Republican congress passed the fifteen amendment to the Constitution that 11 northern states had no problem ratifying it. They were ALL Republican states. Four states would not ratify it. They were ALL Democrat states.

Furthermore, the southern states were fighting against allowing freed slaves to vote and the four Democrat states of the north were helping them in this fight. In order to ensure suffrage to the freed slaves, the Republican congress passed a law which required any state to be readmitted into the Union to ratify both the 14th and 15th amendment (the 14th amendment made the freed slaves legal citizen status). The democrats fought it tooth and nail, but lost.

Then I remembered Anthony Johnson. Now Anthony Johnson is the reason slavery was made legal in the U.S. to begin with. He lived in Virginia and came over as an indentured servant. He later bought his and his wife's freedom and then brought over five indentured servants of his own. They were all black (contrary to what is taught in schools, many Africans came here willingly as indentured servants, the same way many white people came here). Now there were some slaves in the colonies, but the legal status of being "owned" by a master did not exist, and many of those slaves were Native American and also white. *

One of Johnson's indentured servants, John Casor, wanted to buy his freedom, but Anthony Johnson fought in court the right to keep him forever as his slave. The court sided with Johnson and Casor became the first legal slave in the Americas. Interesting note is that Casor came as an indentured servant and thereby had a RIGHT to buy his freedom. It was Johnson, his black master, who went to court to take away that man's right.

So there you have it. A truth that is willfully ignored in school, a black "master" was the first one to formally fight for the right to legally own a slave.

*The first slaves in America were actually white and made up 1/2 to 2/3 of the population of the original colonies. The Royal Company of Africa when created to import black slaves AFTER it was determined that there weren't enough WHITE slaves to do all the work. After the abolition of the African slave trade, slaves were brought in from China and India. And we can't forget the Native American slave trade. Just as many Native Americans were sold on the auction block as there were Africans, many times Native Americans were traded for the Africans. The Native Americans were then sent off to work sugar plantations on the islands because when kept in the colonies they escaped. I won't even START on the Trails of Tears because there were MANY of them and there isn't nearly enough focus on what can only be called attempted genocide in America. These FACTS are important when we discuss the history of slavery in America, as are the FACTS that while the history books try to rewrite history, the TRUTH is that both African and Native American waring tribes sold each other into slavery.***

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Soap! Soap! Soap!

It had been a while since I had made soap.  In fact, my family had been using COMMERCIAL soap for several months.  GASP!!!!  A friend contacted me on Facebook and asked if I still made soap and if I would be interested in selling it in her store.  Their entire store is about re-purposing things that others find useless.  They are very down to earth people ... and they homeschool!  Anywho ... I've not been in her store, but I've read her blog (Patina in Paducah) and I have seen many pictures up on Facebook.  I very excitedly said, "Yes!  Yes!  Yes!"

Okay, maybe it was only ONE yes ... but inside me I doing a happy dance.  And it came at a perfect time for me.

So my daughter and I started getting busy making homemade lye soap (my daughter also created and earned a Create Your Own Badge for Girls Scouts).  I think they came out quite lovely and I enjoyed the time with my daughter teaching her something she had only watched me do before.  If you ever have the chance of using lye soap DO IT!!!    If milled properly with a good recipe, it rinses clean away leaving you squeaky clean.  My mother-in-law says that my Oatmeal, Milk & Honey is the only thing that keeps her eczema clear.  

The first ones we made were the Lavender Goat's Milk and the Cinnamon Scrub with Nutmeg & Clove (the little soap up front is a Gentle Milk Handsoap that came later ... it was leftover).  The Lavender smell so relaxing and it great for shaving legs and the Cinnamon Scrubs exfoliates amazingly (it smells yummy too)!

The next soap made was Avocado Peppermint Burst.  I had never made this before.  I wanted to try something new, so I added two pureed avocados and peppermint essential oil.  The main bars were all the standard square, but I decided to get creative with the leftovers.  The round one came from a finish round "block" of soap that set up in a tall plastic cup.  The heart one was poured into a heart shaped mini cake mold.  I carved a mesage in it for my lovely daughter.  I have been washing my rather long hair (down to my waist) with this soap for a little over a week.  My scalp has cleared up and my hair is super soft without using any conditioner.  YEAH! a few less chemicals on my body!!!  It's really a good morning wake up soap.

Another new soap for me was the Jamaican Morning Coffee.  Coffee soap is good for removing odors, I've been told, so I made my own.  I decided to try using cupcakes tins for another mold.  I think it's cool how the cupcake papers made ridges on the sides.  The next day when we made the Oatmeal, Milk & Honey, I set some plain soap aside, added milk to it, then put swirls on top the soap to make Mocha Latte Cupcake soap.  My beautiful, sweet and amazing daughter said they needed decorating and added the coffee beans.  She's so creative!  My 13-year-old son decorated a few as well.  The leftover from the "latte topping" was swirled on freezer wrap to make small palm sized soaps.
The last soap we made was the Oatmeal, Milk & Honey.  The cupcake soap was left the way it was, but wanting to experiment with something new, I double milled the bar soap.  That means I took out of the mold the next day, broke it up, added some water, then set it in a warm oven for an hour stirring and mushing every 15 minutes.  Then when it was nice and thick I spooned it back into the mold.  I used the back of my spoon to make peaks on the top.  I think it looks a bit rustic.  I couldn't be more pleased!  

 Our next creative soap endeaver will be making a soap cake ... 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Wonderful Fellowship!

I was so blessed to spend 1 1/2 hours on the phone with a very dear friend, mentor, and brother in Christ.  He and his wife are such a blessing to us!  B isn't a phone person, so we email, but J and I can, and do, talk at length. I am reminded of Paul's longing to see his Christian friends, " I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong—that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith."  (Romans 1:11-12)  As we closed in prayer, my arms ached to hold my friends again, to see them smile, to hear them laugh.

The Lord brings people into our lives for a reason or sometimes for a season.  J & B are lifelong (nearly 20 years now), and I praise God for them.  They are a true brother and sister in Christ.

I have said these things unto you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
~John 16:33