Thursday, January 16, 2014

How to make Sauerkraut

Making Sauerkraut With The Family

I'm in Virginia visiting family. Here's what we did this afternoon:

It's great to be together with everyone. 

How to make Sauerkraut the Awesome Way:
This method of food preservation utilizes a process called lacto-fermentation. This increases the nutrient content of the ingredients and allows access to fresh veggies all winter.
You'll need:
Cabbage (preferably organic)
Jars with lids 
1. Get a bunch of cabbage. It's a big project, so you want to make a lot at once. 

2.slice it up in shreds. We like to add carrot and onion. Beets are good too.

3. Toss everything into a large bowl and add salt. You'll need about 1 1/12 tbs per cabbage. We like to use sea salt because of the extra minerals it has. Sprinkle it over each layer of cabbage as you chop. 

4. Mash everything down until it's nice and juicy. We used a jar In this picture. This compacts the cabbage, gets everything  salty and gets rid of air, all of which encourage growth of lacto bacilli, which occure naturally on the leaves of cabbage. These bacteria produce lactic acid, which is what pickles the kraut.

5. Once everything is nice and juicy, pack it tight in jars. Remember: air is not your friend. Packing everything tight keeps the kraut from molding.

6. Screw on the lid and let the bacteria do the work. 
Place your jars in a some kind of container, like a Pyrex dish, or Rubbermaid bin. The kraut will produce  co2 as it ferments and the increased pressure will cause some of the juice to bubble out of the jars.

No need to refrigerate. The jars will even seal themselves from the pressure produced as they ferment.
 In a week or two your sauerkraut will be ready to eat. Refrigerate your jars once you open them, otherwise, you can store them on the shelf, once they're done off-gassing.

It's great with fried eggs for breakfast, as a salad garnish and of course- it's fantastic on hot dogs.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Wisdom: It's Not a Lucky Guess

Get Wisdom
“When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
He taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Proverbs 4: 3-5
These words were written by Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. Most of you have probably heard the story of how he became so wise; how God spoke to him in a dream, offering to give him anything, (riches and long life were some of the options) and how Solomon, who was both a young man and a new king, feeling the weight of ruling a country, asked God for wisdom.
   In the end, God was so pleased with Solomon’s choice that he threw in long life and wealth in addition to the wisdom he had asked for.
I might be inclined to think “Whew…  Good thing Solomon chose wisdom. Lucky guess.”   However, after taking a closer look at Proverbs 4:3 it’s clear that the story of Solomon’s quest for wisdom began much earlier.  It began with his father, David; the same David who fought Goliath, wrote the book of Psalms and ruled the nation of Israel. In the middle of his life, looking back at his accomplishments (and some of his mistakes) King David took little Solomon on his knee and talked to him. “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live. Get wisdom.”  Again and again we see how Solomon’s father told him to get wisdom, insight and understanding.  And when the time came to make a choice that would alter the course of his life forever, Solomon remembered his father’s words….. “Get wisdom”. Solomon chose wisely.
   So what’s the lesson we can take away from the Solomon story? Parents: here’s one: talk to your kids about life. Make time to sit down and get their full attention, take opportunities to explain to them the consequences of sin.  None of us are born wise (as a young person this is often painfully apparent); wisdom is something we have to find. Teach your kids what to look for and where to look, so that when the time comes for them to make choices, they will chose wisely.
    Fellow young people: don’t be foolish. Maybe your parents didn’t take the time to teach you to look for wisdom, but that’s no excuse. Blaming our parents for our shortcomings may make us feel better about ourselves, but it’s the least productive thing we can possibly do. Regardless of your upbringing,  you have a fully functioning mind and personal responsibility.  “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.”( Proverbs 4:27 . )   Or maybe it’s the other way around:   perhaps you parents and other wise people who have your best interest at heart, have been giving you good advice for years, but you're just to proud and rebellious to give them the time of day.  If this is the case, do you really want to spend the rest of your life suffering the consequences of poor choices just because you were too angry to listen?  Is it really worth it? 
The truth is, we all need wisdom and wisdom is something God earnestly desires that we have.  “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5


Monday, May 27, 2013

It's Summer Time and You Know What That Means....

As I mentioned earlier, summer sort of sneaks up in Alaska, but when it finally arrives it really jumps out at us........BAM!!! We literally watch the trees get greener from morning to afternoon, thanks to the long daylight hours we enjoy.
  With the temperatures hovering in the mid 70's today, now begins the rush to get our seedlings planted.
  We have family staying with us at the moment and I must say, they picked the perfect time to head north.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Grey Day In May

Summer always sort of sneaks up on us here in Alaska..... Sometimes very slowly. It snowed yesterday, but fortunately it wasn't cold enough to accumulate on the ground.
   Yes, it's true that we only have a month and a half until summer solstice, and after that the days begin to get progressively shorter, and the weather progressively cooler.
    But summer always comes (eventually) and for now I guess I just need to learn to appreciate the grey.

  I had to add this old car. It just looked so SAD.

Friday, December 7, 2012

"Body World" at The Anchorage Museum

Yesterday my family and I met up with some old friends from Dillingham,( a small Alaskan bush town only accessible by airplane ). They had flown into Anchorage for the day to take their two youngest girls to the dentist. It had been five years since our two families had been together, so we decided to make an event out of it and do an activity together. “Body World” was on exhibit at the Anchorage Museum, and it was agreed upon by both parties that it would be both educational and entertaining…
In addition to living up to the first two expectations, I also found “Body World” somewhat disturbing.  Although this really shouldn’t be surprising when you consider what exactly was on display; namely preserved cadavers. 
Each one was different. Some were whole bodies, minus most of the skin, with muscles or other structures removed to allow for multiple anatomical views. Others were individual organs, or cross sections of organs. The example that I found the most striking was a cast of the vasculature of the arm.
   From a video clip playing in a continuous loop, we learned that each body (which had been donated to science before the person’s death) was been preserved by a process developed and perfected over several decades, called “plastination”,  which causes a kind of polymer  to be absorbed into the tissue at a cellular level, and therefore allows  for exquisite preservation of the whole form. The bodies are then set carefully in poses and hardened in with heat in an air tight chamber.
  It could be argued that art is classified as “good” or interesting based on how we identify with what we see. We can also judge something of the character of the artist by his work. The singular thing that made “Body World” different from any other exhibit  I’ve seen so far, was the fact that every  “sculpture” had actually once been a moving breathing being. And in each astoundingly intricate example, I couldn’t help but see a somewhat eerie and sobering reflection of myself. And looking through the glass at the body-  was awe inspiring, because I knew the same artist had made us both.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Taste of The Philippines

My friend recently posted this slide show of our midwifery apprenticeship experience  on Youtube........ enjoy.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hot Issues And Compelling Arguments


One of the things I appreciate most about the written word is it's power to modify the way we think, the ability to make us question the beliefs and philosophies that we hold. I've recently finished
reading a book that did just that. I had one set of ideas when I started the first chapter and found those ideas stretched, widened and in some cases, completely changed by the time I turned the last page.

   In their book So Much More: The Remarkable Influence of Visionary Daughters on The Kingdom of God, the Botkin sisters analyze the modern western shift toward feminism, its impact on society as a whole, it's apparently Marxist origins and compare it to a biblical standard of womanhood.

  When I first began reading, I found myself annoyed. The kind of life the authors were advocating for young women sounded, at first, as if it were nothing but mind shrinking, spirit squelching drudgery. However, as I continued, my perspective began to change. Over the course of the manuscript, the sisters discuss the impact of a feministic worldview on society. Strong family units, the authors argue are the building blocks of strong societies and a key foundational element of a strong family is the mother. The authors present compelling arguments against the practice of mothers working full-time outside the home. They state that when women leave the home to enter the workforce, they leave behind them a yawing hole in the fabric of the family.

Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin, Not content to stop at there, tackle a myriad of other controversial topics, including; dating, higher education and mission work, all in a convenient question and answer format.

I enjoyed the well-researched and concise way the Botkins presented their views, as well as their willingness to tackle so many touchy subjects. I highly recommend this book to all young women. Parents should read it too.

Below is a link for a websight maintained by the Botkin family. Its full of interesting articles on the topics of,  familly, faith, history and current events.