Peanut Butter Cake

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I’m in the process of moving house so I need to use up a few of the ingredients in my cupboards.

As its a holiday weekend here I decided to make a little cake as a treat and thought I would see what would happen putting peanut butter in a cake.

I usually use the equal weight method for cakes and as there is only two of us I used a 2 egg mix. (Weigh the eggs and that gives you the weight needed for flour, fat and sugar)

I roughly halved the amount of margerine required and made the rest up with peanut butter.  All other ingredients were as usual plus a little baking powder to help with the rise and a splash of milk.

Now I used a 100% peanut butter which had no sugar, oil or salt added.  The variety of peanut butter used will obviously affect the flavour.

I  combined all the ingredients together and put the mix into a lined loaf tin which then went into a 160° oven for about 30 minutes.

Verdict?  YUUUM.

It was quite a delicate flavour which I really liked but hubby being a peanut butter addict wanted more flavour so perhaps next time I will add a pinch of salt or increase the proportion of peanut butter.

Will definitely have this again but will have to experiment a little more.

Also thinking of trying a slice toasted with some butter or jam or chocolate spread………………..

 

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What is a Best Friend?

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Bestest Buddy, BBF or whatever you call them, most of us have or had someone in their life at some time who they called their “Best Friend”

But what is a “Best Friend”? How do we define or decide who our best friend is?

Thinking about this I was grateful to realise that I can count 3 “Best friends” currently in my life.

The first is the one who would probably count as my Bestest Buddy, BBF and I would always regard her as that and I think she feels the same way.  We first met as little girls of just 3 and 4 when we became almost next door neighbours.  Due to the way our birthday’s fell we were in different school years and so of course had school friends from our own class, but while we were both at the same school and still neighbours we would walk to school together and very often meet up in breaks.  We would have our girlie play times or outings as we grew up and as neither of us had a sister and I was slightly younger (and smaller) than my friend she delighted in “looking after” me.

As we got older and life took us in different directions; university, marriage, family,  moving with jobs etc. we would meet whenever we could and friendship just carried on with that special bond of a friendship that has now continued for oh lets just say a VERY long time and even when we haven’t managed to meet for a couple of years as we no longer live close enough to meet without some sort of planning dates in advance there is still  that special bond which just continues and we enjoy a “catch up” in a way that people can only do like family when you have known each other essentially for as long as you can remember.

The  second would have to be my hubby; not only did we “fall in love” in the romantic sense, we very quickly became “best friends”.  We like being together and doing things together (some people find this a bit strange in a marriage).  Sharing interests and supporting each other whatever is going on in our lives.  Yes we have some different interests and tastes but we usually find that because we know each other so well it is very easy to come to an agreement even on the “boring” stuff like choosing paint and now after 26 years of marriage we are stepping into a new venture together – moving home, change of jobs and lifestyle but we are  “Growing old with me, the best is yet to be” despite the challenges that we know are coming.

The third “Best Friend” is that one who I spend time with who lives close by, who is there when I need help or someone to feed the cat (or they need someone to feed theirs).  Who thinks of me if they think I might want to go for coffee or something, who comes and helps with DIY and checks up on me if I or hubby are ill or something happening.

Friends are special and although I am someone who is generally quite confident and independent as an individual, having these special people in your life is so valuable, especially if you do not have family close by.  We do have some family very close who we love and enjoy spending time with but sometimes people do not have family close by or are no longer around so the saying of “Friends are the family you choose” can be quite significant.

I’m grateful for the “special” friends that I have in addition to family.  Each person enriches your life in  different way (and hopefully I enrich theirs)

Cherish your friends (even the furry ones) and family.

 

Finishing the Race

I did not watch much of the Olympics and only really watched a little on the last couple of days.  Most of my Olympic “exposure” was through seeing a friends Facebook posts and tags from Rio as she was out there supporting a family member (who incidently came home with a gold medal!!!).

I’m not that interested in sport but I’m still delighted to hear of our country’s athletes success – they worked hard for it and gave up a lot to achieve their goals.

Amongst all the thrill and excitement, one story caught my attention. 

It involved two young ladies: Nikki Hamblin from New Zealand and Abbey D’Agostino from America.

These two ladies fell in their race and after helping each other get back on their feet continued with the race.  It soon became apparent that Abbey was struggling and Nikki went back to help her.  She abandoned any thought she may have had of winning a medal but went to help Abbey so that they could both complete the race.

It struck me that there is a parallel with this story to our call as Christians to run the race of faith.

We are not in a race against each other!  We are in a race together.

Hebrews 12 v 1 exhorts us to run the race with perseverance.

James 1 v 12 promises the crown to those who persevere to the end.

Jude tells us to keep fighting

Both Hebrew and James and in Revelation contain many references to finishing, persevering when things get tough but the reward is promised to those who hold on to the end.

Now I’m not sure from the news reports I read whether these two ladies actually crossed the finish line but they were given a special award because they raced well.  They showed the care and compassion for another competitor which is worth more than winning.

Again we are told to work together, support one another, help those who fall to get back up onto their feet and continue even if some of the time we are carrying them.

I wrote a piece on this previously so won’t write it all again but here is the link;

https://suhancock.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/make-level-paths

Just like my friend who flew out to support her family member, there are people watching us, willing us to win, encouraging us.

So keep running, if you can’t run, walk if you can’t walk, you will find a way…not all our races are the same, we have different races to run.
See you at the finish line!

Normal Service?……..

My Facebook page is telling me that it has been …..oooh a long time, since I last posted. 

Where have I been??

Well I won’t bore you with the details, just that family responsibilities have kept me a bit more occupied and along with a few other things, the “blog” had to go to the bottom of the priority list.

I’m now looking forward over the next couple of weeks to getting into a new routine which hopefully will include getting back to writing here on a more regular basis, so as well as the odd random thing I may want to write about, and sharing a few experiments in the kitchen, I really want to get back to doing some of the more detailed study and thoughts on the Bible.
So this is where you come in – I want your opinions…
I would like to pick up where we “paused” in Genesis.  I’m amazed how much there is to find in even just a few verses and we had just got to chapter 5 and the flood. 

Shall we continue? Do you find this interesting? Helpful? Boring?

Shall we do Psalms or Proverbs?

Shall we go “random”

Or shall we do something completely different? 
What do you think?
I won’t promise a daily blog as I’ve often found when studying the Bible, sometimes you need to go away and think about what you have read, what does it mean? What do I think? How does it impact me?

Talk to me please!!!!

Xxxx

Household tips; Bins

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If like us you have several bins around the house, (bathrooms, office, bedrooms) then here’s a simple little tip to make managing them a little easier.

It’s a pain sometimes when you have a bin which needs to be emptied and you have to go off and find the right size bin liner from under the kitchen sink and go back upstairs to line the bin, so here’s what I did;

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I bought some extra rolls of cheap bin liners and left one in the bottom of each bin so it is always on hand, I can then simply take one and re-line the bin all ready for use.

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Now if you don’t want to have several rolls in the house as some of these have up to 100 liners on them, then simply remove a number (say 10) and leave these in the bottom of the bin, or if you have any supermarket carrier bags, fold a leave some of these there ready (you could even colour coordinate them if you are that way inclined!!

Hope this helps….

Guilty!!!!!!!

Yes, I am guilty, guilty of Tax avoidance, and you probably are too….

My conscience is clear though because it is perfectly legal.

I have a ISA…. Shock horror!!!!

And why did I take out an ISA?

TO AVOID PAYING TOO MUCH TAX!

and as I have had NO income since stopping work 6 years ago, I have also transferred part of my tax allowance to my husband so that we pay a little less tax and get a little more of his not very high wage. 

This is perfectly legal, in fact our government and tax offices encourage it.

Yes I question the morality of some of these super rich schemes, off shore investments etc, but the fact is that they are not breaking the law.

Now Tax EVASION is illegal, that is; not paying tax that you should . (by the way, did you declare the income on that little job you did for cash “on the side”?…Yes? Well done you… You can stay on your moral high horse)

Truth is, many of the people who make these laws are the ones who benefit from them so I suspect that nothing is going to change there,  but I have got a little irritated by those pointing the finger condemning those who are in a position to take advantage of these laws; can any of us honestly say that we would not arrange our finances in the most efficient way to minimise the amount of tax we pay?

I thought not…

Rant over

Ruth – Choices

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I was recently asked to bring the “talk” to our youth group, which consists of a lovely bunch of girls aged 12 – 16.  The theme of the day was choices as some had been concerned and praying about making their subject choices at school and thinking of what they wanted to do following.  We discussed how some choices are easy and we make them every day (what to have for breakfast etc) but sometimes we have to make bigger choices which may impact our future lives.

We read through the book of Ruth (have a read now if you haven’t read it recently – it’s too good to miss any of it out) and while it is a wonderful and also romantic story (which of course the girls loved)  I asked them to listen out for the choices various people made and think about whether they were good choices, or bad? (unwise) and why did they think that.

We looked at the different characters and noticed these things about them;

Elimelech – Chose to leave Bethlehem and move to Moab.  Now some of the girls thought that this was a wise choice as they were leaving a land in famine and moving to an area where there was food and they hoped to prosper.  However, when we looked a little deeper we discovered that Bethlehem means “The House of Food”, so why was there famine?  We find that even though this was relatively soon after the Israelites arrival into the “Promised Land”, the “Land flowing with milk and honey” they had quickly drifted away from their dependence on God.  Life had been easy for a while and they gradually stopped depending and trusting in God.  We know that God often used famine and drought to bring his people to call on and depend on him.  Elimelech, by moving to Moab was choosing to depend on his own ability to provide rather than be obedient to God and trust in Him.

We then looked at his two sons, Mahlon and Kilion (there seem to be several different spellings) who obviously went with him but later chose Moabite wives.  This was against Hebrew culture and God’s instructions not to marry “foreign” wives as this had been the root of many Israelite “failures” where they allowed worship of other Gods and idols to continue with the traditions these wives brought with them.  Their names apparently mean “frail” or “weakling” and they both died young without any children.  Was this weakness just physical or was this a weakness in their faith?  We read elsewhere in the Bible where those whose faith in God and his ways meant that they sought to obey him and marry wives who were strong in faith too. (Remember how Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac from his own people?)

Naomi made several choices; firstly she obviously went with her husband to Moab.  Now I suspect that she may have thought it a good idea at the time too, but later comes to realise that perhaps it was not.  When she is left destitute in a foreign land and decides to return to the place that God was now blessing it is with a sense of bitterness.  Was this bitterness against God? or her late husband as she realised that he had taken her away from God’s blessing – we don’t know but she decided that her best chances were to return to her own people rather than live surrounded by people who worshiped other gods.

We then came to Orpah and Ruth, who both initially said that they would go with her, but Orpah later decides to return to “her own people and her own gods”.

Ruth however; at some point had started to trust in “Naomi’s God” and vowed to stay with her and hope to become part of God’s people – this was the wisest choice she made and all her other choices follow from that as she quietly works to prove herself worthy of respect and trust among the Hebrew people despite being a “foreigner”.  Naomi however still seems to be wallowing a bit in self pity.

We come next to Boaz who turns out to be a successful man, but why is is so successful?  As we read the story we notice that he is fully obedient to God’s rules even going above what is required.  He is well respected by his workers and the community and has become one of the leading men in the city as a righteous man.  We see that the way he conducts his business follows the instructions given in that he is not greedy, he works hard but is kind to his workers and to the poor by following the instruction to leave grain and allow the poor to glean from the harvest.  He generously allows extra to Ruth as she works, especially when he finds out who she is as it turns out that Naomi is a relative of his and offers her protection against those who would have abused her as a foreigner.

Ruth’s actions in following Naomi’s instructions in going to Boaz at the threshing floor can be perceived as being brazen, but as a woman she was not allowed to ask Boaz directly to take responsibility for her, but the method used was to show her willingness to submit to him, the laws and customs, and remind him that someone had to take up that position of providing for her and Naomi.

We discover that there is a closer relative, who under Hebrew law and customs, should have been doing something about helping and providing for Naomi and Ruth, but it appears he was not.  Boaz, rather than shaming him, gently reminds him of his duty and gives him the opportunity to take up this responsibility, which on reflection the “Nearest relative” declines, so Boaz steps up and marries Ruth, taking both her and Naomi into his care.

This union is blessed with a son who is called Obed and later they are blessed with more children.

One of the most interesting parts of this story is not just that Obed becomes the father of Jesse who was the father of David – who became King and was known as a man after God’s heart, and ancestor of Joseph, the husband of Mary; Jesus’ mother,  but in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter one, we discover that Boaz’s mother was Rahab.  Rahab was the woman who had been a prostitute (or innkeeper) in Jericho and was rescued due to her faith in the Israelite God despite all the wickedness and worship of other gods.  His father Salmon is believed therefore to have been one of the two spies who went into Jericho although they are not actually named.  Boaz himself was the son of a “foreigner”

Both these two women made the choice to follow the Hebrew God and trust in HIM rather than the idols of their nations and by acting on that faith were rewarded by being grafted into the family of God both in the physical sense of ancestry but in the spiritual.

The story of Ruth shows that becoming a member of God’s Kingdom is not by birth as with the Jews but by obedience to God through faith and conforming of your life to the will of God.  The most important choice we can make in life is to follow Him.  I made that choice at the age of 13, even though I too did not come from a family that followed God.  All my choices in life since then have had to be based on trying to understand what God’s plan and will for me was and to try and be obedient to him.  If you have not made that choice – will you?