Monthly Archives: December 2013

Quick Baking Tip

I’ve just been doing a bit of baking and thought I would share this simple tip I use for rolling out pastry.

Once your pastry is made and chilled ready to roll out, take a large piece of clingfilm and spread it out onto a clean worktop.

Place your pastry into the middle and then lay another piece of clingfilm over the top.

You can then begin to roll out your pastry in between the two layers.

Every couple of “rolls”, turn and lift off the top piece of clingfilm and replace lightly over the top.

After a couple more “rolls” turn the whole lot over and remove what was the bottom piece, replace and keep rolling.

Keep repeating this process until your pastry is the required thickness and shape.

If you have a lot of pastry then you may find it easier to roll in two parts depending on the size of clingfilm you have.

The great thing with this tip is that it keeps your rolling pin clean, keeps the worktop clean, the pastry only sticks to the clingfilm and you do not need lots of extra flour to keep the pastry from sticking and changing the mix of your baking through adding a lot through the rolling process.

When you’ve attained the required size pastry you can remove the top piece of clingfilm and then lay the pastry onto your baking tin with the bottom piece holding the pastry together.

Simply place the pastry into position and then remove the cling film and trim as desired.

If you want to plan ahead or make a large batch, you could even place the pastry into some fresh clingfilm, roll it up and place in the freezer so that you have your own “ready rolled” pastry prepared

This also works well if you are rolling out marzipan or icing to decorate a cake

Money, Money Money

There are many Christians who like to teach what is known as “prosperity theory”.  That is the idea that God is our abundant father who loves to bless us and give us many material things.

There are others who have the idea that a Christian should live in poverty and destitution (in fact I think this is the worlds view on how a Christian should live).

My understanding of the bible is somewhere in between – here’s why.

A favorite verse many people quote is;

My God will meet all your needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4 v19)

They often interpret this as God supplying everything they want, but to me this verse clearly says “needs”.  It can be very difficult sometimes to work out the difference between our wants and our needs, but I would say that our “needs” are food, warmth (a roof over our heads) and clothing as well as rest, love and health.  We don’t “need” our large flat screen TV’s, Xboxes etc.  The note in my bible say that the context of this verse was that the Philippians had been giving sacrificially to God’s work and Paul was commending them and reminding them that God would honour and bless them for this.

The Bible has an awful lot to say about money and our attitude to it, in fact it is one of the biggest subjects covered yet we hear very little from the pulpit so it is impossible to cover in one short post everything I have learned, but a quick summary is;

The earth is the Lords and everything in it (Psalm 24 v 1)

That means  that everything that we “own” still actually belongs to God and comes from Him, especially as believers and that He can either entrust it to us or not.

You are not your own, you were bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6 v 20)

We are instructed to;

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have because God has said “Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you (Hebrews 13 v 5)

Ecclesiastes 5 v 10 says

Whoever loves money, never has money enough – whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income

The story is told of John Wesley, the the founder of the Methodist church who had became very successful and wealthy when he realised that he was not honouring God with how he spent his money.  He then became more careful about his attitude to material goods so that he could give more to the poor and charitable causes and as his income grew even more, he did not modify his lifestyle but used the extra income to give more away.

One of the things that I have learned since I stopped being in paid employment is that my time is more valuable than the money I had.  Yes I was able to give a good amount to my church (I believe that tithing is right) and when I lost my job I initially worried about the impact that would have on a small fellowship with not many people in work but I quickly realised through some of these verses, that actually – it was not my problem but God’s.  As quoted earlier, He owns everything, even all the silver and gold and can choose to distribute it however he sees fit.

My responsibility was to be faithful and a good steward with what he entrusted to me and if my role was to provide financially then he would give that income to me, but if He chose not to, then that had to be OK too. At the moment it seems for me that He want’s my time and availability to serve in a practical way helping with Church activities and looking after my home and family rather than paying someone else to do it because I was always at work. Yes it is difficult and I have to think more carefully about any purchases I want to make, look for the best price, decide that I don’t really need it and leave it etc, but this is part of learning to be content and He has always provided enough for our needs of food, clothing and a home.

I think the correct attitude can be summarised very well in a prayer by Agur recorded in Proverbs

Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say “Who is the Lord?

Or I may become poor and steal and so dishonour the name of my God. (Proverbs 30 v 8-9)

The Box of Burgers Part 1 (Sausage Rolls)

The Box of Burgers Part 1 (Sausage Rolls).

The Box of Burgers Part 1 (Sausage Rolls)

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A few weeks ago we acquired a catering size box of burgers which were surplus to their original need.  As hubby is yeast intolerant, I have been coming up with alternative uses for them to just simply putting them into a roll.

This set of blogs will share some of the ideas I’ve used; I will add some of the others later but this is the latest one.

I needed to get something extra to take out with us as we had a busy day scheduled and thinking ahead to Christmas I was intending to make some pastry to put into the freezer ready to make some sausage rolls and mince pies etc but as yet I have not had time.  When I did my shopping this week I noticed some ready rolled lower fat puff pastry on BOGOF so decided to get some as I’m not sure if I will get that time to make my own.

I had also considered buying some sausage meat to make some sausage rolls but decided to leave that for next week forgetting that I needed extra supplies for a packed lunch/tea.

Then I remembered the burgers!!

I got a couple out of the freezer to defrost (they are quite large so two was plenty) and a pack of the ready rolled pastry,

When they had thawed, I reshaped the burgers into a couple of long sausage shapes and placed them on my pastry and rolled them to make my sausage rolls. I brushed them with a little milk for colour and then popped them into a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees for about 25 – 30 minutes. The end result was some very tasty sausage rolls.

I made 8 medium sized ones but this could have made about 16-20 “bite sized”

As I had some pastry left over so I cut it into squares and made some little jam tarts

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I Will be Organised!!!!

This time of year gets busy for everyone and although I’m not in paid employment I still have quite a busy life and with some of the extra things occupying me at the moment, I realised that I had almost forgotten several birthdays (about half my extended family seem to have theirs in November, December and early new year)

I was going through my new diary for next year writing all the birthdays in and writing the cards required for the next few weeks when I hit on the idea of preparing all the cards for next year at the same time.

I know of some people who prepare a load of cards and simply put the date on the top of the card where the stamp would go so that they know when to post it.

I had already accumulated a stack of birthday and blank cards so I set to work to see how far I could get with what I had in stock.

I thought about actually writing them, but decided not to as that would give me flexibility to change the cards if I saw something nearer the time that would be a better match.  The important thing was that people received a card to show that they had been remembered.

So; I found some sticky labels (the ones like post it notes that you can write on or mark a place/piece of paper with) and wrote the persons name and the date of their birthday on it.  I then attached it to the selected card and created a pile in date order which I then placed into a folder (you could use something like a shoe box if you have a lot more cards.

I did quite well and managed to cover the majority with using a selection of nice blank cards too.

Birthday cards are quite expensive now with most of them costing £2 or £3, and then you have the cost of postage on top.  You can save a bit of money by purchasing a couple of packs of nice note cards and using them.  I found some really nice quality ones which were only £2 for 10 so you can mix and match them as well as having cards ready for anything else like a thank you note or a get well card.

While I was doing this, I made a note of the people or events that I will still need obtain cards for; things like wedding anniversaries or special birthdays so when I am next in a shop looking at cards, I have some idea of which ones I need buy.

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Creation or Evolution??

I haven’t watched it yet, but at the weekend there was the start of a new TV series “The Bible”

In the first episode it shows God creating the world and the “story” which follows.

Now I happen to believe that God created the earth (approx 6,000) years ago in its CURRENT form according to what is set out in the Bible and not in the Theory of Evolution according to Darwin which implies that we evolved from another species.

I get cross with some of the “nature” programs, and now don’t even watch the the programs by David Attenborough who insists on presenting this theory as FACT, while I will watch some by Neil Oliver who will usually refer to it as the “Theory” of Evolution or will say “This is what we THINK happened”

So often they will say that something is x million years old but they never answer the question of “How do you know it is that old?” or “Why is there never any evidence of anything being only 10 – 15,000 years old?” and “How do you explain the fossils and dinosaur bones and know exactly how old they are?” “How can you believe that this amazing and beautiful world that we live in just “Happened”?”

Well I believe that the Bible does explain this, and I will attempt to share how I understand it.

First off, we see in Genesis 1 v 1-2

In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters

This does not state when this happened but I think that this goes some way to explain my understanding that the earth existed prior to the main Creation story.  Some people think that the original scripts imply that the Earth became formless and empty.  Perhaps this happened when the rebellious angels referred to in 2 Peter 2 v 4 were thrown out of heaven (just a thought I have with no real evidence to support it)

Part of the problem with understanding Evolution and Creation,  is that our human minds can only think in terms of our understanding of time as we know it now: i.e; Day and Night with 24 hours a day with 60 minutes per hour and 60 seconds per minute.

You see, all this happened before time was created.  Time as we understand it was not created until verses 3-5 of Genesis

And God said, “Let there be light, and there was light.

God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.

God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day”

This makes me think that the formation of the earth beforehand could have happened either moments before or in our understanding; millions of years as time as we understand it did not exist.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends; With the LORD a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day ” (2 Peter 3 v 8)

God is not bound by time, and once we accept this (not necessarily understand it) many of the scriptures make more sense.

We see this again in the Gospel of John v 1-3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was  with God and the Word was God.

He was with God in the beginning

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

We can’t understand it without God’s light shining into us to reveal it.

This “problem” is obviously not a recent one as even Peter in his second letter writes about it:

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.

They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?  Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word, the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.(my note: this hints at all the formation by glaciers)

By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

By the same word, the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgement and destruction of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3 v 3-7)

There are many other references in the Bible to things which happened outside of our understanding of time.  God is not constrained by time which is why He is called “I AM” – he was and is and is to come.

I am not a theologian or scientist and many of these theory’s are way above my head or understanding, but this helps me to piece together all the different theory’s

So;

Do I believe in Creation? : absolutely

Do I believe in Evolution? : There is obviously evidence of some evolution as we see how plants and animals adapt and change over time and new species and breeds develop, but I don’t believe in Darwin’s Theory that we as “homo sapiens” evolved from something else or from a speck of dust, but it is clear that we have changed to some degree as our living conditions  dictate.

Remember too that it is Darwin’s “Theory” not absolute fact, and from what I understand, he renounced it before his death.

(Bible references are quoted from the NIV translation)