Bread in any shape and size

midsummer 009 Bread and Sauerkraut balls 004Bread at Harish's 014

I really love  eating,making, eating, shaping, eating and baking bread.

I’ve been playing with it for years- making pretzels, braids, wreaths, loaves, bowls, rolls, turkeys, bunnies, bears, cats, turtles, alligators, otters, babies,stars, sunny faces, cottage loaves, batards, baguettes, and today, I made a horse.

A pony, really


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Not really very realistic,  but recognizable.

It’s a Chincoteague pony- they are rounder in the belly and shorter in the leg.

I made him for my grandson, who loves the Chincoteague ponies.

He really looks much better on the other side.

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Don’t you agree?

Anyway- I made 3 kinds of bread today-

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French, in baguettes and an epi loaf.


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Sourdough rye with caraway seeds.

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And whole wheat with sesame – into stars and horses- Bread bears and brownies and Jordan 015

Honey Whole Wheat Bread Gears 002

And Bunnies and bears and loaves.


Books and Breads…

My mind seems to dwell on these two basic B’s in my life.

What  shall I read?

What shall I make/eat?

Last week, I realized my mind is all ajumble with titles of books read:

my niece asked me if I had read “The Poisonwood Bible” and I said no.

Then as she started to describe it to my husband, I blurted out-“Wait!  Sorry, I mis-spoke- I have read it.”

Of course I have.

I read whatever I can get my hands on for free or cheap.  I read constantly.

I read every moment I have free. 

And I re- read.

So, if I’ve only read a book once, I discard the title.  I don’t plan to revisit it. đŸ™‚

My son asked me lately what I would recommend for a reading list for non-readers. 


I don’t think I’m the person to ask.

I am taken aback.  Non-readers?


I started rattling off a short list of essential books- and he stopped me.

“Wait- they must meet a certain criteria- and you have to substantiate their worth according to the following standards…”

Okay- he didn’t say exactly those words, and he went on to give me some reasonable(?) requirements ( which I didn’t hear, being  totally turned off to the assignment by this time.) But that was the gist of the conversation.

So with those two recent incidents in my mind, I’m thinking of a summer reading list for me.  Because, NO one has given me any grocery bags full of books lately.

And I’m thinking I will do a summer of re-reads and visit familiar and comfortable friends and places this summer.

So far, I’m just deciding on authors.

L’Engle, Madeliene

Williams, Charles

Sayers, D.L.

Davies, Robertson

Cookson, Catherine

Burke, James Lee

Herbert, George

Austen, Jane

Godden, Rumer

Buechner, Frederick

Well- that’s a start>

Any suggestions?

What are you reading this summer.

( As for the Bread- I couldn’t make up my mind, so I’m making French, Sourdough Rye , and Honey Whole Wheat.  Being indecisive can be a LOT of extra work!)

Psalm 115- Our God is in Heaven; he does whatever pleases him.

Psalm 115

1 Not to us, O LORD, not to us
       but to your name be the glory,
       because of your love and faithfulness.

2 Why do the nations say,
       “Where is their God?”

3 Our God is in heaven;
       he does whatever pleases him.

4 But their idols are silver and gold,
       made by the hands of men.

5 They have mouths, but cannot speak,
       eyes, but they cannot see;

6 they have ears, but cannot hear,
       noses, but they cannot smell;

7 they have hands, but cannot feel,
       feet, but they cannot walk;
       nor can they utter a sound with their throats.

8 Those who make them will be like them,
       and so will all who trust in them.

9 O house of Israel, trust in the LORD—
       he is their help and shield.

10 O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD—
       he is their help and shield.

11 You who fear him, trust in the LORD—
       he is their help and shield.

12 The LORD remembers us and will bless us:
       He will bless the house of Israel,
       he will bless the house of Aaron,

13 he will bless those who fear the LORD—
       small and great alike.

14 May the LORD make you increase,
       both you and your children.

15 May you be blessed by the LORD,
       the Maker of heaven and earth.

16 The highest heavens belong to the LORD,
       but the earth he has given to man.

17 It is not the dead who praise the LORD,;
       those who go down to silence;

18 it is we who extol the LORD,
       both now and forevermore.
       Praise the LORD.

Ah, you say, this looks familiar. 

I did do psalm 115 before, in April, actually.  But I never said I was finished with it- AND I’m not.

This is one of my very favorite psalms- mainly because of the line I quoted in the title- “Our God is is heaven; he does whatever pleases him.”

God is.  He just is.  He didn’t become God because of a contest or special abilities, He wasn’t appointed or raised up through the ranks.  His followers didn’t build a religion around Him and create legends and stories to underline His godliness.

He told Moses His name.  ” I am that I am.”  I am. 

He created the nation of Israel to proclaim His name and promote His plan for salvation to mankind.

He sent His Son to make reparation for the betrayal and death of sin.

And He continues to be.

We call that immutable.  Unchanging.

People of faith believe in Him.  We are engaged by faith- trusting in things that we do not see- following God because there is no other place to go except to Him.

People who do not believe in God still need to believe in something- so they make gods in their own image.  The psalm refers to gold and silver, but they also make people into gods and follow after them- gods of sports or of movie make believe or of politics.  And they are always disappointed when their gods are selfish and flawed.  When these gods do whatever they please, they follow a selfish path that leads to disillusion and destruction, and they are either pulled from their thrones or they just topple over from decay.  They may be able to pull off the illusion for a while, but in the long view of history, they are shown up as frauds.  They become recognizable as  men not gods.  And many want not to forgive them .

But our God is a God of love and help and blessing.  And we need to be forgiven because of His holiness and our fallen state.  -“He is their help and shield”  and “he will bless those who fear the Lord- small and great alike.”

When our God “does whatever pleases him” , he blesses his people.

It pleases Him to bless us.

That comforts my soul.

Oh the beauty!

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I received this bouquet for my birthday, June 27.

I actually got it the day before on the 26th.

Today, I put the last of the failing blooms in the trash- still very aromatic and with a wanton beauty that was a little macabre.

They were dying after all, but remained strangely lovely throughout the process.

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Stargazer lillies, sea holly, and red yarrow.

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Each bud opened- 11 of them altogether.

It was intoxicating and sensually satiating-

I can’t believe I’m saying this – but really it was as marvelous as really fine  dark chocolate.midsummer 006Thanks Luke and Willow!

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Oh- I forgot to mention that Allyson let me have my way with her lavender garden that same week.

lavender and Aiden 020 And I had this lovely bouquet drying on the side board in the living room at the same time.

A veritable heaven of fragrance.

See- I’m not ALL about bread and chocolate.

Flowers and fragrance are big on my list, too!

God sure knew what He was doing .

I’m giving Him the praise!


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And shout for joy!

Life is happening right now- all around us!

It is hot.

And very humid.

I get cranky and grouchy and short tempered when I’m hot.

So this is a visual reminder to me (and you, if you need it)

That we can choose.

And today, I choose joy and trust that God will provide it.

Because He provides for all my needs.

…the Joy of the Lord is my strength …”

Nehemiah 8:1o

Recipe- Brownie Trifle

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Talk about death by chocolate…or decadent chocolate recipes….

here is one that I put together for a picnic dessert.  There was nothing left by the end of the day!

This was actually a result of forgotten brownies.  I had baked quite a few desserts in one day last week- and I set aside the pan of brownies and totally forgot about them until I needed a quick dessert for the 4th of July. 

So- start off with slightly stale brownies!

Use your favorite brownie recipe- or mix-

I used one my friend Mary Jo gave me years ago-

2 cups sugar

1 cup flour

4 eggs

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

4 squares unsweetened chocolate

1 cup margarine or butter, melted

Grease and flour 9×13 pan.  melt unsweetened chocolate and margarine in saucepan, watch carefully so that is doesn’t burn.  Cool slightly.

Beat eggs and sugar together until thick and light colored and sugar is dissolved.

Add chocolate mixture to egg mixture- beat until fully incorporated.

Mix in flour , salt and vanilla.

Bake  at 350 degree F until tester comes out clean ( about 35 minutes).

Cut while warm- remove from pan when cooled.

3 or 4 days later…

Cut circle for bottom of glass/trifle bowl.

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(I have a nut chopper that worked perfectly.)

Then cut the rest into pieces to fit around the sides of the bowl and press into place with fingers. 

July and onward 021 Using pastry baster apply Baileys to brownie surfaces.  It will soak in rather quickly- I used about 1/2 cup.

Set aside and make chocolate pudding.

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used good quality semisweet chocolate chips; use 70% bittersweet if you want more of a dark chocolate kick)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, and the coffee essence.

Place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days (ahem, good luck with that).


This is the recipe I use- it is good and chocolatey but not too rich!

At the end I stirred in 2 generous TBS. of Coffee and Chicory essence- you could just use strong cold black coffee.

Pour the pudding over the brownie layer and allow to set up for 1 hour in the refrigerator. 

When slightly set, cover this layer with thin chocolate cookie /wafers (the kind you use to make ice cream sandwiches)July and onward 002

And set aside whilst you make up the next creamy layer.

Using handheld mixer, whip 3/4  cup of mascarpone cheese with 1/4 cup of whipping cream, 2 TBS sugar and 1/4 cup coffee essence.

Spread on top of cookie layer and sprinkle with chopped nuts – I used finely chopped macadamia nuts, but almond or pecan would be equally good.  Use what you prefer.

Whip up the rest of the pint of whipping cream that you opened to get the 1/4 cup for the last mixture.  Add 3 TBS of white sugar and whip until firm.

Spread on top of nut layer, place one last cookie in the middle of the bowl on top and refrigerate.  After several hours, the wafers on the side will be quite soft and you can carefully bend them down over the top of the cream topping, the edges will almost meet the center cookie and look quite well put together.

Refrigerate until serving time.  I added a dollop of whipped cream to each serving plate and shook a little chocolate/sugar powder over the top for garnish.

This made 1 medium and 1 small bowls of trifle.

Psalm 4

Psalm 4
A David Psalm

1 When I call, give me answers. God, take my side! Once, in a tight place, you gave me room;
   Now I’m in trouble again: grace me! hear me!
2 You rabble—how long do I put up with your scorn?
   How long will you lust after lies?
   How long will you live crazed by illusion?
3 Look at this: look
   Who got picked by God!
   He listens the split second I call to him.
4-5 Complain if you must, but don’t lash out.
   Keep your mouth shut, and let your heart do the talking.
   Build your case before God and wait for his verdict.
6-7 Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say.
   “More, more.”
   I have God’s more-than-enough,
   More joy in one ordinary day
7-8 Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
   At day’s end I’m ready for sound sleep,
   For you, God, have put my life back together.


Psalm 4
For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm of David.

1 Answer me when I call to you,
       O my righteous God.
       Give me relief from my distress;
       be merciful to me and hear my prayer.

2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame  ?
       How long will you love delusions and seek false gods ?

3 Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
       the LORD will hear when I call to him.

4 In your anger do not sin;
       when you are on your beds,
       search your hearts and be silent.

5 Offer right sacrifices
       and trust in the LORD.

6 Many are asking, “Who can show us any good?”
       Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD.

7 You have filled my heart with greater joy
       than when their grain and new wine abound.

8 I will lie down and sleep in peace,
       for you alone, O LORD,
       make me dwell in safety.


Today is the 4th of July, which around the world means the fourth day of July.

Here in America, however, it is a day of celebration- Independence Day.

I chose the passage for today because it is the fourth Psalm and because it seems rather appropriate for the place we are in as individuals- spiritually, physically, and financially. 

I am an American and I love my country, but unlike many Christians here, I do not believe we are especially blessed as a country because of our beliefs.  We have a very large and diverse country with many raw materials and inventive and intelligent people that have carved success financially and a government that has promoted a way of life that ensures certain freedoms for its citizens.  We have done well in many ways.

But I believe that God’s blessing of a nation was meant for one nation- the nation of Israel, who was called to be God’s servant.  They were formed and guided to become the people of God and the background for God’s true blessing for the peoples of the world, Jesus Christ.  Israel was groomed to become the servant of God that He used to bring forth the Son of God.  They were blessed by that commitment and  His interaction on their behalf. 

Some of those same principles of blessing still apply today, but not in the same way or for the same purpose. 

God deals with us as individuals, not as nations.  We have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.  And today’s Psalm speaks to that individual choice of choosing to trust in God as our source of joy and sufficiency.

Our dependence is on Him.  He alone is our safety and our strength.

Our celebration as individuals is in our salvation through our Lord, Jesus Christ.  My celebration is in that relationship- that dependent relationship that brings me freedom as I find myself better fitted each day to be His servant- His bond servant.

Because truly, He has “put my life back together.”

and He has given me “God’s more-than-enough”!