Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Delicious Budget Beans: Texas Style Hoppin' John Black Eyed Peas

Beans are incredibly healthy food. They are easy to cook, genuinely inexpensive, packed full of protein, freeze beautifully, and help our digestion work efficiently (one can leave off the expensive fiber supplements if one eats beans every day). Beans are also incredibly versatile, as we have been finding out at our house.

A couple of months ago, we made a decision to focus on a high-protein, high-fiber diet of mostly beans flavored with meat and vegetables. To help his incisions and nerves heal from the surgery, Paul needs a lot of protein.  He cannot use his legs yet, but he is still far too thin, so he needs calories. Others in this situation may need to avoid fats, but they are important for him right now. At his doctor's advice, he also has a snack of 1/3 cup of roasted cashews daily.

Paul isn't usually a fan of leftovers or repetition, so this was a bit of a challenge. By rotating between a few easily available varieties: Pintos, Limas (Butter beans), Navy Beans,  Black eyed Peas, and Black Beans, we have come up with a number of good dinners that taste good until the last spoonful. I thought I would share these recipes here over the next few weeks. Enjoy!

Black Eyed Peas, or Southern Peas, grow easily here, and there is time to make a couple of crops of them. Even from the home garden, you can let them dry on the vine to save for use as dry peas, or you can pick them and shell them while green - I will have recipes for the green ones when they come into season.

This recipe is for an old Southern dish called Hoppin' John (or less frequently, Hopping John). The origins of the name are lost to history, but this simple and tasty stew is served on tables all over Oklahoma, Texas, and the rest of the South. It is one of those great home-cooked meals that can vary depending on what you have on hand - or what you can afford.

Texas Style Hoppin' John Recipe

One pound dry black eyed peas, cooked (see below)
1 cup chopped onion
1 Bell Pepper (or other sweet pepper) chopped
3 Tablespoons Bacon Grease
1 Bay Leaf
One pound German, Polish or Cajun sausage
Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, to taste (or substitute salt & Louisiana Hot Sauce)
2 cups white rice, cooked separately and kept separate from the peas (see below)

Take a one pound bag of dry black eyed peas, soaked overnight in tap water and drained, then cooked in 8 to 10 cups of simmering water for 2 to 4 hours until tender.  Do NOT add any salt.

If more water is needed, bring it to a boil separately and add the boiling water to the peas (just the same way you add extra water when cooking beans).

In a frying pan, saute the onion and bell pepper in bacon grease until soft and pour all, including juices and fat, into the cooked peas.  Add Bay Leaf to peas and continue simmering.

Slice the sausage into rounds or chop if you prefer. In the same frying pan, lightly brown the sausage and add it, along with its juices and fats, to the pot of peas.

Simmer gently for 30 minutes or so. Continue to resist the urge to add salt, as the Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning has salt in it.

If everyone in your house likes spicy food, add the Tony Chachere's just as you would salt, until it tastes just right. If some people are wimps like me, you can wait and people can add the Tony Chachere's to their own bowl at the table. It won't affect the flavor to wait.

Fill each individual bowl at the stove for serving. Put about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of cooked white rice in a soup or cereal bowl and ladle about 1 & 1/2 cup of peas and liquid over the rice.

Serve with cornbread if you wish.

Do not be tempted to toss the rice in with the peas at any time in cooking or as leftovers. I now remember why I never make soups with rice - the rice falls apart, soaks up the liquid, and turns a lovely dish into a mess of gruel. Not good. So keep the rice in its own container. If there is some leftover, you can refrigerate, then bring it out to get to room temp while the peas are reheating. Pouring the boiling peas & liquid over the rice in each bowl will heat it nicely.

Like all stews, Hoppin John is even better the next day. You can add a little water while heating if it is too thick. It also freezes well - this is a great dish to make and freeze in meal-sized containers, easy to pull out and warm for a wholesome and fast supper during the busy work week.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Kon-Tiki - An Exercise in Real Anthropological Science from 1947, and an Exciting Adventure Too!

 Somehow I have a great fascination with first-person accounts of exploration - especially on the ocean or in the arctic. Why I do not know, as I am a wimp about travel and oceans and cold.  But the interest has given me a lot of great, honest history to read.  Kon Tiki, for instance.

I always find something interesting in Mostly Cajun's Today in History.  Today is especially fun: April 28, 1947 was the day Thor Heyerdahl and his companions (this word means the people who are with one in an endeavor or on an expedition - in this instance, his shipmates) set out and proved the workability of his theory that people from South America sailed to Polynesia in prehistoric times, colonizing the South Sea Islands from the West, rather than from the East.

The original Oscar-winning documentary from 1947 is a better way to spend an hour than anything on TV tonight. It is all original footage filmed by the crew themselves - no reenactments.  If you have never read the book, it is great. Copies are available via Amazon (go search from your favorite blogger's blog affiliate link - I am not an affiliate).


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Prayer for Josie Cunningham: Updated With Rejoicing!

A heart-stopping story of a woman who is so lost that she eagerly seeks attention for her planned murder of an innocent:

Father God, please send Your angels to change Josie Cunningham's mind and save her from murdering her baby. Is there a Solomon in her life who can intervene in time? Please send signs and wonders and true friends to open her eyes to the truth, her ears to the sound of true love for the beautiful and lovely person she can be if only she will repent and turn to You.   If in the hardness of her heart she proceeds, please take her little one into Heaven without suffering.  Father, please surround her children with true love from other places, that evil cannot touch or damage them, that they may grow up whole and healthy and know Your blessing of redemption. We ask all this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who was also threatened as an infant by evil that killed other babies for worldly gain, and Who taught "let the little children come to me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven", in Jesus name we ask for the lives of these little ones, and an intervention to stop this woman from the terrible sin she is planning, that she may have forgiveness and mercy, and the joy of new life in Christ. Amen. 


UPDATE April 28, 2014:  Thank you Father God for answered prayers. Thank you Lord Jesus that Josie's little one "leapt in her womb", just as Elizabeth's baby John did to greet you when Mary visited during her expectency with You. Please protect and bless this child all of his life. May his life and work be to Your Glory! In Jesus name, Amen!
    From The Mirror, click through to read the whole wonderful article!
 "... Josie travelled to London the night before her appointment but spent frightening ­sleepless hours watching videos of abortions close to the 24-week legal limit.
"She says: “I’d had so many angry tweets from people telling me to look at pictures of foetuses at 18 or 19 weeks and to understand what I was doing.
"“I was so stubborn I just ignored them. But as I lay awake the night before the appointment, I cracked. I felt the baby kicking again and I couldn’t stop myself from looking on my phone. What I saw horrified me.
"“They looked like fully formed babies and I read there have been 66 cases where aborted foetuses have come out alive because their mothers left the decision so late. I lay in bed and sobbed. Doubts crept in.”
"Josie left for her appointment at the north London clinic on Thursday. But feeling her baby move that morning was the final straw.
"“I tried to put it to the back of my mind because I was determined I’d made the right decision. But suddenly none of that mattered any more,” she said. “I told the driver to take me back to the hotel. As soon as I realised I was going to keep the baby, I felt happy – like a weight lifted.”" 
What a great day! God is Good! May all mothers feel the joy of their children yet to be and welcome them, despite anything to the contrary. May all mothers love their babies and want them, even before they have conceived, that they never be tempted to harm. May all know the Love of our Father in Heaven, that such Great and Eternal Love will lead them through the storms here below. In Jesus Name, Amen!

"In God We Trust" USA's National Motto is 150 Years Old Today!

Via Mostly Cajun's most excellent regular feature "Today in History":

150 years ago today, April 22. 1864 – "The U.S. Congress passes the Coinage Act which mandates that the inscription “In God We Trust” be placed on all coins minted as United States currency."

This is the only national motto the United States of America has ever had. Its roots go back to the founding of our nation by many disparate - but still Christian - religious groups seeking freedom to practice their religion and teach and preach the Bible as their consciences dictated without interference or persecution from the government.  By virtue of finding this liberty, and firmly upholding it, these Christians graciously also offered the same freedom of religion to Jews and to non-Christian faiths.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Church in China Acts On the Great Commission

There are many denominations, but a primary dividing line in the Church in China is between the official, state-controlled groups and the House Church, which spreads like the early church did, because it brings Good News to people who recognize Truth.  This article in The Telegraph gives a good overview of some of the issues, although it avoids the facts that persecution still runs rampant, and pastors and publishers continue to be imprisoned for spreading the Word:

One of the most touching revelations in the story is the brief statement that Chinese house-church Christians are now sending missionaries into North Korea:
"Among China's Protestants are also many millions who worship at illegal underground "house churches", which hold unsupervised services – often in people's homes – in an attempt to evade the prying eyes of the Communist Party.
"Such churches are mostly behind China's embryonic missionary movement – a reversal of roles after the country was for centuries the target of foreign missionaries. Now it is starting to send its own missionaries abroad, notably into North Korea, in search of souls.
"We want to help and it is easier for us than for British, South Korean or American missionaries," said one underground church leader in north China who asked not to be named. "
These people are as brave and wonderful as the early disciples, to go forth and act on The Great Commission at great risk to themselves so that others might have eternal life in Jesus Christ. Too often in the western world, nominal churches have embraced worldly novelties, forgetting that the ONLY commandment given by the Risen Lord was to "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Matthew 28:19&20)

Kevin Sorbo: A Note on the New Obamacare Taxes

Sharing this from Kevin Sorbo's FB page.  Remember this the next time our multi-millionaire President or a multi-millionaire Senator or Congresswoman carries on about "the rich", and claims to be a friend of the middle class.  Everyone with a 401K or an IRA will be paying those higher taxes on the savings we have made toward our retirement. 


50 mins · 
Just in case you didn't know....all you actual tax payers out there. A few of us left.
Here is what happened on January 1st 2014:
Top Income Tax bracket went from 35% to 39.6%
Top Income Payroll Tax went from 37.4% to 52.2%
Capital Gains Tax went from 15 % to 28%
Dividend Tax went from 15% to 39.6%
Estate Tax went from 0% to 55%
Remember this 'fact;' if you have any money, the Democrats in congress want it! All these taxes were passed with only Democrat votes. Not one Republican voted to do these taxes.
Remember this come election time. And make sure your friends and neighbors know this info too! Maybe we can get enough involved to get this country back next election cycle!!!
These taxes were all hidden in the affordable care act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
Have you been to see Kevin's new movie "God's Not Dead"? It is still playing to packed houses here in the heart of Texas, and people I know who have seen it come away raving about how good it is. We will need to wait and buy it on dvd, as Paul is not able to be up long enough to see it in the theater, and we are really looking forward to it!

That's My King, Dr. S.M. Lockridge, One Powerful Narration!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Raising Tomatoes, Part 4: Folklore: Planting Before Good Friday & Rain on Easter

This year, I set a goal of learning how to raise tomatoes successfully. I am part way there, as I raised about a hundred plants from seed. I was surprised at how few died off in the seedling stage: hardly any did. So when I got antsy, and planted after we saw the old mesquite trees leafed out (they are always the last to show up, when it is good and warm), naturally we had a frost before Good Friday (the other rule is don't plant before Good Friday because we often have frosts right up to Easter, no matter how late in April Easter falls).

I covered each of them with glass mason jars or 5 gallon buckets, but they still all froze to death. Fortunately, I still had about 25 left of those I "raised from scratch", and was able to buy some interesting varieties to fill them out. I would have planted today, but IT IS RAINING!!!!! Isn't God good? There is another bit of lore, that if it rains on Easter, it will rain for the next seven Sundays. The last time this happened, I tracked it, and it rained within 36 hours of Sunday on 6 out of the following seven weeks.

Our friend Herb came this week and blessed us by installing a drip system in my garden. This is made with drip tape, so has an outlet built in each 16 inches. He suggested I plant tomatoes 32 inches apart, and put something tall, like corn or okra, between them.  Herb did this out of simple Christian love, recognizing a need without prompting. And then he prayed over Paul while he was here.  If you have wondered, this is what Christianity in action looks like.  We have received so much during Paul's illness and recovery, there have been uncountable blessings from others who follow Jesus Christ.  God has surely given us goodness and mercy.

Back to tomatoes. I was upset for a couple of hours after I discovered the plants I worked so long to raise had died. But I felt better after I realized I can still test a fairly broad array of varieties to see which are best for me, here in the drought-intensified Texas heat. The tomato varieties I have ended up with are:
Better Boy
Black from Tula
Black Cherry
Pink Tye Dye
Old German
Mountain Spring
Black Krim

There might be a couple of others but it is hard to read my writing on the little cups after they have been wet so long. I used waxed Dixie cups to pot them in and wrote on them with black sharpie. It was very clear originally but over time has faded. Next year I guess I will use popsicle sticks.

Some of these tomatoes are bush types, and others are what they call "indeterminate" which means they grow long and tall. I will let them sprawl, since there are too many to try to cage or support.  Plus, since I have the drips on them now, there is less chance of them going to sleep wet (wet leaves are bad for tomatoes - I killed all mine one year by watering them with the sprinkler. They got fungal diseases and turned up their toes.).

Wish me luck - tomorrow they go into the ground! :-)

Pecan Corner: Jesus Christ Is Risen! Alleluia!

Pecan Corner: Jesus Christ Is Risen! Alleluia!: May eternal joy be yours! Happy Easter with God's rich blessings to all! Death Be Not Proud Death, be not proud, though some have ...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Pecan Corner: Holy Saturday: The Harrowing of Hell

Pecan Corner: Holy Saturday: The Harrowing of Hell: O God, we look at the death that was, Look at the time - unthinkable time ! When God lay dead and earth lay dark And in all of time wa...

Friday, April 18, 2014

Davie Hunt Paintings: 2013: Cacti in Rochelle

An area artist has started a new blog, which I have linked over on my sidebar. This canvas of prickly pear cactus is especially beautiful. When you click through to see his work, you'll see tabs at the top, where you can go over to see his blog.    Davie Hunt Paintings: 2013: Cacti in Rochelle: Davie Hunt Cacti in Rochelle 2013 26.6 x 19 cm (10 1/2 x 7 1/2 in) acrylic on 300gsm watercolor paper AVAILABLE

(Posted to Pecan Corner as a test of Blogger's share/blog this feature)

The DiploMad 2.0: The State Department Responds to Benghazi

The people wrecking the State Department are no better than the ones that Hillary "What Difference Does It Make?" Rodham Clinton imported over the decent and dedicated people who were doing a good job at ground level.  Click through to read it all:

The DiploMad 2.0: The State Department Responds to Benghazi: The Diplomad underground at State continues to function. It is a small group of FSOs and Civil Servants, ranging in ideology from libertaria...

(Posted to Pecan Corner as a test using Blogger's share/blog this feature)

Pecan Corner: God Bless The Weekend: Saving our Endangered Days Off Together

How important are weekends to us all? Click through to read the article. Pecan Corner: God Bless The Weekend: Saving our Endangered Days ...: Those who wish to pretend that Christianity is not the root of all that is best in Western culture, or that America was not founded and f...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pecan Corner: Thursday of Holy Week: The Power of Humility

Using the "Blog This" feature to bump up this seasonal post. Click the link to read it all:   Pecan Corner: Thursday of Holy Week: The Power of Humility: In the British newspaper The Daily Mail , Peter Hitchens, brother of noted athiest Christopher Hitchens, speaks about his own wanderings fro...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Snopes and Wikipedia Are Misleading About the Coins Issued Without National Motto

Every so often, we see - now on Facebook, earlier in email - an alert to refuse the "new dollar coins", saying that the United States' Official National Motto has been eliminated from them. Someone invariably posts a link to Snopes, claiming this is an urban legend.

The simple truth is that in 2007, anywhere from 100,000 to hundreds of thousands of new dollar coins were issued without the national motto. While most were the George Washington Dollars, there are also John Adams Dollars missing the motto.

Snopes, however, claims this is "False", even though way way WAY down the page, Snopes does finally admit that:    " (Small quantities of the George Washington and John Adams presidential dollars were discovered to be missing their edge inscriptions shortly after the initial release of those coins, but those examples were the result of minting errors and were not reflective of the new dollars' intended standard appearance."

And Wikipedia also perpetuates the fallacy that the ommission of "In God We Trust" from coins was just an urban legend: "An urban myth (wrongly) suggests that it was omitted from new U.S. dollar coins.[29]"

Recursively, the Wikipedia entry cites the Snopes entry as the source for calling it an "urban myth":
29 ^ "Historic Change", Snopes,

Both of these sources do themselves a disservice, because by omitting some of the facts, their statements lead people to believe it never happened, when in fact, an unknown number (estimated at the time to be at least 50,000 dollar coins but now believed to be at least twice that many and perhaps far more) were issued that did not have the official Motto "In God We Trust" on them - and the issuance was not due to mechanical error.

NBC News reported in 2007,  that  "An unknown number of new George Washington dollar coins were mistakenly struck without their edge inscriptions, including “In God We Trust,”

"[M]int spokeswoman Becky Bailey was unknown how many coins lacked the inscriptions. Ron Guth, president of Professional Coin Grading Service, one of the world’s largest coin authentication companies, said he believes that at least 50,000 error coins were put in circulation.

"Guth said it appeared from the roughly 50 smooth-edge dollars he has authenticated that the problem had to do with quality control rather than a mechanical error.

"“These coins are struck like normal coins, then they go through another machine that adds edge lettering in another process. These apparently skipped that process,” he said. “We’ve seen a couple of instances where the edge lettering may be weak or indistinct, but we’re not talking about that here.”"

By now, seven years later, these "Godless dollars" as they have come to be known in the coin collecting world, have proven to be very common, and estimates range from 100,000 to hundreds of thousands in existence.

While the Mint said they were investigating how the coins could have been released, no final statement was made about the results. The reaction to coins circulating without the motto, and with the "hidden" motto on the edge, was so serious that the next year Congress issued a requirement that "In God We Trust" be on the front of all coins, not relegated to the back or the edge.

Probably the omission was, as is now claimed, just an accident. Some one person or group of people removed coinage from the process flow so that it went into circulation without bearing the name of God.  We can accept that this was an accident, but accidents have consequences just as much as intentional actions do.

Here are a few other examples of governmental "accidents" involving the Name of God:

*In 2006, Capital tour guides were instructed to identify the Ten Commandments at the Supreme Court as "The 10 amendments" aka the Bill of Rights.

*In 2008,  the new Capital Visitor's Center, a half-billion dollar project, opened without "In God We Trust" in the usual places, such as removing it from a model of the House Speaker's Rostrum, and a large plaque proclaiming incorrectly that "E Pluribus Unum" was the motto.  The Visitor's Center designers also omitted the Pledge of Allegiance from any public place in the Center.   Congress had to aggressively pass legislation to force the Capital Architect to correct the deficiencies.

* In 2010 President Obama claimed, falsely, that E Pluribus Unum is the national motto, in a speech he made. The President refused to acknowledge or correct the error (which is why I say he claimed "falsely" instead of "mistakenly") and the uncorrected speech remains on the White House Website at this writing. There can't be confusion about this in the White House, as even Snopes states, accurately, that In God We Trust is the only official national motto:
"The only legislatively established national motto the United States has ever had is "In God We Trust," a phrase which first appeared on U.S. coinage in 1864... and which was adopted as the official U.S. national motto through a law passed by Congress in 1956."   
I don't object to retaining the speech text as an accurate documentation of the words he said, but this White House is quick to erase errors they don't like so I doubt this error remains out of any concern for historical veracity.)

So maybe people who don't like God to be spoken of in the public square aren't deliberately getting history and language wrong.  Maybe they accidentally forget and give out their Social Security number when someone asks their phone number. Maybe they really don't know the difference between pasteurization and homogenization when they design milk cartons.

But there is no doubt that the "accident" of" "forgetting" what the official national motto of the United States is happens far too often to be ignored.

"In God We Trust" was used by Frances Scott Key in his original lyrics for the Star Spangled Banner, written Sept 14, 1814: "And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust'. ". It was published that same week and became immediately popular throughout the USA.

"Maybe They Didn't Eat Enough Grass!" - Quick Comment on those "Public Lands" in Arizona

When it was first announced that the BLM was standing down in the Bundy Ranch Roundup, my comment was a quote from the movie The Milagro Beanfield War, in which a cow is impounded by the BLM, and the owner goes to collect it.  Ruben Blades, as the Sheriff, resolves the standoff by saying "Maybe she didn't eat enough grass!"

One bit here that isn't getting much play is that public land is not owned by those who hold government jobs, it is owned by the citizens of the US. Any taxes or fees collected continue to belong to the citizens, and not to bureaucrats or even elected office holders.  All citizens hold equal authority to determine rightful use, and to access these areas. And the only correct resource government workers have to challenge that is the lawful method of the courts.

"The government" is not some entity like "the King" in Europe that has right of its own.  That concept does not exist at all in America or in American law.  The whole point of the USA's Declaration & Constitution is that the citizens hold all of the rights, and the government exists only to protect those inalienable rights of the citizens, and do the will of the citizens under the law. Period.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I Prefer Posting to My Blog, But Facebook is So Easy.Would it Be Good or Bad to Bring the Sharing Experience to Blogger?

Just thinking out loud here.  

I joined Facebook in order to see the photos my children post, and I have to say I love many things about the medium - especially how helpful it is in connecting to distant people we love: cousins, nieces & nephews, former co-workers, kids who grew up with my kids, in-laws from a former marriage, etc.

But I end up using Facebook for things that would otherwise be blog posts - because it is so FAST to "share" on FB as opposed to writing a post for the blog. So I share anywhere from 10 to 20 things a day, and when something breaks like the Harry Reid connection to the Bundy Ranch BLM Fiasco, I put everything on there instead of popping the links in here.

But unlike Blogger, where we can consider a topic in depth and people can continue to refer to a post and the details, links and resources within it for years to come, on Facebook these stories are impossible to find again two days later, all covered up or hidden, and completely unsearchable.

 Twitter is not really an option for me. It takes me a hundred and forty characters to say hello.  And that, too, is a fleeting format.

So what I am really trying to figure out is how I can bring that speedy sharing over here to the blog without getting bogged down in trying to write a full post for each.


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