Saturday, May 31, 2008

Live Blogging Pork Roast!

(Blogging Live beginning at Saturday 7:10pm)

Allow your joint of meat to come to room temperature.

First tie the pork roast (to insure even roasting), season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and then brown in the skillet. Brown the side with fat last and try not to move it too often so a good amount of burnt bits (fond) stay in the skillet because you'll use them later.It's best to use a skillet that isn't non-stick, but I don't have one at the moment.

Meanwhile toss potatoes, carrots and onions with some vegetable oil, salt and fresh ground black pepper and put them in the roasting pan with the v-rack above them.

O.K. my v.rack is too big as I bought it for the Christmas Turkey, but it will do.

Put the roast on the rack and put it all in a preheated oven at 300F

Cook until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 135F which takes about 45-55 mins. A really impressive meat thermometer like mine is handy here.

You really don't have anything to do for the next 45 minutes but get ready for when the roast comes out.

When that happens, increase the oven temperature to 500F.

Put the roast on a board and cover with foil - the internal temperature will continue to increase until it reaches 145-150F. (The U.S.D.A. recommend and internal temp of 160F but that generally creates a very dry tough meat. Cooks Illustrated recommends 145F as the parasites that cause Trichinosis are killed at 137F and the meat will still be moist)

The resting also redistributes the meat juices and stops them running out when you carve.

Sprinkle some fresh sage on the vegetables and then put them back in the oven for 15-20 mins stirring occasionally to finish roasting.
When you have as many spices/seasonings as I do, it's helpful to get everything out in plenty of time. :)

Meanwhile, remember that skillet? We're gonna make a pan sauce.
Finely chop 2 shallots. Cook them in the pan over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until softened, scraping up the burnt pits from the pan.

Add 2 cups chicken broth, bay leaves (not pictured), 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/4 teaspoon sugar and simmer until the sauce is reduced to by half - about 15 minutes.
(The pork resting tented in foil - with the thermometer in it, while the pan sauce reduces and the vegetables cook)

Remove from heat, discard the bay leaves and add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.

Slice pork and serve immediately with the roast veggies and the Pan Sauce.
Ready to serve - just go through the line :)

Yum Yum Yum

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Multi-dimensional Legos!

I loved Legos as a kid and I also love the work of M.C. Escher - I wish I'd thought to build this though!

This is the print on which it is based:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Bride and Groom will Now cut the Cheese

Somebody I worked with in the U.K. about 20 years ago got married this weekend. A friend was kind enough to send me some pictures. I love the Wedding Cake, it's all different kinds of cheese!!! They served it at the reception with different french breads and fruit - yummy!

For more cheese humor click here

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Aaaargh! My Eyes!!!

I'm amazed at how red my eyes are this morning - it's like I spent yesterday smoking weed or something!

I was up for 21 1/2 hours on Sunday, maybe that has something to do with it.

So here's how I spent the last week.

Mon: Work then 3 hour rehearsal
Tues: Work then 3 hour rehearsal
Wed: Work then 3 hour rehearsal
Thurs: Work, 3 hour rehearsal then board gaming
Fri: Sleep late! Go see 'Iron Man' then 3 hour rehearsal
Sat: 2 hour rehearsal, go see 'Indiana Jones'. Chinese food, collapse in front of t.v. until the cable goes out.
Sun: Sing a major work in 3 services, plus play for a fourth. Cook lunch. Go house shopping with Steve. Make Tres Leches cake, make Chili. Van with Steve's stuff arrives at 10pm - finish unloading and get to bed at 3:30am
Mon: Get up at 6:30am (3 hours of sleep). Drive Steve to the airport, go to Lowes, go to bed.
2pm friends arrive for gaming. We played Uptown, Die Kutschfhart zur Teuflesburg, Survive, Wits and Wagers, Vegas Showdown and Pandemic before I kicked everyone out.

I was in bed by 10pm and slept till 7am, so why are my eyes so red???

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wade in the Water

The book of Revelation describes a River of the Water of Life that flows from the throne of God and the Lamb. Richard Rohr calls water 'a symbol of God's constant and gracious invitation to union with Him.' Its an invitation into something more, something larger than ourselves. To step across a boundary into a new experience - Ezekiel 47:1-12 has the Temple (symbolic of God's swelling place on earth) transforming into a mighty deep river. The presence of God no longer contained within any boundaries we place on Him but pouring forth into the world giving nourishment to all.

A lot of the medieval mystics use the language of the River when they describe their experiences of God as flowing out toward them and through them. God longs for us to experience 'the River of His Presence'. I remember being in a prayer time once when I was in my 'Charismatic Phase' (blush) that I had an experience of the Presence of God that felt like standing under a giant waterfall.

I believe all of us, no matter what our Denomination, Creed or belief system (formalized or not) spend every moment of our lives in the River of God. God is constantly pouring Himself into our lives not because of who we are but because of who He is.

How are you experiencing God's river at this moment in your life?

How deep is the water around you? Ankles? Waist? Are you submerged?

Is the water calm? - are you experiencing 'Quiet Waters'? or are you in the 'Storm of God's Spirit'? Reflect without judgement - it may be that the Storm is God's gift to You at this moment in your life.

Do you feel as if you are moving with or against the current?

In what parts of your life are you aware of the 'river' and where are you oblivious?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Getting in touch with my inner hunter

This is an old pic from about 4 - 5 years ago. A friend took me Bow Fishing. It was quite an adventure. Standing on a platform on a boat in the dark trying to aim at fish under the water (and of course correct for Refraction). do all of that while swatting the bugs who have swarmed to feast on your skin attracted by the flood light on the front of the boat that we put on to attract the fish. I hit a fish but I didn't put enough energy behind the shot to impale it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rename the Package Please!

I'm not feeling well, I'm running a bit of a temperature, I am congested and coughing/sneezing.

Last night I decided to take something before going to bed.

I normally find my body responds very well to TheraFlu when I have these symptoms. So I went to my medicine cabinet for a look see.

I only had the daytime 'Non Drowsy' mix.

'No problem!' thought I, I don't need anything to put me to sleep, I'm so tired that I'll fall asleep naturally, so it doesn't matter that it's Non-Drowsy.

Bad mistake.

The active ingredients are Acetaminophen, Dextromethorphan hydrochloride and Pseudophedrine hydrocholoride.

I had forgotten how my body reacts to Pseudophedrine.

Side effects include: Central Nervous System stimulation, sleeplessness, nervousness, excitability, dizziness and anxiety.

I was trying to sleep but my Spirit was out Clubbing.

I was trying to rest but my body was dancing at 140 beats per minute.

I've had this experience before, I guess the cold addled my brain so I wasn't thinking when I downed the demon TheraFlu.

'Non-Drowsy' should immediately be renamed as 'Anti-Drowsy'!!!!!!!

Needless to say I feel like crap today, so I'm off to bed!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Warm Sticky Tasty Goodness - a visual recipe

Take 20 frozen dinner rolls and cover roll them in cinnamon to coat them.
Place them in a greased bundt pan over the top of a layer of chopped nuts.
Sprinkle vanilla pudding mix and brown sugar on top and then pour over over 1/4 cup of melted butter.
Leave covered on the kitchen counter overnight to defrost and rise.
Then bake in a 350 oven for 25 minutes.

Let sit in the pan for 5 minutes and then turn out and enjoy the warm yummy goodness :)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Questions for Reflection

Outside My Window … the church music department corridor (behold the joys of the glass walled office)

I am thinking … I need to start my reading for my course in the Fall and I need to surf the web for a good sausage casserole recipe.

I am thankful for …the Seniors planning and leading worship this weekend so I get some time off.

From the kitchen … chips and salsa.

I am wearing … blue jeans shorts, a 'War and Peas' t shirt and Tevas.

I am creating … an arrangement of a Shape Note Music piece for the choir.

I am going … shopping when I leave work.

I am reading … Holy Listening by Margaret Guenther.

I am hoping … that my 2 oclock meeting is a lot calmer than it usually is.

I am hearing … the whirr of the air conditioning vent.

Around the house … are way too many unpacked boxes.

One of my favorite things … a hot cup of tea with milk and sugar and a N.Y. Times crossword puzzle.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week... unpacking, rehearsing, playing boardgames, tidying, sleeping and going to the airport to get Steve.

***Here is a picture that I am sharing …

(yes I really could grow hair once upon a time)

If you've read this far...consider yourself tagged. Answer these questions on your blog and leave me a comment here so I know to go read them.

My Songwriting Process

A few weeks ago I posted the lyrics to song that I wrote whilst on retreat.

You can read them here.

I thought you might be interested in a picture of my songwriting process.

I know it's a bit hard to read and as I used some scrap paper that was convenient the underside has shown through - but you can see the process.

I started with the phrase 'There are burning bushes everywhere' which I wrote in the middle of the paper. I then brainstormed using word association on various words within that phrase. The words and ideas that came out of that brainstorming became the basis for the message and the lyrics of the song.

Pretty cool!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Baking Baking

I made my first Tres Leches cake yesterday.
(Readers from the U.K. can learn about what the cake is by clicking here)

I know fruit on the top is slightly unusual. The recipe said to top it with Mango and Papaya, but I thought strawberries and blueberries would be a nice combo.

If you want the recipe to make it yourself click here but be warned it has a couple of tricky steps involved.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A New Twist on Communion Wine?

This morning for Pentecost we sang many songs in different languages to mirror the experience of the early church in Acts chapter 2.

When we served Communion instead of the usual 'The Body of Christ' and 'The blood of Christ' we served in Spanish.

'El cuerpo de Cristo' and 'La sangra de Cristo'

I've never taken Spanish - it's not taught in English schools. I've studied a little French and German and I can sing in various languages, but I'm so glad I was leading worship rather than serving the bread and wine this morning. My tongue was getting caught over the pronunciation, and I found myself saying:

'El cuervo de Cristo' and 'La sangria de Cristo'

which, roughly translated means:

'The Tequila of Christ' and 'The fruit wine punch of Christ'

What this says about me, I shudder to think :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Some Very Nerd Humor

I own both these games!!!!

(sorry it is so small)

Anglo Saxon attitudes

An interesting article on differences of views between the U.S. and the U.K. is here

A Transvestite Comic Comments on the Church of England

Very funny (and with some interesting wry observations) - but not suitable for have been warned!!!

It makes me smile

When I log on to my Gmail account there is a single ad that appears that Google places over the inbox that tries to be relevant to the content of my emails.

I occasionally click on them.

When I access my Spam folder on Gmail - all the ads are Spam Recipes

They are terrifying and intriguing all at once.

And the fact that they are there, just makes me smile.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I don't like it

This Sunday is Pentecost - this is the celebration of the birth of the Church. God pouring out His Spirit as told in the book of Acts. It is celebrated World Wide and along with Christmas and Easter is one of the big holidays of the church.

It's also Mother's Day - a day with debatable origins:

"The United States celebrates Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. In the United States, Mother's Day was loosely inspired by the British day and was imported by social activist Julia Ward Howe after the American Civil War. However, it was intended as a call to unite women against war. In 1870, she wrote the Mother's Day Proclamation as a call for peace and disarmament. Howe failed in her attempt to get formal recognition of a Mother's Day for Peace. Her idea was influenced by Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker who, starting in 1858, had attempted to improve sanitation through what she called Mothers' Work Days. She organized women throughout the Civil War to work for better sanitary conditions for both sides, and in 1868 she began work to reconcile Union and Confederate neighbors.
When Jarvis died in 1907, her daughter, named Anna Jarvis, started the crusade to found a memorial day for women. The first such Mother's Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia, on 10 May 1908, in the church where the elder Ann Jarvis had taught Sunday School. Originally the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, this building is now the International Mother's Day Shrine (a National Historic Landmark). From there, the custom caught on — spreading eventually to 45 states. The holiday was declared officially by some states beginning in 1912. In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day, as a day for American citizens to show the flag in honor of those mothers whose sons had died in war.
Nine years after the first official Mother's Day, commercialization of the U.S. holiday became so rampant that Anna Jarvis herself became a major opponent of what the holiday had become. Mother's Day continues to this day to be one of the most commercially successful U.S. occasions. According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is now the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United States."

In church this weekend we are having Mother's Day celebrations and Pentecost - the Birth of the Church is passing by almost unnoticed.

I don't like it.........and it could also be that this is my first Mother's Day since my mum died :( I could kinda miss the U.K. one as it happened way back before Easter.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Poem for Thought

This is a poem by Nathan Brown, Norman, Oklahoma. I encountered it whilst on retreat at Laity Lodge and really liked it so I thought I would post it here. I don't have permission, but if he sees it and complains I will gladly take it down again.

Between Two Artists

Dear God,
I have always admired
your work. And were it not for that,
I wouldn't bother you with this.

But I must say, your installation peice
at the Point Lobos Nature Reserve
above Big Sur simply goes too far.

The Monterey Pines are too tall,
the Cypresses too fanned out
in perfection with trunks tied
to intricate knots that would take
centuries to unravel.

The cliffs appear
superimposed for dramatic effect
with impossible jags giving way
to fairytale caves that burst forth
gushes of blue water like a French soda
topped with cotton candy cream spray.

The crashes of waves and explosions of foam
are too much like a Disney Land ride.
There are too many kinds of birds, too many
varieties of plants, and too much color in both.

In short, it lacks integrity. It does not speak
to the truth of the way things are. And I don't
think viewers will trust or believe its authenticity.

(From 'Suffer the Little Voices', Greystone Press, Edmond OK 2005)

Monday, May 05, 2008

It's a Privilege to Pee

Well, it's official. I'm doing my first Musical in years. :)

I will be playing Caldwell B.Cladwell in a production of Urinetown! For plot info click here.

Caldwell B. Cladwell is the evil president and owner of the Urine Good Company, a miserly moneygrubber who gleefully exploits the poor with his outrageous toilet fees. Cladwell is the capitalist pig of the show.

I hope I wasnt typecast!

Rehearsals are every week night starting May 19th - so this musical will be taking over my life.

Performances are June 27, 28, 29, July 1,2,3,5 and 6

So if you are anywhere close...come see me sing and dance!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Seeking Burning Bushes

Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; but only he who sees, takes off his shoes –
the rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
~~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

A dusty path, a dreary land
A wooden staff in weathered hand
A holy blaze that never dies
A miracle before the eyes
A stumbling onto holy ground
God revealed in sight and sound
As it was for Moses why not me?
If I can teach my eyes to see

There are burning bushes everywhere
Fiery flowers, blazing for hours
Waiting for us to see them there
The red and the green, dancing unseen through our days
Lighting the path, keeping our lives ablaze.

The roll of dice, the belly laugh
The ancient tale, the photograph
The mouse's click, the lovers' kiss
all of Heaven speaks through this
The taste of bread, the t.v. show
Are signs for those who are in the know
How I take for granted daily grace
The voice of God is common place

For there are burning bushes everywhere
Fiery flowers, blazing for hours
Waiting for us to see them there
The red and the green, dancing unseen through our days
Lighting the path, keeping our lives ablaze.

It's not that God is far away
Only whispering on special days
Our lives are spent on holy ground
God speaks so much we ignore the sound

When there are burning bushes everywhere
Fiery flowers, blazing for hours
Waiting for us to see them there
The red and the green, dancing unseen through our days
Lighting the path, keeping our lives ablaze.

I wrote the above song whilst away on a retreat this weekend. I sat down staring at a bush and reflected on what are the common 'burning bushes' (signs of God's presence) in my life. Those places, people, activities etc that fill me up and help me feel connected to something much larger than just myself. Board Games, emails, fresh home made bread may not be 'bushes' for you, but they are for me.

So the question is:

What are your 'burning bushes'?

Finally I understand U.S. Politics