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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Easy Rolls

< Ingredients
1 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I use brown to make it healthier)
2 tsp salt ( I use less because of my husband's hypertension)
1/4 cup margarine
1 envelope instant yeast
1 egg, beaten
5 to 6 cups flour

Scald milk and pour into a large bowl, add sugar, salt and margarine. Stir until margarine melts and cool to lukewarm, sprinkle on yeast and stir. Add beaten egg.

Beat in 3 cups flour, vigorously by hand or you can use an electric mixer. Gradually mix in by spoon 2 to 2 1/2 cups flour. As you add the last of it, you will no longer be able to use a spoon as it will be too stiff. Start kneading by hand. (To knead, you scoop up dough and fold it in on itself, turning slightly with each fold.)

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and continue to knead, adding flour if it is too sticky, until you have a smooth dough. Place in greased bowl, grease top of dough and cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in a warm place. With the instant yeast this takes about 3/4 hour.

Punch down dough and divide in to four pieces. Shape into rolls

For cloverleaf rolls,
Shape each piece of dough into cylinders and cut into 8 equal pieces. Cut each piece of dough into three and make little balls, placing three of them into greased muffin tins. Let rise about 20 to 30 minutes and bake at 375 F for 18 to 20 mins

For crescents
Roll each piece into a round about 8" in diameter. Brush with melted butter or margarine. Cut each round into 8 pie shaped wedges. Starting from wide end, roll up each wedge and place on greased baking sheet. Round slightly to form a crescent, tucking ends under. Brush with melted margarine or butter. Cover with damp cloth and let rise until doubled (about 20 to 30 mins) Bake at 375 F for 18 to 20 mins.

Pan Rolls
Shape each piece into a cylinder. Cut into 8 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place balls, almost touching into a greased 8 or 9" square pan. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise about 20 to 30 minutes. Bake at 375 F for 25 to 30 minutes. You can also score the tops of these with a knife, making three or four lines that will open out during baking to give a bakery look to these buns.

Roll each piece into rectangles about 6" wide. Cut each rectangle into strips 6" long and roll each strip slightly before tying into a knot or bow. Place on a greased baking sheet, cover and let rise about 20 to 30 minutes. Bake at 375 F for 18 to 20 minutes.

Baking times may vary according to your own oven. Mine gets hot very quickly and keeps building temperature so I don't preheat too long and my rolls are done in 20 minutes. The times I've put in are for a preheated oven and one that works better than mine lol! You'll know your own oven best.

Rolls can be brushed with melted butter or beaten egg before baking. I like to use beaten egg and sprinkle on some poppy or sesame seeds. They look very professional!

Nothing like the smell of bread fresh out of the oven.. pass the butter!

Happy Baking!

Linking up with:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Today I'm linking up with Six Word Saturday. I've never done this before so here goes..

My Life in six words is:


We're waiting on a miracle...humanly it doesn't seem possible.. but our God is the God of the impossible!

Love Hillsongs and just wanted to share this video with you. Hope you enjoy

Love & Blessings

Friday, February 25, 2011

Giveaway: 20 session audio series on Family Strategies

Hi everyone!

Sarah Mae of Like a Warm Cup of Coffee is over at Raising Homemakers today. She is having a giveaway of a wonderful audio series entitled:

"Family Strategies: Practical Issues for Building Healthy Families".

Even though I've been married 21 years, I've discovered you can never stop learning and growing in your quest for a better marriage and to be better parents. So, take advantage of this great opportunity and hop on over to Raising Homemakers at this link:


I wish you luck... I hope one of you wins!

Love & Blessings

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Power of the Tongue

Today I'm linking up with the Good Morning Girls in Women in the Word Wednesdays as we continue our study on the book of James.


This week we began Chapter 3 of the Book of James. Once again, St James is warning us about the power of our tongues. Of particular note, for me anyway, was this :

James 3:2 "For we all trip up in many ways. Someone who does not trip up in speech has reached perfection and is able to keep the whole body on a tight rein"

Wow, that blew me away! So, if we can control our tongues it means we have achieved perfect self-control in all other areas of our lives? Well, no wonder I'm still struggling! When I quoted this piece of scripture to my daughter and told her that our challenge this week was to guard our mouths, she said "Well, you have a problem then". I chastised her for her rudeness and then laughed with her because I'm humble enough to know that she's right.

I still have trouble keeping my big mouth shut. I still quarrel on the roads, I still find myself too quick to say something critical. Ah, but as one of my blogger friends so eloquently put it recently, His Grace is poured out fresh every day! Read Traci Michele's blog here: http://ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.com/2011/02/for-when-your-day-begin-with-failure.htmld

How wonderful to know that I start off fresh with Him. As I shared with her, my mother once wrote to me words something like this (forgive me, I can't remember them exactly) "Your life is like a field of spotless snow, be careful how you tread it, for every mark will show"

Each day we get up is like a fresh snowfall in our lives, each time we confess our sin, Jesus comes along and wipes it clean. We plod along, we make mistakes, we say the wrong things, we offend other people's ears with our quarreling or we snap at them in impatience and our gentle Jesus looks sadly on us and waits for us to come to our senses.

St James tells us that our tongues are like the smallest flame that can set fire to a huge forest. Can you imagine that.. a runaway tongue can cause destruction of such great magnitude, that it is likened to a fire from hell that sets fire to all of creation! He says that many wild animals can be tamed James 3:8 "but nobody can tame the tongue - it is a pest that will not keep still, full of deadly poison".

Oh and horror of horrors, our hypocrisy is brought to light in James3:9-10 "We use it to bless the Lord and Father, but we also use it to curse people who are made in God's image: the blessing and curse come out of the same mouth. My brothers this must be wrong" He goes further to ask if water that is both fresh and salt can come out of the same pipe, if a fig tree can yield olives.

This reminds of me of scripture that says:

Matt 6:24 "No one can serve two masters..." Even though this quotation is used in the context of God vs money. I believe it is God vs anything worldly, including our own sinfulness. We cannot profess to be serving God and use our tongues as vicious weapons.

This new digging into the Word has all made me want to try even harder to control this tongue of mine. I'm happy to say that since I began this bible study, I'm learning more and more to think before I speak. Oh, I still have those wild, crazy, stress-induced rants... a poor excuse I know...I'm working on it!

I'm ending with the beginning, because I saved the best for last ;-). We are warned in
James 3:1 "Only a few of you, my brothers, should be teachers, bearing in mind that we shall receive a stricter judgment". What does this mean? Well, I believe that it means that because we have been brought to the truth in the Word about our actions, we will be held accountable, far more than the person who is not aware of the Truth.

So, we have no excuse to continue in our behaviour. We must hold ourselves accountable for every word that comes out of our mouths because we KNOW that we are sinning.

Heavenly Father, I pray for the strength, discipline and perseverance to continue to try to control my tongue, to do all that is pleasing to you. I pray that you bless my friends in cyberspace and help them with all their own trials and temptations and to continue to persevere in this walk that you have brought us all to. Thank you for your many graces and blessings. May we be your lights in this world, so full of darkness. Amen

May God's graces and blessings be with you all and may you shine brightly for Jesus

Love & Blessings

Letting Go and Letting God

Today I'm linking up with Women Living Well Wednesdays, take a lil hop on over and see what wonderful posts are up.

It sounds so easy when you say it "Let go and Let God", but it isn't really! Not when you're worrying about how to pay the next bill, whether your husband's health will improve or wondering how to help your children to make life-changing choices.

Its easy to offer that advice to others when they tell us their problems, but how difficult it is to do it for ourselves. Not when its OUR children who's putting themselves in moral danger or our debts that are increasing. How do we apply that to our everyday lives? How do we apply it to our children?

We all want to be 'doing' something about our problems. We want fast results. We want to say to God 'Hey, look at what's happening to me.. I need your help, but I need it NOW!" There's no way to 'fast-track' God's grace. His timing is perfect, we are not to tell Him how to do His work in us and for us. We live in a culture of 'fast-food', 'instant banking', microwave ovens and instant gratification. Yet, we cannot microwave our problems into solutions. We cannot have instant answers from God either.

We have to do what the bible says in Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary and they shall walk and not faint."

Right now, I'm struggling to hold on to these words as I anxiously await news on whether my daughter has been accepted at the school of our choice, as I feel a little discouraged by the endless onslaught of things being thrown at us, as I receive news from my daughter in college of things that I feel disappointed about.  In the midst of it all I know that God is with me. Psalm 91:14-15 "Since he clings to me I rescue him, I raise him high, since he acknowledges my name. He calls to me and I answer him: in distress I am at his side, I rescue him and bring him honour". He hears my prayer. He is my rock and I cling to him and he gives me strength.

How do we apply this letting go to our children? In this new season of life, where two out of the four are practically beyond my  "mothering". It isn't easy to let go, yet what trust would I be showing if I balked and faltered. What kind of faith is it that would not trust God to handle these most precious of gifts He has blessed me with? I am reminded of St Peter, when the Lord walked on the water and said to him "Come", he jumped out of the boat and walked but then he became afraid and began to sink. The Lord is saying to me "Do not be afraid, keep your eyes upon me, believe in My ability to save you.. even if you feel yourself sinking.. I will not let you drown, I will not let your children drown in the seas of life"

Everytime I see my eldest daughter's face when we talk on Skype, I feel a little twinge of fear that she's out there, without my protection any more. Yet I know that I have given her the best grounding I could. I know that God hears my prayers on her behalf. I know that I can trust Him with this daughter that He blessed me with, 'lent' to me and asked me to raise her to know Him and to love Him. Now He is gently saying to me that it's time to let Him take over.

I feel so blessed and honoured when she still asks me for advice. Its humbling to know that I could still have some influence on her choices. She IS a mature, responsible young woman. I may not always agree with her on everything in the future, but I can give her my love and support anyway. I can pray with her and for her. She knows that she is loved unconditionally and that nothing she does will change that love. Even if I become disappointed in her actions, she will always be my daughter, my first-born, the fruit of the love her father and I bear for each other.

So, I ask God for the strength to let go of my children's hands, to let go of my wanting to control the situations in our life that are causing us anxiety, to let go of fear and the endless planning and budgeting that I do to make sure that we will survive. WE WILL SURVIVE... by His Grace alone.

 He leads me to Psalm 92:10"You give me the strength of the wild ox, you anoint me with fresh oil".
  Psalm 94:18-19 "I need only say, 'I am slipping', for your faithful love. Oh Lord,  to support me; however great the anxiety of my heart, your consolations soothe me".
 Psalm 94:22 "No!, The Lord is a stronghold to me, my God is my rock of refuge"

So, today,  I encourage you to let go of the things that hold you, trust them into the hands of the Good Shepherd. As scripture says, Luke 12:25 "Can any of you, however much you worry, add a single cubit to your span of life?"  God's will must be accomplished in each of us. Faith is letting go and letting God. I pray for the strength to do this for myself and for you as well.

May God's graces and blessings be with you and may you shine brightly today!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

And the award goes to...

I took a couple of days hiatus, by force. I really had too much going on. Take a read of this by Sarah Mae over at http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com/home/2011/02/constantly-reevaluate/ and maybe you'll have some idea.  Its not that I'm addicted or anything (seriously ;-) I'm just having trouble balancing my time right now.

On Sunday, my 14 year old daughter was confirmed and anointed in the Holy Spirit so that was an all day event for us, preparing and then after the actual ceremony, which included Mass, there was a sharing so we got home pretty late, for a Sunday night, to prep for school etc.

Another wonderful thing happened on Sunday. When I checked my e-mail, I saw that I have received a Versatile Blogger Award from Angie over at http://www.thoughts4theroad.com/. To say I was shocked would be an understatement, but, and I do feel somewhat shallow for this, I do feel ridiculously happy about it. I'm so glad that my posts are finding an audience and I do hope that I am making some sort of difference to others' lives and witnessing for God.

Thank you, thank you Angie! Your blog is amazing by the way.

So, according to the 'rules', I'm supposed to do this:

* Tell us seven things about yourself
*Award 15 recently discovered new bloggers. Contact these bloggers and let them know they've received the award.

Well, since I'm really quite new myself, there aren't too many new people that I've come across but I will give the award to those that I know and to some of my favourites:

1. Frances at http://workingonthesimplelife.blogspot.com/ (my first follower!)
2.  Chris at http://itsupstome.blogspot.com/ (just started and I'm her first follower ;-)
3. Sherry at http://www.lamp-unto-my-feet.com/
4. Suzanne at http://blueberrycottage.blogspot.com/
5. Mandy at http://brokennessintobeauty.com/
6. Lisa over @ http://www.modernvintagehomemaking.com/ (love the vintage stuff!)
7. Jessica @ http://www.mutheringheights.com/
8. Dawn at http://homeschoolblogger.com/guidinglight/
9. Traci Michelle at http://ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.com/
10. Sonya at http://watchmefuze.blogspot.com/
11. Robin at http://setyourhearttoseekgod.blogspot.com/
12. Kristi at http://inthelordspath.blogspot.com/
13. Jacinda & Brad @ http://www.happylittlehomemaker.org/p/about.html
14. Sarah Beth @ http://hislovingpresence.blogspot.com/
15. Lisa @ http://treasureinvesselsofclay.blogspot.com/

There are so many more that I truly love, Cherie at Heart and Soul, of course I love Anne at A Holy Experience, Courtney at Women Living Well, Darlene at Time Warp Wife...they are truly an inspiration. I know some of these are not new at all and some have tons of followers but they're new to me since my blogging experience is just short of 2 months old.

Now for the seven things about me: 

  1. I love to bake and create new things in the kitchen (I covet all my mother's old recipe books and I'm terrible at throwing out old magazines because of the gorgeous pics and recipes)
  2. I'm an 'old lady' at heart, I love anything vintage and when I was young I actually had my mother make up patterns from old 50's and 60's fashions for me (I remember when I first met my husband I was wearing one of them... I loved to be different back then!)
  3. I have always dreamed of living like the women in those old tv shows and movies.. grow my own produce, make my own jam, homemade everything... well I don't live on a farm and my gardening skills are truly not great, but I do make everything myself when time permits (nothing like the smell of homemade bread fresh out of the oven!)
  4. I dabbled in writing as a child, wrote endless poetry as a romance-struck teenager and even won a prize in a local newspaper's creative writing competition when I was 20. I pretty much abandoned any dreams of writing anything once the children came along. (I think God had a plan for me to write this way.. and witness for Him at the same time)
  5. I love to read and I used to devour romance novels,  until about a year and a half ago, when I discovered that I already had a romance going.. with my own husband. I haven't read any since and I'm focused on keeping our real-life romance all that it should be.. and more ;-)
  6. My favourite flowers are roses, but I love all of nature and find God in the beauty that He has created..
  7. I love old movies, old music, classic literature and anything historical. (I used to joke that I was born in the wrong era and if I had a time machine I'd be visiting all the time periods in history to see which one I loved best)
Well, there it is... I'm just your average person, learning and growing each day that God blesses me with and being inspired by all your wonderful blogs. You are all truly inspiring me to want to be a better person, wife, mother and homemaker. 

God bless you all and may your lights continue to shine brightly.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gratitude, Grace and Blessings

Today is my 21st wedding anniversary. I'm blessed to be married to my first and only true love. He captured my heart and has held it ever since I was a tender 21 years old. We've been through so many things together. He is my best friend and the one I turn to and lean on and depend upon. He's a wonderful provider and I thank God for the blessing that he is to me. I can honestly say that the trials and highs and lows of life have refined us and our love is stronger than it ever was before.  The years sort of creeped up on us and I cant believe how quickly time has slipped by.

I recently came to the realisation, after being led by the Holy Spirit and getting inspiration from so many wonderful blogs, not to mention what I've been learning in the Book of Ruth and Book of James studies, that I have not truly been grateful for all that I have. Time is so precious and it just slips away, like the silver sand in the little egg timer my four year old is fascinated with. I want to cherish every precious moment I have with my husband and my daughters. Before long, these days and this season in my life will be over.

I have four daughters ranging in age from almost 20 to four years old. As you can imagine, life can be crazy, hectic and there's never time to do everything I have to do... I don't think I'll ever be bored, that's for sure! ;-)   I tend to get crabby and snap at everyone.. I don't do stress well at all! My poor husband and children have had to put up with my big mouth and bad attitude for far too long. I'm trying to change things so that I am the wife and mother they deserve.

Its hard going, but I know this is what God wants of me. I need to be a light to them before I can be a light anywhere else. This is the challenge God threw down for me recently... to change so quietly and completely that my family is astounded by who I am. Well... I don't think I'm doing a great job so far, but I'm getting there!

In my quest for change, I'm trying to be more positive in my outlook, less uptight and not stress on the small stuff as much. I'm trying to be joyful and to give joy. I'm trying to appreciate my family, my husband and be grateful to God for all the wonderful blessings He has bestowed on me.

I'm also trying to learn to slow down and pay attention more... so much slips by my notice because of how busy I get. My youngest daughter starts talking about her day (she does ramble on so... lol) and I lose half of it because I'm thinking about the chores I have to do. Lately, she's taken to doing outrageous things to get my attention because the poor little sweetheart realises Momma's brain is engaged somewhere else. My husband might do something really sweet like make me some coffee and I forget to thank him because I'm rushing to get breakfast on. Oh, the list goes on and on...

All I know is that I look in the mirror and I see this stranger looking back.... when did I get so many lines on my face? Is it time to start dying the greys.. there are so many! (Took care of that this week) My eldest away at college is a wonderful, bittersweet, heart-wrenching reminder that this season in my life is on the brink of changing. My 18 year old is poised to take flight this autumn to pursue her own dreams and my "used to be" baby is a young lady of 14. My four year old is the one who is going to keep me grounded and keep "empty nest" syndrome at bay for  a while. I jokingly think that if my eldest follows in my footsteps I could be a grandmother in a couple of years and my baby would be an aunt! Okay, let's not go down that road...

God, in His infinite wisdom, has lovingly given me this crazy, hectic, disorganized life and I aim to start loving every minute of it! I hope that I will look in the mirror and grow to love the strange woman I see there, even as more greys pop out and more lines appear. It is no small consolation that the man standing next to me is growing older too and we are walking this road hand in hand into the future. How wonderful to feel secure in this love and this life.. to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that no matter what bends this road takes, I have a hand to hold and a God to guide. Our future is in His hands and He loves us!

May the God who is guiding you down your path, shower His graces and blessings upon you and your families today and always!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Invisible Mother

My husband sent this to me the other day and I thought I'd share it. I wish I knew who the author was so I could give her the credit. Perhaps, you do, maybe you've come across this before?

The Invisible Mother

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, “Can't you see I'm on the phone?”

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, “What time is it?” I'm a satellite guide to answer, “What number is the Disney Channel?” I'm a car to order, “Right around 5:30, please.”

Some days I'm a crystal ball; “Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?”

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, “I brought you this.” It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: “With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.”

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

1.) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
2.) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
3.) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
4.) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, “Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it.” And the workman replied, “Because God sees.”

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, “I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.”

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, “My Mom gets up at four in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.” That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, “You're gonna love it there!”

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Share this with all the Invisible Moms you know...I just did.

The Will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.

To all the wonderful mothers out there…God bless and keep you!

Do you feel this way sometimes too? I guess we all do. That's why its so wonderful to have all these great blogs to visit and to learn from. It is a privilege and blessing to have support from beautiful, God-fearing women striving to live by the Word.

Thanks to all of you, I am so inspired when I read your blogs. Its like having mothers, sisters and friends who lend a shoulder and an ear when you need one.

May God's graces and blessings be with you... you are all lights to me... Keep shining brightly for Jesus!

Lessons from God

Good Morning Girls

Today is link up day with Good Morning Girls on the James Bible Study. I've been learning so much in this Study and in the wonderful ways of the Holy Spirit, I find that I am actually being led down a path that brings the application of this Word into my life.

Last week, in James Chapter 2, we learned about judging others and being merciful to them. We learned in James 2:8-11 that we must keep the supreme law of scripture, which is to love our neighbour as we love ourselves and that to break even one commandment makes us sinners. There is no "degree" of sinning. A sin is a sin, whether it be murder, adultery or.... not loving our neighbour. I found that astounding!

Even more astounding was how God chose to bring me to a place of recognition that I was not pleasing Him and that I was, in fact, breaking this particular commandment. To be merciful includes forgiving others, even for grievous hurts. This is not an easy thing to do.

Last week, even as I was studying these words of James, I came face to face with someone who had caused me a great deal of  heartache and, whose actions, I believe, had repercussions in my life for years. I had put that situation from my mind as the years went by and, when I did see that person, off and on, unbelievably, in church, I would pray for God to give to me the strength to let go. Recently, every now and then,  I have seen her in the church I attend every day. When I have, I pray and I thought I was in control of those past emotions.

This time, when I saw her, I felt such a pain slam into my chest. I felt immediately that God was showing me that I was still holding on to unforgiveness. I went before Him and I was shown that I had not yet let go and I was still feeling bitter and resentful. The Holy Spirit chose to bring that woman into my little place of sanctuary and force me to face what was hidden deep within my heart. It was no coincidence, I know, that for the next two days I saw her. She even sat in front of me when I went to Church. Perhaps, God is also speaking to her heart.

I know that His Grace and mercy are for all, including those who once walked a different path and did not honour Him.  This is what St James speaks of  in James 2:12-13 "Talk and behave like people who are going to be judged by the law of freedom. Whoever acts without mercy will be judged without mercy but mercy can afford to laugh at judgement". If I cannot forgive, I am not being merciful. The Just Judge will judge me according to my own acts of mercy.

This week in James we are learning about how faith must be accompanied by action. It is useless for me to say that I have faith, if I do not act with faith. I have faith that God will take care of me in any situation, so my action is to surrender my life into His hands and to go where He leads me. He is leading me to perfection. He wants all of us to let go of the things that keep us from being whole.

So far, He's shown me that I need to guard my tongue, that I need to persevere in my faith and that I must not judge others. He has shown me that I need to be merciful, to forgive others and that I must not be a hypocrite who pays him lip service, while my actions remain so far from His Word. It is not easy to learn these lessons. In fact, it is a constant struggle between my human nature and selfish desires and wanting to do the will of God.

I wonder what marvels He has in store for me this week? Whatever they are, I pray that I will have the courage to face them and the strength to apply them to my daily living as God continues to keep me in his potter's hands, molding and shaping me. I pray that you, too, will have the courage and strength to keep learning the lessons that our loving God keeps teaching us.

May God's blessings and graces be with you

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Today I'm sharing a recipe for a Chicken Pot Pie that I've modified just a little. I used this recipe yesterday to make individual pies in a heart shaped muffin tin to celebrate Valentine's Day with my family.  I was really pleased with the result, as you can see... not professional, but cute. The card was made in school by my four year old daughter :)

                                                       CHICKEN POT PIE
1 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for flouring board
pinch of salt
6 Tbs margarine
1 Tbs fresh mixed herbs, chopped

12 oz cooked, bite-sized boneless chicken
1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 celery stalk, finely sliced
sprig of thyme
1 2/3 cup milk
2 Tbs cornflour
salt, black pepper

  1. To make the pastry, place the flour and salt in a bowl and rub in margarine until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the mixed herbs and add a little cold water, 1 Tbs at a time until it holds together to make a smooth, firm dough. Wrap the pastry in cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat olive oil in pan  over medium heat and add onion, garlic, celery. Cook, stirring gently, until vegetables are slightly softened, add chicken, thyme and mixed vegetables, stir then turn off heat.
  3. Blend cornflour and 5 Tbsp milk  in heatproof bowl. Heat remaining milk in saucepan to boiling point , then pour it on to the cornflour mixture, stirring constantly. Return the mixture to the pan over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. I find that this thickens so quickly that I have to add some chicken stock or water and it can become one lumpy mass if left too long. Turn off heat once it is at desired thickness.
  4. Add  vegetable/chicken mixture to sauce in pot and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you like things spicy, add some cayenne or hot sauce.
  5. Spoon mixture into 5 cup pie dish. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to a shape slightly larger than pie dish. Place on top of pie, trim and decorate the top with pastry trimmings, if you like. Make a slit in the centre to allow steam to escape.
  6. Bake in 375F/190C oven for 35-40 minutes until pastry is golden brown.
Serves 5 to 6 people.

You can use mushrooms, sweetcorn, add potatoes. What I really love about this dish is its versatility. I can put whatever is in my fridge or pantry... and I LOVE the crust. The fresh herbs add so much flavour and you can experiment with different herbs. I'd also like to mention that it's a much lighter version than the traditional pot pies that use cream or creamy soups as the base.

The secret to the flavours in my pie, however, is that I cook my chicken breast, bone in for added flavour,  in water that has bay leaves, thyme, seasoning peppers and garlic. I use the stock from that to add to my sauce when it thickens up.

For a flakier crust, you can use half shortening and half margarine. I don't use the shortening because we watch the fat and cholesterol in our home.

I hope that you enjoy this recipe and you find it as versatile as I do.

May God's graces and blessing be with you.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is the culmination of our Valentine's Challenges. I haven't posted anything I've done so far, but I wanted to share this with you.

I learned a valuable lesson in trying to complete these challenges. I learned that other people's ideals of what makes romance doesn't always fit with your life. I learned that your husband is not "every other man" and his needs are special and unique. Above all, I learned that Valentine's Day should be everyday, that everything I wanted to do are things that I ought to be doing every single day.

My husband (and yours) deserves to know every day that I appreciate him, that I don't only come to him when I have some negative issue to deal with. He deserves to know that he makes me happy with all the little things he does, not just the big, showy things. He deserves to be treated with love and respect, simply because he is the man I promised to love and honour all the days of my life and because I complete him and he completes me.

He needs to know that I could love him, even when he does something that upsets me. I need to make him understand that he isn't a failure just because he can't give me things that I want, material or otherwise. I need to let him know all the time that I appreciate how hard he works and that I support him in his dreams, goals, problems. I need to let him know that its okay to lean on me sometimes, just as I lean on him.

I learned that the greatest gift we can give to each other is ourselves, completely. The greatest gift I can give to him is my faith and trust in him and all of my love, all of me.

So, to complete my challenge.. I'm going out on the limb and posting the poem I made up for my husband this year...somewhat edited, gotta keep some things private ;)  This is my grand all-out gesture.. I'm letting the whole world know what my man means to me

Thank you for choosing me to share your life with.
Thank you for loving me and wanting me
Thank you for giving me the precious gift of motherhood
Thank you for working so hard so that I can stay at home

I don't tell you often enough what you give to me 
I don't tell you how much I appreciate you
I  don't build you up and inspire you enough
But I do think all these things are true

I believe in you and our love,
I thank God that I am your wife
I love what I have with you,
I can't imagine living any other life.

You fill me so completely,
Way deep inside my soul
You are the other half of me
Without you I'm not whole

I'm glad I have you to share my forevers
Each dawn and setting sun
To embrace each joy and sorrow
To lean on when my strength is gone

While all the world celebrates today
With candy and flowers and hearts
Each day for me is Valentine's Day
Because you and I are never apart

I never want to forget 
The how and why I love you so
The memories of our beginnings
I never want to let go

When I look in your eyes I want to feel
Like that young girl who's heart you stole
I want to make you feel young and strong
And handsome ..I want to make you feel whole

You know in your heart, we were meant for each other
God blessed our union in heaven above
We may make mistakes, but we stick together
Cause we've got A Groovy Kind of Love

You inspire such a depth of emotion in me
Such passion, such desire, so bold
I want you, I need you, can't be without you
Forever, to have and to hold.

I am yours, completely, heart, mind, body and soul
This is the pledge that I made on that altar
A pledge I forever will keep.
I intend to be by your side forever, to give you all that I am and I have. To go through the good and the bad
Till God calls me home to sleep

I love you my darling, and I leave you now with the Song of Ruth..

Wherever you go, I shall go
Wherever you live, so shall I live
Your people will be my people
And your God will be my God too

Wherever you die, I shall die
And there shall I be buried beside you
We shall be together, forever
And our love will be the gift of our lives

I give you the gift of my life again Brian. It is the only gift I have and yet, it is the only one that you truly need. I give you my heart, my faith and my trust. I will walk on fire for you. I will conquer all the demons that I have to. I will walk out on the limb. I will take risks. I will let go of my fears.... because you are more important than my pride, my fear, my fragile self-confidence, my insecurities. I know that with God at my side and your arm around me I can do anything, conquer anything.

Would you be my Valentine... forever

I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Valentine's Day and you get to make your husband feel like he's a king today.. and always.

May God's grace and blessing be with you and yours.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Paying God Lip-Service

This week in our James bible study we've covered Chapter 2 verses 1 to 7. In verse 1 we are warned against prejudice. Even though it seems that St James is speaking of the poor, I believe he is also speaking of prejudices in general.  There are many kinds of prejudices, social, racial even within our different religions. Prejudices are judgements made that cause us to compare ourselves to others and believe that we are better than them.

A few years ago, a new family moved in next door. The first thing they did was to throw a very loud party complete with music. A couple of weeks later they had another. We soon realised we had nothing in common with them at all. I judged them as godless and inconsiderate. They would park in such a way that made it difficult for us and the other neighbour to get in and out of our houses, as would their friends. They ran a business out of the house that meant people in and out constantly and trucks delivering things would block us in. The one that bugged me the most was when their pool needed to be filled and the water truck would come and block my driveway for up to half an hour. We never once received a call warning us that they were expected just in case we needed to go out.

I felt my resentment for them building more and more and struggled to be a good Christian to them. A couple of years ago, we had a crisis in our home. My husband was away on business and it was these same neighbours who came to my aid. I felt ashamed of all the things I had thought of them. Even though they still have loud parties, park indiscriminately and we are not bosom buddies, I now try harder not to judge them as God used that situation to show me that we are all capable of both good and bad actions.

Look at James 2:2-4 "In making this distinction among yourselves have you not used a corrupt standard?" Here St. James is admonishing 'church going' people for being hypocritical. I thought about that one and realised that, while I don't want to be that way, I am. So are many other Christians.  How often do I look at other women dressed inappropriately for church,  and judge them, without even knowing them. How often do I feel irritated by people around me who do not display the proper reverence in Mass.  How many times have I heard people gossiping after Mass, or criticizing the priest's sermon. All this, while still inside His holy sanctuary!  What of outside of  church?

What St James is saying is that we cannot call ourselves Christians and  and hold prejudices.  We cannot call ourselves followers of Christ and be judgemental.  He is the just judge. Only He has full knowledge. We are all sinners, we all fall. Were it not for the Grace of God none of us would see heaven.  The bible tells us in Matt 7:1-2 "Do not judge and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get and the standards you use will be the standards used for you". We cannot be self-righteous and think that God's Grace is for us alone.  I was reminded of that last week when I encountered someone who had hurt me a lot in the past at church. I had to confess to holding on to unforgiveness and felt God gently remind me that if He could forgive, so should I and that His Grace is for all who seek it.

This theme of hypocrisy is dealt with by Jesus himself  when he addressed the Pharisees and scribes who accused his disciples of eating with unclean hands. In Mark 7:6 "He answered, 'How rightly Isaiah prophesied about you hypocrites int he passage of scripture : This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me. Their reverence of me is worthless, the lessons they teach nothing but human commandments"

On examining myself, I have to admit that there are certainly times in my life when I do not ACT like a good Christian. Judging others seems to be part of human nature. I have to train myself to still those thoughts before they take root. It is not easy but I do not want to pay God lip-service. I want all my actions to be ones that glorify Him. Earlier in James 1:22, we are told,"But you must DO what the Word tells you and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves"  To do anything else is to pay our God "lip-service". There is a song we sing in church called "They'll know we are Christians by our love".  Here is a link to view a video that may illustrate my point more clearly..http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CobNWUXb1M&NR=1

Heavenly Father, I bring to you my tendency to judge others, to view them through prejudiced eyes. I ask your forgiveness for the times that I have been self-righteous and hypocritical, for the times I have not shown to all people the love that you ask me to. I pray, Lord, that you will help me to change this part of me that keeps me from being your light. Give me the strength to overcome my human weaknesses so that I may truly be your light. Amen

May God's grace be with you always and may your light shine brightly today

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ruth Bible Study

This morning I want to share on what I've learnt so far in Chapter One of Ruth as I'm following this bible study along with Darlene over at Time Warp Wife.

First of all, the real significance of Ruth being a Moab didn't hit me until Darlene pointed out who the Moabs were... a reviled race created through incest when Lot's daughters seduced him in order to have his children. They were looked down upon by the Hebrews as "half-breeds" and were ostracized from them. They no longer worshiped the one true God, but pagan gods.

When Naomi and her husband left Jerusalem because of famine and went to this land of Moab, it shows how desperate they were. In leaving to live among pagans, they had broken faith with Yahweh.  Perhaps Naomi did not go willingly. She was a loyal woman and so maybe did not want to leave her family and friends to suffer in order to ensure her own survival and that of her family. I wonder how her sons' marriage to Moab women affected her. We assume that she was a Godly woman like all Jewish women of her time.

Perhaps she suffered, believing that God would look with disfavour upon them for living with the outcast people who worshiped pagan gods.  Yet, we see her innate goodness for she welcomed these women as daughters and nowhere does it say that she treated them poorly or judged them as inferior to herself.  In fact, she could have selfishly made them stay with her, to help her, knowing that she was not a young woman any more and not under the protection of a man. Instead, she implored them to return to their own homes and seek to find husbands to protect them.

It took great courage for Naomi to decide to return to her own home when she learned that the famine had ended. She knew that she could be scorned and rejected for having lived among pagans and, perhaps, even for abandoning her people to their suffering. Yet, she humbled herself to face whatever her people would subject her to and returned. Perhaps, her soul was longing for the one true God and that thirst led her back to her own land. When she chose the name Mara, which means bitter, instead of Naomi, upon her return, she acknowledged  that it was because God had taken away her fullness of life and left her empty. Perhaps she looked upon this as just punishment for what her family had done.

Ruth, also displayed courage in wanting to go with Naomi. She must have known how her people were looked down upon by the Jews. I wonder how she must have trembled at the thought of living in a strange land, where she could be subjected to rejection and, perhaps, even worse persecution. Yet, she loved Naomi as a mother and refused to leave her. In those days, a woman without the protection of a man, was vulnerable and one of Naomi's age, particularly so. She could not work to earn her bread as a younger woman would be able to. Ruth must have known it would have been difficult for her mother-in-law to survive the journey alone and then to provide for herself. Perhaps, she also didn't want her to face the Jews on her own, knowing what Naomi could also possible face at the hands of her people.

Darlene asked us to memorize the words of Ruth to Naomi when she told her that she would never leave her. They are beautiful words and I want to share with you a song that was created with them. It is very popular at weddings. I had to search to find a recording of it that was clear enough and, unfortunately, I couldn't get one of better quality.  I hope you can hear the words properly.


One of the beautiful things I learned from Ruth, through  Darlene,  was that this relationship between Naomi and Ruth is one we should all have with our in-laws. When we marry our husbands, we have forever joined two families as one. His mother, father, brothers and sisters become mine and vice versa. We all know that in-laws tend to be a subject for much fodder at the coffee table between us ladies at times. We may be joined as one family now,  but we are from such different backgrounds that there is bound to be some friction sometimes. Here we have a lovely example of  how we are called to be true daughters to our parents-in-law and sisters to our brothers and sisters-in-law. Something I know that I need to work on.

Thank you to Darlene for such an inspirational study. I'm looking forward to continuing this week  with Ruth Chapter 2.

May God's graces and blessings be with you!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Candlelight and Rainbows

copyright2003 SCAFA ART

In the early hours of this morning, we had a power outage. By the time the household needed to get moving, electricity still hadn't been restored. It didn't help that it was raining too, nobody felt like getting out of bed... except my four year old who woke up way before her time and refused to go back to sleep.

I felt irritated for several reasons.. our halogen lamps refused to work, so we had to do everything by candlelight, which not only gave off poor lighting but posed a danger to our curious last daughter who is fascinated by flames. Because our water pump could not work there was no water to the upstairs bathrooms so we had to fill buckets and boil water on the stove to make it usable. I was upset because I had not ironed the night before as I usually do, so I didn't know how my husband's shirt would get ironed. Without the convenience of the microwave, electric kettle and toaster oven, getting breakfast on was a much more difficult task.

By the time I got in the car to drop my youngest daughter off to her montessori school, it was still raining and I felt like I'd done a full day's work. Her school sits on top of a hill, so we usually park at the bottom and use the steps set in the hill but I wouldn't be able to pass there with a big umbrella, so we climbed up the incline instead... a little more challenging, which added to my disgruntled state.  As I descended though, I looked up and saw a beautiful rainbow, which I wouldn't have seen if I'd taken the steps. It made me stop and a moment of clarity hit me.

A rainbow.. a sign of promise, God's covenant, a reminder that no matter how bad the storm is, the sun is going to shine again! I suddenly felt so ashamed for not rising this morning with a song of thanksgiving in my heart. I felt like God was saying, "Rejoice in the graces I have poured out on you and stop looking for negatives in situations" It was indeed a moment of grace. 

Yesterday, the Catholic Church celebrated the feast of Candlemas or The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord (see Luke 2:22-24). Traditionally, on this day, candles are blessed for the church's use during the year and candles are also brought by the faithful to be blessed for their own use. In some places there are processions where the blessed candles are lit and carried back to the church for the celebration of Mass. Our priest had shared some beautiful sentiments on the blessed candle which I had thought I would share on my blog. This morning's power outage and subsequent events seemed to be confirmation that I should.

Blessed candles are used in many of the rituals and sacraments in the church, from baptism straight through to the Funeral Rite. We light them in our homes too,  at prayer time, for novenas and special intentions... we might light a candle when asking for a particular favour from God.  One of the beautiful, old traditions Father spoke of was that a lit candle would be placed in the hand of, or near to,  a dying person so that he/she may see the light and be reminded that they are returning to the bosom of Christ.

When we view a lit candle it reminds us that Christ, the Light of the World, is with us always. He illuminates us and we are called to let His light shine in us and through us. We are beacons to lead people to Jesus and our lives are supposed to be a reflection of Him.

As I reflected on all these things a sudden truth hit me. This morning, I could only find blessed candles to light. I had actually been surrounded by Grace this morning, but was too blind to see the Grace of God with me as those lights banished the little corners of darkness. I had been blinded by my irritation at the inconveniences rather than having a heart of gratitude that I can still get water on the ground floor, that I have a gas stove so I could boil water, cook and use the oven to toast bread. So many people have only electric appliances. I wonder what hardship they faced this morning.

Lord, forgive me for not seeing your abundance of grace, but the negative in situations. Help me to have a heart full of gratitude always and to allow your light to illuminate me, just as those candles illuminated my house this morning. May I have the fortitude and wisdom to rid myself of all that keeps me from being the light you call me to be.

Our own lights may be small, but we can illuminate our own little corners, filling them with warmth, peace and joy. This is what we are called to do. May your light shine brightly today and always and may God's grace and blessings be with you!

P.S. The picture above is a print my daughter gave me for Christmas. Isn't it gorgeous? It suits my blog so much that I wish I could use it as my background, but it IS copyrighted so I will not be able to, but I thought I'd share it with you nevertheless. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Zipping my Lip!

This week in our Book of James study, our challenge is to keep as our watch words James 1:19-20 "Remember this my dear brothers, everyone should be quick to listen, but slow to speak and slow to human anger, God's  justice is never served by human anger" New Jerusalem Bible.

Today, we've read up to James 1:24. Verses 21-24 tell us that we must do away with all impurities and evil in our souls and welcome the Word which is our salvation. We are also told that we must live this Word and be careful not to deceive ourselves by believing we can just read it and forget about it.

I want to share with you my own meditation, which I did based on a cross reference with the book of Ecclesiasticus. In  Eccl 5:11-12 "Be quick to listen, and deliberate in giving an answer. If you understand the matter, give your neighbour an answer, if not, keep your hand over your mouth". This ties in so nicely with James 1:19 as we are being told that we must listen well and understand, think before we speak and not to speak out of turn, without proper knowledge.  It is further advised in Eccl 5:13 "Both honour and disgrace come from talking, the tongue is its owner's downfall."

How true that is! We all know the power of the tongue. It was God's spoken Word that made all Creation. Having made us in His image and likeness, we too have power in our tongues. We can speak curses or blessings. We can build up our destroy. We can give love and support or create pain, disillusionment or shame in another. Do we use our tongues to build people up, or do we systematically destroy others?  Do we gossip or entice others to? Eccl 5:14 "Do not get a name for scandal-mongering, do not set traps with your tongue" Do we give praise and encouragement or do we criticize and condemn?

I thought about that this morning after I had yelled at my youngest daughter. I was running late and putting in a load of laundry before I dropped her off to school. She wanted to help so I asked her to put the clean laundry into the dryer and she dropped it into the soapy water that was filling for the next load instead. I felt so bad when I saw her face. She was trying to be helpful and instead of  encouraging her, I tore her down by my words. How often do I do things like that? I think that even once is too often, but I have to acknowledge that, especially in stressful situations, my patience is short and my tongue is very quick to lash out. This is something I really need to work on.

Let's talk about anger. In Eccl 6:4, we are told that "An evil temper destroys the person who has it and makes him the laughing stock of his enemies"  Here, as in James 1:20, we are told that anger does not serve God, but rather destroys us and makes us look bad. Perhaps that is because of  how we behave when we are angry. I don't know about you, but when I get angry I am not a nice person! My family literally fades into the corners of the house to escape me. I go on a rant, I quarrel alot and God help those in the car with me if it happens to be on the road.

This is my biggest challenge... to maintain my peace of mind when I'm on the nation's roads. My countrymen, a large majority of them, drive without courtesy and an appalling disregard for law. Stoplights and stop signs are run regularly and is generally accepted as "normal", as is not indicating, stopping suddenly and changing lanes dangerously, driving up on the shoulder in traffic and then squeezing in on other drivers. I know this is not painting a good picture of my land, but I want to illustrate a point.

For me, a self-confessed defensive driver and law-abiding citizen, it is beyond unacceptable behavior. I was raised to have respect for all authority and to obey laws and rules. It goes against everything within me to witness and be subjected to this kind of driving. I lose my cool, every single day, despite my best intentions.

Is my anger righteous? Many may say yes! After all, I have my children in the car with me,  I'm a defensive driver and I pay for expensive car insurance. These are all reasons to be angry at people who are daily putting my family at risk, causing me to pay higher insurance premiums because of all the accidents on the roads (car insurance is mandatory here) and making my driving experience fraught with tension.

Is my anger serving God?
I would have to say NO! When I get upset on the roads, I upset my children. I quarrel, gesticulate and sometimes, yes I'm ashamed to say, I want to do something to display my disgust! I want to drive past him or her and tell that person something nasty.  If the person is trying to squeeze in on me, I wouldn't him/her in, thereby increasing the tension and stress both myself and the children feel.  I dream about being able to pull them over myself and give them tickets. I wish I had super-powers so I could zap them and make them see the error of their ways. Someone in my family keeps a whiteboard in her car and writes on it and shows it to the offensive driver.. don't ask me how she does it! We all feel the need to be vindicated because we are RIGHT and they are WRONG. Does that make my anger self-righteous, rather than righteous? 

In James 1:21 we are told "So do away with all impurites and remnants of evil. Humbly welcome the Word which has been planted in you and can save your souls" Aha! So, the answer to my salvation, to my conquering my own sinfulness,  lies in the Word! Then in James 1:22 "But you must DO what the Word tells you and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves"

What would the Word tell me in this situation? Well, in Matt 5:24 "But I say this to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" I tell you... this is pretty hard to do! I usually grit my teeth and say in a not-so-prayerful way.. "Lord, help this idiot to learn to drive properly!" or some such thing. I realise that I speak curses on these people when I don't practice keeping my mouth shut and controlling my feelings.

A look back at Eccl. 6:4 shows me that I end up looking like a crazy person when I behave that way. I remember one time someone gave me a "bad drive" and I made certain that person knew by blowing my horn loudly and passing them. When I did, it turned out to be someone that I knew and I felt rather embarassed by my behaviour. I'm also increasing my stress levels, shredding my nerves.. thereby 'destroying myself' when I don't control my behaviour.

So, today, Lord I want to surrender this difficult area in my life to you. Please help me to guard my tongue, especially against speaking in anger or admonishment. Help me to hold on to your Word and to make every effort to live it. Help me to improve my listening skills, especially with my children. Again, Lord, I offer myself into your 'potter's hands' to be molded and shaped into what you desire me to be. Thank you for your Grace, Mercy and all of your blessings. AMEN.

May His Grace and Blessings be with you always!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Aloo Pies

Today I'm linking up, for the first time, with Janelle over at Comfy in the Kitchen sharing a recipe that is very popular in my country. I first shared it on Time Warp Wife's Titus 2sdays last year.  Before I give you this recipe.. a little word about my country, Trinidad. We are very cosmopolitan and our cuisine is heavily influenced by African, Indian, Chinese, Lebanese and even Portuguese culture.

This is a very popular snack and is of East Indian origin. It's called an "aloo" pie. "Aloo" being the Indian word for potato. (I can't take the credit for the picture... I 'borrowed' it from someone else)



4 cups flour                                            2 lbs potatoes
1 pkg instant yeast                                2 tsp roasted ground cumin
2 tsp salt                                                 2-3 garlic cloves
1 ½ cups water                                      black pepper or  hot pepper to taste
2 cups oil for frying                               (We usually use habanero or scotch bonnet)     
                                                              see picture below

Mix 2 cups flour, 1 tsp salt and yeast in large bowl, add warm water and mix, adding more flour gradually and kneading until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in bulk (about ¾ hour) Baking powder can also be used in place of yeast, substitute one teaspoon for each cup of flour and let rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, cube and boil potatoes in water to which 1 tsp salt and the garlic cloves have been added. Boil until tender, drain, then crush and season with, hot pepper or black pepper and ground cumin. You can use hot sauce or paprika... whatever you have at hand in your pantry. Of course, omit the pepper completely if you don't like spicy food, but add onion, garlic and herbs to give flavour.

After dough has risen, punch down and divide into balls about 2” in diameter (you can make them bigger or smaller if you wish). Let rest for a few minutes and then flatten each ball into a circle (not too thin) and place about 1 to 2 Tbs of potato mixture (depending on size of your ball) on half of circle. Fold over and seal well to form a crescent. Make sure you seal them properly or they will open up while frying.

Fry in hot oil for a few seconds, until golden brown, then turn over and cook the other side. Note that oil must not be too hot or pies will burn without cooking inside. The best method is to heat oil on high until it reaches desired temperature (when a piece of dough or bread dropped in comes back to surface and is surrounded by “fry bubbles”) and then reduce heat to medium to continue cooking pies.

1)1 Tbs curry powder can be added to water that potatoes are boiled in.

2) Pies can also be baked if preferred, but add 2 tsps of oil to mixture after water is put in as they may be dry.

3) Pizza dough can be used in place of dough recipe above.

4) I sometimes put finely minced pimento peppers (a popular pepper used for seasoning, usually mild but sometimes hot), chadon beni (which is close to cilantro) and even minced onion into my potatoes to give them extra flavour. Here's a picture of what the pimento looks like.
These pies are sometimes served with a savoury sauce or chutney made from mangoes or tamarinds but they are delicious on their own. Curried chick peas are also sometimes put into the cooked pie.

Hope you have fun with this recipe. In my kitchen, we taste everything to make sure its got the right amount of seasoning. We LOVE spicy food! So, be sure to taste your potatoes and make sure you like them the way they are, everyone's tastebuds are different. Its better to add a little at a time just to be safe.

Happy Cooking!