Archive for June, 2014

Something different – Lemons

Food, Something Different | Posted by Eddy Damas
Jun 27 2014

I want to try something different. I know this is a departure from the focus of my blog, but since I am not that active with the recent events in my life, I want to try and add some helpful nutrients.

Hmmm…I smell a forthcoming blog post. 🙂

Anyways, this Aside post has to do with the wonders of lemons…yes lemons.

We do have a lemon tree in our backyard. And the lemons are already on their way. I am not sure when they will be ready though…maybe sometime after Summer.

Here ya go:

We all know lemons are delicious, adding a citrusy kick to everything from salad dressings to cocktails. And the laundry list of health benefits is seriously impressive – not only does the fruit contain antibacterial properties that cleanse the kidneys and liver and strengthen your immune system, but it offers a hefty dose of vitamin C and antioxidants that fight free-radicals and help keep you looking younger.

*Health booster: Get in the habit of starting the day with a cup of hot water and lemon – it’ll kick start your metabolism and get your morning off to a healthy start!

What fewer people know is that lemons also have some unexpected uses. Here are seven ways the handy fruit can solve your trickiest kitchen dilemmas and help enhance your meals.

1. Prevent Browning: A few squeezes of juice can do wonders for avocado, apples, bananas, and peeled raw potatoes, since lemon juice is just acidic enough to prevent the oxidation that turns produce brown. Try this trick the next time you’re doing meal prep ahead of time or when you set out a platter of fresh sliced fruit for dipping in a Chocolate Fondue.

2. Stop Rice From Sticking: Have a problem with clumpy rice? You’re in luck – adding a few drops of lemon to your cooking water helps prevent the rice from sticking together. Added plus? The lemon juice will also whiten your rice and keep it looking great on the dinner plate! Try this tip with our Green Tea Rice recipe.

3. Keep Brown Sugar Soft: The juice isn’t the only useful part of the lemon; its super moist and flavorful peel can work wonders in the kitchen too. Add a slice of the skin (with the pulp completely removed) to your box of brown sugar to keep it from clumping and hardening. This way, you won’t have to do any sifting the next time you make our Old-Fashioned Apple-Nut Crisp.

4. Crisp Your Lettuce: No need to toss that limp lettuce! A little lemon juice and water can help bring your leaves back to life. To crisp up limp leaves, soak them in a bowl of cold water and ½ cup of lemon juice, then refrigerate for about an hour. The leaves will come out revived and ready for eating. Try it out on a simple green salad topped with our Roasted Garlic Dressing.

5. Cook Perfect Hard-Boiled Eggs: Even if you’ve mastered perfectly hard-boiled eggs, try brushing the eggshells with lemon juice before adding them to the pot for a little added insurance. The lemon juice helps keep the shells from cracking while they cook, and it also makes them easier to peel once they’re ready to eat. Try this technique before you enjoy the eggs in our Golden Polenta and Egg With Mustard Sauce.

6. Tenderize Meat: Lemon juice is a great meat tenderizer; the acidity gently breaks down the fibers in meat, leaving it scrumptiously fork-tender. See it in action with Steak Salad-Stuffed Pockets or our Moroccan Flavored Pork Ragu.

7. Enhance Flavor: Last, but certainly not least, lemon’s yummy flavor can totally transform a meal. It brightens up creamier dishes, balances the flavor in seafood, and is a great sodium-free substitute for sprinkling on salt. Squeeze lemons over our Sizzled Citrus Shrimp, try them sliced with our Lemon Lovers’ Asparagus, and get zesty with Fettuccine with Shiitake Mushrooms and Basil.

And there you have it…Seven things you (probably) didn’t know about Lemons!

An Awful Experience

judging | Posted by Eddy Damas
Jun 19 2014

trainwreck2A couple of months ago I went out on my first date in what seemed to be years. We had “connected” though facebook when I made a comment on a mutual contact’s post. Anyways, we had finally connected once or twice after finally trying to connect earlier on. Because of our different schedules it became quite apparent that it wasn’t anything special, and that it wasn’t going anywhere beyond a simple “meet and greet”

She wasn’t a Christian, but I thought I would overlook that…after all, I wasn’t having much luck or fun meeting Christians anyways. It was ok at first, I wasn’t looking to actually fall in love or anything like that, especially since she was much older than I.

But by the third date it became apparent that I would not be seeing her again. Unfortunately I had previously noticed that she was talking about her ex-boyfriend more and more. Then she called him her ex-husband. And I have to admit, while I really didn’t mind her explanation of her past relationships to me, I felt rather uncomfortable around a woman who did nothing but talk about her ex-husband (or was it her ex-boyfriend)

To me, going out on a date means having fun and enjoying each other’s company. But that wasn’t happening with this woman.
Now she told me right from the start that she enjoyed her wine. That should have tipped me off right there. But I had been on other dates, and with other people, who also enjoyed their wine. However, they could actually hold their wine.
As I was driving her home during the last date, and the last time I ever saw her, she was so wasted, she managed to spill her bottle of wine all not only all over her lap, but the inside of her purse as well. Now before coming back from a severe backsliding, I had been pulled over by the police while having an empty cocktail glass in my car and didn’t like the experience (and the ticket for an illegal u-turn). Don’t worry, the glass was about 3 hours old, so I was sober, but tired at the time. I’ve also been in a car with a drug addict that reeked of pot and probably had something else on him. Both situations reminded me that I should drive without any opened alcohol in the vehicle. Having an open liquor container in the car can get you into a LOT of trouble here in town.

Of course, I am not so sure she understood the implications. And I hope and pray that she never does.
Clearly, she was beyond a buzz. And she kept on talking about how someone broke into her 2007 Corvette and left their sunglasses behind. ….Excuse me, but if someone breaks into your 2007 Corvette there would be signs all over, not the least of which is probably the lack of 2007 Corvette. I checked it out and there was no sign of even an attempted break in. Oh, now I must admit, it might not have been a 2007 Corvette, but it sure was the only sure thing she had in her life.

So I walked away from this one with no hard or hurt feelings. The Lord must have been watching out for me on this one.

I did meet a really nice Christian couple through her, and we did, of course, share some mutuality among us (airbrushing included), but since we didn’t share contact info, I had to let them go. There was no way I would ever even chance cross paths with the woman again.

So an important event in my life amongst the hardest trial of my life…. I found out that it’s better to be alone, though sometimes it may hurt like hell, than to be in the wrong company.

But despite her apparent failures I tried to offer her a bright light. I think any Christian would in such a situation. But then, no Christian would want to continually hang out with a total drunk like that.

So as a Christian, I realize I am not perfect. I may not be able to judge people who don’t know they are sinning, but I also know that my tolerance stupidity is non-existent.

Is Hope Real?

Encouragement | Posted by Eddy Damas
Jun 19 2014

I haven’t been posting at all in the past couple of months. Things have been a bit hard both in my families life and in my spiritual life as well.

My mother has been in and out of the hospital with various issues stemming from her battle with cancer. She seems to be doing fine then out of the blue the medication that is supposed to be working in her favor suddenly turns it’s back on her. I thought that with the last hospital stay she’d had enough. The tumors in her lung were stable for months, even up to a year or so, and had no growth or spread. But out of thin air, her doctor put her on some new meds, and it all went wrong as soon as she finished taking the meds.

This may sound careless, even heartless, but since I’ve been the only one around after 5 pm, I’ve suffered along with her during her battles. Basically from 5 pm up until 9 am the next morning when either her caretaker or my brother shows up.

I now have a different kind of compassion for those who not only struggle with cancer, but for those who struggle with those who have cancer.

It hits me especially when I consider that I don’t really have friends that I can call on anymore to either come over and chill with me. Since I’m disabled I have a somewhat different schedule than my friends, so we can’t really “work it out” and try and meet up. Besides, they have issues of their own. Yet I know that we still need each other…

This was never a problem before, but with my mom’s health not so good anymore, I am left to wonder if I’ll have anyone there for me in the end.

People move on and have families, and lives of their own. I was never a “people” person, but all of a sudden, I know what the lack of companionship/friendship is like.

It’s very lonely, especially when you are going through such a storm that you are basically blind. You don’t know what’s coming, and you don’t know where you’re going. All you know is that you are reaching out your hand in the hopes that you can grab on to something..or someone.

My poor mom is perhaps struggling with this as well.

If there is hope, then it is hope unseen, and unfelt. And this is the darkness that surrounds me. I can try and fill my mind and my time with things that will distract me, or calm me, or whatever else there is. But the darkness is always there, always looming, always ready to sucker punch you. And there is a light, but it’s so dim, and it’s really hard to tell if it’s near or far.

I know what Jesus must have felt like in the Garden of Gethsemane. This overall sense of hopelessness that just washes all over you all of sudden. For Him, at least, it was all of sudden, and briefly, but for many others, the hope just totally dissappears. We are often left to wonder if it will one day come back. We pray for it, we call on it. But it’s hard to hear anything when the wind is howling, the lightning is striking, and the thunder is booming.

Jesus may be in the midst of the storm, he may be the fourth man in the fire with us. He may even only be the second man in the fire with us. But it sure would be nice for others to come into the storm with us and hold our hand.

I often wonder where The Church stands on such issues today?

Our Assignment

Encouragement | Posted by Eddy Damas
Jun 19 2014

Hebrews 3:12-13 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.T)’>But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.    

There are a few things I have been aware of across the years. The first is that we need encouragement and the second is that we need to encourage each other. We might think of it as the ministry of encouragement. You do not need a degree in divinity to minister to those around you. You just need to remind them of Jesus.

The writer of Hebrews starts this passage by giving a personal challenge: “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” Looking at that passage from a different point of view we see that turning away from God results in a sinful and unbelieving heart.

How tragic to see the shipwreck of people who turn away from God. What are we to do about it? The writer is very clear; “Encourage one another daily.” We have a purpose in life and that purpose is a daily purpose.

Having spent time in police and military work, I know what it is to be given an assignment to be completed that day. Failure to accomplish the assignment could often result in lives being lost. It is a far greater responsibility to rescue the perishing and care for the dying. That is OUR ASSIGNMENT!

May God richly bless you as you bless others by your words and actions!

– – – Pastor Cecil

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