Fairies & Gnome, Woodland Animal Bars, & Hedgehog Party Favors at www.etsy.com/shop/JuliesSugarSoaps


I have added new soaps to my shop, www.etsy.com/shop/JuliesSugarSoaps, recently.  One of my most popular soaps for this Easter season has been my Bunny & Chick Soaps which are packaged in fun gift boxes.

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Another recent addition was my 3D hedgehog soap.  I LOVE this little guy for bathroom soaps or woodland animal baby showers.  I sell them individually or in quantities of 25 soaps.  You can also purchase new sets of owls, hedgehogs, and squirrel soaps now packaged in gift boxes.

 

A very popular item in my shop has been the mini woodland animal soaps for baby showers and even woodland wedding favors.  I have now made them into bar soaps for cute gift packages.

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Fairies, Gnomes and Toadstools have also magically appeared in the woods.  The cuties make fun favors for birthday parties.

The Scars of Our Past


This is day two of my letter.

To my most loved  _____________,

We spoke about the “visible scars” of your past.  It grieves me when people, even Christians, judge you based on your appearance.  Please, never give these people the power to make you feel like you are any less loved by God.

First, everyone has scars from our past regardless if other people can see them or not.  We all have done things of which we are ashamed.  The average person can hide those scars.  Whether they are physical scars or emotional scars, we all have them.

Unfortunately, the average Christian has difficulty accepting those with the visible reminders of the past because most people can hide what they do.  A bad relationship, a past of alcoholism, or even a jail sentence can be hidden as long as the person doesn’t speak about it.  We would like to erase the past and forget that some things never happened, but we can not.

Christians need to remember the story of Samuel when God sent him to the house of Jesse to choose the next king of Israel.  Samuel saw the sons of Jesse and thought God would choose the other sons.  Surely the one who was handsome or the one who was strong would be the next king.  No, God wanted Samuel to anoint the head of a young shepherd boy named David.

I Samuel 16:7 ” But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

What is more important? The visible scars of your past or that you are an obedient, growing Christian?

The book of James reminds us of another danger of judging people based on wealth.

James 2:

“1 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.  For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;  And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:  Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?  Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”

Whether we judge people based on money or physical appearance, the only reason we should be kind to a person is because they are a human being.

Never, never allow someone make you feel badly because of the visible evidence of your past because Christ has scars too.  He bore our sins for us in His own body on the tree.

Isaiah 53: 3-5

 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

Luke 24:38-40

38 “And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?

39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.”

Christ took our sins upon Himself to forgive us.  You have physical reminders of your past.  The love of God sent His Son to the cross for even those parts of your life.  They are forgiven.  If someone, even a Christian reminds you of the scars, remind them that they are forgiven by the blood of Christ.  When God forgives our sin, the Bible says He chooses to remember it no more.  Therefore, another Christian should extend the same grace to you as well.

Honestly, I think of the evidence of your past as a beautiful testimony of God’s grace and love. You aren’t that person anymore. I can hear it in your voice when we speak. I can see it in your face in pictures. It is obvious there is a change in your life.

Psalm 147:3

3 “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”

The best part of all is that God gives us a promise. He promises to give us new bodies. He will wipe away all tears. He removes the pain of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and even the emotional pain. Can I get an Amen? That also means the visible evidence of our previous lives will be removed as well.

I love you, but God loves you so much more.  God loves you enough to die on a cross to forgive your sins. I don’t know many people who would do that.

” Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”  Proverbs 31:10

Julie

 

What is a “Good” Christian?


This post is a letter to someone I dearly love, but I feel many people need this.  There are so many times we can not forgive ourselves for our past even though others have forgiven us and most importantly, God has forgiven us.  Whether the self-incriminating guilt is a lie you told which destroyed relationships, a history of drugs, or perhaps something you have never told anyone about and you are the only person who knows “it” ever happened; guilt can destroy us and stop us from succeeding.

To My Most Loved ____________,

YOU ARE PRECIOUS!!  I wish you could see how beautiful you are both inside and outside.  When I think of you, I don’t see the evidence of the last 20 years.  I see your smile. I hear your laugh and I remember how things used to be, how it was meant to be in the beginning.  You are still the bright, brave little girl who taught me, “The sun will come out tomorrow, tomorrow . . .” and “Fame! I’m gonna live forever!! . . ”  Together we were brave enough to be Wonder Woman and dodge the bullets of the bad guys with our tin foil bracelets.

You struggle with believing in yourself.  Let me tell you what I know to be true.  You asked God to forgive your sins and accepted Christ as Savior.

What is the definition of a “good” Christian?  A good Christian is not perfect.  A good Christian still messes up.  A good Christian still has to ask God and their family for forgiveness.  Hey, God said King David was a man after God’s own heart, but King David committed sins which most people would never think of doing.  King David repented when God showed David the error of his ways.

Jonah got mad at God when the people repented.  He actually wanted God to punish the people.

Abraham slept with his wife’s servant in an effort to have an heir even though God promised Abraham his wife would bear him a child.

Peter denied Christ three times.

These believers are role models, not only for what they did right, but also for how they fixed the problems and how their lives ended.

“I Corinthians 6

9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Being a “good” Christian starts with remembering by whose power we are made clean.  You are washed by the blood of Christ.  You are sanctified by Christ.  You are justified by Christ.  It’s not about you.  It’s about our Saviour who does a work in you.  When we sin, He is there to forgive. He is there to hold us in His loving arms and let us cry.

I love you, but there is ONE who loves you much, much more.  God love must be so powerful because my love for you is bunches and bunches!!

Julie

 

I Made It Gluten Free Chicken & Dumplings In A Crock Pot


I found a recipe on Pinterest for Chicken & Dumplings in a crock pot and realized I haven’t eaten Chicken and Dumplings in more than 10 years.  I peeked at the recipe to see if this would be an easy recipe to convert to a gluten-free version.  This link takes you to the original version at eatingonadime.com.  Today, I give you my gluten-free version of Chicken & Dumplings.

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Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (can be frozen)
  • 1/2 package of frozen mixed veggies (or chop up some fresh veggies)- I used 1.5 cups frozen green peas, 1.5 cups frozen corn, and one peeled and chopped carrot.
  • 1/2 onion chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 4 cups of water- I used 2 cups chicken stock and 2 cups water.
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  •  pepper to taste
  • 1 recipe for gluten free Buttermilk Biscuits to follow

Instructions for the Chicken Stew:

  1. Cut the chicken breast in 2-3 inch pieces. Place the chicken and veggies in the crock pot.
  2. Put 1/4 cup gluten free all purpose baking mix in a small bowl.  Add 1/2 c. COLD water.  Using a fork, mix the flour and water until the flour chunks are broken apart.  Add this mixture to the crock pot.
  3. Pour the remaining water and stock of the top.
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours, or high for 3.
  5. Make the gluten free biscuits.
  6. Form the biscuit dough into small balls similar to small meatballs and place on top.
  7. Let cook on high for one hour or low for 2.  Once the dumplings are placed on top of the stew, I prefer not to stir it.  This prevents the dumplings from breaking apart.
  8. You can test the dumplings for doneness by cutting one open. The center should be fluffy and look like bread.  If it appears doughy or tastes like raw dough, the dumplings should be cooked longer.
Gluten Free Dumplings:
This is the same recipe used to I shared Saturday for the Buttermilk Biscuits.  The chicken stew portion of the recipe cooks for either 6 hours on low or 3 hours on high.  Then begin making the biscuits and add them to the pot.
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups gluten free Bisquick or Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Mix plus more for dusting your surface
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk
INSTRUCTION
  1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt until blended.
  2. Using a fork, pastry blender, or stand mixer cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is incorporated well. The mixture will be course and crumbly.
  3. Add in the beaten eggs and slowly add in buttermilk as you stir.
  4. When dough is completely blended it should be soft and slightly fluffy.

At this point return to step #5 of the main recipe.

Weekend Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits


Since I went gluten-free January 5, 2009, I only tried making biscuits once.  I was disappointed with the quality and texture.  I never tried making biscuits again.

I recently found a recipe for gluten-free Buttermilk Biscuits which interested me. The recipe included simple ingredients and had simple instructions.  So I gave it a try.  Since I do not have a stand mixer, my husband used my pastry knife to cut the butter into the flour for me.  This saved me hands a little pain.

Biscuit making tips:  Refrain from handling the dough as much as possible.  Your hands will warm the butter.  Biscuits turn out best when using COLD butter, milk, and eggs.

When I use gluten-free flour, I prefer to not use a mixer.  Gluten free flour can easily become over mixed, tough, and chewy.  In my opinion, using a pastry cutter is the best method for this recipe.

These are my biscuits.

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PERFECT GLUTEN FREE BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
Recipe type: Breakfast, Baked Goods
Prep time:  10 mins
Cook time:  15 mins
Total time:  25 mins
Serves: 8
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups gluten-free Bisquick plus more for dusting your surface
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup buttermilk

Gluten-Free-Honey-Ham-Swiss-Biscuits

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt until blended.
  3. Using a fork, pastry blender, or stand mixer cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is incorporated well. The mixture will be course and crumbly.
  4. Add in the beaten eggs and slowly add in buttermilk as you stir.
  5. When dough is completely blended it should be soft and slightly fluffy.
  6. Flip dough onto floured work surface. Use a biscuit cutter or the top of a mason jar to cut out biscuits. Place biscuits in a greased cast iron skillet or other oven proof dish. Just be sure to place biscuits close together.
  7. Bake 15 minutes until fluffy and golden brown.

I love this recipe.  I like to eat them with honey as a snack.  You could even make a breakfast gravy to serve with the biscuits or cut them in half to make a simple ham sandwich.

If you do not have Bisquick, you can use this all-purpose baking mix.  I tried it and they come out just as good.

This is from Jules Shepard’s “Nearly Normal Cooking for Gluten-Free Eating.”  I added the almond meal to give it a little extra flavor.  If your dough or batter ever seems a little dry due to the extra addition of almond meal, add an extra shot of whatever liquid you have in your recipe and you should be able to correct the dryness.  You can also use the link in the Flatbread recipe for her all-purpose gluten-free flour mix.

1 c. White Rice Flour

1 c. Potato Starch

1 c. Cornstarch

1/2 c. corn flour (i.e. sweet sorghum flour works well)

1/2 c. tapioca flour

1/2 c. almond meal

4 tsp. xanthum gum

I mix this in multiple batches and store it in my cupboard in a large container.  Whenever I am ready to bake, the baking mix is always ready and I do not need to stop and prepare it.

Tomorrow I will share with you how I used this recipe to change a glutenful Chicken & Dumplings recipe and make it gluten-free.