Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

On Saturday, I made this sauce.   I enjoy the depth of flavor that results from pairing rhubarb with strawberries.  The interesting thing about making this sauce was finding the right balance of sweetness.  Rhubarb is tart, so I started out with a whole cup of sugar.  My mouth puckered when I tried it, so  I added another half cup.  It was still too tart.  It took another half cup of sugar, and then it was just right.  The reason I added the sugar bit by bit was to avoid making the sauce too sweet.  Too much sugar in this sauce would’ve made our throats buzz, and would’ve also masked the flavor of the rhubarb.  I’ll include the recipe below, in case anyone’s interested.  We’ve been enjoying it with angel food cake, but it’d also be good over pancakes, waffles, or ice cream.

It’s a challenge finding the right balance of sweetness in our speech.  If we speak without thinking, our words can be too tart, and therefore, unpleasant.  Or, the things we say can come across as too sticky sweet when accompanied by a saccharine smile.  The only way to know the difference is to taste our own words.  With a little thought, kindness, and sincerity, our words can be “pleasant like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (Prov. 16:24).

Prayer for today:  It’s all too easy to snap at loved ones, or be fake with others.  May the words I say to my children, my husband, my neighbors, my church family, and to strangers that I meet, be pleasant and sincerely sweet.  

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

In large pot, combine 2 quarts of strawberries (sliced), 4 stalks of rhubarb (diced), 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water,  and the zest & juice of one orange.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Turn heat down to simmer, and cook until rhubarb is tender (about 15 minutes).  Add 1 tbsp. butter to reduce foam (optional).  Cook for a minute longer.  Remove from heat and stir in 1 tbsp. vanilla paste (or vanilla extract).  At this point, you can pour into jars as is, resulting in a chunky, fruity sauce.  Or, you can use an immersion blender, as I did, to create a smooth and creamy, ruby sauce.  Enjoy!

Garden Glory

My mom can just breathe on flowers and they thrive.  I read books and follow all the rules yet still seem to lack that magic something that real gardeners have.  However, that hasn’t dampened my love of herbs, flowers, vegetables, and all things green.   The items that spell garden, like colorful seed packets, pretty garden gloves, soil & fertilizer, potting benches, and garden hoses, make me smile.  After living in Colorado for five years, we finally decided to dig in and give gardening in Zone 5 a go.

There’s no telling how this venture will turn out, but already there is a great contentment in watering and weeding every day.  There is a breathless anticipation of the first ripe tomato or red strawberry.  There is the sheer joy that comes from the beauty of vibrant green plants against the dark earth.  There is the calming scent of the lovely lavender.  There is the united sense of purpose in a project that involves the entire family.  And there is the satisfaction that comes from slowing down long enough to play in the dirt.

Prayer for today- May I ever be mindful of God’s providence and grateful for the simple beauty of His green earth.

Boxwood Basil
Traditional Basil
Thyme
Cilantro
Thai Basil
Strawberry plants
Lemon Cucumber
Zucchini
Jalapeno
Sweet Orange Bell Pepper
Banana Peppers
Rosemary
Garden Gnome (Thank you, Sheryl!)
Lavender
First Tomato Appearance!
Sweet 100’s
Furry Garden Thief

Do You See that Face?

Neal’s million-dollar smile

That face has smiled at me for the past 19 years.  That face has greeted me in the morning, prayed with me, laughed with me, and kissed me goodnight.  That face has lit up at the birth of our children, and wept with joy at each of their rebirths when they were baptized.  That face has been filled with passion in the pulpit Sunday after Sunday.  That face has looked at me with compassion and strength during difficult times.  That face has offered me patience and forgiveness when I was the one that caused the pain.  When I look at that face every day, I see dedication, love, and a sterling character.

My prayer for today:  May my face reflect the same commitment, understanding, and generosity that has been so freely given to me.

Neal wrestling with Clover

“Life and Favor”

This little phrase that makes up the title of this post and my blog has always spoken to my heart.  It comes from the mouth of Job.  “You have granted me life and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit” (Job 10:12).  In the midst of some sorrowful tragedies, Job acknowledged God as the Source of the blessings in his life.  He questioned his trials, but he kept his faith.  He believed God was his Creator.  “You have granted me life.”  Even though the lives of his own children had been taken away, Job understood that the Giver of life was still in control.  He believed  God was his Benefactor.  “You have granted me favor.”  God didn’t just give him life.  He gave him an abundant life.  Job was still blessed, and he knew it.  He believed God was his Deliverer.  “Your care has preserved my spirit.”  Even when experiencing loss, Job knew he could trust his heart to God’s safekeeping.  The providence of God kept Job from giving up, from shriveling up, and kept his spirit looking up.  This little phrase reminds me to be grateful for the blessings that all Christians enjoy.  God is the source of eternal life (Rom. 6:23), the abundant life (2 Pet. 1:3), and the protected life (1 Tim. 4:10)!