July 22, 2010

Queen of the Castle: Week 29

 For those of you playing along...(if you've just joined us you can get caught up a bit here) we are on week 29 of the book Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker.

This chapter is titled "Feasting on Fruit".  "July is a wonderful month to thank God for His goodness, in so many areas of our lives.  As we walk through the grocery store and see bins overflowing with juicy strawberries, cherries, and peaches, let it remind us of God's abundant provision.  In the past He faithfully provided manna in the desert to the Israelites.  He faithfully provides for you and me today."

Lynne, the author, encourage us to make chocolate dipped fruit and gives us a few other ideas like using up the watermelon in a few of the following ways:

*Make a fruit punch!  Puree 3 1/2 cups seeded watermelon cubes in small batches in the blender.  Combine watermelon puree and 3 1/2 cups lemonade or limeade in a pitcher along with2 cups orange juice.
*For a dessert or a snack, dab a slice of watermelon with sour cream (or plain yogurt) and a sprinkling of brown sugar.  
*When you don't think you can face that hunk of fruit one more time, chunk what's left into two-inch cubes, discarding rinds and seeds, and freeze in Ziploc bags.  Later in the summer, when you've given watermelon a rest, use it in frozen fruit smoothies.

Lynne also recommends canning jam with all the fresh fruit that abounds.  Canning jam is super easy.  I'm not talking freezer jam, either.  If you read my other post (here) about making jam to set aside for Christmas gifts, you'll remember that I don't care for freezer jam.  I think it's too sweet and the jam has a different flavor.  But I don't process my jam afterward either.  I use Kroger brand pectin (I'm sure you can use any brand.). They have a no process tip in their instructions. (You have to cook the jam but after it's canned you don't have to process it.) Keep the jars and lids sterile and hot and make sure the jam goes through a good rolling boil for a minute. Then you put the jam in the hot jars, wipe the rim, put on the lids and bands (very snugly) and then flip them upside down for 5 minutes. After that flip them right side up and then wait about 5-30 minutes to hear the pop of the lid that means it's sealed. I have canned jam like that for a few years now and there is no difference for us.  Except that you don't have to process it!
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Lynne also reminds us of the fruit of the Spirit.  "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, patience, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23).  "For a fruit tree, fruit comes naturally.  Give it water, sunlight, soil with nutrients, and time and it eventually produces fruit. Producing fruit is what we were made for!  With enough time spent reading the Word, praying, asking Him to help us as we follow Him, God will bring about fruit in us.  Spend some time today reflecting on the list of fruit from Galatians.  Ask God to show you the one fruit you need more of in your life right now.  Pray specifically that God would bring about that fruit in you."

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"Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the ranch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-5)

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