Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ashleigh’s hot chocolate

Tonight I invented my own Hot Chocolate recipe… it was delicious!

So here are the ingredients:

  • 500ml water (2 cups) boiling water
  • 1 tin condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

And here is how you make it:

  1. Put all the ingredients on a pot on the stove.
  2. Heat to just before boiling point stirring continuously.
  3. Pour into mugs.

Serves 2

A typical meal

This is a typical meal that I prepare in my home.  It is my lazy meal, the one I make when I don’t really feel like cooking anything special.

I cook these meals in the steamer.  As a rule of thumb I cook the following per person I am feeding:

  • 1 portion orange vegetables (carrots, potatoes, etc.)
  • 1 portion green vegetables (green beans, peas etc.)
  • 1 portion starch (rice or potatoes)
  • 1 portion meat (fish, chicken, beef or pork)
  • 1 portion salad

Here are the photo’s of my meal:


Those where the veggies, fresh before going into the steamer.


My steamer waiting for the food.


The finished meal.  With this specific meal, I didn’t  make any starch, but normally you would see potatoes or rice on the plate with it.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Comfort of the Rich (Giving Back)

But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. ~ Luke 6:24 (New International Version)

I take a look at the world around me and I see rich Godly people, or rather people who think they are Godly.  They have pretty houses.  They have nice cars.  They live a life that appears to be filled with luxury.  They have every comfort their heart desires.

I then take a look at the poorer Godly people.  What they have they tend to share because they are constantly aware that there is someone less fortunate than themselves.  There are poor people who give all they can to further the church of God, believing that God will reward them when they get to heaven.  These people may not have running water in their homes.  They may not have electricity.  They may not have more than 2 rooms (and by 2 rooms I mean living area and sleeping area).  Their homes may be made out of course materials, but these people make the most of it and they are, for the most part, happier than the wealthy rich people, because these people know that God is their salvation and if they follow God’s commands then they will be blessed, if not in this life then in the next.

Then I take a look more in depth at the lives of these rich people.  Some of them are working 12 hours a day to maintain this lifestyle.  Others have no true friends at all.  And yet others hardly have any family to speak of.  A lot of these rich people are selfish.  They care only for the wealth of this world.

I take a look more closely at the lives of the poorer Godly people.  Some of them are working 12 hours a day to survive, but they have friends and they have family.  They are unselfish and share the little they have.  They care only about surviving, serving God and serving others.

How different the world once was.  I remember hearing a story about a fairly wealthy man who was born in 1890.  He very rarely gave money to a church.  He also very rarely gave money to charity.  But he did something far greater than either of these things.  He gave 3 people employment and provided a loving home for a wife who was not an intelligent women in the modern sense, but had a good heart (you can read her story at the end of my What are you living for? post).  What I want to focus on about his life was that he gave 3 people employment.  That was how he gave back to the community.  He10679_wpm_lowres employed a poor person to work his garden and help as a handyman in his home.  He employed another poor person to be a full-time cook.  And he employed another poor person to be a full-time maid in his house. 

This man was fairly wealthy, but he was giving.  When the fruit trees in his garden overflowed with their fruit, he didn’t store it up and let it go off.  He would pick out the best and take it to his poorer neighbours.  He would send some home with his servants.  When there were roses blooming in the garden, he would pick one and put it in a vase on his daughter’s dressing table for her to find when she got home from school.

My point is, in this, that he shared his comforts with the people around him, unlike in the modern world where people store up their comforts here on earth.  They have their happiness in their selfish richness, and Jesus said that will not end well for them.

What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now ~ Luke 6:24 (New Living Translation)

But we can overcome this problem.  We can God’s commands.  We can “Do good and share with others” as said in Hebrews 13:16 and we can:

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. ~ Matthew 6:20 (New International Version)

Do good to others.  You don’t have to employ a cook, a gardener or a maid, but when you buy things, buy from poor people who are doing everything they can to provide for their family.  People who are just trying to break even at the end of the month and are not trying to build up their riches here on earth.

Buy homemade products instead of products made by big corporations.  Visit the farmers market instead of the grocery store.  Go to the corner cafe instead of the MacDonald’s.  Give back in your community rather than to the corporate world.  And what is more, write letters of thanks to people who have blessed you.  Follow up and build relationships with the people here on earth.  Be a witness to your family, friends and community!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

How to find a man?

2793_wpm_lowresThis is a topic that is extremely popular among women.  I can guarantee that all the woman in the world who are attracted to men, who want to find a man and get married, are dreaming of a gentleman.  You can read my article on the Character Traits of a Gentleman here
I don’t know any lady that dreams of marrying a man who shows up at home, kicks off his smelly boots, calls for a beer, plonks himself down on the sofa and watches TV for 6 hours before neglecting to take a shower and climbing into bed next to her.  If you are a woman who dreams of this, please let me know by leaving a comment so I can be proven wrong.
I am sure that most women dream of marrying a man who shows up at home, dances with her in the kitchen while kissing and holding her, greets the children (if there are any), helps her cook supper (or keeps her company while she cooks), then does the dishes while she takes a bubble bath (joining her when the dishes are done) and finally snuggling into bed with her, to hold her tight the whole night long.
I am sorry to say this, but men like the one I described in the above paragraph are few and far between.  In a world where everything revolves around instant gratification, a woman looking for a man urgently is more likely to be disappointed and heart broken time and time again. 
The key here is that you are urgently looking for the man.  You are asking, where to find a man, and you are searching for an instant gratification, with the romance marriage and a happily ever after.  You are not capable of being patient and waiting for the right man.  You are not requiring men to treat you with love an respect.  The more women settle, the lazier men become.
A little secret… You know the men, like the one you are looking for?  They do exist.  They are not impossible to find.  I know this because I have one in my life.  The trick to winning a gentleman’s heart is to become a lady.  That is right, a lady.  You need to treat yourself how you want to be treated by men.  If you see yourself like a princess then men will treat you like a princess.
I don’t know if you are a Christian, but I am.  Something that I look for in a man is that he must be striving to be a Godly man.  He must be honourable, trustworthy, honest and loving (especially to the women in his life).
But what do women do?  The number of women looking for a good man who won’t play with their hearts number in the thousands.  The number of women asking the question “where to find a man?” number in the hundreds of thousands.  The number of men trying to be gentlemen, well, that is considerably less.  I personally believe the number of gentlemen is less because the number of women who are settling for less than gentlemen is extremely high.  A man looking for a good time knows that he can phone you, and if you say no then he can phone Susan, Jane, Mary, Abbey, Rachel and Karen too, one of them will be willing to go on a date within 1 hour and most likely let him spend the night too.
Just throwing a Bible verse too:
In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, “We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name. Take away our disgrace! – Isaiah 4:1
If you know nothing of the Jewish and Christian Bible, Isaiah was a prophet that wrote a book and this verse is one of his predictions.
I interpret that verse in the modern context, that women are falling head over heals for righteous, Godly, gentlemen, because there are so few on them left in the world.
So what can we, as women do?  Where to find a man?
  1. Us, as women, need to stand together.  If enough women refuse to accept less than the best in a man, then the man will be forced to either a) remain single all his life, b) look to other men for comfort or c) become the gentleman women dream of.
  2. Women, those who have children, need to raise their boys to be gentlemen and their daughters to accept nothing less than a gentleman.
  3. Women, you need to better yourselves!  You need to
    • dress like a lady worthy of respect, not a street corner business woman. 
    • Expect men to treat you with respect, and treat yourself with respect.  You are an amazing person and if you don’t think so, why not?  Fix it!  I know you can!
    • Learn skills in homemaking.  I heard on the radio the other day that God created Eve as a version 2 of Adam.  Sure, women can do everything a man can do… the feminist movement has proven that.  Women can be doctors, scientists, mathematicians, business women, programmers etc.  But what the feminist movement doesn’t mention is that Woman can do certain thing better than 90% of the men out there, they can be better mothers, homemakers, lovers, friends and caregivers than most men. 
If you want a to find a man, then it is important to develop the womanly/feminine qualities because that is what the gentlemen are attracted to.  Take a look at my Disney Princess Series for character traits of women
This is just my 2 cents worth.  Take it or leave it as you wish.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

God whisper

It’s 6:12am here in South Africa, as I start typing my blog post.  My alarm clock played a horrible trick on me and I am just thankful that it didn’t result in me being late for work.
You see, what happened is I left my cell-phone in the study to charge last night.  I only have one technological device in my bedroom and that is my alarm clock.  During the night (I’m guessing around 4am) I reached over to look at the time.  I bumped the clock onto the floor.  When I picked it up it said 2:01am.  I went back to sleep.  I woke up a second time, looked at the clock and it said 3:55am, so I was about to go back to sleep, but I kept getting the little voice to check my cell-phone.
At first I thought, well it can wait until my alarm goes off at 4:30am.  Then something made me check my alarms time.  I believe it was a God whisper that made me check it.  I saw that the alarm was set to go off at 2am!  Now that wasn’t right!
I got out of bed.  It was still dark outside so I at least knew I couldn’t be late for work.  The sun is just coming up when I leave for work in the morning.
Looking at my cell-phone I saw the time was 6:05am.  Perfect amount of time to have a cup of coffee and dress for work before I leave at 7am.
So where am I going with this story?  Well, I want to talk about God whispers.  I’m sure that everyone gets a gut feeling from time to time…
Don’t go down that road, take the next one.  Check your cell-phone.  Phone your daughter and tell her you love her.  Have you remembered to turn off the stove?
Have you also noticed that when it happens you are usually in a quite place?  Your soul is a little calmer than normal even if you are not having actual quite time.
Well, I believe that is God telling you those things, and it is worth listening.
It reminds me of Psalm 55:22 which reads:
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Last night I handed my cares over to God.  I got a great nights sleep and this morning God woke me up on time.  I won’t overstep the boundary and expect him to wake me up every morning without an alarm clock, but to do it on the one day my alarm failed me is noteworthy.
Listen out for the God whispers coming to you.
Readers:  How has God whispered to you in the past?  I want to hear your stories!  Post them in a comment below!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Character Traits of a Gentleman

After my Disney Princess series there was some interest in the character traits of a gentleman.  Now, while I by no means claim to be an expert on character traits of gentlemen, I can definitely give some basic guidelines that aspiring gentlemen can follow, and mothers can use while raising their boys into admirable men.

A man who treats his woman like a princess is proof that he has been born and raised in the arms of a queen. – source unknown.

So here are some of the character traits that I appreciate in a man and I feel that a man who possesses these traits is most definitely a modern day gentleman.

  1. Polite – a gentleman is well mannered. 
    1. He will stand aside at a doorway when a lady wishes to go through. 
    2. He will not speak any profanities in front of a woman and keeps the other men in his company in check. 
    3. Naturally he won’t put the other men down in front of a lady, but rather call them aside privately if their manners are questionable. 
    4. He will open a car door for a woman. 
    5. He will pull a chair out for the lady at a dinner table. 
    6. He will treat all those around him with respect and courtesy regardless of their station in life. 
    7. If he asked a woman for a date he will pay for the date (I am a firm believer in that the person who asks pays)
  2. Honest – If he says something it is the truth, and he will honour his commitments.  Meaning, if he says he will phone someone, he will phone them.  If he says “I’ll text you” then he will actually text you. 
  3. Intelligent – a gentleman takes an interest in learning and furthering his knowledge.
    1. He’ll read books and magazines that provide him with information for decent conversations (Popular Mechanics, National Geographic, Newspapers etc.)
    2. He’ll study to further his knowledge on topics of interest and practice his talents.
  4. Witty – a gentleman never resorts to toilet humour, but does have a sharp wit that is never hurtful or vulgar.  When I think of gentlemanly humour I think of the classic British Sitcoms, like Black Adder, Keeping Up Appearances, etc.
  5. Talented – a gentleman discovers his talents and develops them whatever they are.  If he is a talented musician he will master the instrument.  If he is a talented sportsman, he will master his sport.  Everyone has a talent, it just takes time to discover what it is and master it.  Even if the gentleman’s talent is cooking, he will learn to master it.
  6. Modest – a gentleman is modest at all times.  He will not brag about his accomplishments, but allow his accomplishments to speak for themselves.  He is humble and not scared to apologize when he is in the wrong.
  7. Champion – a gentleman will protect those weaker than himself at all costs.  He is a hero to his wife/sister/mother/children.  He is his sons first hero and his daughters first knight.  He is his wife’s King and his mothers Prince.
  8. Well dressed – a gentleman takes pride in his appearance.  He will be well dressed and well groomed at all times.  He will have good personal hygiene, his clothes will be without holes and his shoes will be clean.
  9. Culturally aware – a gentleman is knowledgeable about worldly events.  He is up to date with the latest developments in the culture and world around him.  He will lend a helping hand at charity events without any expectation of something in return.  He will also be willing to attend an opera, orchestra, theatre production, movie, art show etc. and not complain the whole way through, although he may respectfully say at the end that it wasn’t his cup of tea and doubts he will go again.

These are the character traits I see in gentlemen and the character traits I appreciate in a man.  If only there were more men like this in the world.

Ladies, please take an effort to raise your sons with these manners, his future wife and children will thank you for it.

Men, please strive to be a gentleman!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Recipe: Crumbed Mushrooms

This is the starter I made when I had my friends over last Saturday.
So here is the recipe for my crumbed mushrooms:
  • Button or brown mushrooms (quantity of your choice, amounts below are for 3 cups of button mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic
  • breadcrumbs
  1. Clean mushrooms well
  2. Place in a bag with flour and shake well to cover mushrooms
  3. Beat egg and add garlic
  4. Add mushrooms to egg.
  5. Place mushrooms in a bag with breadcrumbs and shake well.
  6. Place on a tray and leave for 30minutes
  7. Deep fry until golden brown
  8. Serve immediately
And the last 2 pictures of the evening, Annalenne helping in the kitchen and my puppy Zoey passed out from all the excitement of having so much activity in the household.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Recipe: Chicken and Pumpkin Curry

I’m sorry that I didn’t take a photograph of this dish, but here is the recipe.
  • 50ml Margarine (2 tablespoons)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 10ml garlic, finely chopped (2 teaspoons or one clove)
  • 10ml ginger, finely chopped (2 teaspoons)
  • 25ml curry powder (1 heaped tablespoon)
  • 1 chicken, cut into portions (or 4-6 chicken fillets)
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 750ml pumpkin, peeled and cubed (3 cups… but I used 5-6 cups)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 25ml coriander leaves (optional – I left it out on the night I made this)
(HINT: Chop and cut everything you need before you start.  You won’t have time to cut the chicken pieces and tomato while the onions fry since you have to keep them moving!)
  1. Heat the Margarine and fry onions, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes
  2. Add curry powder and fry for 1 minute
  3. Add chicken pieces, tomatoes, pumpkin, salt and pepper
  4. Stir well with a metal spoon
  5. Cover pan and cook slowly for 30 minutes
  6. Stir in coriander leaves and serve on rice.
And here is another photograph from the evening.  Mark (left) and his cousin Stéfan (right) – pulling faces for the camera – men never really grow up do they?  I think that is why women love them!

Recipe: Apricot Cinnamon Cake

Last night I had some of my friends, Hannes, Maryann (who has been my best friend since Grade 4), Stéfan, Annalene and of course Mark over for Dinner.  The meal was as follows:
Starter: Crumbed Mushrooms
Main: Chicken and Pumpkin Curry
Dessert: Apricot Cinnamon Cake
Over the next three days I’ll be giving you a recipe a day, as well as a photograph taken during the course of the evening.
So here is the first recipe and it is the dessert, Apricot Cinnamon Cake.
  • 250ml flour (1 cup)
  • 5ml baking powder (1 teaspoon)
  • 125ml castor sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 150ml Margarine, melted (bit more than 1/2 a cup)
  • 1 can apricot halves, drained
  • 5ml ground cinnamon (1 teaspoon)
  • Apricot jam to glaze
  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC (356ºF)
  2. Grease a 20cm round cake tin (7.8inch – just find the closes size doesn’t need to be exact)
  3. Sift together flour and baking powder then add sugar
  4. Add eggs and melted Rama to dry ingredients and beat well
  5. Pour into cake tin
  6. Place apricots, cut side up, on top of the mixture
  7. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes.  Glaze with warm jam.
And as I promised, here is a photograph from the evening, my best friend since Grade 4, Maryann, and her boyfriend Hannes.