Pots and Pans – Meringue Cookies

When we vacation in Jamaica I adore having meringue cookies for dessert. They are always available at the lunchtime buffet in the Cornwall Hotel.

I rarely find meringue cookies in my area, but then, do I really look hard enough? Recently, I came upon Ina Garten’s recipe for Salted Pistachio Meringue cookies and my craving for them would not be denied.

Ina Garten’s recipe made a large cookie and appeared time-consuming. The meringue needed to be whipped for 10 minutes, but I loved the idea of pistachios and salt on the top. I had some pistachios in the pantry and felt it was a perfect opportunity to use them.

I found another Food Network Star’s recipe for meringues. The Pioneer Woman’s recipe was super-simple, prettier, called for no special ingredients, and was very easy to make. I added Ina Garten’s topping and had the perfect cookie.

The cookies are not for everyone, I think they are a bit of an acquired taste. I know I probably would have turned my nose up at them when I was a child. My husband doesn’t care for them. I, on the other hand, have to stop myself from eating a dozen at a time.

They keep very well. Mine are about four days old and still light and crisp, stored in an air-tight mason jar. Delicious!

Here are the two recipes I combined:

The Pioneer Woman – How to Make Meringues – Vanilla Meringue Cookies

Ina Garten – Salted Pistachio Meringue Cookies

Praise – Charles Haddon Spurgeon/John’s Doxology/Part 16 – Unfurled

I love coming upon fiddle ferns springing up from the floor of the woods. After sleeping underground all winter, they unfurl from beneath the blanket of leaves that have enriched the soil. When I think of all Jesus has done for me I can relate to those ferns. If I am tightly wound, and dismayed by the rapid changes in our world, his presence calms me, and helps me grow upright and more in love with Him each day.

Jesus is our Redeemer. Instead of reaping the penalty for our sins, he washes us clean and raises our head, he makes us priests to God. How can I not praise Him? I pray that every heart will be filled with his love. I believe each of us, by serving Him, can, and will, make a difference in this world.

C.H. Spurgeon – John’s Doxology

“To him that lov’d the souls of men,
And wash’d us in his blood,
To royal honours raised our head,
And made us priests to God;
“To him let every tongue be praise,
And every heart be love!
All grateful honours paid on earth,
And nobler songs above!”

Thus much upon the condition of heart which suggests these doxologies.

Photo Challenges – Bright Dandelion and a Wildflower Walk

I love dandelion puffs. Backlit by the morning sun, the photo becomes naturally monochromatic. There are some interesting sparkles shining in the fluffy parachutes. The correct name for the fluff is pappus. You can find more dandelion information on Quora.

Today, I came upon a great blog called Good One God Challenge. My entry for the challenge is this beautiful dandelion. The dandelion against the sky is part of Skywatch. The square shape and the bright sunshine makes it perfect for today’s Life of B – April Squares Bright challenge entry. While not bright in color, the photo conveys a sense of brightness in the contrast.

I found the beautiful puff of dandelion on this week’s wildflower walk. These bright and beautiful wildflowers are blooming now in my Mid-Atlantic state of New Jersey. (Do squares in a square count as a bright square? I’ll have to ask Becky.)

Top to bottom, left to right, the wildflower names are:

1. Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) – An invasive groundcover in the mint family.

2. Speedwell Persian (Veronica-persicaiolet) – Very small flowers, but they capture the color of the sky. It’s everywhere at this time of year in NJ, but soon disappears when hot weather arrives.

3. Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) – This plant is invasive, but it also has the beautiful yellow petals of buttercups, and is in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae.

4 Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – Nutritious, the plant has many benefits.

5. Purple Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) – Although it can be invasive, it is an important wildflower for early pollinators. In this photograph you can see a Cabbage White Butterfly feeding on the small flowers.

6 White Violets (Viola blanda) – These are lovely, but like many wildflowers, can become invasive and take over your garden beds and lawn.

7. Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) – I learned this wildflower is a wild edible, but also can be invasive.

8. Periwinkle (Myrtle vinca) – Not just a wildflower, this plant is sometimes sold in garden nurseries as an evergreen groundcover.

9. Indian Strawberry (Duchesnea indica) – The small strawberries are not edible. The leaves can be used to treat eczema.

Phruit – Dragon Fruit

Today I’m taking part in the Squares Challenge/Life of B/April – Bright . I think these Dragon Fruit I recently purchased are the perfect choice for bright.

Dragon Fruit, proper name Pitaya or Pitayaha, come in two colors, a beautiful bright sunshine gold, and these amazing magenta-crimson variety. So far, after sampling both types in the past few weeks, I am a little more partial to the gold, Perhaps the red variety wasn’t quite as ripe as it should be though, so I will give it another two chances…exactly the amount of dragon fruit I still have left.

After reading the link below, I was able to conclude my Dragon Fruit was ready to eat. The fruit was bright in color and the ‘wings’ on the skin had browned a bit and started to wither.

3 Ways to Tell if a Dragon Fruit is Ripe

I took a chance when I purchased this fruit. It is very expensive. For some reason I thought they grew on trees. I was surprised to find they are a type of cactus. A piece of the stem from the cactus is visible on one end of this fruit. Would I be able to propagate it using this stem? I don’t know, perhaps I’ll give it a try. I do know I will be saving some of the seeds in an attempt to grow them into a plant. I’ll update my progress in future posts.

How to grow a Dragon fruit from fruit’s seeds.

The seeds in a Dragon Fruit are edible, much like a Kiwi. I slice the fruit in half and scoop it out with a spoon. I prefer the fruit to come to room temperature if it has been stored in the refrigerator. Delicious!

Place – Wildwood, New Jersey/Small and Large

We recently spent an ‘off-season’ night in a Jersey Shore hotel right where the North Wildwood Boardwalk begins. It was chilly, but being avid beachcombers, we ventured out near sunset. These photographs are part of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge/Size Comparison of Objects.

Jersey Shore beaches, especially in Wildwood, are usually low and flat. Beach replenishment is the purpose of these sand dunes, and they will eventually be leveled off. They are huge. You can see how small the people in the distance appear alongside of them.

We can’t wait until the sounds and sights of New Jersey’s boardwalks are back to normal again.

Somewhere in those waves are the porpoises we saw swimming in a pod. It’s the first time I’ve seen them at this time of year, and in such large numbers. By the time I pushed the shutter button on my camera, they were back underwater again.

I’ve visited the Jersey shore for over five decades. I don’t think I’ve missed a summer in all that time. This sand dollar is a first. They are rare to find on our beaches. They are usually broken up by the heavy surf. Could the sand dollar have been scooped up with some of the dune sand and then washed away onto the beach? I don’t know how it happened, but I was blessed to find it. One small sand dollar on a very large beach…a miracle.

Praise – Charles Haddon Spurgeon/John’s Doxology/Part 15 – Enthusiastic Joy

While visiting Jamaica, I remember watching for the start of sunset each evening. Unencumbered by the trees and buildings that block out sunsets where I live, the beautiful glory of God’s gift to us in the Jamaican sunset over the ocean was a source of enthusiastic joy within me.

I love what Charles Haddon Spurgeon preached in this portion of John’s Doxology. The sight and thought that prompted him to enthusiastic joy was the multitude of the redeemed. I hope and pray that when I think of the brotherhood of those who love Christ Jesus that I will be prompted to enthusiastic joy too.

C.H. Spurgeon – John’s Doxology

Once more. I think we have brought out two points which are clear enough. John had realized his Master, and firmly grasped the blessings which his Master brought him; but he had also felt, and was feeling very strongly, his communion with all the saints. Notice the use of the plural pronoun. We should not have wondered if he had said, “Unto him that loved me, and washed me from my sins in his own blood.” Somehow there would have been a loss of sweetness had the doxology been so worded, and it would have hardly sounded like John. John is the very mirror of love, and he cannot live alone, or rejoice in sacred benefits alone. John must have all the brotherhood round about him, and he must speak in their name, or he will be as one bereft of half himself. Beloved, it is well for you and me to use this “us” very often. There are times when it is better to say “me,” but in general let us got away to the “us”; for has not our Lord taught us when we pray to say, “Our Father which art in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; forgive us our trespasses,” and so on? Jesus does not bid us say, “My Father.” We do say it, and it is well to say it; but yet our usual prayers must run in the “Our Father” style; and our usual praises must be, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins.” Let me ask you, beloved brethren, do you not love the Lord Jesus all the better and praise him all the more heartily because his grace and love are not given to you alone? Why, that blessed love has embraced your children, your neighbours, your fellow church-members, myriads who have gone before you, multitudes that are round about you, and an innumerable company who are coming after; and for this we ought to praise the gracious Lord with unbounded delight. It seems so much the more lovely,— this salvation, when we think of it, not as a cup of water of which one or two of us may drink, but as a well of water opened in the desert, ever flowing, ever giving life and deliverance and restoration to all who pass that way. “Unto him that loved us.” Oh, my Lord, I bless thee for having loved me; but sometimes I think I could adore thee for loving my wife, for loving my children, and all these dear friends around me, even if I had no personal share in thy salvation. Sometimes this seems the greater part of it, not that I should share in thy compassion, but that all these poor sheep should be gathered into thy fold and kept safe by thee. The instinct of a Christian minister especially leads him to love Christ for loving the many; and I think the thought of every true worker for the Lord runs much in the same line. No man will burst out into such joyful adoration as we have now before us unless he has a great heart within him, full of love to all the brotherhood; and then, as he looks upon the multitude of the redeemed around about him, he will be prompted to cry with enthusiastic joy

Phlowers – Blooming in the Garden/April 9, 2021

I planted a new Forsythia in the side garden. It seems to be doing well, and the bright yellow blooms have been a mood booster for sure. The Forsythia is part of this week’s Friday Skywatch.

Daffodils are still opening and blooming in several different colors and sizes.

Starflowers are opening up in the side garden.

Siberian Squill, one of my Springtime favorites, reflects the gorgeous blue of the sky. This dainty flower is my choice for Cee’s Flower of the Day. (I had originally, in error, named this bulb plant as Glory of the Snow. Reading another bloggers post I realized I had the wrong name and changed it to the correct label.)

Periwinkles are my ‘never-give-up’ flower. They are surrounded on all sides, overtaken by English Ivy, yet they wiggle their way through the tangled stems and bloom every Spring.

“Flowers are the music of the ground. From earth’s lips spoken without sound.” ~Edwin Curran (American Poet)

Place – Cape May Bunker

The old World War II Bunker is still standing on the beach at Cape May Point State Park. The history of the bunker can be found on the Atlas Obscura site. This is an interesting site to explore. It’s always fun to find new and unknown history to visit in person or virtually.

This rusty old relic is my choice for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge of Rusty or Decayed.

Praise – Charles Haddon Spurgeon/John’s Doxology/Part 14 – Peace with God

We are living in a time when peace seems near impossible. It’s not necessarily warfare I am speaking of, although that could spring up at any moment, but more so the constant pecking away of politicians, false media reports, and manufactured crises for stealing away freedom, human rights, and prosperity.

For those who have given their hearts and lives to Christ Jesus, it is a blessing to have the assurance that no matter what happens here on earth, Jesus has made peace for us with God. From every fiber of my being I thank him for giving his life for me, for taking my sins upon himself, for opening the way to eternal life and everlasting fellowship with him in Glory.

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. ~ Revelation 21:23

C.H. Spurgeon – John’s Doxology

“O how sweet to view the flowing
Of the Saviour’s precious blood!
With divine assurance, knowing
He has made my peace with God.”

This well-grounded assurance will throw you into ecstasy, and it will not be long before the deep of your heart will well up with fresh springs of adoring love. Then shall you also praise the Lord with some such words as these: “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

Philm – Risen

I watched the movie ‘Risen’ once again this week. It never fails to move me. The love of Y’shua (Jesus), for men of all races and religions, overtakes every stress and worry I have as I watch. I had to pause the movie numerous times to pray for my family, to praise the King of kings and Lord of lords, and wipe away the tears of love and joy I have for him, and through him.

The movie is violent in places and might not be suitable for younger children. It portrays in detail the brutality of occupied Jerusalem, the horror of the crucifixion, the self-promoting ambition of Pilate, the hypocrisy of the Sanhedrin, and the poverty and oppression that most of the Jewish people lived in.

Spoiler Alert: The last words in the movie, spoken by the Roman Tribune, Clavius, are what most who turn to Jesus Christ feel within their innermost spirit…

“I believe I can never be the same.”

Peculiarities – Seventeen Year Cicadas

Seventeen Year Cicada

The seventeen year cicadas are on their way back. They certainly are a novelty, if not a peculiarity. Strange thing though, although they are forecasted to emerge in my Mid-Atlantic area, they made a showing in 2013. I documented it here on my blog: Seventeen Year Cicadas.

I don’t recall seeing many in my town in 2013, just the ordinary thrumming bug that shows up each year. I decided the prediction of an emergence was a mistake. The prediction wasn’t in error, I was wrong; on a camping trip we found the area swarmed with the orange-dark green insects. The video was taken in Belleplain State Forest, which proves the point in the following link that cicadas are mainly found in wooded areas. “The Cicadas are Coming.”

The cicadas can damage new branch growth. They feed by sucking sap from tender twigs, while the nymphs in the ground feed by sucking juices from plant roots.

As I was trying to figure out how seventeen years have passed since 2013, I came upon an article that explained the phenomenon – Magical Early Cicadas. It seems there are different ‘broods’ of cicadas, hatching at different times. The article also explained that seventeen year cicadas that emerge ahead of schedule are called stragglers. I’ll be watching for them, and hopefully, as in the last brood that hatched, they will not visit my gardens, but stay in the forest where they belong.

Praise – Charles Haddon Spurgeon/John’s Doxology/Part 13 – Sing Hosanna/No Doubts

I’ve grown pansies for many years. One of my favorite characteristics of these gorgeous blooms is their ability to withstand frost. I have no doubt when I put them outdoors in mid-March that they will be able to withstand the freezing temperatures.

These pansies, regal in their purples, and brilliant with their sunlight faces, almost seem alive. I can just about imagine them singing ‘Hosanna,’ on this Palm Sunday. After all, if the trees can clap their hands, perhaps the pansies truly can sing!

For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. ~Isaiah 55:12

I love the quote about doubt in this portion of C.H. Spurgeon’s message on ‘John’s Doxology.’ Doubt has no outbursts; its chill breath freezes all things. It’s hard to praise the Lord when you are filled with doubts. Today is a day of remembrance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Let’s sing ‘Hosanna,’ in praise of Him.

Next, the apostle John, in whom we note this outburst of devotion, was a man firmly assured of his possession of the blessings for which he praised the Lord. Doubt has no outbursts; its chill breath freezes all things. Oh for more assurance! Nowadays we hear Christian people talk in this way:— “Unto him that we hope has loved us, and that we humbly trust has washed us, and that we sometimes believe has made us kings, unto him be glory.” Alas! the doxology is so feeble that it seems to imply as little glory as you like. The fact is, if you do not know that you have a blessing, you do not know whether you ought to be grateful for it or not; but when a man knows he has covenant mercies, that divine assurance which the Holy Ghost gives to Christians works in him a sacred enthusiasm of devotion to Jesus. He knows what he enjoys, and he blesses him from whom the enjoyment comes. I would have you, beloved, know beyond all doubt that Jesus is yours, so that you can say without hesitation, “He loved me and gave himself for me.” You will never say, “Thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee,” unless you are first established upon the point that Jesus loves you; for “we love him because he first loved us.” John was certain that he was loved, and he was furthermore most clear that he was washed, and therefore he poured forth his soul in praise. Oh to know that you are washed from your sins in the blood of Jesus! Some professors seem half afraid to say that they are cleansed; but oh, my hearer, if you are a believer in Jesus, the case is clear, for “there is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus”! “He that believeth in him hath everlasting life.” “He that believeth in him is justified from all things from which he could not be justified by the law of Moses.” “Ye are clean,” saith Christ. “He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit;” and “Ye are clean.”

Phlowers – Blooming in the Garden 3/26/21

We lost a shrub over the winter and replaced it this week with a beautiful Pieris japonica. The brilliant magenta florets and evergreen leaves make it a perfect choice for our front garden.

There are daffodils blooming in most of the garden beds.

These Johnny-Jump-Ups, bought in Autumn, over-wintered in my garage. A few weeks ago, I moved the baskets to my back porch, and now they are hanging outdoors in full bloom. There were days they looked pretty bad, but they continually amaze me and perk back up. They are my Flower of the Day in Cee’s FOTD challenge.

Hyacinths are blooming again. Daffodils and hyacinths are my most reliable Spring bulbs. I cut one of the blossoms and put the florets in grain alcohol, 190 proof. I created a floral scent with vodka this year, and hope the grain alcohol, with a higher alcohol content will extract the scent even quicker. It will take weeks of renewing the scented flowers before I will be able to sense a fragrance. The original post can be found here: Plants & Preserving the Good.

The grain alcohol is very strong. Within minutes it completely faded the bright pink flowers into near white. I hope it absorbs the scent just as quickly. I’ll update the progress later in the Spring.

 

Praise – Charles Haddon Spurgeon/John’s Doxology/Part 12 – Joy Unspeakable

Love, trust and hope, they truly do bring JOY UNSPEAKABLE to those who put their faith in Christ Jesus. The old hymn is true, the half has never yet been told. I’m looking forward to unspeakable JOY when I reach my home in Glory.

A snippet from the song JOY UNSPEAKABLE:
“It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Full of glory, full of glory;
It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
Oh, the half has never yet been told.”
~Barney E. Warren 1900

C.H. Spurgeon – John’s Doxology

“This also gives foothold to faith. If you know the Lord Jesus you feel that you can trust him. “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.” Those to whom Christ has become a well-known friend do not find it difficult to trust him in the time of their distress. An unknown Christ is untrusted; but when the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus he also breeds faith. By the same means, your hope also becomes vivid, for you say, “Oh, yes; I know Jesus, and I am sure that he will keep his word. He has said, ‘I will come again and receive you unto my self and I am sure that he will come, for it is not like him to deceive his own chosen.” Hope’s eyes are brightened as she thinks of Jesus and realizes him as loving to the end; in him believing, she rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory. To love, to trust, to hope, are all easy in the presence of a real living Christ; but if, like the disciples at midnight on the Galilean lake, we think him to be a mere spectre or apparition, we shall be afraid, and cry out for fear. Nothing will suffice a real Christian but a real Christ.”

Phlowers – Blooming This Week/FOTD

Bittercress is a wild edible. Cardamine hirsuta, the genus name, is a member of the cress family.

The small weedy plant grows everywhere in my yard. When I weed in early spring, I always wear goggles or a pair of glasses if wild cress is growing in my garden beds. It has a peculiar habit of exploding seedpods when touched, and I’ve had them hit me full in the face while weeding. I don’t want one to scratch my cornea so I am always careful to wear eye protection when they are in their seed stage.

The flower of garden cress is smaller than a dime. Garden cress is a perfect micro-green. Maybe this year I’ll save some of those exploding pods and grow it in the house over winter for salads.

Dependable yellow crocuses are blooming in the gardens this week. Every year they are my first bulb plant to burst out of their buds. They are this week’s entry into Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge.

Praise – Charles Haddon Spurgeon/John’s Doxology/Part 11 – Anchored

I wholeheartedly agree with what Spurgeon tells us in the this paragraph of John’s Doxology:  “If you cannot reach the Lord in your mind, you will not embrace him in your heart.” I believe this so fully that when I pray for others I often ask a blessing upon them, HEART, MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT. I also say the same when I am praying for their protection in this time of turmoil and increasing wickedness.

C.H. Spurgeon’s John’s Doxology

To have a real, personal Christ is to get good anchor-hold for love, and faith, and hope. Somehow men cannot love that which is not tangible. That which they cannot apprehend they do not love. When I was about to commence the Orphanage at Stockwell, a gentleman who had had very large experience in an excellent orphanage, said to me, “Begin by never expecting to receive the slightest gratitude from the parents of the children, and you will not be disappointed;” for, said he, “I have been connected with a certain orphanage,” which he mentioned, “for a great many years, and except in the rarest case I have never seen any tokens of gratitude in any of the mothers whose children have been received.” Now, my experience is very different. I have had a great many grips of the hand which meant warm thanks, and I have seen the tears start from the mother’s eye full often, and many a grateful letter have I received because of help given to the orphan children. How do I explain the difference? Not that our Orphanage has done more than the other; but the other Orphanage is conducted by a Committee with no well-known head, and hence it is somewhat of an abstraction; the poor women do not know who is to be thanked, and consequently thank nobody. In our own case the poor people say to themselves, “Here is Mr. Spurgeon, and he took our children into the Orphanage.” They recognize in me the outward and visible representative of the many generous hearts that help me. They know me, for they can see me, and they say, “God bless you,” because they have someone to say it to. There is nothing particular about me, certainly, and there are others who deserve far more gratitude than that which comes, to me; but it does come to me because the poor people know the name and the man, and have not to look at a mere abstraction. Pardon the illustration: it suits my purpose well. If you have a Christ whom you cannot realize you will not love him with that fervent affection which is so much to be desired. If you cannot reach the Lord in your mind, you will not embrace him in your heart; but if you have realized the blessed Master, if he has become a true existence to you, one who has really loved you and washed you from your sins, and made you a king and a priest, then your love must flow out towards him. You cannot resist the impulse to love one who has so truly loved you, and is so well known to you

Quick Tip – Vine Support

This rather blurry photo is of a jasmine vine, blooming at this time in my home. The small blossom, about the size of a dime, emits a powerful fragrance. When the plant has several blooms the scent can fill the entire upstairs.

This variety of jasmine is a vining plant. I believe the variety is probably Jasminum sambac, possibly Maid of Orleans cultivar. The older branching vines turn woody with age, making them very sturdy. The new growth of the vines is green and supple and needs a bit of support. I use small  3/4 inch hair clips, easily found at a dollar store, to hold up the new growth until it hardens a bit.

The clips are easy to attach and remove, don’t bind the stems, and are surprisingly strong.