Tag Archives: southern

Who Are You Calling a Spelunker?

**This is a post from my blogging days at The Simple Life of a Caver’s Wife, but I’m proud of my husband and love that he is passionate about what he does, so I wanted to share this with SGC readers. :)
Who Are You Calling A Spelunker?- SouthernGalsCook.com
My hubby on the Flint-Mammoth Connection Anniversary Trip 2007

In the caving community, there is a strong understanding that you don’t ever, EVER call a caver a “spelunker”.
Dem’s just fighting words ’round these parts.

If you ask a caver what the difference is, there’s a good chance they will tell you:

“The difference between a caver and a spelunker? Cavers rescue spelunkers.”

What’s the big deal? Well, before you insult a caver, let me break it down for you.

By definition {Merriam-Webster}, a spelunker is one who explores and studies caves as a hobby.

Imagine, if you will, a couple of kids finding a cave and taking a flashlight to check it out. They are inexperienced, don’t have the proper equipment, don’t know the caving rules or techniques, and are really just in there to mess around.  They are on an adventure to have fun and discover a new world, yet they are at high risk of injuring themselves and destroying the cave with their lack of knowledge, experience, and respect.

A caver, on the other hand, doesn’t really view caving as a hobby. Instead, caving is a way of life. In each caver, there is still that curious kid looking for an adventure and need to discover, but now there is a passion; a passion that is fueled with purpose; a purpose that is grounded in respect for both the cave and the caving brotherhood.

 Jeremy Reedy in the Bare Hole in Mammoth Cave ~ Photo taken by Jackie Wheet

Believe me, following protocol does not kill the sense of adventure or the majesty of the cave.

My hubby going through the Brice Crawl in Mammoth Cave

Danger is very real. The risk of getting hurt is real.

A rescue could take many hours. That’s why there must be a level of respect for technique, equipment and the safety of one another.

A caver with purpose will generally be a part of a caving group. My caver is a member the Cave Research Foundation. The organization’s members devote some of their time to explore, map, and collect pertinent data from caves across the nation to help others understand the importance and relativity of caves to our ecosystem and our nation’s history.

Cavers also understand the need for preservation. Not only do they get to be one of the few that get to see virgin areas of these chasms, but they know that for the benefit of generations to come, leaving it the way they found it is imperative. “Take only memories, leave only footprints.” You will never find a caver-to-the-core smuggling cave formations or artifacts out of the cave. It just isn’t done. It’s code.{By the way, in a National Park, it’s also known as a federal offense.} Every precaution is taken to make sure that the cave is in the same shape it was in when they arrived.

Hooter Alley
Me on the Wild Cave Tour in Mammoth Cave 2010

So, now you know.

“And knowing is half the battle.”

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Help, we need somebody! Help, not just anybody! Help, you know we need someone, help!

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Do the altered lyrics in our title for this post sound familiar?

Yep, you guessed it!

The Beatles, HELP, released July 1965!

Okay, enough trivia!

 

We at SGC need help from our readers!  Help in finding out how we are doing on our blog.

We ask that you please take a moment to answer a few questions and express your opinion.  Please be honest, courteous and constructive with your feedback.

To thank you for your time you will have a chance to win this cookbook!  But, you can’t win if you don’t participate!

cookbook ar

You have until July 14 to complete the survey.  Once you have taken the survey just leave your name and e-mail address in the Leave a Comments section located at the top of this post.  (Don’t worry, it’s not a trick. We will not share your e-mail, we will only use it to contact you if you win).  We will choose, at random, a winner on July 15.

Thanks and God Bless,

SGC

READY, SET, GO …………

The Courage of a Virtuous Woman

The Courage of a Virtuous Woman- SouthernGalsCook.com

 

Deuteronomy 31:6Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

 

This week, our church has had our annual Vacation Bible School. Each night we have talked about a few of the different character traits that are exhibited by the Proverbs 31 woman. We have discussed:

The Faith of a Virtuous Woman

The Wisdom of a Virtuous Woman

The Compassion of a Virtuous Woman

For our fourth lesson, we discussed the virtue of courage.

As a Christian there have been times when I needed to do something that probably should have been easy, but yet I found it difficult because I lacked the courage to put myself in a vulnerable position.

I have found myself to be the only Christian in a group discussion about faith, Christianity, and or/moral issues.

I’m sure you’ve been in the same boat.

What did you do?

I tried to stand up for my beliefs and share my testimony of salvation. I don’t feel like I was effective, but I will leave that up to the Lord.

Sometimes God leads us to do a work. When that work means a life change, we can get nervous or scared. It may be your spouse that has been called to the mission field and it means moving the family hundreds or thousands of miles away. You may be called to leave your jobs and stay home with your children– losing an income is scary.

No matter what the transition, change is hard on most everyone but as children of the Great I Am, we have to be willing to go when He says go.

But do not fret.

We never go alone.

He’s there with us.

Why should we fear when our help comes from the Lord?

I had a talk with someone close to me not long ago. We were discussing something that needed to be done because the Lord was leading our hearts in a direction that meant change was/is in the near future. I had already had time to get used to the idea, but my friend was struggling. I told them that I was afraid that they would be so focused on the storm {of change and of the unknown} that they would be too afraid to get out of the boat {comfort zone}.

When the Lord is calling us out of the boat, we can find our courage in Him. We must keep our focus on Him and pay no mind to the storm. When He is ready, He will still the waters and the winds. The winds and seas obey Him.

Why should we fear?

It’s a comfort to know that when fear starts to bleed into the corners of our minds, we can ask God for courage and He will give it.

We are never alone.

We have no reason to fear.

Whether you are witnessing to an unbeliever, leaving your comfort zone to work for the Lord, becoming a parent, getting married, starting a new school, whatever it is: If the Lord has led you in the direction that you are headed–

Have. No. Fear!

Be of good courage.

The Master of the Wind and Seas will go with you.

He will not fail you.

And He will not forsake you.

The Compassion of a Virtuous Woman

The Compassion of a Virtuous Woman- SouthernGalsCook.com

♥Proverbs 31:20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

♥John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

♥1 Corinthians 13:1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

I’m ashamed.

Not because I lack compassion. There’s enough compassion in this ol’ heart to share.

I’m ashamed because I have allowed the fraud of others to tarnish my idea of charity.

Do you know what I mean?

You hear of non-profits profiting heavily off of the kindness of others.

Our government assistant programs are being taken advantage of by people who are healthy enough to work, they just choose not to.

These situations maybe rare, but they are all you hear about.

So, even though compassion exists among God’s people, wouldn’t you agree that our compassion as become callused?

Well… shame on us!

Shame on me!

Shame on me for allowing the exception to become the rule.

What a wonderful opportunity we miss out on for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Before there were food stamps, free health care, and government housing, there were churches that fed and clothed the poor. If you needed money, they would find something for you to do so you could earn a few dollars. And because there were real people {not agencies} reaching out, it was very rare for the ‘needy’ to continue taking advantage of the compassion of others. As soon as they were on their feet, they were not only providing for themselves, but they were paying forward the compassion shown to them.

In that process, the love of Christ was shining brightly in the hearts of the givers.

I wonder how many souls were saved through the living testimonies of those that reached their hands out to the needy.

Where is it today?

The more I write, the angrier I become at myself.

Compassion and charity are all just extensions of love.

Should it be so difficult to love our fellow man? Especially if we have the love of Christ in us?

I was talking to Dana the other day about adoption. We, as Christians are called out to take care of the widows and the orphans, yet how many of us consider adoption?

I have family members that have adopted. What a wonderful gift it is. I cannot even begin to describe how much our family has loved and been loved through that process.

There are so many children that need to know the love of a family.

Do you know how many 17 year olds feel doomed because on their next birthday they will be pushed out of the system? They will no longer be eligible for adoption because they will be a legal adult– an adult with no one to call them on their birthday. No where to go for the holidays.

My heart is breaking.

What if you could be that one family; the one that could give that child {or children} a soft place to fall when they are disappointed? What about when they are sick and they have no one that loves them enough to fix them a special bed on the couch, pop in their favorite movie, keep their cup filled with ice-cold Sprite and snuggle with them until their fever breaks? What about when they want to know what happens when they die, and there is no one to tell them about the love of Jesus and heaven?

I hope no one comes in here. I’m pretty sure the snot and tears would freak them out.

You know what the problem is?

Our society has taken on this idea that children are an inconvenience.

Women are told not to consider having families until they are well established. “Wait until you have your degree and your career going. A child will just slow you down.”

Children are blessing.

Period.

Psalm 127:3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

I’m not saying that they aren’t a huge responsibility. I’m not saying that your life won’t change.

It will!

It has to!

But I’m telling you it is worth it.

It is worth it.

It is worth it.

It. Is. Worth it.

Every less dollar amount. Every sleepless night. Every spit up stained shirt. Every car seat in the mini-van. Every “what is that smell?!” Every “GET THAT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH!”. Every frantic trip to the ER. Every time you have to answer “why?”…

I wouldn’t trade a nanosecond of that for anything you could offer.

If you have ever entertained the idea of adopting, PLEASE pray about it until you have exhausted all avenues.

We need more compassionate women to say YES to children with no families.

We need more compassionate women to reach their hands toward the needy without hesitancy.

We need more compassionate hearts living out the gospel.

By “we”, I mean “me”… and “you”… and “us”. All of us. I know I can’t be the only one.

Without our actions, our words are just sounds… sounds that mean nothing. Just noise.

I don’t want to be “just noise”.

The compassion of a Virtuous Woman…her words would sound like the song of angels. Her actions would be like a cool breeze on a hot, humid, Kentucky summer day– bringing comfort, and beauty, and relief.

No noise. Just love.

May we all inch closer to being a Proverbs 31 woman by living the way Jesus said… having love one to another.

 

Vacation Bible School

Galatians 3:23-26

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

 

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Our church family starts its yearly Vacation Bible School tonight. This is a four night event that brings about eating, learning God’s word and crafts.

We love this time of year as we get to see many familiar faces, those we rarely see, and some new faces as well.

I (Dana) and my Aunt Tenito (pronounced Ta-ni-ta) is in charge of feeding the multitude.  Tangi will be teaching the 5 and 6-year-old class and Laura will be capturing all the action via still photos and videos.

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

This year we will be learning about Proverbs 31 – The Virtuous Women.  Our writers chose Women in the Bible that exhibited different traits described in Proverbs 31.

Monday night we learn about Hannah, an example of a Faithful Woman.

Tuesday night we learn about Abigail, a woman of beauty and wisdom. And Deborah, whom was both a prophetess and a judge.

Wednesday night we learn of Compassion from three women, Lydia, Ruth and the Shunammite Woman.

Thursday night we learn about Esther, an orphan girl who became queen.  She was also a woman of Courage and clear judgement.

Friday night we learn about Purity and how Mary, the Mother of Jesus exhibited this trait.

We hope to bring you all the action, plus a little learnens’ about God’s wonderful word, cooking and craft making!

Hopefully, you will find something along the way that will help you in your life and possibly with your VBS.

Sound exciting?

Let’s get started!

Good Bless ya,

SGC

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned

 

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

I have a confession to make.

I. Am. A procrastinator… There! I said it.

It’s a sad truth and one that I am always trying to overcome.

But I have to say that sometimes it’s not my procrastination that gets in the way of my “want to’s” or “need to’s”– sometimes it’s just life! And nothing makes me more sick than having to throw away tomatoes that went bad before I had the chance to do anything with them. It takes time to can them and there are times when it will be more than a week before I have enough time to can a bushel or two of tomatoes. What is a girl to do?!

Needless to say, when I found out that you could FREEZE whole tomatoes to can later, I was elated! I have done this many times and each time I’ve canned them, the tomatoes taste as fresh as they did the day I picked them.

All you have to do is to wash them and let them dry completely. When they are dry, seal a single layer of tomatoes in a gallon-sized freezer bag.

I did notice that a lot of the tomatoes split when they froze, but as long as you get to them before they are freezer burned, you’re in good shape.

This weekend, in anticipation of the garden coming in and needing to freeze more veggies, I decided to free up some freezer space by canning the last of my tomatoes.

Here is how I take my tomatoes from the freezer to canned. In this case I made our favorite salsa {this recipe can also be frozen or eaten the next day}:

I used-

10 cups pureed/hand crushed tomatoes {most people use Roma, but these were beefsteak tomatoes}

1 pouch Mrs. Wages Medium heat Salsa mix

1/2 cup Bragg’s Organic Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider

2 tbsp Granulated Garlic Powder

Tomatoes: From Freezer to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

 

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

1. Take out your precious rubies and inspect them. Make sure they aren’t freezer burned.

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

2. The coolest part– when you run the frozen tomato under hot water, THE SKIN SPLITS AND PEELS RIGHT OFF!! It’s so much fun to do AND it saves a lot of time!

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

3. After you have gotten the skin off of the tomatoes, you have to let them thaw. You don’t have to let them thaw completely, but do let them thaw mostly. I set them out at 11:00 a.m. and they were ready to process at about 7:00 p.m.

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

4. Once your tomatoes have mostly thawed, drain the water off of them, remove the stems and any unsightly spots. Now you are ready to puree and crush! Some of you may prefer diced. That’s fine. We like ours to be a little chunkier than what they serve in Mexican restaurants so a combo of pureed and hand crushed is perfect.

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

5. In a large stock pot and over medium high heat, pour in your tomatoes…

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

… and stir in 1/2 cup of 5% Acidity vinegar {I chose Bragg’s ACV but the recipe on the Mrs. Wages package calls for distilled white} and 1 pouch of Mrs. Wages Medium heat Salsa Mix and granulated garlic powder. Bring to a boil and then back the heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes and then you are ready to can! Be sure to add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice to each jar if you are canning. As mentioned above, you could also freeze this or put in an airtight container, refrigerate, and serve the next day.

Tomatoes: From Frozen to Canned- SouthernGalsCook.com

I got 2 quarts and almost a full pint from this batch. I didn’t have quite 10 cups of tomatoes– more like 9, but that’s okay. It still tastes great! You can add in some jalapeno if you want to.

A couple of side notes–

1- Since your tomatoes lose a lot of liquid in the thawing process, it makes for a thicker salsa. We love it!

2- mrswages_2267_10043009

We are not endorsed by Mrs. Wages, but I love the product. It’s all natural AND it doesn’t have cilantro in it. I do not like cilantro. You could add it if you wanted to. The ingredients are: DEHYDRATED VEGETABLES (ONION, GREEN BELL PEPPER, JALAPENO, CHILI PEPPERS, GARLIC), SALT, SPICES. It tastes so, so, so, good. We add a pint to our chili instead of diced tomatoes!

3. acv

We are not endorsed by Bragg’s, but again, this is a product that I love and believe in. Not only is it awesome in recipes, but the health benefits are incredible!

If you have any questions about this recipe, leave it in the comments section below or email us at SouthernGalsCook@yahoo.com

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We’re linked up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why We Cook From Scratch {Most of the Time}

Genesis 3

These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

 

We believe in Intelligent Design. We believe that our Heavenly Father created the world and everything in it in six literal days.

In those 6 days, God created everything that Man would need to survive: food, medicine, shelter, water, and He created them in a way that we would receive optimal benefits.

Why We Cook From Scratch {Most of the Time}- SouthernGalsCook.com

After the 1950s, we have seen an unnatural alteration in our food culture. Consumers wanted food to be easier, faster, cheaper, and more of it– so, the food industry ramped up their scientific approach for production to keep up with the demand.

Food has been broken down, dehydrated and ground up, fillers added to make it go farther, not-your-grandmas-preservatives were added to make it last longer, colors were added to make it prettier, pesticides are sprayed on it so corporations would have bigger harvests so they would make more money…more, more, more, MORE… Should I even start on what’s happened with our meat and dairy?! …UGH!

Now look at us. We are a generation of disease ridden, obese, malnourished people. {Myself included– but I’m working on that}

Coincidence? I think not.

Over the last few years, my idea of food has evolved. I see the need for Back-to-Basics-Living and am slowly working my household over to that. Not ‘hardcore’ back-to-basics. I’m not a purist’s purist, but I do try to limit the amount of processed foods that come into my home.

Why We Cook From Scratch {Most of the Time}- SouthernGalsCook.com

The Wheetshire Garden 2013

The first steps that I have taken are to cook from scratch and grow some of my family’s food {check out my 2014 garden here}.

Cooking from scratch it isn’t really a huge change, it just requires more meal prep and planning.

Now, before you start thinking that I am one of these haughty, granola crunching {mmm..granola}, tree hugging {not that there’s anything wrong with that}, out-of-touch-with-the-real-world people, I want you to know that I DO live in the real world and I know that sometimes the budget doesn’t allow for gray sea salt, gluten-free this, free range that, organic everything… and blah, blah, blah. I don’t get them all time. I can’t. That’s why I say ‘when possible’. Cut yourself {and me} some slack. We do the best we can, when we can. Most of the time, the best I can do is buy whole foods and staple items for “from scratch” cooking. I can’t always get organic, either. It’s Oh. Kay. I don’t always have time to make my own cream ‘o soup, so I get it from the store.

Why We Cook From Scratch {Most of the Time}- SouthernGalsCook.com

Wheetshire Tomatoes 2013

Did I mention that I am also a working mom? Yeah. I have a work schedule and a $50 to $60 a week grocery budget. How’s that for “in touch”? ;) Cooking from scratch is possible in a working mom’s schedule– we just have to plan a little better.

For funzies, let’s look and compare sandwich bread– Factory made vs. Homemade.

Homemade bread has: flour, yeast, honey, water, extra virgin olive oil and salt. That’s a total of 6 ingredients.  

Why We Cook From Scratch {Most of the Time}- SouthernGalsCook.com

Homemade Sandwich Bread


Sunbeam Bread Ingredients:

Enriched Bleached Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], Folic Acid), Water, Wheat Gluten, Cellulose, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Yeast. Contains 2% Or Less of Each of The Following: Whole WheatFlour, Salt, Wheat Bran, Yeast Nutrients (Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Sulfate, Ammonium Sulfate), Dough Conditioners (May Contain One Or More of The Following: Mono- & Diglycerides, Ethoxylated Mono- & Diglycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Ascorbic Acid, Azodicarbonamide, Enzymes), Corn Starch, Calcium Propionate (Preservative), Distilled Vinegar, Caramel Color, Soy Lecithin, Soy Flour. Contains Wheat and Soy.

**Um, dough conditioners? Caramel color? What the what?!

 

Now, let’s get real. Right now, there is a half eaten loaf of store-bought bread in my pantry. There is also a mostly eaten loaf of homemade sourdough bread on my counter.

I have homegrown organic vegetables in my freezer, as well as non-organic, non-free range chicken.

I have a box of raisin bran next to a jar of homemade granola.

You see where I am going with this? This is a gradual, do-the-best-you-can-with-what-you’ve-got process.

If we want to live a more natural, wholesome lifestyle, let’s take it one step at a time. Do the best you can with what you’ve got. Some improvement is better than none. I’ve heard this called “imperfect progress” and I feel good about it.

 

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