For Your Information

Here’s some intelligence for your Labor Day Weekend. Enjoy it!

*Did you know that in one square centimeter of your skin you have crammed up to three million cells, 15 sebaceous glands, 100 sweat glands, a meter of blood vessels, 3,000 sensory cells, four meteres of nerves, 200 pain detectors, 25 pressure sensors for touch, two cold sensors and two heat sensors? God can make some crazy small stuff! (info found here)

*Women who skip breakfast consume on average 100 more calories over the rest of the day then the women who took time for breakfast.

*You should never eat truly fresh salmon. Only eat salmon that has been frozen a minimum of 15 hours. Why? Because 15 hours of frozenness (my word) is what it takes to kill all the tapeworm larvae. Yummy.

*If you’re going to juice an orange, lime, lemon, or grapefruit warm it up first. It will almost double the juice you’re able to extract!

*To extend the life of your bread store it with a celery rib. Nice.

*Did you know that the only apple that is truly a native of North America is the crab apple? Those things are tart!

*According to the orchard we visited this week you should store your apples in the crisper in your fridge with a wet towel. Hmmm… maybe I should move my apples off the counter!

*My baby sisters are turning eighteen on Wednesday? Where does the time go?

What do you know?

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Who Are You Really?

As I mentioned before, I am a product of the upbringing of my Mother. My Mom lives for others. She loves being around others, talking to others, serving others, listening to others, seeking out others. Uber extrovert. She is an amazing hostess and can put anyone at ease. She’s pretty, she’s loud, she’s funny, she’s a bit crazy, and she’s rarely home. She’s amazing.

My Mom, Kimberley

My Mom, Kimberley

She raised me and my sisters to be her. Isn’t that what most parents tend to do? Live their lives and imprint them on their children? For a long time, that’s who I thought I was and that’s how I behaved. I had pretty much everyone fooled, including myself. In the last eight years (wow, has it been that long?) since I left my parents home, I’ve slowly been watching the layers of others and their expectations peel off of me and the true Ambre emerge.

I was twenty when I realized I wasn’t my Mom as much as I admire her. As I set off to uncover the true me, I started taking the Meyers-Brigg test annually. It was a barometer of sorts of my honest with myself and my ability to see what was a knee jerk reaction based on training and what was a heart reaction based on my true self.

This year, I am pleased to say, I have arrived. Erik and I took the test last night and I do believe it to be dead on. I read the little discripion of “who I was” and it was almost scary in its accuracy.

According to the test, I am an INFP. That stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving. I am considered to be an Idealist and within that category, a healer. The results surmised that

“Healers present a calm and serene face to the world, and can seem shy, even distant around others. But inside they’re anything but serene, having a capacity for personal caring rarely found in the other types. Healers care deeply about the inner life of a few special persons, or about a favorite cause in the world at large. And their great passion is to heal the conflicts that trouble individuals, or that divide groups, and thus to bring wholeness, or health, to themselves, their loved ones, and their community.

Healers have a profound sense of idealism that comes from a strong personal sense of right and wrong. They conceive of the world as an ethical, honorable place, full of wondrous possibilities and potential goods. In fact, to understand Healers, we must understand that their deep commitment to the positive and the good is almost boundless and selfless, inspiring them to make extraordinary sacrifices for someone or something they believe in. Set off from the rest of humanity by their privacy and scarcity (around one percent of the population), Healers can feel even more isolated in the purity of their idealism.

Also, Healers might well feel a sense of separation because of their often misunderstood childhood. Healers live a fantasy-filled childhood-they are the prince or princess of fairy tales-an attitude which, sadly, is frowned upon, or even punished, by many parents. With parents who want them to get their head out of the clouds, Healers begin to believe they are bad to be so fanciful, so dreamy, and can come to see themselves as ugly ducklings. In truth, they are quite OK just as they are, only different from most others-swans reared in a family of ducks.

At work, Healers are adaptable, welcome new ideas and new information, are patient with complicated situations, but impatient with routine details. Healers are keenly aware of people and their feelings, and relate well with most others. Because of their deep-seated reserve, however, they can work quite happily alone. When making decisions, Healers follow their heart not their head, which means they can make errors of fact, but seldom of feeling. They have a natural interest in scholarly activities and demonstrate, like the other Idealists, a remarkable facility with language. They have a gift for interpreting stories, as well as for creating them, and thus often write in lyric, poetic fashion. Frequently they hear a call to go forth into the world and help others, a call they seem ready to answer, even if they must sacrifice their own comfort.”

That is dead on. Crazy. Even the explanation they gave about my romantic side was pretty accurate as far as my history goes:

Isabel is an Idealist Healer (INFP). She doesn’t really enjoy playing the field. That caused her too many heartaches. In college, her boyfriend was one of the most sought after good-looking guys on campus.  However, he was shallow, inconsiderate, and straying. She stayed with him too long, hoping he would finally wake up to what he had in her. Later she started dating a man with whom she could laugh. She admired his intellectual capacity. He suggested that they live together. She said she’d live with him after marriage. They are now engaged.

.ambre.

.ambre.

The test took less then seven minutes. Take it and let me know what you thought of your results. Were you completely honest?

INFP result explanation from here.

INFP romantic explanation from here.


Ice Cream Recap

I updated my previous post about ice cream making with a revised recipe. I’m going to go ahead and put it here too so you don’t miss it. It’s delish!

I’ve played around with this recipe enough and made enough changes that I think I can now call it my own. Here’s what I made:

Amazing Chocolate Covered Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream

  • just under two cans coconut milk (save the rest for a smoothie in the morning!)
  • 1/3 cup carob powder (cause it’s way cheaper than quality cocao powder)
  • 1/3 cup cacao (cocoa) powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (watch the label for high fructose corn syrup!)
  • 6 Tablespoons agave syrup
  • one handful of frozen strawberries

Throw everything in the blender and let her rip! Blend until it’s as smooth as a baby’s backside. Put in a bowl in the fridge for as long as you can wait. I throw it in the fridge while I’m making dinner and then it’s ready by the time we are for dessert. Then freeze according to the manufacturers directions on your ice cream maker. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can just freeze it and eat it like shaved ice or turn it into popsicles. This stuff is amazing!


Agave Nectar

What is this “Agave” I have been heard to speak of? It is a Mexican/South American plant that look like this:

and is solely responsible for the production of this:

It’s good for other stuff as well. Agave nectar is more and more commonly being used as a sweetener in home food preparation for the following reasons:

  • It is 10% glucose and 90% natural fructose (unlike the unnatural fructose of High Fructose Corn Syrup) according to one source. Those numbers can vary rather drastically though depending on the vendor.
  • Agave nectar naturally contains iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
  • It is more slowly absorbed by the body than white sugar and as such is lower on the glycemic index (a 40-45 approx.). This basically means you will miss out on the sugar roller coaster. Regardless of what the particular glucose to fructose ratio is.
  • Can be used by vegans, children under two and acrobats (in case we have any acrobat readers).
  • Agave nectar is sweeter than sugar (as is honey) so you can use less of it.
  • It’s a real whole food. it hasn’t been processed and refined within an inch of its life.
  • It dissolves smoothly in cold liquids unlike most other sweeteners (honey and sugar in particular)
  • Agave tastes good. Case closed.

So how does it work in baking? Besides making your baked goods soft and moist you mean?

  • Like honey, you can cut down on the liquids in a recipe by 1/3.
  • As it’s 25% sweeter than sugar you adjust accordingly: 1 cup of sugar becomes 3/4 cup agave (like those mad math skills?). Wikipedia says to use 1/3 cup agave for every one cup of sugar the recipe calls for. Their math skills aren’t as gloriously honed as mine. Really, you should just experiment and find what works best for you and yours.
  • If you’re baking with it it pays to reduce the oven temperature by up to 25 degrees as it can cause your baked goods to brown more quickly otherwise.

Use it in other ways too though: in a smoothie, in your tea or coffee, instead of maple syrup on pancakes, on hot cereal or in ice cream to name a few. Have fun with it.

Here are some links to yummy recipes using agave as a sweetener (the first three are mine!). Let me know how it goes for you and share your recipes if you have them!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crunchy Crumble

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Coconut Ice Cream

Blueberry Oat Bars

Agave Marshmallows

Chocolate Bars

please note that I personally use raw agave nectar and that is what the above facts and stats apply to


My 100th Post!

In honor of my 100th post I will be following in the footsteps of my good friend Sarah and share 100 random facts about myself.  I wasn’t sure I would be able to think of 100 things but then I remembered fact number one stopped worrying.

  1. I tend to share a lot of info fast at the beginning of relationships if I really like you. Not much is considered sacred.
  2. I have five younger sisters and two younger brothers. 
  3. I have a five year old nephew named Tucker. 
  4. My husband and I shared our first kiss at the altar.
  5. I could easily eat half a watermelon every day.
  6. I saw Knight’s Tale in theaters seven times. Don’t judge!
  7. I moved 19 times before turning 20. 
  8. I gained 49 pounds during my pregnancy.
  9. I have lost 56 pounds since my pregnancy.
  10. I tend to only have two to three really good friends at a time.
  11. I think all mothers should be able to stay home with their children for the first five years paid.
  12. I love giraffes.
  13. I own over 60 cookbooks.
  14. My friend April and I once drove from Chicago to Bloomington just for Godfather’s Pizza. 
  15. I once drove from Chicago to Ames, IA in under four hours.
  16. My first boyfriend was a kid names Matt at my daycare when I was three. He was “going with” at least three little girls at the time. We would take turns sitting on his lap. Yep. Heavy stuff.
  17. My mom took me to the Return of the Jedi when I was ten days old.
  18. I have eighteen year old twin sisters who are six feet tall.
  19. I asked Jesus to be my Saviour when I was four years old. 
  20. I read approximately 900 words per minute.
  21. I still have most of the friends I made when I was five. 
  22. I have a hierarchy of relationships: my “world”, my good friends, my friends, acquaintances, people I love because God has told us to love everyone. Um, yeah. I’m a bit of a social snob.
  23. I completely and utterly adore my in-laws. They could not be better for this family if I’d hand picked them. You know why? Cause God’s hand picking is way better than my own. :) He done good.
  24. I get motion sickness on carousels.
  25. I am an introvert. Ha! I had you fooled, didn’t I? It’s true though.
  26. Erik and I dream of one day living on an acreage with a big garden, some chickens, and a goat or sheep.
  27. I tend to have a heart for sheep who are wandering from the flock. Maybe because I’ve been there.
  28. I haven’t used shampoo or conditioner in my hair since Luke and Holly’s wedding in May.  I don’t miss it.
  29. If I could meet one Hollywood celebrity it would have to be Angelina Jolie. I want to tell her how to find what’s missing in her life.
  30. My upbringing trained me to act the part of an extrovert. Thanks mom.
  31. I have a stripe of scar tissue down the center of my forehead that serves as a personal emotion barometer. It turns bright red with strong emotion lighter red with less strong emotions.
  32. I miss being a waitress. 
  33. I was in a sledding accident when I was eleven that resulted in 23 stitches on my nose and #30.
  34. I once broke two bones in my foot by dropping a plastic children’s chair on it.
  35. I was home schooled my whole life until I started college.
  36. I started college at sixteen.  
  37. I never technically finished high school.
  38. I have lived in three states.
  39. George MacDonald is one of my favorite authors.
  40. We have the names of our next daughter and first son picked out and engraved in stone (not literally). 
  41. I grew up in a Chicago suburb.
  42. I believe love is a verb.
  43. I was a flower girl four times.
  44. I’ve been a bridesmaid twice. Both times for people who didn’t really like me anymore at the time.
  45. I love raw honey. Love it.
  46. I watched every episode of Alias. Even the dumb ones (Thanks a lot Abrams).
  47. I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket since my daughter was born.
  48. I had my license suspended for too many tickets when I was nineteen.
  49. I don’t like living in college towns. At all. 
  50. Christ’s example of loving leadership in the New Testament is the example I believe leaders should live up to. I believe His example is one of loving guidance versus forceful directive as a matter of routine. This is what I strive for towards my daughter as her authority as well.  
  51. I am double jointed in my fingers.
  52. I am married to Erik.
  53. I like my husband about as much as I love him.
  54. My husband is a cute pretty-boy that my daughter is the spitting image of.
  55. The first concert that I ever went to was for Clay Cross. Yep. Old school Christian.
  56. The first secular concert I ever went to was at the House of Blues in Chicago and it was a personal sized set (about 50-75 people) for the Verve Pipe. Still like them a whole bunch.
  57. I gave up drinking bottled water. Making my dent in the landfill issue. I have been doused with water as a punishment for this.
  58. I love getting handwritten notes. Love, love, love. even like an e-mail is good. Words in writing that I can read over again at another time are what I like.
  59. I think guys can be pretty dumb when it comes to girls and relationships. Once, in high school, I had a close friend who always told me he loved me as a sister.  I believed him. Then we didn’t talk for awhile and I e-mailed him and said “hi. I’m thinking about you and praying for you. I love you, Ambre” and he responds with “um, what exactly do you mean by ‘love’? do you mean ‘love, love’ cause if you do, I’m sorry that I led you on.” He goes on to confess that he did think of me as more than a friend once, but now he’s getting engaged. What?!? How to kill an innocent friendship in 50 words or less.
  60. I like Grasshoppers and Brandy Alexanders.
  61. I think the SNL “cowbell” skit is funny.
  62. I think the SNL “get off the roof!” skit is side-splitting funny. 
  63. I believe the the movie “the Wedding Date” has some of the most amazingly awful lines of any romance movie ever. Here’s a gem, ” I would miss you even if we’d never met.” righhhht.  Or how about “I would rather fight with you than make love with anyone else.” Uh, huh. Give that man an emmy!
  64. I don’t think my roommates when I lived at Gryn realized how often my morning OJ was spiked.
  65. I use to have a gorgeous great dane named Freya. Now she lives with Erik’s parents. Lucky them!
  66. I love getting mail.
  67. I believe that chastity should be a lifelong goal and hope to impart that to my children.
  68. I play guitar. Not super well, but I enjoy it. 
  69. I have an annual Mighty Ducks Marathon with one of my girlfriends. Two words: Jonathan Jackson.
  70. I love fireplaces.
  71. I could drink hot chocolate every day and never get sick of it. 
  72. I’ve been to Canada and Mexico.
  73. If I was to go back to school I would want to be a nutritionist and a naturopath. Not the type of naturopath that communes with spirits though. They scare me.
  74. Speaking of scares, I am scared of the outdoors after dark in the fall. Blowing leaves don’t help at all. 
  75. I love fall.
  76. I wish I could eat white pasta everyday for as long as I live. Angel hair especially. Yum!
  77. I read the last installment of Harry Potter in eleven hours. My wonderful hubby picked it up at midnight so I could start reading when I got up in the morning and he tended the baby all day. He loves me. 
  78. I believe the church needs to be more concerned about loving people and less concerned with visible to the earthly eye results.
  79. My engagement ring is a beautiful pearl. I was tired of girls always comparing carats. I didn’t view it as the measure of my worth or a wise use of Erik’s income. He picked it out on the way to propose and I couldn’t love it more. Since then he’s given me earrings and a necklace to match. I’m a lucky girl.
  80. I think that families should live within 30 minutes of each other and be huge parts of each others lives. I also think families shouldn’t drive each other to the bottle. That’s not part of my utopia.
  81. I don’t like cats, but since my baby loves them, I’ll probably end up owning one in the next five years.
  82. I hate beer.
  83. I had an eating disorder in my teens.
  84. I’ve never smoked a cigarette or done any drugs. 
  85. I once lived with a family where the dad smoked pot every day.
  86. I detest folding laundry and putting folded laundry away. If it wasn’t for Erik, we’d never have clean clothes.
  87. One of my pet peeves is when someone has done something major to someone else in a relationship, but acts like nothing ever happened. Just cause the other person never brings it up, doesn’t mean it was okay.
  88. I really enjoy wearing skirts, but
  89. I hate shaving my legs.
  90. I very much am not excited about the idea of camping. Very much not.
  91. I already have a date arranged with a friend for opening night for Harry Potter.
  92. I am 1/8 Native American. That’s why I have a flat face with super wide cheek bones. 
  93. My mom wanted me to be a journalist. I think freedom of speech is turning into a joke in our country.
  94. I sleep under a down comforter all year round.
  95. I have an irrational fear (or is it?) of someone breaking into our home through open windows while we’re sleeping.
  96. I wish I had been born a Jew. I’d like to share that in common with Christ.
  97. I would love to share a huge house with another family of our choosing (you know who you are) so our kids could grow up together, we could work the land together, support each other as women, and serve God better. Unfortunately my low standards when it comes to tidiness would drive a wedge between us. Bummer.
  98. I wanted to be a missionary to an orphanage in the Ukraine when I was younger. 
  99. I eat my steaks medium-rare.
  100. I really enjoy reading peoples comments on my posts.

Blueberry Oat Bars

Here is the afore promised recipe. Sorry I didn’t get around to it yesterday as communicated. We made this with the yummy farm stand blueberries that Erik’s parents brought back for us from their trip to Indiana last weekend. Yummy!

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Oil bottom and sides of an 8×8 pan.

Filling:

 

  • 3 cups blueberries
  • 1/4 c. agave
  • 1/4 c. orange juice (or whatever juice you have on hand)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbl. arrowroot powder (cornstarch in a pinch)

 

Heat the first four over medium high heat to a boil. Stir in arrowroot powder and vanilla. Continue stirring as it thickens up into a syrupy mess of purple deliciousness. Remove from heat and set aside.

Crust:

 

  • 2 3/4 c. oats
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 4 oz. apple sauce ( I used a jar of leftover baby food)
  • 7 Tbl. agave
  • 6 Tbl. water
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbl. coconut oil (or another 3 Tbl. applesauce)
  • 1 Tbl. orange juice

 

 Throw 1 1/2 cups of your oats into the blender and blend to a powder. I used steel oats so they went from this:

to this:

Add rest of oats, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. 

Spread half of batter on bottom of oiled pan and smooth level-ish. Pour in  the syrupy mess of purple deliciousness. Cover with the rest of the batter. Bake 30 minutes and cool before cutting. Enjoy!

*If I was to make this again I would have skipped the whole wheat flour and just used more oats. I had just run out of oats was my problem. I also would have used steel oats just for the blender part and rolled oats for the other half. Again, I ran out after 1/4 cup. It was still mighty tasty though! I just think those changes might make it slightly less hearty and more like dessert less like a meal. Though it’s been nice to eat as a meal replacement in a jam!

*Oh, and if you use all oats it wouldn’t be hard to fine tune this to be gluten free either. Enjoy!


For Your Information

* Did you know that you shouldn’t plant your blueberry bushes until they are two years old? And that for the first few years after planting them you should prune the tips of the branches come fall? 

* According to a home remedy guide from 2899, “lettuce is calming and beneficial to anyone suffering from insomnia”. A book from 1906 recommends eating an onion raw before bed. I don’t recommend that one unless you sleep alone. zzzzzzzzz……

* With football season fast upon us, I though I would include a remedy for one who finds themselves a little hoarse:make a horseradish syrup by boiling the root  and adding enough sugar to make it choke-down-able. Take two to three teaspoonfuls a day. Yum.

*Teen girls who have their tonsils removed have a 30% greater likelihood to be overweight later in life. Bummer.

* According to Underwood (who’s Underwood?) you’ll need one cubic foot of manure per 56 square feet of garden. Really that works out to letting your manure compost for a year and then spreading it an inch think on your plot.  (found in 1,001 Old-Time Garden Tips) 

*Cats have 32 muscles in each ear. Did you hear me?

* Male Indian cobras have two penises and copulation can last from two minutes to a whole day. My head is ready to explode.

What do you know?