We dedicate this blog entry to every jeepney that's had its glory days--somewhere in the past.
That still rumble along in spite of being looked down upon by the new little sporty jeepneys, or the big "bells and whistles" jeepneys.
We've been back from lunch and errands for a couple of hours. The office is silent except for rode noise and the air con. That's what it's called here--air con.
When I'm sitting at my computer and I lean forward looking to the right, this is what I can see:
That bright white stripe is Elder Reed's back. He's sitting at his computer working on--finance stuff.
And now a close-up:
Definitely worth a full shot! Hmmm. That office resembles his office at home--teaming with activity. How do you keep a perfectly clean office and get stuff done?
This is my realm:
I make sure my desk is cleared off once a day. I'm so exposed up by the front door. It's probably a blessing or my desk would also look like my desk at home.
We must be getting better at what we do. It feels smoother--under control. Not that it's perfect, just that we don't feel like we're about to careen over the cliff.
This week is interview week. President and Sister Hansen were in most of the day yesterday, he interviewing (companionships this time) and she teaching the missionaries all kinds of interesting important things while they wait their turn.
Many of Sister Hansen's teachings are health-related. She is a very capable woman, having raised 5 children herself. But no mother, no matter how "Super Mom", who instantly becomes the "mother" of 130 knows what to do with all the health challenges that arise.
She has a well-stocked bag of mom-tricks, including capable doctors. One of her tricks is knowing when to send a missionary to see Dr. Tan and when to just put him/her on a round of antibiotics, which is entirely within her realm. Often this is successful--no perscription is needed, just go to the pharmacy and pick up your choice of bacteria-killer.
We don't wait around before going the antibiotics route here. Seemingly innocent hurts or sniffles or pains can turn nasty fast, including many skin-related issues. A rash could put you in the hospital if you don't tend it properly. A cut is nothing to scoff at! Scrub it! Disinfect it! Keep it covered.
We (at least the mission oldies) have heightened awareness of this from having watched President Hansen suffer miserably through a bad case of cellulitis, which stemmed from from a simple little cut when he was trimming his toenails. Needless to say, when I slipped on some wet coral when we were up hiking in our foothills a month ago and received a good scrape on my arm, I scrubbed and scrubbed. It healed well, by the way.
If Sister Hansen is Dr. Mom, then I am surely her first assistant. Reminding the missionaries of their responsibility to exercise good hygiene and encouraging steady, thoughtful self-care are definitely within my realm. The missionaries--I am the one out front who talks to them about all sorts of stuff when they come into the office. I love them dearly and am eager to encourage them in whatever area they are low in.
Recently we had the four missionaries from Camotes Island come in to pick up their support. It just so happened that they were all sick--poor fellas, having to travel when they should have been home in bed. Nevertheless, here they were in the office, so I quizzed them about their hygiene practices. Three of them as good as took notes and the fourth acted like, "oh yeah, yeah, whatever." This was my signal for a Scotch Blessing, which I think surprised him! I reminded him in no uncertain terms that it is our DUTY to tend our bodies mindfully. We didn't come across the world to get sick casually--easily, or to make others sick, but to share the gospel!
It's time to wrap things up for the day. I will teach my first piano lesson in a half hour to lovely Edren Sagayno--a young mom with 3 children. Her husband is in Cebu 1's bishopric and is building a catering business. His food is veeeery good. Edren is absolutely steady in her practicing habits, which means her progress is steady also. Very satisfying for both of us.
Look at that fine hand position! Can't beat that in a new student.
You are always close in our hearts! Want to make our day? Just drop a line. And I mean a line. An epistle is certainly appreciated, but don't wait till you've done something spectacular say hello. We're grateful for this very special opportunity of service. We know the gospel is true--know by the whisperings of the spirit that this is His work--His church. For all the challenges of life, we have great peace in our hearts. Life is good with Christ as our focus and role model.
Time for a new recipe--Steamed White Fish & Veggies
This is our favorite Sunday dinner; quick, nutritious, delicious!
In a large non-stick skillet layer the following: A thin layer of thick-slice onion rings and a few garlic cloves. This means you will still be able to see the bottom of the skillet but there are enough rings to hold your fillet off the direct heat.
Your fish fillet(s), rinsed. Give it a hearty lemon peppering, or use any other herbs or spices that suit you. Most white fish is mild so it will take on the flavors of what's cooked with it.
Sori sori to finish filling the skillet. Now don't run and hide because you don't have any idea what sori sori is! It' simply mixed vegetables that are stir fry compatible. You might be able to find it at your grocery store, a convenience item in the produce department, or you can cut up your own vegetables for these purposes, or those bags of frozen veggies would work too. Consider using bite-size anything, including winter squashes, eggplant, okra, celery, carrots, broccoli, more onions, mushrooms. Get the picture? Go ahead and fill up your skillet. It will be tasty.
Add a drizzle of olive oil or zesty Italian dressing, more seasoning if you wish, and you're ready for the burner. Start it on med-high until it's steaming then turn it to med-low. You didn't add any water, but the natural moisture in your fish and veggies should juice things up.
Check in 15-20 minutes. You want the veggies tender-crisp and the fish flakey.
Remove to a platter and serve with red or brown rice. Mmmm!
Bean and Bacon Soup
It's September tomorrow so you can reasonably think about cooking up a nice, cozy pot of soup--at least soon! We've done it from time to time also--just turned down the air conditioner and pretended it's was chilly autumn day!
This recipe is like delux Campbell's Bean & Bacon Soup. The dash of liquid smoke (find it in the spice aisle) it what makes it. We add a little milk for a creamy version, and make sure your beans are cooked until they're tender.
2 c. small white beans - soaked overnight 6 strips crispy fried bacon - minced 3 med. carrots - minced 3 med. stalks celery - minced 1/2 t. thyme 2 cloves minced garlic 4 oz. tomato paste 1 dash red pepper flakes 6 c. water, more if needed 1 T. wine vinegar few drops Liquid Smoke salt & peper to taste
Soak beans overnight and discard water. Place beans, water & bacon in a large kettle and simmer until beans are tender. Add remaining ingredients except for the salt and vinegar and simmer 30-60 minutes more. Add salt & vinegar. Puree 1-2 cups of soup and return to the pot. Mmmmm.
You need good bread to go with your Bean and Bacon Soup! This is a recipe for artisan bread that a good friend gave me. It is OUR bread here--there is no such thing as Philippine bread with substance, especially not whole grain. I bake it a couple of times a week and usually share part of the 12" round with missionaries.
You can use all white flour, all whole wheat, (I do 5 c. wheat, 1 c. white) or be creative and add some rye flour. Herbs are also very good--about 2 T. per batch. Italian Blend is good, dill seeds would be good (can't get them here--maybe I'll ask for some for Christmas), cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg would give this recipe a completely different face.
6 c. flour 1 t. yeast 2 t. salt 3 c. water
Mix these four ingredients together in a bowl with a lid. This part takes about 5 minutes. You don't knead it--just mix with a spoon or paddle until the flour is all incorporated. Cover and let rise for 10-12 hours. I usually mix it up first thing in the morning then bake it when we return from the office.
When it has risen for whatever time you allow (sometimes more, sometimes less--very flexible) dump it out onto a floured surface, coat it with flour and shape into a round. Put it on a tray or large plate and let it rise for 45-60 minutes. This step also takes 5 minutes or less. Once again, the rise time is flexible. I haven't made a single loaf that wasn't good, except for the one that I cremated because I forgot it.
When the 2nd rise time is approaching done, turn on the oven to 450. Put a large covered cassarole (I use a wok) in the oven to heat, including the lid. No need to grease. When it's good and hot (be careful now!) take it out of the oven and invert your bread loaf into it. You might think, ack! the pretty side is on the bottom! Don't worry. It will bake out just fine. Put the lid on and bake for 40-45 minutes. When you take it out of the oven it will slide easily onto a cooling rack.
Bean soup and whole wheat bread. You've just created a complete protein. Good job.
Asparagas, Red Pepper & Potato Salad
This is a GREAT recipe--a fresh, healthy twist to veggies! You can double it and use a single recipe of the dressing. 1 # new red potatoes 1 # asparagus pieces 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded 1/2 c. slivered red onion
Dressing: 5 T. spicy brown mustard 6 T. balsamic vinegar 1 1/2 T. brown sugar 3/4 t. kosher salt 1/4 t. black pepper 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced 6 T. olive oil Tabasco sauce
Scrub potatoes and cook in boiling salted water till tender. Cut into 3/4" cubes and put in a bowl. Steam asparagas (no tough pieces please!) until tender-crisp. Shock in cold water and add to potatoes. Cut red pepper into bite-size sticks and add to rest. Add red onion.
Mix up dressing by stirring all ingredients together, drizzling oil while you whisk constantly to make a creamy dressing. Add Tobasco sauce to your liking.
Drizzle dressing onto vegetables and stir to coat. Serve right away for best asparagas color.
Fresh green beans or broccoli work great in this salad also.