21 November 2016

Simple Meringues



For some reason I've had a fear of baking meringues and pavlovas most of my life.  I know for many of you, you whip up a bunch of meringues in a second and think nothing of it, but for those of you out there who share my irrational fear, I'm here to help.  Today I decided to face my fears and have a go at making meringues all by myself.

My Mum is the queen of Pavlovas.  If there is a Christmas celebration or birthday gathering, Mum will usually bring a pavlova, the classic Kiwi dish.  Her pavlova's are the best - super crunchy on the outside and a little bit soft and chewy on the inside and always smothered with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

I've only ever attempted to make a pavlova once, and it was pretty depressing.  I'm thinking I might need to conquer that fear one day, but first, lets focus on it's smaller cousin, the meringue!

While thinking of something quick and easy to make for dessert (that is also gluten free for a family member), I settled on meringues (with cream, strawberries and ice cream of course!).  As I gazed at the over priced packets of meringues at the supermarket yesterday, I decided that I needed to face my fears.

Here's the simple recipe I used, and it worked just fine!  You can make them as little or big as you like, and I used my piping bag to get a neat finish (so much easier than spooning them onto the tray).


Ingredients
4 egg whites
pinch salt
1 cup caster sugar

Method
Turn your oven to 120°C, and prepare your tray (line with baking paper).

Whisk your egg whites and salt until soft peaks form.  Slowly add the sugar (spoonful at a time) and continue to mix well until all the sugar has been added and mixed.

Once mixture is glossy and firm peaks have formed, spoon carefully onto baking trays (or use an icing bag to pipe the mixture onto the tray).


Before putting the tray in the oven, reduce the temperature to 90°C and bake for 1½ hours.  When the cooking time has finished, turn the oven off and leave until cool.

Store the meringues in an airtight container - or eat right away!



For more delicious recipes visit here.



13 November 2016

Change



Change, growth and transition.  All things that are inevitable in life, usually healthy and normal.

As a parent, change happens often - your baby starts to sleep through the night, your toddler learns to walk, you move from feeding milk to solids etc.  Then as they get older the changes seem to happen faster.  Suddenly you are waving goodbye to your child as they head off to school, or their first camp or like me recently, their first full time job!



Our eldest is officially on study leave, and apart from a few exams coming up and a final end of year event, he has finished his schooling, started a great full time job and bought his first car all in the last week.

It feels like this 'first day of school pic' was just taken a few years ago...



Then we find ourselves taking his last day of school pic a few years later...




I don't feel down or too sad at the recent changes, as I realise that this is normal and healthy (and I also know I'll probably be a blubbering mess when our last child finishes school) and exciting progress.  But I am aware of us all being in a time of transition, and trying to take it slow and learn from it as we go.

Currently life feels rather crazy with some big health issues hitting quite a few of our family members, along with the fun ups and downs that come with being pastors, parents and renovating in the midst of it all.

In fact, the world feels rather crazy when you look at the turmoil after the results of the recent US elections, the war and fighting going on in many countries - it's easy to be overwhelmed by it all.

Rather than riding along this roller coaster of life, allowing my emotions to mirror the ups and downs of the ride, I'm reminding myself to draw my roots down deep into the soil, like a large tree that no matter what season it's in, it stands tall, stays stable and flourishes.  



The Bible talks a lot about being careful where we put our faith and trust - not in people or things, for they all can let us down at times, but in someone far more reliable... God.

Whether it's the busyness of life, stress or sickness or the chaos of the world around me, it's imperative that I make sure I'm drawing my strength from something that is sure.

I need to stay connected to Him, keep my ears open, my heart right and draw down deep.

Trees with deep roots can survive the storms of life - I want my life to be like that, not built on my feelings, emotions or circumstances, but on something stable and sure.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:3

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD. "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruitJeremiah 17:7-8



So I'm embracing change, digging deep during the storms, pressing in when life seems chaotic and eagerly awaiting the fruit.  I'm thankful for growth, new seasons and change.



And along with this pondering style of post, I'll leave you with a sneak peak of our kitchen progress... one of my favourite places to sit at the moment in our kitchen.  I promise a post with pics as soon as we've finished!


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