Jessica's Jottings:

On faith, food, family and frugality

Why I like to buy 15 lbs of bananas at a time (or, Why the Food Lion cashiers cringe when they see me coming)

A small portion of my recent acquisition

eh...this is nothing! ūüėČ

¬†I can hear the question now:¬†“So…Jess, why on earth would you buy 15 lbs of bananas at a time?”¬†

Quite simply – we like smoothies.

A  lot.

It’s an easy way to work our homemade plain yogurt (probiotics¬†and calcium), fruit (2 bananas/blenderful gives fiber plus potassium all while providing a fairly neutral sweetening), coconut cream (a healthy fat), and whatever other fruit I want to throw in for the main flavor (favorites include frozen peaches or strawberries, although¬†recently we’ve been using¬†our wild¬†blackberries). Last night, I added a little extra milk, some pure maple syrup and…cocoa powder.

Oh. my.

But, let’s get back to the bananas. And the huge quantities.

First, let me be very clear: I’m fairly lazy. I don’t like doing the same thing over and over and over again if there’s an alternative. By buying 10-15 lbs. at a time,¬†I can do a lot in one fell swoop and be set for a month or two.Also, I can get bananas at Food Lion for $.35/lb. if I get the bananas that are actually ripe (as opposed to the green bananas that are $.19 more/lb.). These are kept separate and marked with white sticky tape around their middle.

15 lb x $.35/lb = $5.25

15 lb x $.54/lb = $8.15

That’s almost a $3.00 difference!¬†(You did see the word “Frugal” at the top of the page, right?)¬†¬† ūüėȬ†

But…what do you do with 15 lbs of bananas?¬†

First, I sort them. Some of them are still quite good-looking. I set these aside for us to eat on. The kids love fresh bananas. Admittedly, sometimes Rafe loves to smear them all over his person, but usually some of the banana makes it into his mouth. 

Prepping bananas for the freezer

Prepping bananas for the freezer

Then, it’s time to break out the waxed paper, some gallon-sized freezer bags, a¬†butter knife and a plate or a cutting board.¬†

Rip off a bunch of sheets of waxed paper that are roughly 6 inches long and then commence the banana peeling.

Set the peeled bananas aside on the plate or cutting board until they are all peeled. 

Then, take two bananas and lay them lengthwise on a sheet of waxed paper. (If you lay the bananas out so that both the paper and the fruit have their length together, you won’t need as much waxed paper to get the job done.)

Taking the butter knife, cut the bananas into chunks between 3/4 – 1 1/2 inches long.

Fold each side of the paper over the length of the bananas, finishing with folding the top and bottom over.

Turn your wrapped bananas over and lay them, seam side down, in the first freezer bag. 

Keep going until you’ve used all your bananas.

Put them in the freezer and now you’re set.¬†

Want to make banana bread? No need to run to the store Рhit your stash in the freezer. 

Want smoothies? You’re good to go.¬†

Need¬†a quick treat for the kids? Frozen bananas are quite tasty – freezing them seems to concentrate their natural sweetness. (Sometimes, we’ll wrap whole peeled bananas in aluminum foil and freeze them that way.¬† We call them bananasicles. Creamy, smooth and pure fruit!)¬†

Frozen bananas - what they look like

Muahahaha...your doom is sealed - it's the blender for the likes of you!

One last picture to show you what they look like when they’re frozen. Unlike refrigerating bananas, which seems to turn them brown, frozen bananas maintain their creamy color.

So, do you still think I’ve gone bananas? (hehe…c’mon – it had to be said!)

What are your favorite uses for bananas? Have you ever tried freezing them?

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Recipe Roundup: 6/27 – 7/3

This felt it would be something fun to do – list out all of the new recipes that I’ve tried out this last week. ūüėÄ

(Shh! Plus it will help me remember where they are on the great vastness that is the Internet. So…I’m, uh, getting old. /sigh)

Roasted red pepper sauce – my own creation (pics and recipe coming soon!)

Super easy salsa Рagain, one of mine (Just in time for tomato season and also coming soon!)

Homemade Ranch Dressing – Probiotic and healthy due to using homemade mayo!

Sourdough biscuits – I made these for breakfast yesterday morning…they were inhaled. We ate on them all day and especially enjoyed them with the

Slow Cooker Lemon Herb Chicken that I made for dinner last night.

Probiotic Potato Salad – Really? Healthy potato salad – I likes it! I made this for our cookout this evening. I, erm, added a lot of mustard powder to the recipe (not called for!) and it gave the potato salad a “Kick Me in the Mouth” feel – it was like it had horseradish in it! It was quite tasty.

Homemade Herb Seasoning – this was needed for the herbed yogurt cheese that is used to help add probiotics to the potato salad. Basically, you dump all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times. It’s that easy and super tasty.

Whee! Fun stuff. Next week…homemade peanut butter is up on the “DIY” list, as well as getting my next batch of vanilla extract started.

What’s brewing in your kitchen this week?

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Why I believe there are still *real* apostles and prophets around today

This is going to be a fairly short post, as there’s not much to be said. Jesus pretty much says it all.

Starting in Matthew 24, with the Olivet Discourse (Jesus’s sermon on what to expect in the end times),

9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.

24 “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect‚ÄĒif that were possible. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.”¬† (Mat. 24:9, 10, 24, 25, NIV, emphasis mine)

Then, when Jesus is addressing the Ephesian church in Revelation 2, he says this,

”¬†I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.” (Rev. 2:2, NIV,¬†emphasis mine)¬†

The implication of these passages is that there must be real prophets and apostles also floating around – how else could there be imitations?

A couple of questions then for those who claim that these five-fold ministry positions have disappeared from the earth:

  • If these offices no longer exist, why would Jesus commend the church for testing and finding false prophets and apostles? If they no longer exist, there’s no need to test. You can just throw them out upon arrival.
  • If these offices do indeed exist, as I argue that they must (or there would be no need for Jesus’s admonitions), what does this mean for you? Are you willing to search the Scriptures with an open heart and mind? When you run into someone who claims to hold one of these offices, will you be ready to¬†receive proof for (or against) their calling?

And:

  • What would be a good test for someone claiming to be an apostle or a prophet?

Let the Bible provide your answers! Jesus tells us what to look for:

”¬†15 ‚ÄúWatch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep‚Äôs clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16¬†By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matt. 7:15-20, NIV)

 And, a little more about fruit:

33 ‚ÄúMake a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.‚ÄĚ (Matt. 12:33-37, NIV)

Fruit does not show up right away. You have to watch for it…wait for it. Don’t set your heart and your faith and put all of your trust in some man or¬†woman you’ve only just met. Test. Pray. Seek. Wait. Pray more. Evaluate. Are you seeing the fruit of a righteous life? Do you see people being brought into the Kingdom of God and then being discipled so that the Kingdom of God is being reproduced in that person/people? ¬†

If (s)he messes up (because every one of us does mess up!), how does (s)he react or respond? Blame shifting or knee-hitting? Does that person become divisive or repent, allowing “love to cover over” and heal, ultimately leading to unity in the Body and a greater degree of God’s glory being manifested?

 3 Do not put your trust in princes,
   in mortal men, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
   on that very day their plans come to nothing. (Psalm 146:3,4, NIV)

Ultimately, we are all accountable to God. Each and every one of us will someday have to answer for our actions. We cannot, on that day, point the finger at a leader or a fellow follower and blame him or her for our lack of action.

Okay, okay…so this was a bit longer than intended. I trust you’ll forgive me?¬†¬† ;D

Have another perspective? By all means, please share.

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