My brother, Jonathan, has always loved plants. It started when he was very young and would go into the woods behind our house and stay for hours. He would come back with all sorts of things from berries to mushrooms. As the years passed his knowledge grew from reading everything he could get his hands on about fruits and vegetables. He grew cantaloupes from drying his own seeds and heirloom tomatoes he would special order. The whole neighborhood wanted his tomatoes since they tasted so unusually flavorful and wanted to know his secret. When asked he would talk as if they were human and say things like “Don’t over water the plants that will cause the roots to rot and wait till they bow their heads and ask.” Or “It helps the roots to become stronger when they have to grow deep in search of water.” Having a green thumb didn’t run in the family . I’m lucky though because I still get to enjoy his! Here is a picture of just one of his tomato plants.
Brandon Yaussy, one of my nephews, loves the Caprese Salad so this is for you!
Make layers in any design you like. Sprinkle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. Put in refrigerator till ready to serve.
For several years my brother Jonathan and I were the primary caregivers for our mother. In June, 2013, she passed away at 91 years old. It was expected but still very painful. Her mind was so active. She kept up with current events, politics, and helped with meal planning and preparations. She kept our family Christ focused with devotions, prayers, and very wise counsel. In her Seneca Indian heritage she would have been chief if that had been allowed! In her family she was the first one to achieve a college education. Her goal was to help her siblings and cousins to obtain the same opportunity for a Christian college education. This involved not only monetary sacrifice but often times sharing a room in her home.
As I matured, Mama became an even stronger role model to me. In handling her estate, I discovered the charities and missions she supported throughout her life. This new knowledge created a desire in me to see first hand where her money had been invested on missions fields.
In September, still mourning for Mama and draped in her jewelry, I left Atlanta, GA for Paris on my European mission trip with Equestrian Chaplaincy International (ECI).
Bob and Evie Barnard met me at the Paris airport along with our French hostess and missionary friend,Simone. Pascal and Simone Vermes have a unique ministry in Paris with European refugees.
The Lord used this ministry to help me focus on others as Mother always did. It’s my understanding that in France, the residents are taxed on what they own so whole estates are often given to the mission to resell for refugee support. Many of these refugees left their countries without official documents, personal belongings, or family. I observed a personal happiness at the mission because they are given jobs at the resale shops for their bed and food. As a group, they have to prepare their food and eat together. They were not just given welfare! Seeing these refugees coping helped with the mending of my own spirit.
Simone took us to this mission many times as Pascal worked there.
I hunted among the donated items for treasures in remembrance of Mama. A special French teapot is now in my guest room at home – a reminder of her and my monetary support for this refugee mission.
Simone spent time teaching me to cook French dishes. Two of them are listed below.
French Chicken in Cream Sauce
Saute’ with seasoned salt and black pepper 2 pounds of thinly sliced chicken.
Saute’ fresh sliced mushrooms.
Stir in 2 or more cups of heavy cream.
Put in a baking dish.
Topped with grated Swiss cheese.
Bake a 350 degrees until hot and bubbly.
Serve with rice and fresh mixed vegetables (saute’d in olive oil with a little butter for taste, salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, etc.)
Chocolate Tart (French Chocolate Cake)
(1 gram = 0.35 oz.)200 Grams (7 oz) of dark chocolate Melt in microwave with 200 grams (7 oz) of butter Add 220 grams (7.7 oz) of brown or white sugar Mix with whisk in bowl Leave on counter for 10 minutes Add 5 eggs – one at a time, mixing in each separately Mix in 1 Tbs of flour with no lumps Place parchment paper in large tort (tart) pan, pour in batter mix Bake at 200 degrees C. (390 F) for 22 minutes – no more!