Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Whole Wheat Multi-Grain Bread ~ Recipe

Yummy Whole Wheat Multi-Grain Bread
By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Last week our cupboards resembled Old Mother Hubbard's.

Yet I adamantly resisted going grocery shopping. Because it is not my favorite thing to do. You can read the post here.

Bread was in zero supply, so I looked in the cupboard and we had yeast packets! I decided to make bread. I know, lots of work. But anything to avoid hitting the supermarket aisles.


Whole Wheat Multi-Grain Bread


2 pkgs. active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups lukewarm milk (scalded and cooled)
1/4 cup honey
3 T. shortening
1 tsp. salt
4-5 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour
3/4 cup chopped sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and almond flour (mixed together)
1/2 cup oatmeal (lightly ground in coffee grinder)
softened butter


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, honey, shortening, salt, white flour, and 2 cups whole wheat flour. Mix together.

Add oatmeal and grains plus enough whole wheat flour to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough out onto floured counter. Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Roll into a ball. Put in a shortening greased bowl, turning once to cover all sides with shortening. Cover. Set bowl in warm spot and let rise until double (about 1 hour).

Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll each half out into a rectangle. Tightly (but gently) roll the dough into a loaf and place seam-side down in a greased loaf pan. Repeat with second loaf. Lightly brush tops with butter. Cover and let rise for another hour, or until doubled.

Heat oven to 425 and put oven racks on a lower setting so the bread tops rest in the center of the oven. Bake until loaves are toasty brown and sound hollow when thumped, about 30 minutes.

Remove loaves from pans, place on cooling racks, and spread butter on top. Cool and enjoy!
My well-loved and much used pre-marriage cookbook
The original recipe came from my Betty Crocker's Cookbook (Golden, New and Revised Edition) that I've had since before I was married (pre-1985). The name inscribed on the inside front cover is Angie Hill.

In fact, there is no title page, as it has fallen out during some previous cooking escapade. We now start things off on page 7 and discuss how to care for and prepare meat.

***My recipe for Whole Wheat Multi-Grain Bread has been adjusted and adapted to our tastes - less salt, more grains, and a mix of whole wheat and white flour.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Decorated Metal Tins - How to Use Those Empty Altoid and Ice Chip Boxes

The top cover of my decorated tin
 By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

I joined a group of ladies to make these pretty prayer boxes last weekend.

I recently attended the Columbia Basin Baptist Association's Annual Women and Teenage Girls' Retreat at Camp Touchet, just outside of Dayton, Washington. What a beautiful, if somewhat remote and out of cell coverage zone, location!

Much fun was had Friday night when our craft lady and photographer shared her idea and supplies with us. We made these fun prayer boxes!

Of course, the boxes could be used for anything, but we were at a retreat that featured prayer, so our boxes were prayer themed.

So make use of those empty Altoid or Ice Chip metal tins and create to your hearts' content.

The top and bottom of my tin 
Decorated Metal Tins


empty metal tins
spray paint
decorated scrap paper
thin-tipped permanent markers
craft glue
washi tape
buttons, ribbon, stickers, gems, glitter glue, and assorted embellishments

1. In advance, spray paint the outside of the tin, including top, bottom, and sides. Let dry.

2. Trace the tin bottom on decorated scrap paper. Cut it out and trim to fit. You can use this as a template for the bottom, top, and inside top of the tin. Glue in place with craft glue.

3. I loved the look of the washi tape, so I edged the top and bottom with washi. It doesn't stick very well around the corners by itself, so I need to glue down the corners.

4. Add buttons, butterflies, stickers, or any embellishments you want. Make a decorated label for the lid to tell what the tin is for. Glue to top.

5. I also decorated the inside of the lid. You can see the little poem that we included in our lids.

6. I left the bottom empty, but added small pieces of paper for notes and a short pencil (our craft person found them on Amazon - just search for mini mechanical pencils).
The inside poem, note paper, and pencil
Et voila! You are ready to take notes, write down thoughts, pen tiny masterpieces, or scribe prayers.

How are you going to use this craft idea? I think it would be great for a camp project!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Old Mother Hubbard Says It's Time to Go Grocery Shopping

A sweet potato and a few onions...
By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

You do know the nursery rhyme about Old Mother Hubbard, right?

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor doggy a bone.

When she got there,
The cupboard was bare,
So the poor little doggy had none.

Presenting, on life's stage, Old Mother Hubbard.
Played by Angie.


Old Mother Hubbard needs to go shopping for groceries. Now.

I resist grocery shopping. I don't know why. I will scrounge, create, and do everything I can to make it last just one more day. All to avoid grocery shopping.

Maybe it's the lines, the crowds, the cost, the forgetting something on the opposite end of the store and making repeat trips, the foraging through produce to find the freshest, the struggle to open produce bags, touching raw meat packages...

Probably it's the having to take it all home and put it away.

But I so love having food to use when I prepare meals!

We are down to wilted celery, one sweet potato, a few onions, and garlic. Oh, I think there may be a dried up bit of ginger hanging around as well and some frozen peas and corn. Almost out of milk, yogurt, and bread.

Two pieces of frozen salmon and one package of frozen ground turkey make up the protein portion of our diet (per what is in the fridge/pantry/cupboard). I suppose I could count the canned chicken and tuna.

Well, that sounds like I have plenty for another day of Grocery Store Avoidance.


Frozen Food Tip:
Guess what?! The package directions actually work for frozen brussel sprouts! I've never even glanced at the directions, but did so last night on a whim. You can MICROWAVE the entire package - and they come out perfectly moist and not soggy and gross!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Day the Mountain Blew

Standing on the top edge of Mt. St. Helens, looking at Mt. Adams
By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

What were you doing on May 18, 1980?

Maybe you were not even born yet! That does make me feel old, so let's keep that to ourselves.

On that beautiful Sunday morning, so many years ago, I was at church with my family and friends. It was during Sunday school, so the time was early in the day.

Rocks, rocks, rocks!
Murmurs of something going on and the escalation of tension crept throughout the groups of people. We all went outside and saw huge, billowing, black clouds racing our way from the west.

Upon the advice of emergency officials and church leaders, everyone was sent home.
Soon, the entire sky was overtaken by the black gray heavy clouds. Not rain clouds as they appeared, but ash and smoke. Grit started to pour down. It wasn't a gentle ash, but steady and thick.

Mostly we were excited to find out what was happening. I don't remember being afraid at all, just curious. We got to skip out on church, and though we were all advised to stay inside out of the ash, we ventured out several times to check out the weather.

Volcano weather.

At that time, we didn't have immediate access to world events. No one really had computers, just radios and the basic television channels. Phones were all old fashioned and connected to a wall phone jack. Information traveled much slower.

A view of what's left at the top of Mt. St. Helens
One of my weekend jobs was to care for an elderly lady one street over. Mrs. Nelson lived by herself in a big house. She was alone that volcano-y day. I received a call asking that I go over and check on her. I did so, and explained to her what was going on and made sure she had her lunch and the things she needed.

My then future-husband was on his own for the weekend, as his parents were out of town. So he ended up at our house for much of that week. He was normally there, so that was nothing new.

As this was our first volcano eruption, we had no idea what we were in for. School was open as usual Monday morning. We headed to school. I remember trying to use the windshield wipers. Scrape, grit, scrape, grit. Not a good idea.

It was all excitement for the students. A volcano! Ash and grit. LOTS of ash and grit. A volcano ashfall.

The problems became evident soon enough. Students waiting for buses to stop were overwhelmed with clouds of billowing, drifting ash. We couldn't breathe! People started wearing face masks just to be able to be outside. Vehicles were being damaged by the large amounts of ash and grit being inhaled and forced through the internal engines. Others tried to begin the clean up process, only to find there was nowhere to put their mountains of ash.

The girl with the cow shorts heading up Mt. St. Helens
So much ash. Inches fell on every little thing. Daytime looked like nighttime. Headlights had to be used to improve visibility.

After Monday, school was cancelled for the rest of the week in order to give everyone time for cleaning away ash. I'm sure officials were scrambling to figure out what to do with the ash, checking to see how dangerous it was for breathing, and searching to find out what damage was being done to the machines that were out working through the depths of the volcano fallout.

Things slowly returned to as much normal as could be expected. Mt. St. Helens was forever changed. Much of the mountain was spread throughout Washington state and the northwest. The Yakima Valley was in the ash fallout zone, while others on the opposite side of the mountain were hit by pyroclastic flows of steam, ash, mud, melted snow, and raging rivers. Lighter ash was transferred around the world by wind. Farmers washed off or plowed under the layers of ash all over our farmlands. People collected jars and containers of ash as momentos. Creative folks figured out ways to transform the ash into artwork and jewelry. Books were written, studies conducted, interviews given, and research began.

Not everyone survived that day. But for those of us who did, we remember the day the mountain blew.

So much information has been collected, stored, and shared. You can read more about Mt. St. Helens here.

Me and Kevin at the summit of Mt. St. Helens
We have no personal photos of Mt. St. Helens the day it blew. If we did, we probably would not be alive to share them. We did, however, hike to the top of the mountain in 1993. After reading the warnings on paperwork from the ranger station, we seriously considered our health and personal welfare! Watch out for steam vents, thin crust, the edge of the top (where the edge often broke off), the dome in the center of the volcano (we couldn't go there), and tremors. It was and is a live volcano, after all!

I'd love to hear what you were doing on the day the mountain blew.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Ask for Help, And It Will Be Given

Great flyers from WMU and my friends in the Preschool Resources Department

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell

Ask (for help) and it will be given.

This weekend I will be presenting two breakout sessions about writing at a retreat. I'm very excited to attend and enjoy the retreat, as the past couple of years my schedule has not allowed me to go.

Besides sharing with women, I was invited to bring my books. Isn't that nice? Of course I'd love to bring my books.

The problem was that I didn't have any up-to-date flyers or informational handouts.

What does Angie do? She contacts the professionals (and her good friends) at Woman's Missionary Union.

I asked and boy, did I receive.

We back-and-forthed messages for quite a few days. And because there was a tiny break in their schedule of deadlines, my friends were able to put together several lovely pieces for me to use.

The flyers and posters look so lovely and colorful, I just had to share . . . though it is odd and a bit disconcerting to see so many me-faces staring back!

Thank you, Clay, Teri, Robin, and Joye! You ROCK! You also made me look good. We can never underestimate the value in that now, can we?

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Power of Words

Word sources

By Angie Quantrell @AngieQuantrell


Words are amazing.

The entire process of how we learn to speak and use words in intelligent conversation awes me. And the fact that we learn to write and read and utilize words is fantastic.

What can words do?

They can be used to:

~ encourage

~ affirm

~ express emotion

~ praise

~ tear down

~ build up

~ destroy

~ curse

~ forgive

~ add fuel to or put out the fire

~ share dreams

~ explain

~ teach

~ condemn

~ inform

~ question

~ make choices

~ create

~ stand firm

~ call for help

~ offer assistance

~ distribute faith, hope, and love

Words can be our best friend or our worst enemy. We can use them with kind regards towards others in our society.

Or we can abuse and pirate our words to wound, pillage, and plunder the hearts and lives of those around us.

How do you use your words?

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.  ~ Psalm 19:14 ESV

Read 99 more verses about the power of words here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Threat - Can Cats Read?

The experiment - Can cats read?

By Angie Quantrell Angie Quantrell
My husband walked into the kitchen with a guilty grin on his face.


"Nothing," he smirked.

Seeing I wasn't convinced, he added, "I'm just laughing at your book on CD."

Ok. Weird. But I let it go.

After dinner, I went out to tidy up the patio and harvest strawberries. And then I saw why he was giggly.

On the chalkboard we have mounted to a wall (for the grands, of course), someone had drawn and written a message.

To our neighborhood bully cat, Mr. Mustache, or Stache. From our gray girls, Mabel and Monet.

Can cats read? Do they understand a threat? Is humor lost on them?

It seems my husband thinks so.

Did his threat work?

I'm sorry to say, but no, Stache has still been around spraying on our windows and chasing the girls inside.

To conclude this experiment in cat communication skills, we may assume that:

1. Cats cannot read.
2. Cats don't care if you threaten them.
3. Cats don't get humor.

Stache, boldly making his visit

Or maybe, cats just don't read message boards.

Read more about Stache, the Bully, here.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Container Gardens

Baby kale and lettuce mix win the mobile garden location
By Angie Quantrell Angie Quantrell

Container gardens are the way to go this year.

It's funny how I go through fads in my garden.

Last year, I didn't want many containers other than the raised beds and strawberry garden. I relished the empty patio space that left ample room for the grands to race wheeled vehicles around without crashing.

Previous growing seasons bloomed and produced according to my every whim and decorating idea. I loved grouping pots and plantings according to heat and watering zone. Notice I say heat instead of sun requirements. My afternoon garden is all a heat zone and any container has to be mostly in shade or capable of handling the crippling sun rays.

Baby kale
This year is once again a container garden year. But my reasoning is fresh and experimental.

This year I want to win against the garden predators. Slugs. Sow bugs. Earwigs. Aphids. And whatever else is chewing its way through my fresh veggie crop.

For instance, radish is languishing in an old turkey roaster pot that has holes in the bottom, mainly because every time I have planted them in the past, the sow bugs and slugs have eaten holes and rings around each beautiful radish.

Radish seedlings popping through the soil
Lettuce and kale are making a new home in a little red wagon and a washtub. This is my attempt to avoid the slugs and aphids.

Chives and a random sunflower are living in yet another washtub.
Chives and a sunflower plant
Germination has commenced and plants are popping through the soil. What has yet to be found is how successful the plants will be in growing to full-size and giving me tasty treats.

Kale? Check. We've already had baby leaves.

And that's all I know for now. We shall see. Let the experiment commence.

Until then, kale, strawberries, and herbs it is.
Spring strawberries

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Beautiful yet encroaching and taking over a flower bed
 By Angie Quantrell Angie Quantrell


crab grass
pink flowers
evergreen tree
birch branches

sow bugs
daddy long legs
yellow jackets
white grass bugs



In my yard. In my community. In my world.

Aggressively encroaching vines grasping for toe holds

It starts small, but once you start looking, it's everywhere at every level.


What is encroaching in your life?

Yet. There is always hope. Big or small encroachments, He is here.

Raspberries escaping and encroaching throughout yard
But you are a shield around me, O LORD;
you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
To the LORD I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

Psalm 3:3-5 NIV

Monday, May 2, 2016

The Bird

The window
By Angie Quantrell Angie Quantrell

I had just finished reading two separate blog posts.

The first post was about clean windows and how they look great - until the sun streams through and we can still see the smudges and streaks left despite our efforts. You can read this Lynn Austin post here. A Clear View

The second post asked the question "Just How Big is God?" The author encouraged readers to consider how God knows every little detail, even down to when a sparrow falls to earth. Every sparrow! Read this post by Leslie A. here. Just How Big is God?

A few mere moments after completing these readings, I heard a loud thunk.

In our house, a thunk usually means a bird has flown into our large picture window.

This window, speaking of clean windows, streaks, and smudges, defies my every attempt to make it clean and sparkling.

I raced towards the front window, glancing down into the flower bed beneath the brick ledge.

Sure enough, a stunned sparrow twitched on the bark. I went out and saw that it barely breathed. I gently picked it up and stroked its back, watching for signs of being stunned or on the edge of death. Some birds survive our window. After a few moments of being knocked out, they flip over and fly away.

This little guy did not. He didn't take more than 2 or 3 breaths as I held him cupped in my hand. I watched the still breast, hoping that I just couldn't see the ribs move. But the glass wall was too much for his tiny body.

And there I was. Crying for a tiny sparrow who died from smashing into my window. Even though I could see the dirt and smudges on it, it looked clear and invisible for my feathered friend. There was nothing I could do.

But God knew. He knew the exact moment the sparrow crashed into the window and the second it took its last breath. And He cared that it happened.

God knows all things. He cares about everything in our lives, down to the tiniest detail. Though He is the God of the Universe, He knows and cares.

About us. About that poor sparrow. About me crying when the sparrow died. About my frustrations with daily life or big events or fears that seem silly. He cares.

God cares.