Welcome to Mary Lou's Sitting Room

Hello! You are entering the world of Mary Lou...hope you have fun here! I created this blog to be a place of refuge in the storm, inspiration in the fog, light in the darkness, and hope for your life. I love to encourage people and have fun-I hope you will find this true as you visit me here. I plan on writing about all types of subjects, because I am interested in all the good things God has made, so hang on for the ride~! I love to sew and also cook...hence the name..

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Summer Fruit Idea & Smoothie Recipe

I am addicted to the strawberries, peaches and blueberries of summer! I drink smoothies all year round for lunch most days for their refreshing, sweet flavor and also for the benefits of antioxidants that the blueberries can add to your diet as well and the other vitamins they provide.
Blueberry pie!

 In the Midwest where I live, strawberries are cheapest and best-tasting from about April through July.  Peaches are best in July and part of August and blueberries in July and August as well.  A couple of years ago I had the bright idea of buying them in large quantities while fresh and freezing them. (You're probably already doing this, but in case you aren't...)   :)

 I use the strawberries in smoothies and quick bread recipes and they can also be  used to make ice cream topping.  Peaches and blueberries are also great in smoothies and we also enjoy cobblers and pies.  Blueberry pancakes and muffins are also favorites we enjoy year-round.  I rinse & dry the strawberries and blueberries and sort them, discarding any that are overripe or cutting out the bruised portions, etc.  In order to keep them from freezing together in lumps you can place them in the freezer on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.  Just spread the fruit out a little and then freeze for about 4 hours or so.  Afterwards, drop them into freezer bags and put them back in the freezer.  They'll keep for several months if sealed well.

The peaches take a little more prep, but it's worth it.  You'll want to peel them, so you can use a blanching process that makes it a whole bunch easier!  Just bring a large pot of water to boil, cut an "X" just through the skin on the bottom of the peaches and place them in the boiling water a few at a time until you notice the skin beginning to pull away a little - should be only 2-3 minutes or so.  Have a bowl of ice water ready and with a slotted spoon drop them into the ice water for 40 seconds or so.  Then, using the slotted spoon again, place them on paper towels to dry.  Peel and slice them and then follow the same instructions as for the berries above.

Mary Lou's Smoothie Recipe

1  frozen banana
1 8 oz container of vanilla yogurt (I use coconut or almond milk yogurt because of my dairy sensitivity)
Approx 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
Approx 3/4 cup frozen strawberries
Approx 1/2 cup frozen mixed berry blend (purchased at the store)
Approx 1 1/2 cups 100% juice (I use cherry-apple or whatever looks good)

Place the banana, yogurt and about 1/2 the fruit and juice in the blender to begin...then slowly add more juice and fruit until it mixes well and is not too thick or too thin.

It's very important that you realize these amounts are approximate - I generally start with half that amount of the frozen fruit & keep adding fruit and juice until it's as thick as I want it. It makes about 3-4 8-10 ounce servings, so I just keep the rest in a pitcher in the fridge.  It should be fine for 3 days.

Here's hoping your summer is full of nature's finest!  Make the most of the delectable fruit of summer!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Oldies and Broken Hearts

Music is one of my favorite things on this earth.  Even as a little girl I loved to sing and to hear my dad or mom play on the organ or piano.  I was a teen-ager in the 1960’s and listened to the latest music on my parents’ old wooden radio cabinet that stood about 3 1/2” tall in my room.  Discovering the Beatles and Beach Boys and Motown music was magical.  We could’t wait to hear the latest hits from our favorite groups.  As I now listen to those “oldies” I realize that a large number of those songs told of broken hearts and rejection.  It’s a common theme even in today’s music.  The reason must be because relationships are important to us and we thrive when we are loved and we die a little inside when people leave or reject us, and that can be a friend or lover hurting us by deserting us or through death as well.  Hearts break for a lot of reasons, but the result is the same...grief and deep hurt.

The good news is that Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted.  It’s one reason He was sent here.  It’s the result of accepting His love into our hearts and following him day by day according to his word.  Often our gut reaction to pain of this type is to run and/or hide.  To try to avoid future hurt we strive to protect ourselves and we build walls.  But that only prevents us from receiving love and healing.  It’s been said that you can’t heal a deep wound by placing a bandaid on top.  It has to be cleaned out and some sort of medication has to be administered which is often painful. (my mother was raised on a farm and they would put rubbing alcohol on cuts, which she did for us also and boy, did that burn!) But going through that painful experience is what helps bring the healing.  Leaving the cut or abrasion alone allows bacteria to grow and cause infection.  Our hearts are like that.  We need to go to our Creator and pour out our grief and pain to him so he can clean the wound and apply his mercy, compassion and love.  Trying to be strong and handle it on our own will only keep us from experiencing this wonderful, healing balm from our great God.  A friend and pastor once said that people that feel deeply laugh a lot and cry a lot and that’s just how God wants us to go through life - feeling deeply.  I’ve known people who are so guarded that they seldom laugh and don’t allow themselves to cry, but to my way of thinking that’s not really living.  It’s just going through the motions of life.  So take your broken heart to Jesus and let him do what only he can do effectively - heal us from the inside-out.

Psalm 34:14 “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Isaiah 61:1 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted.”