Chocolate Covered Strawberries (& Topping suggestions)

This is an EASY dessert that tastes and looks amazing with little effort! Great for parties or gifts (they need to be kept cold, though, to keep the chocolate from melting).

The kids and I just made a batch, and are going to go bless the neighbors with them. Wish we had the camera – they look beautiful!

You’ll need:

-Fresh, cold, clean strawberries with leaves attached – wiped clean with a damp cloth (do not rinse, it makes the strawberry absorb the water and it lessens the intensity of its flavor). The colder they are, the easier the chocolate will adhere – not frozen, though, then they get pithy.

-Chocolate chips (white or regular (I like semi-sweet) )

-Shortening

-Toppings (optional) (Ice cream sprinkles, crushed banana chips, toasted coconut, crushed toasted nuts, dusting of cocoa)

-Trays that fit in your fridge

-Sauce pan if you are heating the chocolate on the stove, or a microwaveable dish

-Waxed paper

* * *

Line your tray with waxed paper

Stir together over low heat (or put in the microwave) chocolate chips and shortening. Add about 3 tsp of shortening to every half-cup of chocolate chips. It makes the chocolate smoother, and helps it to harden quicker. Only warm the chocolate. Do not let it bubble – this will make it get clumpy.

Remove from heat.

Holding onto the leaves, roll the strawberry in the chocolate.

Dip into a topping of choice (or just leave it plain with the chocolate) and then place covered strawberry on tray

When the tray is full, put it in your refrigerator to help the chocolate set.

Keeps in the fridge for about a day. Looks great carefully wrapped in a delicate looking box.

Sarah’s Strawberry Decorating and Topping Suggestions:

-Once resting on the tray, drizzle the berries with a contrasting color of chocolate
-For rich, strawberry truffles, use semi-sweet chocolate and dust with Hershey’s Cocoa powder before the chocolate hardens
-Banana Berries : Crush sweetened banana chips and roll the berries in them while they are still wet
-Strawberry Nut Crunch: Roll the covered berries into toasted nuts (almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts are rich in flavor! Yum!)
-Strawberry Colada: Toast snowflake coconut in the oven until golden brown. Roll covered strawberries into the flakes.

For more control over decorating the berries, use a decorator’s icing bag. This is how they make them at Shari’s Berries. (Check out the website for ideas!) I saw a tour of the factory on the Food Network. (The Bananas and Cocoa were MY ideas, Shari!!! If you copy me, I’ll know you’ve been reading my blog!!)

The Great Physician’s Nurse

Whom do you see before seeing the doctor? The nurse, of course.

The nurse assists the doctor by collecting information and specimens from the patient, assessing injuries, administering immunizations (as well as cartoon printed band-aids, lollipops, and giant stickers) and sometimes will even offer general medical advice. While laying in a hospital bed, a patient may have a whole round-the-clock rotation of nurses to care for them while the doctor is busy with other patients, though the doctor is always there immediately when one of his nurses calls.

Just as nurses can be soothing and attentive, there are nasty nurses who contribute to patients leaving a doctor’s care and looking elsewhere.

With a number of small children, we were often at a certain pediatric practice. It became quite a hassle to interact with nurses who made assumptions and volunteered opinions about unrelated personal matters, were rough and aggressive with tender little children in pain, ones who were always grumpy or rolled their eyes when they were asked to help. Or, would stand at the nurses station and would loudly talk about their patients as though they were less than human. Yes, patients notice these things. It was because of the unpleasant nurses that I chose to switch pediatricians.

Continue reading “The Great Physician’s Nurse”

Preparing the Heart for Giving Birth

This is a letter I sent today to a friend whose baby is due next week. I wanted to save it to remind myself of these things, and hopefully it will encourage others as well.

Dear —

Sorry I missed you last week! Had I seen you, I would have given you a big hug and let you know that I am praying for you as you get to the end of your pregnancy.

No matter how many babies I have given birth to, I know that each pregnancy and birth will be different. I tend to fluctuate between “I can’t wait to get this over with” and having apprehensions about labor… and, even about the recovery and the responsibilities of caring for another little baby. I’m praying for you as I’m sure you may be having these mixed feelings, too! I hope that you’ll give me a call if you need encouragement or extra help at any time.

I know you are trying for a natural birth – and I really hope that you are able to do this! I will be praying that the birth goes well, and that the experience of relying on your husband will bring you closer as a couple and to the Lord as you trust in Him together.

Whether you are able to have a natural birth, or, if in the end you decide that you need pain meds during labor, what is most important to remember is that your trust is in the Lord. It is not in hospitals, doctors and midwives, medicines, birthing methods, husbands, birth plans or even in ourselves. It’s easy to get psyched about all of these things, and yet diminish in our minds who is ultimately in control.
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Life-Giving Reproof

Proverbs 15:31-32 “He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof Will dwell among the wise. He who neglects discipline despises himself, But he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.”

Just have a moment and I’m using my blog more like a notebook…

I was reading Proverbs 15 today and came across this verse. The fact that reproof can be life-giving was a great observation. Many implications of this. Thought I’d write it down, lest I’d forget it during a future reproof. ;-)

Hello World!

Welcome to my blog!

About nine years ago, I met this guy at the Bowling Palace in Downingtown, PA. Little did I know how he would change my life.

My friend Becca was bowling on a league for homeschoolers and invited me to come with her. The lane next to ours was vacant, but, being a bookwork, I noticed that there was a stack of books on the table.

One was called “Rich Christians in the Age of Hunger.” With a title like that, I couldn’t help myself. I picked up the book and began to read. I got through the first chapter and this slightly irritated male voice said, “Those are my books.” I froze, but not one to be intimidated, I spun around and, looking at him right in the eyes, said, “Well! I hope you don’t agree with this socialist author… while I think that Christians have a responsibility to the poor, God certainly does bless some Christians with money. I don’t like the idea of guilt-tripping Christians whom God has blessed. What about Christians who are poor and who aren’t content? I think there are deeper attitude issues here that aren’t being addressed.”

From my soapbox, I could see that he was a head taller than me. Dark hair, nice Italian olive skin, and yet had hazel-green eyes… in fact, the same color as mine. He had about a two-day old shave, and looked to be pretty strong. He was speechless. He wasn’t used to girls who voiced their opinion.

Becca rescued him.

“Oh, I see you met my friend Sarah from Indiana. Sarah, this is Tom.”

It turns out, he was writing a paper for his college economics class, and the prof had challenged him to write on economics from a Christian perspective. I was pursuing a career in journalism – I wanted to be a war-correspondent – and loved the opportunity to write about an interesting topic. I gave him my email address and asked him to send me a note. He didn’t write for two weeks.

I spent the night at Becca’s. While we were in our sleeping bags by the coal stove, I asked her about Tom. “Tom Albrecht? Well, he’s not really my type [she later married a blonde-haired, blue-eyed military guy] but he’s really smart and he’s funny. Still, I can’t imagine kissing him or anything.”

(Some how the kissing line has stuck in my memory. Little does she know how fun it is to kiss him.. I think I’ve kissed him over 1,000 times at this point.)
Continue reading “Hello World!”