Syska Toolbar

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Easy Fourth of July Recipes and Cocktails

Sangria in Rosé, Bourbon, and Blue 
1/3 c. super fine sugar
2 c. fresh blueberries, divided
1 c. pitted and halved fresh sweet dark cherries
1 750 mL bottle fruity rosé
2/3 c. freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2 large oranges)
1/2 c. bourbon
2 T. Grand Marnier
1 sprig fresh rosemary, about 5'' long
1 lemon, one half squeezed for its juice, the other half sliced thinly.
optional garnishes: whole cherries, blueberries, lemon slices
In a small bowl with tall sides, combine sugar with 1/3 cup hot water. Using an immersion blender, blitz until sugar dissolves. (Or use a food processor or blender.) Add 1-1/2 cups of the blueberries and blitz again, until blueberries are completely broken up. Set a strainer over a bowl and strain the blueberry mixture, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Pour blueberry liquid into a medium-large pitcher. Cut the remaining 1/2 cup blueberries in half and add to pitcher. Then add cherries, rosé, orange juice, bourbon, Grand Marnier, rosemary, lemon juice, and lemon slices. Stir and place in refrigerator until chilled, about 2 hours.
Fill glasses with ice and pour sangria over the ice. Garnish with additional cherries, blueberries, and lemon slices, if desired.

Mimi Strawberry Short Cakes 
Sara Lee pound cake
1 pint Strawberries
1 carton Cool Whip
This is a Sandra Lee-style super duper easy to make strawberry short cake. Start with a Sara Lee pound cake stamped out with a daisy cookie cutter, layered with some cool whip, then a strawberry slice and layer as many as desired. After you have them where you like, top with a blueberry for a 4th of July dessert that’s no fuss, no bake, party fun and party easy.

Red White and Blue Salad

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Known by Our Fruit ~ Is Yours Sweet or Sour

"Jesus said, 'Either make the tree sound (healthy and good), and its fruit sound (healthy and good), or make the tree rotten (diseased and bad), and its fruit rotten (diseased and bad); for the tree is known and recognized and judged by its fruit. You offspring of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil (wicked)? For out of the fullness (the overflow, the superabundance) of the heart the mouth speaks.'" Matthew 12:33–34

Hypothetical Story: A woman I’ll call Kathy, thought she knew more about the church and every member and visitor than anyone else did. She was fairly well known as the church gossip. “One thing about her,” a friend said, “she’s not prejudiced ~ she talks about everyone,” and she laughed. She also added, “She’ll probably get into heaven, but God may have to cut off her tongue first.”

One day as I stood near the front door, I heard Kathy telling several people about one of the deacons, “But it isn’t up to me to judge him,” she said. The venom poured from her mouth, and she went on to mention several others. Of course, she was critical of each one. I listened to her and realized something. She was only speaking from what was already inside her heart. That’s obvious, but I grasped something else ~ Kathy was so critical of herself, so filled with disgust for herself, how could she speak well of others?

Too often people make promises that they’ll speak better of others and gossip less. They really try, but nothing ever changes. This is because they are trying to change their words without changing their thoughts. That’s a bad solution, because they start at the wrong end. What they need to do is look inward, asking, “What is going on inside of me?”

“For out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks,” Jesus said. As I consider those words, I feel a deep compassion for Kathy. She had allowed Satan to fill her mind with critical, harsh thoughts. She didn’t speak much about herself, but I’m sure she was totally critical of herself as well as other people, and when she spoke, the evil words came out of her mouth.

Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit. The same is true of our lives. Everything begins with a thought and if we allow negative and unkind thoughts to fill our minds, they bear fruit. If we dwell on the bad, we produce bad fruit.

As we observe people, it’s easy to see the fruit of their lives. They show either good fruit or bad. It’s that simple. But the fruit is the result of what’s going on inside. We can learn a lot about a person’s character simply by listening to their conversation. The more loving our words and actions are toward others, the more loving and kind our thoughts will be.

If I believe God truly loves me and if I enjoy fellowship with Him every day ~ I’m planting good seeds in my own heart. The more good seeds I plant, the more good fruit I produce. The more I think kind and loving thoughts, the more I see others as kind and loving.

“Out of the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Kind or judgmental words don’t just come to us, they come out of our mouths because we have nurtured them in our minds. The more we open ourselves to the Spirit’s positive and loving thoughts, the more we pray, and the more we read God’s Word, the more good fruit we produce on the inside and that good fruit shows itself by the way we behave toward others.

Dear loving and forgiving God, I ask You to forgive me for all the harsh things I’ve said about other people. Also, please forgive me for allowing harsh thoughts to fill my mind—about myself or about others. I know I can’t make myself more loving, but You can. Please, help me focus on healthy, positive thoughts, for I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Wondering what to get Dad for Father's Day.....How about throwing him a beer tasting party.

If a handmade Father's Day gift just doesn't cut it anymore, throw Dad a beer tasting party with his favorite drinks, food, games and friends. To get started, start with a Dad's Day Party Table that shows him just how much you love him outfitted with a rustic-theme, complete with his favorite snacks, beer and games. Give it a customized look with a plaid paper banner and food labels, twine-covered bottles and specialty beers for guests to try.

Set up a tasting station and label the different types of beer with simple plaid tags. To attach the tags, tie them around the beer bottle necks with twine for a rustic look. Make a game of it by turning over the tags and having guests guess which type of beer they're tasting.