Mountainside Ministry Training Center

The Mountainside Ministry Training Center, operated by International Messengers, is located in Libby, Montana and trains international workers who have hearts for the lost in other nations.  “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

2022-01-19 Mountainside Ministry Training Center - Photo by Ben FancycameraPhoto by Ben “Fancycamera” 😉

Christmas Treat – Pumpkin Buttermilk Cake

I stole a recipe from Gail’s Kitchen (snapshotsincursive) and changed it up a bit to make a single cake instead of her mini-bundt cakes that you can find at her site.  This works both with a tube pan or as a full size bundt cake (that I did not photograph as it was my first outing with a bundt pan).  It worked great with amounts of ‘stuff’ close to her original recipe, but now I want to try to make a larger one in my tube pan.  This will take some playing with the temperature or time.

The nice thing about this cake is its simplicity as there is no rush between steps and it still comes out great!  On my first trial bundt, I melted the butter and wound up having to refrigerate it for several minutes to get the cream consistency of its mixture and got everything else ready.   It is really hard to goof this one up!  Believe me, I tried!! 😄 Even the measurements can be varied according to taste; more or less buttermilk, sugar, honey, or spice.  And on my first trial, it only took about an hour from start to finish.  I always assemble everything I expect to use before starting.

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Ingredients:
1-1/2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
1/4 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened (room temperature)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk*  (substitutions below)

powdered sugar for dusting

IMG_4141Preheat the oven to 350⁰F.  Spray the inside of the pan with PAM or grease with butter.
In the first bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, pumpkin spice and cinnamon and set aside.

In the second bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and honey.  Beat with a hand mixer on high for two minutes.  Add the eggs and beat on high two more minutes, scraping down the sides as needed and set aside.

In the third bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, vanilla extract and buttermilk.*  Mix well.

Add one-half the the butter mixture and one-half the flour mixture to the puree mixture, gently stirring until combined.  Do not use a mixer, and do not even over-stir; just stir enough to blend.  Add the remaining mixtures and again, do not over-stir.

Fill the bundt pan or tube pan no more than 3/4 full.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, and test with a toothpick until it comes out clean.  A stainless steel cake tester comes out clean too easily, while a toothpick’s texture will give a more accurate picture of the internal doneness of the cake.

Cool for five minutes before placing on a wire rack.  With a tube pan, I had to ‘slice’ the bottom and center of the cake away from the pan, even though it had been greased, but then it came out beautifully.  My tube pan comes apart, so this would have created a problem if I had used a one-piece tube pan.  (My bundt cake pan is silicone, so it is flexible.)

After cooling, dust with as much confectioner’s sugar as you like, or serve with Cool-Whip or ice cream.

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*Buttermilk Substitutions
Few of us home-bakers use enough buttermilk to keep it on hand, so I went to my old chemistry texts looking for substitutes.  Though buttermilk and sour milk ARE different, they can be used interchangeably in most cooking applications.  These are the three easiest I found:
When you look at the composition of buttermilk, really it’s just acidic (or sour) milk.  You can easily recreate this using some common ingredients you likely already have in the kitchen.

  1. Lemon Juice
    To make one cup of homemade “buttermilk,” just add a tablespoon of lemon juice to whole milk.  Use freshly squeezed if you can, but bottled works fine.  Lemon juice is acidic enough to turn your milk sour, i.e., into buttermilk.  Mix the two together and use once your whole milk begins to curdle.  If you use low-fat or 2% milk, just give it a two or three minutes to do the magic and taste to make sure it is sour.  (NOTE: Spoiled milk is NOT the same as sour milk!)
  2. Cream of Tartar
    If you do occasional baking, then you’re might have cream of tartar somewhere in the drawers.  Cream of tartar is a strong acid.  If you add it to egg whites when making meringue, it helps it hold its structure.  For every cup of buttermilk you want, mix in about one and a half teaspoons of cream of tartar. Wait for a couple of minutes or until your milk thickens.
  3. Vinegar
    If you don’t have either of these, you’ll probably at least have vinegar available.  Just add a tablespoon of vinegar per cup of milk and let it sit for about five minutes, or until your milk starts to curdle and split.  Distilled white vinegar is best because it won’t alter the color of your milk, but when you’re baking with pumpkin and spices you can use apple cider vinegar and the result will be just fine.

“I was in awe.” – Intermezzo Guest Blog

Parents overcome fears to welcome baby Henry, born without arms.
by Nancy Flanders, July 17, 2021 , 03:55pm

After learning that their preborn son would be born without arms, Jessika Turner and her husband doubted their abilities to parent a child with additional needs. But when baby Henry was born, life changed for the better.

2021-08-02 I Was In Awe

“We called our close family members and explained what little we knew at the time,” Turner told Love What Matters. “They had so many questions, and I was fresh out of answers. The one question I kept asking myself was ‘How in the world are we supposed to raise a child with no arms?’ At first, when I looked back on those few days after we received his diagnosis, I felt so guilty for feeling like I did. I repeated over and over, ‘How am I going to be a mom to a little boy who needs more than I can give him?’ Now, I realize I wasn’t worried about his arms, or lack thereof, at all. I was worried about our ability to care for this amazing child because I felt inadequate.”

Turner is not alone in her fears. For every child who receives a diagnosis, there are parents who wonder if they will be able to provide their child with everything he needs. When the child is still in the womb at the time of the diagnosis, doctors often suggest abortion instead of discussing how to actually help the child or the parents.

Henry’s doctors believed he had a rare genetic disorder called Thrombocytopenia Absent Radius Syndrome (TAR). According to Turner, TAR causes low blood platelets, missing arm bones, and other limb deformities. It also causes a lowered immune system and a milk protein allergy. There are two types of TAR: long arm and short arm. Those with long arm are missing the radial bone in the arm while those with short arm are missing all three arm bones. Henry has short arm TAR.

READ: ‘He’s absolutely perfect’: Mom of baby with missing limbs said choosing life was the ‘best’ decision

“Our next step was learning to adapt,” said Turner. “One of my biggest things, when we found out about Henry’s arms, was his clothes. Why does EVERYTHING have sleeves? All of the sleeveless items were summer clothes, and Henry was due in December. The feeling of being inadequate hit me like a freight train. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat. I screamed and cried and acted like a crazy person. I felt my soul break in half. My fellow special needs parents will know what it feels like. It’s gut-wrenching. I then realized I couldn’t stay in that dark place. I had to fight. I had to figure out how to do the best for this boy with lucky fins.”

2021-08-02 House Closing

Thankfully, Turner was able to find a support system with other families of children with TAR on Facebook. They gave Turner and her husband hope — “a life raft to hold onto.”

When Henry was born, Turner felt prepared and excited but also nervous and scared. He had a low platelet count of just 13,000 compared to the typical 150,000 to 450,000 and spent the first month after birth in the neonatal intensive care unit. He overcame a high white blood cell count, transfusions, IVS, x-rays, and five surgeries.

“The first time I got to see him with my very own eyes, I was in awe,” said Turner. “We created that! He was ours forever.”

Today, Henry is like any other toddler who loves to play with his trucks and uses a sippy cup. His parents have a mantra of, “No arms? No problem!” and his mother said she “cannot wait to see the person he grows into.”

Every child deserves to be loved the way Henry is loved, regardless of abilities or differences. No child should be discriminated against in the womb, but instead, all children should be welcomed at birth with love.

“Like” Live Action News on Facebook for more pro-life news and commentary!

Connect with Live Action here: Live Action News info@liveaction.org

My notes:
Every baby IS loved and would be welcomed into the world if we could just connect those who think abortion is the only route out of a difficult situation to those who want a baby.  There are so many childless couples who wait for years to provide loving homes that no baby needs to enter the world unwanted.
For a humorous spin on this, check out the Babylon Bee’s May 21, 2021 satire piece (remembering this is a joke website!): https://babylonbee.com/news/democrats-worry-of-dark-future-where-they-cant-murder-children-for-being-inconvenient.

Intermezzo Pics: Snow, Another Night of Miracles

2021-01-28 Snow in Fayette
Another day and night of miracles.  It began snowing late in the afternoon of January 27, and came down in big flakes that made the neighborhood seem almost foggy with the diamond dust.  We went to bed with a lovely light coating on the ground and bushes of about one to two inches, but more came so we woke up to about four inches overall.  The above is from a newspaper report of downtown Lexington in the afternoon.

Below are shots from my back window, with one reflecting our Christmas tree lights that are up until February 1. 😉

As night fell, the snowfall gave a nice one to two inch cover of the ground.  No idea where a neighbor was off too at 8:00pm, but he is experienced driving in snow and ice.  Love what the snow did to his headlamps as they shone on the light white jacket on the road.

While I was asleep we received between another inch to two inches, so in the morning, the miraculous mural of immaculate milk covering the meadows around us was spectacular in the early sunshine.  The view from our bedroom window showed the sun just rising.

On the back porch after breakfast, the sun was already starting to evaporate the snow, but slowly as the temperature was 22⁰F (-6⁰C)!

Out the front of our home, the scene was much the same: alluring alabaster ice everywhere.  The falcon seemed unfazed.

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Out back, the sun was still coming over the horizon, as Anita and I prepared for our morning walk of about 1-1/2 miles (2.4km).

One of our neighbors, like us, still has some Christmas decorations up, which is perfect in this weather!  The walk was cold, but without wind, we actually got warm in our down coats, gloves and hats!

Walking along the blocks around our house, snow sometimes seemed to falling again from the blue sky, but it was just flakes falling from the forest’s fins. 😉  My bride is sooo patient with me when we are walking.

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Almost back home again, another neighbor has an interesting “visitor” that looks better in the snow.  Usually Sasquatch is a rusty brown, to blend in with the trees. 🙂  In the meantime, about the time we arrived back home, wonderful gray clouds began to hide the direct sun.  Yeah, I know the blue is gorgeously grand, but no direct sun is good sun.  Sometime I will blog on my reasons for thinking this.  So after lunch, I think we will head out for another walk, about 2-1/2 miles (4 km) this time.

Today we will stay below freezing, but tomorrow warms up to 35⁰F (1.5⁰C) so all my wonderful snow will soon be gone. 😦  Maybe Heaven has a special place for those of us who love snow . . . Saturn’s ice rings? 😉