Psalm 23

A psalm of David.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Psalm 23 New International Version (NIV)

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Motherly Love

I love this photo.

Susan. My wife. My best friend.

She had just gotten a new cut and color at Frankenhair in Westfield, Massachusetts. A salon on School Street that has “been bringing hair back to life since 2014.”

Keep this in mind: back to life.

And for a minute let’s consider what we learned in college about Dr. Frankenstein and his creation, the “monster.”

I suggest as the doctor is the father of the monster, the creation, he too has the name Frankenstein. This is, in fact, what has happened in our culture; we have everything from “Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein” to “Son of Frankenstein” and many more, including, of course, Frankenhair.

But I digress. Let’s imagine that Frankenstein is representative of the bullied, the down-trodden, the lonely, the immigrant, the fatherless. I could go on, but I hope you get the picture.

So what is it about this photo and motherly love? First, I think the photo is funny and expresses Susan’s loving and perfect spirit. Second, she blesses everyone, male or female, the bullied and the immigrant, the fatherless and the needy, the down-trodden and the lonely.

She nurtures people. She encourages people. She believes in a person’s potential for good–and blesses them with motherly love bringing them back to life. Just as she has received a divine love , she gives love in return–sharing comfort and understanding.

She is blessed with the motherly love of God and she is an expression of this motherly love.

And she inspires me daily.

 

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Moroccan Pot Roast

You will love the way your house fills with the aromas of coriander, ginger, cumin, cinnamon!

Ingredients

For the spice mix

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons crushed coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (to taste) crushed red pepper flakes (or if available, Marash or Aleppo pepper*)

For the beef

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (3-pound or 1.35 kg) beef chuck roast
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 3 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup (235 ml) water
  • 1 cup (235 ml) pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup loosely-packed chopped fresh parsley

For serving (optional)
Couscous
Glazed carrots

Directions

1 Make the spice mix: In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, coriander, turmeric, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, paprika and pepper.

2 Heat the oven: Set an oven rack near the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (or 160°C).

3 Season and sear the meat, then add vegetables, spices: Sprinkle the roast all over with salt and pepper.

In a large Dutch oven or other oven-safe pot with a lid, heat the oil. Add the beef and brown it on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.

Add the onion, carrots and bay leaves to the pot. Stir in the spice mix.

4 Braise the meat: Add the water and pomegranate juice to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot and place in a 325°F (or 160°C) oven for 2 1/2 hours, turning once halfway through the cooking time.

When the meat is fork tender, remove it from the oven. (If it is not tender enough, leave it in a little longer.)

5 If serving with couscous and glazed carrots, prepare these when the pot roast is close to being done.

6 Finish the sauce: Transfer the meat to a platter and cover loosely with foil.

Set a strainer over a bowl and pour the sauce through. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and skim off the fat from the liquid. Add the lemon juice and taste. Add more salt and pepper, if you like.

 Serve the pot roast: Slice the meat and serve in shallow bowls on top of the couscous and carrots. Ladle the sauce over the meat and sprinkle with parsley.

Note: I did not strain the sauce. It did not need it. I served the carrots from the pot and made “Ancient Grains.”

Based on a recipe from Sally Vargas.

 

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The Best General Tso’s Chicken Recipe–Baked, Not Fried!

Just look at this photo!!!

YUM!

A healthy version of General Tso’s Chicken.

Ingredients:

4 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Thighs, cut into bite-sizes pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons paprika
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil baking dish. I used a 10 X 12.
  2. Place chicken in large bowl and mix with cornstarch.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk together chicken stock, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, paprika, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes.
  4. Pour over chicken and marinate for 30-60 minutes.
  5. Pour this mixture into baking dish.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir, and bake for another 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened.
  7. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions–if desired.

 

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Garden Gate

Today

We hear

The rain

Before we see it

Falling on the roof

Smashing against the windows

I see

Two make cardinals in the garden

And two female cardinals

A dove and two sparrows

In the far corner

I see a gate

A garden gate

Now supporting

The growing clematis

 

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Day In A Life

Another gray day

Here

In Western Massachusetts

But beautiful

In its own way

Like a painting

Or drawing

Pretty as a picture

No lawn mowing

For me today

Reading

And cooking

 

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Showers Bring May Flowers

The daylily

Still

Wet with this morning’s rain

Behind me

Garlic growing

Like a weed

In my garden

Both to bloom

In June

 

If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.