A PUBLICAT I O N O F O N M Y OW N N OW M I N I ST R I ES
Young Christian Woman Reba is Back!
10 Essential Tools
for the rookie cook Community Coupons:
deal or no deal? Donâ€™t Let Books
eat you alive!
What are your
Young Christian Woman
What are your Words Worth? By Donna Lee Schillinger
JUST WHAT YOU NEED
Don’t Let Books Eat You Alive! By Jeffrey Bridgman
EDITOR IN CHIEF Donna Lee Schillinger
ART DIRECTION Daniela Bermúdez
MOVING OUT ... SETTLING IN
Too Afraid for a Spirit of Fear By Kimberly Schluterman
JULY2011 A publication of ON MY OWN NOW MINISTRIES
Stepping Back from the Brink By Laura Johnson
REBA RAY’S DOWN-HOME HEALTHY COOKIN’ FOR ONE ON A BUDGET
10 Essential Tools for the Rookie Cook By Reba Ray
Community Coupons: Deal or No Deal? By Julie Ann
by Donna Lee Schillinger
W H AT A R E Y O U R
Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel. Proverbs 20:15 4
But I tell you that women will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. Matthew 12:36
used to carpool four preadolescent girls to dance lessons once a month, which made for a very interesting study in conversation. One of the girls was so chatty that I’m convinced it must have been physically uncomfortable for her to be quiet. A second would pipe in whenever the first was catching her breath, and the other two hardly said anything at all. The fascinating thing was that the extremely chatty girl rarely said anything interesting or of substance. She had an ability to fill air time with completely empty clamor of which she seemed to have a limitless supply. She said once that she wanted to become an orthodontist, but I thought she was better suited to a career as a radio personality. To be fair, she was entertaining. She often blurted out bizarre word combinations and she even interrupted herself with random musical clips from popular songs or her own words set to music. I, on the other hand, have never been a very good conversationalist and that has made for many an awkward social moment. I’ve analyzed it thoroughly and figured out that I’m no good at talking about nothing in particular, and that a great deal of conversation is about nothing in particular. I do love to dig in deep in a philosophical or even political topic though. In fact, one of my very favorite things to do is have good, thorough conversation around a dinner table with intelligent people. But like a lot of people, I know a little about a lot and nothing at all about some things! For instance, I know
nothing of mechanics, engineering, higher math and quantum physics, and I have the good sense to limit my contribution in conversations pertaining to any of those topics to questions only. But if someone opens the can of worms about the electric car, I’m all over it. Why? Because I have seen the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car.” With one good source under my belt, I practically consider myself certified to converse intelligently on the topic. I don’t have any real knowledge on the topic – just a summary of facts that was passed on to me in the form of a movie over a twohour period some weeks, months or even years ago. And yet I spew! I actually had an engaging conversation on the electric car at church just a week or so ago with two other Christian brothers. In truth, none of us knew much about the topic and yet, as often seems the case, we didn’t care to learn from each other; instead, we each wanted to assert an opinion based on the smidgen of information we each could contribute to the topic. One of the brothers believed hydrogen to be the alternative fuel solution. Oh, now, I knew that wouldn’t work because I had read a Newsweek article on hydrogen fuels and the electric car movie also had commented on how that technology has some serious issues to work out – it’s at least another decade away from being ready to mass market. That was enough to quiet that brother. Then the other chimes in saying that we’re literally crapping out the solution to our energy woes, and he begins to explain in very little detail how if only municipalities would invest in the infrastructure for a generating plant, the technology
already exists to take methane gas from sewers and convert it to energy. He maintained that a city could power itself with energy to spare on nothing more than the gas emitted from its sewers. Fascinating. Could he tell me more? No. That was the extent of his knowledge. To converse for half an hour based on what you’ve learned from a book or movie meets this definition of knowledge: “the fact or condition of being aware of something.” But is this the kind of knowledge our proverb calls a rare jewel? No. The dictionary defines that knowledge as “the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience,” and “the circumstance or condition of apprehending trust or fact through reasoning.” Now, not that it’s a weighty subject or anything, but if you’ve ever tripped and fallen in the midst of a group of people, you have a real and true knowledge of the humiliation that comes with such a fall. If ever you hap along a conversation about the feelings one has just after a public fall, you have something significant to contribute. However, you can cheapen your significant contribution by exaggerating your point or diluting it with too many words. Let’s take a more serious topic. What about Islam? Every American knows something of Islam if they have paid the slightest bit of attention to the news since September 11, 2001. Does the kind of knowledge entitle us to converse on it? Of course, even if we know nothing about a subject we can speculate and ask questions. We may even have a fact such as a statistic that we can contribute to the conversation. I’ve read the autobiography of Malcolm X and seen the movie and quite a few other movies with Islam as a theme. I’ve visited a Muslim nation and stayed a week in the home of Muslims; I’ve had Muslims friends and I even dated a self-pronounced “bad Muslim” for about three months (something I don’t recommend). I used to collaborate on a work project with a Muslim and for three years I worked a block away from a mosque. I might have more first-hand familiarity with Islam than most Americans. Yet, despite my “credentials,” some of which I didn’t bother to mention, anything I could contribute to a conversation on Islam would have to be prefaced with, “In my limited experience, I’ve found…” All I know from personal experience and have read and seen about Islam is still woefully lacking to qualify me to say anything truly knowledgeable on the subject and so much less to pass judgment on Islamic religion or culture.
To be able to contribute some rare gem on the topic of Islam, I would think I would need, at a minimum, to read the Koran, and perhaps an Islamic commentary on it so that I could understand it from their perspective, and have much broader personal exchange with a sampling of Muslims – yes, more than one person or even one family. Can you imagine how misguided a foreigner to our country might be if they met only you and from that experience made generalizations about all Americans? That reminds me of a popular stereotype about Americans that I encountered almost everywhere I went when I was in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. Ecuadorians thought that everything Americans eat comes already made in a can or box. All we have to do is add water and cook. To someone like me who really enjoys the culinary tasks of peeling, roasting and pureeing fresh pumpkin to make pie and cleaning and roasting the seeds for a snack, that seems like a ridiculous effigy and more like ignorance about Americans than knowledge of Americans. Yet there are other evenings in my household where such an impression of Americans could be wholly substantiated. The point is that it takes more than one experience, one reading, one viewing, one relationship to make true knowledge.
What are you talking about? Are you filling the air with random musical clips and nonsense phrases that have no value other than mindless entertainment? Are you engaging in thought-provoking conversation on weighty subjects about which you know precious little? The Bible says to make our agreements a simple “yes” and our disagreements a simple “no,” and to avoid godless chatter (Matt. 5:36 and 2 Timothy 2:16). This doesn’t mean we have to shut up completely, but what about spending some of that spare time we’ve generated by refraining in idle conversation to actually acquire some knowledge gained through experience? Then, when the time is right, we may have a rare jewel to offer in conversation.
JUST WHAT YOU NEED
by Jeffrey Bridgman
BOOKS EAT YOU
s any college student knows, the price of textbooks is absurd. One semester, my entire scholarship just barely covered the cost of my books! It’s not uncommon for one book to cost over $100. Sometimes they cover multiple classes – such as Physics I and II – but that doesn’t help much if the professor changes editions on you between semesters. Even when you are able to sell books back, what you get back is a pittance, compared to what you spent. There are some books that you might not want to sell back, like those you want to keep for reference. Here are some resources and ideas on how to save money on money-hungry college textbooks. • Price check: The quickest way to save money is to look around to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Check multiple places like, the campus bookstore, used bookstores in the communities, off-campus textbook stores – for instance, at my university there’s one right across the street from the campus. Don’t wait. You should start looking early, because used textbooks disappear fast. • Check online: Don’t forget you can also get used textbooks online. If you find out what textbooks are required for your classes, you can use their ISBN number to search and make sure you have the right textbook. The ISBN number is a unique number used to identify books, which is usually printed on the back or inside the front cover. I usually check half.com or amazon.com. E-books might also be an option. One of my classes had us buy the e-book, which was $100 cheaper that the print edition. It had the added advantage of being searchable!
• Rentals: Renting textbooks is an increasing popular option. The campus bookstore may have a rental program; if not there are some online options. I tried using chegg.com this last semester. Here’s how the process works with online rental books. First, you order your textbook online, and then when you receive it, make sure you keep the box. After you are through with the book, you go back online and print off a shipping label, tape it onto the box, and drop off the box at UPS. It’s a simple and cheap option for textbooks. • Buy old versions: Depending on the class, the professor may be happy to let you use an older edition. If necessary you can compare with the newer version to see if there are any differences. Or, if you really want to keep the textbook as a reference, consider selling back the new edition and buying a used copy of an older edition online as a reference. Once a new edition comes out, the older edition is almost worthless, so you can definitely find a cheap copy to hold onto and save yourself some bucks. • Book-pooling: Another option is to “book-pool”. If you can share the same car, why not the same textbook? If you are taking a class with a friend, you may be able to buy one book and share the cost. Of course, this may require some additional planning and communication to make sure you both get your assignments done on time, but it can be well worth it.
by Kimberly Schluterman
TOO AFRAID FOR A SPIRIT
fear ECCLESIASTES 3 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven— A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted… A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away… A time to be silent and a time to speak… A time for war and a time for peace. 8
n the fall of 2009, I wrote a column called “As the Seasons Change,” detailing how I lost my lifelong convictions about biblical truth and spiritual certainty in only a matter of months. (More on this, including my way back to the truth, in “Falling Off the Chair.”) Today I want to revisit those same verses, but this time with a new meaning. Whoever says that God’s word isn’t organic is pitiably erroneous. In the little more than a year that my husband and I have been married, I think we’ve experienced each of the times above in turn (although the part about giving birth would be metaphorical in our case, as we don’t have children). We have enjoyed the best days of our lives (literally) and held each other during some of our worst (literally). It’s been an eventful year. Recently, we learned that my husband’s sister has brain cancer. The early prognosis was grim and we were terrified at first. I am not new to the destruction that cancer wreaks on a person’s body, as I have lost many members of my extended family to the disease. But none was as close to me as my new sister, and I found myself reeling at the news. Is this what it felt like for my dad to learn his older brother had terminal colon cancer? In those early moments, I understood something about my father which I hadn’t before. At first, there were a hundred questions for each answer we received, and each answer seemed to bring worse news. Like a physical weight bearing down on me, I felt so afraid for her and her family. The time to be silent, the time to speak, the time to embrace, the time to search, the time to gather stones, to weep and mourn… they all happened simultaneously for a little while. And yet it was not a time for me to be afraid. Did you notice that none of those verses mentions a time to be afraid? I didn’t want my husband to have to comfort me when I knew his pain was so much greater than mine. I didn’t want him to feel burdened by my needs. While I was navigating a deep emotional and spiritual maze that was poorly lit, I had to find the strength within myself to devote all of my love and energy on my husband. And by “within myself,” I mean “of the Holy Spirit in me.” That is not to say that I didn’t feel fear – a real fear like I had never known before. But each time I began to give in to it for even a moment, I became convicted by 2 Timothy 1:7-10: “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline… [Christ Jesus] abolished death and brought life and
immortality to light through the gospel…” (emphasis added). We are not called to be afraid! We are called to have a spirit of power and love. I knew that my fear was from an evil source because fear does not come from God. Each time I thought of those verses, I really felt too afraid to have fear, if that makes sense. It’s like I knew that my God was in control, and by having fear, I was not trusting in Him. I knew I didn’t have to strength to trust in anything or anyone else, so the only choice I had was to push aside my fear and embrace the power and love of the Holy Spirit. I later realized that my initial fears were not because I had doubted God’s ability to heal her, but because I had underestimated His mercy and love. My good Lord, who overcame death and every other trial known to man, showed His enormous love through those whose humanity were weakest. In her bodily sickness, my new sister displayed magnificent faith. This faith, along with the supernaturally-empowered fortitude of her husband during the most emotionally distressing hours of his life, reassured me that a time to laugh would come again. All praise and glory be to our God and Father, the Great Healer: The term “prognosis” seems so irrelevant in comparison to the faith that we have in our Lord to cure tumors that modern medicine probably can’t. Although we still don’t have answers to all of our questions, we have about a hundred million reasons to be thankful in the wake of her diagnosis and corresponding treatment. The outpourings of love and prayers by so many across God’s whole earth have been overwhelming and moving. The faithfulness shown by my new sister and her husband has been inspiring. Finally, the mercy shown by our Lord has been humbling beyond measure. I do not need to be afraid because I know that my God reigns. This time of so many other things is also a time of peace.
If you would like to join us in praying for my beautiful sister-in-law, please visit her CaringBridge site (http://www. caringbridge.org/visit/brandigreer) and click on “Journal” to read more about her. 9
STEPPING BACK FROM THE
CENTER RING 10
by Laura Johnson
grew up in a Christian family and never thought much about sex, until I went with my church youth group to hear a presentation on purity. I never heard anyone talk about sex in such a straightforward way before. I always assumed I would save sex for marriage because I believed in God and had been taught that waiting until marriage is God’s will. The speaker pointed out that having a vague notion that one will remain pure is not enough. A person has to be purposeful in avoiding sexual temptation. Even though I felt I would never struggle with that, I signed the card the speaker handed out. It was called the Purity Promise Contract. It said: “On this ____ day of __________ in the year ______, I, _________________, vow to God and my future spouse to remain sexually pure until the time of my marriage. I realize that God created sex for the husband and wife relationship and that sex outside of this marriage relationship violates God’s perfect plan for my life. With this in mind, I hereby make this vow.” I signed at the bottom. (This contract is a free download at www.puritypromise.com.) When I got home, I briefly showed it to my parents, then hid it in my jewelry box. I believed I would not fall to sexual temptation, and I was almost embarrassed by the boldness of the words written on that card. It sat in the same spot for a couple of years before I bothered taking it out again.
I remember being intrigued by the thought of giving myself completely to another person. It was scary and desirable at the same time, to be that vulnerable with someone. I wanted to find that one person to spend the rest of my life with. What kind of person would he be and how would I know if I had found him? When I turned 16 and was allowed to start dating, my parents gave me a purity ring. The ring had a heart, a cross and a key intertwined. They told me it symbolized the key to my heart; that I was not supposed to give myself away until I had married the man God wanted me to. I thought the ring was beautiful, but I will admit that sometimes I was self-conscious about wearing it. Sometimes at school I would cover it with my other hand. Even so, I still didn’t think sexual temptation would be something I would struggle with.
I got something else on my 16th birthday too — my first boyfriend. I met him at a Bible quiz meet. He was cute, nice, excellent at Bible quizzing and his whole family went to church regularly. Also, he was pursuing me like crazy — what more could I ask for! So we started dating. We didn’t see each other that often because he lived in another town. He drove, but his parents were very strict about where he went. And my parents were very strict about how I dated. Outside of seeing each other at quiz meets, most of our dating consisted of him driving to my house and us spending time together with my parents nearby, if not in the same room. He always wanted to hold my hand, hug and have his arm around me, squished as close to him as possible, but I was not comfortable with all the PDA — especially around my parents. When we were alone it was another story. I was more than happy to accept his physical affection. We dated for over a year, and in that time, twice he grabbed me in places he should not have. Each time I looked at him and told him that I was not comfortable with that. The second time I told him that if he did it again, I would have to seriously consider breaking up with him. Eventually, I did break up with him, for different reasons. I thank God that I was able to respond correctly and that He kept me from being in any worse situation. After that, I went a long time without dating anyone steady — I was looking for the right guy. My early experiences reinforced my belief that I could handle sexual temptation — a false security. At the point when I entered college, I had not had much interaction with people who were big on sex. In high school, I had been pretty selective about my friends, but in my freshman year of college, I was assigned a roommate — a person unlike anyone I had met before. My roommate thought I was a phony, and that I couldn’t possibly be as nice as I seemed. She determined that I had an ugly side and that she would unleash it by antagonizing me. She later admitted that she had made it her goal to try to provoke me to anger. One of the ways she would try to provoke me was by talking about sex. I never knew if she had sex before marriage, but she would talk about sex in ways that made me uncomfortable — dirty, nasty ways, with no respect for what God intended it to be. And the friends she brought over to our room aided and abetted in her efforts to bug me about sex. One night, one of those friends burst into our dorm room with blood all over her shirt — she was scared to death. We could hardly understand the words coming out of her mouth, but finally pieced it together. She had been giving a guy a “job” and something had gone wrong. We directed her to go to the bathroom,
pull her shirt off, wash her hands and arms off and come back to our room with a clean shirt on. When she came back, the conversation went another direction, away from the incident. Still, I couldn’t pretend to be okay with what had transpired.
much! She prayed for you every day, and I will continue to do so. Forget about the past. It doesn’t matter any more. We went through the same thing. God is going to do something great in your life.”
As the sex conversations continued and I made more friends who were not virgins, it became easier for me to act comfortable with what was going on around me. I had convinced myself that I should be accepting of others’ choices, and that it would not affect me personally. I was wrong. I became desensitized and found myself watching movies I never would have watched before, participating in conversations I would not have participated in and thinking about things I never had thought about. I learned the truth about slowly becoming what you surround yourself with.
I was amazed. This man had Alzheimer’s and couldn’t have realized what he was saying. To this day, I believe God was speaking through him. It encouraged me tremendously and settled the issue in my mind.
My future husband, Adam, and I began dating at the beginning of my sophomore year. He was everything I dreamed of in a man — kind, compassionate, talented, a people-person, funny and a man of God. I knew I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life. And just knowing that put a completely different spin on things. I had heard of other girls losing their virginity because they thought they would marry the guy. I remember thinking how crazy that was because time and again the couples broke up. The girl was usually crushed. Now it was my turn to be tempted by the idea of being together forever. Was it really wrong to have sex before marriage if the net result was still only one sex partner for life? Adam and I had wonderful dating experiences! But there were times when we found ourselves alone at night, kissing, in the dark, and boy those lips felt good. When hormones take over, thought processes become blurred, and there were times we overstepped the boundaries we had set up for ourselves. Afterwards, we felt terrible regret. I would look back and say, “If only we had not…” And yet, we never had sex. God always gave us a way out, and I thank Him every day that we did not give in and have sex. Adam got a job about five hours from where I was still attending college. I believe that was part of God’s way to prevent us from giving into temptation. We saw each other about once a month. It got harder to say good-bye each time he left, and again, we pushed boundaries. Even though we were not having sex, I felt so guilty each time for pushing boundaries. I knew God forgave me, but it was hard for me to forgive myself and let it go. That suddenly changed at the funeral of my prayer warrior, a dear elderly lady. After the funeral, her husband of 65 years put his hands on my shoulders and said, “She loved you so
Adam and I got married after dating four years. I was able to wear white on our wedding day. I relished the fact that I was able to give my husband something that I had never given to anyone else and never to him before: myself, fully. I love that we do not have to worry about whether we might be comparing each other to previous sexual partners. Since we were both virgins, we learned together and were okay when things didn’t work out Hollywood-perfect. I’m also so grateful to not have the baggage that premarital sex brings into a marriage. I hear stories from others about what they have to deal with because they did not wait to have sex. One acquaintance developed an STD in her late 20s. She had been sexually active since puberty, but the disease delayed manifesting itself until recently. She is still young and unmarried and now she has to deal with managing the symptoms, as well as telling her fiancé what he is going to have to deal with when they marry. More commonly, it seems that my acquaintances who have had premarital sex are afraid their spouse will cheat on them. There is a lack of trust in their marriages and they always fear the worst. Or they themselves are the ones thinking, “The grass is always greener.” My husband and I have full confidence in each other and I feel free to give myself completely to him. I know that this is a direct result of saving ourselves for marriage and making God the center of our marriage. With Him all things are possible!
PURITY PROMISE CONTRACT
On this ____ day of __________ in the year ______,
I, ______________________________________, vow to God and my future spouse to remain sexually pure until the time of my marriage. I realize that God created sex for the husband and wife relationship and that sex outside of this marriage relationship violates God’s perfect plan for my life. With this in mind,
I hereby make this vow.
This story was excerpted from the new book Purity’s Big Payoff / Premarital Sex is a Big Ripoff, edited by Donna Lee Schillinger. A collection of 17 true stories about love that waited – or not! – for sex until marriage and the consequences of that decision. Learn more at PuritysBigPayoff.com. Now on sale at major online booksellers, through your local bookstore or for a special price of $12 plus free shipping at www.OnMyOwnNow. com, which receives as a donation half of the proceeds of its sales. Also available in Kindle through Amazon.com. También en español: La Gran Recompensa de la Pureza / La Gran Estafa del Sexo Prematrimonial. Visite www.VivaLaPureza.info.
by Julie Ann
✁ COMMUNITY COUPONS:
Deal No Deal? OR
ave you heard of community coupon Web sites? The two main national community coupons sites are Groupon and Living Social. I decided to try out these sites and their Portland, Oregon, offers to see if I could grab some savings. I’m unemployed at the moment so I’m pinching pennies at every corner and figure just about any cost saving idea is worth trying.
HOW IT WORKS: Local businesses (typically in medium to large cities) such as restaurants, spas and entertainment centers, contract to offer deep discounts on these sites. As part of the deal a certain number of people must sign up to take advantage of the deal. If the minimum number is not reached, then the offer is withdrawn. The idea is that you will share the deals that matter to you with friends via e-mail or social networking so that the minimum number is met, and you get to take advantage of the deal. If you’ve spent much time on Facebook you may have seen some friends share a link for a daily deal.
THE EXPERIMENT: On my first day on Groupon, the featured offer was for a wine tasting. Since I don’t drink wine, this was worthless for me. I checked out the other daily deals. There were two home care deals which didn’t apply to me because I rent. There was a deal for tanning but I don’t advise anyone to spend money on something that may give you cancer. Finally, there was a deal on a yoga hike, which had very little appeal to me as well. With my lack of success on Groupon for the day I pointed my browser to Living Social. The deal of the day was for laser hair removal. It did seem like a fairly good deal if you were desperate for hair removal; ($150 for what was supposedly a $750 dollar set of treatments) but I could live without it. There’s always tomorrow, right? When I checked my e-mail on community couponing day two, I was met with an offer for reduced admission to the Rose Festival Portland City Fair. It was probably a good deal to take advantage of for those planning to attend anyway, but not for me since I wasn’t planning on going. The other daily deals included hair extensions, fitness classes, another laser hair removal offer, bowling and a bubbling fountain landscape install. Nothing I couldn’t live without. Over at Living Social, I was offered a two-year subscription to an Oregon magazine, and discounts at a clothing store (in a town a few hours away), dance classes, yoga classes and ten skating rink admission tickets with skate rental. Over the next few days I faithfully checked the daily deals. I saw offers for more bubbling garden fountains installations, discounts on jet skiing, kayaking, men’s suits, vehicle detailing, more wine tasting, fitness boot camp (do I look crazy?), dental whitening, piano lessons and art supplies. And I am quite certain that there is a laser hair removal offer for just about every day of the week. (I don’t know if this is an issue
everywhere or perhaps we Portlanders are especially fuzzy from all the rain.) Since I wasn’t having much luck joining in on coupons that were practical, I decided to ask my Facebook friends about their experiences with community coupons. My friend Michelle in Fresno reported that she recently got a real good deal for an Indian food restaurant that she used when a friend came into town. She said that the food was good and the price was even better! Erica, from Missouri, managed to catch an awesome deal and receive a $20 gift certificate for Amazon for only $10. She says that she tracks deals from both Groupon and Living Social on phone apps. Even after my friends’ success, I was still a little skeptical. Finally about a week after I started my experiment I received an e-mail from Groupon with a $10 promo offer to apply to any deal I took advantage of since I was new to the site. If I could find a ten dollar deal I could get something for free. That price definitely sounded good to me! About two days later an offer came in for a $20 Old Navy certificate available for only $10. This seemed like a very practical deal to take advantage of as I already shop at Old Navy because of their reasonable clothing prices. I accepted the offer and applied my discount. I was now the proud owner of a $20 Old Navy gift certificate that didn’t cost me a single penny. Score! (I would have jumped on board with this deal even if I had to pay the $10 since it was something I can always use.)
THE VERDICT: In general the offers on these sites tend to be frivolous things that you can definitely live without, and probably should live without. But occasionally you might find a great coupon to sign up for and save a few bucks. Watching these sites doesn’t seem to take up too much time or effort, so you don’t really have anything to lose by keeping an eye on things or opening up the daily e-mail they send. And if you are afraid that your location isn’t large enough for deals, sign up for a nearby city or a place you plan to vacation. After all, an Amazon or Old Navy discount certificate will work anywhere if you are able to catch a deal from one of these national chains. In sum, unless you are as hairy as Bigfoot or want to create a bubbling outdoor fountain wonderland, you can expect to find really useful and good deals only occasionally.
REBA RAY ’S
Down-Home Healthy Cookin’
for the ROOKIE cook
ell, Reba’s back! And for all my loyal fans who were losin’ sleep wonderin’ what happened to Reba, sorry to leave ya’ high and dry. Fact is, I went away for a while. Well, duh, but really. I went to South America. I was half-way thinkin’ that a change of hemispheres might inspire some new down home healthy vittles recipes. After all, I picked up some jewels when I was there for a long spell the last time, in Ecuador. This time, I headed for the Atlantic coast, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina, and I also meandered through Bolivia for a month and popped in to Paraguay too. For pret’ near nine months, I was… uninspired. I mighta even starved to death if it hadn’t been for the bakeries! Ah, heck, it wasn’t all that bad, but I can say in all honesty that I missed me some Mexican food! If I didn’t learn many new recipes, I did learn what a gal needs to do some proper cookin’. I set up make-shift house a number of times and was at times deprived of what I consider to be essential tools for cookin’; and that, folks, is what I call roughin’ it. I’m writing ya’ll on my last day in South America, from Buenos Aires, and before I settle back into my home kitchen and forget all about my temporary deprivation, let me jot down here 10 things that if you’ve been doin’ without, you may be deprived and not even know it! If you’re missin’ any one of the things on this list, get off the computer, rush to the nearest department store, buy it and find out what you’ve been missin’!
4. 3. 16
HERE THEY ARE, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: 1. A SHARP PARING KNIFE
7. A MIXER
There are lots of cuttin’ jobs that require some precision with a knife and a big ole bulky choppin’ knife is overkill. You need a 3-inch blade, sharp paring knife to peel an apple, core a tomato and 100 other useful things you’ll find out once you own one.
Different from a blender, these are those old fashioned-lookin’ things yur mom used to let you lick when she was makin’ a cake – back before the days of the raw egg salmonella scare. Like ole Thomas the Train, they are really useful for mixin’ up cakes and puddins’, mashin’ taters, and best of all, whippin’ fresh cream.
2. A SHARP CHOPPIN’ KNIFE Whereas there may be 100 useful things to do with a paring knife, choppin’ veggies is not one of ‘em. Get yurself a sharp 5-inch blade knife to chop carrots, potatoes and all other manner of large, hard fruits and veggies, as well as meats.
3. A LARGE CUTTIN’ BOARD Now this can be one of them Plexiglas jobbers, but to me, there’s nothin’ quite like wood for sinkin’ yur knife into. If you’ve been usin’ yur counter or a large plate to cut things up, it’s like you’ve been tyin’ yur shoes with one hand all this time and didn’t know it.
4. MEASURIN’ IMPLEMENTS, INCLUDIN’ BUT NOT LIMITED TO SPOONS AND A CUP Wonder why yur food doesn’t turn out as good as Mom’s? And yur using the same box of Stove Top she always used? Bet yur guessing on measurements. Girls, there’s a reason for measurements in recipes and it’s that in those particular proportions, the food just tastes better!
5. SCISSORS By now, you’re probably thinking that I’m all about cuttin’. Truth is, life is too short to use your teeth to open things. Who needs the frustration? Who needs the powdered sugar all over your clothes and face? Oh, I can just hear ya: “I’ve got scissors at my desk, I’ll just bring them to the kitchen when I need to.” Goodness gracious, why don’t ya just chase yur dang tail! Don’t be so cheap. Pop a dollar at the dollar store and get ya some scissors for the kitchen, then write me and tell me how often you use them (once you stop using yur teeth!).
8. A NONSTICK SKILLET This is not essential if you like playin’ in puddles of water-logged egg and you don’t care a dang thing about yur nails. Aw, I heard the news about skillet coatin’ being dangerous and all, but if you just use #9 (see below) on yur #8, that nonstick surface won’t scratch off and end up in yur eggs. Our “Moving Out… Settling In columnist, Kimberly Schluterman highly recommends hard-anodized nonstick coating. She’s had a cookware set for about five years and has not one single scratch anywhere. If you just can’t stomach nonstick coatings, invest in a seasoned cast iron skillet for perfect omelets and crepes and effortless cleanup.
9. A GOOD HEAT-RESISTANT SPATULA AND WOODEN SPOONS Girls, why would you go and spend a bunch of money on nonstick cookware and set about to slowly destroy it by usin’ metal utensils?
10. TONGS Here’s another thing, like the scissors, that you think, “Oh Reba, I’m not ever gonna use that!” But you just wait till you get some and train yurself to stop using a fork for work cut out for tongs. Oh, there are a whole bunch of other things that I lived without, like a microwave, toaster, tea kettle, coffee maker, blender and a bunch more. But it’s probably already occurred to you to get those things. In my travels, these were the things I found many a kitchen doin’ without, havin’ no idea how much more pleasant cookin’ could be when using the right tools.
6. A GARLIC PRESS OK, this one is just for folks who love to cook with fresh garlic. If you buy minced garlic, then you don’t need a press. But if yur standin’ around choppin’ yur garlic into tiny pieces, a garlic press is gonna rock yur world.