Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Santa Cruz, California, October 28th, 2014

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cheesecake for Lindsay!! Complete with pictures!

Alrighty class, get your aprons and let's shake this joint!
It's time to make Jennifer's Triple Chocolate Cheesecake.

First, take 15 shortbread cookies and grind them to crumbs.

Then mix with 4 Tablespoons of melted butter.
Press into the bottom of a well greased 9 or 10 inch springform pan and bake on the centre rack at 350F for 6 minutes.

Once this is done, put a pyrex pie pan 2/3's full of water on the *bottom rack*, in the centre, of your oven. Trust me. 

Take 3 blocks of cream cheese (NOT the spreadable kind!!!!) and mix with one cup of white sugar.
I prefer Lactantia, but any kind will do.

Whip until smooth, then add 3 eggs, 1/2 cup sour cream (not lite, really, what is the point?) and 1 Tablespoon of vanilla. Sorry about the yellowish hue there.

Next, you're going to add the chocolate chips.
I use 1 cup each of milk, dark and white chocolate. You can vary the ratios depending on your taste preferences. Mix well, because the chocolate chips like to sink.

Pour the batter into the pan and it should look like this. Only, again, not so yellow. Imagine it's white. Thanks.

Now, put the springform pan on the centre rack, right over the pan of water. Loosely cover the springform pan with a sheet of foil.
Bake for one hour. If the centre of the cake is not set, but is a bit jiggley, you're doing fine. If not, leave if for another 10 minutes. Once the centre is almost set, turn off oven and do not open the door again.

Cheesecakes are not cakes, but custards. Therefore, they don't need to feel or look cooked, but simply "set".
Humidity is a huge factor in cheesecakes, and since we're not adding all kinds of stabilizers and goop, cracks are probable.
Once the oven has cooled, put the cake in the fridge , either for a few hours or overnight.

The ganache!
Ganache is a fancy word for glaze. It is just cream and chocolate, and it's totally up to you if you want to add it.

On LOW, or in a double boiler (ask a grown-up) warm 1/2 cup of whipping cream. Add 2 cups of chocolate chips and let everything melt. 
You must not try to rush this, because if the chocolate scorches, you can't melt it.
Mix until smooth and pour over the cheesecake.


I need a knife!

To serve, run a warm, sharp knife around the rim and unlock the pan. 

Please, cut the cheesecake and put it on a plate.
And at least use a spoon.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Oat Scones for Joanne Bischof.

Today's cooking lesson is for a Major family favourite , 'oat scones'. 
I always double this recipe because my off-spring have healthy appetites.


Grease a pyrex pie pan


2 cups oats
2 cups white flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg

Mix and pour into pan. Batter should be somewhat milky, not dry, but not liquidy.
Bake for 30-33 minutes until top is golden.

Cool and serve.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A writer's Thanksgiving prayer.

Dear Father, 

Thank you that the voices in my head aren't real.
I mean, I know they're REAL, but thank you that I can make them stop talking if I write down exactly what they say.

Thank you that I have friends who understand when I call them up and say "What kind of rope was best for hanging in 1892?"
Or, "how deep does a knife have to go to draw a whole whack of blood?"
Or even, "if I wanted to kill an entire family really fast, what is the best way?"

Thank you that they don't call my mom and have a chat about me.
Or the police.

Thank you that I know the best kinds of chemicals to use when I burn down a mansion.

Thank you that my heroes know how to ride horses and I don't have to explain spurs.

Thank you for Pinterest so I can post photos of cowboys and Native Americans and NOT get in trouble. Hello? Research! Duh.

Thank you for chaps.

Thank you for ridding society of corsets.

Thank you for the ability to ruin someone's life, slowly make it all better and then just when things look good, make it even worse.

Thank you for getting someone to invent chaps.
Oh, I said that already?
Huh. Chaps seem to be on my mind...

Thank you for fresh air, sunshine and wide open spaces.

Thank you for modern things like Pinterest so I can post pictures of chaps.

Thank you for crit partners who say things like "Um,  she already kissed him in the previous paragraph."
And who understand when I say "Well, she needs to kiss him again."
And they say "Oh, sounds good to me." 
And I say "Then the bad guy comes riding through the front door and shoots the chandelier down on top of them."
And they say "Perfect!! Then he can kidnap her and hide her in a cave!"

Thank you for imaginations, computers and notebooks.

Thank you for allowing us to be creative.
Thank you that we can offer it back to You.

Thank you for everything.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Oh, so you're a writer are you?

This is for all my writer friends who aren't published ...YET.

Yes, you *are* a writer, if you've written something and put your name on it!!

Think of it this way...

If you sing, do people ask for a CD?
If you paint, do people ask about your next museum show?? 
If you dance, do people expect a pas de deux at Roy Thompson or Carnegie Hall?
If you sail, do people expect you to go solo to Hawaii?
If you carve, do they ask to see a cedar totem?
If you like to travel, do they ask why you haven't discovered a new country?   
If you like to make snowballs, do they ask if you make ice hotels in Denmark?

Don't let the "do you have a book on a shelf in a bookstore and a big cardboard cut-out of your hero? Oh you don't? Then you're not a writer" comments mess with your head!!

Do you have files all over the place with lives in them? Do you know people who don't exist?
Have you thought about murder, mayhem, theft, rescue, dragons, faeries, heroes, war, fire, water, kisses, embraces and even vengeance of Biblical proportions?

Then , my friend, you so totally and completely are a writer. 

Oh yes, you are!

For now...

Here is the team, and NO, I was not about to rob anything! The dust was awful!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bad hair, bad lighting, an itchy nose and Take Three!!!

Here's a vlog. 
I look like an idiot.
My nose was itchy.
And I'm in a purple haze...

Hey, Happy Friday!!

Oh yeah, there's hockey gear everywhere!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hmmmm. What do you think?

I've been trying to think of a statement that best illustrates why I write and what I'm trying to say.

What do you think of this?

A HUGE thank you to Michelle Griep at for the link to the website

Monday, November 12, 2012

44 seconds with The Death-Cam.


THIS is why "praying for your missionary" is critical!!


And just so you know?

This was one of the mellow, easy, not so scary roads.

All in all, there were about 4 days of this kind of driving.

And the "guy in the rear view mirror" from my last post? That was his driving. He's a REALLY good driver.

And it's all worth it, every last nail biting second, so I can give people a radio that will tell them about Jesus.

And meet little dudes who like my shades.

And learn true kindness from ladies who have almost nothing but cook all day for the team and kiss you senseless when you thank them with a new cooking knife.

And cuddle little angels named Maya.

Talk about drawing a crowd!

Bolivia is absolutely beautiful!!

Next time on From The Redhead?

How sick is SICK?

Is it when you can't move your arms and legs?
When you can't walk?
Or when you need oxygen between flights? 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Alrighty kids! Here we go!!!

We're off to 


This is over the Caribbean somewhere. This means we've left our *world* behind and are off to the land of llamas (that's pronounced "yamas" ) and SPRING! We flew from Fredericton and then to Toronto with Air Canada. Not much choice there. You Canadians will know what I mean. Then from Toronto, we flew on Copa Airlines (excellent airline, BTW, better than I expected) to Panama City.

Panama City/Tocumen Airport.

Merciful heavens, it was RAINING !!!
That was the runway, and it was under 6 inches of warm water. There is a jungle out there, but the rain was so bad, you couldn't see a single tree. And it was loud!

After a layover in Panama, we flew to Santa Cruz, Bolivia. And once we were through the 1am customs and immigration cattle call with 200 other travelers, we headed for some comida. 



You know how some things LOOK good???


No, that is NOT all the luggage. There were a few more carts.

We had 30 suitcases, stuffed to the gills with our precious solar powered radios.

Later that day, we flew on to Sucre, Bolivia. What? Did you ask what state Sucre is in? Actually, it's not a "state", it's a "department". 

Welcome to Chuquisaca Department. And Sucre is, ohhhh, like, 300 or 400 YEARS old! 

Here's me and Aslan, just chillin and being all tourist-y. And there's a good reason to hang out and be a tourist. We spent 3 days acclimating to the altitude. Sucre sits at 9500 feet. One CANNOT just land at 9500 feet and jump in a jeep. Nope.

Like the hat?

Here we are, Day One, stopping for a potty break and photo op.

I'm sorry? What?
No. No, there was NOT a rest stop.

You see that wee little bush? 
Yup. THAT is your "rest stop".

And so begins the REAL trip!! Up and away from the city and into the "campo",  or as the missionaries and local residents call it, "the countryside". 

Basically, we're heading deep into the Andes, up into some of the most remote town and villages in South America.

And my friends, there is no I-95.

There is this. Thousands and thousands of miles of this.

And this road? 

Is really QUITE wide.

Our next post will discuss pitch, roll and the guy in the mirror.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

An Andean sized thank you to Becky and Heather!!

Well, I'm home!

We arrived on Saturday morning, after a 48 journey, to very happy family and friends.
After a short time of visiting, I went to bed and woke up at 5pm. I made a few phone calls and went to bed again. 
I slept in til 10am on Sunday (sinner!!) then had long afternoon nap. Then I made more phone calls.

Yes. My house looks like 4 males lived alone, unchecked or supervised, for 18 days.

Yes. My suitcases are still opened, with my belongings strewn about the living room.

I'm STILL tired. And as my darling husband said, after I muttered something about aching all over "well, no kidding, you haven't had a normal sleep in almost 3 weeks!"

I will try my best to blog the trip, and will use my trip journal to do so. That will start on Wednesday...but for now?

A HUGE thank you to Heather and Becky for blog sitting, and to all my guest bloggers for covering the show while I was trekking across Bolivia, bringing Jesus to the Quechua Indians. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Heather Day Gilbert--Guest Post

My Greatest Adventure…
By: Heather Day Gilbert

I used to be an adventurous person. I’d jump on a motorcycle (and crash into a wall) or jump into a canoe (and crash into a tree), and just keep on truckin’. Thankfully, all my crashes were minor.

Then I had kids. And I knew I had to keep myself alive long enough to be the Ultimate Mother-in-Law and Grandma. I’m not joking, either—I’m a big-picture kinda gal.

Other adventures…well, it’s an adventure giving birth—the great unknown and uncontrollable is going on, right in your very own body!

It was an adventure for our family to step out on faith and move a couple of times, not always knowing how things would turn out. This time, my husband didn’t even have a job locked in first.

But the greatest adventure of my life would probably be marriage. I think back to my romance-sparkled, youthful entrance into that holy institution. Here’s a pic of me and the red-headed Welshman I got to marry:

It's been over fifteen years since that life-changing day.

And we’ve seen sickness and health. We’ve seen mostly poorer, relatively speaking. We don’t have much me time anymore. In fact, to celebrate our fifteenth anniversary, my husband got to unload a moving trailer. We’ve lost sleep, gotten gray hairs, and watched grandparents die. We’ve fought (vigorously debated). We’ve made up. We survived having three children under the age of three at one point.

He’s my best friend. However, sometimes I want to throw a pot at him (Okay, that was only once. I took a walk in the woods instead). Generally, we’ve figured out how to keep the peace between ourselves.

He might not say all the right words. He might not be there at my beck and call. But he’s by my side when I need him most—seeing through my independent bravado and giving me the hugs I need. He knows me better than anyone on earth ever will.

I might not always serve his food lovingly. I might frequently offer unsolicited advice. But he knows I’ve got his back, and I’ll back him up no matter what--even if it means preparing to punch some disrespectful guy on a train (Don’t ask…trying to forget I almost did that).

Yes, marriage is work. But good marriages work for a lifetime. You get to this point and you realize you’d never go back to those newlywed days.

And, let me tell you, I wouldn’t trade our greatest adventure for anything.

Heather Day Gilbert is the author of GOD'S DAUGHTER, a novel based on Gudrid, a Viking heroine in the Icelandic sagas. Heather's novels go beyond the vows, capturing the triumphs and heartaches unique to married couples. You can find Heather here:

Twitter: @vikingwritergal

Friday, November 2, 2012

Guest Blogger: Becky Doughty

My Great Adventure – Living on the Front Lines

My name is Becky Doughty, and I’m a friend and fellow Braveheart to Jennifer. She asked me to share with you my great adventure… but as I started thinking over my life, I realized that every day is another great adventure. Every day there’s another battle to fight, another victory to celebrate, another loss to mourn, another wound to heal, another moment to cherish. Every day, every breath, is a great adventure.

As J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan says, “To live will be an awfully big adventure.”

TODAY is my great adventure.

But the question bears asking, then; How am I going to live this day?

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.

Do you remember the scenes in Braveheart where the Scots, led by an axe-wielding, blue-faced William Wallace, come sweeping down the hill into the valley to meet the British? How about the Battle of Helms Deep when a glorified Gandalf the White descends upon the Uruk-hai? Or one of my favorites; in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, when the newly-crowned King Peter, in all his youth, uncertainty and inexperience, raises his sword to lead an out-numbered army against the forces of tyranny and darkness. My mother-heart quakes in my bosom... but my warrior-heart sings like a finely-honed sword being drawn from its sheath.

The Front Lines. When you take a stand, when you accept the crown of inheritance to the throne, you automatically go straight to the front lines. Do not pass the snack bar, do not collect applause and adoration. It’s the “Toss ‘em in - they’ll learn to swim!” theory, the fine print on the Serve the Mightiest King in the Universe contract that no one really takes the time to read.

Come on. Can’t a girl watch from the sidelines for a while? Y’know, see how it’s done?  Or maybe work my way up to the front lines as I become more and more certain of my skills? How about if I start somewhere in the middle so that I’m covered on all sides by those who have a little more experience than I do?

Ok. Let’s really think about this: No honor is awarded to those on the sidelines. And advancing through the ranks on my own merit robs my Captain of the honor that is due Him. Starting in the middle? Well, isn’t that just putting my faith in man? I mean, what if my comrade (the one I’m hiding behind) gets distracted and leads me off course? What if he falls? Or is taken captive? What if he blocks my view of the enemy and all I can do is strike out blindly, hoping that I’m armed with the right weapon? What if he blocks my view of the Captain altogether and I forget Who I am fighting for?

On the front lines, however, I get a much clearer picture of the assault mounted against me and I can adjust my defense accordingly. On the front lines, I know who is behind me - the army of the Lord! But even more important, on the front line, I have an unobstructed view of the Captain of the Angel Armies, the Son of God, the Ruler of Heaven and Earth. There is nothing standing between me and my Leader. I may not know the intricacies of the battle plan, I may not even understand why this specific battle must be fought, but I know the face and voice of my Leader, and as long as my eyes stay trained on Him, my ears stay tuned to His command, and my faith remains in He who is ALREADY VICTORIOUS, I know that I’m where I need to be for this moment.
1 John 5:4-5
“Whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. And who is the one who overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God!”

You want adventure? I’ll look for you on the front lines. TODAY!