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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Walking, Weeds and Weddings

The only thing these three words have in common is that they all start letter 'W'. Other than that it's just what's been on my mind lately.

Hyrum (11 1/2 months old) teased us yesterday by walking 4 mini-steps without help. He was just standing on the picnic blanket and decided it would be easiest just to walk to me. It was a happy moment for me, his siblings, an aunt, and a few of his cousins. When we tried to show Daddy his new skill, he refused to do it. Instead he collapses to the ground and crawls whatever distance is required of him.

Last night I tried helping my husband with the yard by pulling out a few weeds. Pulling them out was no easy task since the dirt was holding on to them so tightly. I gave up after a quarter of the work was done (of just one section). I decided that the soil has to be cultivated. It has to be moist. It has to be giving. When relating that to my life I realize that we, humans, have a difficult time giving up our weaknesses when we aren't willing to let them go. We have to cultivate goodness into our lives. We have to feed ourselves the word of God and counsel of his living prophets. We have to pray and seek God's forgiveness. Then we can feel the change happen within us and we can give up those undesirable "weeds".

Lastly, weddings! It seems that my immediate and extended families have an unusually high number of weddings this year. Four of them are coming up in August. As I told my nephew, weddings are a great way to lift the spirits of all in attendance and gives us cause to rejoice!! It helps us to remember the promises we've made to our Heavenly Father. It renews our desire to keep our side of the bargain, so that God's promised blessings will be fulfilled in this life and the next. (Hopefully my husband will want me around that long.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I Love Zeli

I'm sure you're wondering, what is zeli? It is the Czech version of sauerkraut. They make it a little sweeter and add caraway seed (same flavoring used in rye bread). You're probably also wondering why I bring this up now? Saturday I cooked 1 1/2 gallons of zeli for the Wallace Toronto Foundation Family Event. (By the way, this Foundation I'm talking of donates its time and resources in helping the people of the Czech and Slovak Republics. If you would like more information please visit http://www.torontofoundation.org/about.html.)


When I volunteered to help I was counting on my husband to be here, but he ended up having to go to the 11-year scout's adventure camp. So, I was on my own. Thanks to some kind neighbors and my oldest helping with the youngest I was able to do it! I was even more shocked when...by a stroke of pure luck...native Czechs complimented me on a job well done. They wanted the recipe and everything. I can't take all the credit since I was taught by a wonderful Czech cook. Here's the recipe if you feel brave enough to try it:


ZELI

1 12 oz. can sauerkraut (drain, if desired; leaving liquid makes zeli more tangy)
1/2 large onion (sweet or vidalia)
1 tsp flour
1/8 cup water (alter amount if leaving sauerkraut liquid)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
caraway seeds to taste


Simmer all ingredients together until onions are clear and tender.
Serve with brats (bratwurst), smoked sausage,
pork loin (see picture below), and other meat dishes.
Try substituting this sauerkraut for the traditional kind used in Reuben sandwiches.



One of the best things about eating zeli is the great memories that come flooding back from the time I spent in the Czech Republic (former Czechoslovakia). I served for 18 months as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I learned to love some amazing people and was able to share with them the greatest blessing in my life--the gospel of Jesus Christ.