Friday, February 11, 2011

A Penny Found is a Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

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Dear earth-bound travelers on this mortal coil,

It seems like I find an awful lot of pennies and other miscellaneous change on the ground wherever I go.  Once, after two hours of strolling through Seattle I ended up with almost a dollar of change!  That's a lot to find on the ground.

I don't necessarily walk with my head down, but I have developed a habit of watching where I walk.  I think this came from many many hours of running in Everett, and dodging everything from open diapers to dog feces, from needles to used feminine product.  Yes, that's right - you never know what you'll find when you go running in Everett!

So, I found it behooved me to watch my step.  I look a few feet ahead so that I don't have to strain my neck too hard, but watching for scattered possum also means watching for sparkling coins!  Perhaps I'm just more like a crow than I care to admit, and the glint of the coin attracts my eye; who knows?  Either way, money has a certain shine to it that gum wrappers and broken glass don't have, so it stands out to me.

Of course, there is the less shiny type of money - I found twenty five dollars on a short five mile jog, one fine morning.  More recently, I found ten dollars on a seven mile run.  I'm okay with being a professional athlete and getting paid to work out!

People ask me all the time - how do you find so much money?!  I think the answer is very simple.

I look for it - and I expect to find it!

This is more pervasive in my life than with just random money. I look for kindness from people, and I find it!  I look for blessings and favors from the Lord, and I find them!  I look for things to go my way, and the light to turn green, and a parking spot to open up, and a light to turn red and save me from an oncoming speeder, and a hurting person who may inadvertently treat me unkindly but desperately need me to return grace, and I find all of these things.

Any student of Psychology 101 will tell you that one of the most basic principles of understanding motivations and perceptions is all in how a person chooses to look at the world around them.  For instance, the phenomenon of racism or prejudice is studied in this light, both in how a person may expect someone to act ("All Russians are good cooks!") and what they see and justify ("I met a Russian who was a really good cook.  See, that proves my point!  But my Russian neighbor isn't a good cook - she's kind of the odd one out).  We see what we search for, and we ignore or explain away what doesn't fit the pattern.

In an infamous experiment, a researcher told her subject they wanted to examine how a person with a disfiguring scar on the face was treated by an interviewer.  So, she sat her subject down and used makeup to create a very realistic scar on the face.  She showed the subject her reflection, and then just before sending the subject out to be interviewed made a 'quick adjustment' to the fake scar - unbeknownst to the subject, removing the scar from her face!

The "horribly disfigured" (or so she thought) subject went out to the clueless interviewer, and they conversed for some time.  Afterwards, the researcher (still not showing the subject the truth about her now-absent scar) asked the subject, "How did they treat you?"

Responses varied, but were similar.  "He couldn't take his eyes off my scar! ... He was so uncomfortable about the scar .... I could sense his disgust ... He kept looking at it, and then looking away!"

The researcher now reveals to the subject that this entire time there was no scar!

How, then, did this poor subject see all of this mistreatment, prejudice, staring, gawking, disgust, which was all so apparent and visible in her interviewer?  Quite simply: She looked for it, and she found it! 

Looking for God's grace,

and finding it,

Mrs H

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Closing thought: you may think that I am constantly finding money when I go running, but remember that I just pulled a few notable experiences - when I DID find money - from a long list of rather un-notable experiences ... the many thousands of times I've gone outside and NOT found money!   Looking back on my life, I see a string of beautiful events that worked out perfectly, and I discount the less felicitous things that I don't want to dwell on.  Again, we are looking for the exceptional, and we are finding it and choosing to ignore the unexceptional!  We are choosing to be narrow-minded ... And that's not all bad.  

Indian Fry Bread
This recipe is my absolute stand-by go-to lifesaver.  I adore it!  In fifteen minutes, a run-of-the-mill soup dinner goes from "OK" to "awesome!"  The chewy, fried breads are perfect for mopping up beef stew, curry, vegetable soup, spaghetti sauce, rice pudding, and anything else you can think of.  You can find the original recipe, as well as many other home-style treats, in Prairie Home Cooking.  

This will make 8 fry-breads
4 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons canola oil, corn oil, or extra-virgin olive oil
Lukewarm water
Vegetable oil, for frying

Put a pan on the stove and pour in about an inch to two inches of oil and begin slowly heating it to about 350F.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk in 1-1/2 teaspoons oil, and enough warm water to make a soft dough (I generally end up using a little over 1-1/2 cups total.  Add slowly).  Turn out the dough onto the counter and dust your hands with flour.  Knead the dough until it has some spring, about 5 minutes.

Cut or pinch the dough into 8 equal pieces and pan and stretch each ball into a round about 1/4" thick.

I added herbs to this dough (see variations below)
Fry the rounds in the hot oil, turning each one once, until puffy and golden - about 4 minutes total.  Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and let drain on a paper towel.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Variations: When whisking together the dry ingredients, mix in whatever flavors you like, such as ... 1-1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, cinnamon-sugar, chopped basil, coarse salt, etc.  Leave suggestions in the comment box below!

If you like this recipe, don't miss out on Fried Hobo Pockets with Hasty Dipping Sauce

Served with chicken tikka masala and raita (yogurt and cucumber sauce).
These fry breads were seasoned with almost two tablespoons of Italian seasoning!


  1. Thanks for this recipe Andrea !!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Fry Bread !!!!!!!! God Bless you,Claire

  2. Of course everybody like this bread i also, We should to be in control during the eating time on the table mean we try to use oily things less & use natural things like vegetables & somethings else more but many people don't care during eating. Because these things are heavy & need time to consume that's why such things may cause of stomach diseases.

  3. Very much like bread but brown bread is useful for me i hate fats and need to refrain such oily things. Many people do workout but without diet chat its not good way to workout.

  4. In Trinidad it is known as fried bake and is a staple. Bake and'd love it

  5. Delish and easy. Simple ingredients. Try brushing with melted butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese yum.I cant make favorite!

  6. Of course everybody like this bread

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  11. I have never tried fry bread, but will soon, thanks for sharing 😀

  12. I have never tried fry bread, but will soon, thanks for sharing 😀

  13. Thanks for this recipe,I LOVE Bread,Good luck and thanks for sharing.

  14. Good, this looks delicious! I am adding this to my "to do" list ASAP!
    My mom always made this fry bread with chili - delicious!

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  15. It is nice bread taste, I love it, thanks for sharing.

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