Monthly Archives: March 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies

CookiesWe’re going simple today – back to basics if you will – back to the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie.

I must confess here and now that I have always struggled with this particular cookie.

Mine usually end up all spread out on the pan – thin as a dime and flat as pancakes.

My sisters don’t have this problem. Nope. Just me. After years of failures, I all but gave up on making the elusive chocolate chip cookie.

But not my girls. Dagmar found this recipe and – believe it or not – it worked! Still not able to believe the fact that we had actually produced a soft and wonderful chocolate chip cookie – I had Angel Girl make them.

Wonder of wonders! It worked for her, too!

The chocolate chip cookie famine is officially over and there was great rejoicing in all the land. Well – at least in my house!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream the butters and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop into 1 inch balls using a cookie scoop. Drop on greased cookie sheets.

Bake 8-10 minutes. No longer than 10 minutes. The tops won’t brown.

Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Remove from the cookie sheet to wire racks and let cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen unless you sample too much dough!

A Gentle Reminder Part 2

Last week I shared how God used a daffodil to gently remind me how useless it was to worry. But that wasn’t the only lesson He wanted to teach me.

I’ve owned a Christmas cactus for many years. Somehow – even when every other plant I owned died from neglect – this one stayed alive.

My Grandma had a very large and beautiful Christmas cactus. I remember how excited she was when she could get it to bloom! She followed some special instructions that I could never remember – something about putting the plant in a cold dark place for a certain amount of time before bringing it into the warmth.

It was all very confusing to me, so I never worried about it. There were so many other things to think about it – like how to feed and cloth five children who were growing like weeds.

I was just happy that the plant was still alive.

BloomsThen – just the other day – I saw this.

My Christmas cactus had buds!

I had done nothing to encourage it to bloom. I didn’t put it in the dark or cold – and the poor thing was covered in dust!

Most of the time I either forgot to water it and when I did remember – I gave it too much.

I didn’t deserve those blooms. But God gave them to me anyway.

What a beautiful picture of grace.

Blooming Christmas Cactus

An unmerited favor. A blessing.

Those two beautiful blossoms  reminded me once again how very blessed I am.

I  had been spending so much time worrying, complaining and fretting over things that I wanted or situations that I felt needed to change, that I was missing the grace that was all around me.

And God blessed me with two breathtakingly beautiful, quite undeserved flowers to bring things back into perspective.

How about you?

Proverbs 28:20 “A faithful man shall abound with blessings…”

Can you see them?

 

It’s “Pi” Day

Happy National “Pi” day everyone!Pies

It’s March 14 – the third month and the fourteenth day – otherwise written as 3.14. Get it?

Remember the pi you used in math years ago? It’s that funny symbol that made all your answers end with decimal points. That pi stands for 3.14.

And since today’s date is 3.14 – today is “pi” day!

Does this make any sense at all?

It doesn’t matter – because as soon as I heard the word “pi” I didn’t think about mathematical symbols.

Nope. My mind immediately went to those yummy round shaped desserts with a crust and delectable fillings.

So Buddy and I went to work this afternoon and created not one – but 2 pies to celebrate!

You might be thinking that’s a mighty thin reason to make a pie.

Yep. I agree. Just as thin as the crust of that chocolate pie! But it’s enough for me!

I think you should find something to celebrate in every day!

That’s why we have shamrock shakes on St. Patrick’s Day.

Cherry pie on Washington’s birthday.

Snow cake to celebrate the first snow of winter.

And egg nest cookies on the day we spot the first robin of spring.

Life is a blessing – find something to celebrate today!

Granola & Granola Bites

There’s two recipes in one blog post today. But since you can’t make one without the other – you get a two-fer day!

Watching my teenagers down an entire box of cold cereal in 2 days, caused me to re-evaluate breakfast.

We needed something that would be more filling – and more cost effective. It was time to dig out the granola recipes.

This one has become our new favorite. It’s perfect with some yogurt and sliced fruit.  It does makes a bunch, but around here it goes fast!

GranolaGranola

10 cups oatmeal (I like to use the old-fashioned)
2 cups barley flakes (can just use more oatmeal)
2 cups coconut
2 cups peanuts
2 cups slivered almonds
2 cups sunflower seeds
3/4 cup oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
1-1/2 cup brown sugar or honey

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a saucepan and cook until dissolved.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and mix until everything is moistened.

Pour out on 2 large baking pans. Bake at 275 degrees until golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring twice.

Now that you have your granola made – it’s time to take some of it and make our new favorite snack – granola bites.

I got the original recipe from my friend Jami at An Oregon Cottage.  These little gems are not only packed with protein and whole grains – they taste great! They make the perfect snack for a teenager who can’t make it to the next meal!

Granola BitesGranola Bites

1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup granola
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla in a bowl. Add the granola and chocolate chips.

Refrigerate for 3o minutes before shaping into balls with a cookie scoop and rolling in more granola, chopped peanuts or coconut. (This helps take away some of the stickiness)

Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

You can experiment with different nut butters and add dried fruit or different chips.

Enjoy!

A Gentle Reminder Part 1

In the midst of a week in which I spent a great deal of time stressing about things that I had no control over – God sent a beautiful reminder.

Several weeks ago I was given some free bulbs. Since it was the end of January – I knew it was a little late to plant them outside, so I stuck them in a planter in the mudroom.

They were pretty much forgotten, occasionally got watered, and frequently had hats and/or mittens thrown on them.

FlowerBut look what happened!

All I did was push them in the ground and throw them a little water. Then I left them alone.

And one bloomed. Beautifully.

I didn’t fuss, worry, or stress over those bulbs – I just left them to do what God had designed them to do.

I was faithful with my part and God was faithful with His.

Does anyone see the lesson here?

How many times do we worry and fuss over things over which we have no control?

I could never make those bulbs grow on my own – never.  I did what I could do – and left them alone.

Notice only one bulb has bloomed. There are others that look like they might- and still others that don’t even look alive.

No matter how many times I look at them and wring my hands in frustration, or how many nights I lose sleep worrying over them – I can never make those other bulbs bloom.

Never.

Just like so many other things in life.

What are you stewing about today? Is there something you need to commit to the Lord and leave it alone?

Matt 6:27 “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”