Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Who am I?

Like most girls do, I really struggle with my self worth and how I see myself. Today while having some quiet time with God, I really felt led to think about who I am. I started a list and feel led to share it with whoever, if anyone, reads this. It started with some things that are weird/quirky about me and grew from some prayer and consideration. I hope that I can continue to add to this list as I keep discovering who (and whose) I am. I am:
-the girl who babbles when she is nervous
-a good listener
-one who loves too easily (and too fiercely)
-flawed, but a powerful tool for the Kingdom of God
-a follower OF Christ
-a leader FOR Christ
-confident IN Christ
-worthy of love
-exactly where I am supposed to be
-being used in ways I may not see or understand
-never alone
-created for a purpose
-a daughter of the Most High

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Living in the Sticky

I feel stuck.

Now don't misunderstand, I am very much content with my life right now. I am so very blessed and I try to recognize that every day. However in many ways in my life I am in limbo. I don't feel like a child, and even though I am almost 26 (eep!) I don't quite feel like an adult. I am working, but don't have a career. I am in college, but don't fit in with the "college students". I want to hold onto the past, but I am so excited for the future. All of my friends are getting married and having babies, and here I am. Just me.

I don't doubt that God has an amazing plan for my life. But sometimes I am so caught up in the business of every day life, that I forget that anticipation of what is to come. The real world is not like the board game LIFE. It is not a race to get married, have the career and have babies to fill up your little car. Our culture has pressed that into us, but I do not believe that is in God's design. The pace of my life is that which is laid out for me. I do worry though that I am not advancing to that next space because of stagnancy or mistakes that are of my own making. How do I make the steps today to take me into the next portion of my life? And just when and where will that be? All I know is that for now I am stuck. There is a lesson to be learned here in the stickiness.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Songs in my pocket, List in my bucket

Inspired by Tara, I have made my own list of life goals and dreams. (T- I stole some of yours, haha) I will probably be adding to this list as time goes on, but I am excited to start checking things off!

1. Become fluent in Spanish

2. Marry the love of my life
3. Have children
4. Open my cupcake store
5. Learn to play an instrument
6. Celebrate New Year’s in NYC
7. Visit Australia
8. Go on a Cruise

Live in another country (again)
10. Be on a tv game show

11. Learn Spanish cooking (especially paella)
12. Take ballroom dance lessons
13. Walk in Jesus and the disciples’ footsteps in the Holy Land

14. Go to Disney World
15. Go on a Route 66 road trip

16. See the Eiffel Tower
17. Go on a tour of Italy
18. See a play on Broadway
19. Visit Four Corners
20. Make a difference
21. Ride in a hot air balloon

22. Adopt a dog
23. See the White House
24. Go to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC
25. Visit the Seattle Pike Place Market - done
26. Go to La Tomatina in Buñol, Spain
27. Research and create a family tree
28. Visit every U.S. State
29. Pass my business on in our family as a legacy
Go to the Olympics
31. Go on a trip alone

32. Eat crab cakes in Maryland
33. Eat New England clam chowder IN New England
34. Learn to make sushi
35. Serve on a jury - done
36. Bury a time capsule
37. Finish list of 100 books to read, then read them!
38. Save for my children’s education
39. Go kayaking
40. Go to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro
41. Swim with dolphins
42. Stay close with my best friends
43. Change someone's life
44. Paint a mural
45. Be in a talk show audience
46. Drive up the entire west coast
47. Photograph Yosemite National Park
48. Make the crafts on my to-do list (and blog about them)
49. See the northern lights
50. Make a family recipe book to pass on
51. Write a song
52. Do one thing I never thought I would do

Monday, January 31, 2011

Everybody wants to be loved

**I will eventually finish posting recipes from 25 days of baking. Sorry to those who have been waiting for it. I will never again put a deadline like that on myself during the holidays. If there is a recipe you were looking for that has not been posted, email me and I can send it to you.**

I am a people pleaser. I will sacrifice what I truly want if it will keep people from being angry at me. Not to say that I never make people angry... because I certainly do, just that I will avoid it when possible. I often hide what I am feeling or when I am hurt because I fear being disliked. We as human beings give our love so conditionally and take it away so easily. I run away from situations and people who could potentially abandon me or cause me that pain. I am constantly working to prove to myself that I deserve their love, but it also leads me to (sometimes unknowingly) believe that people don't actually love me, just whatever it is they get out of our relationship.

This often becomes a struggle with me and God. It is hard for me to grasp sometimes that there is nothing I can do to make him stop loving me. That while I can live my life in an effort to please Him, I can do nothing to deserve His love. The God of the universe loves me exactly as I am and has made me that way for a purpose. He knows my heart and He is with me in those moments when I am hurt and hiding. I often wrestle with knowing how to show my gratitude, or with remembering that I need to be thankful for all of these things that He brings me, both the good and bad. I lose sight of that attitude of service and having a grateful heart.

I want to live in such a way to change that first sentence from "I am a people pleaser" to "I am deeply loved by God, and because of His love, I am called to be a servant."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Baking Days 7 and 8

Day 7 - Boston Creme Cupcakes:
I didn't care for these very much. :/ I liked that the cake was not super sweet (because you are going to put all that sweetness in) and the topping was wonderful... mostly because it is melted chocolate and butter. Hard to go wrong with that. But the filling was TERRIBLE. It never quite set up to that lovely custard consistency that makes the boston creme so good. It wasnt very tasty either... just a really poor effort. I am not even going to post the recipe until I can find a suitable filling because I don't want anyone else to be as disappointed as I was.

Day 8, part one - Chai Spice Snickerdoodles:
Taken from www.visionsofsugarplum.com These also fell into the"meh" category. The outside topping was pretty good, but basically just a fancier snickerdoodle topping. The cookie part was a little too dense and had a dry mouthfeel. I would like to re-make these using my normal snickerdoodle dough and changing up the topping a bit to make it more spicy.

2 tablespoons granulated sugar plus an additional 2/3 cup, divided use
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (if anyone makes these, borrow some cardamom from me- it is EXPENSIVE!)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened (1/2 package)
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste (substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet. (I used parchment paper- my new best friend)
In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom until well combined.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat butter, cream cheese,
additional 2/3 cup granulated sugar, honey and vanilla paste until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in flour mixture until combined. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or until you can roll it into balls.

Roll the cookie dough into balls and roll the balls into spice mixture to coat completely. Place on sheet pan and flatten with hands to about 1/4-inch thickness. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9-12 minutes or until golden and puffed. Cool for 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Day 8, part 2 - Cheesy Crackers:
I adapted these from kathdedon.wordpress.com who adapted them from Smitten Kitchen. They are WONDERFUL. I made them for Thanksgiving with white flour and they were all gone with my mom saying "Did you make more?"so I made them again, but used whole wheat flour this time. I think they are better if you use an extra sharp cheddar (which I did the first time), however you can really use any cheese or mix of cheeses. They come out very light and flaky.. more like a pie crust consistency than a true cracker. Make sure not to roll them too thin or they will lose some of that wonderful texture.

1½ cups (6 oz) grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces
¾ cup (90 g) flour, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (order some pizza and use the little packets - thats what I did!)
1 tablespoon milk

1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
2. Put everything except the milk in a food processor. Pulse the processor, 5 seconds at a time, for about 5 or 6 times, until the dough is in coarse crumbs. (I couldnt find the food processor, so I used a pastry blender and did it by hand)
3. Add the milk and process until the dough gathers together in a ball.
4. Roll the dough out on a floured board with a rolling pin that has been floured until it is about 1/8 inch thick.
5. Cut the dough into 1-inch squares with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. You can put a bit of flour on the blade of the knife to keep it from sticking.Use the flat end of a wooden skewer to poke a hole in the center of each cracker
6. Place the crackers at least 1/4 inch apart on parchment paper on a baking sheet
7. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown. (you will smell them when they are almost done)
8. Put the baking sheet on a rack and let the crackers cool completely.

Day 8, part 3 - Homemade Granola: (yes I went crazy this day)

adapted from www.asouthernfairytale.com This granola is super awesome and much cheaper than buying it! The most annoying part is the baking time bc you have to mix it every 20 minutes and bake for about an hour. You can also change up the nuts and the fruits in it to suit your tastes or the season. This recipe makes a gallon bag full of granola.

6 C oats (NOT the quick cooking ones)
1 C sliced almonds
1 C chopped walnuts
1 1/2 C shredded unsweetened coconut
1 C applesauce
1/2 C honey
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 C light brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 C raisins
1 C dried cherries
1 C dried cranberries
or dried apples, nectarines etc….

In your biggest mixing bowl, mix together; oats, almonds, walnuts and coconut
In a small bowl mix together: 1/2 C honey, 1 C applesauce, 2 Tbsp vanilla, 1/2 C brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Pour the applesauce mixture over the oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Use your hands (preferred) or a spoon and mix until thoroughly combined
Spread the mixture over two baking sheets and bake at 250 F for about 1 hour 20 minutes.
If the baking sheet is light it will take about 1 hour 20 minutes, if it’s dark/non-stick it will take about 1 hour (these are {abouts} it will depend on your oven, you want the granola to have turned a lovely golden brown. It will get crispy after it’s removed from the oven and allowed to cool
stir the granola every 20 minutes (also for even baking, i would make sure to rotate the pans in your oven when stirring)
remove from the heat and allow to cool, this is when it will crisp up
add in dried fruit: cranberries, raisins, cherries, apples etc…

Monday, December 6, 2010

25 Days of Baking! Days 4, 5 and 6

Day 4 - Marble Cookies: sister made these, so I do not have the recipe yet (will update later when I have it). These were yummy and great with this little glass of milk. Perfect after dinner dessert if you dont want something too heavy.

Day 5 - Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies: adapted from a recipe on epicurious.com (from Bon Appetit. I really liked these, they came out crispy with little bits of butterscotch goodness. Flavorful and yet simple. It was hard not to eat the batter (something I am notorious for)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats (I used about a cup and a half)
2 cups butterscotch chips (heck just toss a whole bag in there- this would probably also be good if you switched out some of the chips for white chocolate or dried fruit.. yum)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and oats and stir until blended. Stir in chips.
Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are light brown, about 16 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely

Day 6 - Pumpkin Apple Puppycakes: (forgot to take a picture! Will add it later) recipe is taken from www.cookingwithmykid.com I neglected to add the "frosting" bc then they would require refrigeration and I just dont have the space :) These smelled SO good when they came out of the oven that I admit I tried a little bite.... don't be fooled like I was. Safe for human consumption, but not great for eating. I imagine that if I were a dog, they would be awesome though! I have some other dog treat recipes that I will be trying after the 25 days are over... I hope my pup friends are up for testing!

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie – just plain pumpkin!)
1 medium apple (peeled + diced small)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3 eggs lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats, cinnamon and flour together. In another bowl mixed together pumpkin, apple sauce, eggs and apple together. Combine wet and dry ingredients and scoop into a greased muffin tin -all the way to the top. These are dense and will not rise. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack to dry out over night. yield- 6 cupcakes (I doubled the recipe and used a mini muffin pan and turned out with 24 lil cups. This also meant my baking time was around 15 min. You will smell them when they are done. Poke with your finger and if it springs back, they are ready!)

Friday, December 3, 2010

25 Days of Baking! Days 1, 2 and 3

Day 1 - Peppermint Brownie Cups: My recipe was adapted from www.bakeorbreak.com who adapted it from Nestle's Very Best Baking. Its weird how recipes get tweaked and adapted and can end up all so different! I really liked these brownies and would definitely make them again for a holiday event.

3/4 cup granulated sugar (I substituted brown sugar for some extra moistness)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup mint chips plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing (I use Andes brand peppermint chips - to die for!)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips plus about 1/3 cup more for garnishing

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray or grease 12 muffin cups.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine sugar, butter, and water. Microwave on high for 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir in 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips until melted. Stir in egg and vanilla extract. Add flour and baking soda, stirring until blended. Allow to cool to room temperature. Then, stir in 1/2 cup each mint chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups with batter - about 3/4 full.

Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out slightly wet. Place pan on wire rack. Centers of brownies will fall upon cooling. If not, tap centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole. *mine did not fall and thus, there was no hole to fill with garnishing chips... however I still think they were great and I may have eaten some of the additional chips while they were cooling.*

While brownies are still hot, top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and mint chips. Cool completely in pan.

/a>Day 2 - Eggnog Cookies: Sister baked these, recipe came from a Mrs. Fields cookie book. They were good, but a little dry. If we made them again in the future, I would do some adjusting to make them more moist and yummy.

2½ cup Flour, all purpose
1 teaspoon Baking powder
½ teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
½ teaspoon Nutmeg, ground
1¼ cup Sugar, white
¾ cup Butter; salted, softened
½ cup Eggnog
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 larges Egg yolks
1 tablespoon Nutmeg, ground

Preheat oven to 300F. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. mix well with a wire whisk and set aside. In a large bowl cream sugar and butter with an electric mixer to form a grainy paste. Add eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed just until combined. Do not overmix. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheets, 1 inch apart. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake for 23-25 minutes or until bottoms turn light brown. Transfer to cool, flat surface immediately with spatula.

Day 3 - Cranberry Orange Scones: These are sooo yummy. I have had them for breakfast every day since. They were perfect the next morning when I had an early test. :) They are not too dry and perfectly flavorful.

2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp fresh orange juice, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp orange peel, finely grated (I used about 2 Tbsp because I couldn't find the grater and used the zester instead- bigger chunks, which I actually love)
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2) sticks chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts coarsely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup half and half, chilled

Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or use a non-stick mat. Whisk together 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 Tbsp juice in a small bowl. Set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder, orange peel, salt and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl. Add chilled butter, mix using hands until a coarse meal forms. Mix in cranberries and walnuts (if desired). Add half and half and remaining juice. toss with a fork until dough forms moist clumps

divide dough in half. Press out each half onto floured surface into a 6-inch diameter (1 in high) round. Cut each round into 6 wedges and transfer to baking sheet. Brush with glaze. Bake until golden and tester comes out clean, about 18 min. Serve warm or at room temp.