Posts Tagged sweet

Oh My Soul

I’m not sure about anyone else, but I have dark days where being upbeat is hard, and joy is difficult to spell. On those days I don’t want to forget the Lord and his good, so I go to Psalms. If ever there was a book on emotions, this would be it. David is the most prolifict writer but I would say he had the most reason to write. Psalm 31 is also a hymn if you want to look it up & a favorite of mine. It’s for the days when life is just hard & being joyful comes only from pure obedience, not the emotions associated with joy.

In you, O Lord , do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord , faithful God. I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the Lord . I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; you have set my feet in a broad place. Be gracious to me, O Lord , for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also. For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away. Because of all my adversaries I have become a reproach, especially to my neighbors, and an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. I have been forgotten like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel. For I hear the whispering of many— terror on every side!— as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. But I trust in you, O Lord ; I say, You are my God. My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! O Lord , let me not be put to shame, for I call upon you; let the wicked be put to shame; let them go silently to Sheol. Let the lying lips be mute, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt. Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the Lord , for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city. I had said in my alarm, I am cut off from your sight. But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help. Love the Lord , all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord ! (Psalms 31:1-24 ESV)

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Family let’s you down sometimes

Our Sunday Sermon discussed the sellout of David by his relatives, the Ziphites, part of the Judah tribe. This was a trust in the sovereignty of the Lord. So if you feel sold out… David can empathize.

1 Samuel 23:19-24 ESV

Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah, saying, “Is not David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh, on the hill of Hachilah, which is south of Jeshimon? Now come down, O king, according to all your heart’s desire to come down, and our part shall be to surrender him into the king’s hand.” And Saul said, “May you be blessed by the Lord, for you have had compassion on me. Go, make yet more sure. Know and see the place where his foot is, and who has seen him there, for it is told me that he is very cunning. See therefore and take note of all the lurking places where he hides, and come back to me with sure information. Then I will go with you. And if he is in the land, I will search him out among all the thousands of Judah.” And they arose and went to Ziph ahead of Saul.

Now David and his men were in the wilderness of Maon, in the Arabah to the south of Jeshimon.

The Related Psalm:
Psalm 54:1-7 ESV

O God, save me by your name,

and vindicate me by your might.

O God, hear my prayer;

give ear to the words of my mouth.

For strangers have risen against me;

ruthless men seek my life;

they do not set God before themselves.  Selah 
Behold, God is my helper;

the Lord is the upholder of my life.

He will return the evil to my enemies;

in your faithfulness put an end to them.

With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;

I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.

For he has delivered me from every trouble,

and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.

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Peanut Butter Time!

So, I love peanut butter. It’s great with apples, graham crackers, in peanut butter jelly bars, and of course in cookies. 

 

I’m making some cookies tonight from one of my favorite bloggers: Sweet Pea Kitchen. She’s just a might pregnant (congrats!) and she’s very excited about chocolate and peanut butter lately. She’s posted Reese Peanut Butter Cookies and I thought that sounded great! My coworkers aren’t pregnant, but they have gaping sweet teeth. 

 

So here it is; this will be brought to work tomorrow. 

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cup light brown sugar

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 ½ cups milk chocolate chips

  • 2 cups chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups

 

Directions:

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugars and peanut butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed, scraping the side of the bowl occasionally, until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a 1½-inch ball and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten balls slightly into 3/4-inch disks. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake 8 minutes, then remove cookies from oven and lightly press cut up pieces of the Reese’s peanut butter cups over the top of each cookie. Return to oven until Reese’s peanut butter cups are slightly melted and cookie edges are slightly golden brown, about 2 more minutes. Cool cookies for 2 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.


Yields: 4 dozen cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 10 minutes

Recipe From Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2012/08/06/reeses-peanut-butter-cookies/

 

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Thy Mercy

Sandra McCracken is great. A songstress with a voice soft and soulful. I love this version by her of thy mercy my God.
Thy Mercy

Makes me think of this part of Psalm:

Psalm 51:1-4, 12 NIV84

Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your unfailing love;

according to your great compassion

blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity

and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is always before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned

and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you are proved right when you speak

and justified when you judge.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation

and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Mercy is mentioned over 60 times by the writer of Psalms by name alone; obviously this is a serious & needed characteristic of God, most often in reference to chastisements from God.

What sweet mercy He brings!

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Clearing out Leftovers: Frosting Edition

If you’re anything like me you end up with leftover frosting (unless you’re a lick the bowl before decorating person) after every cake you make. This gets frustrating when a cup or so needs to be removed from your house before the sugar generously sticks to your thighs. I’ve got the recipe if you’ve got the event to take them! Otherwise you end up with tasty treats to eat.

Most people have seen cake balls, Oreo truffles, or similar sounding & gooey tasting. Most of you bakers have even made them. I’ve got a simple version that is hard to screw up. 3 ingredients, 5 tops!

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See?

Simple Cake Balls
1 box cake mix, cooked & cooled
16 oz (ish) frosting
6 squares baking/almond bark

Directions:
Crumble cake.
Add frosting to your stand mixer. Beat on high until airy & supple. Add cake ⅓ at a time, beating until blended in between add-ins. Refrigerate while prepping next step.
Melt almond/baking bark in a double boiler (or pot & glass/metal bowl) on low. Slow & low is best to avoid scorched bark. Best results come if your water in the bottom pan does not touch the bottom of the top bowl/pan. Stir occasionally until completely melted.
Using a tablespoon roll cake/frosting mixture into formed balls. You can freeze them for short time periods if they become too soft to dunk. Remove double boiler from direct heat and drop rounds into the bark. Roll to cover & remove quickly scooped on a fork & tap gently to remove excess bark. Slide onto wax or parchment paper. Repeat until all are covered. Drizzle remaining bark over cooling balls.
Once hardened, peel carefully from paper (some bottoms will leave behind residue) & serve.
Store leftovers on wax paper in an air tight container in the refrigerator. You can stack wax sheets.

You may not have leftovers, they disappear quickly…

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The specific cake truffles I made were with the following substitutions:
Chocolate cake mix
½ peanut butter cream cheese frosting
½ chocolate fudge frosting
White almond bark melted with 2 TBSPs peanut butter & 8 Hershey kisses.

Follow directions above

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Stealing recipes; it’s what I do!

I’ve never thought you had to have all your own homemade recipes to be creative or classy. Sometimes in life someone does something so well you can’t help but copy cat! I found said item on smitten kitchen’s blog. I had a friend celebrate their 25th last week & I was itching to create. So I begged them (truly) to let me make a dessert item for them. I lucked out & was given two classic ingredients: chocolate & peanut butter!
So I went to my trusty search engine & got to searching. Lo & behold too many delicacies popped up on my screen. A little drool may have dropped. But near the top two blogs stood out: one had gathered her favorite chocolate & peanut butter desserts (many came a close second) & another had a photo of this gorgeous layer cake playing peekaboo.

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Obviously, the cake won out.
I erred twice of importance.
1. When freezing said cake layers, do not stack even with wax paper & zippy bags. No matter what.
2. Do not lose track of sifted powdered sugar in the peanut butter cream cheese frosting, it looks tacky (legitimately).
Oh maybe one more almost error, stir the ganache constantly. It was a close save. Truly.

But hey, people devoured this cake like it was the air they breathed. That is a happy baker. 🙂
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ganache Celebration Cake

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How to Keep Your Mother Happy (& Avoid Debt) This Mother’s Day

How all Mothers feel when they have ‘alone time’

I post that in jest… but actually, in all seriousness…

I’m not sure how many times my mother has uttered this statement… but it’s been said at least once. She didn’t bite Barbie heads, but I think she used the lock on the door to keep herself in not to keep us out.

So if your Mom is anything like my mom, the thing she treasures most is her sanity. I’ve got a few things that could reboot her sanity (and keep you from taking out a second loan).

How to Keep Mom Happy (AND YOU DEBT FREE):

Techie Gifts:

  • Buy a webcam and set up video chatting, that way your mom can avoid the embarrassment of video recording herself trying to call you
  • Digitize all her photos that way she can order reprints of your first bath for your boyfriend’s viewing when he comes over for Memorial Day festivities.
  •  If she’s a recipe hound help her set up all her recipes on her phone or computer through some creative apps and websites to make it easier on her for those last minute items.

Outdoorsy Gifts:

  • Plan a Picnic in the backyard, give Dad the grill and spread a blanket. Offer up a word of Thanks and a wand of bubbles for Mommy & Me time.
  • For a little more adventurous time, grab an inner tube, grab your Mom (Sunblock too), pack an ice chest, and head to the River and share favorite moments you’ve had with her.
  • Plant a tree or bush and have a small plaque done up in love for her.

Introverted Gifts:

  • Make little gift goody bags to celebrate her the whole week, an item (such a rubber ducky with a poem about how she’s the one for you), a note & simple I love You.
  • Spend the day reading around the bookstore (like Barnes & Noble) picking favorite books, pictures, and gaggle at image books.
  • Make a homemade rice bag heating pad. Buy a little lavender, get a nice, NON USED tube sock, fill with uncooked rice/lavender, tie in a knot, and let mom enjoy a soothing back heater whenever you next stress her.

Extroverted Gifts:

  • Go Karaoke, and give a Tribute to Your Momma with some funky Motown Classics, or ham it up with some Dion or Houston.
  • Plan a big tea party for multiple moms and collaborate with her best friends so that you and their kids can toast Moms everywhere.
  • Arrange for dance lessons, and if they run a little high for your budget, rent a video from the library. Then once skilled, take her out for a spin.

Young Kid Gifts:

  • Coloring page coupons for free hugs, no tear room clean ups, booger free dinners, or dress up nights.
  • Make a crown and scepter, and pronounce her Queen for a Day, and all commandments were to be said in Queen Mommy Says…
  • Have the adult cut out a door hanger, or buy a foam one at Hobby Lobby/Michael’s and have decorate so Mom can claim silent time.

This is how your Mom could be during ‘alone time’

Just remember, tell her you love her and that you appreciate all she does, ALL YEAR ROUND.

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Minted Cookies

While this recipe won’t help you mint your own coins, it will help you make delicious minty easy cookies. These Andes mint cookies have long been on my to do list, but due to the seasonal shortage of regular size Andes mints, placed on the back burner. But no more!

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With a nice gesture from an Olive Garden waitress, & cookie request from a missionary in need (more on them at a later date) I got the chance I was looking for.
So many of the recipes were mixed in Andes bits, not thumbprint style, & many were complicated more than I felt they needed to be. I ended up doing a Google picture search hoping I’d see the cookie for me. At last, I found a pretty cookie with a small ingredient list! Below is the recipe, with an important ingredient change.

Andes Minted Thumbprints

1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 egg
½ c oil
1 TBSP water (as needed)
12-15 Andes mints (or ¾ c Andes bits)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Unwrap & cut mints in half. **Keep handling of mints to a minimum as they’re prone to melting before necessary.
2. Mix cake mix, egg, & oil in a bowl. Here is where my problem with the original recipe started. They only used ⅓ c oil which left the mix very dry & crumbly, to the point you couldn’t roll dough together. I had to add oil & eventually a little water so the dough was thoroughly moistened & clumpy. If dough is still a little dry, add water. Dough should lightly clump & hold shape when pressed together.
3. On parchment lined cookie sheet, place 1 TBSP dough 1″ apart. A measuring spoon helps keep dough form. A flattened bottomed cookie is a good thing. Fill sheet. Applying light pressure, use your thumb to make an indentation on the top of each cookie.
4. Bake for 8 minutes, a maximum of 9. Do not over cook. Set your kitchen timer.
5. Finish scooping dough on second cookie sheet & indent cookies.
6. While still warm & on cookie sheet, place half an Andes on top of each indentation. If the indent isn’t deep enough, use the back of a spoon to press a slightly deeper hole. Let Andes melt. Test for swirling consistency, then swirl mint with handle of spoon.

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7. After swirling cool cookies on cooling rack for up to 2 hours. Store in an air tight container. If needing hardened Andes quicker, refrigerate for a few minutes until firm but not moist (watch condensation).

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Chocolate Chip Cookies: A Tradition

I believe almost every American has said a silent thanks to the original Tollhouse family who gave us chocolate chip cookies. Easily the most popular cookie in the states, its got possibly the most variations as well! The recipe below is courtesy of KitchenAid & as proven last Friday, extremely edible.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: 4½ dozen
1 c granulated sugar
1 c firm brown sugar
2 sticks softened butter
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 TS salt
3 c all-purpose flour
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Place sugars, butter, eggs, vanilla in mixing bowl. Blend & scrape sides every 30 seconds. Beat on medium, then scrape bowl.

Add soda, salt, flour to bowl. Stir on low about 2 minutes. Scrape bowl & blend on low-medium. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop round-ish tsp on greased sheets, 2″ apart. Bake at 375° 10-12 minutes. Remove from sheets immediately & cool on wire racks.

Hint #1: use parchment paper on cookie sheets instead of grease; removes absolutely beautifully.
Hint #2: better to under cook your cookies than over to get that chewy gooey texture. Bake for 9 minutes, check & add a minute at a time. They’ll firm ass they cool.

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Pasties the meal that forgives

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Pasty (rhymes with nasty) is a British pastry filled with an uncooked center, folded, sealed, & baked. Pasties is plural for pasty, not to be mistaken for it’s seductive friend Pasties. Pasties & Pasties aren’t easy to confuse if spoken aloud. But onwards!

Apricot-Sweet Potato Pasty
1 recipe Hand Pie dough (last tuesday’s post)
1 c diced, dried apricots
¼ c bourbon (I used Jim Beam Black Double Aged)
2 med sweet potatoes (1lb)
½ c +2tsp sugar
2 TBSP unsalted butter
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground fresh nutmeg
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp kosher salt
2 TBSP heavy cream (egg wash)
1 large egg, lightly beaten (egg wash)

1. Prep hand dough
2. In a small bowl (or 1 c measuring cup) combine apricots & bourbon; soak 1 hr, until softened & most liquid absorbed. I fill the measuring cup with bourbon, slightly below the rim. Preheat oven to 400°.
3. Wrap sweet potatoes in foil. Bake 45-55 minutes; until soft. Remove, discard foil, cool potatoes slightly. Remove & discard peels.
4. Reduce oven temp to 375°. Filling: combine sweet potatoes, apricots, bourbon, butter, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, salt in a large bowl. Mash like homestyle potatoes.
5. Lightly grease (or use parchment paper) 2 rimmed baking sheets. On a lightly floured surface roll out pie dough to ≤¼” thick. With a 4-5″ circular cookie cutter, cut 16-20 rounds, rerolling dough as necessary. 1 heaping TBSP filling in the center of each round. Leave a ½” border of dough.
6. Mix cream & egg to form a dough wash; using a pastry brush, brush the edges of the rounds; fold in half and crimp the edges of the pasty together. Use a fork or your fingers, sealing it well. It may get messy! Vent the top of the pies with two slits.
7. Arrange pies on prepped sheets. Brush tops with remaining wash; sprinkle with the extra 2 tsp sugar. Bake 18-20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through cook time. Should be golden brown. Wisest move is to bake one sheet at a time & prep the second sheet.
8. Remove from oven & cool. Serve warm or at room temp.

**Wrap the cooled pies in saran wrap (individually) & place them in a freezable container for up to 1 month. To thaw, sit out at room temp & serve. Will stay in fridge for 3 days.

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