Saturday, August 20, 2011

How we Serve

So this morning, Kid #3 and The Hubby headed out early(ish) to work on a local Habitat House. I'm not so great with a hammer, but I would have tagged along to hand out water or food if I didn't have my own two tag-a-longs at home to watch over.

While helping build a house for Habitat for Humanity is a good and noble thing to do, there are other ways to serve, even if you are stuck in your house monitoring two children who are pretending to clean their rooms. This is the way I chose:

And here's how they turned out, nothing fancy like the book, but I don't think my friends will complain. These little buddies are going to church tomorrow night, to join the cookies and lemonade part of the vespers service.

These fellows weren't ready to be moved to their pretty white plate, but I was impatient and wanted to get their picture as soon as I was finished, hence the wax paper and cookie sheet. I think they are still pretty no matter where they are hanging out.

And these are the cute little mini-cupcake papers I intended to sit my Cake Pops in, but unfortunately I oversized my Pops, so instead of nesting in the cupcake papers, they smush'em. Guess I'll have to give this another try or make some super cute mini-cupcakes.

And here's my little disclaimer in case any of my friends from church are reading this: I cannot guarantee the integrity of these Cake Pops. All I know is that they taste good, but I do not know if after one bite, they will come tumbling off their cute little lollipop stick. Eat with care and be ready to catch the falling pieces.

If you want to try these yourself, I found my recipe in Cake Pops, by Bakerella. Mine were made with store bought cake mix and store bought icing - which is what is recommended in the book. She also has a website where you can learn the basic technique. As for me, I don't think there will be any fancy Cake Pops in my future, but they sure are fun to look at.

fyi: I checked out Cake Pops from my library, but I've also seen it for sale at Lowe's. Who knew? Maybe there is some weird connection between building a house and making a Cake Pop?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Popsicle Kick

It's been a hot, hot summer. If you live just about anywhere in the United States, you probably knew that already. I love to bake, but drastic temperatures call for drastic changes. In my house, this summer will probably be known as the summer of the popsicle. I'm not a foodie photographer, so I won't inundate you with all of my creations, a few of which included: Sweet Corn Popsicles, Fudgsicles, Blackberry, Cantaloupe with Raspberry Swirl, Strawberry Shortcake, Peach Swirl with Cookie Surprise....... Don't you wish you lived in my neighborhood?

Not everyone has been thrilled with this new kick that I'm on. There are some in the house that would prefer to have a homemade cookie every day of the week. And others that think a homemade popsicle is good, but baked goods are better, especially if they are chocolate chip cookies. That particular kid was reading as I was whirring the blender one day, working on my next popsicle concoction.

Here's how our conversation went- Him : "How much longer will you be?" Me: "Why? Is this noise bothering you?" Him: "Well, I am trying to read...." Me: "But I'm making popsicles. Hmmm, hmmm, hmmm. Good ones, too. You'll like them." Him: "I know something that is quiet.....making chocolate chip cookies."

Some kids just don't know how lucky they are!

And here is what you do if you have leftover popsicle makings, but no more molds and you are plum out of Dixie Cups.

Here are a few tips I've garnered during my popsicle concocting weeks:

(The popsicles that aren't linked to another website are just my own creations, no real recipes, just a bunch of ingredients and a blender)

- on the sweet corn pops, I use skim milk and add about 1/3 cup butter, 1/3 cup Smart Balance spread and a little dry buttermilk mix for good measure. I like to cook with what I have, so if I didn't have the buttermilk mix on hand, I wouldn't worry about it.

- don't skimp on the simmering for the fudgsicles or they may taste a little "powdery", or so say my taste testers. Didn't bother me any and powdery or not, they still prefer these to store bought

- anything you use to make a smoothie could be put in a popsicle mold

- on the strawberry shortcake, they look pretty with layers, but are so much easier to just swirl the strawberries into the vanilla mixture

- any popsicles you want to swirl, like my cantaloupe with raspberry swirl, will swirl better in a small dixie cup, rather than a mold, but oh.... I do love my molds.

-try blending various yogurts, fruit and if you like a little crunchy surprise, drop in a few chunks of Golden Oreos.

-I find that my popsicles that have some dairy in them are much less icy than the straight fruit.

If you are a closet made scientist like me, I think you'll find experimenting with popsicles to be tasty fun!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A conversation and a recipe

I was planning on sharing about my newfound passion for homemade popsicles in today's blog post, but then I heard this conversation:


"Do you like enchiladas?"

"I love enchildadas!"

"Me too! Let's sing a song about enchiladas."

"Enchiladas, enchiladas, how I love enchiladas....."

The funny thing is that there was only one person (a young child who shall remain unnamed) in this conversation. Should I worry or should I just make enchiladas?

I'm going with the enchiladas and here is my favorite enchilada recipe, from Mary at Owlhaven.

Just a few notes:

-this is a double batch, which you can cut in half if you don't want an extra casserole to pop in the freezer

- I often cheat and use canned chicken or leftover chicken from other dinners.

- you're going to wish you had made a double batch after you taste this!

- you can also use your own homemade taco seasoning - the recipe is in Mary's cookbook, but possibly on her blog as well

Sorry, no pictures since I haven't made this yet today. Popsicle post, with pictures, will be coming along soon!

And yes, I know the fonts in the post are all different. Apparently, it's going to take me a while to get my blog groove back. Sorry.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Evolution of Prayer -part 4, finally.

We returned from a whirlwind week of visitations, memorial and funeral serves, spread out over 3 states and everyday life began again. That's when the anger stage set in - real life began and my Mom wasn't there at the end of the phone line. The kids were doing cute things and hitting milestones and who would I call that really cared like their Granny did? God was not my friend at that point in my life. We weren't all that close to begin with and now he had really messed up things for me and I wasn't speaking with him.

It took years to gain back my voice. Years and a series of events and people that God put in my path to teach me not only how to pray again, but how to really, truly pray. How to talk with God without any concerns about what exactly is the right thing to say. How to know God well enough to have him as my closest friend, one that I can confide anything in.

These days, I pray in so many ways and I know that they are all good and pleasing to God. I pray in a constant stream of chatter that goes on in my head. I pray memorized prayers. I pray with my children and husband. I pray in color when I use my markers on paper to keep me focused on a certain scripture or prayer request. I pray through the labyrinth, though I usually get lost, at least I am lost in prayer. I still pray my "Dear God...." letter-type prayers. I pray in nature, I pray in the car, I pray in the shower. I pray when I am happy and I pray when I am mad. I pray for myself, I pray for others and I pray for our world.

Prayer is just my conversation with God and now that I have finally figured that out, I no longer try to fit it into a little box of correct and incorrect ways to pray. I lift up my voice to the Lord in all sorts of ways. And when I'm doing really well, I remember to stop and listen to what God has to say to me. That's not my strongest point right now. I'm still working on it, but I know I can ask for help with that too and God will provide.

And that is the evolution of my prayer life, so far......