Friday, June 8, 2012

flourless and fantastic.

Monster Cookies

½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 12-oz jar (1 1/3 c) creamy peanut butter
4 ½ cups oats
1 6-oz package semisweet chocolate chips
1 8-oz package peanut (or plain) M&M’s

Preheat oven to 325 F
In a large mixing bowl, place the butter, sugar, and brown sugar; cream well with mixer.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the baking soda and vanilla, blend well.  Add the peanut butter, blend well.  Add the oats, beat on medium speed until combined.  Add the chocolate chips and M&M’s; stir in with a spoon.
Drop dough by spoonful on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until very lightly golden.
Makes about 36 monster size, or 48 regular size cookies.

Monday, April 9, 2012

shooting stephen.

My baby bro is graduating from college!  Here are some samples from our photo session at Texas A&M University- I had so much fun, and am so proud of him.

(As an amateur photographer, I stubbornly reserve the right to still find "shooting" jokes of the utmost wit.)
Ready to roll. Thanks so much to Lisa for the use of her Canon!

This is one my faves... but has been vetoed by the man of the hour.  So it will, alas, not be appearing on your fridges.

Congratulations, Steve-Bob.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

thank you, ms. stockett.

I am a little disillusioned at the discovery that Kathryn Stockett's publicity manager does not allow the release of this incredible author's mailing address for general public use (or, admittedly in some cases, abuse).  On second thought, this makes perfect sense.  I just finished reading The Help and felt that nothing short of a sincere thank you letter was appropriate in response.  However, this venue must suffice.

Dear Ms. Stockett,

Thank you for writing your incredible novel, The Help.  Until I read this book, I had been stuck for too long in a rut of running through fast-paced routine, checking off to-do lists, and seeking instant entertainment.  As soon as I read the first sentence of Chapter One, I appreciated once more the inestimable value of reading a good book.  As I read through this novel (into the night, at the gym, on my lunch breaks, in the time I could find and then some) I experienced the healing and empowering that the soul receives from reading words that have been masterfully crafted into sentences, paragraphs, characters, emotions, and stories.  Your novel has influenced me in many ways: on a large scale, I have been enlightened regarding the way I would like to raise my future children, my views of society and history, my need to stop and consider another's perspective - and on a small but quite significant scale, I am inspired to pick up great literature and read more and pick up my smartphone and waste time less.

Thank you for telling this story so beautifully.

Lydia Cornell

Friday, March 9, 2012

a life-changing date.

The last four weeks have been "fraught with loss and change" - full of new and mostly unpleasant situations, human responsibilities, and cares.  In a futile attempt to keep myself from crumbling under the weight of human life, I subconsciously decided to push the Lord and my time with Him to the back-burner and getasmanythingsdoneasipossiblycaninoneday... without Him.  Including making major life decisions.  Including bearing anxiety.  Including trying to find joy and satisfaction in my life.

Oh, Lydia.

But He is my loving and merciful God.  Who wisely knows how to break through heart-crust.  This time one of His wise master tools was the internet, of all things.

This Facebook post from A.P. - "The one who experiences the most transformation is the one who is most open to the Lord. - Watchman Nee"

This tidbit I listened to from my collection - "If you are not in the fellowship with the Son in a life-changing way daily, you will fall down..."

This blog post from V.Y. - "maybe you attempt in a humble spirit to actually touch the Lord but then condemn yourself for doing all the above instead of coming to Him as the Fountain of living waters."

Later in the evening, I was lying in bed, thoroughly engrossed in a novel, still busily ignoring the Lord.  I had been craving comfort-food, but all the people I attempted to recruit for dinner plans were unavailable.  Suddenly, surely motivated by hunger... and the Spirit, I sat up, put down my book, and said to the Lord, "Alright, Lord.  Wanna go on a pizza date with me?"  And He did.  So I got in my car - with the Lord - and headed to Costco, and for the first time in a long time, talked to Him.  The small sentences and phrases I had read earlier came up in my being.  Those individuals had no idea, but their faithfulness to share their portion had been God Himself ministering to me. Through His mercy, I opened to Him.  I had life-changing fellowship with Him.  I finally came back to Him as the Fountain of living waters.

Because of the aforementioned four weeks of troubles, I recently made this card for myself and a couple of my companions, which reminds me to have a thankful and rejoicing heart for at least one thing every day.

Yesterday, I thanked Him from the bottom of my heart for our pizza date.  Because I asked Him to get pizza with me and He made me fall in love with Him again.  There was no miraculous deliverance from all my situations and problems.  But that's not really what I needed.  My true need was a sweet Costco-pizza date with my dear Lord Jesus. :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

my verdict.

I am not going to start a business.

Of course, parts of my experiment with Lydia's Bakery were completely thrilling.  I loved pushing myself to come up with new flavor combinations and techniques to polish my skills.  I loved the name that I finally came up with - "The Sugar Bin."  I was encouraged constantly by my supportive family and friends who asked "so when are you opening that bakery?" every time they sampled my creations.

On the other hand, I learned something essential about myself and my baking.  And that is, I have to keep money out of things.  The pressure of selling quenched my inspiration.  Once business came into play, I was no longer rushing to the kitchen in every free moment just to try out a new recipe, but instead felt compelled to save my baking energy for when it really mattered; i.e., when I had to produce something worthy to sell.

So I counted the costs.  Option A involved working long and hard to open a business, advertise, create a menu, perfect my recipes.  Option A was the glittery, glamorous one.  (Hi, I'm Lydia.  I own a bakery.  Here's my card; come drop by the Sugar Bin sometime.)  But on the most basic level it meant that I would need to become okay with charging other people, including my family and friends, for something that I loved giving away for free.

Option B was not to start a business.  To miss out on the glitter and glamour, yet to preserve and cultivate my hours in the kitchen for the purpose of artistic inspiration and soothing joy instead of cold commerce.  I would not have to work 40 hours per week at the office and then plug through a business plan or balance tables when I got home.  Instead, I could do something I love and bring joy to myself and to others without the taint of dollars and cents.

I still want a bakery.  But I have chosen Option B because in five years I envision myself with a warm home filled with family and friends and freshly baked brownies.  Actually, I already have a bakery.  But not for buying and selling.  Just for the sole purpose of heart-warming.

Now that my decision has been made, my inspiration has thrived.  This morning I woke up with the strong urge to make chocolate peanut butter whoopie pies, which recipe I created in my head as I snuggled in my warm bed.  And can't wait for the right chance to make these petit fours.   I am back!  Here are some recent  creations to show for it:

Please don't be disappointed that I am not living up to my potential for success by not opening a bakery.  Instead, come have coffee with me.  I'll make cupcakes.  Or tarts.  Or beignets.  Or a cake.  Or your special order.