Sunday, September 27, 2009

Summer is over...

although here in Oklahoma, there are days that still hit the 90's, like today when the mercury easily hit the low 90's. Oklahoma, has much to offer, but I think I have come to the conclusion, I am a colder weather girl. I like and miss the snow. Anyway, technically summer is over and here is a my offering to its close. Like everything else I have no business eating, I will take this to work in the morning.

As always, click piccies to enlarge if you like.



The cake is dark chocolate filled with cappuccino crème and frosted with vanilla buttercream. I am thinking about calling this combination, Cappuccino Cocoa Cake.

Needless to say, this post will not be getting the Healthy Eating or Nutrition label.

Autumn is here!!! My favorite time of year!!! I will be doing something for the office to express that, soon. Stay tuned. :-)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cake and Friendship

I don't suppose I have ever mentioned this on my blog, but I am not a social network fan. I have a Facebook page so that I can see pictures of family and keep up on their day to day goings on, as well as a couple dear friends in Europe. I however do not really like Facebook, MySpace, or ClassMates and definitely not Twitter where people shoot off streams of tweets to each other. I like a quiet uncomplicated world and see no use for the time or energy spent to throw food at each other, play Mafia Wars or Farkle, see what a persons favorite tattoo is, discover what city they should be living in, which Michael Jackson song they are, what Disney character they are most like or any of the other mindless, useless and time consuming twaddle that goes on. I have so many other things that I love to do and want to accomplish that to engage in, or even read all of that nonsense makes no sense. I have a list of books I really want to read, and the list grows. I never seem to have enough time to read my Bible like I like to, or spend time just talking with God at length... really spending quality time. I love to sew and enjoy making cards. I don't get to spend enough time out with Debra, or on the phone with Kim, in Georgia. I like the art museum, zoo and even the National Cowboy Museum, go figure. Though I try, I never seem to get my fill of those things. Not to mention painting some of the rooms in our new home. Suffice it to say, I guard my time and those social network activities, even reading others activities like those mentioned above simply have no place in my life.

Now, having said and meaning all of that I have tell you a little something. Jon enjoys the connections he has made through some of the social networking he does. Michael Hyatt, is a christian, runner, and writer, all things Jon is and does. Jon enjoys keeping up with him through Twitter. He has discovered helpful things through that connection like better note taking skills that suit his personality while in meetings, better shoes for running, an author named John Eldredge, just to name a few. Recently, Jon pressed in to connect with classmates from high school and college. He has re~connected with a few friends that he has wondered about over the years and is now enjoying contact with them. I imagine there will be a meeting of some sort before long. One of the friends he connected with is a high school classmate named, Scott. Scott has put an adult lifetime into a career that has served him well thus far. His passion however is cakes.

Allow me to digress here briefly. Remember that list of those things I enjoy doing up above? Those of you that follow this blog may have noticed that I did not mention baking desserts and making cakes to decorate. I have mulled over the idea of baking full time and stepping out of corporate America as far as punching a clock for someone else for a couple of years now. Within the last month I decided to start taking steps to do that. With pen in hand and constantly thinking about just such a venture, I am beginning to see how I can do that. Since making that decision it is amazing the things that have transpired. It is like I raised my rod (made a decision), and God parted the Red Sea and showed me how to get to the other side, and with His blessing.

Back to Jon and his rekindled friendships. In the course of conversation, Jon mentioned to Scott, my love for cakes. After a week or so, Scott and I were communicating. Since that time he has made me privy to priceless professional decorating tips, ingredient ideas, tools that he uses that he designed himself and so much more. Scott, has a cake business called, & Eat it Too! He does NOT use fondant, bar the few flowers surrounding a cake on rare occasion. He had me right there! I know it is pretty and all the craze right now, but it does not taste good, has a nearly repulsive texture to chew and is way too much work on the back and shoulders to ever be worth using. He is strictly a Buttercream man and has a great selection of flavors to choose from. I don't think they are all listed on his web site. Here is a link to that web site. I have added his business card as a link to my sidebar as well. Beyond all of this new information I am blessed to be receiving, I feel like I have made a friend with a kindred spirit.

The cake photo below is a cake he made for a wedding yesterday. The couple met in a book store, hence the tiers being books. How creative is that? He designed and decorated this cake, and those are regular cakes, no shaped pans here. Now lets take it a step further. Autumn begins this week. The cake is a spice cake with apple filling and cinnamon buttercream frosting. Books, apples, cinnamon and spice... how much more Autumn does it get?

I am so excited about my new friend and his beautiful work that I wanted to share this with all of you.

Once Upon a Time, and Happily Ever After.

I still have no use for the folly frenzy mentioned at the opening of this post, but I am so grateful to have the opportunity to have made a friend like, Scott. I am thankful for Scott, period. Take a little time and go look at his web site and its sidebar links. If you like to play with icing and cake, you will be inspired. If you just enjoy and appreciate good craftsmanship, you will be impressed. If you just like pretty things, you will be pleased. If you live in the Canton, Ohio area or within 75 miles and are in need of a cake, call him! :-)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A hit with hubby.

Can I just say right off the bat that this recipe does not qualify for my "Healthy Eating" label? If however I were to create a "Happy Hubby" label, and I probably should... yeah... okay I will, the recipe does qualify for that one.

While on the phone with my daughter Melissa, she told me about a recipe she had made the night before for her family. They really liked it. That was not a big surprise since she can cook, and she makes the kind of down home food that most everyone enjoys. I am however considered the family "foodie" the "health nut". I was raised on and taught down home cooking, ie. biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, real mashed potatoes, baked goods including bread from scratch, casseroles, homemade soups etc. You get the idea. Oh, no bars held in the fat, sugar or white flour areas. In fact, the only rule was that it had to taste good... really good, and it always did. In the midst of all of that however, my father who taught me to cook and bake, did have a bent toward fresh fruits, vegetables and meat as well as using "real" ingredients like butter, milk, the freshest eggs and cheese in town, and no mixes or dehydrated things like instant rice or potatoes, or imitations like imitation vanilla or that colored corn syrup they call pancake syrup and try to pass off as an economical alternative to real maple syrup. In the end, that bent of fresh and pure became my focus in cooking and baking. I realize most prefer the down home country style cooking, but I do more of the fresh ingredient style cooking. Jon is okay to eat that way, but he prefers Melissa's culinary creations if the truth be told. So, if I want to make something quick, easy, inexpensive and to please Jon's palate, I only need to make whatever Melissa has been preparing for her family. Melissa is a Rachael Ray fan. This is one of Rachael Ray's recipes, and I will print it here exactly as it appears on her web site.

Cheeseburger Bread

Pre-heat oven to 375°F.

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 pound ground sirloin
1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoons chili powder

Salt and ground black pepper

1/4 cup yellow mustard

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef stock

1 tube frozen pizza dough, defrosted

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or cornmeal

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated

1 egg, beaten with
1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

  • Place large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the meat to the pan and cook until golden brown, 5-6 minutes.
  • Add the onion and chili powder to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is tender, 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock to the pot, bring up to a bubble and simmer until thickened, 4-5 minutes. Let cool.
  • Dust your hands and lightly coat the pizza dough with flour or cornmeal before rolling it out onto a work surface.
  • Roll out the dough slightly so it's approximately 11x16".
  • Top the dough with the cooled meat mixture and top that with the cheese. Leave a one-inch border on each side.
  • Fold all the borders in and over onto an inch of the meat mixture. Roll the dough up into a log shape forming a spiral in the middle.
  • Brush the roll with egg wash and sprinkle it with sesame seeds. Transfer the roll to a baking sheet and bake until dough is evenly golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • To serve, slice up the cheeseburger bread and serve with a side of ketchup for dipping. Like a cheeseburger and a pizza all rolled together!

Browned meat, onions and seasoning placed on pizza dough.

Cheese spread on seasoned meat and onions, dough folded around.

Done baking.

Jon likes his hamburgers to have mayonnaise and classic yellow mustard on them. He likes pickles every now and then, so added them. Iced tea and dinner is done! In Melissa's culinary world vegetables are always a negotiable item... emphasis on the neg in negotiable. Keeping in the tradition of enjoying Melissa's cuisine, Jon was pleased to let the pickles suffice as greens.
Me? I did sample a bite. It was what it was, and for this kind of thing (which is not my preference) it was good. This is just not my kind of thing. But Jon really enjoyed it as did Melissa's family.

I used Pillsbury's thick crust pizza dough that is in the refrigerator section of your grocery. I dissolved a bouillon cube in a cup of hot water primarily because I had no beef stock or broth on hand. Also, I will not any salt next time. We don't use much salt around here and I thought it was too salty. Most of the recipes I have tried of Rachael Ray's seem to be that way and so I guess a good rule of thumb might be to re~think the salt in any of her recipes I may consider using for our house. Overall, I recommend this one for a family dinner or I would not be sharing it here. If you try this, be sure to let me know what you and~or your family think.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Exalting Christ, Award!

Kim, this award sums up the whole of how I want to be remembered when my days this side of Glory are done. A verse that is so dear to my heart and one that I want used in reference to my life here on earth is, John 17:4.

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

So, to be given this award means so much to me. Thank you! Big {{{HUG}}}.

Adding beauty onto gratefulness, you have given me a wonderful place to go and visit. The women that created this Exalting Christ Blog Award at Women to Women: Sharing Jesus, have made a true place of beauty on the web and in blogosphere. I have added them to my sidebar as I will be visiting them regularly.

Here are the Rules of this award:
  1. Post the blog award in a regular post on your blog with the explanation, including the original link to WTW and the rules for passing the award along
  2. Name five people (more or less is fine!) to whom you want to offer this award and link to their blogs. The blogs need to obviously exalt Christ in some manner.
  3. Contact the bloggers you have named to let them know they can pick up their blog award from you.
  4. Invite them to permanently display the WTW blog badge and/or the award on their blogs. The badge can be obtained on the WTW site.
Drum roll... with no further ado I list my choices.

1. Angie at Sonflower. This blog began as journal of devotions. In my opinion, Angie writes with warmth, compassion, openness and most of all the love of Jesus. She exalts Him in everything she writes.

2. Barbara at Ramblings From an English Garden.
Revelation 12:11 tells us that in defeating our enemy Jesus gave us His blood, and we exalt Jesus through our testimony*. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. NLT
*testimony: Proof, evidence, witness, proclamation of personal experience. The tabernacle, which evidences God's presence, is a testimony to the covenant between Him and His people. Strong's #3142

I realize that Barbara has been given this award previously. The task at hand here is to name five blogs I believe exalt Jesus Christ. I simply can not compile such a list without mentioning Barbara's blog. Please visit her blog and while you will enjoy her beautiful photo's and blog entries, I strongly recommend you go to her Subject Archive list, scroll down to "My Story" and begin reading her amazing testimony. There are 23 entries. Don't cheat yourself, take the time and go to the oldest entry #1 Introduction, and read up until you have finished. This took me several visits to her blog, but she exalts Jesus so beautifully in these candid posts about her life~ a life given to the leading of the Holy Spirit and of making Jesus Lord... not just Savior only. I am so encouraged when I read these that I have gone back and reviewed them from time to time. Barbara's blog in its entirety does also exalt, Jesus Christ.

3. Denise at Free to be Me, has a wonderful way of taking God's Word and sharing it with the blog world in such a personal and practical way. She writes economically and always has an encouraging word.

4. Melanie at The Fruits of the Spirit, though very deep an intellectual, has a passion that comes across very personal and edifying. Her love for and exaltation of Jesus Christ is not only woven through her enjoyable blog, it is who she is and represents her blog in its entirety. One my favorite entries is just here. Incidentally, the fruit of the Spirit is the subject matter the Lord laid on my heart to write a Bible study on that I mentioned earlier. So... I like her blog name, too. :-)

5. Pam at Without Fear. Pam, about herself says in her "Profile", "Daily I'm discovering the truth that "only perfect love casts out fear." Amen Pam! Faith and fear are diametrically opposed, light and dark. Light dispels darkness and her blog exalts Jesus Christ in such a way that encourages us to not fear, but to have faith in Him... whereby which we can receive His love and not live in fear. Oh, I have never posted the evilness of fear that I have had victory over. I should as it is an enormous part of my testimony ~ the crux of it actually. Keep posting Pam, we all need to hear of God's love for us through the completed work of the cross in Christ Jesus! Just a side note here, Pam enjoys reading, making cards, healthy eating and loves her family. Kindred spirits we are, I should imagine. Sisters in Christ definitely.

Blogs are listed in alphabetical order of the author's name as I would not want to try to list them subjectively. How could you?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Fete nationale le quatorze Juillet.

Tarte Montmorency

   Those of you that read my blog might remember that every 14 Juillet, July 14, I make something with cherries. I fell in love with French culture and cooking in 4th grade when I began taking French. The school system I went to from 4th to 10th grade began Foreign Language classes in 4th grade. They were not optional, everyone took them. The French teacher would come to the classroom several times a week for nearly an hour if I remember correctly. My teachers name was, Madame Pothier, pronounced po-tee-ay. Some of my classmates thought she was odd. By American standards she may have been. But to me, she was amazing and inspiring. I honestly think that teaching "facts" is not as important as teaching how to find "facts" on your own, or in other words how to be resourceful. Nor is teaching "facts" as important as inspiring a student to desire more. I understand the value in teaching "facts", particularly in the area of dates, treaties, math and science related subjects, grammar, geography and a few other nuts and bolts curriculum. But to instill a passion for something begets the students' desire to pursue and learn way past the boundaries and confines of a classroom, textbook and teachers knowledge and perhaps bias. That being the barometer for a good teacher, Madame Pothier was one of the best I had as I still read about France, its history, culture, food, art and well just about anything I can. She sowed that into my life. Thank you, Madame. I even like L'Oreal for a number of things. :-)

   Typically, I make a full French meal on 14 Juillet, in honor of Bastille Day. I love holidays that commemorate freedom, and truly this one does just that. However, working full time and being mindful of what I eat just now, I will limit my French fare to something cherry. Two years ago, I posted a delicious Basque Cake. Last year, I posted a yummy Clafouis aux Cerises, which is a cherry cake but quite honestly it is more like a custard or pudding. We loved both of those. Today's contribution is a Tarte Montmorency, or Morello Cherry Tart. You will need to scroll down on that link to see the Tarte Montmorency recipe. There is some interesting reading on the way down though. Here is the recipe I used from the above web site.

Tarte Montmorency

1 unbaked pie shell
2 pounds cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon Kirsch

Fit the pie shell to a 10 inch tart pan and prick the bottom several times with a fork.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the cherries. Cook for 5 - 6 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue cooking the sauce thickens and caramelizes slightly. Remove from heat and pass through a sieve. (You won't need the cooking juices.)

Spread the cherries on top of the tart shell.

Beat the eggs with the other 1/4 cup of sugar and the flour. Stir in the milk and the Kirsch. Pour this mixture on top of the cherries. Bake at 400° F for 40 minutes.

Allow to cool completely and serve cold.

Makes 6 - 8 servings.
Recipe found on Easy French Food, at

Morello Cherry
Dark mahogany red cherries that provides juice for use in making brandies and liqueurs. Morello cherries, which are very sour tasting, are commonly used to produce preserves, canned cherries, cherries in syrup, or dried cherries. Definition provided by

   Bing cherries were the only fresh cherries available to me. This variety of cherry though like the Morello in that they are large, dark red and good for baking, are not sour but sweet. Next time I make this tart, I am going to use Oregon Fruit canned Morello (Montmorency) cherries so that I can taste this with the more tart cherry. And by way of a nice perk, they are already pitted. I just stocked my pantry with 4 cans of these cherries.

I have used the Oregon Fruit Product brand for years. The quality and quantity in every can I have used has been excellent.

   Those of you that pitted cherries years ago by hand may remember little devices held in one hand that resembled the end of a syringe that you use your thumb to apply the pressure with. You place the cherry in a little spot between the thumb where the tack head like piece was and the fore and middle finger were, pushed and your pit popped out. Well, after serving me well for many years, I threw mine out some time ago as it had rusted. I had no idea it was going to be so difficult to replace that faithful little tool. This is the only cherry pitter I was able to find, and I found it at a local hardware store.

I had no choice but to buy this one. I did not completely mind. After all, I figured the grandchildren would enjoy it, and it seemed to be efficient in that the juice and pits were going to drop in a case I could dump out when full. Seemed okay. Overall, it was better than cutting each and every cherry around its pit and then pull the pit away from the flesh. The Cherry Chomper is however no where as handy as it is portrayed to be, nor is it always successful at shooting the pit out. So as I said before, it is the canned cherries next time. This tart is good. The texture is wonderful and the flavor is too. But not worth the cherry hassle.

   This is every ingredient needed for this Tarte. Yes, I am going to sloth by and use a store bought pie crust. Only however because of the time I am going to have to put into pitting that bowl of 2 pounds of cherries.

   I always soak fresh fruits and vegetables in good squirt of Shaklee's Basic H and water before doing anything else to them. Stems off first.

And now the pitting. I wear latex gloves any time I am handling cherries, blueberries, blackberries, any other dark staining fruit or jalapenos. As you can see here, the Cherry Chomper is not the gadget I thought it was suppose to be.

Pitting accomplished. I am going to need to find real cherry pitter. That Cherry Chomper would be okay if grandchildren were going to pit a handful or two of cherries, but that is about it.

Store bought crust turned out nicely into tart~quiche plate and cooked cherries placed into the unbaked crust.

Sugar, eggs, flour, milk and Kirsch beaten together and poured over cherries. Do not use cherry Brandy in place of the Kirsch. The Kirsch is actually Kirschwasser which in German simply means cherry water and is categorized as a brandy. This liquor however is made differently than traditional cherry brandy. It is not the syrupy sweet, overly flavored liquor that common brandy is.


Tarte done baking. Now to completely cool.

First slice out.

Ready for Jon and I to enjoy.

Like most everything else I bake anymore, after a day or so it is off to work with Jon. We just don't eat that much in the way of baked goods. I do love to bake them though so having Jon's office to share with makes it possible for me to enjoy baking, tasting a bit of the results and not over doing it. And they think they are getting the better deal here. :-)

The left over cooked cherry juice with butter will become a scrumptious thickened sauce to which I will add some almond flavor this upcoming weekend. Somebody around here is having a birthday and a sauce like that will be splendid drizzled on chocolate cake.

 Jon has wanted to try growing cherry trees. The flesh will be removed from the pits, they will be dried thoroughly, put in an airtight jar and refrigerated until January. They will then be planted in pots and the small (probably 8-10 inch) saplings will be transplanted in the yard in late spring. It will be three years at least before we see a cherry, but it will be fun to watch!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Card Cubby and a Card.. finally.

While we were in our rent house for 11 months I believe I made only one card, and that was almost a full year ago. I simply did not have my stamps, ink, paper and tools accessible. I did manage in this down time recovering from surgery to get my stamps, ink, paper and tools organized and put away so as to be accessible. Yay!!

Seaside Sketches stamp set by Stampin' Up is one of my favorites. So... after placing everything away in its appointed cubby... I did not resist the temptation to throw a card together. Wow!!!! did it feel good to sit down and do that! The photo is not great being a little fuzzie and jaded with shadow... but here it is just the same. I will go back to work within the week, but now at least I can put a card together if I want to. Big hurdle cleared!

Monday, July 6, 2009


I have been gone from posting on my blog far too long. There is much I want to write about, but I am going to condense so that I can just jump back in. If I were to set everything to writing in this post I suspect it would be too long and not make for enjoyable reading.

Jon and I looked for months for the neighborhood and house we wanted to make our home in. Needless to say, that endeavor was bathed in prayer. Of course I approached it much like I do everything else, methodically, with type A decisiveness, and with determination. I have to say though, we were listening to and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, and that is how our decision was made. We did after months of house hunting, with a wonderful couple that do real estate together, find the home we were looking for. We bought our home the first week of April, and moved in that next weekend. After living here in this neighborhood and home, it is clear to me that while we were diligent and persistent and did all we knew to do, it was in fact the Lord that brought this home and Jon and I together. We contemplated building a home, and our next and most likely last home we will build. But this was the home for us. The layout of the home suits our lifestyle perfectly. There are a number of just “small things” that are perfect in this home for Jon and I. The location is very comfortable as far as where each of us work. The setting is a wonderful neighborhood with the great neighbors on our lane. There are two large malls in Oklahoma City, and one of them is very close by with the other less than 20 minutes away. Anything you can imagine in the way of shopping, eating and recreation, and everything we need is so close by. Yet, if you go in the opposite direction of all the shopping, churches, eateries, recreation, etc., you are in beautiful spacious country.

I want to go into just a small bit of detail on one aspect of moving into this house as I suspect it will prove to be future blogging material. This aspect of living in this particular house, in this neighborhood, we could have had no way of knowing. This is where how good God is really shines through. Before half of the U~Haul truck was emptied, the lady cater~corner across the street brought over her version of a Black Forest Cake for us to enjoy. While dropping off the cake she gave us a printed list of nearly every family on the lane, complete with phone numbers and email addresses. The next day, the woman on one side of us came over with a hardy welcome wanting to make sure we knew if we ever needed anything to let her know and that she is home most of the time as she has a home business. Within two days we were visited yet again. This visitor from the lane wanted to give us information about events the neighbors do throughout the year. The ladies have a Spring High Tea. Summer brings a backyard neighborhood barbeque and little later in the Summer an ice cream social where everyone makes ice cream and gets together for a frozen yummy feast. Autumn brings a chili bake off and the holidays bring a Christmas party with a fun gift exchange. I may have missed something here as I am new, but you get the idea. Within the week of moving in, I was invited to the Spring High Tea where I would meet the ladies of ******** Lane, which I did. I must comment here on the authenticity of the High Tea. The woman that does this every year is very familiar with proper tea etiquette and displays it beautifully. What a treat and delicious blessing that was! I have made some good friendships with these women, two in particular. More on those later... I will be here for a while. Suffice it to say, Jon and I are very happy here!

I have some interesting things to post about, complete with photos, but I will do those in later posts so as to keep this catching up shorter. I will share this with you though. In the weeks following the initial move~in weekend, I had the long and laborious task of scrubbing everything, lining shelves and preparing the house so that I could just put things away... a huge task in itself even with my overly thorough organizing, packing and labeling. Working full time left only a few hours in the evenings and weekends. I worked at it for five weeks straight before I stopped to do anything else. I will of course be painting, making window dressings, shopping for bedroom and bathroom linens and pieces of furniture for different rooms, but short of that, the house is almost done. What I mean to say is that the garage has little left in it to put away. Gardening and yard work has been at a minimum. Some pruning and little planting has happened. As I redecorate I will take photos and share my progress. I am very excited to get about the business of making this blessing of a house, our home.

By late May, most work around the house had come to a stop, and by June 10th and since then work around the house has been at a standstill. I have debated sharing this next part for a number of reasons. But, now that the worst of it is over I am going to go ahead. By the time we moved in here I was already seeking medical advice for something I had struggled with since the beginning of 2004. And truth be told, discomfort had set in some years before that. After one week of packing and moving while not missing any work, then five weeks of cleaning and unpacking and not missing any work, the situation became too much to bare. On June 10th, the problem was fixed in surgery. I must tell you, I felt better the day after surgery in the hospital than I had for years, and definitely for the last six months. Day after tomorrow marks four weeks and I will go back to the doctor for my post~op appointment. I have been off work since surgery and expect to go back Thursday or possibly the following Monday. I am pondering the notion of blogging about the things I have discovered during this medical adventure. I am leaning toward doing so just to share information you may be interested in regarding all of this and, maybe getting valuable information I am sure some of, if not all or you ladies could share with me. We will leave that for another post though.

Please forgive me for not posting and being away for a while. I have tried to focus on recovery. They say the better you tend to recovery in the first month, the better your overall success will be. I have stayed up on all of your blogs. Actually, it has been in reading some of the things you have posted that has made my down time more enjoyable.

The other thing I will say here is that in this time of not being able to do much physically, I have spent time working on a Bible Study God laid on my heart quite some time ago. I am not done with it, and in fact it seemed the more I did the more I found to do. But, God has given me clear direction on where He wants me to go with this and that has been my biggest obstacle. It has been in spending quiet time before Him, and diligent time in His Word that the Holy Spirit has been able to get through to me and show me what I am to focus on. The busyness of working and trying to do all that is needed to be done day by day, week in and week out, prevented that. With the direction I have now, I will even be able to use the time on my breaks at work to work on this project. I am so very excited about what God is showing me.

It is good to be back blogging! It is good to be back and functioning physically! Life is just good... period.

nuff said for now.

Much love and......

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Praise God for our freedom!

Happy 4th of July!

Have a blessed Independence Day everyone! I do have several friends in England that I truly cherish. While this day marks the Independence we established from Britain, I honestly like to dwell more on the freedom we have in our dependence on God and completed work of His Son Jesus, at Calvary on the cross. So, in addition to our national freedom I would like to celebrate our freedom in Jesus today while I think of all of my friends and their precious walk with Him.

I could not close this without saying that my heart is also with all of our military men, women and families today. Thank you for all you do! Thank you Marty and Larry! Becky, my love and thoughts are with you today my friend.

Just a little post~script here. I will begin blogging Monday. I have been away and will fill you in then. I have kept up with all of your blogs and have enjoyed that. More Monday.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It is Saturday,

it is snowing, and I have the second in the series of The Yada Yada Prayer Group, The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Down to read. Not that I need Saturday, snow or a good read for this.... but let's....

pull together a few simple staple ingredients,

arrange them nicely into mini tarts,

pop them in the oven, bake then cool them,

and then......

it's Tea Time!

The Yada Yada Prayer Group

My favorite classical composer is, Ludwig von Beethoven. Two hundred thirty one years ago today, between the ages of 6 and 8*, he gave his first public performance in Cologne, Germany.** I visited there in 2001. Absolutely lovely! Jon and I will visit there again I imagine when we next go to Europe. Oh Lord, let that be soon! :-) Incidentally, it was one hundred eighty two years ago on March 26, 1827, that this musical wonder passed away. Funny, I really did not start this post with all of that in mind, but there you have it. Beethoven's musical compositions have such emotional energy and movement to them that they cause a soul to soar and plummet, and all within the confines of two scores. They can be as an entire work completely soothing, or inspiring and moving. Why this mention of music and classical composing on a post that clearly indicates written literature, and quite contemporary at that? Because in my opinion, Neta Jackson, author of The Yada Yada Prayer Group, book series is the Beethoven equivalent in the contemporary fiction literature world. Each page has movement and yet some of it is soothing, truly a balm to the soul. Neta Jackson's composition of words and the realness of the story can make you laugh out loud, weep deeply, and cause one to take a more objective look at oneself. Thoughts like Ouch... I did not realize how short I fall of where I need to be, and Oh... I've come farther than I realized, are roused within oneself regularly.

The way the women in this book stumble onto becoming a group, and naming themselves The Yada Yada prayer group is quite like something the average group of women might happen onto. The back door way the simplicity of the name Yada Yada comes about gives complete glory to, God. When one of the members discovers Yada Yada actually has meaning and represents their desire as individuals and as a group, it is very clear that only the Holy Spirit could have inspired that. Here is an excerpt from this book that is part of a conversation the Yada Yada sisters are having.

"Yada: to perceive, understand, acquire knowledge, know, discern." And a whole lot more. Here's one I like: "To be known, make oneself known, to be familiar." And another: "To distinguish (yada) between right and wrong." If we add an "h" it gets even better. "Yadah: to speak out, to confess; to praise; to sing; to give thanks." Later says Yadah "essentially means to acknowledge... the nature and work of God." (Jackson 125)

I am amazed at how this novel weaves scriptural precepts into the fiber of the story. I have had several revelations about the whole of Who God is, a higher place for me to live spiritually and socially, and gained some courage to step out and trust God for the things he has for my life. My eyes have been opened to how some of the cliches and labels I grew up with that churches give even simple things like "quiet time" and "devotions", can set us up for what I call "churchianity" rather than God focused "Christianity".

You can take look at who Neta Jackson is and what she has written here. By scrolling down and looking on the right hand side of that web site, you can see what the Yada Yada books are about. By clicking here, you can go straight to that web site where it displays and discusses her Yada Yada books only.

* It is historically believed and accepted that Ludwig's father falsified his birth certificate to being 6 rather than eight, giving him the appearance of being more of a prodigal. Jeez.... like that was going to be necessary.
** I began this post the Thursday evening the 26th, and am only posting it just now, Saturday the 28th of March. Beethoven's first public performance was March 26, 1778.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Skor Cheesecake

In my post about Chocolate Christmas Mice, I promised to tell you what it was that I did with the leftover Oreo chocolate cookie. The answer lies within this box.

A few weeks before Christmas, we drew names at work for exchanging Christmas gifts. I drew a gentleman named, Lonnie. Lonnie is the comedian at the office. For instance, last week he was going through our huge green recycle container. I came around the corner with a co~worker and there he was. He is a man of about 5'6" and full of ornery energy. He looked at us over what is essentially a huge plastic green trash can on wheels and without missing a beat simply said... looking us directly in the eyes and with a straight face, "Didn't get breakfast." Lonnie loves to eat. He loves to eat good food and sweets are at the top of his list. If there is one candy that could be deemed his favorite (and there are many) it could be the Skor bar as easily as any other decedent chocolate confection. So when I drew his name for the gift exchange, I knew just what to do. Go buy a dozen (or so) Skor bars!

Here is what I did with those Skor bars.

Butter Toffee Cheesecake with Ganache

Preheat oven to 350°

1/2 cup real butter melted (one stick)
2-1/4 cup Oreo cookie crumbs
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

12 Skor Candy Bars (and one more for nibbling)
4 8 oz. blocks cream cheese softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (you can substitute dark chocolate for one quarter of chocolate chips)

  • Set Cream Cheese out in large mixer bowl and allow to achieve room temperature and become soft.
  • Butter a 9” spring form pan with real butter.
  • Chop 12 Skor bars in two batches of six bars each and keep them separate.
  • Twist and separate Oreo cookies. Scrape white middle off. Make crumbs out of cookies. I roll them with a rolling pin in a sturdy Ziploc bag. You can see how having one side of an Oreo cookie left over from the Christmas Mice would be useful here, so make them a day or two before the cheesecake if you are making them.
  • Melt butter.
  • Stir in Oreo crumbs and sugar.
  • Press into bottom and sides of buttered 9” spring form pan.
  • Evenly scatter one batch of the six chopped Skor bars onto crust
  • Mix softened cream cheese in mixer until very smooth.
  • Mix in sugar first and until smooth, then mix eggs one at a time beating thoroughly.
  • Pour filling into crust.
  • Bake at 350° degrees for 40 minutes.
  • Turn oven down to 300° degrees and bake 30 minutes longer. This is a good time to rotate your cake around in the oven if your oven seems to bake hotter at one side or the other. Do not rotate at any other time.
  • Let sit and set in oven for one hour.
  • When cake is cool refrigerate over night, or at least 8 hours.
Finishing up:
Pop ring of spring form pan off. Leaving cake on the bottom of spring form pan, set cake on a piece of foil or your choice of waterproof device. In this next step you will be pouring your ganache topping over and you will be letting it run down the sides. It just doesn't get much better. :-)

  • Heat heavy cream in an heavy sauce pan.
  • Stir in chocolate on low heat until smooth, beating with a spoon to keep from scorching and to aid in chocolate melting.
  • Pour over cheesecake (should drip off sides) spreading out to get the coverage and look you want.
  • Top with 6 more chopped Skor Bars.... YAY!!!! Yumm.
  • Chill for one hour.
  • Now slide your cake onto whatever you will be serving it from.
  • Leave at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Lonnie is a giving man and shares everything. He has co~workers over during the summer for barbeque's... that sort of man. He had been awarded the Employee of the Year award at our Christmas lunch just two weeks prior to the day I gave him his cheesecake. So, I attached a note to his box saying that he had been such a good lad all year that he did not have to share with the other children. I think he did have a piece while at work, and I heard he gave a few sample bites (not slices), but the cake basically went home that evening, never to be seen again. I also heard he asked someone if they knew what bakery Teresa bought the cheesecake at. Lonnie likes good food. That felt nice.

Here is a little art work of the fun I had putting this Christmas gift together.


the rest of the chopping.

Some assembly required.


Getting there.

The beauty of disposable foil.

The finished cheesecake. Box and wrap it quick to avoid further temptation. By this time I had already eaten a Skor bar and licked ganache like I did not know better.

Done! Put the box in the car for morning since it is too big for the refrigerator and it is plenty cold enough outside.