Wednesday, April 30, 2014

For My Fellow Bakers

Hello, Fellow Bakers!

I got this Biscotti Recipe off of (found here) after looking for a sweet treat to have with coffee. This was the first recipe for Biscotti I tried and it has served me well.

Fantastic Double Chocolate-Pecan Biscotti
Prep time: 15-25 minutes
Bake time: First baking—35 minutes, Second baking—7-10 minutes
Yield: 30 Biscotti

2 cups of all-purpose flour
½ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted) note: I usually sift it with my flour mixture
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of butter, softened
1 ¼ cups of sugar
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups of chopped pecans
1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips (mini chips do great as well!)
Confectioners' sugar for rolling, optional

  1. Set oven to 350 degrees, Fahrenheit
  2. Butter and flour a large baking/cookie sheet. (I just use the non-stick spray)
  3. In a small bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until it is light and fluffy. (about 5 minutes) *I used my mom's standing mixer this morning and it made this an easy job ;)
  5. Add eggs and beat until well combined.
  6. Stir in the flour mixture (This is where I just sifted all four ingredients into the mixture) This will make a stiff dough.
  7. Stir in the pecans and chocolate chips; mix until combined
  8. Divide the dough in half or make four smaller logs for easier handling and cutting.
  9. On the greased baking sheet, shape into two slightly flattened logs (about 12-inches long and about 2-inches wide).
  10. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
  11. Bake for 35 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.
  12. Cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes then remove to cutting board.
  13. Cut the logs diagonally into about ¾ inch slices.
  14. Place back on baking sheet.
  15. Return to the oven and bake for another 7-10 minutes (depending on how crisp you like them)
  16. Cool on a rack.

You're DONE!!!!

      Now for my notes: Like I said, I don't usually just sift the cocoa powder, I just throw all four of the first ingredients into a bowl and sift it into my egg butter mixture later.
      The dough after you add the flour mixture is going to be very stiff so don't think you did it wrong. If you followed the recipe, yes, it will be very stiff but that's how it is supposed to be.
      Because it is so stiff, it is hard to mix in your pecans and chocolate chips. Don't pull a muscle but do try to get it stirred in nice and even. I would suggest a big sturdy spoon.
      For the logs, all I do is dump the entire mixture onto my pan then separate it. From there, I just form rough logs and flatten and form, flatten and form until I'm satisfied.
      I don't sprinkle it with confectioners' sugar (usually because I forget this step until afterwards)
      Cutting the logs can be difficult. You need a serrated knife and after you get through the top crust with a gentle sawing motion just push it the rest of the way. If you push it all the way it tends to break, if you saw it all the way it tends to break. Cutting them is the hardest part of this recipe (other than mixing if you're doing it by hand)
      Some people like them just like this with no extra baking. Make sure you try the ones that break and see if you do. 
      For the second baking, follow the recipe and check often. I usually just turn off the oven and leave them in there for another few minutes just to make sure they're crunchy.

      These things are awesome with tea and coffee. Dip it in your coffee or dip it in some milk. We really like these for an afternoon snack.

I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Hymn

O For a Thousand Tongues
Charles Wesley

O for a thousand tongues to sing 
My great Redeemer's praise,
The glories of my God and King, 
The triumphs of His grace.

My gracious Master and my God, 
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name. 

Jesus! The name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
'Tis music in the sinner's ears, 
'Tis life, and health, and peace. 

He breaks the power if canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
His blood availed for me. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bible Inspiration

Just a quick note. Isaiah 41:10--
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." 
He will always be there and His love never changes or fails. 
Hebrews 13:8--"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." 
Remember, when all else fails, HE is forever! 
God bless! I hope you have a wonderful day! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My adventure...

Today started out pretty horrible. I woke up feeling terrible. I'm coming down with my annual cold. It usually comes around the time that I am supposed to sing somewhere but this time it waited a little longer, for which I am very grateful. I am not yet at the coughing stage, just at the stage where I can barely breathe out of my nose and I'm calling my mother "Bob".  My head felt pretty horrible this morning so I ended up lying back down to see if it helped me feel better but to no affect. 

To describe the next events I have to tell you this: my family has been watching The Lord of the Rings every Sunday (a weekly movie) leading up to the release of the Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug. My brother-in-law has the extended versions on blu-ray and every Sunday, we would watch one so we would well remember them when this movie came out. Today we decided to go watch The Hobbit. 

Please keep in mind that I, in my miserable state, was not to happy about leaving home. I wanted to snuggle down with blankets and a good movie at home, perhaps some soup, but I've really wanted to see this movie so I went along.  

We went to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants and ate lunch then had a little free time before the movie so we decided to do a little shopping. I didn't enjoy the shopping because I didn't feel well, and although I don't enjoy shopping much anyway, I usually don't whine and complain. Today, I made an exception. I wasn't feeling well, and I didn't care who knew it. (I know, not very nice of me, but please try to see my side of it.) 

When at last we decided to go to the movies, my mother, my sisters and I went to the restrooms. I had my phone in my back pocket and thought it wouldn't be good to leave it there while I did my business so I set it on the toilet tissue holder. I didn't notice it wasn't in my pocket as I left the stall, or as I washed my hands, or as I left the bathroom, or even as I sat down in the theatre. I only noticed when I reached for it to silence it. Horror struck me. I turned to my mom. "I left my phone in the bathroom!" I said in shock. 

"What?" She said. "Check your purse."

I had checked it already but checked it again just in case. No phone. "It's not here!" 

She turned to my dad on her other side and said, "I'm going with her. She left her phone in the bathroom."

"What?!" He exclaimed. 

We gave him a very fast, very cryptic explanation and hurried to the bathrooms, praying that we would find it. 

I rushed into the stall, no phone. I checked other stalls, finding to my utter despair, no phone. I checked trash cans (just glancing, I didn't dig in them) and not finding it rushed back to the movie theater to check my purse one more time. No phone. My dad joined us in our search, calling the phone. 

I'm ashamed to say I was suspicious of everyone as I left the theater as we went back to the lobby to check again. My dad stood in line to see if anyone had dropped it off at the counter.  

Doubt washed over me. "There went that!" I thought. "Buy a phone and leave it in a movie bathroom of all places. We're never going to find it!"

I heard my dad say "Thank you" and turned to see him holding out my phone.

"Oh my gosh! Where was it?" 

"Someone brought it here. Said they found it in the bathroom." 

We went back to the counter to ask who had returned it but the lady couldn't remember. We wanted to thank them for their kindness. 

I guess I learned today that there are still good people out there. People who care for others. 

So whoever it was that turned my phone in to lost and found, I owe you my gratitude. I am in your debt! Thank you so much and I wish I could do more. Right now though, all I can do is thank you, whoever you may be, and pray that you will be blessed for your thoughtfulness. The only way to repay you I suppose, would be to do a kindness for someone in return. I'll keep it going. Thank you again! Merry Christmas and God Bless! 

And PS, the movie was AWESOME!!!! If you are a Tolkien fan, I'd definitely recommend it! Especially if you like The Lord of the Rings set. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

And the Angels Rejoiced!

I learned today that the father of some of my friends went to be with our Heavenly Father at about 8 o'clock. He was 56. He had been battling cancer, first skin cancer that came back as spots on his liver and lungs, then bone and lastly tumors on his brain. He was such an encouragement and such a wonderful blessing from The Lord to all those who knew him. He worked in the ministry on a college campus. He touched so many lives.

He leaves behind a legacy. A wife and thirteen children and several grandchildren as well. I have the honor of knowing his daughters. They are a sweet blessing to me and just a wonderful gift from God. I had the pleasure of meeting them last year. I got to know the daughters a little better through volleyball.
This past spring, there was a homeschool conference that my family attended and Mr. Randy spoke at it. What he said had such an impact on me. He was talking about family and finishing the race. The doctors had told him at the time that he didn't have very long to live but he and his family just kept trusting God. They knew that it wasn't what the doctors said that mattered but what God said. 

In the past couple of weeks, I've been seeing his daughters twice a week. They have been so strong. Jo, age fifteen, was talking to me about the peace. She basically said that she didn't want him to die, but that she had peace. Her faith astounded me. At fifteen she had something that most of us don't have and may never have. 

My heart aches for the family. But, through all of this, this is what they have to say:

"He hath made everything beautiful in it's time..." Tonight my precious daddy went to be with Jesus. Deliverance He promised came, just not in the way we expected. My father is now face to face with the love of his life...he is now resting from his labor. The Lord gives and He takes away, blessed be the name of The Lord..." 
This is from the second daughter. 

"My sweet Daddy entered into the gates of the kingdom of God last night at about 8:00,Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3 KJV) 
I am in perfect peace!;) praise the LORD! 
Love in CHRIST"
This is from Jo. 

Please keep this family in your prayers. I praise The Lord for all that He did, for Mr. Randy's life and ministry and the legacy he left behind. As I said before, his wife and thirteen children remain. The youngest of his children is seven.  Please pray that The Lord will continue to give them the peace that passes all understanding and that the legacy of his life may be remembered.

Thanks be to God for this man and for the blessing of his life. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bible Inspiration of the Day

   I finished reading the book of Joshua yesterday. It was very enjoyable but today I decided to skip around. Using the Bible app on my phone, I looked at the verse of the day. Ephesians 2:8-9 says:
   "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
   Not of works, lest any man should boast."
   This was a reminder to me that I do not, I CAN NOT save myself, it is only through God's grace and mercy do I even have the opportunity. 

   As usual, I read the Proverb of the day, Proverb 15. My mother got me started reading a Proverb for each day of the month earlier this year. So far, I have read through Proverbs probably 6 times and each time there is something else that stands out. Today is was Proverbs 15:5 which says: 

   "A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reroof is prudent." 
   Ouch! I have to remember that my parents are older than me, have been through many of the same things I face, and they know so much! My parents are full of wisdom if I will just listen. 
   Then I started reading I Peter 1. The whole chapter was amazing, but 5 verses especially stood out to me. Verses 3-5 which state:
   "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
   To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
   Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
    We are kept by God THROUGH faith! And then verses 15-16: 
   "But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
   Because it is written, 'Be ye holy; for I am holy.' "
   For me, these verses, 15 and 16, tie into Philippians 4:8
   "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
   This then led me to Psalm 19:14
   "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer."
   And the reason we should keep our heart? Easy! Matthew 12:34b says:
   "for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."

    We also went to church with my grandparents today, my granddad being a Baptist preacher and he taught on the power of prayer. All I can say is WOW!! He had some awesome points and I came to the conclusion that my prayers should be more earnest. I sometimes just say them to say them, but I need to stop letting my mind wander. I need to be completely focused on God when I pray and remember to Whom I am praying. 

   Thanks for reading. I know it's a long post. As a side note, I use King James Version of the Bible.

Friday, September 13, 2013

It is well...

I've been thinking lately about the story of Horatio G. Spafford. You may not recognize the name, but he wrote the song "It Is Well".  I was playing the piano and flipped to this song and it just struck me how beautiful this song is. Here are the words, all 4 verses:

"It Is Well
By Horatio G. Spafford 

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea-billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul. 

It is well (It is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, 
Let this blessed assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, 
And hath shed His own blood for my soul. 

It is well (It is well)
With my soul (with my soul) 
It is well, it is well with my soul. 

My sin--oh the bliss of this glorious thought--
My sin--not in part, but in whole--
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, 
Praise The Lord, praise The Lord, O my soul!

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul. 

And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and The Lord shall descend,
"Even so" it is well with my soul. 

It is well (it is well) 
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul. "

I encourage you to look up his story is you don't know it already. 

That's it for now!! Til next time,