17 November 2009

Autumn is here...

I am starting to believe that nothing is more satisfying than a nice mug full of Earl Grey tea on a chilly autumn night. It is 46 degrees outside, but due to large amounts of rain we have received, it feels as if it were in the 30s. So, here I am, doing what I love to do: drinking hot tea and blogging. I can't believe that I got so far away from my blog, because I simply adore to write my thoughts and feelings in here.
I had a small adventure today as my lovely brother, Casey, attempted to teach me how to drive a manual! I say "attempted" because I am not the best at driving a manual. I have extremely short legs and fail to push the clutch in far enough, causing his poor car to come to a screeching halt! It was quite funny, because we had our lesson at an abandoned Wal-Mart parking lot. A group of teenage skaters had somehow gotten into the outdoor garden area and were, um, skating QUITE poorly. They then had the nerve to laugh at my driving! It was my first lesson and, of course, I made mistakes, but these young men consider themselves to be skaters when they can't even skate! I found it quite amusing to watch!
A few days ago, I spoke of our youth group's Christmas play. We have now had a few practices, and I must say that this past Wednesday's practice was absolutely HILARIOUS!!! I don't remember laughing that hard in my entire life. Everyone was just terribly funny at their parts. For example, my brother, Casey, has completely adapted to playing a bumbling country hick. He kept us all in stitches. I am not sure if we'll be able to get through this play without everyone in the cast bursting out laughing! Also, I tend to speak extremely fast regularly. For whatever reason, if I speak slowly, I start speaking in a English accent. I do not know WHY I do this, because it is definitely not intentional, but I do. That made everyone laugh even more because I was a British Jewish woman! It was extremely funny.
I am in a quartet along with three lovely young ladies. Last month, during our church's revival meetings, Bro. Knickerbocker heard us sing a wonderful song entitled "Jesus Passed By". When he got up to preach, he told the congregation that in the end of December, a youth congress would be held at Crown Southwest and Norris Bible Seminary. Unfortunately, the extremely brilliant, kind, and talented girls at Crown who usually sing at these meetings will be at their homes for Christmas at this time. Bro. Knickerbocker asked our quartet, Redeemed, to sing at the congress!!! You have no idea how much this means to us. We all feel extremely blessed of and grateful to the Lord Jesus Christ for giving us the gift of song as well a love for Him. Bro. Knickerbocker would not have asked us to come if he even assumed that we sang pridefully, I believe. This is such an honor for our quartet! We will need to have about eight or nine songs ready by then and be ready to give our testimonies. Our quartet consists of Taylor and Courtney, who juggle between alto and tenor, Hannah, who sings alto and second soprano, and myself. I sing first soprano. I love these three girls more than I could ever say; they have been such an encouragement and a blessing to me and my family! They have such lovely voices and even more beautiful hearts! Hannah's parents, Bro. Rick and Mrs. Tammy, are our youth leaders. Also, an amazing woman, Miss Sherry, helps out with our crazy group. We are also extremely blessed to have a pastor, Bro. Carrier, and a church family who loves and supports us all the way. I couldn't pick a better church family. They are such amazing people, and they each pray for us often. We wouldn't be able to do any of this without their support, as well as the support from our parents and siblings. I am so honored that God would give me a voice to praise Him with as well as friends to praise Him with!

11 November 2009

Baking Day!!!

I believe that one day of each week should be put aside just for baking! Today, I made some chocolate-chip cookies, some oatmeal raisin cookies, and a batch of the Orange Blossom muffins I spoke of a few days ago! YUMMY!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup stick butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (12-oz) bag chocolate chips (2 cups)

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2) In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.

3) In large mixing bowl, mix together butter, sugars, eggs, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy. 4) Stir dry mixture into beaten mixture.5) Add chocolate chips; stir until evenly distributed.

6) Drop mounds of dough 2" apart onto ungreased cookie sheet

7) Bake 8-12 minutes until light brown.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  • 3/4 cup stick butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (Don't be afraid to add extra!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)

2) In large mixing bowl, mix butter and sugars together until smooth. (Use the largest bowl you have...)

3) Beat in eggs and vanilla until fluffy.

4) In small mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually stir this in with sugar mixture.

5) Stir in oats and raisins.

6) Drop spoonfuls of batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly brown. Cool slightly before transferring onto plate.
Orange Blossom Muffins

  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 oil
  • 1/2 cup undiluted orange juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Smucker's Orange Marmalade
  • 12 servings of Pioneer Biscuit Mix
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1) Combine first five ingredients plus sifted biscuit mix.

2) Stir in marmalade and pecans.

3) Pour batter into lightly greased (or oiled) muffin tins. Be sure to use SMALL muffin tins! Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes or until brown. If you have any extra batter, bake a loaf of Orange Blossom Bread. Just add a few minutes to the cooking time. It is FABULOUS, especially with a mug of hot tea!

These lovely homemade goodies were amazing! I thoroughly enjoyed baking them!

10 November 2009

I've done a post like this before, but I strongly believe that repetition is a good thing! I often like to just type (or write) a completely random list of things about myself. Even if no one else finds them interesting, I think it is fun to be able to look back someday and see how I once was!
  • I have a strange fascination with anything covered in Polkie Dots. (Yes, I realize that they are technically called "Polka" Dots, but I do not care! Polkie Dots just sounds cooler.)
  • I love coffee when it is just slightly above room temperature. I also love hot tea at this temperature.
  • My favorite thing to do is curl up with a good book or sitting at the computer, typing a story or working on my blog, drinking a nice cup of Earl Grey Tea. (Bigelow, of course. No tea is better!)
  • I have always loved music. I guess I have my elementary music teacher, Mrs. Fox, to thank for that! She is such an inspiration to me. Not only is she an amazing teacher and genuinely kind lady, she is a strong Christian. Such a blessing to have been part of her life. She inspired me to go to school for elementary music, which I will be doing next fall.
  • If everyday was a brisk Autumn day, I would absolutely love it! Nothing is better than a cup of Earl Grey, a good book, and a fire on a nice Autumn day!
  • I love watching Christian Comedians, especially Mark Lowry. I absolutely LOVE that man! Such an amazing comedian, singer, and I believe, Christian. It is so refreshing to see someone who is not ashamed to speak his mind about what he believes and what He has done.
  • I am slowly falling in love with old-fashioned things. I used to want to be like everyone else, but I couldn't care less what the others are doing. I must remember that if the majority agrees with it, some thing's probably wrong with it! I simply adore things as plain as a white pitcher and basin. (Does anyone have one that they would like to give me? Just joking.)
  • I love my friends! I have some of the most amazing friends that anyone can have. God has blessed me with a great group of young ladies who want nothing more than to serve and please Him.

If I kept listing, I would be here all night long. :)

Yesterday, we (Junior High, Senior High, and some memebers of the College and Career class) started practicing for our Christmas Play, entitled "The Journey of Mary". It is an incredible play, and I can't wait to get more involved in it. We are playing people who are putting on a play, so most people have two parts. (For example, my brother, Casey, is playing a guy named Hank who is playing Arch Angel Gabriel. You get it?) There are several humourous parts. For example, Hank is trying to figure out how to play a "relaxed, confident angel flying in from Heaven to deliver really happy news" by flitting around the stage and acting like a vampire at one point. It was the funniest play practice I have ever been a part of!

Can you believe that it is the second week of November already? Where did this year go to? I am so excited for these next two months. Soon, we will have Thanksgiving and then on to Christmas! I love this time of year so much!

09 November 2009

Orange Blossom Muffins, anyone?

Well, what have I been up to the past few days? I have been baking pies to NO end! I've made a few apple pies and am currently trying to find a good cherry pie recipe. I'm not a huge fan of cherries, but my friend wants one! I am going to bring an apple pie and a cherry pie to church soon to see what my lovely friends in our youth group think of them. (I love those girls so much! They are some of my dearest friends, and I praise and thank God for them. Not many people are as blessed as I am when it comes to friends. I know that these lovely young ladies love me and want God to use me. Too many "friends" could care less about your spiritual life, and I am so grateful that I have friends who do care!)
I, sadly, forgot to take any pictures of my pie making process, but I will have to take some the next time I bake. What is my next project? Maybe I'll make a batch of Orange Blossom Muffins! My mummy and daddy went away for a few days last week to celebrate their 26th wedding anniversary. They visited the Excelsior House Hotel in Jefferson, Texas. This hotel is a beautiful hotel that has been in operation since the 1850s. The photos my mother took of it were astounding! Also, my parents RAVED over the Orange Blossom Muffins that were served at breakfast every morning. They were extremely pleased to discover that the recipe for these muffins is in a cookbook that they bought through the Jefferson Gardening Club. These muffins sound amazing! If the baking is a success, I will post the recipe on here. I can't wait to try them out! My parents stayed at the Lady Bird Johnson suite. They were told by one of the staffers of the house that former First Lady Johnson's favorite memories as a child were always going to the hotel with her father to eat brunch while they were "in town". I think that is so sweet! http://theexcelsiorhouse.com

03 November 2009

Apple Pie!

Today, I made my first attempt at baking an apple pie from scratch. This is something that our society is losing, and I decided that I want to start baking and cooking the old-fashioned way. So many people bake cakes just by dumping out mix and adding eggs just because it is easier. I loved baking this pie, and it tasted GREAT!

-2 Cups all-purpose flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon sugar
-6 tablespons butter
-6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
-6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

1) In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and sugar.
2) Cut in the butter, shortening, and ice water.
3) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill.

-5 Granny Smith apples
-1 Cup Sugar
-2 Tablespoons Flour
-1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
-1/4 Teaspoon Salt
-1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar
-1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1) Peel and slice your apples.
2) Soak apple slices in water with a tablespoon of lemon juice. (This will prevent them from turning brown.)
3) In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
4) Mix apples in with filling.

!) Divide the dough into two equal halves.
2) Roll one of the balls of pie crust out until it is around 1/8th of an inch thick. (If the dough it too gooey, simply add extra flour.)
3) Once you have rolled out the dough, wrap it around the rolling pin and unroll it onto your pie pan.
4) Once you have shaped it to fit the inside of the pan, take a fork and poke holes in the bottom of the crust. This will let the steam out as the pie bakes.
5) Dump all of the apples in the pie. Place about 4 chunks of butter on top of apple filling. This will give the filling rich flavor.
6) Roll out the remaining pie dough and place it on top of pie.
7) Create a pattern around the edge of the pie by using the back of a knife.
8) Cut long strips of tinfoil and place them around the edge of the pie. This will prevent the crust's edge from burning while it bakes. You will want to take the tinfoil off about ten minutes before the pie is done. This way, the apple pie will have a golden brown edge.
9) Bake your pie at 400 degrees (F) for 50-60 minutes.

Enjoy this recipe... I honestly loved making and eating it!

01 November 2009

I have had one of the most amazing days. Two lovely ladies from my church, Miss Bobbie and Miss Sherry, came around 4 PM to hang out with me and my mom. We ate, just talked, and played THREE board games: Glory, Jumanji, and Bible Pictionary. The first two were fun, but the game of Bible Pictionary was the most hilarious events. Sadly, none of us can draw to save our lives, so we all were just having to completly guess what each other was drawing. We almost rolled over laughing. They just left, and it's already after 11 PM. It was a delightful evening.
I had the opprotunity to cook a Baked Spaghetti. I adore cooking, but I never cook, for some reason. I really need to cook more often! The Baked Spaghetti came out EXTREMLY well, if I might say! This is the recipe I used:

1 (16 oz) package of spaghetti noodles
1 medium onion, chopped
Sm. can of mushrooms (Optional)
1 (26 oz) jar of meatless spaghetti sauce
2 eggs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups small curd cottage cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt and garlic powder

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Meanwhile, saute onion in a large skillet until clear. Stir in spaghetti sauce, mushrooms (drained), salt, and garlic powder; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, Parmesan cheese, and butter. Drain spaghetti noodles; add egg mixture and toss to coat.
Place half of spaghetti mixture to greased baking dish. Top with half of the cottage cheese, sauce mix, and mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers.
Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.

This dish is extremly easy to make and, oh, so satisfying! I would reccomend it to anyone with a love for Italian food or vegetarian meals. I have been a vegetarian for almost four years and love when I can find a great dish like this that EVERYONE (meat eaters included) will like!