Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Buckeye Bark

I love buckeyes (or peanut butter balls), but they can be a lot of work and sometimes they don't turn out 'pretty' because the peanut butter ball (even when frozen) starts melting as you're trying to to dip them in chocolate. Please tell me I'm not the only who has that problem! :) I saw an idea for making bars (or bark) out of them and thought I'd give it a try to see how well it worked. Let me tell you, I'm not sure I'll ever go through the pain of rolling them into balls and dipping them was so quick and easy! 

Buckeye Bark
adapted from Joy of Baking

12 oz chocolate chips
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper.

Melt 6 oz chocolate chips and spread thinly onto paper. Stick in freezer to set up while you make the peanut butter mixture.

Place the peanut butter, unsalted butter, and salt in a microwaveable bowl, and heat in the microwave for about one minute or until just soft (check and stir the ingredients every 20-30 seconds). Stir in the vanilla extract and confectioners sugar and mix until it has the consistency of a stiff dough (add more sugar if necessary). Spread over chocolate.

Melt the remaining 6 oz of chocolate chips and spread on top of peanut butter. Stick in refrigerator until chocolate is hard. Cut into pieces and enjoy!

Are buckeyes on your Christmas baking list? 
Why not make it a little bit easier on yourself this year and try making buckeye bark?!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sugar Cookies

These are my go-to sugar cookies. We like to eat them plain, with sprinkles, and sometimes with frosting. I made some the other night after we went Christmas tree hunting and determined that I need to make them with frosting more often! Not only are they more delicious with frosting, but they're cuter too!

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

Decorative Frosting

1 cup powder sugar

1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1-3 drops lemon juice (optional)

Sift powder sugar to remove lumps.
Add all ingredients to bowl and mix until combined.
Add more milk as needed to achieve desired consistency.

There's a couple different ways you can use this frosting. You can just brush the icing on with a small paint brush which is what I did for the Christmas tree cookies, or you can use the outline and flood method - check out i am baker's sugar cookie decorating 101.  

Here's a few other pictures of cookies I've made in the past using the outline and flood method. 

Don't those just make you want to go make some cookies?!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Christmas Tree Hunt

For the past several years we've gone out into the woods to cut down our own Christmas tree. You can go here and here to see pictures from previous years. There's just something about tromping through the woods and snow to find a tree, it's very festive and makes for good times and fun memories!

Monday, December 2, 2013

An Interview

We recently had Brother Jeff Copes from HBBC come a preach a revival at our church. All of the messages were very good, but there was one in particular that I wanted to share with you. 

If we were wanting to conduct an interview with someone about how to have a close walk with the Lord, who would we go to? Out of all of the great men and women in our lives and that we read of in the Bible, there is man man that sticks out as being able to give us the best advice. Just like all of us he wasn't perfect, but he's the only one the Lord acknowledges as being "a man after mine own heart." As I'm sure you've guessed by now, I'm referring to David.

The following is an 'interview' with David concerning his walk with the Lord. 

Reporter: "David, tell us about your relationship with the Lord."

David: "I love the LORD, (Psalm 116:1)"

R: "Why?"

D: "Because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. (116:1)"
{Not only does the Lord hear our prayers, but He also hears our voice - He hears our groaning when we can't find the words to pray.} 

R: "Tell us more. Why do you love the Lord?"

D: "Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, (116:2)"

R: "What is that going to make you do?"

D: "Therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. (116:2)"

R: "David, describe different seasons in your life."

D: "The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell got hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. (116:3)"

R: "What did you do?"

D: "Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. (116:4)"

R: "What did you find?"

D: "Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. (116:5,6)"

David seems lost in his thoughts at this time as he seems to relive what he has experienced, and reminds himself: "Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. (116:7)"

I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. (Psalms 116:1, 2 KJV)


If you go read Psalm 116 you'll see that the chapter doesn't end there, but that's as far as Brother Copes went with the interview (or at least what I have in my notes ;)). It was such a blessing to me, and I've read over it several times since then. I hope this was a blessing to you as well!

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