Friday, November 21, 2014

Pearls, please!

Willow Hearts is a girls teen group that I lead two to three times a month at our home.  It has all the wonderfulness of girls, the laughter of stories, the sharing of treasures from scriptures, games, food and so much more.  Every two weeks, Presleigh and I open up our home and hearts to 20 of the greatest girls in the world!! (and a few of their sweet mommas stay too).  This fall we have been looking at the promises from God such as his faithfulness, his love and his friendship.  We will end this study on December 4th. And so to commemorate these promises, each girl will make a silver charm bracelet with charms reflecting each promise.  I thought it would be fitting to add another charm- showing just how valuable God is in our lives no matter what our age.  Trying to find an image, symbol or charm to encompass all that God is - is quite daunting!  Where do you find the  "Creator of the universe" charm?
So as I searched the scriptures, God gave me the answer- The Pearl of Great Price (Mt 13:45).  As a jewelry designer, what could be more perfect???

As my mind continued down the pearl path, I thought of our times in Epcot at Disney World.  We always head to Japan for the purchasing of a pearl (that is still in the oyster, no less).  My girls and I love this tradition.  It's quite a memory for us as we look through the water tanks to find just the right one, hoping for the double pearls or the silvery blue ones, or the biggest.... As a mom, I am praying that the girls get similar pearls so that everyone is happy.  As for me, personally, I am always amazed that there is a pearl in that shell.... We pay a price for our pearls and to some it is pricey, but it isn't all our money. We pay a little extra to have our pearls turned into something that we can wear and see daily.

God is our pearl of great price..  and one of the differences between Disney World's pearl and God's pearl is that we do give him our everything so that we can allow him to work in our lives and so through us, we can see our pearl daily, changing hearts and lives.

Pearls to remind us of God's great value

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Southern delicacy with a kick - recipes from our Home Ec Class

I teach a Home Ec class with 11 wonderful students.  They are eager to learn new things, try out all the latest recipes and love to use food processors, kitchen aids and knives (yes, even the chef's knife!)  This past week we learned the do's and don'ts of entertaining along with some great recipes and one that might surprise you.  I thought I would share our southern delicacy of Cheese straws with them and now with you.  We tested two recipes- one from the Queen of the South, Paula Deen and another, an adapted recipe from Southern Living. 

Paula Deen's were light and mild.  Half of the students liked hers the best.  Her dough worked best in the cookie press (plate that is closest in the picture). 

The second recipe was kicked up with the cayenne and had a more dense consistency. The other half of my students loved this one. For me, I am an equal opportunity cheese straw eater and LOVED them both. 

Our surprise recipe was our Chocolate Punch-Yes, Chocolate Punch. I found this in a older cookbook for entertaining.  So we gave it a try - what's not to love about chocolate syrup , milk and ice cream and with the added fizz of ginger ale -It was chocolatey goodness with a splash of fizz!! Don't be afraid of the gingerale, it added a lightness to the ice cream and created a refreshing drink that could be served at your next party! I think I want to vary the ice cream flavors to see what other goodness we can serve.  

I hope you enjoy the recipes and let me know which Cheese Straws get your vote and of course, what you think of our new punch recipe.  

Until next time, keep finding joy in the everyday,....

Cheese Straws #1 (a Paula Deen recipe)

2 cups self-rising flour
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1-cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups (½ pound) grated sharp Cheddar cheese, at room temperature

1.  Preheat the oven at 350 degree.
2. Sift together the flour, cayenne and salt and set aside. 

3.  Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cheese until blended. 

4.  Add the flour mixture, slowly, beating at low speed, then continue to beat for 5 minutes, until very creamy, scraping down the side of the bowl several times.

5. Using a cookie press with a star tip, make 3 inch long cheese straws, leaving at least ½ inch between each on an ungreased cookie sheet. 

6. Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow the straws to sit on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer the cheese straws to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight containers.

***Do not use a nonstick cookie sheet, parchment paper or cooking spray.  You want the bottoms to get crisp.***

 Cheese Straws  #2 (A Southern Living Recipe)

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 (1-pound) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
 2 teaspoons ground red (cayenne) pepper

1/2-teaspoon paprika

4 cups all-purpose flour

1.  Beat first 5 ingredients at medium speed with a heavy-duty stand mixer until blended.
2. Gradually add flour, beating just until combined.
3. Use a cookie press with a star-shaped disk to shape mixture into long ribbons, on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
4. Before baking, cut ribbons into 2-inch pieces.
5.  Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
To make Cheese Wafers: (without a cookie press)

 Combine ingredients as directed; chill dough 2 hours. Shape dough into 4 (8-inch-long) logs; wrap each in plastic wrap, and chill 8 hours. Cut each log into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Store in an airtight container 1 week.

Chocolate Punch – a new and fun punch recipe….

1 cup Chocolate Syrup
5 cups milk
1.75 quarts vanilla ice cream
1 quart ginger ale, chilled

Combine the chocolate syrup and milk in a punch bowl, stirring to mix. Add ice cream, stirring until partially melted. Add the ginger ale and serve.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Feather Love

I am so excited and honored to be a guest blogger on the ICE resin blog today and share with you a new jewelry piece that I made using the incredible ICE resin and ICED enamels from the wonderful company of Susan Lenart Kazmer and {my friend}-Jen Cushman. 

 Please take a moment and visit the blog and I hope you will be inspired to try a little resin, a little enameling and a few of your special treasures to create a one of kind piece of jewelry that shares a little about who you are!  Here’s the link….

Until next time, finding joy in the everyday,....

A little resin, enameling and sweet treasures

A close-up- Feather Love