Thursday, December 15, 2011

Everyday blessings…(and a couple recipes!)

The hubs and I had a moment to sit down and just chat with one another the other night…a real rarity for us!  We were chatting about how this year has been a tough one for us and the family, especially the last couple of months.  I’ll tell you this, as I think I’ve said before, planting a church is NOT an easy task!!  But amidst all that which seems to be going in the wrong direction, all that is negative, we have begun to lose sight of the very blessings that have been set right in front of us.  So, we took some time together to reflect on all that God has blessed us with this year and our hearts began to overflow with joy!  We certainly discovered that we have more to be thankful for than not, especially with the celebration of the greatest blessing of all just around the corner….CHRISTmas!!

Today, my princess Makenna and I scoured our Bibles looking for the various names of Jesus and our hearts began to overflow with joy and we just couldn’t stop searching!  Here’s just a sampling of what we found….
Mighty One , Majesty, Lord of Lords,  Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace,  King,   Messiah,   I Am, Immanuel, Father, My Rock
It was such a sweet time with my little girl!  I got that warm and fuzzy feeling, you know like when sugar cookies are baking in your oven making the house smell heavenly.  DSCN2262There were Christmas trees, stars and snowmen….
DSCN2263So warm and golden brown…
DSCN2267 Then dipped in luscious chocolate…

Simple Sugar Cookies
(inspired by Sarah @ Peas and Thank You)
Yields 24 to 32 cookies
1 1/2 cups unbleached organic flour (can be made gluten free w/ an all-purpose gluten free flour + 1/4 tsp xanthum gum)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup Earth Balance (or unsalted butter)
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, beat together sugar, milk, vanilla and Earth Balance.  Gradually add dry ingredients to the large mixing bowl, mixing until the dough comes together.
Remove the dough from bowl and wrap in plastic.  Refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours, or until dough is chilled and firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
Remove dough from fridge and roll out onto a floured board with a rolling pin until dough is about 3/4 inch thick.  Using cookie cutters, cut into desired shapes and transfer to the cookie sheet.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are starting to turn brown.  Do not overbake!  Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for about 1 minute before moving them to a cooling rack.
Frost with your favorite frosting when cookies are completely cool!
DSCN2268And dressed all in sprinkles red, white and green!

I was further reminded today when things started getting out of hand and I was about to blow a fuse, I had the blessing of coffee cake cooking silently away in the crockpot!  It’s the little things! 
DSCN2251 Crockpot Cranberry Orange Coffee Cake
(inspired by Simply Sugar and Gluten Free)
For the cake:
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp orange zest
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 large organic eggs
1 cup plain, low-fat yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh cranberries, sliced
For crumb topping:
1 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp Earth Balance (or oil of your choice)
2 Tbsp organic cane sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
For the crumb topping:
Put the almonds, Earth Balance, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor and pulse several times until the nuts become crumbs.  Set aside.
For the cake:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and orange zest.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla extract.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until well combined.  Fold in the cranberries.
Turn the batter into a greased crockpot.  Smooth the top and sprinkle the crumb topping across the top of the cake and press into the batter.
Vent the lid on the crockpot and bake on low for 2-3 hours, until a knife inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs.  Serve warm!DSCN2256A simply amazing moist gluten free cake!
DSCN2254I think I’ll try Blueberry-Lemon next.

Our Keepers at Home cookie exchange was a sweet success!
The girls presented us with their cookies and earned their “Cookie Baking” badge!  These little bakers did an awesome job!!

Nourishing Thought for Today:
Just a simple reminder to find joy in the little things and remember not to overlook the small blessings in life!  One of life’s biggest blessings came in the form of a small child!  May you and your family be blessed this Christmas as we celebrate the King of KingsOur Lord and Savior!


1 comment:

  1. Glad to have found your site! :) I'm also glad to see this recipe for the crockpot coffee cake recipe...I just tried it last month, but something went I'll have to try it again sometime!