Monday, January 17, 2011

My Favorite Cookie

This has always been my favorite cookie. They are buttery, crispy, and are topped with powdered sugar straight out of the oven. Something magical happens to warmed powdered sugar. I'm not sure how to describe it, you'll just have to try it for yourself.

You can see that my mom even wrote 'your favorite' on the recipe card. I haven't made these in years because I forgot what they were called. We had named them as kids as suicide cookies because we quite often choked on the powdered sugar topping. I was quite grateful when Summer posted them on her blog and reminded me of it's true name, which helped me find my copy of the recipe!

So, from out of the archives to you, here is my most favorite cookie ever!

Oatmeal Crispies
(a.k.a. suicide cookies - don't breathe in while eating a fresh cookie!)

1 c butter
1/2 c sugar
1 c flour
1 1/2 c oatmeal
1 t vanilla

Combine all ingredients and chill dough.
Roll into 1 inch balls and place on cookie sheet.
Press each cookie with the bottom of a glass that has been coated in flour.
Bake at 350 until the edges have just browned slightly.
Remove from oven and sprinkle immediately with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chunky Cinnamon Bread

We really like the Chunky Cinnamon Bread that Cub Foods sells. But I was tired of paying $3 a loaf for it and decided to do some searching for a recipe. I came across a great post where someone had already figured it out! It turned out great! It's really yummy warm with butter. It's great as toast. It makes AMAZING french toast!

Chunky Cinnamon Bread
adapted slightly from The Changeable Table

1-1/2 c nonfat dry milk

1/2 c sugar

2 T active dry yeast

8 cups (+ or - ) flour

1 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1 T salt

4 cups HOT tap water

2/3 c oil

1/2 c melted butter

1 1/2 c sugar

3 T cinnamon

1 c brown sugar

Combine first 7 ingredients into a mixer bowl.
Add the hot water and the oil.

Add enough additional flour until the dough cleans the sides of the mixing bowl.

Place dough in a large oiled bowl, turning over to coat the top surface.
Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until double.

Roll dough into a large rectangle.

Pour a little more than half of your butter onto the dough and spread all over.

Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.

Add a healthy covering of brown sugar.

Roll loosely, cinnamon roll style. (Be sure it’s loose!)

Cut diagonally into 1” slices going first one direction, and then cut diagonally going the other direction. It should look like an "X" pattern.

Pour a little melted butter into the bottom of each parchment-lined loaf pan.

Heap the chopped dough into pans.
(mine made 3 regular sized loaf pans, but could probably stretch it to 4)
If you have any extra melted butter, you can drizzle it over each loaf - then sprinkle with a little more cinnamon sugar mixture.

Allow dough to rise till double.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 - 30 minutes, until internal temp reaches 190 - 200.

Allow to rest in pans for about 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

How we celebrate Christmas

As our kids are growing up we are finding our way into our own Christmas traditions. We always celebrate with Tony's side of the family before Christmas. And we celebrate with my side of the family on Christmas Eve. And Christmas Day is spent at my Grandma's house. Somewhere in there, we have our own family Christmas. We call it Christmas Adam because it's before Christmas Eve.
We plan a lot of thought in how we celebrate Christmas with our kids. We want them to understand the real reason for celebrating this time of year. It's not about santa, it's not about getting presents that you can unwrap. It's about celebrating Jesus' birthday.
This year to help lead us in that way of thinking, we decided to do an advent tree.
We found some ornaments and Bible stories that present a really neat way of leading us through the month of December from the creation of the world to Jesus' birth. It really did an excellent job of showing us each day that since the creation of the world, we need a savior! Each Old Testament story pointed out how God promised us a savior and he was coming (which is what advent means)! I could really feel the anticipation each night and joy of what it must have been like for those who actually lived in those times to wait for and finally see their savior! And then what a celebration to have on Christmas day when he at last arrived!

Then just as the wise men brought him their best as a gift, we talk about what gifts we could give Jesus on his birthday. He asks us in the Bible to love others, to obey him, to help the needy, the poor, and that when we do those things we are doing them unto him.

Matthew 25:34-40
34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

So instead of everybody getting everybody a present and spending lots of money on each other, each year we pick out one family in need and give them a generous gift according to how the Lord has blessed us that year.

Then one at a time we tell each kid that just as the shepherds and angels and wise men honored Jesus at his birth we would like to honor them with a small gift. Tony prepares a letter for each of us (my favorite part.)

Here's his letter to Evan:
"Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." - Ephesians 6:10

Wow! 9! I was just thinking today about when you were Isaiah's age. You have grown much and in many ways.
I am thankful to God that you are kind young man and a good friend to those who don't have many friends. Jesus was mad fun of because he was a friend to gluttons, drunkards, tax collectors and sinners. I'm glad you are a friend to many.
I pray that as you grow in strength, you will be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. He will give you everything you need. No one else can promise you that!
I love you Evan!
love, daddy
And Addie:
"A gentle tongue is a tree of life..." - Proverbs 15:4
What a gentle girl you are! You are also very kind and generous. You are also very willing to share with others. I love the presents and cards you make for us and your friends. You are a good example to the rest of us!
I pray your gentle spirit and words would be a tree of life to all around you. May God use you to bring life and light to all those around you!
I love you Addie!
love, daddy
And Isaiah:

"And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him..." - II Kings 20:4

This is the year where you found your voice! I enjoy hearing you share your "tories" (that would be "stories"!) This has been a fun change to watch this past year. One fun thing that hasn't changed is the affection you show to those you love. Your hugs and kisses are much loved!
While it will be a few years before you can read, I pray that God will give you a heart for His Word, and a desire to proclaim His Word, so that, you may be kept from sin, and God would use you to keep others from sin.

I love you, Isaiah!
love, daddy
Then they each open their one small gift from the family to them. Evan received a snowboard, Addie got a new doll, and Isaiah got the play barn.

I'm sure our Christmas traditions will continue to grow and change, but I'm enjoying the start that we have made.