Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Robins & Rainstorms

It's been a long while since I've posted anything to this blog.  I thought maybe I would reawaken it, but not as it was before.  It will be more of a personal journal for my thoughts, and not a show recap.  Life has changed since we last spoke. It's been good, and difficult, and weathering.  I've grown, as I'm sure you have as well.  It's spring again, and the hills of Kentucky are rolling in new life.  We've had lots of rain lately which is typical for Spring.  It's what makes all of those blue-grassy knolls so glorious and lush. I welcome rainy days when I'm lost in thought.  There's something about the rhythm on the rooftops that soothes the constant stream of thoughts rushing around my mind.  This morning, the rains were heavier than normal, and I noticed a robin out of my office window. She stood there in the midst of the storm sheltering herself under a bench.  She stood there waiting for the storm to pass, and I watched.  Her sweet silhouette was still and beautiful against the stormy sky.  I've felt like her often over the past few years.  Still.. and small.  Hardly noticeable in the swirl around me.  Yet, I noticed her.  Actually, I always seem to notice.  My attention is captured by small birds, especially sparrows.  Perhaps, because God promised that He too notices.  Nothing escapes Him, and that fascinates me.  He's endless propensity toward kindness; He constantly chooses to love even when everyone would understand if He chose not to.  Robins and sparrows may not attract much attention from the crowds, but small as they may be I love that He uses them in my life to remind me that while I huddle in the storm He notices my still, small silhouette amid the chaos and He extends grace.

Lately I've wrestled with wonderings about the impact of my voice.  Will it matter? Can I etch a mark upon time that will impact a generation to come?  Does my voice even register above the thundering of the crowd? I've grown silent in the struggle to curate my thoughts. Yet, amid so many restless nights I've come to appreciate that Spring brings back the small voice of the sparrow, the robin, and the cooing of the turtledove.  Voices that most probably sleep through in those hours before dawn; yet to me, they bring the hope of morning and the promise of a sunrise. Hope can conquer fear, and one small voice singing alone in the dark can erase the horror of the unknown that hides in the shadows.  Hope is what makes faith possible.  It is the joyful anticipation of good.  It is a song in the twilight hours declaring that dawn is on the horizon.  Be silent no more, little one.  You never know who will be most impacted by your song or find inspiration in your silhouette standing strong in the middle of the storm.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

German Chocolate Macaroons: 12 Days of Cookies 2013

Day 12: German Chocolate Macaroons
German Chocolate Cake is my dad's favorite cake.  Over the years, it has become a favorite of mine too.  I love coconut and chocolate together.  These little cookies from Bakeaholic Mama look so decadent!  Your family and friends will be raving over this recipe at your next get together.  I've had fun finding some unique recipes to share with you this year.  If you try any of them, let me know how what you think.  Enjoy!


  • 2 cups confectioners sugar 
  • 1 cup almond flour 
  • 3 tbs of cocoa powder  
  • The egg whites from 3 large eggs (1/3 cup+ 3tbs) 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 

  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans 
  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F 

In your electric mixer mix the egg whites until foamy. Slowly pour in the granulated sugar. Whip on high until stiff peaks form. 

In a large bowl sift together almond flour, coco, and confectioners sugar.

Using a rubber spatula carefully fold egg whites with your dry ingredients.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silpat. Transfer cookie mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a 1m tip or larger. Pipe 1 1/2 inch circles onto your cookie sheets spacing them approximately 2 inches apart. Recipe should yield about 24 cookies.  After you have finished piping the cookies out using a wet finger carefully smooth any bumps on the top out. Then give the cookie sheets a good whack on the counter. This removes any air bubbles that might have formed. 

Allow cookies to sit out on your counter for about an hour. Or until the tops have started to dry. 

Bake at 325 on the center rack of your oven. The cookies are done when they have risen and formed a wider layer around the bottom (also called the feet) and they are dry and hard to the touch. Should take about 15 minutes. 

Allow cookies to cool at room temperature and remove from cookie sheets. 

In a medium sauce pan whisk egg and condensed milk together. Over medium low heat whisk constantly until the mixture has come to a boil. Mix in coconut and pecans. Remove from heat and refrigerate until cold.

Spoon filling onto one cookie and top with a second creating a sandwich. 

Store cookies in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I find they are best the next day. But also quite yummy if eaten right away!  

Previous Recipes:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Chai Spiced Pistachio Snowdrop Cookies: 12 Days of Cookies 2013

Day 11: Chai Spiced Pistachio Snowdrop Cookies
Wedding Cookies are one of my favorites during Christmas time.  From their snow covered elegance to their delicate taste, I love it all!  This recipe from Savory Simple is a great twist on the wedding cookie.  It has the delicious spiced flavor of the chai mixed with a bit of crunch from the pistachio topped with all the sugary goodness we all love about wedding cookies.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for the final recipe!

  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/4 ounces (1 1/4 cup) pistachio flour (see note)
  • Topping
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F 

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla for several minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Sift the all purpose flour and salt together.
  4. Turn the mixer speed down to low and slowly add the pistachio flour followed by the all purpose flour. Scrape down the sides once or twice to make sure the dough is evenly mixed.
  5. Use a tablespoon-sized scoop to measure out cookies. Use your hands to roll each cookie into a ball.
  6. Chill the cookies for 15 minutes and then bake for 20 minutes. While the cookies are baking, sift together the topping ingredients in a bowl.
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven. While they're still warm, carefully coat each cookie in the sugar mixture and set aside to cool. Once the cookies have cooled (about 15-20 minutes), toss them again in the sugar mixture.
You can order pistachio flour online if it's not available in your local store. Almond flour, which is available in most grocery stores, may be substituted for the pistachio flour. You can also making your own pistachio flour by grinding roasted unsalted pistachios in a food processor.

Previous Recipes:

Friday, December 13, 2013

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies: 12 Days of Cookies

Day 10: Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies
Everyone loves a good chocolate chip cookie recipe, but if you are looking for something to spice up your cookie exchange this lovely recipe is just the thing!  This recipe from She Knows pairs delicious chocolate chip cookies with the exquisite flavors of gingerbread!  So yummy!  I hope you give this one a try

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for another recipe!


  • 3/4 cup whole wheat white flour (you could substitute all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Granulated sugar for rolling (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F 
  1. Combine all the dry ingredients (flours, baking soda and spices) in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk together the remaining ingredients except the chocolate chips in a small bowl until smooth.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix together with a spatula. This will take some effort as it will be a dry dough.
  4. Fold the chocolate chips into the dough. You might want to use your hands to incorporate everything.
  5. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours up to overnight.
  6. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and roll into 1 to 1-1/2 inch balls with your hands.
  7. Roll the balls in sugar if using and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9-10 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and gently press down on the tops of the cookies (they will have remained in the shape of a ball) to get the "cracked" gingerbread effect.
  10. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

Previous Recipes:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies: 12 Days of Cookies 2013

Day 9: Soft-Baked Peanut Butter Chocolate Swirl Cookies
Peanut butter and chocolate are two of my favorite things so naturally this recipe is heaven for me!  You do have to make up two sets of dough for this recipe, but it's worth it.  Recruit your favorite helpers, and have fun with this recipe I found on Sally's Baking Addiction Blog.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for another recipe!


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (or dark brown)
  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 Tablespoons milk (almond, cow's, soy, or half-and-half)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (or dark brown)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F 
*Make the chocolate dough:* Cream the butter and sugars together with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom as needed. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly mix it into the wet ingredrients. The dough will be very thick. With a spoon or rubber spatula, mix in the milk and then fold in the chocolate chips.
*Make the peanut butter dough:* Cream the butter and sugars together with a hand or stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom as needed. Mix in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla (in that order). Scrape down the sides as needed. Slowly mix in the baking soda and flour. Do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Chill both doughs for at least 1-2 hours. 2 hours is preferred.
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line cookie sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Measure 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter cookie dough. Roll into a ball. Take 2 Tablespoons of chocolate cookie dough. Roll into a ball. Smoosh the two balls together and roll them into 1 large ball. Repeat for each cookie. The chocolate cookie dough will get onto your hands, so wash/wipe them after you roll each cookie. It is important the chocolate cookie dough is chilled or else it will be even more messy.
Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes, not exceeding 13 minutes. The cookies will look very soft, puffy, and almost undone. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet and they will continue to "bake" and set up. Sometimes I press a few more chocolate chips into the top of the cookies when they are still warm, for looks. As the cookies cool, they will firm up. Cookies remain fresh (and soft) for up to 10 days in an airtight container.

Previous Recipes:

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Lemon Heart Cookies: 12 Days of Cookies 2013

Day 8: Lemon Hearts
These adorable little cookies from Good Housekeeping look like the perfect after dinner treat.  These would be perfect with a cup of hot tea or coffee!  I made lemon cookies for my grandma one Christmas, and I loved them.  With so many rich traditional holiday recipes, the refreshing and light taste of the lemon cookies really popped.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for another recipe!

  • 3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) (3 sticks) butter (no substitutions)
  • 1 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) grated fresh lemon peel
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) lemon extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) almond extract
Lemon Glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
  • 5 teaspoon(s) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) grated fresh lemon peel
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F 

Prepare lemon cookies: On waxed paper, combine flour, cornstarch, and salt. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until creamy, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Beat in lemon peel and extracts. Reduce speed to low; gradually beat in flour mixture until blended, occasionally scraping bowl.

Divide dough in half. Between two 20-inch sheets of waxed paper, roll half of dough 3/8 inch thick. (If paper wrinkles during rolling, peel it off, then replace it to remove wrinkles.)

With floured 2 1/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut dough into as many cookies as possible. With floured 3/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out and remove centers from cookies. Reserve centers and trimmings to reroll. With lightly floured wide spatula, carefully place cookies, 1 inch apart, on ungreased large cookie sheet. (If dough becomes too soft to transfer to cookie sheet, freeze 10 minutes until firm.)

Bake cookies 15 to 16 minutes or until edges are golden. Transfer cookies to wire rack; cool 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare lemon glaze: In small bowl, with wire whisk or fork, mix confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, and lemon peel until blended. Dip top side of each warm cookie into glaze. Place cookies on wire rack set over waxed paper to catch any drips. Allow glaze to set, about 20 minutes.

Repeat with remaining dough, reserved centers, trimmings, and glaze, adding a little water to glaze if it begins to thicken. Store cookies, with waxed paper between layers, in tightly covered container at room temperature up to 1 week, or in freezer up to 3 months.


Previous Recipes:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Shortbread Sugar Cookies: 12 Days of Cookies 2013

Day 7: Shortbread Sugar Cookies
Growing up, the cookies I loved the most at Christmas time were surprisingly enough the really simple recipes.  I love Shortbread cookies, butter cookies, and the like.  They remind me of my childhood.  So the combination of a shortbread cookie with a sugar cookie sounds like, well.. amazing-ness.  Today's recipe is from This Grand Adventure.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for another recipe!

  • 1 1/8 cup sugar
  • 4 sticks of butter (1 lbs.)
  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • Several tablespoon of crystallized ginger nibs (She uses ones from The Spice HouseOptional
  • Zest of one lemon or orange (Optional)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F 

Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment.

Cream together 1-cup sugar and all butter. Once creamed together nicely, slowly add the flour, then the cornstarch and salt.

If adding, mix in ginger, lemon or orange zest. This recipe is best when you make it your own. Add the candied ginger, the lemon, orange zest or whatever additive you think might be delicious. Feel free to experiment. You probably can’t go wrong.

Pat it into baking pan.

Bake for 1 ½ hours at 250°.

Remove shortbread from the oven, but do not turn the oven off.

Cut into small bite size pieces, cutting down the middle then cutting across into section. Sprinkle cookies lightly with remaining sugar, until they are evenly coated. If you are feeling really fancy, feel free to use sanding sugar.

Turn the oven off. Place pan back in oven for 1 hour.

Remove from oven and allow shortbread to cool, in pan, for 10-20 minutes. The cookies will be very fragile when they first come out of the oven and will easily fall apart if handled. Once cooled, they can be enjoyed and stored in an airtight container or are easily frozen and saved for a later date. 


Previous Recipes: