Sunday, August 26, 2018

Welcoming Wilder

“First moments, the merging of two cells into one, multiplying—two, four, six, eight—rapidly growing and forming the information that will decide my hair, eyes, teeth, hands. My DNA—everything I need to become human—and still I am invisible to the naked eye.  I am grown from my mother’s own body, blood from her blood, heartbeat from hers, making her belly swell and hormones go crazy with rage and the desire for cream-filled donuts at 4:00 a.m.

     My body grows and she puts a hand upon her belly to feel a foot kick her side, the jerk of hiccups, the roundness of my head.  She is proud, proud of her body that is a force, a source of life to mine.  
     I grow. Her body tells her it is time. I come into the world with pain and euphoria as she breaks her beautiful body to give me life.  She sees me for the first time, what she has made, and it is good.  The intricacy of the human body is staggering—veins, heart, lungs, synapses, toenails, chemicals, eyelashes, all good and beautiful.  She holds my body and breathes in.” 

- Lisa Gungor, The Most Beautiful Thing I’ve Seen

When we are born, we see the world with fresh eyes.  Eyes that have not yet seen anything but darkness for so long.  Eyes that have sensed it, but now are seeing light for the first time.  But the light we enter into can be harsh and intimidating.  Even as babes, we are quick to make snap judgments about the world and those around us.  The world seems scary at first, so spacious and cold and bright.  So we cling to our mothers, we instinctively crawl from her navel to bosom to find comfort and seek reassurance that we are safe.  

Birth is an incredible event for both child and mother (and father).  After 31 long hours of labor, Wilder was born.  It was the most amazing experience and one I will never forget.  It is bittersweet for me to think about the fact that had I not lost our first child, I would not have my son today.  The joy he has brought to our lives is immeasurable - and yet, we experienced such pain before that, and again after with another loss. 

Sometimes new growth can only occur after there has been pain. Sometimes with loss or death comes new life.  We see this so often in nature, in the seasons, in the earth, in humans, and in our savior.  

Our family story is one of grace and joy.  Of seeing light after darkness.  Of new life being born after loss.  But the full story is long, emotional, graphic, and personal - and I’m not sure how much the world needs, or wants to know.  I also know that I have had close friends struggle with infertility and some women never experience pregnancy or birth, even though they long to.  I hesitated to even share this because I know it can be difficult to see other people having babies when you are struggling with fertility or loss.  Please know that I understand the feeling, and I pray that those who are struggling find comfort and hope. 

So as I continue to work on deciding how much of our story to share and when, for now I will leave you with this video: a birth story in pictures, with a song that brought me hope, and an ending that brings new life:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Butterscotch Scones

Every Saturday, almost without fail, I will wake up and immediately I hear, "what are you making for breakfast?"

Although the thought of leaving a cozy bed sounds miserable in the moment, a tasty breakfast usually is motivation enough for me to get up.  And if not, I find that the hope and promise of freshly ground coffee being made for me in return for making breakfast is also a powerful motivator for me.

Scones are a staple in our house and I love that this recipe is so versatile.  Feel free to swap out butterscotch chips for chocolate, fruit, nuts, or whatever your little heart desires. 

Don't forget to eat your breakfast! 

Butterscotch Scones
2 cups flour
1/3 cup +1 tsp sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 stick unsalted butter (frozen or very cold)
1 large egg
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (or plain)
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
Milk & Raw sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, & salt in bowl of stand up mixer or large bowl.

Cut butter into the mixture, mixing it so it until it resemble pea size crumbly bits (how is that for technical?).  Add the egg.  Add the yogurt, mixing into large clumps of dough.  Add the butterscotch chips.

Form a large ball with the dough using your hands.  Form into small clumps and place on parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush tops of scones with milk or cream.  Place raw sugar in bowl and dip the top of the wet scones into the sugar to form a sugar-crusted top.  Place back on baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until light-golden brown.  Cool for 5 minutes and serve.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Reese's" Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are a bit misleading.  They don't technically have Reese's peanut butter cups in them, but they do have chocolate & peanut butter, and the "Reese" is in reference to the adorable little baby one of my good friends just had - so I made her these cookies.

Meet Reese.

 Isn't she a cutie?
I could just hold her all day! :)

Speaking of kiddos, these cookies are also for a special cause called "Cookies for Kids' Cancer."  I've had the privilege of participating in a special blogger event for the past few years through OXO which helps raise money for the non-profit organization. OXO donates money for each blog post and in addition, provides bloggers such as myself with some great cooking supplies like the ones below: 

Non-Stick Half Sheet Pan:
Medium Cookie Scoop: 
Cookie Spatula:

You can find these and other great products online and in stores - and be sure to check for this sticker on specially marked products so you can help support the cause with your purchase!
- Cookies for Kids' Cancer is a recognized 501c(3) public charity duly incorporated under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Your donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. 100% of proceeds raised by Cookies for Kids' Cancer fund pediatric cancer research.
- OXO will be donating $100 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer for each blog post dedicated to this campaign in October (up to our $100,000 commitment*.)
- *In 2015, OXO will donate up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids' Cancer through product proceeds, bake sale matches and other fundraising efforts back to these delicious cookies...
 "Reese's" Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cubed
1¼ cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup dark cocoa powder
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. coarse salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar 
1 cup chocolate chips (mix of semi-sweet & white, or milk chocolate) 
Shortening (to help with melting chocolate if needed) 

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar.  Beat together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Mix in the cocoa powder until well blended.  Add the flour, salt and baking powder to the bowl and mix on low speed just until incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips with a spatula.  Make sure the ingredients are well combined. 

Using your OXO medium cookie scoop, portion out about 1 1/2 - 2 scoops and roll each portion of dough into a ball and flatten just slightly into a disc.  Place on the prepared baking sheets, a few inches apart. Bake about 16 minutes. 

Meanwhile, prepare the peanut butter balls by mixing powdered sugar and peanut butter and roll into 1 inch balls.   

Right after removing cookies from oven, gently press a peanut butter ball on top of each cookie. Let cool on the baking sheets 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals until fully melted.  Adding a teaspoon of shortening will help keep the chocolate smooth and easy to drizzle. Top each cookie with melted chocolate and let cool until hardened.  


Recipe adapted from: Love from the oven 

Monday, September 07, 2015

Blueberry Custard Pie with Pecan Struesel

Where does the time go?  It's been an unbelievably busy summer as evidenced by my lack of blogging since...April.  Wow.  Now we're in September and life still shows no signs of slowing down.  C'est la vie. 
 My husband just asked, "when did you even make that pie?  Did you make it this year?"

Yes.  But to be fair I can't remember when. 

The lack of blogging is due to being busy outside of the kitchen...but also due to the fact that summer cooking is just different.  There is more grilling, less fancy dishes, more "let's just eat so we can get back outside and get on with our day" type of meals. 

I do still have a handful of photos and recipes that I'll have to gradually put on here...and I promise to share the good ones.  This is one of them.  This pie is easy and delicious so naturally, it was a good fit for me and my love/hate relationship with pie making.  Enjoy!

Blueberry Custard Pie with Pecan Struesel 
Makes one 9-inch pie

1 cup (8 ounces) yogurt (or sour cream)
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons flour (white or whole wheat)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
2½ cups fresh blueberries
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

Streusel Topping:
½ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup flour
¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix the yogurt, ¾ cup sugar, egg, 2 tablespoons flour, vanilla extract and salt with a spoon until smooth. Gently fold the blueberries into the custard mixture. Spoon the filling into the unbaked pie crust.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.

While the filling is baking, prepare the streusel topping: In a medium bowl combine the brown sugar and flour. Mix the butter in until the mixture resembles coarse sand. Fold in the chopped pecans. After the filling has baked 25 minutes, sprinkle the streusel crunch topping over the top of the pie. 

Bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until filling is set and topping is brown.

Watch so your crust doesn't burn. Either use a crust shield or make a loose foil tent towards the end of baking if it starts to look too brown/burnt.

Remove from oven and let pie sit for at least 10-15 minutes. Serve pie warm or chill it and serve cold.