Category Archives: Dessert

M’m! M’m! Monday 2/6/17 ~ A Gathering Place

“For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.” Matthew 18:20 (NIV)

Time has passed. It’s been months since my last M’m! M’m! Monday!  A lot has sure happened.  And now, here I am at one of my favorite places in our new house:  My “sit down, catch up, tell stories, laugh, play games, decorate cookies, dine, and type a blog post table”.  OK, ok, we’ll just call it the dining room table for short.

I love everything about this spot!  I love the long table, comfortable chairs, the inviting colors,  rustic textures, and the soft light that filters through the curtains.  I love that it’s the center of our home.  But most of all, I love that it beckons to be gathered in.

A gathering place. A place where friendship is offered, love is shared, and memories made.  Where new recipes are served, celebrations had, and plans are formed.  A place to talk over the day, remember times past, and hope for tomorrow. A place where hands are held, heads are bowed, and prayers are said.

There seem to be so many things pulling people apart these days. It saddens me. I worry about our future.  What if instead of moving further apart, we made more of an effort to get together, to create more gathering places? What if the line at the grocery store, the bleachers in the gym, or the waiting room at the dentist office could become a place of camaraderie and encouragement?  It doesn’t take a “sit down, catch up, tell stories, laugh, play games, decorate cookies, dine, and type a blog post table” to create a gathering place; it just takes a smile, an outstretched hand, or a kind word to draw others in.

Our new home is such a blessing to us.  I don’t want it to stop there though.  The desire of my heart is for it to be a gathering place; a place where others feel served and treasured, find respite and renewal, and feel just as blessed to be here, as I do!

And now here is an easy recipe that’s sure to bring them to the table!  You can’t go wrong with Oreos!

Oreo Cheesecakes

Ingredients

  • 22 Oreo cookies
  • 2-8 oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp.vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
  • Place 16 paper liners in muffin tins.
  • Put one whole Oreo in the bottom of each lined cup.
  • In a large bowl, use a mixer to beat the cream cheese until it's smooth. Add the sugar and beat until combined. Mix in the vanilla and the add the eggs until blended. Beat in the sour cream and salt. Do not overmix.
  • Coarsely chop the 6 Oreos that are left and stir in to the cream cheese mixture.
  • Divide the batter among the cookie-lined cups filling each almost to the top.
  • Bake until the filling is set, about 22 minutes.
  • Transfer to wire racks to cool completely inside the muffin tins.
  • Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.
  • *I topped each individual cheesecake with some whipped cream and a little crushed Oreo to serve.
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A Little of Both (M’m! M’m! Monday and Wise Wednesday) on Friday…

fall-reminds-001

Letting go is exactly what I’ve been doing for the last several months: of clothes, of stuff,  and of bits and pieces of my life that I’ve clung to so tightly. As of last week, I’ve even said my goodbyes as I let go of my beloved pine tree and old blue house. To be honest though, “beautiful” is not how I’ve been looking at any of it. Exhausting, emotional, overwhelming, just to name a few, would better describe my attitude…..That is, until I came upon these wise words which got me thinking……

I don’t know about you, but it’s way too easy for me to fall into the trap of “woe is me”. As I’m purposeful in reflecting on this crazy house process, I’m beginning to see it a little differently. Shifting my focus has revealed the fact that every day I’ve spent letting go leads me one step closer to making memories in a brand new house. There is beauty in this chaos.

 Sorting and sifting through everything we own opened my eyes and let me see that we’d collected so many things we didn’t use or need anymore. What’s a pack rat to do? It took a while, but I finally recognized that maybe there was someone else who needed exactly what I didn’t.  While emptying drawers, closets, and storage spaces was hard work; I’ve come to realize something. There’s beauty in giving.

I’m pretty sure those close to me (and maybe even you reading this) are more ready for this stage of my life to end than I am. Let’s just say my thoughts, worries, conversations, and yes, my blog posts have been pretty much like a broken record, but despite it all, my family and friends have prayed for us to let go of our fear, cheered us on to let go of our doubts, and urged us to let go of the past and look to the future.  My biggest lesson about letting go?  There’s beauty in encouragement!

The calendar shows that it’s officially fall.  Nature proves it true.  The sky is a more brilliant blue.  The Hummingbirds and Monarchs are migrating. And yes, the trees are “letting go” of their leaves.  As they float on the breeze, let them remind us that there IS beauty in the act of letting go, not just of things, but of all that hinders us from living our best life; the one God’s designed just for us!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

Since it IS officially fall here is a super simple dessert/snack that’s perfect on a cool, autumn day!

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

Ingredients

  • 6 cups of Rice Krispies
  • 40 large marshmallows (I usually add one for the pot to make 41)
  • 4 Tbls. butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  • Spray 9 x 13 pan generously with Pam. (I spray my spatula as well)
  • Over medium heat melt the butter in a large pan. Add marshmallows and stir until smooth.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add pumpkin pie spice and blend well.
  • Stir in Rice Krispies until all are coated with marshmallow mixture.
  • Put in the prepared pan and using spatula, spread and smooth to fill the pan.
  • Cut into squares while warm.
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M’m! M’m! Monday 8/8/16

"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook--try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun. ~Julia Child

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook–try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun.
~Julia Child

What would you say if I told you that I have a recipe for you today that’s called a “Salad” but tastes like a “Dessert”? Woo Hoo is my response!  Remember eating Cracker Jack and finding a prize in the bottom? Who doesn’t love a “Buy One Get One” sale or qualifying for a free upgrade?  We humans know what we want and like it  much better when we get even more!

Before I got married I had three qualities I was looking for in a husband.  Are you ready? Older than me. Taller than me. Could sing. (I know, you can roll your eyes. I was young)  Guess what? I married a man who’s younger, shorter, and mmmm….not quite the singer I’d imagined.  But guess what else? I got much more!  A man of faith, a good provider, and a man that shows his love for me by making my coffee every morning! (That’s better than a singer any day!) 

So, what about me? Us? If we like getting more, and we do; shouldn’t we be giving more? If we’re looking to find a prize inside or get two for the price of one; shouldn’t WE be offering the same to the world? To our family? Thinking about it, I must admit, I don’t always give my best self to the ones I love the most. I’m pretty sure my kids have wished for a mom upgrade a time or two! In these days of sadness, hate, and just plain tasteless behavior; we need to stop and ask ourselves: are we being “a salad that tastes like a dessert”? Are we going above and beyond? Providing an unexpected richness to those around us? Are we making the effort to be the upgrade people aren’t anticipating? I want to try. I wish we all would.  Whether its a smile, touch, or kind word. A door held, an opening into traffic offered, or patience in a long line. An apology, an invitation, or forgiveness. Wherever we go, with whomever we meet; let’s be what we want to see in others, but not stop there. Let’s be the prize… the real deal… the dessert…. I’m guessing, if we work at it, WE’LL be the ones getting more than we ever expected!

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses? Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Matthew 22:36-39 (NLT)

Now, on to this recipe! I recently sent this salad with my “young” husband for a work event.  The bowl came home empty and he had requests for the recipe.  Let me know what you think of it.  As usual, it’s easy and delicious.  So go ahead! Have your dessert (salad) and eat it too!

Strawberry Cheesecake Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 container of Cool Whip (Lite is fine)
  • 1 box of Jello Instant Cheesecake Pudding
  • 3 containers of Strawberry Yogurt (I use Dannon)
  • 16 oz. of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • Miniature marshmallows (I use about a half of bag)

Instructions

  • Mix the first three ingredients together thouroughly and refrigerate at least an hour (can be overnight). When you are ready to serve, add strawberries and marshmallows. Stir to blend. I top with a few slices of strawberry in the middle.
  • ***The last time I made this, I couldn't find the cheesecake pudding mix so I bought a Jello No Bake Cheesecake mix and used the powdered cheesecake in it. Also, the original recipe calls for sliced bananas in addition to the strawberries. I usually make this to take somewhere and bananas don't hold up, so I just leave them out.
  • ***I think this would be good with raspberry yogurt and raspberries or blueberry yogurt and blueberries, too.
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M’m! M’m! Monday 7/18/16

"This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook--try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun. ~Julia Child

“This is my invariable advice to people: Learn how to cook–try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, BE FEARLESS, and above all have fun.
~Julia Child

Today I’m lost without ever leaving home.  My sense of direction, dulled; I find myself aimlessly floating between the past, present, and what’s yet to come. Wayward, I drift on the rising and falling   tide of “what ifs” and “why nots”…. leading me only farther from where I need to be. 

Yes, I’m adrift on the sea of woe is me.  Ever been there? It’s a much too familiar place where my blessings feel obscured, as if swallowed by the fog.  And my wants?  They seem far out of reach; just minute dots on the distant horizon. Sucked into the whirlpool of my own churning thoughts, the me I want to be, is missing.

SEND OUT THE LIFEBOAT!!!!!

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind but now I see.”  John Newton, 1779

Join me in singing those words over to yourself a few times.  They remind me that whenever we feel lost…lost in grief, in sickness, in conflict, in worry, in fear, or even in our own self-centered thoughts; Grace. Is. Our. Way. Home.

Sometimes, like today for me, it feels like the person we want to be is nowhere to be found. Isn’t it reassuring that we’re not navigating this journey alone? We have each other to hold on to, inspired music and writings to keep us on track, and the amazing assurance that we’re never too lost that we can’t be found by the One who leads the way!

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do?  Won’t he leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he finds it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders.” Luke 15:4-5 (NLT)

Days like today just require comfort food so I’m sharing with you one of my very favorites!

Peach Crunch

Ingredients

  • 3 cups sliced, ripe peaches
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups oatmeal (I use old fashioned but quick works too)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbls. butter or margarine, melted
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

Instructions

  • Spray Pam in a 9 x 13 dish.
  • Spread the sliced peaches over the bottom of the prepared dish.
  • Sprinkle peaches with white sugar and a little cinnamon.
  • In a bowl, mix together oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, salt and melted butter. (I use a fork)
  • Pour crunch mixture on top of fruit, spreading evenly.
  • Sprinkle a little nutmeg over the top - if you prefer, you can leave it off (I love nutmeg!)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until fruit is bubbly and crunch is golden brown.
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Comfort at its best! Yummm!

Comfort at its best! Yummm!

This is my Grandma Stevens’ recipe that we tweeked by doubling the crunch.  It works well with apples in the fall, too! Serve warm with ice cream or my preferred way….with milk!  Makes any day better! Enjoy!