Strawberry Buttermilk Breakfast Bundt

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Last week I came across a really wonderful recipe for a Strawberry Cake.  Since I love to experiment in the kitchen, I decided to try it out on 20 people at the Prayer Shower for Patti, which I blogged about last week…

The cake turned out far better than I expected, even though I didn’t make it the way the recipe was written.  Nothing new here.  I have a hard time sticking to the recipe on most occasions.  But, you definitely need this recipe for your collection of strawberry recipes.     I took this recipe from  “TheKitchenthusiast” blog and sort of made it my own ; the biggest change is that I didn’t use the white chocolate ganache the recipe called for.  If you need white chocolate ganache in your life, you should definitely look that recipe up on pinterest.

What you really need to know is that it is not too sweet – and I really think it is perfect for breakfast time, with a glass of milk, a cup of tea or coffee.

Here it is:

Strawberry Buttermilk Breakfast Bundt

Ingredients

1 stick unsalted, softened butter
1/2 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup strawberry jam
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and spray a bundt cake pan generously with cooking spray.

In a stand mixer, beat the butter, oil, sugar, eggs, sour cream, jam and vanilla until combined. Place flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, mixing to combine. Alternate adding flour then buttermilk until well combined. (You can stir in a few drops of red food coloring to enhance pink color, if you’d like)
Transfer half of the batter to prepared bundt pan spreading evenly.
Bake for 65- 70 minutes until baked through. (watch carefully, your cake may be finished baking sooner.) Remove and let cool completely. Serve with more fresh strawberries and a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar.

Hope you love it!

 

prayer, naturally

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Recently, my friend Patti and her husband found out their little family will be traveling to South Korea to officially adopt their second son.

The timeline is set at a rapid pace, so I wondered what we could do for them before their departure.  When I asked Patti about it, I said,  “What can we do for you, you know, besides praying?”   And the minute I said those words, I knew what we needed to do…

Dianne, a mutual friend of Patti’s, and I decided to give a prayer shower for Patti and her family.

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Truthfully, I’ve never been to a prayer shower before.  In fact, I’d never even heard of one before.  I think the Holy Spirit whispered the idea in my ear, because – it couldn’t have been more perfect.

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Dianne and I prepared goodies while Patti prepared prayer request lists for different rooms of the house.  We put those lists around Patti’s home – so when the guests arrived they could move room to room on a prayer walk and pray specifically for this sweet family and their needs.

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Although we had never experienced a prayer-walk-open-house-shower, many of us agreed it was as natural as if this is what should always happen at a baby shower, or wedding shower, or house warming.  Our focus on HIM at the center of our celebrations – why hasn’t this been obvious before?  It was such a wonderful event that it will be hard for me to imagine doing a shower without prayer next time…

 

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

 

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I made cookies a few weeks ago – and they were okay. I didn’t say anything about it because they were just that.  okay.   Chocolate and peanut butter, but not quite peanut butter-y enough.   So I tried making them again.  This time I added more peanut butter.  As I was finishing up the batter, and preparing to bake I was unsure – afraid they wouldn’t be chocolate-y enough, so I tossed in some dark chocolate chips, just to be sure.

 

And this is what came out of my oven:  Heavenliness on a cookie sheet!

 

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I have to tell you, after changing up the recipe and making it my own – these are definitely worth heating up the oven for even though it is the end of July.  And if not now, save this one for later.  They are de-lish.

Now, here’s the recipe, just for you!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup plus a tablespoon of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup peanut butter chips
2 handfuls of dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (F). Cream the butter, peanut butter and the brown sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, blending until mixed well. Toss in the chips.  Drop the dough in heaping tablespoons on the pan, I flattened mine just a little bit, and bake 10-12 minutes.

They are fabulous warm from the oven, but soft and chewy at room temperature too.  Perfect with a cold glass of milk.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

how July flew by…

Friends, my family is approaching the finish line of the Marathon known as July.  What an adventure, a busy, busy adventure its been!

It began with Isaac’s birthday, and continued with Michael and I making a trip to Denver.  There was time spent with our french family who were visiting the states, Vacation Bible School at our church, Michael’s gig in Columbus, and a new puppy…

Don’t be fooled, there is still laundry to deal with.  And suitcases to be put away and photos to go thru.  But, this week, as July comes to a close, we are celebrating by chilling out.

Here are a few (totally out of order) photos of all the fun…

 

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holding it together

This is how it came to be that I really and truly began to believe, in a deeper way, that He’s there.  You probably have a similar story of sorts, but this is mine:

In the spring of 2013 I was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma.  (read: “melody’s a complete weirdo to have this kind of illness”)  At one of the first appointments where I was told of the possible diagnosis, the Nurse Practitioner told me that the pathologist, who had caught the strange cell formations in my first biopsy and insisted that another be done and sent away to be reviewed by a specialist, claimed to know me.  Her name was Emmi.

I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out who this Emmi was, asking people if they knew who she was, or for help guessing how she knew me.  The only connection that she had mentioned  to my N.P. was the piano.  I finally gave up, and thought, “Someday I’ll know who it was that saved my life…”  I guess I figured I’d know in Heaven.

Not long ago, (more than a year later) I was at a group piano lesson with my daughter Emily.  When she finished playing and the other boy was to take a turn, he asked that we wait for his mom, she was running late, but she’d be here in a few minutes.  And Emily’s teacher said, “Oh of course, we can wait for Emmi…”

And at that moment, I realized this was the connection I’d been looking for.

Breathless, I sat there.  Two and two were coming together, and I could not believe what I was hearing.  I was completely startled by what I heard and I could barely think.  My heart and mind swirled together with emotions which eventually spilled down my cheeks on the drive home.

It was Emmi, a fellow “piano mom” who insisted to my physician that she knew who I was (even though I hadn’t remembered her name) and pushed them to have a second biopsy completed and evaluated by a leading pathologist in the field.   I have often wondered what would have happened if they hadn’t determined my diagnosis.

But, God didn’t wonder, He designed every nuance of my story, all of it, in advance.

I came to realize that, indeed, He isn’t just present, aloof, sitting by idly.  Through His providence and power, He is perfectly holding all of the pieces of His Great story in place.  His hands hold my world together.

When I read these words later, they seemed so new and real:

Colossians 1:17 He himself is before all things and all things are held together in him.

What comfort to know that every detail, no matter how far beyond my control, was planned and prepared by Him before the world began, even this small little thing of a woman who would help to save my life.

Thank you, Heavenly Father.

 

Laughter, my son

It wasn’t funny when we arrived at the hospital on July 6, 2006.  There was a bit of anxiety hanging in the little room where we waited.  The baby boy needed to come today, the doctor had decided.

And when the nurse came to tell us, I’d have to stay in that same room to be induced, a room which was fully equipped, but felt more like a closet, no one chuckled.

From start to finish,  four hours and forty minutes which were a roller coaster of feelings and emotions; I did not giggle.

When it was time, and the nurse called for the doctor because we knew IT WAS TIME, he came in and said, “There’s no way its time.  That baby hasn’t even dropped yet.”

But, with two quick pushes, Isaac surprised us all.  There was my healthy baby boy.  Peace and joy, with fresh-baby-sweetness were all rolled up in that bundle.  I remember in those moments how we all laughed.

And he hasn’t stopped making us laugh since.

With a tender heart and a contagious smile, you’ve brought so much joy to us.  I’m glad God gave you to our family!

We love you, Isaac!  happy eighth birthday!

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The Beatitudes, on guitar

It is 6 years ago this July, that I did something crazy.

Okay, let’s rewind a bit, because you’ll need more background than that.

In March of 2008, the children’s director at our church came to me and asked if I’d consider leading the kids’ praise time at VBS.  Fun songs about Jesus, with lots of kids, high energy, major commotion:  I said “Sure, sounds right up my ally!”

As I got the plans rolling, picked out some cool tunes, made a list of kids who might help me, I ran into a problem.  I didn’t just want, I NEEDED a guitar player.  The way our sanctuary was set up, I could not lead the worship time from the keys.  And guess what?  I couldn’t find a strong, confidently rhythmic player.  This piano player’s heart began to feel a bit of panic… okay a lot of panic.

Enter : Wade Williams.

Our worship pastor at the time, Wade, who was an amazing guitar player couldn’t help me out that week.  But he did offer this:  “Sounds like a good time to learn guitar!”

Keep in mind: it’s March.  VBS is in three months.    I’m pretty sure I looked at Wade like he was crazy.  But he insisted that he was confident that I could do it.  Of course, Wade was known for getting people into things they didn’t know they wanted to do.  He probably also knew that I could learn a few things from the guitar player I live with, but still…

Who does this?  Who picks up an instrument, intending to learn it well enough to lead worship (which means singing and playing at the same time) in three months time?

Well.  I did.  And I guess more importantly, the Holy Spirit did it in me.  I’m not foolish enough to think I did it all on my own.  In the end, my friend, Rebecca, did come along side to help with the playing and singing – but, I managed – and quite enthusiastically too!

Here I am again – a few years later, getting ready for VBS, choosing my songs, practicing with my kids’ praise team, planning motions and all that good stuff.

One of the songs we are learning for VBS is called, “The Beatitudes Song”  from an album put out by The Church At Brook Hills, which is called “The Great God and His Big Story.”  It is a new favorite at our house.  The lyrics are taken from Matthew chapter 5.

Blessed are the poor in Spirit, those who see the sin in their hearts.
Blessed are the ones who are weeping, cause sin has torn the whole world apart.

Blessed are the meek and humble, God will freely give them all things
Blessed are the ones who are hunger and thirst for justice and wait on their king.

Blessed are the merciful whose sins are forgiven so they can forgive.
Blessed are the pure in heart, God will show His face to them.

Blessed are the ones who make peace, loving others with the Savior’s love.
Blessed are those bullied for their faith. Great in God’s kingdom will be their reward.

Chorus:
We are the salt of the earth so we’re gonna shake, shake, shake, like a salt shaker.
We are the light of the world so we’re gonna shine, shine, shine til the night’s no more.

These words sing out the truth from God’s word:  We are blessed when we give ourselves out of love, for His sake.  Being salt and light can mean a lot of things; it might even mean learning to play the guitar for VBS. In my heart I say, “Here’s to many more outlandish opportunities for following Jesus!”   I’m pretty sure Wade would heartily agree!