Crazy for Cookies

Sometimes a gal’s just gotta break out of the norm, and today’s one of those days for me. Spring is in the air, and I’m feeling a little wild and crazy. Crazy for cookies, that is :)

I don’t share recipes here very often, but sometimes something so yummy comes along that it would be a crime not to share it. I know my blog is all about refreshing spirits and nourishing souls, but believe me, after you’ve tried these, your spirit will be refreshed :)

Don’t let the name of these down-home wonders put you off. My mom baked some for our Easter visit, and it was love at first bite for all of us. I’ve already shared the recipe with my Facebook friends so if any of you have tried them, leave a comment and let us know what you thought. But for the rest of you, here’s the recipe to what will become your newest cookie delight :)

Dishpan Cookies

2 c. white sugar         4 c. flour
2 c. brown sugar        1 ½ c. oats
2 c. oil                          2 tsp. soda
4 eggs                           1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla               4 c. Honey Bunches of Oats (or store brand)

*Add chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, nuts, or coconut—or a combination of any of these.

**This makes big batch. Half of the recipe makes about 40 cookies. If you halve the recipe, you can keep both teaspoons soda if you’d like—a mistake has proven that the cookies are still incredibly yummy with all the soda :)

Cream sugars, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients and 4 c. Honey Bunches of Oats. Drop by spoonfuls on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 325. Don’t over bake.

So who else is crazy for cookies today? Shout out your all-time favorite—and if you’re feeling extra-crazy, go all out and share your recipe! :)

And you know me—I’ve got to offer a little soul nourishment, too. While you’re dreaming of your newest cookie delight, take time to delight in God’s Word as well. After all, the joy it gives won’t wind up on your hips! :)

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16

*Friend me on Facebook if you’d like! If I might not recognize your name or picture, be sure and include a note that you’re one of my blog readers.

*Flickr photo by waitscm

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out next week. Sign up is free and to the right!

Giveaway Winner Plus More: Soup’s On!

After giving new folks ample time to sign up for my newsletter and get in on the drawing, today’s the day to announce the Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway winner. I used RANDOM.ORG to select the winner, and that lucky Life Notes subscriber is Sharon G.! Congratulations, Sharon, and thanks for being a subscriber! I’ll send the $25 Barnes & Noble gift card to you as soon as you send me your snail mail address.

I wish I could send each of you subscribers a gift card — I appreciate you all so much! But since I can’t do that, how about another gift to show my appreciation? How about a favorite family recipe for the cool-weather months?

That’s right! Soup’s on today for any of you who are interested! Any potato soup fans out there? Below is a recipe I got from my friend Kristi when I was just a newlywed. Everyone in our family loves it, and I hope you will, too.

Do you have a favorite soup recipe? Please share it with us in the comments. On behalf of everyone, I’ll thank you in advance! :)

Potato Chowder

4 strips bacon
2/3 c. chopped onion
4 c. diced raw potatoes
1 c. sliced carrots
4 c. boiling water
2 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. sage leaves
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. paprika
2 t. dried parsley flakes
4 Tbsp. flour
4 c. milk

Fry bacon in pot large enough for soup. Remove bacon, add onions, and saute until limp.

Add potatoes, carrots, water, and salt. Cover and cook till vegetables are tender. Add seasonings.

Blend flour with 1/2 c. of milk then add with the remaining milk to the mixture in the pot, stirring constantly. Heat till slightly thickened.

Crumble bacon & sprinkle over soup. Serves 8-10. Even better reheated!

I hope you enjoy this little recipe-gift of appreciation. Everyone stay warm in the cold days ahead!

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights . . .” James 1:17a

*Flickr photo by cogdogblog

*Still not too late to get the latest issue of Life Notes. Sign up is free and to the right!

Cool Weather Comfort

The cool-weather months of fall and winter call for comfort food, don’t they? When I was growing up, nothing spelled comfort quite like walking into the house on a nippy day and being greeted by the aromas of cookies baking or a pot of chili simmering in the crock pot. And not only did it spell comfort, it spelled home.

Certain foods — and the feelings associated with them — are so dear to us that they naturally get handed down through the generations as we try to provide the same homey comfort that we experienced as kids.

I don’t do recipes too often here on the blog, but I thought it would be fun (and potentially yummy!) to share recipes of some of our favorite cool weather comfort foods. If you don’t have time to leave a recipe in the comments, just jump in and tell us about one of your favorite comfort foods.

I’ll start it off with one of our family’s favorites during the fall and winter months — homemade chili. It’s super simple and very tasty. And yes, it’s a recipe of my mom’s. On behalf of another generation, thanks Mom :)

Crock Pot Chili

Brown 1 ½ lbs. (or more) ground beef. Drain grease and put beef in crock pot.

1 lg can tomato juice (46 oz)
½ t. garlic salt
1 t. onion salt
2 t. chili powder
1 can chili w/ beans

Cook on low all day or on high for 4 hrs. Serve with crackers or fritos and cheese – or whatever suits your fancy!

Before I let you go today, how about a little food for the soul? Remember, the Word of God spells comfort no matter the season. I recommend partaking daily, but for now, here’s a taste:

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18 1-2

Flickr photo by House of Sims’

*The Life Notes Subscriber Appreciation Giveaway is still underway. Details are in my Oct. 10 post and sign-up is to the right. Don’t miss out on the chance to win a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble!

Signature Recipes, Signature People

Spring break week certainly sprang by quickly, didn’t it? Let’s try to keep the spring in our step and kick the week off by talking recipes. And not just any recipes, but the ones we’re known for by our family and friends. We’ll call them our signature recipes.

I’ve already shared a couple of my signature recipes on the blog. Remember my family’s birthday cake for Jesus — the Fresh Orange Layer Cake? Or my Grandma’s Rolls? Both are beyond delicious and both garner high marks for me with my family. And since I’m not much of a cook, it’s kind of nice that they know me for something yummy.

The past few years, I’ve become known for another family favorite as well — Cinnamon Coffee Cake. It looks similar to the photo above of an almond coffee cake, but my recipe uses chopped pecans in the topping rather than almonds. I use lots of cinnamon, lots of brown sugar, and get lots of “Mmmm! This is good!” comments in return. I’m including the recipe below for your dining pleasure :)

Please feel free to jump in and tell us about your own signature recipes. If you’d like, share the recipe as well. It’s always exciting to hear about other “favorites” we might add to our baking/cooking arsenal, isnt it? By the way, none of my recipes shared here on the blog are my own original creations. I’ve adopted them from my mom or my grandma.

As you think about your signature recipes, take a minute to consider what you’re known for as a person, too. Do you have a signature quality? Are you known to be kind, funny, helpful, or wise?

Hopefully, we’re known for our good qualities rather than something bad or negative. As Christians, let’s be signature people and strive to let Him shine through our lives in all that we say and do. We could have no better signature than that of Christ our Lord!

“…and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” Acts 3:13b

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg white
1/4 c. oil
3/4 c. milk

Mix first 3 ingredients. Blend in egg white, oil and milk. Stir until flour is moistened.

Make topping by mixing:
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pecans
2 T. flour
2 T. oil
2 t. cinnamon

Spread half the batter in an 8-inch square pan sprayed with Pam. Sprinkle with half of the topping. Add remaining batter and sprinkle with rest of the topping. Bake at 375 for 22- 25 minutes or until done. (I double the recipe and use a 13×9 pan.) Hope you enjoy!

*Flickr photo by SheGotTheBeat, Creative Commons License

Pumpkin Cookies, Anyone?

Since we’ve been out of town all weekend helping Kristin and Shawn move, I needed a pre-planned post for you, and what could be better during the month of November than passing along a pumpkin recipe?!

I admit I haven’t tried this recipe myself yet, but my friend Cheryl J., who hopes to open her own sweet shop someday, has made these cookies to rave reviews so I know you won’t go wrong in trying them. Cheryl said she got the recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Cookies 2009 and that it makes about 60 cookies. Happy early holidays!

Melt in Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies

2 cups butter softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 15oz can pumpkin
4 cups flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, beat 2 cups butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat until combined. Add eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla: beat until combined. Beat in pumpkin, and then flour.

2. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons ( I use a big cookie scoop) on ungreased cookie sheet ( I use a stone). Bake about 10 – 12 minutes or until tops are set. Cool

3. For frosting: In a small saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter and brown sugar until melted and smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Spread on cookies and if desired sprinkle with cinnamon.

If you try these, leave a comment and let us know what you thought of them. If you have a yummy cookie recipe you’d like to share, please do so in the comments. Everyone will thank you, I’m sure!

By the way, know what else is melt-in-your-mouth sweet? The Word of God. Be sure and partake of that, too!

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Pslam 119:103

**Current and new subscribers to Life Notes, my free quarterly inspirational newsletter, will be included in a drawing for a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble. Sign up by noon (CST) Nov. 22 on the sidebar to the right for a chance to win! See Nov. 1st post for details.