Friday, January 27, 2012

Sharing Recipes

this post is solely for my writing partner Meagan, who is absolutely one of my favorite people in the world. good thing too, because it turns out i meet with her every wednesday to sort out plots, character motivations and life problems.

she asked for these recipes, and never one to miss an opportunity to be (lazy) efficient, i thought i'd blog them too. and my apologies but these photos are not my own.

coconut cupcakes

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup of sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup of canned coconut milk
1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
2 1/2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of sweetened desiccated coconut

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick), room temperature
8 oz of Philly cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
3 cups of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons coconut flavoring
1 tablespoon coconut milk
1/4 cup of sweetened desiccated coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and cream till light and fluffy again, scraping down the sides halfway through to ensure even mixing.
2. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds each to ensure mixing. Be sure to scrape down the sides after each egg to ensure even mixing. Add the coconut milk and coconut flavoring and mix well.
3. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl. Mix well then combine with butter mixture. Mix until well-incorporated.
4. Fold in the coconut. Scoop into cupcake papers about one half to three-quarters of the way full. Bake for 18-22 minutes (or 13-15 minutes for mini cupcakes). Allow the cupcakes to cool for a minute or two in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

1. Combine all ingredients and mix with an electric mixer until creamy.
2. Spread onto cooled cupcakes. Sprinkle on a bit of extra shredded coconut on top and serve.

Makes about 30 regular-sized (217 calories) or 84 mini-sized (78 calories)

cabbage patch soup (adapted from my mother's recipe)

1 pound sausage (i always use jimmy dean's natural sausage, which you can buy in a 3-pound tube at costco)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped, with leaves
8 large carrots, chopped*
2 cups cabbage, chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 cups water
1 tablespoon beef base
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ketchup (trust me. it's good)
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 (15-oz.) cans kidney beans with juice

brown sausage with onion. add remaining ingredients and simmer, covered for 30 minutes OR cook in crockpot on low for 8-10 hours. makes 10 servings. (about 284 calories per 1 1/2 cups)

i always double this and freeze the other half for an easy freezer meal. it's a simple, one-pot meal. cooking it in the crockpot allows the meat to become more tender and it's my favorite way to prepare it.
*and, don't use those gross, dried-out, bitter-tasting, stubby baby carrots. buy real grownup adult carrots. your future self will thank you, i promise.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

fresh start

if i had to describe last year in one word, i think it would be culmination. a lot of things i've given my blood, sweat and tears for came to fruition. it seems every aspect of my life was so richly blessed. it was kind of a breather year, a chance to regroup, to pause, to reflect and enjoy life. it was a year full of tender mercies. i am so grateful and so thankful.

and now it's 2012. i love when things are new and shiny and fresh and clean. i love making resolutions, recommitting myself to values i believe in, dreaming and envisioning exactly what i want my life to look like and finding out ways to make that happen. last year i only made one goal: DO NOT SHOP AT WALMART.

ta duh! i was a success.

this year, i'm feeling like i can handle a little more. it's time to push a little farther out of my comfort zone. i feel the yearning to be better, to be more, to close some of the gaps between the person i am and the person i want to be. and so, i have been making lists, planning, changing, deleting all my game apps off my phone.

i am ready. i am ready to say: thy will be done. the words to this talk by robert d. hales moved me and inspired me to make this shift, this change.

To wait upon the Lord means planting the seed of faith and nourishing it “with great diligence, and … patience.”

It means praying as the Savior did—to God, our Heavenly Father—saying: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.” It is a prayer we offer with our whole souls in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Waiting upon the Lord means pondering in our hearts and “receiv[ing] the Holy Ghost” so that we can know “all things what [we] should do.”

As we follow the promptings of the Spirit, we discover that “tribulation worketh patience” and we learn to “continue in patience until [we] are perfected.”

Waiting upon the Lord means to “stand fast” and “press forward” in faith, “having a perfect brightness of hope.”

It means “relying alone upon the merits of Christ” and “with [His] grace assisting [us, saying]: Thy will be done, O Lord, and not ours.”

As we wait upon the Lord, we are “immovable in keeping the commandments,” knowing that we will “one day rest from all [our] afflictions.”

i don't know what this year will look like, but i envision myself more often on my knees, more often with my scriptures open, more often seeking the answers from my heavenly father. i am ready for him to make more out of me than i have been able to myself.

what are your resolutions this year? do you set the bar low or high? do you pick a theme like i do? inspire me!