Friday, November 27, 2015

:::White Chocolate Pumpkin Dream Cookies:::

I caved and got cable this summer, and I've have been watching cheesy movies on the Hallmark channels ever since. Some of my favorite movies have been the Joanne Fluke mystery adaptations, the lateset being Murder She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery. The main character in the story, Hannah Swensen, owns a cookie bakery, so the whole experience of watching is like one big triggering minefield for a baking addict. In the movie Hannah mentions a white chocolate pumpkin dream cookie, so I hit up the Google to find a recipe. This one comes from Taste of Home, and it lived up to it's name by being quite dreamy.

I made mine without frosting because I don't really dig frosted cookies.Plus, I omitted the pecans because...I didn't want to pay for them. Ha, ha! I economize in the weirdest ways.

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour
3-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (10 to 12 ounces) white baking chips (I bought the white chocolate chips with the simplest ingredient list, which ended up being the Private Selections brand from Kroger. I was surprised that some of the fancier brands were filled with a long list of sketch ingredients.)
1 cup chopped pecans (I omitted these)

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and pumpkin. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chips and pecans.
2. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 12-14 minutes or until firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: About 2 1/2 dozen large cookies

Sunday, November 15, 2015

:::Grant Me the Serenity:::

It's finally cooling down here, which means it's consistently in the 70s. Amen. My Christmas decorations are up and this weekend I had my first fire in the fireplace. Come on, Advent. I'm ready.

In an effort to maintain my snail's pace of weight loss, I'm making a list of the holiday foods that I'm most looking forward to eating, and focusing on enjoying the heck out of the somewhat reasonable portions of these that I want to allow myself. An ever present atmosphere of treats and fancies are about to descend upon us, and I want to be ready.

If I'm going to be honest, over indulgence has never helped me enjoy the season more. Oh, it certainly seems like it will as I'm rolling out those sugar cookies, or adding more cream to those mashed potatoes, or grabbing for softball sized handfuls of caramel corn...but the guilt always follows, and guilt is such a messy, depressing emotion. And at the end of any holiday binge I'm not any closer to having a perfect Christmas or feeling more of the Christmas spirit, or whatever it is I'm seeking at the bottom of the bread basket, than I was before. 

So I'm promising myself these treats so that I don't get knocked off track by things I really don't care about, but are just there. Here is my list - 

1. Two pieces of nuts and chews candy from See's 
2. A slice of rich pumpkin pie
3. Creamy mashed potatoes
4. Some kind of spicy gingerbread or ginger snap or ginger cookie
5. A delicious, liberally frosted sugar cookie
6. Two fabulous tasting rolls

That list is actually kind of long, or at least longer that I thought it would be. Blurg. 

Was this post too much about food? Do I sound like an addict? Am I an addict? Sigh...Probably. But I'm an addict with a plan, baby! An addict with a plan!

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Over the past seven or so years I've felt like so much of the magic that I used to see and feel and know has leached out of the world. Is it just me? Do you feel it too? Is it harder to see beauty now? To look out and find comfort and peace? There's a measure of true and simple goodness missing from so much of what I see and hear, and I think, in a way, I've began to accept this as just the way things are now.

But as I write this I wonder if it's not that there is less magic, less beauty, less comfort and peace, but that my orientation to these things has been shifted, and instead of being a consumer only, I'm being called to create magic, to develop beauty, to give comfort and peace. It's an eternal pattern that first we observe and learn, then we are called to go and do. Instead of needing other people to provide me with light, I need to create it for myself, and for the people around me.

The process of writing and sharing used to come more easily for me. Now it feels almost painful to open an empty blog post and begin to write. But I need to write, and honestly, I would love it if you would write and share more about your lives as well. I'm going to start blogging more, and you will hear about my encounters with light and my battles against darkness, the simple things in life that I love and the amazing things that come from out of the blue. But mostly, just my daily living, and I hope that's worth something.