Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 - Great Is Thy Faithfulness

 I look back on 2012 and can easily say I never, ever want to live through another year like it again except for the birth of a beautiful, angelic granddaughter.  (Please forgive me for not going into detail).  I ran through the gamut of emotional and physical highs and lows, a lot of lows so suffice to say, it wasn't a very pleasant year.  But then in retrospect, I see the hand of God in all those unpleasant situations.  I saw with my own eyes that my God is Jehovah-Jireh, my provider.  Jehoval-Nissi, my protector.  Jehovah-Rapha, my healer.  A child of a God who is merciful, full of grace and full of love and it's because of Him that I have survived, been renewed and have hope.  Which is the reason why, I can't turn my back on my God because of the way he took care of me and my family and continues to do so.  I will from now on look at 2012 as the year that God was always there, never left me and is forever faithful.

I waited patiently for the Lord;he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.  -Psalm 40:1-3

My favorite hymn:  Great is thy Faithfulness

Great is thy faithfulness,

Oh God, my father

There is no shadow of turning with thee

Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not,

As thou hast been, thou forever wilt be.

Great is thy faithfulness,

Great is thy faithfulness,

Morning by morning new mercies I see

All I have needed thy hand hath provided

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

Listen to the rest of this beautiful hymn sung by Chris Rice:

 Bring on 2013!  Thank you Lord!

Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Love Came Down - Merry Christmas!

I'm sure he must have been surprised
At where this road had taken him
Cause never in a million lives
Would he have dreamed of Bethlehem

And standing at the manger
He saw with his own eyes
The message from the angel come to life
And Joseph said

Why me, I'm just a simple man of trade
Why Him with all the rulers in the world
Why here inside this stable filled with hay
Why her, she's just an ordinary girl
Now I'm not one to second guess
What angels have to say
But this is such a strange way to save the

To think of how it could have been
If Jesus had come as He deserved
There would have been no Bethlehem
No lowly shepherds at His birth

But Joseph knew the
Reason love had to reach so far
And as he held the Savior in his arms
He must have thought


Now, I'm not one to second guess
What angels have to say
But this is such a strange
Way to save the world
Such a strange way, this is
Such a strange way
A strange way to save the world
A strange way to save the world

Merry Christmas and remember to savor every moment!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Snowmen and Christmas Tree Cookies

Sugar Cookies
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsps. light corn syrup
2 tbsps. milk
1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
Food coloring, green, red and black
Candy decorations

I used my Sugar Cookie Recipe and cutout Christmas Trees and Snowmen

Mix the powdered sugar, light corn syrup, 1 tbsp. of milk and almond extract.  Glaze will be tough to stir in the beginning but that's okay, it may take a few minutes of some muscle work until it's smooth.  Make sure it's not pasty but not runny.  Add more milk if needed.

Test the glaze by frosting one cookie.  If the glaze dries in .30 seconds and it's smooth, then it's ready.

I scooped 3 tbsps. of white glaze and set it aside.  I then added this green icing color to the rest of the glaze.  I needed green for the trees.

I added embellishments to the trees while the glaze was still soft so that they would stick.

I also used the green glaze to paint some scarfs on the snowmen.  Remember I said earlier to set aside 3 tbsps. of white glaze?  I painted it with black icing color for the snowmen's hats, eyes, smile and buttons.

Once I glazed all the cookies, I set them on a drying rack.

Grandma asked why I was making cookies.  Hubby said they were not for decoration but to eat!  So, what are we waiting for?  Enjoy!

I pray you're having a blessed weekend and savoring every moment!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Crunchy Orange Cranberry Muffins with Jam

1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup 1% milk
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup favorite jam (I used seedless raspberry)
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries, coarsely chopped

 Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

If you have a nifty hand chopper, by all means use it otherwise, finely chop the nuts with a knife

Combine with the brown sugar and cinnamon, set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt then toss in the cranberries.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, milk, orange juice and orange zest.

Gently pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.  Mix

Oh, this batter smells and looks so good!

Use half the batter to fill up each muffin cup.  Drop a teaspoon of jam on top of each muffin.

Pour the rest of the batter evenly over all the muffins, covering the jam.  Finally, sprinkle enough of the nut mixture on top of each muffin.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Set aside to cool.

As much as I don't like nuts, this look and smells really good.

I wrapped them up and will give them away and maybe keep one for myself.

Our daughter when up north for a trip to our favorite store, Wegmans.  She brought us back a freshly baked Cranberry Orange Bread.  It was so good that I had to look up a recipe on the internet for anything that resembled it.  I found several recipes and combined several to come up with this one.  I also really wanted jam inside the muffin too, so this is what I came up with.  I gave one to hubby who is more than happy to be my guinea pig, he let me have a piece and it was exactly what I had hoped for.  Moist, crunchy, the jam made it extra special.  Gotta make more!!

It's the end of a busy weekend of lots of baking, I hope you savored every moment, I know I did.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Raspberry Linzer Cookies

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour; more for rolling
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. lemon zest
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
14 tbsps.  chilled unsalted butter
1 large egg
1 tbs. cold water
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

In a food processor, grind the almonds and hazelnuts with 1/2 cup of the flour until finely textured but not powdered.  Add remaining flour, granulated sugar, lemon zest, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cloves.  Pulse to combine.  Cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes and add to the flour mixture; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal.  Don't overprocess.

Transfer to a large bowl.  Whisk the egg and wather;  sprinkle over the flour mixture and toss gently to combine.  The dough should hold together when pinched.  (If it seems dry, sprinkle on a bit more water.)

Gather the dough into two balls and knead briefly just to blend.  Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, 2 to 3 hours.  I know, my dough balls aren't even, guess I just wasn't paying attention but at the end of the day, it really didn't matter.

Preheat oven to 325F degrees.
Line several cookies sheets with parchment paper.  Generously flour a work surface.  Roll one ball of the dough 3/16 inch thick.  (Keep the rest in the refrigerator, and if the dough warms up to the point of being sticky while you're working with it, return it to the refrigerator.)  Cut out as many 2 1/2 inch rounds as possible., rerolling the scraps to make more rounds.  Arrange on the cookie sheets about 3/4 inch apart.  Cut 1 1/4 inch holes (or other shapes) in the center of half the rounds.  Bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  Let cool on the sheets.  Repeat with remaining dough.  (I used my Wilton Linzer cookie cutter).

To assemble, spread a heaping 1/2 tsp preserves on the underside of the whole cookie rounds.  

Dust confectioner's sugar over the perforated cookies and then put them on top of the whole cookies, bottom sides against the preserves.

I am SO thrilled with these cookies.  I made the dough on Saturday thinking I was going to bake them on Sunday but I was too busy doing other Christmasy things so I waited after dinner tonight.  It took me no more than two hours to bake and assemble the cookies.  I have never made these before and I can definitely say that these will definitely be a favorite in years to come.  The combination of all the spices and nuts are amazing.  You can also smell the lovely aroma as your rolling out the dough!  The hint of lemon zest is an added touch and the raspberry is the icing on the cake.  A must try!!

You can bet I savored every moment!
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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Frosted Mason Jars DIY

12 small mason jars
MS Frost etching effect
Light blue acrylic paint
Forest green acrylic paint
Dark brown acrylic paint
Santa red acrylic paint
Black acrylic paint
Snow white acrylic paint
Assorted fiber and sponge spouncers
1 spool of 1/4" x 10yd red ribbon
2 cups of white craft sand or Epsom salt
Craft Glue
Battery operated candles

Wash and dry jars thoroughly (I used my dishwasher)

With a round flat spouncer sponge brush, dab on a thin layer of the Frost Etching Effect.

Let dry for at least 1/2 hour before next step.

With the light blue paint, water it down some and paint the top half of the jar, let dry for 15 minutes

Use the snow white paint to the bottom part of the jar.  I was letting them dry upside-down.  Add another layer of white paint.  Let dry completely.

With the dark brown paint, paint four trees spread out equally around the jar.  With the santa red paint, paint a cardinal on two trees.

With the snow white paint add falling snow as well as snow on the trees

With the forest green paint watered down, add some evergreen trees then paint some snow on the trees.  With the black paint and a small fiber brush, paint on the black mask on the cardinals.  Also add the Snow-Tex on the trees and to the snow on the ground for added texture and effect.  Let dry overnight.

Paint each lid with the snow white paint and let dry for several hours or overnight. Paint on a 2nd coat until the whole lid is covered. (Don't ask me why I set it on top of the jar to dry - I don't even know myself).  Add another layer if need be.

When the lids are completely dry, add the Snow-Tex and let dry several hours or overnight.

While the lids are drying.  Cut some red ribbon and glue around the top of the jar, just below the bottom ridge.  Make some bows and glue where the ends meet.  Let dry for an hour.  Add the sand to fill each jar about 1/4" high.

Add the candle, sit back and relax, pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

This little project took me a week to finish and although I wasn't in a hurry, I was anxious to get them done.   My daughter and I visited a cute Christmas store a week ago and I got this idea from a cloche I saw sitting on the shelf.  When I saw it, it totally inspired me and I knew I could probably do something similar to it.  I started last Sunday and today I finished the lids and glued on the red ribbons.  The hardest part out of the whole project was painting the lids.  The paint would not adhere as well and created empty spots.  I think I had to paint three layers of the white paint until I covered the lids completely.  I spent only two hours per day on the jars and I skipped Friday night because my hubby, MIL and I went Christmas-ing.  I really had a lot of fun making these.  I'm fighting a cold since last night so today I laid back and was glad these were almost done so I didn't have a lot to do.  I pray your weekend has been great so far and that you're savoring every moment.

i Savor the Weekend
Back Porch Musings
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