delight; the overflow

A pumpkin stem.
Image via Wikipedia

Can harvest pumpkin brownies determine a day’s delight?

You can argue, but I have a Tuesday chock-full of evidence to hold up against your argument!

I have a sneaky little suspicion that this string of so-good-very-great days is no accident. It’s a little something called overflow. I’m no physicist, but I’ll propose a theory called “overflow” to explain this strange turn of events of the past week that has resulted in an abundance of joy. If you’d really like to know, the formula is complicated and cumbersome, so I will give you the wordier version (which happens to be my expertise).

I wish I could just write the numbers and letters and slashes and signs, because delight too often eludes description. Let me paint you a picture on this flat-screen canvas.

PAINT ME THIS:
fellowship with the saints by way of several amazing biographies…
hours… beautiful hours… spent with students who push me to be convinced about my convictions
words, words, words… in books and articles and conversations…
…listening to sermons around the world and here in the city with a grateful heart that I can do just that…
challenged to THINK … but completely and passionately, knowing that knowledge always produces acts of love
…baking a recipe for the first time with a wonderful partner in cooking crime… and filling almost every minute with laughter

I know… I just read over this “paint” list and I wish I could give each ambiguous phrase a story as perfect as the reality I am walking through. The bottom line is… my delight is not about the pumpkin brownies as much as it is about the overflow of my delight in the Lord. God keeps pouring more of Himself (Romans 5) out through His Spirit and I can’t help but burst with joy. I keep thinking it’s the coffee, but now I’m convinced it’s the overflow. The more the Spirit pours out into my life, the more overflows everywhere else.

People get blessed… God gets glorified… and it’s another good day.

But, tonight I feel I have to fail at any further explanation and ask you to take my word for it!

Here are some tangibles that have inspired:
Andrée Seu has an article on Psalm 40:3 that spoke directly to my heart
Tim Challies shares thoughts on being a better listener (a message I always need to hear) and also how we can make frugality an idol as Christians
I’ve got a little something stirring with my partner in cooking crime here … but only click if you want to discover the collision of two worlds in a kitchen 🙂
Desiring God National Conference just happened this past weekend and I am slowly but surely going to listen to as many of the messages as I can.

I hope the next time I start a blog submitting I have some sort of theory it ends better than this!

monday: from bizarre to brilliant

You may not believe it, but Mondays are capable of bizarre to brilliant status.

When you start the day off with your clothes on backwards, you have to wonder how things are going to go down. Add to that a proclivity for post-weekend depression (especially after one so beautiful), and you’ve got yourself a recipe for Monday morning disaster!

It’s pushing 10 pm right now and I won’t hesitate in saying this Monday shone brilliantly! I want to pack it neatly into a pretty package and send it to you, so your day might open just as wonderfully, but since I cannot this list will have to suffice. I know all of these elements are a result of God‘s great goodness (and in spite of me), so maybe your Mondays can sparkle too!

REASONS WHY THIS MONDAY IS BRILLIANT

  1. Last night, I set out my outfit for today and therefore squeezed at least seven more minutes into my morning coffee-quiet time-journaling routine.
  2. My morning soundtrack is bumping with some new tunes.
  3. Before school even began, the smile would simply not be suppressed… a group huddled outside my office and I cannot tell you why, but I couldn’t help the top-of-the-morning tilt of the head and lopsided smile.
  4. Mondays always add an extra boost because we have chapel in the morning. There’s something about standing with my seniors in worship that gives me goosebumps every time. (I also love that they’ve been bringing their Bibles lately… nevermind that it might be due to a little baking bribery 🙂 A little bribery always worked just fine for my Aunt Jane during swimming lessons!
  5. We are gearing up for another SLEEPOUT this year on October 22nd and the first promo ran in chapel today… the excitement is building!
  6. Though it is temperaturally (made up that word) impossible in Honduras, it felt every bit like fall today, from the bold sun to the cool breeze… and I wanted to burst out singing Patty Griffin‘s “Heavenly Day” at the top of my lungs.
  7. Over lunch, I got to pray with a beautiful, dear co-worker and God made Himself so alive in those moments of community.
  8. Armed with a can of pumpkin and after beautiful discussion on every topic imaginable (so deep I missed our turn), I started what might make Mondays most beautiful this year. If that interests you, check this out.
  9. On the car ride home, I belted OUT some mad tunes from Starfield, Bright Eyes, and Joel Rakes.
  10. Now, night. I get to sleep sound, curled into my bed.

I praise God for brilliant Mondays!

let LOVE FLY like cRaZY

Delicious Adventures!

Last night, we experimented with a recipe from my Good Housekeeping Healthy Choices cookbook. The recipe was for tortilla pizza, but we transformed it into a lasagna and it was so wonderfully delicious! My roomie is a veggie (my affectionate term for the vegetarians in my life), so I’m always on the lookout for recipes that we would both like. This one turned out to be the BOMB!

Then, for dessert, I made baked apples with a recipe from the same cookbook in an effort to welcome fall to the rain and sun of this country that knows not the four seasons.

Tonight, I’m having my high school girls over for movies and THIS incredible apple cinnamon cupcake dessert! Doesn’t it look amazing?

apple cupcakes!

Here’s the description from the website:

Shredded apple replaces some of the oil and keeps the cake moist in these cinnamon-spiked cupcakes. There is a generous amount of fluffy marshmallow frosting to mound or pipe on top for a festive look.

via Apple Cupcakes with Cinnamon-Marshmallow Frosting.

We’ll see how it turns out!

****UPDATE****
Here is the result of several hours in a warm kitchen… lots of laughter… and maybe a few foibles. The recipe is posted below the slideshow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

To make the CUPCAKES

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded peeled apples
  • 1/2 cup diced dried apples (I used a baked apple leftover from yesterday to save on cost)
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar, plus 3/4 cup, divided (I used 1/2 cup loosely packed for less sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk (I made my own with milk and vinegar)

FROSTING

  • 1 cup light brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons dried egg whites (I used 2 egg whites)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish

PREPARATION

  1. To prepare cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups with cupcake liners or coat with cooking spray (I made about 17 cupcakes with this recipe)
  2. Combine shredded and dried apples in a bowl with 3 tablespoons brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside. Beat oil and the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined. Add vanilla, increase speed to high and beat for 1 minute.
  3. Whisk whole-wheat flour, cake flour, baking soda, salt and the remaining 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the batter, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Stir in the reserved apple mixture until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. (The cups will be full.)
  5. Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cake comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before frosting.
  6. To prepare frosting: Bring 2 inches of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler. Combine 1 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup water in the top of the double boiler. Heat over the simmering water, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Add reconstituted egg whites, cream of tartar and pinch of salt. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until the mixture is glossy and thick, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the top pan from the heat and continue beating for 1 minute more to cool. Add vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and beat on low just to combine. Spread or pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and sprinkle cinnamon on top, if desired.

rain, rain, it will stay… until January!

As much as we would like the rain to go away, this news article says it will stick around until January.

The ground is already saturated and all the excess water makes a treacherous course down the mountains and hills, causing landslides in its wake. Much of the coffee and sugar cane crop has suffered terribly due to the rain, so this prescription of rain until January is more than bad news.

Read this article and join me in prayer for the people here in Honduras.

Click here for the article. You will need to translate the page (unless you are fluent in Español), so if you are using a browser capable of translating like Google Chrome, that is best.

These pictures below are from the article and show some of the patterns and movement. Don’t ask me to explain them… I am just relaying the information!

Honduras is affected by the phenomenon of rain has already happened in the 50’s.

A phenomenon called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation has distorted the thermohaline circulation and is producing more rain than they should.

The country is practically in the line of hurricane formation and climate affect Pacific and Atlantic.

granola

I love it when people call me granola… although I don’t think I deserve it.

If you are not familiar, it’s a term people use to describe someone who is a bit on the rugged side, earthy, probably makes chai from scratch and can, without much effort, throw on anything and pull it off. Again… not me, but I love my granola friends!

I also love… making GRANOLA! My roommate brought a recipe she actually got from her roomie last year and we made it yesterday and WOW. So good! I thought I would indulge you with the recipe and encourage you to try your own variations and report back!

YUMMY GRANOLA
Preheat oven to 250 then combine wet/dry ingredients in separate bowls.
dry:
2 cups wheat flour
6 cups oats (steel cut if you can find em)
1 cups coconut
1 cup wheat germ
1 cup chopped nuts
3 T powdered milk
1t cinnamon (i would add a touch more)
1 t salt
(also add almonds, craisins, sunflower seeds, etc. to your liking)

wet:
1/2 cup water
1 cup oil
1 cup honey
2 t vanilla

Combine wet and dry together and mix thoroughly. Spread onto 2 cookie sheets and bake for 30 minutes. Flip and bake 30 more minutes. It’s best if it is spread out thin – crispier that way.

eat on its own, with yogurt or milk… all the time!!