Archive | January, 2013

Being Obedient

29 Jan

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“Obedience” is a subject Kent and I have mentioned lately in our conversations. We have realized that there are certain circumstances in life that being obedient to God is not that simple. You would think just for the mere fact that we are christians this wouldn’t be so hard. We need to just trust and obey God. But, oh my…that’s easier said then done. God never said it would be easy.

To be obedient is to be “willing” and to “submit”. Just hearing the word “submit” can bring negative feelings, especially for woman. But, God never intended for that word to have a negative stigma. We humans can be put to blame for that. And to be “willing” isn’t that easy either!

Lately there are subjects in my household that bring up the question, “are we being obedient to God?” Well, this question always leaves me thinking. “If I’m obedient to God, it could change my life drastically, it might be uncomfortable to go through, I might be embarrassed, I might lose friends, we could suffer….” Goodness, after listing all these things about being obedient, who would want too?

Then I have to ask myself what would happen if I/we weren’t being obedient to God? Not being obedient to God is far worse then any temporary embarrassment, suffering or loss of friends. We could be in a state of discontentment, or constantly be in search for fulfillment that isn’t being filled by our own searching. And being disobedient is going against what God tells us in John 14:15, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

This reminds me of Jonah in the Bible. He didn’t want to be obedient to God by going to Nineveh like God told him to. So, what did Jonah do? He ran away and searched for a place to hide from God. Can you imagine how he felt?! The constant pit in Jonah’s stomach, the worry, the guilt, the disobedience. He tried to escape God and His request and it only made matters much worse for Jonah.

See, by us denying that we need to be obedient to God makes us miserable! Yes, by being obedient to God might not seem like it would be pleasant given your circumstance, but we at least know that God is with us, and we are teaming together to conquer the task at hand. Jonah was running from God and trying to hide from Him, which is impossible. But, through Gods grace He gave Jonah a second chance. I don’t want to run from God, I want to run with Him while He’s holding my hand.

Being disobedient to God is depriving ourselves of His blessings. To be obedient to God is accepting His blessing. His blessing could be unfolded through our journey of obedience by just learning to trust Him, and to grow in spiritual maturity.

Of course being obedient to God doesn’t only bless us but, you never know how our trial blesses others throughout our journey. My friends Valerie and Michelle are both great testaments of this. Valerie just went on a journey to Indonesia. The mission trip she was on lasted 10 days. Valerie has 3 young boys at home that she left behind. She was very hesitant at first to go but she answered the call to be obedient to God. And through this beautiful journey she was blessed by God opening her eyes to a whole new world out there that needed what she had to share, and little did she know just how much she needed them. They were both blessed by her obedience to God. You can read about Valerie’s journey here.

Michelle, (my neighbor from years back.) Her husband and family have surrendered to Gods calling by way of adoption from Ethiopia. Wow, that is so amazing! To rescue a child in need and to be able to share the love of Christ isn’t only a blessing to this child but it will be within their hearts too. And what a strong testimony this child will have to share with others as he grows older throughout his life.
You can learn about Michelle’s journey here.

Just like when our children are being disobedient we as their parent and God as our Father are here to guide us back into the right direction, to protect us and to help us understand what path we need to take, so we can grow and be a light in this often too dark of a world.

So, yes being obedient to God can be a “not so eager” challenge at times. But, to miss out on Gods blessing He has in store for us and others is just tragic.

My good friend Karen sent me this quote, “when you feel intimidated, remember that you have the DNA of the Almighty God!”

Lord, help Kent and I to be bold in obedience to You.

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I took this picture of this crabapple tree just about 1 month ago. It was shocking and so refreshing to see what God has in store. I can only imagine it was tough and unpleasant for those blooms to be so vibrant on such a cool winter day. But, it blessed me and it was a nice reminder that “OUR Spring” is just around the corner. We are renewed.

-Tahny

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Peaches & Cream No-Bake Cookies

28 Jan

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This last Saturday I catered a beautiful wedding, and once again the bride and groom decided NOT to have a wedding cake. 😦 …..wiping a tear. I can’t help it, I’m a traditionalist when it comes to the wedding cake. Purely for selfish reasons too. I enjoy after a long catering day, to sit down and enjoy an over frosted piece of white wedding cake. Oohhhh, Pinterest……please leave this tradition alone!

At this wedding reception they had an “Oreo Cake” and when they exchanged their first bite they dipped each others Oreo in milk and then romantically placed the drenched Oreo in each others mouth. This was actually very cute and made me tear up. I will admit, I was very worried about the brides white dress getting a black Oreo milk stain dripped on her beautiful white dress. Then I thought, we just might witness their first fight, or her first look of annoyance towards her lovely new husband! I know my husband would have totally done that to me! Then he would have blamed it on me for having a Oreo cake to begin with!

That’s a lot of Oreos!

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Along with having the Oreo cake, they had an array of desserts that I was quite pleased with! All the grandmas, aunts, and older ladies in the town made some sort of sweet concoction for this beautiful display of desserts.

Yes, there was every dessert you can think of. But, I ended up enjoying the peanut butter no-bake cookies best. I CAN NEVER RESIST PEANUT BUTTER. I was actually eating these cookies before the guest arrived. (I would just move the other cookies around to cover the empty spot!) That confession just might have lost me some future catering jobs! :/

Well, after snacking on these delicious no-bakes, it gave me an idea to try a different flavor, like, peaches and cream. And these turned out really yummy and quick. Oh, and peaches and cream instant oatmeal is my groom’s (of 10 years) favorite flavor.

Here’s another super cute picture of the “hot cocoa bar” that was at this wedding reception.

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This batch of cookies have coconut in them, you can leave that out if that is your preference.

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Dollop a large tablespoon on wax paper and let firm.

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Now, that’s a bowl of oatmeal!

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Peaches & Cream No-Bake Cookies

2 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
2/3 c. milk
1 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla flavor pudding mix
3 cup quick cooking oats
2 packages of instant flavored peaches and cream oatmeal
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut (optional)

In a large pan, mix together the sugar, butter and the milk. Bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, add in the pudding mix, oats and vanilla. (If using coconut, add with the oatmeal) Let stand 5 minutes. Drop by tablespoon onto wax paper and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Peaches & Cream No-Bake Cookies first posted on tahnycooks.wordpress.com

Rustic Blueberry Cream Pie

24 Jan

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Craving something sweet is very common for me. :/ I will blame this one on…..Nellie, (mom) yah…it’s Nellies fault. Growing up my mother would make dinner and ALWAYS a dessert. WE NEVER HAD DINNER WITHOUT A DESSERT! She would even make dessert even if she had the previous dessert left over from the night before.

I was at my parents home just a couple days ago, and in the kitchen she had, rice pudding, chocolate cake with buttercream then covered in a chocolate ganache ANNNNNNND AN APPLE PIE. All these desserts she had made. Oh, and the next day when I talked to her she mentioned a CARROT CAKE is what they’re having for dessert that night! Seriously, have you ever heard of a dessert overload?! No? Me neither…no such thing…Nellie has it going on! Remember Templeton the rat in Charlotte’s Web, when he sang his song about going to the fair? It went something like this…A fair is a veritable smorgasbord orgasbord orgasbord…you all are singing it now, aren’t you?!?!! 😉

Well, it was 7pm and I had no dessert in the house! A crying shame! So, I was thinking of something fast to make, but I had one craving problem; I wanted P-I-E. Not exactly considered a fast dessert. Unless you want my Peanut Butter Surprise Pie, that pie is super fast! But, I wanted something fruity and with cream cheese. (Why is cream cheese so darn yummy?!)

This Rustic Blueberry Cream Pie is enhanced by adding lemon juice to the crust in conjunction with the cream cheese. This crust is easy, fast and makes a great pastry for other desserts.

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Tip: Roll the pastry dough on your parchment paper, that way it is easier to transfer onto the baking sheet.

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So, here comes the “cream” part in the pie. Use the remaining cream cheese as a thin layer onto the pastry dough. Mix together the cream cheese, lemon zest, juice and sugar. The cream cheese gives a nice creamy taste with the blueberries. The lemon zest acts as an enhancer without being the dominate flavor.

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Pile on the prepared blueberries.

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Fold the crust over the berries, leaving the center exposed. Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

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Bake until the crust is richly golden and the berries are bubbling.

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Drizzle with a simple glaze or dust with powdered sugar.

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Thanks Grandpa & Grandma for the blueberries! Come get your slice!

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Rustic Blueberry Cream Pie

Pastry for one 12-14-inch free-form tart

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
3oz of cream cheese, cold
1 1/2 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 lemon juice

Food processor method:
Cut the butter into small chunks. Place in freezer for about 5-10 minutes.
Place the flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor with the metal blade and process for a few seconds to combine.
Cut the cream cheese into 3 or 4 pieces and add it to the flour. Process for about 20 seconds or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the frozen butter cubes and pulse until none of the butter is larger than the size of a pea. (Toss with a fork to see it better.)
Remove the cover and add the water and lemon juice. Pulse until most of the butter is reduced to the size of small peas. The mixture will be in particles and will not hold together. Dump onto a UN-FLOURED counter top. Kneed just until the pastry holds together in one piece. Shape into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate while preparing the filling.

Cream Cheese Layer:

5oz of cream cheese (the remaining cream cheese from an 8oz pkg)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Mix all ingredients until well blended. Set aside.

Blueberry Filling:

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl toss together all ingredients.

Assemble:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll the pastry out on top of parchment paper. Roll out a circle to about 12-14 inches. Place on the baking sheet.

Spread the cream cheese mixture in the center of the pastry. Leave about 2-3 inches of the edge bare.

Pour the blueberries on top of the cream cheese layer. Fold up the edges of the pastry over the blueberries. Leaving the center exposed. Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar. (I used raw sugar)

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees, drop the temp to 350 and bake for another 25 or until golden brown and the berries and bubbly. Serve with vanilla bean ice cream, whipped cream or a simply glaze like I did.

Side note: taste your blueberries and see how sweet or tart they are. You might have to add 1 full cup of sugar if they’re really tart.

Recipe first seen and created by Tahnycooks.wordpress.com

Strawberry Shortcake

21 Jan

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Strawberry Shortcake; not a dessert exactly in season, I know. But, Max has been asking me if he could (not me, him) make this fruity and sweet dessert since he read the book Cook-a-Doodle-Doo! at school. This is a great book to read together and then make this dessert together with your child/grandchild. Max could hardly wait to have me look up this children’s book on the Internet and to find the recipe this Red Hen used to make her famous Strawberry Shortcake!

So, let me introduce Weston to you. He is Max’s uncle and Kent’s youngest brother. He is tons of fun, 12 years old, and LOVES CHOCOLATE, SWEETS, CANDY and DESSERTS! My kind of guy!

I will never forget the time when Max was 4-5 yrs old, and he just came home from spending time over at Grandma Diane’s & Poppas house with Weston. I asked him if he had a good time, he said, “Yes, but Weston is making me call him Uncle Weston!” This just didn’t seam right to Max since they are only 3 years apart!

Kent likes to use one of Weston’s phrases he used when he walked through my door one day and saw a container full of candy poured all over my living room floor. Weston was wide eyed and stopped in his tracks and said, “I like…what I…..seeee….!”

These listed people below are the group of people that have a strong passion for dessert just like me! And today I’m officially adding Weston to this club.

1. Pastor Kevin
2. Harold (pastor Kevin’s father)
3. Becky (my youngest sister)
4. Rudy
5. MYSELF
6. Weston

Max and Weston were very excited and ambitious to make this dessert together. They did a great job! They were very hands on!

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Don’t over mix the biscuit dough. You should be able to see butter lumps throughout the dough.

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Like I said they were VERY hands on!

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You can see the butter chunks, that is the biggest tip to having a great biscuit.

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While the biscuit cake is baking, toss the strawberries in the sugar to draw out their juices to create a nice syrup.

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Let the biscuit cool completely and then layer with half the strawberries and whipped cream. Repeat for the top layer.

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Strawberry Shortcake Cook-a-Doodle-Do Style!

2 cups sifted flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk
1 egg (beaten)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

1 quart of clean and trimmed strawberries
1/4 cup sugar

2-3 cup sweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss the sugar and strawberries together and set aside.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together. Cut butter into pieces and cut in using a pastry blender. Mix will look lumpy.
Mix in the egg and milk and mix with hands until dough is moist.
Place the dough in a round, 9 inch, greased cake pan. (I spilt the biscuit dough between two pans)
Bake for 15-18 minutes in a 425 degree oven.
Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire cooling rack. Then slice the cake through the middle so that there are two layers.
Spread the whipped cream on the bottom layer and top with strawberries. Place the remaining biscuit on top and repeat with whipped cream and strawberries.
Slice and serve!

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Thanks Max & Weston I had a blast watching you both!

Savory Cheddar Thumbprints

19 Jan

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Yes, I know, I should’ve posted this recipe like…..2 months ago. But, I can’t get these off my mind. And since my friend Kelly, loves these little savory bites, and was having her celebration for her 1 year anniversary of selling Stella & Dot I thought…AHHH-HA! Today’s the day!

This would/will/can be a great recipe for all those Christmas parties, New Year celebrations, ANY type of party! And isn’t the Super Bowl coming up soon? These would be a great addition and I guarantee these savory bites will be the first thing gone, so double the batch!

Another great friend of mine Nancy, introduced me to these delicious savory cookies. I remember the first bite, my brain was completely prepared to eat something sweet, like a raspberry jam filled thumbprint. But, to my surprise it wasn’t sweet at all! This bite was flaky, salty, buttery, nutty, cheesy and then came the spicy from the pepper jelly. Yes, the jelly does give a nice compliment of sweetness compared to the savory bite, but nothing like eating a sugar cookie!

This recipe has been around for quite some time, and is most commonly found through Better Homes and Garden. I did a lot of searching and comparing recipes for these cheddar thumbprints and I found that all the recipes are pretty much the same.

I know I’m a little late on not only posting this recipe at the right time of year, but for experiencing these little jewels like I’m sure half of the world already has. So, this is for the other half that is late to the party like me! Hey, better late then never!

I prefer to use a good, dry white sharp cheddar compared to a yellow cheddar. I love white cheddar especially the Vermont white cheddar Zingerman’s uses at the Roadhouse for many of their recipe like the waffle. Most of you know the passionate love I have for that waffle.

Lets get started, after all, I’m already late sharing this post! 😉

Start by finely chopping the roasted and salted pecans. I permanently borrowed these pecans from Nellies pantry. I do that a lot. :/ I absolutely love that Meijers carries these pecans already roasted and salted! So convenient!

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Rudy was determined to help make his girlfriend Kelly’s treats.

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I love that I make this whole recipe in the food processor! Keep scraping down the sides to ensure the cheeses and butter are getting well blended; add the egg and pepper.

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Add the flour and mix until the dough gathers into a ball.

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Don’t roll these very big. They should be no bigger then a “2-3 bite” size. Tip: after rolling the dough balls into the chopped pecans, gently roll the dough in your hands again, this will press the nuts more firmly in the dough balls.

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Indent with your thumb…

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Bake, let cool and add the pepper jelly of your choice.

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Thank you Nancy for introducing me to these great savory cookies!

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Enjoy…

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Savory Cheddar Thumbprints

1 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped roasted and salted pecans
1 cup of your favorite hot pepper jelly

Place the finely chopped pecans on plate. Set aside.

In food processor, pulse together Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and butter until smooth.
Add egg yolk and pepper; pulse until blended. Add flour; pulse just until soft dough forms.

Take one teaspoon full of dough and form into a ball; then roll in nuts to coat pressing nuts lightly into dough ball. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. With thumb or finger, make indentation in center of each. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Bake in center of 350°F oven for about 15 minutes or until firm outside and lightly golden. Let cool on baking sheet. Fill indentations with hot pepper jelly of your choice.

Tip: Can be prepared to the of point indentation (without the jelly) and frozen in layers separated by waxed paper in rigid airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Remove from freezer and bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Add pepper jelly when cooled.

Warning! Although these are rich in flavor, they’re highly addicting!

-Tahnycooks

Peanut Butter Surprise Pie

16 Jan

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My love for peanut butter is not right. I have withdrawals from p-nut butter if I don’t have a taste of it everyday. Yup, I just said everyday! I try to keep it healthy and in moderation. Like, I will make cookies with it, put it on my english muffin in the morning, make a great Thai p-nut sauce with it, and then there is THE PIE. Oops, this is variation not moderation.

Cookies, pie and Thai food are all healthy right?! And hey, my english muffin is wheat…..I know you’re not convince and quite frankly, I’m not either. But, I just can’t quit my peanut butter! When I was prego with Rudy I ate all but 6 cookies in a package of Nutter Butters! Gosh, that’s so wrong I know, but I was out of control at that moment, the cold milk…the perfectly shaped peanut cookie, (dunked for exactly 4 seconds), take a bite then flip the cookie and dunk again. See, that is such a simple process, you can see how this can happen, right? Please don’t leave me hanging, someone say yes!

Ok, on to the pie! This peanut butter pie will satisfy anybody and everybody’s p-nut butter craving and it is so quick to throw together. You can add different flavor variations in this pie. For instance, everyones favorite combo, “chocolate & peanut butter”, or for the person who loves the classic flavor of PB&J. My father named this pie after he had his first bite made by my mom (Nellie). That’s when dad proclaimed this pie as, “Peanut Butter Surprise Pie.” He loves a very thin layer of jam slathered on the crust.

Gather ingredients. I never make this pie with crunchy p-nut butter. You can add the crunch if that is your flavor, but I prefer this pie silky smooth.

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Start with having the cream cheese at room temperature, this will help ensure a smooth pie filling. This is what the filling looks like before the Cool Whip topping is added. Refrain yourself from taking a spoonful at this point still!

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Now gently fold in the Cool Whip. Don’t beat or whisk, FOLD GENTLY!

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Keep folding until it looks like this…a perfectly smooth heavenly mousse. Now take a spoonful!

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Before pouring the filling into the pre-made store bought graham cracker crust (or I prefer the shortbread crust) evenly spread on the bottom of the crust your favorite p-nut butter combo. This pie was requested to have chocolate fudge to be its faithful friend.

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Layer the filling on top of the fudge or jam. Top with sweetened whipped cream, garnish with extra fudge. Yummmm! Let the pie rest and firm up for at least 2 hours in the fridge. Then give it away because it’s for a friends birthday…

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Share with Klaire

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Enjoy! And, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENIFER!

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Peanut Butter Surprise Pie

1 8oz block of cream cheese
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (you can use crunchy if you prefer)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 8oz container of thawed Cool Whip
1/4 cup hot fudge or your favorite flavored jam/jelly
1 graham cracker crust or shortbread crust

On medium speed blend together until smooth the cream cheese and peanut butter. Scraping down once. Make sure there are no visual lumps of cream cheese or peanut butter. Turn the mixer off and add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat on low, so you don’t suffocate yourself with a cloud of powdered sugar. Once the powdered sugar is incorporated them turn the mixer up to medium high speed for about 2 minutes. While that is mixing prepare the crust.

Remove the lid and place the flavor of your choice gently on the bottom of the crust. You should only need 1/4 cup of fudge or jam. Set aside.

Once the peanut butter cream cheese is blended and nice and creamy, fold in the Cool Whip. Do this gently. You want to keep this nice and airy just like a mousse. Place the peanut butter filling on top of the prepared pie crust. Top with whipped cream and garnish to your liking. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or over night. Enjoy! Enjoy! ENJOY!

Recipe first seen and created on Tahnycooks.wordpress.com

How Deep Is Your Love?

14 Jan

Every morning I get Max up for school and send him off on the bus with a little bit of anxiousness in the pit of my stomach. I, of course worry about his safety at school and on the bus. The roads might be icy, or maybe there was another shooting incident at another school that makes me consider home schooling. Gosh, sometimes these feelings engulf me. “Leave it all in God’s hands Tahny, Max will be home safe and sound shortly after 3pm”….. Sometimes I’m more amazed by how much “loving” aches. It’s so complex.

Last night I had a important conversation with Max, and one of the questions I asked him was, “Max who loves you more then anything?” I have to admit I wanted and was expecting him to say, “you and dad.” But, that’s not what he said at all, he said, “God.” Max answered this question without any hesitation. Of course Max is right, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that he understands this truth without even a second thought. Then unexpectedly I was almost jealous that Max was so secure in knowing he has captivated Gods heart.

I’m amazed at times at the natural ability for children to understand, feel and love without boundaries. It’s like they “get” something we don’t. They understand and can grasp a certain level of Gods love that we adults try way too hard to analyze. We don’t let it just happen naturally, we have to pick it apart and remind God of all our mistakes over and over, and then tell God He couldn’t love someone like me…. But, it’s at this point in my life that I hear Gods precious voice say, “that’s exactly how much I love you Tahny. I love you, more then how awful any sin you have ever done. My love for you has broken the chains, and have set you free, I forgive and have forgotten all your sins that you have confessed and I’m so in love with you.”

The love for my husband and family seems so immeasurable. We imagine life without them, and just the mere thought takes our breath away. How can God love us more then how much we love our own loved ones? I can’t wrap my mind around this one. And I don’t think it’s God intention for us to ever “get it”, He just wants us to know it! Just like Max, he knows it. And, I’m sure throughout life just like the rest of us, he will have times of regret that will make him think he has lost the level of Gods love. And I, as his mother will tell him everything is ok, and there is nothing in this world he can do that will remove the depth of love God has for him, and I will always love my son no matter what too….hey maybe I “get” more then I realize…

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I love reading Ephesians 3:14-19 right now. These bible verses make me feel in love with such an incredible Creator. We will never be able in our earthly minds ever realize just how WIDE, how LONG, how HIGH, and how DEEP His love really is. I really love Ephesians 3:19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. To comprehend the love of Christ is like trying to understand how the ocean knows where to stop on dry land, or the speed of light (I’ll never get that one!) or how I can send an email to my sister in Japan and in 5 seconds it has arrived in her “in-box!” All these things are so hard for my mind to wrap around, but they are all true happenings. Just like the love of Christ, it’s amazing and I certainly cannot wrap my mind around it but I can stand firm in the truth of His promise that He loves me just that much…..immeasurable.

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In bible school I remember singing this song as a young child usually being lead by my favorite church leader Michelle 😉 I still remember the hand motions to this song.

Deep and Wide

Deep and wide
Deep and wide
There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide
Deep and wide
Deep and wide
There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide

Lord, I want to love you So deep, So wide, So long and So high. Help me to never loose sight of that. And that I never stop pursuing to understand the complexity of Your love for me, because it’s all I need.

-Tahny