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Traveling was a delight for Mom. She loved seeing new places, meeting new friends, and discovering local traditions. During one journey to England she became acquainted with a local pub owner & his sweet wife. Mom was invited to tea at their home & fell in love with these Scottish Fruit & Cherry Squares that were served. Upon her return home, Mom began a pen pal relationship resulting in the sharing of the recipe. These colorful squares became a quick favorite of ours to adorn the table during the holiday season.

Combine 1 cup self-rising flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup coconut, 1/2 cup golden raisins, & 1/2 cup candied cherries in a bowl. Add 1 beaten egg, and 1/2 cup melted butter. Mix well. Press into 8×8 greased baking pan. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until sides are golden. You may need to place foil around the outside edges to prevent from browning. Cut into squares while still warm, remove when cool.

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Pumpkin is one of my favorite tastes during autumn. The possibilities seems endless to entertain a touch of pumpkin in everyday recipes- lattes, ravioli, bisque, pie, bread, ice cream, countless variations of cakes & doughnuts, and THE COOKIE. I’ve made several batches of these cookies over the past few weeks and each batch continues to disappear almost as quick as the baking time allows.  It is a fairly versatile cookie, so feel free to experiment with additions as able.

What’s your favorite pumpkin treat this season?

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 egg

1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup diced roasted almonds ( I like to use pecans)

1 cup chocolate pieces (any type you wish, dark chocolate is a personal favorite)

Cream butter and sugar together until light & fluffy. Beat in egg, pumpkin, and vanilla. Mix and sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add to creamed mixture; mix well. Add almonds and chocolate pieces; mix thoroughly.

Drop by spoonfuls (size determines the quantity- the dough is fairly true to size, I usually use more than a teaspoon measurement) onto well-greased cookie sheets. If you have silicone baking mats I highly suggest using those as your baking surface. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheets while still warm; cool on racks. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

There is no better way to celebrate spring’s arrival than with sweet treats!

Baking with lemons is something I look forward to as the danger of frost disappears from the valley.

The bright sunshine hue accompanied by their citrus aroma melts my heart…

One day last week I did not have time to make my lunch (or my reliable lunchmaker did not) and so when 11:15 rolled around after dropping my kids off at the cafeteria I hurried to Starbucks to grab a yogurt parfait and return to campus before the bell tolled. Once I arrived I hurried in to purchase my sought after prize and as I was leaving stopped to ponder the customers sitting outside in the sunshine. Two older gentlemen in flannel shirts had established themselves at an outside table and over two black cups of coffee with steam swirling above their heads were shooting the breeze without a care in the world.

To myself I thought as I was watching their dialogue exchange, “It must be nice to be in their place.” Once that thought had appeared I questioned myself as to its existance. It must be nice to have lived through life and have arrived to be sitting outside in the sunshine with a cup of joe and your best friend at 11:30 on a random morning. Then I realized if I became that idea then I would miss out on all the moments that would factor into creating the person that I will be on that random morning in January. Regardless of what moment in time I am in, whether it is a season of joy or sadness, the beauty of now is that I have friends and family to experience life with. To grow together with. To me that time from now until that January morning in the future is rich with possibilities and I’m excited to embrace them all. Proud upon reaching a conclusion in my musing I returned to my car with a new sense of understanding for the afternoon ahead.

One of the reasons I enjoy this time of year so much is that it presents the opportunity to see friends & family that normally are further away than we would like. This morning Luke and I were able to spend some time with our friends Jessica & Eric who for now call New Jersey home. It was wonderful to catch up on their lives, share stories, laugh, and just be with them for a moment in time on a Thursday morning in a Starbucks in Fresno.

Eric is perhaps the person who I have been friends with the longest. We went to preschool together, along with this guy (I believe!) and grew up in towns close to each other. We quite by chance ended up  attending the Honors Program at Fresno State and Luke became Eric’s roomie for 2 years during college.  I met Jessica through the college group at Fresno EVFree and have loved spending time with her throughout the past few years.  I encourage you  to check out their blog & adventures through seminary on the East Coast!

Sunderlands & Mundys

RVC’s women’s ministry 5th annual cookie exchange took place December 8th. Much anticipation was in the air with thoughts of cookies to be baked, Christmas traditions to be shared, and hearts happy with the joy of gathering together. This year I decided to try something new for my cookie contribution for the evening. After a few days of hunting & gathering I discovered the recipe for Peppermint Chocolate Cookies.

kitchenaidcandypeppermint chocolate cookiervccookies

If you love chocolate, and enjoy peppermint then this is the perfect cookie for you to try! What is your favorite Christmas cookie?

Ingredients

1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 pinch salt

Two 3.5-ounce bars dark chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil

2/3 cup finely crushed peppermint candy canes or candies

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft. With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar until creamy, then beat in the egg. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa and salt; add to the mixer about one-third at a time, beating at low speed until smooth.
2. Lay a 16-inch sheet of parchment paper on a work surface; turn out the dough onto the paper. Using your hands, shape the dough into a 12-inch-long cylinder; wrap tightly in the parchment and roll into a smooth, even log. Twist the ends to seal and refrigerate for 30 minutes; reshape the cylinder and refrigerate for 30 minutes more.
3. Preheat the oven to 350°; line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the dough; using a sharp knife, slice into 1/3-inch-thick rounds. Place about 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets; bake until firm, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely.
4. In a bowl, combine two-thirds of the chopped chocolate with the oil; microwave for 30 seconds, then stir until smooth. (If needed, heat for additional 10-second intervals.) Stir in the remaining chopped chocolate until smooth.
5. Using an offset spatula, spread a scant teaspoon of melted chocolate on top of each cookie. Sprinkle the peppermints on top and let stand until set, 2 to 3 hours.

To say I really really really adore ice cream is an understatement. I’ll be honest.

A few months ago, Hubs and I were in Main Street, U.S.A. when I discovered a new concoction (how is that spelling correct?)… the sprinkled waffle cone filled with chocolate chip cookie dough to be exact. Now up until this point in life I normally would have ordered my ice cream in a cup. I simply am a cup kind of girl. Something about the sprinkles caught my eye. Perhaps it was the friendliness of the rainbow colors. Who knows… but I decided to order my ice cream in this such cone and was an instant fan. I could almost hear my mom’s voice saying in my mind, “when you are someplace new, order what you can’t get at home”… and order I did!

Sprinkle Cone Goodness

Sprinkle Cone Goodness

Fast forward to September, recently Luke and I spent a short weekend away with Blake and Steph in Santa Cruz. The trip was much needed, company was ever so enjoyable, and the ice cream was far from disappointing! At the end of the pier (I wish I had better directions) is the MOST delicious ice cream shop. Remembering my new found love from earlier this summer I ordered Ants on a Picnic (cake batter ice cream, strawberries, and chocolate sprinkles) on a rainbow waffle cone two evenings in a row. Highly recommended tasting experience. I even tried to convince others in line to order as well. The sprinkles are simply the best!

Picnic Ants

Picnic Ants

Now background knowledge about my ice cream love has brought us to tonight. Hubs, Tim, and I went to Maggie Moo’s in Clovis for dessert. Dessert it was. My treat was cake batter ice cream, rainbow sprinkles, fudge, and cookie dough mixed together to form the Better Batter Boogie Board. Elements of my two recent favorite ice cream experiences were combined with a little Clovis flair to make this memory good enough to share with those of you who read these words from me. With that being said, what is your favorite flavor? Do you prefer a cup or cone? Where do you go to indulge?

Upon checking my email this morning I discovered a rare and delightful treat. My darling in-laws had sent me an amazing find. I really could not believe my eyes. Hopefully my readers, you appreciate the wonder this little memory brought me. Oh hubs, how I love you!

Treats truly delight my heart. I enjoy shopping for treats for others and I am thrilled to receive my very own. Treats can come in big or small forms. I LOVE the thought of the treat. No conditions, no expectations. When a treat arrives it is much enjoyed and marveled at. Always a surprise, treats truly delight my heart. One of my most recent surprise treats came while we were grocery shopping a few days ago. It paired two of my most favorite loves into one. The hubs was the giver of my treat, and I truly enjoyed every last morsel. We found our sweet treat at Hungry Bear Cookies N Cream!

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