Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Community

Sometimes, it hits me that I've been taking my community for granted. I was reminded of this last night. I have been blessed with beautiful people, and I don't really stop to think about it.

But I am so thankful that I am part of a community that can come together and praise God every week. I am thankful to be able to share struggles with this community, and to come together in prayer for each other and our campus. I am so thankful that God did not create us to be alone, but to be in community with each other, and to be in relationships with each other.

I am not alone, even in this world, and I am so thankful for that.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bakery-Style Cookies: Some Patience Required

If you've been online at all during the past year or so, then I'd be willing to bet that you've seen at least three different bloggers posting about the New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. When you read through the accompanying article, you can't help but want to drive to your nearest bakery for a gigantic cookie. After seeing so many posts about these cookies, I finally broke down and made them myself!

The recipe states the yield as 18 large cookies, but I ended up with 19, even though I weighed out my scoops using my kitchen scale. I also couldn't find any chocolate wafers, so I chose to use two bags of Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips instead and loved the results.

I found the cookies to be super sweet, but they got some positive reviews from everyone who got one! They really are giant- almost as big as my hand- but don't let that stop you! You can always share (or save the other half for later ;) ). As for the long wait time? It's a very long 24 hours, but definitely worth the wait!

Here's the go out and bake these!

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
yield: about 18 very large cookies
time: 45 minutes (per batch), plus 24-hr chill time

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons
(8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks, at least 60 percent cacao content*
Sea salt.

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin. (and a tall glass of milk!)

*As I mentioned above, I used two 10-ounce bags of Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips, and I loved the way they turned out.

original source: article and recipe

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thankful Thursdays: That Special Person

I don't think I've posted on this before, but I am overwhelmingly thankful for my boyfriend, Mitch. He is such a blessing to me, and I can't help but smile when I think of how good he is to me.

I don't have words that won't seem fake or gushy, but he is wonderful. Not perfect (nobody is), but I like him better that way.

I am so thankful for Mitch, and for his patience and love, even when I'm being incredibly dumb and wrong.

What (or who) are you thankful for?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thankful Thursdays: Grace and Gratitude.

Every day, every single day, I am reminded of God's grace. I am reminded of just how good he has been to me, and I am continually humbled and thankful.

Yesterday, I told my story to someone. Actually, to two people. It was a scary thing for me to do- to tell my whole story without holding anything back. And doing that and seeing the way that they reacted made me thankful for my story, and for my past. I've been thankful for the "ending" and the "rescue" for as long as I've been a Christian, but I realized that I 'm also thankful for the ugly parts of my past that made such a beautiful rescue and such a wondrous new beginning possible.

I am thankful for God's grace. It is written all over my life, and it is such a huge part of my everyday.

I am thankful for God's rescue. He sent His Son to die so that I could be rescued from my old life. That is so often such an unfathomable blessing. There was nothing good about me, but He loved me, and He wanted me anyway.

I am thankful for God's promise. It gives me hope for the days that are yet to come.

I am thankful for the community He has placed me in. I may be on the outside most of the time, but He has shown me beautiful people.

I am thankful that I can share my story with others.

I am thankful for my Savior. I have no words for it.

Even amid the struggles and pain of this life, God has not left me, and He will not. He is continually pouring out His grace all over me. I'm nowhere near perfect, or lovely, but He loves me anyway. And I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday

This week, I've been paying more attention to my body and actually starting to take care of it again. As I've been doing that, I've also been seeing the amazing things that it can do. Even though my body doesn't completely work like it should, even though some little everyday tasks-things that I never thought about before-are now difficult for me, my body is still able, and it is capable of doing things that I never would have dreamed of doing.

Like running. I'm actually training for a 5K right now! Before, running was always one of those things that I thought would be a "good idea" or "something neat to do". But now? I'm doing it! I'm even running before class two days a week. This morning, I went 1.5 miles without stopping, and I was positively thrilled.

And then it started raining, and I remembered that I was 1.5 miles away from my car. Oops! This Saturday, the training schedule that I'm doing has me running 2 whole miles...we'll wait and see what happens.

I often get so hung up on the things that my body can't do that I end up overlooking the things that it can. Like running, or doing a tough workout. It continues to function even after little or no sleep. (Being in college, that one is sort of important!) It can carry a bunch of canned goods up three flights of stairs. It can trek all over campus without complaining or giving me difficulty. It can do so much!

So, this week, I have been thankful for my body. Because even though I may sometimes see it as flawed, it is incredibly capable.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thankful Thursday- the Little Things

It's amazing how much I've already seen since committing to keeping a gratitude journal for 2012. There were parts of my life that I used to take for granted, but that I am now more aware of and conscious of.

This week, I have just been overwhelmed by God's grace. He has been pouring out His love for me and just constantly reminding me that He is still with me, and that He has not forsaken me. You know, so often, I'm asking Him to move mountains for me and do miraculous healings, and to intervene in huge ways. But I've been finding that His little ways of loving on me are so perfect, that they are fulfilling and huge despite their appearance.

I am so thankful for the little ways that God show me His love. What are you thankful for?