Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cranberry-Oatmeal Cookie Bars

I have already discussed my theory that using Cooking Light for the desserts only kind of defeats the purpose. But I'm going to share the good recipes with you anyway. No picture this time. The note says that these aren't "too sweet" but they were plenty sweet enough for me.

Crust: 1 c flour (I used whole-wheat)
1 c oats
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t cinnamon
6 T butter, melted
3 T orange juice.

1. Combine dry crust ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle butter and juice over flour mixture, stir until moistened. Mixture will be crumbly.

2. Set aside 1/2 c oat mixture (I set a side a little more because I love crumbly toppings!). Press the remaining oat mixture into the bottom of a greased 11x7" baking dish.

3. For the filling, combine:
1 1/3 c dried cranberries (or dried cherries, substituting lemon for all things orange)
3/4 c sour cream
1/2 c sugar (I think I would try using less next time.)
2 T flour
1 t vanilla
1/2 t grated orange rind
1 large egg white, beaten.

Stir well and spread cranberry mixture over prepared crust. Sprinkle reserved mixture over filling.

4. Bake at 325 for 40 minutes or until edges are golden (Mine were golden enough to be irresistible at 35 minutes). Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

If you cut the bars into 24 pieces, then it's worthy of cooking light. I wanted to make mine into about 4 pieces, because, there's a part of me, I don't know how dominant that part might be, that wanted these pieces. I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with these chewy bars. Desserts are my own personal brand of - yes, I have been re-reading Twilight, why do you ask?

I'm also writing a fun story about Cinderella from the evil stepmother's point of view. I like turning situations around and looking at them through others' eyes. I've been trying to do it with reading the Bible too, taking perspectives that I don't normally take. It's quite hard to step out of the "i'm-so-perfect" mindset, but I'm trying. Something (someone) tells me it'll be worth it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Introducing Cori Lyons!

New music artist I found. Describes herself as "light and folk-y" (just the way I like them, right, Ingrid and Alison Sudol?) Enjoy the video. And not the cookies - because they're almost gone.

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I've always disliked when people replace "love" with heart. Until it became a necessity.

Picture-ful blog entry for your entertainment! (Solely yours - not mine. Not one bit.)
We have about 21 inches of snow on the back porch. Here I am trying to make a snow angel but my arms are kind of stuck. I'm daydreaming about everything I can do with snow. What are some reasons I like snow? It's gorgeous, it's angelic, and when you run in it, people think you're hard-core. First up - a snow turtle. Snow man wasn't going to work out. Apparently, you need something called "skills" for that. And I know I can make apple-peanut butter-marshmallow smiles, but snow sculptures are on a different playing field. Mainly because there's no edible incentive afterward.
I've always thought that if the tortoise and the hair raced again, this guy would lose. Well, this turtle definitely would, because head is an ice block. While I was working on all my projects (more to come!), Mom set about making an abstract piece of art. See below.
At one point, she asked, "Do you need anything? A shovel? Icycle?"
Julie: "Artistic talent?"
But, as you can verify below -
I am an excellent swiss cheese sculpturer. I think there's also a Mayan god that I was sculpting joweled-hunchback man (oh, excuse me - a man with large jowels and a hunchback) and he definitely wants to break into the cheese round. Don't worry: he's got company.
It's the ancient hippopotamus god, Mohawk-opotamus! (The mohawk actually is on purpose!) He's also here for some cheese. There is an icicle in the middle of it, like a toothpick, that isn't in the frame.

My crowning glory (crown and glory? What is that phrase?) is this man. I use the word man loosely. He's presiding over the cheese distribution with a miniature-icicle-organ to use at his discretion. This stern figure has arms wrapping behind his back, ears, and a teeny bit of a jawline! Also, an Elvis hairdo. And if you could see over the deck to the backyard, you'd see the heads of about six men who just weren't shaped for the job. (Yay, puns!)

The title of my post I begrudgingly bring up here. "I love love love love snow!!!!!!!" is too long. Really, if we remember that I'm now a photographer and not wearing gloves, "I love snow" is long. So, for the first time in my life - at least since seventh grade, when I heart'd just about any boy who made me giggle:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I know life could be better... but I sure don't know how!

Today was a great day, and I didn't even document everything that was wonderful. Not pictured: hot fudge lava cake from Cap City Diner. God's amazing grace and His love that goes exceedingly, abundantly above all we could ask or imagine (or often feel.) Friends. 
What you do see is: 
Glorious snow! Columbus almost has the record depth recorded in a long time (which, sorry, is still nothing compared to Grand Rapids.) Above: spelling out hi Exclamation Mark in the parking lot, with my pink rain (er, snow) boot as the dot. The snow is up high enough and my real snow boots have lost their comfortable and waterproofed layer for me to giddily prance and Charleston through the snow in my slush-proof, drift-proof pink boots. Thank you, Target, for making these six years ago and selling them for cheap because they weren't cool yet.
Besides snow, my day started out with homemade blueberry pancakes with lemon zest from a simple mix, like this one. Behind it is rice and black beans, to which I added nacho cheese - delectable. The only thing made from a box is that oddly-colored vanilla pudding: tastes normal (mostly) but it's a very funny shade of yellow. That is just one example of why I don't use mixes: when you mess up something from scratch, it's okay, everybody does it. When you mess up something from a box, people look at you funny. But at least I have never forgotten to add the brownie mix to the oil and eggs! (Side note: Yes, I am fully aware that sometimes I have cravings like a pregnant woman. Rice and nacho cheese? Electric pudding? Lava cake?)
Amazing thing that happened today - free tickets to Ingrid and Mat next month. That's right, free. Ingrid Michaelson and Mat Kearney are two of my very favorite people - I even refer to them on a first-name basis - and I was stoked to be holding these tickets... free of charge. I knew I came to OSU for a reason.
Other great things that you'll be hearing more about later - books I'm reading and my pending trip to Calvin to see the conference meet. Broken-Down House has talked about how true faith requires trust, not understanding - I'm working on that... Divine Nobodies is on my list of books to read this weekend, and Alf the Sky  - oops, that's Half the Sky is a book by Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times contributor, on "turning oppression into opportunity worldwide." Want to hear about current forms of slavery and sexual abuse? Want to know what we can do? Ask me, or read that book. Or read a recent article of his (shorter than the book and very informative and moving.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Future, by Wendell Berry

For God's sake, be done
with this jabber of "a better world."
What blasphemy! No "futuristic"
twit or child thereof ever
in embodied light will see
a better world than this, though they
foretell inevitably a worse.
Do something! Go cut the weeds
beside the oblivious road. Pick up
the cans and bottles, old tires,
and dead predictions. No future
can be stuffed into this presence
except by being dead. The day is
clear and bright, and overhead
the sun not yet half finished
with his daily praise.

Speaking of not being done with daily praise (I love that phrase, by the way) - I wish I had some pictures of the snow - maybe tomorrow I'll have some for you. If not, I hope to this weekend, because I'll be in Grand Rapids! Love snow!