Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fresh baked goods totally trump ice cream every time

So, while my fiance could easily eat a half-gallon of ice cream in one sitting (especially if it has anything "mocha" in the title), I prefer baked goods. I'll take cookies or muffins over nearly any other dessert option. Those are pretty much my favorites. One of my favorite things I did in high school was what I dubbed "Muffin Mondays," which meant on Monday, I woke up extra early, and baked some kind of hearty, healthy(ish) muffins, and made sure to clean up the colossal mess before my mom got home from her morning bus route. I still haven't figured out how to cook without wrecking the kitchen in the process. Anyways, I would pack said muffins in my lunches all week long. Nothing like homemade goodness halfway through a busy day! I really wish I had the time I had back then, to do stuff like that.
However, I did get to (successfully) do two baking experiments this week! Although both of them (sadly) featured boxed mixes, I did manage to add my own little twist. As yummy as box mixes can be, I still feel like it's cheating. My mom rarely EVER used them when I was growing up. The only cookies I ever ate out of a package were Oreos.
My first experiment was fudgy brownies- my fiance LOVES brownies, but they have to be fudgy, they have to be rich, and they can't be TOO gooey... I've only ever once made the "perfect" brownie, according to his tastes. And the frustrating part is, the second time I tried that recipe, it turned out horrible, even to my tastes. And I'll eat just about anything. So, in desperation, I got a Ghirardeli Fudge Brownie mix, and tried it out. My twist: instead of using the included fudge as icing, I swirled it into the top layer of batter before baking. YUM! I loved them- they were firm on the outside, but with gooey chocolatey middles. Tyler declared them, "not quite perfect, but pretty good." Compared to other attempts, that was high praise.
My second experiment was Lemon Poppyseed Cake. I got a fierce craving last night for something sweet, gooey, bready, and fruity... after half an hour walking back and forth between the fresh baked goods and the baking mix aisle in Kroger, I bought a can a poppyseed filling and a lemon cake mix. For anyone who likes lemon poppyseed, I highly recommend trying this: I mixed a little less than 1/4 cup of poppyseed filling into the batter (used slightly less water and oil to even it out), and baked it in a small bread pan. If I do it again, I'll probably line the pan with parchment paper, since a hunk of the cake stuck to the bottom when I tried to pull it out. For the icing, I mixed about a cup of prepared vanilla icing with a couple tablespoons apiece of milk and orange juice (if you feel brave, get orange-mango- it's extra sweet and tangy), and a teaspoon of poppyseeds. You'll have to use a beater or mixer to blend the poppyseeds in. The result is A-mazing... I could pretty much eat the leftovers with my fingers. However, in an attempt to be ladylike and less piggish, I'm just pouring an extra few tablespoons over each slice of cake as I eat it. ;)
I realize this post is probably rather boring to some, but cooking has become a rather intense hobby for me lately (closely seconded by blogging), and Tyler's already graciously listened to me discuss the finer points of these experiments several times over... so I figured I'd tell any willing readers about my cooking ventures, and give his ears a rest. Not that he minds, he's very supportive about it, especially when it's edible.
And to prove the statement made in the title, I have, myself, eaten a little less than half of the cake today. I expect the rest to be gone by tomorrow, or Monday at the latest.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

a little poetic spurt

So, poetry has always been something I've loved reading and writing; I remember writing my first poem when I was about 7 or 8. It was about Sojourner Truth (if you don't know who she is, Wikipedia her.) and when I rediscovered it about 10 years later, it was so bad I destroyed it. I don't keep too many horrible things around for posterity to find.
Anyways, I tend to go through poetic periods, and I've had a tiny one lately. Here are the results...

Winter Sunshine

An invader on this winter day,
A golden, pure, translucent ray,
The yellow sunshine's fingers reach through the trees,
And give a gentler Midas' touch to everything.
The left corner of the brick building gleams.

Ode to Procrastination

Oh, Procrastination;
Sweet sensation
Of forcefully forgetting important tasks
Until after they're due.

Side note: at the moment I'm writing this, I have a test and 5 projects due next week that I've barely touched.

Aside from writing, my life's been going along in normally abnormal style. I am trying to put more efforts into relationships, though; both with God and people. I've been distracted from God lately by stress and busy-ness, and as a result my relationships have suffered. For anyone who reads this, please pray for me to grow closer to God, and be a better fiance/daughter/friend/student to those I encounter every day. Not even I like Grumpy Emo Jess, so I'm pretty sure no one else does (even though Tyler graciously endures and comforts her). I'm ready to get back to a better, more stable, kind, and God-focused version of myself.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

the return of inspiration


My whole self is so light,
I feel like I'm breathing in joy with each breath.
It's like in "Mary Poppins," when laughter allows them to float;
Except, this emotion goes deeper and has no limitations.
It's like heaven's imperturbable happiness has invaded Earth,
And touched everything I see today.

Why this superlative joy?

Because my God has acted on my behalf!
He has granted my most desparate plea!
Jehovah has come down into my life and orchestrated a full-blown miracle!

My God is so GOOD!

Oh, how can I not love and worship Him?
Oh, Father, forgive me for the days when I fail to remember Your goodness,
Fail to honor You in my life.

Brand the memory of this miracle permanently into my mind.
Help me not to forget and stray.
Help me not to find other things more wonderful than You.
Help me to abide in this moment of undeserved, overflowing joy and love
For the rest of my days.

To my God be all glory,
Because great, marvelous, impossible, wonderful things He has done.

"To God be the glory, great things He hath done,
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yeilded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the lifegate that all may come in.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice!
Oh, come to the Father through Jesus, the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done!
Oh, perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God,
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus his pardon receives!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice!
Oh, come to the Father through Jesus, the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done!
Great things He hath taught us, Great things He hath done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son,
But purer, and higher, and greater will be,
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice!
Oh, come to the Father through Jesus, the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done!"
"To God Be the Glory" by Fanny Crosby