Friday, May 18, 2012

Truth be Told

Some days instead of feeling like this
You know... Waking up ready to take the world by the soccer ball
and score from the half way line.

I feel more like this.

Ready to drop my head on the wooden floor and not move all day long.
Like "Hey sun thanks for coming up, but today's already not my day and
boy, oh boy, could you move across that sky a little faster?" 

Lately, it's been feeling more like the saggy head,
lazy bodied,
today's not happening,
kind of day.
But over and over again.

Does it help when I read other blogs and they're lives appear so perfect?
You know, delectable recipes that make my mouth water,
two kids who can speak three languages and don't ever eat with their hands,
hair that never blows out of place
and clothes that I could only wish to compliment my figure.
Nope.

It's not perfect up in this blog.
Yep, Mr. Thomas and me.
I'm usually rocking flip flops and dry shampooed hair in a messy knot.
My skin breaks out like a hormonal pre-teens.
And that's just my outsides...
My insides, oh golly.
The days where I feel like a chubbo
 (my affectionate name for fat days)
vastly outnumber the days I feel like body rockin'.
(Shout out to LMFAO -am I for real?)
My bible may very well be collecting dust with how often I neglect it.
I can only imagine my God's frustration with me.

But He breathes life, strength, and spirit into me on those days.
Yep, THOSE Friday the 13th-esque days.
Where doesn't matter what you do it's just not happenin' for you.
He comes in, offers beautiful solace and grace to a hot mess of a gal
who'd rather find comfort in a honkin' bag of 100th birthday celebration Oreos
than in the words of her wondrous creator.
She who realizes the bible will make her better,
but leans into the sugary, guilt-inducing combo of chocolate crunch and sweet creaminess
of milk's favorite cookie because...
well, because she's a heathen.


"My flesh and heart may will fail, b
ut God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
-Psalm 73:26

No disrespect by editing this verse.
More reminding myself, I don't have it all worked out.
I know there are going to be messy, ugly days.
Those messy days will outnumber the pretty, put together ones.
But He will provide my strength and portion.
Oh, my God is good.

So, here's to throwing out the cookies
(or at least enjoying one on occasion rather than by the package)
and enjoying Him, His spirit in you, His joy, goodness, and glory.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies


After a day at the office like this...
where the bills paid and the invoices billed fill the mailbox three quarters of the way high
something sweet feels like the perfect reward for a day of hard work.
(side note for you folks... This is NOT a clean recipe
BUT I will share how to clean it up as best as I can)
  
These cookies are the sweetest,
softest,
chewiest,
most supple
(just kidding I'm not really taking it there!)
cookies known to mankind.
(maybe an overstatement... but maybe not... you'll have to make them to find out!)

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are my guiltiest of pleasures.
Chocolate and Peanut Butter are such a perfect pair...
Just like Spaghetti and Meatballs...
Calvin and Hobbs...
Mr. Thomas and me.
(Had to sneak it in there)

While I was running yesterday morning
I had an epiphany.
Take the PB cups and turn them into a baked good.
Yes, I was running and thinking about sweets.
Whatever it takes to get through it, right?

These were nothing short of the other variations I've made...
I made a white chocolate chip version of these cookies here.
The original recipe can be found here.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
(you could replace this with a sugar subsititute like coconut sugar or truvia)
3/4 cup brown sugar
(there's a controversy about this being clean or not...
a little maple syrup plus some sugar subsitute could help achieve this taste)
1 package instant chocolate pudding
(this contains sugar... I'm not sure how to skip around it...)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips 
(these contain sugar, little in comparison to other chips, but still sugary)

Directions:

1. Beat butter and sugars together in a standing mixer until fluffy.
2. Add pudding, egg, sour cream and vanilla.
3. Add flour, baking soda, and salt.
4. Stir in peanut butter chips.
5. Spoon onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.
6. Bake at 375 f for 7-10 minutes.

(these are a little tricky because the dark color of the dough
doesn't allow the oven to golden brown their edges...
Be diligent in watching these cookies!)

Let cool as long as you can resist on a wire baking rack.
Pour yourself a glass of milk...
Or a cup of joe
(if you eat them for breakfast like I would love to do...)
And finally... enjoy!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

School Lunch Gone Dessert: Peanut Butter and Jelly Bites

In 1989, I graced this world for the very first time.
In 2007, I graduated from high school and moved away from home to a college dorm.
In this very dorm, I immersed myself in the college food culture.
(Just thinking about it now makes me cringe slash want to barf)
When I wanted to get crazy and break away from pizza and ramen noodles,
I'd venture into PB&J.
In 2007, I consumed (and fell vastly in love) with my first Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich.

Fast forward to 2012,
I'm training for a marathon and constant craving peanut butter.
The fruits of Southern California weather, sweet strawberries, are rocking roadside booths
and I can't keep myself from partaking.
Last week, I decided to try out making my own strawberry jelly to go with my PB.
Such a grand idea!

Then, following my strawberry jelly making, peanut butter craving madness...
It was our turn to bring dessert to our community group for church!
Mr. Thomas and I belong to a rockin' bible study.
No joke, we love it.
We love them.
And I love making dessert for our dear group!
I get to try out all kinds of fun things
and they let me know if it's a repeat.
We have a couple diet restrictions
(which makes it so much more fun to cook!)
ranging from my desire to keep my sugar intake low, if not non-existent,
to a plant-based, animal product free diet.



These sweet bites were a HIT and everyone ate more than one...
Possibly more than two and three...
And on top of that,
everyone wanted the recipe.
Husbands included.
You hear that ladies?
This is a husband approved treat!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Bites


Ingredients
1 1/2 Packages (the little baggies, not whole boxes!) of Graham Crackers
1 jar of preserves (not the whole!)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
(I made two batches, one of each, and LOVED them both!)
1/2 cup peanut butter
Little bit of water



Directions
1. Grind up your graham crackers in a food processor.
(Or, if you don't have one, put them in a plastic bag and smash them to smithereens
using a meat mallet or hammer)
2. Melt coconut oil in microwaveable bowl.
3. Add syrup or honey to coconut oil and stir together.
4. Stir into graham crackers.
(You want them to be wet-ish so they'll stick together but not soupy)
5. Pack cracker mix into the bottom of wells in a small muffin tin.
6. Chill for 30 minutes.
(This just makes the crusts easy to remove and not so fall aparty)
7. Smear with preserves.
(Like you would bread)
8. Beat peanut butter in a mixer.
9. Add water to thin out the peanut butter.
(Just so it gets light and airy, not so it turns into soup)
10. Spread atop the jelly!
(If you want to get fancy -I did- put the PB into a piping bag and make little dollops!)



Now get out there are share it with your friends people! 
This dish is clean (if you get no sugar preserves) and vegan...
Plus it's bound to be a favorite for men, women, and children alike! 




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