Monthly Archives: August 2010

Weight Watchers Lemon Bars – with pictures!

Weight Watchers Lemon Bars – Each bar is 3 points.

 Ingredients:

 

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
5 tbsp packed light brown sugar
 8 tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. To make crust, mix flour, and light brown sugar in a bowl. Add butter and cut it into the dough until the dough is pea-sized pieces.

3. Sprinkle crust into an ungreased 13x9x2 inch baking pan as evenly as possible; press down the crust with your hand or a spatula to create a packed surface.

4. Place crust in middle of oven and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, to make lemon topping, zest and juice the lemons. Beat eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest in a medium bowl until smooth.

6. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.

7. As soon as crust is finished, remove from oven and reduce oven temp to 300 degrees. Immediately pour lemon mixture over crust. Bake about 30 minutes, or until a light golden color and the lemon topping looks set.

8. Cool completely and cut into 24 squares. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.   

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And It Begins Again…

Mike started Seminary this week. It has not been all that bad for me since he still has not gone back to work, but tomorrow is the day he goes back.

I have such mixed feelings. I am sort of excited to get my normal routine back, seeing my mom, sister and brother more, but I am going to miss Mike so much. He will be going to school full-time, working a full-time job, working a part-time job and teaching 3 lessons a week. I feel exhausted just thinking about it! This rigorous schedule does not leave much time for me. That makes me incredibly sad. I have been dreading tomorrow pretty much all summer. We have had such a great time together, sleeping in, hanging out, actually eating meals together. But it really all ends tomorrow, and the craziness that is our life begins.

I know he is supposed to be in school. I know he has to study and read and then study some more….and then read some more. I know the call the Lord has put on his life. Knowing all of that doesn’t really help the tightness in my chest, feeling so alone, waking up alone, eating alone and going to bed alone.

I try to be the supportive wife, but in my own strength I fail miserably. I end up feeling neglected and mad at him for having so many jobs and so much school work. He is the best husband I could ask for and he, by the grace of God, balances his schedule pretty well. I know I couldn’t do it. I admire him so much.

I need the Lord’s help to get through this time in our lives. Having Mike gone so much gives me time, oftentimes too much, to think about my life and how it has not turned out the way I expected. I am so blessed to have Mike as my husband, and my life not being what I expected has absolutely nothing to do with him. He is a great provider, such a hard worker, so I don’t have to work, but sometimes I get upset that even if I wanted to have a full-time job, my body won’t allow me. I sit in the house all day and it is so quiet, it is a constant reminder God has not given us the gift, the precious, begged for, gift of children. Sometimes the fatigue and pain I feel keep me from doing housework and feeling productive. This summer has been amazing because if I didn’t have the energy to clean or do laundry, that was ok, Mike and I would just hang out all day. I didn’t think about being childless so much when Mike was constantly by my side. Now that he is going to be gone, that distraction is not there for me.

Tonight I went to the Griffith’s going away party. They are starting a church in North Carolina. As Kathy was talking about how faithful the Lord is and how He will reveal His plan step by step as we take those steps in faith, I could feel the wonderful stirring in my soul. I feel that the Lord wants us to plant a church. I am not sure where or when, but I feel it so deep in me that I have committed to pray for it everyday -praying that God would reveal His plan as we take those steps of faith. And one thing I realized this evening is that Mike going to Seminary and me staying home and supporting him is a step of faith for me. I am having faith that the Lord will carry and sustain Mike though his crazy, taxing schedule, keeping him healthy. I am trusting the Lord will be my constant companion. So, this time of waiting and seeking the Lord about our future is a step of faith in and of itself.

On my way home tonight, the song below came on the radio and really ministered to me. I hope that as you take your steps of faith, this song speaks to you also.

iPods, iPhones and iPads, Oh My!

We live in a world where technology is king. We are not big tv watchers, we only have one tv in the living room, but we have 2 desktop computers, a laptop, an iPod Touch and an iPhone.  Mike keeps his schedule neatly organized in his iPhone. He has a youtube channel where he gives drum lessons (http://www.youtube.com/user/drumennut), all shot in his music room and edited with some fancy software. He is buying a Bible Software that has over 10,000 books on it, or something crazy like that. He is so excited because it will run on his iPhone and his (future) iPad. He is looking into buying a new laptop for school because our current one is too slow.

I, on the other hand, like to write appointments on a wall calendar, I have a number of envelopes, receipts and napkins with notes on them in my purse, and I don’t have a phone with a full keypad (gasp!). Mike gave me his iPod Touch when he purchased his iPhone. All I do on it is play Angry Birds, and sometimes use the Weight Watchers App when I’m not close to my computer. Mike laughs because I still have no idea how to put music on the thing. I send many more hand-written notes than I do emails, and although I spend a lot of time online, I visit the same 3 or 4 sites everyday. The thought of having a Kindle Reader or an iPad to read my books on is tempting, but I love the feel of the books in my hands! I love the smell of books. (Plus I can get most of my books used on ebay for a dollar or two!)

I am not opposed to technology, I write a blog for goodness’ sake, but I think I’m just a simple girl. I like to touch things, have them with me. I like to connect with people in a less techy way.

Maybe some day I will become like Mike and have everything all organized in a tiny handheld computer, but for now, I will keep my envelopes and napkins. 🙂

Soooooo Close!

I weighed in at my Weight Watcher’s Meeting on Saturday morning, and I am .6 lbs. away from my goal! I know I will reach it this week! I just HAVE to!

I am sure the chili relleno I had for lunch and the brownie I had for dinner are not helping the situation, but I had a bad day, pain-wise, so I just went for it. I already threw away the rest of the brownies and made a big pitcher of green tea, so I’m back on track.

I have to tell you how sweet my sister is! When I reach my goal, she is throwing me a Weight Loss Party! Naturally I want to share the spotlight with my awesome husband. Together we have lost over 155lbs! (Alright, I admit, he is down almost 120 and I am down 26, so he is the biggest loser!) But, I can tell you that my struggle to lose my weight has been just as hard as it has been for Mike.

One misconception people have is that people with less weight to lose have it easier; I don’t think that is true, especially for people with disabilities and chronic pain. We feel just as bad about ourselves, sometimes we don’t want to leave the house, either. People who are very heavy have more pounds to lose, but there are people like me who do everything they can to lose the weight and it seems to take forever to shed even one pound. It has taken me over 2 years to lose the 26 pounds. It has taken Mike about 4 years to lose his 120 pounds. On average I lose about 1 pound a month; if you take the 120 pounds in 4 years for Mike, on average he loses 2.5 pounds a month – more than double!

I could not be prouder of Mike, or myself for that matter. We have both worked extremely hard to make healthier choices, move more, and take better care of ourselves, not only for eachother and our future children, but for ourselves too. I can’t wait to celebrate with friends and family!

Prayers of the Destitute

This devotional was emailed to me today. It really made me think. 

 

Prayers of the Destitute
by Julie Cosgrove
 “He regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer” (Psalm 102:17).
 
In one church we attended before we moved away, the congregation every Sunday during the service would pray the weekly list for the sick, the pregnant, the soldiers, those traveling, those in the mission field and those who had died.
People could add their own requests out loud, but at the end of the list, the pastor always added, “and for those for whom nobody else prays.” In the church where we are now, we pray a similar list, but there is also a place in the service to pray for those “whose faith is known to God alone”.
 
How sad to think that there are people out there in this world who are so isolated and alone that no one is praying for them or knows about the state of their faith. But the alone and hurting do exist all around us. They may be sleeping under bridges, or in ten bedroom mansions. They may be digging through trash cans or digging into their pockets to purchase the latest high tech toy.
Destitution is not necessarily an economic thing. It is always a spiritual one.
 
Yet, I believe we are called to pray for them, and are prompted by the Holy Spirit to do so. Prayer never falls deaf upon God’s ears. He hears every whisper and every scream. He hears every sentence spoken out loud as well as those which are so deep inside our souls, we just can’t muster up enough gumption to voice them. God does respond, even though we cannot feel it. One way is by asking others to join in our prayer.
 
Prayer is so much more powerful than we can ever imagine. It can reach across thousands of miles or just down the street. It can touch the heart of the person sitting in the pew next to us, or a lost soul under the shadow of a downtown cathedral steeple clear across the country. It can touch someone who has lost the ability to hear the church bells chime, children laughing or the birds singing because their minds are so filled with the sounds of hatred, anger or despondency. Prayer can reach into the crevices of a heart cracked from hurt and pain. It can filter through the closed doors of doubt. It can touch the lives of people we will never know, as well as those we think we know . . . and change them.
 
If God has placed a thought on your heart, or a name of a person, or even an image, please take time to stop and say a prayer. It just may be the Holy Spirit prompting you to lift up another soul. Prayer brings miracles into action, sends the devil fleeing and heals hidden wounds. Never underestimate the power of a simple upward lifted prayer.
 
Know this: when you are down and discouraged, when despair creeps in and you can’t find the words to send up to Heaven, God has already placed you on someone else’s heart. Someone on this earth, as well as the Son in Heaven amongst the throngs of angels, is praying for you.
 
Questions: Who has God prompted you to pray for today? What do you need someone else to pray about for you? Let us know.

The Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 large can crushed pineapple (in juice)
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions: Please note that I 1/3’d the recipe for Mike and I. The pictures are for what I did, but the recipe is for a large 3 layer cake. WAY TOO MUCH cake for me and Mike to eat! Even the 1/3 is pushing it!

1.  Grate the carrots.

2. Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil until fluffy.

3. Stir in pineapple, carrots and walnuts. This would also be the time to add the raisins. I forgot at this point and added them at the very end.

4. Add flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir well.

5. Don’t forget the raisins!

6. Mix well and pour into 3 round cake pans that have been sprayed with cooking spray. I also add a piece of paper to the bottom of the pan. I usually use plain old computer paper, but you can use parchment paper or wax paper. It really helps it not to stick!

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

8. When the cakes are done, take them out of the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then run a knife around the sides to make sure it isn’t stuck. Flip the cakes onto a cooling rack. Peel back the paper and discard.

9.  Let cool completely.

 Time to make the Cream Cheese frosting! 

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz cream cheese (that’s 2 boxes) softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Beat cream cheese, vanilla and butter with an electric mixer until creamy.

2. Add powdered sugar a little at a time, adding a little water when it gets too thick. Beat well.

 3. Move cakes to serving plate or cake stand. Frost the first layer. Repeat with each layer.

4. Frost the entire cake. Mike really likes the cake chilled, so we chill it before we serve it. You can also pipe the frosting carrots onto the top, like the store-bought or restaurant cakes. ENJOY!

Top 10

Seems like it has been forever since I last blogged. There are two main reasons for my absence. The first is the fact that the doctors casted my right arm to see if it would help with the pain (no such luck!) and typing with my left hand only is hard, not only for my brain, but also for my  hand. It is not used to doing all the work! 

The second reason I stopped blogging was that I didn’t feel like I had anything constructive to say. I would hate to be that person that no one wants to be around because of my negative tone. I could not muster up enough optimism…until now. I am back to reading my Bible every morning and that seems to help. I have also starting reflecting on the good things in my life; people, things, experiences are all gifts from God. 

Here is my top 10 list of good things in my life. 

1.  My husband. He is my rock. Sometimes his even-keel personality drives me crazy. I want him to mirror my emotions! I want him to be angry when I am angry, sad when I’m sad, excited when I’m excited! This does not happen often. He is very calm all the time, this helps calm me down when I’m upset, and keeps my feet on the ground when I get excited about new ideas (“Honey, lets redo the kitchen!!!! Money? We don’t need money! All we need is love!!!”). He is also helpful and patient with me. Since I have had the cast on, he helps me shower and dress, does all the dishes and laundry and almost all of the cooking.  

2. My family. My mom and sister are two of my best friends. They know when I’m feeling too down or too much pain to get going, and they know just when to swoop in and rescue me from myself. They show up to take me shopping when I’ve been cooped up in the house too long. Their love and support is so incredibly important to my sanity.  

3. My weight loss. It has been a very tough thing for me to lose weight because most of the time I cannot exercise at all. Even walking to the mailbox can be a struggle. But with help from the Lord, my sis, mom and Mike, I have been able to lose about 16 pounds in the last year and a half. Praise the Lord! 

4. Snickers. If you have a pet, you know how much they can become part of the family. Snickers is like my child. Since God has not blessed us with children, Snickers is the next best thing. She is funny, curious, snuggly at times and keeps me on my toes, so to speak. She can be very mischievous! But even when we go away for one night, I really do miss her. 

 

5. My home. I love our house! The floor plan is great and there is plenty of room for our little family. Some days all I can see are the repairs and updates that need to be done, but then there are other days when I lay on the couch, look around and feel overwhelmed at how blessed we are to own our own home, that it’s comfortable and stamped with our personalities. But, most of all I love our nice warm bed. It’s like a big hug!

6. My morning routine. A cup of Coffee People coffee with Coffee Mate sugar free Hazelnut creamer, snuggled up on the couch with Snickers reading my Bible and praying. I feel energized and ready for the day after this. Bring it on! 

7. Chocolate. Need I say more? 

 

8. Cooking Shows. Even when I feel too bad to actually make what’s being cooked, I still get to see yummy food and I get ideas for when I do feel well enough to cook and entertain.   

9. Makeup. I really believe makeup application is an art form and I get excited that I get to “paint” a new picture every day. I get to transform into something new, maybe a natural beauty or give myself smokey eyes. It’s so fun to read and study makeup books and new trends.  

10. Ministry. I can’t tell you how privileged I feel to be able to minister to God’s people. I sing on our church’s praise team. Singing is something I love and I get excited when God allows me to use that gift He has given me to lead His chidren into His sweet presence. It helps me get my eyes off myself and onto His glory. I also pray for people everyday. Some may think that praying isn’t really a ministry, but it totally is! There are days when that is ALL I can do, I can’t get out of bed, so God in His graces uses me right where I’m at. Praying for people creates a tenderness for people and their trials and struggles. It also helps me to create and cultivate relationship with the people I am praying for. Writing encouraging notes to people is another ministry, but since the cast, it has been put on hold for a while.  

So, there’s my list. I challenge you to write down your top 10!