Gram’s Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies always bring back nostalgic memories of Christmases spent with my grandma in Pennsylvania.  She had to have spent weeks preparing for our trips, as her house was filled with more goodies than a young mind can imagine.  I remember eating dozens of these cookies each visit, convinced that there were no other sugar cookies that could compare.  They are soft and sweet, but not overly so and when paired with frosting they are perfect!  The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but unfrosted ones can last weeks in the freezer. So, in the spirit of Christmas:

photo-7Gram’s Sugar Cookies
~1 cup brown sugar
~1 cup white sugar
~1 cup Crisco
~1 tsp vanilla
~1 tsp lemon flavoring
~2 eggs
~5 cups of flour
~2 tsp baking powder
~1 tsp salt
~1 tsp nutmeg
~1 cup buttermilk
~1 tsp baking soda

Mix together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and lemon flavoring.  Then add the 2 eggs.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.  Finally, mix together the cup of buttermilk with the tsp of baking soda.  To the sugar mixture add alternately the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture until it is all mixed together.  Refrigerate overnight.  The next day, preheat the oven to 350.  Roll out the dough on a floured board, cut into shapes, and bake for 9-11 minutes.  The cookies will be evenly cooked, but should not be browned.

I would recommend tackling cutting out the cookies one day and frosting another day, as it makes about 5 dozen cookies.  We usually use the frosting recipe on the back of a powdered sugar box.  It is delicious and adds just the right amount of sweetness!


Pumpkin Bread

This pumpkin bread is hands down my favorite pumpkin bread that I have ever tried.  My mom got this from a mom at our high school and we have been making it ever since!  You won’t ever want to use a boxed pumpkin bread mix after trying this!  This weekend is Club Cross Country Nationals in Bend and many of our Oiselle teammates have joined us for a weekend of racing, fun, and of course baked goods!  As this is one of the baked goods being consumed, I thought it was fitting to post the recipe.  🙂

Ben Bruce thoroughly enjoying it!

Pumpkin Bread
-4 eggs
-3 cups sugar
-1-16oz can of pumpkin
-1 cup water
-3 1/2 cups of flour
-2 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp salt
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp ground cloves
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp nutmeg
-1 tsp allspice

Preheat the oven to 350.  Mix all the ingredients together and pour into 2 greased loaf pans.  Bake for an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.  It is SO good!

Planting Seeds

Lately I have been noticing how sometimes we spend time seeking after things or adding new things into our lives and we are disciplined in doing so, but we don’t really see the results of our efforts.  This could be anything: spending more time with your family, seeking after God, implementing a new program at work, increasing your amount of physical activity, forgiving past wrongs, etc.  Despite the time and energy invested in the endeavor, nothing is manifesting from your attempts.  While at this point it is tempting to throw in the towel and say that nothing is changing, we have to trust in the process.

imagesWhat I have learned recently in regards to this process is the idea of planting seeds.  When you plant a seed, you don’t instantly gain a tree.  Instead that seed has to be watered and tended too and slowly but surely it will sprout.  Then, with continued love and attention, it grows and grows and grows until it is a tree.

I believe that the same is true with new things that we implement into our lives.  When we start adding them, we are just planting the seed.  Every time we invest in cultivating that practice, we are tending to the seed.  Over time the seed will continue to grow until one day the seed sprouts and we will begin to see the result of the time we invested.  We have to be confident that we will reap benefits down the road from the time and effort that we are investing now, even if nothing is showing from it.  One day we will live in the fruit of the seeds that we are planting today!

Yam Soufflé

My mom received this recipe from a coworker in 1982 and it has been my favorite for as long as I can remember.  It is perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, but really should be made any time you can come up with an excuse to do so!  We have changed the original recipe (by increasing the amount of yams, reducing the amount of sugar, and altering the topping), and although I am biased, I would say it is better than before!

photo-9Yam Soufflé
~4.5 cups cooked yams (about 5 medium ones)
~1/3 cup white sugar (don’t use brown sugar, it will affect the color)
~2 eggs
~1/2 tsp salt
~1/3 stick of butter melted
~1/2 cup milk
~1 TBS vanilla

~1/3 cup brown sugar
~1/2 cup chopped pecans
~1/2 cup oatmeal (regular or quick oats are fine)
~1/3 stick of butter melted

Preheat the oven to 350. Remove the yams from their skins. Mix the first 7 ingredients and place in a covered, large greased casserole dish. Mix the ingredients for the topping and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 45-60 minutes and make sure to serve yourself up a generous serving.  Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!