Saturday, December 4, 2010
This is my go-to recipe for sugar cookies. It's the recipe I use to make all my cut-out cookies. I do sometimes switch it up. For the snowflake cookies pictured here, I actually stirred vanilla bean seeds and a little organic vanilla chai tea into the batter before rolling out. Yum. Yum. Yum. No matter what how impatient/unskilled/pressed for time you are, this cookie dough makes the quickest, lightest, most tender cookie. They melt. (Honestly, if I had a daughter, this is the first recipe I'd teach her.) Add these to your holiday baking, and I guarantee it will become an heirloom recipe.
Peanut Butter Cookies. I tried Deb's recipe three years ago- the week she posted it- and was immediately converted. Make these, only skip the chocolate chips and double up the peanut butter chips. And, if you can, use crunchy peanut butter. I always use crunchy. Divine.
White Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies. These are amazing. A smidge fancy, a ton delicious. In fact, I'm even adding... um... lime zest... (don't tell) to these to make them red, white and green. Totally Christmasy. These make wonderful gifts!
Lace Trumpet Cookies. If you've never tried this southern favorite, do. Please do. Everyone will thank you. These pretties are fun to make and lovely up a holiday spread in no time. I first made these for a holiday cookie tasting party in 2004 and they were a big time hit. Big time.
Oh. I could go on and on. (And maybe I will, later.) I truly hope you enjoy these. And please, if you have a favorite or family recipe of your own to share, please leave a link or note in the comment so we can all enjoy!
Now if we only could figure out how to do a virtual, National Cookie Day, cookie swap... -Brin
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Corn, as any historian, commodity trader, or foodie can tell you, is... necessary. Experts speculate over 4,000 products in our grocery stores have corn or corn products as an ingredient. And the more corn we relegate to ethanol production, the more scarce and expensive corn is getting.
The Story of Corn is getting wild. Which is one reason why I shook Farmer John's hand and gave him a heartfelt thank you.
Yes, the price was too good to pass up. But what is a girl to do with 10 pounds of fresh, kernel corn? (I already have some canned. I already have a bit more stored.) Well, I'll tell you: channel my inner Pilgrim and Indian and dry it.
Remove corn from oven once it's shrunken and leathery-crisp. It will have reduced dramatically in size as the moisture evaporates. Let cool and store in sterilized, airtight jars or plastic bags. (I vacuumed sealed most of mine.) Stored in an airtight, moisture-free, dark environment, this should keep at least five years.
Cheddar Corn Chowder. Grind to cornmeal and make cornbread, stuffing, or polenta. Yum.
Wishing you and yours a bountiful, meaningful Thanksgiving. -Brin
Monday, November 22, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Some things from Freeman House are up on the auction web floor. Things I adore but won't have room for. Freeman House? Giant cocoa mug. Cabin? Doll tea cup. I'm saying goodbye to lots of things...
But hello to a flower meadow. And a brook. And a cherry tree.
The sale's over here if you're interested, and I'll be adding to it through Wednesday.
I'm back tomorrow with pre-Thanksgiving baking secrets that will astonish you. Can't wait. -Brin
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
My habits (obsessions) of late: making my own cheddar cheese. Sewing thick quilts for the cabin. And reading everything I can find on the reality of quantitative easing.
I'm an exciting gal, eh?
Guess that's why today has me so nervous. Quick, somebody hand me some homemade cheese to gnaw on...
I look at this Laura George piece often. Isn't it fabulous? Only I want one the way Jesus put it: when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
And my latest obsession: hearty bread and sturdy wool.
Shelter, Jared Flood's 100% American wool yarn. To say that I actually teared up when I unwound the first skein and found a blade of grass amongst the fibers is not an exaggeration. Shelter starts with beautiful, shaggy Wyoming sheep and ends spinning through a historic mill in New Hampshire. Go take a look-see. It's American and it feels so... real, somehow. Like something Ma Ingalls would have knit if she had her pick of any yarn on the prairie.
It's that amazing.
this recipe best so far, although I've adapted it for my own tastes. I feel a completed recipe coming soon.
Bread and wool talk, to be continued...
Friday, October 22, 2010
What's more pathetic: looking for two days before finding something... or being utterly shocked when it's right where it's supposed to be?
I've lived out of boxes since moving out of Dallas in 2004. (With the constant renovating at Freeman House, boxes were scooted from room to room. Only the kitchen was ever unpacked!) To say I'm looking forward to my Little Cabin of Organization is a laughable understatement.
Pictures coming soon!
(For those who asked, the pictures in the last post are ones taken in 2008 at the Daingerfield State Park - my favorite spot in Texas.)
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
You know those people who have four dishes, four spoons, four shirts and four skirts? Those who know where the stuff they aren't using or wearing is at all times?
I'm in two storage buildings, a "rental" house and an RV at the moment. No wonder I can't find anything.
Must consolidate. Must downsize. This weekend.
Must find my camera. Must find my camera.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
We could talk for hours. I could blow your mind with the stories, sadness, and salvation that has been my life. I stop and look over my shoulder at the past four years and can hardly believe where I've been. I can't believe, quite honestly, that I made it through. It's only by the hand of a God Who never gives up. Who never lets go. Who never turns away. Who knows just how much you can take.
And mercifully, as you glimpse the lights of How Much You Can Takeville from where you are, He steps in. He turns your mourning into dancing.
I've lost considerably these past four years. And I'm not a "bounce back" kind of person. It takes me forever just to process things. Then I have to start dealing. I listed it all the other day... my losses... and sat and stared at the page. I stared and stared and felt my eyes burn hot. And somewhere down deep, I felt a small cry, flickering like a flame. I felt it snap and burn until it exploded, rushing its way out of my heart, up through my throat and out of my trembling mouth. It was the most gut-wrenching, mournful scream I've ever heard. I screamed and screamed... and when the scream finally turned to shouted, hardly coherent words, all that tumbled out was: We survived this. You saw me through.
It took me an hour to stop shaking.
I know sin. I know disobedience. I know rebellion. I know discipline. I also know redemption.
And now, because of His grace... I know a new day.
How about turning this page with me to the next chapter?
Monday, October 4, 2010
Today I thought about trees. About all the trees I wanted to pass on my morning walks with Millie. I thought about all the fruit I wanted to see glistening in canning jars. I thought about all the nuts I wanted roasting over a hearth fire.
So I went to the Arbor Day Foundation Tree Store and ordered arbor beauties to plant later this fall. If you saw the picture of my new place (before I got paranoid and zapped it), you know that hazelnut, cherry and plum trees (above) will go nicely. At least until they can be joined by peach, apple and pecan.
My land... a land of pies, waiting to happen. -Brin
Friday, October 1, 2010
Next comes the DIY cabin. The fun we're in for! Think we're up for this?
Happy happy happy happy happy.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I was walking through the airport a few days ago and passed a girl sipping a Bud Light, deeply absorbed in The Shack. I kept walking. I wasn't a fan of that book, God. What do You think of us down here trying to know You... picture You... describe You and define You? What do You think of our searching?
It thrills My heart. I felt those words pulse through me, along with an overwhelming feeling of love. As if my blood had turned to liquid love and gushed up and down my veins. Now go back and tell the girl with the book. Tell her I love her.
I argued for a minute, then wheeled my suitcase back down the terminal toward the girl. She was still reading.
How do you approach a stranger in the airport and tell her of God's love? The way the conversation unfolded was surreal. I knew, before opening my mouth to talk to her, that she was 23. A student in the medical field. The youngest of her family. I knew - without any way of knowing - that something awful had happened in her short life. Tell her she's not to blame. Tell her it wasn't her fault. Tell she's loved with an everlasting love.
I looked at this girl and wondered what it was like to be reading in an airport, unknowingly pursued by a loving, purposeful, unrelenting God.
Irena is 23. The baby of her family. She's in dental school. And almost three years ago, she was sexually assaulted. Luke is still in diapers.
We talked quietly. She cried. I had to assure her twice that I'm not psychic; that God knows her... knows everything she is and everything she's been through. He'll use anyone around to make sure we know.
Does God love everyone? she asked, quietly. I mean, everyone?
I nodded. Yes, everyone. He loves me. He loves you. He loves that lady over there selling newspapers. A well-dressed man rushed by, berating someone at the other end of his cell phone. Irena raised her eyebrows and tilted her head toward him. Yes, especially him.
You're the second person to talk to me about God, she confided. A co-worker talks about Jesus. She told me to read this book.
Hmm. What's it like, I asked her, to be sitting in an airport, knowingly pursued by a loving, purposeful unrelenting God?
What's it like, she countered, to know Him the way you do?
You won't relent until You have it all. My heart is Yours. -Brin
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Don't give up. Keep going. Don't give up.
Especially when it's hard. Especially during dry spells. Especially in times of mourning. Especially during times of testing... times of learning... times of questioning.
Find your faith. Put it in your pocket. Remind yourself you have it. Remind yourself it's real. Pull it out when you need to; examine it. Patch it up when it's battered. Ask for more when it's not enough. Then take it and keep going.
What we're doing today matters. Because in due season - tomorrow, next year, eternity- there will be a harvest. Good or bad, there will be a harvest. There will be bounty. Where there were hard times, there will be triumph. Where there was lack, there will be plenty. Where there was sorrow, there will be joy. Where there was weariness, there will be rest.
The harvest is coming. Can't you feel Him stirring even now? Don't you see Him getting His sickle ready?
Don't give up. I'll hang in here with you until then. -Brin
(Update: There's more from me on this - click Comments below to read. :)
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Today I'm dreaming of snowfalls. Of scarves and blankets and roaring fires and bubbling stews. And when I saw this beautiful craft idea, I started crying.
I think it reminded me of Freeman House.
I think it spoke to the comfort I'm yearning for today.
I think I'm going to stock up on candles and jars and make a few of these this week. ...