Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Toll House Cookie Squares

This is the ultimate party cookie! For some strange reason, it seems to be welcomed at every party that I've ever held or hosted. Then, the times when I get a little more creative and bake something cute and festive, I'm always asked, "What? No Toll House?" It's a cookie phenomenon that, if you wish to try, the recipe is below. Feel free, however, to add or omit the nuts, or change up the extract from vanilla to maple or almond (but then be careful what type of nuts you use, if any). In any case, enjoy and try not to eat the batter, eh?

Toll House Cookie Squares
10 - 12 minutes (metal pan)
12 - 14 minutes (glass pan)

Cream together:
- ½ cup margarine
- 6 tablespoons granulated sugar (or turbinado)
- 6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt

- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (real or artificial)
- ¼ teaspoon water

Beat in:
- 1 egg

- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda

(Optional) Mix well and add:
- ½ cup chopped (and slightly toasted) walnuts

- Spread in a greased pan. Metal (13x9in) pan is preferable, but supposedly you can bake it in a glass one, too.
- Sprinkle the top with 1½ to 2 cups of PC Decadent chocolate chips.
- Bake for 1 minute at specified baking temperature to melt chips.
- Remove pan from oven and, with a knife, marble the top. Don't be afraid of scraping the bottom...It just means that you'll have a thoroughly chocolate cookie!
- Bake for 10 - 12 minutes for a metal pan, or 12 - 14 minutes for a glass pan.
- Cool completely, then cut away from pan and then into desired size squares.

Makes about 24 squares, more or less, depending on pan size and square size.

Eat up and enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"The Boy Friend" Can Make a Girl Think

Well, I just got back home after seeing the Broadway show, directed by Julie Andrews, called "The Boy Friend." What a spectacular production! I was sitting there watching all the singing and dancing and I began to think back to my figure skating days and how much I miss them. Nothing beats gliding and spinning and jumping and expressing yourself through the music. I miss the grace and jazzy creativity of the short and long programs I used to choreograph. Sigh, if only... Then my thoughts went to how much I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to dance and sing at church in our own Broadway-style productions.

The girls (and you know who you are) know what I mean. We are all so busy with school and work that it was nice to focus our creativity that God gave us on an activity that was used to reach out to others.

But even beyond all that, I was thinking about the idea of having a boyfriend in one's life. I was sitting there realizing that, although I missed the companionship and having a person that I could give my love to, I realized that it had to be a God-thing for it to work out. Sure, I could dress skimpy and head to a bar, but what would I find there besides some drunken one-night stand with a man whose name I won't be able to remember in the morning. Sigh, and to think that people actually do that is sad. What fun is it to give yourself away like that? Looking back on my previous relationship experiences, it's totally, 100% worth it to wait and keep as much of myself as possible for the one God has for me. I don't know who he is, but he had better not be perfect.

(You might be thinking, "Huh?")

I hope and pray that he'll love me for who I am (including the weirdness and quirks...and the applesauce 'peeve), and that he isn't looking for the perfect wife. All I want is someone who I can wake up every morning beside and, despite his drooling on the pillow, I can still lay there and know that I am married to the best guy alive. I hope that he'll want to use our marriage for God and for spreading the Good News. I know that some of you think I'm crazy (*ahem... Marielle... lol) for wanting to get married before I turn 24, but I not only want to share my life with someone, but I want to team with my husband for God and His plans for us. I want to go on mission trips with him and grow in God together, as well as (God-willing) run that foster home I hope to have (because every child deserves to be loved for just being themselves and to be hugged good-night).

Oh, and another thing: That future guy had better not be well-off in the financial sense. I never want to have anymore than what I need. I grew up always having what I needed, but many times, going without the extras. Life isn't any fun when you have too much. Sure, it's great to have a shoe collection (like mine) and dress to the nines, but to be perfectly honest, I was perfectly happy in Cuba when all I had was what I packed...and what I packed were the necessities. I have been so grateful for never having too much. It made those times, when our family would head over to Wendy's for dinner, a special thing.

But getting back to what I was saying though, I hope for my future children's sake that God keeps us in check financially so that we only have what we need and so that we can continue to learn how to be good stewards of God's things.

So, even on this Valentine's Day, no matter how incredibly lonely I might feel, I keep praying that God will keep me in check and on the right track so I can meet the "boy friend" that God has waiting for me...I am waiting for him because true love waits...and I promise to wait.

God bless everyone and happy Valentine's Day!