Easter Again

Hello friends– I wonder if you are celebrating Easter this year.  We are.  I have the ham in the fridge, the table pulled large and to set for family. And Easter eggs waiting to be hidden for the grand-girls.

But my true celebration is in the quiet of my heart and mind.  I pretty much wept through the Good Friday evening service tonight– full to overflowing with the depth of God’s love for us.  Jesus giving himself to make us children of God. So grateful.

“Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and to go the Father.  Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of this love.”         John 13:1

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Painting– The Resurrection by Rembrandt

A Quiet Anniversary

Hi friends–  This week Larry and I marked anniversary #43!  It is one of those “how can that be?” kind of numbers.  But then again, I can barely remember when we haven’t been married.

So yesterday we headed down toward the beach to mark a quiet celebration– pizza lunch at Mozza (a fancy day out for us!), a walk around the perimeter of Balboa Island and a stop for a frozen banana (Larry) and an ice cream (me).

     

   

We have a couple big trips in April, and Easter and lots of hub bub in between.  So I liked our quiet day– walking, talking, planning some things ahead.  So thankful to be married to this guy.

Mocha Cheesecake

Hi there all–  Here’s a cheesecake made for a game night with friends– lots of talk, laughs and a dose of noisy competitiveness!  Finished off with a couple cheesecakes.

This desert has two layers of creamy cheesecake, one coffee flavored, one chocolate, topped with a creamy chocolate ganache.  Pretty irresistible!

MOCHA CHEESECAKE

Crust:
1 prepared Oreo piecrust*
2 tab. butter, melted

Filling:
2 tab. instant coffee granules
1 tab. boiling water
1 cup chocolate chips
32 oz. cream cheese (4 –8 oz. packages)
1 cup sugar
3 tab. flour
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream

Ganache topping:
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tab. butter
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Mix the Oreo crust and the melted butter in the bottom of a 9″ springform pan.  Press the crumbs to make a uniform thin layer covering the bottom of the pan.  Set it into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Dissolve the coffee granules in the boiling water and set aside.

To make the filling, use an electric mixer the beat together the cream cheese and sugar until it’s creamy.  Then beat in the flour, eggs and sour cream.  Divide the batter evenly between two bowls.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes and then stir until it is smooth.  Fold the chocolate into the fist bowl of batter until it is thoroughly blended.

Stir the dissolved coffee granules into the second bowl of batter until it is all incorporated.

Spoon the chocolate batter over the crust and smooth out the top.  Add the coffee batter over the top and spread it evenly over the top.

Pop the cheesecake into a 350 oven for 50 to 60 minutes until it is firm to the touch and just a little wobbly when you shake it.  Open the oven door, turn off the heat and let the cheese cake sit 1 hour in the cooling oven.  Then take it out, slide a sharp knife around the edge to loosen the cheesecake from the pan and set it into the fridge for 3 or 4 hours.

To make the ganaches, heat the whipping cream and butter in a small pan on the stove until it just starts to simmer.  Take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate chips and beat for 3 or 4 minutes until it’s glossy.  Let it cool and when you’re ready to serve up the cheese cake, drizzle it over the top.  Delish!

*The recipe I worked from used 20 Oreo cookies, crushed.  But getting the pre-made Oreo crust was cheaper and already to use.

Pumpkin Bran Muffins

Hello all–   I promise– this is the last pumpkin recipe until next fall!  But I was thinking maybe you have a half a can of pumpkin lurking in your fridge still!  Use it here.

These were breakfast one morning last week when the kids were here for a few days of Thanksgiving.  Hearty and warm– perfect with a slash of butter and a little marmalade.  Breakfast!

PUMPKIN BRAN MUFFINS
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 cup wheat bran
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans), chopped

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin, oil, brown sugar and egg.  Then mix in the flour, bran, baking powder, salt and nuts.

Spoon the batter into a muffin pans lined with muffin papers (makes 10).  Bake them in a 375 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  They’re done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Happy eating!

November Thanksgiving

Hi friends– I love this month, when many people turn their hearts to thanksgiving.  Not just the turkey and pie Thanksgiving, but the opening of hearts to number all the reasons we have to give thanks.

To help, I’ve made a list to get me started, one reason to be thankful for each day of November.  I thought maybe you’d like to give  thanks each day as well…

30 REASONS TO BE THANKFUL:
#1.  Which friend are you most thankful for? Why?
#2.  What makes you thankful about the place you live?
#3.  What made you smile today?
#4.  What have you learned from a hard experience?
#5.  What about your parents makes you thankful?
#6.  What did you see today that is beautiful?
#7.  What is different than a year ago that makes you thankful?
#8.  What accomplishment makes you thankful?
#9.  What was your favorite outing in the last year?
#10. What beauty in nature makes you give thanks?
#11. What is a childhood memory that makes you thankful?
#12. What do you love about the current season of your life?
#13. Which family member are you most thankful for?  Why?
#14. What kindness have you received to make you thankful?
#15. What is something about your job that makes you thankful?
#16. Which comforts in your life make you thankful?
#17. What gift you received made you thankful?
#18. Which day with friends has filled you with thanks?
#19. What is something you’ve read this year that has provoked thanks?
#20. What about God in your life makes you thankful?
#21. How are you thankful for something you are looking forward to?
#22. What spot in your home makes you most thankful?
#23. What do you see in nature that inspires thankfulness?
#24. Which music are you thankful for?
#25. What talents are you grateful to have?
#26. What memory are you thankful for?
#27. What struggle can you be grateful for?
#27. Which family tradition are you most thankful for?
#28. Where do you thankfully find peace and rest?
#29. What has given you most joy in the past year?
#30. How can you continue to be thankful though the year ahead?

And here’s the grand-girls with their own form of thankfulness last Thanksgiving.  Those girls are one of the things I’m very most thankful for…

P.S. Thanks to greatarrow.com for the Thanksgiving graphic.

Worth Reading…

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Hi Reading Friends– here’s a couple engaging books that I found worth reading.  Both historical fiction from the last century, based on actual people– a look at some fascinating lives.

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Set in WWII, We Were The Lucky Ones, spills out the stories of the the Kurcs, a prosperous Jewish family from the Polish town of Radom.  In the course of the war they are scattered– to a Siberian work camp, the beaches of North Africa, a ghetto in Warsaw, the Italian front, taking refuge in Rio de Janeiro, and hidden away on a farm in the countryside  The author, Georgia Hunter, is the grand daughter of Addy Kurc, escaped Europe on one of the last ships to carry immigrant during the war.  She brought to life the resourceful, determined Kurcs, telling their stories with her well researched details and a great heart for the the people of her family– harrowing escapes, loyal love, imprisonment, torture, amazing bravery and the beloved traditions of a family tied together even as they were torn apart.

Anne Morrow was a college girl, daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, when she met Charles Lindbergh, now a celebrity since his 1927 flight in the Spirit of Saint Louis across the Atlantic.  They wed and Anne becomes famous as the Aviator’s wife, living in the shadow of her famous husband.  She weathers the kidnapping of her 18 month old son, raises a house full of children and eventually comes into her own, as an aviator and author.  Melanie Benjamin gives us a picture of a troubled marriage, reflecting the times and the price of fame– a fascinating look at a complicated woman and her bigger than life husband.

 

P.S. Painting at the top by Carl Vilhelm Holsoe (Danish).

Thankfulness & Gratitude

 

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude.  Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness.  Thankfulness may consist of merely words.  Gratitude is shown in acts.”
Henri Frederic Amiel –(1821-1861) Swiss philosopher & poet

Hoping and praying I can translate my thankfulness to gratitude– moving on from just feeling thankful, to caring well for people around me to show real overflowing gratitude.

“‘So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to lives your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”  –Colossians 2:6-7

 

P.S. The Matilija Poppy at the top was blooming everywhere in Ojai on a recent trip there– so striking, large as my hand!