Tag Archives: Christian

What is on my mind today? Testicle or Not to Testicle, that is the Question?

hereford bull

I have been working diligently on my oil painting for these past several months and it is finally nearing completion.

Yesterday, my dad and mom came down to deliver excellent potatoes and squash out of their garden and join me for lunch.  As dad came into the room where my easel stands with the painting on it, he took one look at the painting and said three things…you painted that for yourself, you really captured a Montana sky, don’t you dare touch that, and what do plan to do with that one?

I think he figured that a painting of the Dakota badlands and a meso-cyclone in hot pink with Hereford cattle is probably a Pat painting. It is time for me to find a gallery to show and market my artwork, before I drive my friend Pat to distraction. She hadn’t seen the canvases I painted for myself, before I became disabled, that are stored in the basement until this week. This painting will probably join them, but it is not quite done yet.

There is the usual tinkering to complete.  Putting in some grass, light and color corrections and I have to decide whether to testicle or not testicle the Hereford Bull.

Yes, I have to tinker with testicles and I actually have put some thought into this testicular dilemma.  Bully, bully is a pretty proud looking fellow standing guard over his family, but one must think of the troubles caused by testicles or lack there of.

The case against testicles can be summed in two words…Harvey Weinstein. There is no excuse and there should never be any tolerance for the Weinstein’s of this world.  And, there are way too many of them.

I do not think I know of a woman, who has worked outside the home, that at some point in her career hasn’t been sexually harassed.  I know I was. Whenever I think about the grossness, hurt, stress, shame, sadness, anxiety, anger and lost career opportunities,  I lean strongly towards a testicle-free bull.

So, why would I consider blessing my bull with the awesome responsibility of testicles?

There are several reasons:

1.    I still have paint left,
2.    The artistic challenge,
3.    I often think society in general needs to get a pair.
4.    In all fairness, I must admit that some of my sexual harassers in the workplace
weren’t male.

Sexual harassment isn’t about sex, it is all about power.  Remaining silent about abuse is not golden, it is cowardice of the worst sort.  My grandmother told me long ago, that if I didn’t admire cowards, I should choose not to be one.  I may be a lot of things, but few people would ever call me a coward.

Yes, I have reported abusers in the work place.  I have also supported and stood by other women who found themselves in gosh awful situations, whenever I had first hand knowledge of the harassment.

Did I pay a personal and professional price for speaking up? Of course!  But, it was worth it!

In retrospect, if I found myself in the same situation again, would I do things differently? Absolutely not!  And do you know why? Somebody had to stop it and I am somebody.  We all need to be somebodies.

It’s like the Bible says, “Here I am God….Send me!”

 

 

 

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What is On My Mind Today: A Good Habit to Have….Reading!

In addition to working on the same oil painting for the past six months, I have been reading lots of books.

Many of the books I have been reading are historical diaries.  It is fascinating to read first person history to learn about the situations and challenges faced by past generations from those who were actually there.

As a college-educated woman, I took several courses dedicated to instilling fear into the hearts of historians regarding the twin bogeymen of bias and braggadocio and how they taint first person historical accounts. Being able to discern fact from fiction is a good skill for any reader to have…especially historians. It seems to me that too few of today’s “historians” or historical experts immerse themselves in primary sources before diving headlong into the the shallow water of secondary sources such as the ever present, easily accessed and factually challenged internet.

A good example of this type of study would be of the Christian who reads a lot of Facebook posts about scripture and who can expertly google biblical verses required to further a narrative, but who neglects spending time reading the actual Bible.

While I do read my bible frequently, I must confess that I have never read the whole Bible from cover to cover.  After applying some thought to the matter, I found the situation unacceptable.  So,  I have spent the past several months doing just that.  I am through the New Testament and am in the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament.

What a wonderful experience it has been!  I have learned so much.  There is definitely only one God and he’s it;  Jesus is the Messiah; and creating us humans and giving us free will must make God constantly bang his Holy Head against a heavenly wall. And yet, he still loves us.

In addition to working through reading the Bible, my reading list from this summer has been somewhat extensive and I must say there has not been a dud in the bunch. Well, one was close to being a dud, but I muscled through.  I strongly recommend picking up any of these books and giving them a read.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  This World War II story will clue the reader in pretty quickly as to why you stand for the national anthem and our flag.  This book puts you right along side the downed airman and his trials adrift in the ocean and vividly describes the horrors he experienced as a Japanese prisoner of war.

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The Classic Slave Narratives edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr.   This book includes:
The Life of Olaudah Equiano; The History of Mary Prince; Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.  These accounts are real and heartrending.

Eyewitness to the Alamo by Bill Groneman.   I may have never physically been to the Alamo nor seen the American’s fight to prevent the Mexican Army from taking the fort; however, after reading this book, I have in my mind.

Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey by Lillian Schlissel.  This is a thoughtful read even though about two-thirds of this book is dedicated to Ms. Schlissel advancing her theory that women were the great bulwark and victims of western expansion. According to her, they did more than their share of the work and suffering.  Not only do statistics undermine her conclusions, but so do the actually women in their diaries. This book is a good example of a modern Monday morning quarterbacking type of historical bias.  As to  her repeated claim that women cared more for the dead along the Oregon Trail than did men, because women kept count of the graves in their diaries and the men just noted the death.  I would like to point out that the men were driving a large oxen team and the women were riding in the wagon or walking behind it.   Once the gals made sure that all of their kids were accounted for, and not likely to fall out the wagon, what else did they have to do?  It’s not like there were telephone poles to count.

These Is My Words, The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1902, Arizona Territories, by Nancy E. Turner.  This book is a fictional adaptation of the author’s great-grandmother’s diary.   For those who are familiar with the desert southwest, this is a quick must read.  Good story.

The Ox Team on the Old Oregon Trail 1852-1906 by Ezra Meeker.  Ezra was there, did that and then, many years later, did it again to teach a nation just how hard pioneers on the Oregon trail had it.  It is a great read and a “how to” book on going west with oxen. Theodore Roosevelt even gets a mention.

The Fetterman Massacre by Dee Brown.  This is a military history about the second largest massacre of United States troops by Indians where no white soldier’s survived.  I had never heard of this event and thought it would be good to learn about it. The battle of Little Big-Horn where General George Armstong Custer died was the largest Indian Battle with no United States military survivors.

Captivity of the Oatman Girls by R. B. Stratton.  The Oatman Family was massacred in 1851 by the Gila River while on their way to California.  Two of their daughters, Mary and Olive, were taken captive by those who had slain the rest of their family.  One brother, Lorenzo, also survived the attack when he was left for dead.  I decided to read this book, because I saw a picture of Olive Oatman and her facial tattoos.  I wanted to know her story. It’s quite a story! It includes Mormon church history, bravery, love, cowardice, slavery, and freedom.  What a strong beautiful young woman!

Olive Oatman
Olive Oatman

Adeline and Julia, edited by Robert Myers and Janet Coryell.  These two sisters kept diaries.  The younger girl describes a very thorough picture of what growing up in Victorian times meant for a principled feisty female child who liked to be a tom boy. The older sister and a couple of her friends, decide to try their luck at homesteading in Kansas Territory.  These girls have a good time, survive hardship and always seem to make money in their business adventures including running a sod house boarding house.  This is a great book and should be required reading for all young women.

Butter in the Well by Linda K Hubalek.  This sweet bit of fiction is based on the Swedish homesteader’s experience.  It even comes with traditional recipes.

Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart.  This is the best woman’s diary I have ever read!  I read it a second time, because it was hard to believe that it is a real account of Elinore’s life, but it is.  Ms. Pruitt-Stewart has many virtues that I admire: bravery, independence, kindness, practicality, a sense of adventure and excellent marksmanship skills. I strongly recommend this book.

 

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Elinore Pruitt-Stewart

Life in the Far West by George Fredrick Ruxton.  After reading so many stories about people who decided to leave everything behind and go west.  I decided to try and find one of the books that these early pioneers had read that inspired them to take on such an adventure. Mr. Ruxton, an Englishman,  died before reaching the tender age of thirty, but he packed a lot of living into those few short years.  This book was first published in 1849 and describes the life of a fur-trapper in the Rocky mountains.  Surprisingly, this book is written like a novel using the vernacular of time which has been sprinkled lightly throughout with wit and where the author adds a pinch of  ironic humor and observation now and again.  It is a book that is hard to put down once began. He ends this account of his life in the mountains on a surprisingly pleasant and happy note.

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I also have read a book on German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel and a rather long history of the Rothschild banking family.  My current read is a book called, “A Woman in Berlin.”  It is an anonymous diary that a woman began keeping in April of 1945 just as the Russians entered Berlin at the close of World War II.  This book graphically tells about the fall of Berlin from a woman’s prospective including her victimization by Russian soldiers.

I hope you find time, even if it is just a half hour a day, to pick up a book and read!

 

 

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Recipes: Lawns, Laughter, Cancer and Carrot Cake.

carrotcake

My husband and I have lived in the same house for over thirty years and have had the same neighbors, to the south of us, for that entire time.

Throughout the many years that we have lived on this earth side by side, our neighborhood has celebrated, cared and cried for each other.  We have watched our children grow; play; squabble; graduate elementary school, middle school, high school and college.  Then, move away and begin families of their own making us proud grandparents. In many ways, I am closer to my neighbors than I am my own siblings.   No one on this earth could have asked for better neighbors.

My neighbor’s wife has always been our neighborhood adult.  A finer person, I have yet to meet.  My neighbor, on the other hand, is a combination of wise sage, smart-ass, and political guru.  When that man was young, I swear, he could mow the lawn with a beer in each hand and still have the straightest lawnmower lines on the block. Outstanding talent!

There are two things that I can count on from my neighbor.  He always tells it like it is and he makes me laugh.  During my thirty-year career in politics, my neighbor would share his political opinions, whether I liked them or not. Then, he would tell me who was going to win the election and he was always right. He has an uncanny ability to read the electorate and pick the winners.

Then, too, no matter how bad things get, he makes me laugh.  During my cancer battle, when I was crippled up in pain with multiple spinal fractures, I was stuck in a gosh awful body cast for over eighteen months.  Now for those of you who have never seen this contraption of uncomfortableness and torture, I will describe it. It is a hard piece of plastic from chin to hip with the chest cut out so that you can breathe….a little. I could not be out of bed without the body cast on.

One day, when I had no make-up on, hair uncombed, and was wearing that cast while hunched over my walker making a herculean effort to push it a few feet further down our street than I had before, my neighbor comes by to say hello.  He takes one look and me, points at the cast and exclaims with a broad smile, “That thing is kinda sexy.”   Laughter hurt, but it was a good hurt.

My neighbor has also bailed me out of several near disasters. Like when he patiently sat by his backyard fire and scraped all of the melted Tupperware, which looked like melted marshmallow, off of all of my oven racks.  I look inside my oven now, before I turn it on…most of the time.

Then, there was the time he got a fine for helping me burn my trees that had been knocked down by a tornado.  When he saw the police office on a mission marching across his backyard towards us, he whispered, “Patricia, have you ever been arrested?” I sadly shook my head no and quickly informed him that I had never even had a parking ticket, but did once have a late library book. He grinned at me, said that is what he thought, and went over to greet the cop.  It was only this past spring, many years later, that he told me he got actually got fined.

My neighbor has always been very complimentary of my baking, which is high praise as he is a very accomplished cook.  Last winter, he actually helped me and another neighbor learn to make our own cheese.  After successfully completing the project, looking at all of the dirty dishes and messy kitchen, us two women decided that while the fresh cheese tasted outstanding we’d stick to purchasing our cheese.

No matter how awful, bald or sick I looked, during my cancer battle my neighbor would tell me I was looking good, cheer me on and would often shout, “Hurry up and get well so you can get back in the kitchen!”

I have returned to my kitchen and can again bake most of my favorite recipes.  In June, just about two weeks before I was to leave on my long planned cancer victory trip to Montana to hike in the mountains, I noticed that both my husband and my neighbor were up early mowing lawn.  I had some blueberries and decided to make the boys some blueberry coffee cake.

When I walked a piece of warm cake over to my neighbor, he was all smiles.  He said he just had poured himself a cup of coffee and the cake would be perfect.  I responded, “See you’d have missed me if I had croaked!”  He responded that yes he would have missed me and my baking a lot.  We both laughed and agreed that it was so very nice that our neighborhood was somewhat back to normal.

The very next week, my dear neighbor developed stroke like symptoms.  He was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  The worst kind. A very aggressive Glioblastoma. His prognosis is challenging.

It isn’t supposed to be this way, he is exactly my age.  Oh, I always figured that my neighbor would die young.  That I accepted long ago, but I always figured he’d go out in a blaze of glory by getting struck by lightening on the golf course, or by electrocuting himself by severing another power line with his digging spade, or falling off yet another ladder, or going bird shooting with Dick Cheney.  Not like this, never like this! Not, MY neighbor!

When my neighbor’s wife told me the news, I immediately offered to cancel my trip to the mountains, but neither of them would hear of it.  I was told to go, enjoy myself and not to give them a thought.  Well, I went, I enjoyed myself, but I certainly prayed and thought about both of them and their only child often.

True to form, my neighbor took on his cancer battle with a stellar positive attitude.  He would do no less. However, despite the amazing care provided by his wife, that poor man has had nothing, but one horrible side effect after another during his cancer treatment.  While I cannot do much about any of his other side effects, there is one side effect that I can do something about…he has developed an insatiable sweet tooth.

So, while I have been neglecting my blog this summer, I have been in my kitchen baking for my neighbor, his wife, son and his sweet tooth.  My friend’s favorites…pie, cheesecake, chocolate-zucchini cake, orange chiffon cake, caramel and sweet rolls, lemon zucchini bread and a variety of cookies are frequently delivered to his home.

This week I had planned to make his favorite cake, carrot cake, as a special treat to celebrate his last week of radiation.  However, yesterday, my buddy, took a terrible turn for the worse and is back in the hospital.  Regardless, I have have decided that I am going to go ahead and bake his cake.  That way, it will be here when he comes home.  However, if you could, would you all pray for my dear neighbor who right now is so very sick, anxious and pain ridden, and for his dear wife and son.

Thank you and God Bless!

The World’s Best Carrot Cake  from the kitchen of Kathy Warrick

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small mixing bowl stir together:
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl combine:
1 cup of oil
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3 whole eggs

Add flour mixture to the egg mixture and combine completely.

Stir in:
1 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
2 cups carrots, finely grated
1 cup coconut, shredded
1 cup of raisins

Optional:  1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

When batter is completely mixed, pour into greased 9 X 13 pan or into two greased and floured eight-inch layer cake pans.   Bake the 9 X 13 cake for about 45 minutes and the layer cakes for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove cake from oven and cool completely.  If you are making a layer cake, let the cake cool for 15 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely. When cooled, frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

In a small mixing bowl whip together with an electric mixer:
1-8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
3 cups of powdered sugar

Add and mix until completely combined:
2 teaspoons of vanilla.

Garnish cake with 1 cup of shredded coconut.

Blogger Update:  I just learned that he has had a better day today.

 

 

What Is On My Mind Today? I Have Climbed the Mountain…The Trip to Montana

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Yellowstone Mountains

I remember the call from my oncologist so very clearly.  After months of battling brittle bones and being injected daily with bone hardening drugs into my stomach, just as I thought I had begun to make progress, he called me to tell me that my bone marrow biopsy was positive for multiple myeloma…a bone marrow cancer.

My first thought was thank God they finally know what’s slowly killing me.  My second thought was like the words of the song says, “Lord, this time you gave me a mountain. A mountain that I may never climb.  It isn’t a hill any longer. You gave me a mountain this time.”

It isn’t surprising that my first thoughts were of God and mountains. Throughout the four years that I battled multiple myeloma, at first just to survive, then to get mobility back, I would often mentally picture walking in the mountains of Montana.  Mountains have always been where I have felt closest to God and found peace.

Multiple myeloma, a bone marrow cancer, destroyed my bones.  They became so brittle that all of my thoracic and lumbar vertebra sustained compression fractures.  I once had six new fractures in my back at one time. I also endured several cracked ribs.

I would break my back doing the simplest of tasks including flossing my teeth, lifting a toilet lid and trying to pick a shirt up off of the floor.  For over 18 months I was imprisoned in a chin to hip hard body cast.  I spent over two and a half years confined to a hospital bed in my living room staring out of my living room window at a small oak tree in my front yard.  I was unable to stand or walk without using a walker for over three years. So, being able to hike in the mountains of Montana was a pretty far-fetched goal.

If in reality I couldn’t get to mountains, I could in my mind. I dreamed, I was in those mountains, often.  I was there when I was encased in that body cast. I spent time in them when imprisoned in the hospital bed in my living room. I was climbing those mountains the day they put the Hickman chemo port into my chest.  I visited those snow covered peaks each time they bored holes into my bones using only local anesthesia before they used a massive syringe to suck out bone marrow samples.

Those mountains were in my nursing home, rehab and hospital rooms. They were there the day I watched, “the nuclear bomb” of chemo for my stem cell plant slowly enter my body.

There were times during those years of battling cancer, fear, depression, chemo therapy and stem cell transplant side effects, mobility loss, and pain when my only contact with the great outdoors, for this outside farm girl, was dreaming of mountains and their meadows.

To beat my cancer I did everything the doctors asked me to do, except for one thing. I refused to use a wheelchair.  I had no intention of being trapped in one of those. For, I had decided, like Winston Churchill stated in his greatest and shortest speech to  “Never, never, never give up.”  In fact, I bought a silver dog tag engraved with those words to always wear around my neck on a necklace that included my cross, a silver family tree given to me by my grandson on a Mother’s Day long ago and the first ring my husband ever gave me.

After making the decision to fight on, no matter how sick I was, whenever someone helped me out of bed, I would push my walker around my kitchen island until I was too tired to go any further. First one, then five, 10, 20 and eventually a 100 laps a day.  I wore a trail into my hardwood floors.

During the long months that stretched into years when I was too sick and weak to leave my home, occupational and physical therapists would come to bathe me, and help me relearn the simplest of tasks.  First, I had to learn how to get out of bed without breaking more bones.  As I would sit up I could feel my weak spine bend sideways just like a willow branch and would pray that it would not snap and paralyze me.  It didn’t.

Eventually, I re-learned how to do stairs. Then, after months of being totally house bound, with two therapists, one on each side, I was allowed to go outside and push my walker to the end of my driveway and back.

There were many trips to the end of my driveway.   I can still remember the sheer terror of trying to step down from the driveway to the street for the first time without jarring my spine.  I did it, though, and my world began to grow. First just to the edge of our property line, next came the end of our street and eventually laps around the block pushing a walker with tennis balls on the bottom.  As I grew stronger, I mastered using a walker with wheels, next came two canes and eventually just one cane.

I walked and walked. I walked with shuffling feet, bent over, with a broken back.  I walked sick and exhausted from chemo. I walked bald.  I walked masked.  I walked on flat streets, inclines and hills.  I wore out many tennis balls.  I have worn out many rubber stoppers on the bottom of my canes. I climbed stairs many times a day just to strengthen my bones and leg muscles. Each step I took was me telling my cancer to go to blazes.

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Pushing my walker on a hiking trail at William O’Brien State Park

After such a hard and long cancer battle, you cannot imagine the joy of traveling out of state for the first time in almost six years; being in Great Falls, Montana, to visit and hug my dear Aunt Margaret who faithfully called me weekly throughout all of those years to lead me in Bible study; and to at last stand on a hiking trail in Montana and see a horizon filled with snow and wild flower covered mountains.

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Uncle Klynn and Aunt Margie

As I stood beneath a snow-capped footstool of God, the bible verse that I clung to throughout my cancer battle was again prayed.

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

It did not matter whether I could only lift my eyes to the top of a small oak tree in my front yard, or the summit of a great mountain, my help always came from the Lord….who never left me or forsook me.

With baby steps, a bit a grit and by the grace of God, I climbed the mountain!!!

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I hope you enjoy these vacation pictures!


Lots of Wild Horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

 

Beautiful Wild Flowers

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Animals galore! Bear, wolf, elk and antelope too! 

 

Geyser basins.

Waterfalls 

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Mountains!

Doug!

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Me!

It was a great trip. We hiked from sun up to sundown and I never even got sore muscles….Bully!!!!!

RECIPES: Church Ladies Critique and Chewy Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

anson aprons

Yesterday my parents came down for a visit and I made them lunch.  The menu included sauced pulled beef, Aunt Ida’s Two-Hour Buns, potato salad and cherry pie topped with vanilla ice cream.

There is just no way to serve pie and ice cream without remembering the many ice cream pie socials I attended in my youth.  I have baked a lot of pies.  The pies shared at a community events were always special.

Baked goods delivered to our church pie socials were as expertly critiqued as any work of art ever entered into a juried art show.  I have many fond memories of watching the faces of the grandmothers, mothers, aunts and neighbors as they assessed each newly delivered donated baked item.   So many of these dear ladies are now gone and live with the Lord.

These gals could convey a complete critique of  your pie baking performance with a single look or a gesture.  The silent language used by church ladies for bake good assessment had been passed down from generation to generation and mastered by each. So it paid to pay attention and learn to read faces.

However, unless you wanted to live in a state of perpetual self-disappointment, it was best, at a very young age,  to acquire the skill of recognizing people who never have anything good to say about anything or anyone.  I have always felt sorry for folks like that. It must be awful to always live in darkness and never see sunshine.

Once you have learned to “dust off your feet and move on” to people who actually have good intentions in mind, being judged by others, while not always fun, is a great opportunity for self-reflection, personal and professional growth.

Our church ladies could judge the quality of your pie and render a verdict without uttering so much as a word. I can still picture the sad shake of bent curly heads sporting raised eyebrows with a lone dimple appearing in a cheek above tightly compress lips when improvement was required.  And, remember the proud sense of mature accomplishment when you finally received the coveted in unison nod, slight grin and and saw that quick wink from behind bespectacled eyes.

As a Lutheran Swedish farmer’s child growing up in rural Minnesota, understanding nonverbal communications was a necessary skill.  To actually confront or praise someone in person was just not done. Outrageousness such as that would have been terrifying for entire congregation, sent some poor old soul into instant menopause, and probably would have lead to the cancellation of any future church activities that included the word social.

Church ladies taught life lessons. Such as, there is always room for improvement, and to get used to being judged, because its going to happen. They taught me that people are a lot like pie pastry production.  Oh, sure there are times when I want to just flatten an ornery one with my rolling pin. However, I know that only leads to a tougher crust.  So, when you are the object of judgement, fair or unfair, its best to think of the butter in pie crust. The total excellence and success of the pastry depends on the butter’s temperature which, like a person’s temperament, needs to remain a cool as possible.

choc choc cookies

Chewy, Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies have become my husband’s new favorite.  The trick to getting them chewy is the baking time.  Since you cannot see if a chocolate cookie is browning, you cannot see when they are getting done.  You must rely on baking time.  These cookies do not look done when you remove them from the oven and are quite soft.  They need to remain on the hot cookie sheet for about a minute before you remove them.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two cookie sheets.

1 cup butter, softened
2 Tablespoons cooking oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla
3/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups of flour
3 cups of chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer cream together butter, oil and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.  Blend in cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Add flour and mix until completely combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop heaping teaspoon-sized pieces of dough onto a cookie sheet.  Bake for 11 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand on cookie sheet for one minute.  Remove from cookie sheet.  Cookies will flatten and firm up as they cool.

These cookies are great alone, but with a scoop of vanilla ice cream between two cookies, they become a fantastic quick ice cream sandwich dessert.

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Matthew 7: 

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? …

Recipes: Here Comes the Kittens, Graduates, Brides and Heavenly Lemon Torte

 

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The other day, my father stopped by my nephew’s farm to say hello to his great granddaughter.  This young preschooler is quite the little farm girl.  She helps her mom and dad with all aspects of farm work and has since the day she was born.

I am convinced that this youngster knew the difference between a plant and a weed before she could walk. There were many naps taken inside tractor or combine cabs when she was a baby and toddler. This preschooler has mastered farm tool identification, fishing, hunting, eating fish and wild game, taking eggs away from old hens, unflinching helping her dad rid the farm of unwanted critters and, if need be, steering a stuck vehicle out of its muddy prison.

She can be seen traipsing around wearing the farm kid uniform of a dirty face, hands and clothes smartly accented with boots or shoes glistening with sticky slimy blue-black Minnesota mud. Yup, she is pretty much the average farm kid.

One of her greatest loves is her farm cats. She loves those cats and they reciprocate the sentiment. Which is as it should be as both are adorable. The arrival of spring on her farm means the arrival of new kittens.  So, each spring she is inundated with same question over and over again, “Got any new baby kittens, yet?”

When my dad got to her farm, he found her sitting on the house’s front porch step holding and gently petting one of her beloved cats.  So, he asked her the standard question, “Got any new baby kittens, yet?”  She shouted back, “Not yet!.”  Then, with a flourish worthy of a great circus showman, she hoisted the cat high into the air and with great joy exclaimed, “But, this one is plump full!.”

Just like as new kittens arrive each and every spring on the farm, so too, do the special celebrations life such as graduations, confirmations, and bridal showers.  For those of you who are host or hosting one of these traditional springtime events check out my blog posts called, “Salad, Bar and Cookie Recipes for Graduation Celebrations” and “Graduation Party Recipes for Meats, Beans, Appetizers and a Couple of Punches.” These posts provide a variety of excellent recipe options.

However, Heavenly Lemon Torte is the recipe you are looking for if you want to serve a light, tasty, elegant dessert at a Bridal Shower.

Heavenly Lemon Torte

You must use a table top mixer to make this torte.  Hand mixers do cannot whip the egg whites stiff enough. 

Meringue Crust:
7 egg whites
1/2 Tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups of sugar

In a a large stainless steel or glass mixing bowl mix the egg whites, vinegar, vanilla and sugar together.  Then beat on high speed for about 15 minutes until mixture becomes very stiff.  Pour into an ungreased 9 X 13 cake pan.  Bake for one hour in a 300 degree oven. Turn oven off, after one hour, and leave crust in the oven for another 20 minutes. Remove and cool.

Lemon Filling:
7 egg yolks
1 cup of sugar
6 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 lemon rind

In a double boiler cooking pot, mix ingredients together. Cook until mixture becomes thick.  Stir occasionally.  Remove from heat and cool completely.

Whipping Cream Topping: 
Whip one pint of heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.  Cover cooled torte with one half of whipped cream.  Cover with lemon filling.  Top with remaining whipped cream.

Refrigerate.

Bloggers note: This recipe comes from the home of Karen Peterson and can be found in the cookbook, Trinity’s Book of Heritage and Recipes, Trinity Lutheran Church, Grove City, Minnesota.  

My great-grandfathers helped build this church and served on its first church council.  I was baptized, confirmed, bridal showered and was married here, almost 39 years ago, when Trinity Lutheran was still known as First Lutheran Church. It became Trinity Lutheran when all of the Lutheran churches in my small hometown of Grove City, MN, came together and united.