Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Thrill of Hope

Yesterday ended up being a pretty crazy day, which led to a crazy night, which means I ended up not taking a single picture at The Well.  And that's rare.  I really wanted to show you the finished letters that spelled out HOPE, so I stole reused this Instagram picture that a student took.  Needless to say, this doesn't do it justice at all, but I wanted to give you an idea.  Again, the H is dozens of round Christmas ornaments, the O is a wreath, the P is covered in Christmas lights, and the E is made up of gifts.  Next week I'll do my best to have some better pictures!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wrapping For a Reason

I'm sure I have said this before, but one thing I love about my job is that I get to do a wide variety of things; a wide variety of random things sometimes.  I spent a good part of today wrapping empty boxes with Christmas wrapping paper.  They're for the set design for these last two weeks of The Well, where we'll have large letters spelling out HOPE hanging above the drums.  Each letter will be decorated with a different Christmas decoration.  H will be covered with round Christmas ornaments, O will be a big wreath, P will be covered in lights, and the E is covered with gifts.  I'm glad that I know though, that these random things do serve a purpose.  They're helping to create environments that appeal to students and help them engage in worship!

Pictures of the finished product will come later this week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Crescent Cookies

Another Pinterest recipe!  These were super simple to make, and apparently very tasty to eat.  I made them for The Well band to have to munch on during their practice on Tuesday night.  Usually there will be leftovers and I'll go grab one for myself when I get there Wednesday afternoon to set up, but when I got there yesterday there was nothing but an empty plate!

I would make these again, but I would make one change - I wouldn't use all of the cream cheese mixture.  I like cream cheese, but I wish there had been a little bit less of it and more crescent role.

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Crescent Cookies

1 can seamless crescent rolls
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, room temp
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
Unroll the crescent roll. Stretch out the dough into a rectangle. (If you can't find the seamless crescent dough then just make sure you pinch the seams together well.)
Spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of the crescent dough - leave a gap at the edge of about 1/2 inch.
Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top. Roll the crescent roll up tightly and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Once chilled - preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Slice the cookie log into about 1/4 inch slices. Bake on prepared sheet for 10 - 15 minutes, until golden brown.
Let cool on sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pecan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Not this past weekend, but the one before we had a women's retreat, and we brought all of our own food for the weekend.  We had a bunch of bananas left over and at the end of last week they were sitting on the dining room table at the office turning brown.  So what do you do when life hands you brown bananas?  Make banana bread of course! 

I searched around for some recipes, found one that sounded easy enough, and then tweaked it a little bit based on some ingredients I had on hand.  The original called for walnuts, but I used pecans because I had some left over from making these Pecan Pie Cookies, and I used up the rest of a bag of mini chocolate chips left over from something else.  The recipe also calls for sour cream, and you might think that sounds strange, but you can't taste it at all, and it makes the bread moist, but not soggy. 

I finally used my cute little thrifted dish, first seen here.

Pecan Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
2 bananas, sliced in fourths

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the butter mixture until smooth. Finally, fold in the sour cream, chocolate chips, pecans and bananas. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Birthday Week

I know what you're probably thinking, "FINALLY! A new post!"  Sorry for the two week absence, but it has been a jam-packed few weeks!  And somewhere in the middle of all of it, I had a birthday!  My birthday was on a Sunday, and on a weekend when we were having a women's retreat.  Around 12:05am on Sunday I heard the door to our little cabin open and lots of footsteps shuffle in.  I had a hunch of what was getting ready to happen, so I called out "What is going on?!?" and heard a few muffled giggles.  Then all those footsteps started up the stairs to where my bed was and I was welcomed with a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday and banging pots and pans lids.  Happy birthday to me indeed.

At our leadership small group that night I had a Happy Birthday balloon waiting on me.  And then later that night at the small group I lead, the students in my group made me a cake and a card, and brought me flowers!

Monday morning at the office there was a scavenger hunt waiting for me.  There is a small group that meets there on Sunday nights, and all of the students wrote me a little note.  Then the notes had clues written on them that led me all over the office and concluded at the dining room table where there was candy taped underneath.

I also got a L.L. Bean tote bag, a new tablecloth, and this super fun package from a friend.  It was full of all sorts of goodies, and everything was pink and orange.  How fun!  Getting this package was the perfect ending to a great birthday week!

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