Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Love You Anyway

I have been listening to my Jarrett Burns CD over and over and over. I noticed that the two songs that I repeat the most (although I love them all) are both duets. You can start the music here if you’d like to listen to it while you read the post. The lyrics are toward the end of the post, where I talk about them. (Sorry for the crazy formatting on this long post. I don't have time to figure out what I did to the HTML. The post ends with the question in purple.) 

I love duets, especially with a man and a woman singing together. 2 people singing, using their own unique voices, often singing different notes, sometimes even different words at the same time, but when they both do their part well and work together well, it is beautiful music. Of course, this is like a good marriage.

I’ve been debating writing marriage posts for months. Who would read what a divorced woman has to say about how to have a good marriage? And it’s emotionally hard for me to study and write about it. I thought about starting a series of posts entitled “Preparing for Mr. Right, #_” and then each post has another number. I thought that would get way too depressing to see post #2000 and #99,999, etc. so I decided against that. But I do want to learn, change and prepare now so that if I ever get a second chance, I can be ready, well, more ready. So the posts are really for me, but just sharing with you the quotes I collect and some of my ponderings and asking for your ideas too.  

So back to duets… Check out my beautiful and talented friend Elizabeth Sanchez's painting called “A Balancing Act”. She is an awesome painter. You can see more of her art at her website or her blog Personal Epiphanies. You can even meet her and some other women artists at Art Access Gallery 230 South 500 West #125, Salt Lake City on Feb. 9 from 6-9 pm. (Anybody wanna go with me?)
Isn’t this exactly what a marriage is like? It is so much work and you feel like at any moment you might fall off. And of course, there is the adversary making it harder to stay poised on the ball, keeping the marriage together. In order to remain steady, you must help your partner and allow them to help you. Sometimes you might feel like you are doing all of the supporting and holding, while your spouse just struggles, but if you let go because you are tired or impatient, you will fall too. Both husband and wife have to work together, doing their part well, but being aware of what the other needs. That is so not easy!
“Marriage, in its truest sense, is a partnership of equals, with neither person exercising dominion over the other, but with each encouraging, comforting, and helping the other…

Marriage partners must be loyal to one another and faithful in their marriage covenants in thought, word, and deed. The Lord has said, “Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else” (D&C 42:22). The phrase “none else” teaches that no person, activity, or possession should ever take precedence over the marriage relationship.”    LDS Study Topics: Marriage

My friend Shauna gave me the book Covenant Hearts  by Bruce C. Hafen before she realized that we had already filed for divorce. I still read the book and it is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I will be quoting from it in future marriage posts. I highly recommend you to add it to your reading list this year. Soooo much for me to learn. If you don’t have the book, you can look up some of his talks. Many of the talks are word for word (or almost) in the book, like this quote I took from one of his talks.   

“When troubles come, the parties to a contractual marriage seek happiness by walking away. They marry to obtain benefits and will stay only as long as they’re receiving what they bargained for. But when troubles come to a covenant marriage, the husband and wife work them through. They marry to give and to grow, bound by covenants to each other, to the community, and to God. Contract companions each give 50 percent; covenant companions each give 100 percent…

Marriage is by nature a covenant, not just a private contract one may cancel at will. Jesus taught about contractual attitudes when he described the “hireling,” who performs his conditional promise of care only when he receives something in return. When the hireling “seeth the wolf coming,” he “leaveth the sheep, and fleeth … because he … careth not for the sheep.” By contrast, the Savior said, “I am the good shepherd, … and I lay down my life for the sheep.”  Many people today marry as hirelings. And when the wolf comes, they flee. This idea is wrong. It curses the earth, turning parents’ hearts away from their children and from each other”.
Bruce C. Hafen, "Covenant Marriage"   Ensign, Nov. 1996, 26
That leads me back into the lyrics of the song. 
I Love You Anyway by Aaron Edson
V. 1
Things have not been easy
I guess everybody knows
We've had our highs
But oh we've had our lows
I hope that you remember
Those cozy summer nights
When something deep inside you
Told you this was right
And even when you tell me
We don't fit that well we
Got something beautiful I hope you agree
Cause you mean so much to me

That I love you anyway
Yes I love you anyway
Even on the rainy days
When you won't meet my gaze
And there's nothin left to say
That's when I know its true
That I was meant to be with you
So you can do what you may
But I will always stay cause I love you anyway

V. 2
Don't know if I'll ever
Be what you really need
But I'll just keep on tryin
Even if I don't succeed
I really hope I get there
Even if for just one day
And if I don't, I really hope you say

Chorus: 1X

Nobody likes to think that
Someone sees the ugly in them
But people wind up all alone
If they don't let somebody in them
And its a bit naive to think
That lovin, livin' together we won't see
All the shameful things inside us
But if we love, then we'll be free to be
You and me and we'll agree that unconditionally
Chorus: 1X

It’s a couple struggling to make things work, but they know it’s supposed to be work, and they keep trying and they don’t give up because of their love for each other. They know we are to be longsuffering and that there is much hardship but blessings in enduring, instead of fleeing. (This part brings out the tears every time.)

Even on the rainy days
When you won't meet my gaze
And there's nothin left to say

I also really like the end of the song, where they sing about how they see each other’s faults and their bad sides, but they know that because they are loved, it’s okay. That person isn’t going to leave you because of them.

But if we love, then we'll be free to be
You and me and we'll agree that unconditionally

Isn’t that what we all want (and many of you are blessed to have)? Someone to love us even when it’s hard and doesn’t seem to be working, someone who we feel safe being ourselves with. I know that’s what Heavenly Father wants in a celestial marriage.  

So, how do you stay balanced if you are married, or what is one way you feel you could use support from a future spouse if you’re not?    

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Winner This Week

Sorry for another quick announcement post. I just don't have time to write an actual post with thoughts and photos with all the homework and studying I have.

The signed Nikki Forova CD (and chocolate) will find its way to...

Nic, from The Teran Clan, the winner!

I hope you will give it a good home and love it lots. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

CSN Stores Winner

I have just a minute to post the winner to this CSN Stores giveaway. Many great people entered, but chose...

Us (AKA Jared from House of Andes)! Congrats!!

I'll get you the info for the gift certificate and you and Debbie can get busy looking through ALL the products to choose from.

I hope I can host another CSN Stores giveaway soon so another fun reader can go shopping!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Power Each Sunday

Many years ago, I started mentally taking note at the beginning of each sacrament meeting of the cloth that is placed over the sacrament table once the water and bread trays have been prepared. As many other people, I notice that it looks like Christ’s body covered by a cloth after his crucifixion. This helps me to get my mind where it should be before we sing the sacrament hymn with words that can remind of us of the important ordinance we participate in.

One recent Sunday during the sacrament I was thinking about those people who were there during the crucifixion who didn’t have an idea of the divinity of our Savior. Some of them injured Christ. Some of them mocked Him. Then they left and didn’t give another thought to Him. That made me sad to think of Him being treated like that.

Then I thought of us. How many of us have eaten the torn body (bread) and drank his blood (water) without a thought of our Savior and the atonement? How many of us have taken the sacrament with reverence, but then immediately afterward, our thoughts are turned to the world or our lives and we do not give another thought to Jesus Christ, his sacrifice and our covenants with our Heavenly Father?
I am so grateful for the blessing of the sacrament as my re-baptism, allowing me to be purified and clean again along with my repentance. I have felt this wonderful blessing in my life and we all can. Besides this part of the sacrament, there is another part that I have been blessed to feel. In my recent struggles with my divorce, I was at times physically weak and I felt so unable to stand on my own emotionally. I knew I wasn’t alone, but still I suffered and prayed. During a particularly difficult week, I could not wait until the sacrament so I could feel close to my Heavenly Father. It is difficult for me to describe, but as I swallowed the bread, it was as if the power of the sacrament lifted me up. I actually felt a physical strengthening, not just spiritual. It is such a blessing for me to be able to take the sacrament each week, to remember my Savior and His atonement and my Heavenly Father’s plan, to renew my covenants, and to receive a spiritual and physical strength that I couldn’t receive any other way.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

You Missed the House Concert!

I know I already did a whole post on Nikki Forova, but I went to another concert with her and several other artists and it was AWESOME! So I gotta share about all these people. The talent was just OOZING out the windows. None of my friends could go due to the last minute notice so I took my kids and Sabrina's friend and we had fun. And you can too. (Read to the end!)
Elisa doesn't like this photo, but I think she looks cute and playful. Alex would not be in a photo, but he was there with us.

The opening act was Jeremy Tyler, singer/songwriter on keyboard and he sure warmed up the audience for the evening.
Here's a video from him since you weren't there to hear him.

Then April Meservy, singer/songwriter who has won Pearl Awards, been on several EFY CDs and lots of other albums and compilations, stepped up to the microphone with her guitar. FUN! She has a new album that you can buy on her site. When I asked my kids what they thought of her, they said that they liked how her songs told a story, and of course that she has a beautiful voice.
April sang a great duet (that she co-wrote) with another singer/songwriter who was Alexander's favorite of the night. He is fun and has a great voice. Do you remember him from American Idol Season 8?
He got to go to Hollywood and then apparently didn't make it further, but he is going pretty far on his own. If you haven't heard of him, MAKE SURE you check him out. His name is Jarrett Burns. Check out his music at that link and buy his GREAT CD while you're there. I really like Easy on the Soul.  He sings weekly at the Vista Lounge at Montage Deer Valley so go check him out!

April Moriarty was on violin for several of the songs and Rob Qualls on the guitar. See how much you missed???
And the red-head on the keyboard is Nikki Forova that I posted about. I had written her a quick email to let her know how great her concert at the Springville Museum of Art was and she wrote me back with the info to this concert. When I asked her at this concert to sign my CD, she asked my name. I said I was Valerie. She said, "You're Valerie? Thank you so much for coming." I thought it was so nice of her to reply to the email and then to remember my name. 

...And guess what I got for one of you!!! 
Nikki's CD with her music that you will be happy is going through your head all day. Fun and beautiful songs! It's even signed. Someday when she gets even bigger, you will have her very first CD! I love supporting talented indie projects, especially great ones like this. Be sure to see my post on her if you haven't already so I can introduce you to her. Nikki Forova

To enter to win the CD, along with some yummy chocolate of some sort since I always gotta throw that in, just leave a comment telling me a singer you love to listen to by 10 am Tuesday, January 25th. I'll draw a random name and then post it here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Sun Out Yet?

If you live anywhere that has icky weather today like there is here where I live, you need some sunshine to make your day brighter and I have it! Another CSN giveaway! These are always so exciting. I love that CSN Stores is giving one of my totally awesome readers a $65 gift certificate to use on any of their gazillion products in their online stores. So if you're thinking of spring already (like me) and wanna look at swing sets or just about anything else, make sure to stop by CSN Stores online when you're shopping around and keep your fingers crossed that you'll be the winner.
To enter, just leave a comment on this post before 10 am on Monday, January 24th. Then I'll draw a winner of the $65 gift certificate and post it. Because of shipping charges, this is only open to US and Canadian visitors. Sorry!

But come back soon because I'll have two giveaways this week. Funny how it always seems to work out that way for me. I sure love being able to give fun stuff to my blogger friends who make me happy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Nikki Forova

You should be jealous of me!! I seriously still can't believe that this was free! I went to a concert at the Springville Museum of Art.
I've been to many of their community and family nights and they have been fun, but nothing compared to this concert! If I would have known how amazing she was, I would have invited everyone I know to go with me.
Nikki Forova is from Ukraine, trained in piano, dance and voice. She is so talented- really, really talented. She wrote the music on her album, which is now on my wish list.  If you go to her website HERE, you can listen to all of the songs. The bottom left corner has the controls to forward to another song if you'd like. Some of my favorites are After Today, Skylines in Sunlight and Wing to Wing. But I have to say that the videos and songs on her website are good, but do not compare to hearing her in person, right in front of the piano, watching her energy and listening to her voice right there! 

UPDATE: Come to her concert at 420 South 1000 East, Orem Tuesday, January 18th at 7:30. It's a home so don't be surprised when you get there. You can go to her tour info. I don't know what the parking situation is. She'll be doing the concert with April Meservy, who I haven't heard, but sounds fun on her site. Hope to see you there!  

An absolutely amazing artist!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mint Chocolate Ice Cream

I found this creamy, delicious ice cream recipe at Baking and Boys, where Katrina is always making things that tempt me. She got the recipe from Anna at Cookie Madness, where I have gone for quite a while now to drool over her food too. The only thing wrong with making this is that it doesn't make a lot, only about 4 cups. How can you pig out on something when you have to share it and that's all you have? My kids' answer is to just make more. Sounds yummy! On both blogs, their photos showed green ice cream, but there was no food coloring in the recipe so I added it here. As you can tell, it was starting to melt by the time I got around to taking a photo, but we were about to eat it so I couldn't re-freeze it for a better pic.
Mint Chocolate Ice Cream
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 T. cornstarch
2 large eggs
1 c. whole milk
2 c. heavy cream (divided)
1 3/4 t. peppermint extract (not mint)
1/8 t. vanilla
3-4 drops green food coloring
3 oz. (or to taste) grated dark chocolate

Whisk the sugar, cornstarch and eggs together in a mixing bowl until light.

In a heavy saucepan set over medium heat, bring the 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of the cream to a simmer. Pour the simmering cream mixture into the egg mixture whisking constantly, then return the mixture to the saucepan. Reduce heat to about medium low and whisk or stir constantly until the mixture thickens – it should not come to a complete boil, but rather thicken just to the consistency of thick gravy and it usually takes 7 minutes or so. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into the mixture, then stir in the peppermint extract, vanilla, and food coloring. Chill for a few hours or overnight until very cold.

Following the ice cream maker’s directions, mix the ice cream until thick. During last 5 minutes of ice cream mixing, add the grated chocolate. Spoon into a lidded container and let sit in the freezer to ripen until you are ready to serve it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Go Cougars!

I took the kids to the sold out BYU vs Air Force basketball game today and it was lots of fun. We got there very early so we could have a close parking space and not have to walk too far in the cold. So we took some pics, but I couldn't get them to all sit still at the same time. 
So I took some individual photos of my gorgeous children. 

Then we tried again with groups. I dunno.

Warming up. Go BYU!
About to start!!!!
BYU WON!!! Go Cougars!
We stuck around for a while afterward and took more photos while everyone else was clearing out. One of the kids put Alex's hat on me and Sabrina said I should have pictures taken because I look like a "sporty mom". Not sure the shirt is too sporty. Maybe I can get a BYU shirt for the next time.
Sabrina had more fun on the rails than watching the game. She didn't like me yelling and cheering "in her ears".
 This game reminded me of other basketball games in the long past. The first basketball game that I remember going to was a junior high game that I went to because my friend Stacie had a crush on one (or two) of the players. It was so much fun. Then when I lived in Miami our bishop was sorta of  (or very) connected and he took all of the young men and young women to the Miami Heat game...twice...and we got to sit in the VIP box up at the top, all catered and soft seats and everything. SO MUCH FUN! I loved it. Even though today we sat on the very top bleacher seats, it was great. I love spending time with my treasures.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ultimate Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookie Recipe

This is finally the last recipe from my holiday goodies. I found these at Hoosier Homemade. Liz, the Cupcake Lady there, found this recipe on the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter site, but I used butter. They are chock-full of delicious additions. These are big cookies and super tasty. 
Ultimate Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookie Recipe
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 c. butter
1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or chips)
6 oz. white chocolate, coarsely chopped (or chips)
1/2 c. EACH dried cranberries and coarsely chopped toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 375°. Combine flour, cocoa powder and baking soda in medium bowl; set aside.

Beat butter with sugars in large bowl with electric mixer or wooden spoon until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture just until blended. Stir in chocolate, cranberries and pecans.

Drop mixture by 1/4-cupfuls, 3 inches apart, on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 11 minutes or until edges just begin to set. Do not over bake; cookies will firm as they cool. Cool 2 minutes on wire rack; remove from sheets and cool completely.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Smile Today

On the morning of New Year’s Eve I attended a funeral of a wonderful woman named Elaine. This was the third funeral I’ve attended in the last few months. As I’m sure most people do, when they were talking about Elaine’s life, I started contemplating my own. I noticed that there were two big things that were mentioned over and over about her life, and the same in the other funerals—happiness and service.

I have decided to use these two as goals for me this year. I’m still working on the President Hinckley’s 9 B’s (from my I am Determined  post) and these go right along with them. I know I still have to work on all of them, but I feel like I’m progressing. I do have many reasons to be happy and I want to show that happiness to my children and radiate it to all those around me.

For many, many years, I had the first part of this quote on my mirror or refrigerator after receiving it from a Relief Society teacher when I was 18.

“The attitude with which we approach each day controls the outcome. We must be more concerned with what we do with what happens to us than what happens to us. Proper attitude toward self is an eternal pursuit. Positive personal attitude will insist that we deliver our best, even though less might seem adequate for the moment.”
Marvin J. Ashton, Who's Losing?, in Conference Report, Oct. 1974, p. 57; or Ensign, Nov. 1974, p. 41
(Of course, you should read the whole talk from the link.)
Love it still even after all these years! And it reminds me of something (maybe seemingly unrelated at first) that I read on Pitterle Postings that has made an impact on me this past month or so. (If you read Patty’s blog, you know that her posts always make you think.) Her post was about gratitude and she mentioned this quote: “There are no ordinary moments.” I started thinking lots about it. Every moment that passes, I am changing myself for the better or worse. Every decision of how I use my time or what I am thinking of makes me more into the person I will be someday. With each moment, I am creating the person someone will marry (even if it is in the next life), the person who will stand before my Heavenly Father one day, the person who aspires to be worthy to be with her children in the celestial kingdom. I cannot waste those moments by not being happy.

I wanted to share these thoughts with you, but wanted a few quotes to go along with them, so I searched in my quote file and found this one which went PERFECTLY along with what I was thinking.

"Regardless of your present age, you are building your life; it will be cheap and shoddy or it will be valuable and beautiful; it will be full of joy and happiness, or it can be full of misery. It all depends upon you and your attitudes, for your altitude, or the height you climb is dependent upon your attitude or your response to situations."
Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 161
So I am excited to start a happy 2011 where I can find time to serve others, work on the 9 B’s and be happy during it all. Right now, I’m feeling pretty happy and smiling!

May we never let the things we can't have, or don't have, or shouldn't have, spoil our enjoyment of the things we do have and can have. As we value our happiness let us not forget it, for one of the greatest lessons in life is learning to be happy without the things we cannot or should not have.”
Elder Richard L. Evans

“There can be no genuine happiness separate and apart from the home, and every effort made to sanctify and preserve its influence is uplifting to those who toil and sacrifice for its establishment... There is no happiness without service, and there is no greater service than that which converts the home into a divine institution, and which promotes and preserves family life.”
Joseph Fielding Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 300

"Be cheerful in all that you do. Live joyfully. Live happily. Live enthusiastically, knowing that God does not dwell in gloom and melancholy, but in light and love."
Ezra Taft Benson, The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p. 339

’With God’s help, good cheer permits us to rise above the depressing present or difficult circumstances. … It is sunshine when clouds block the light’ (Elder Marvin J. Ashton, Ensign, May 1986, p. 66). Each woman is responsible for her own happiness. Let us strive to cultivate this spirit of gladness in our homes and let it shine in our faces wherever we go.
Barbara W. Winder, "Finding Joy in Life", Ensign, Nov. 1987, 95

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Larger-than-Life Praline Cheesecake & More

We had lots of good food at my parents' house for Christmas! This cheesecake recipe was what I made for dessert and after the recipe, I included some other delicious recipes from other family memebers that we got to enjoy. I found the cheesecake recipe at Taste and Tell where Deborah is always posting the best recipes with beautiful photos. This praline topping is so good that I plan on making it and just eating it plain sometime. Oh, maybe that's breaking a resolution. Soooooo good!

Larger-than-Life Praline Cheesecake

2 c. crushed graham crackers
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon
Pumpkin Filling
3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 (15-oz.) can pure pumpkin
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground ginger
Praline Topping
1 c. pecans
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream
1 T. unsalted butter
1 T. vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt

To make the crust: Line the bottom of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. In a large bowl, stir together the crushed graham crackers with the melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Preheat the oven to 350º.

To make the filling: Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl on medium-high speed about 1 minute, until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium-high for 20 seconds after each addition. Add the vanilla, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger; beat on medium speed about 1 minute, until incorporated.

Pour the filling over the crust. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan and set it on the center rack of the oven. Pour enough boiling water into the larger pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake about 1 hour, until the filling is set and golden brown on top. Cool the cheesecake on a rack about 3o minutes, then chill for several hours or overnight. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and set it on a serving plate.

To make the praline topping: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden brown and aromatic. Coarsely chop the nuts.

Stir together the brown sugar, cream, and butter in a saucepan set over medium heat. Boil the mixture for about 1 1/2 minutes, adjusting the heat to make sure it does not boil over. Do not stir. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla, salt, and pecans. Cool the topping at least 15 minutes before pouring over the top of the chilled cheesecake. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until ready to serve. The cheesecake will keep, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

My mom (who doesn't have a blog, but would have a cool one if she did) made an addictive cheeseball that we had with crackers. I didn't take a picture of it on Christmas, but I did at home the next day from the little container of it I took home. Sorry it is not a good photo.

Mix together one package softened cream cheese with one small can of slivered olives and one small can of jalapeños or green chilies. Put it in desired container and chill. Serve with crackers or whatever you like.

My sister Heather made this Squash Casserole. I wanted to try it, but it was even better than I thought it'd be! You can click on the link to her blog (her name) to get the recipe.
My sister-in-law Debbie made two delicious types of cookies. She doesn't have her own blog, but her husband, my brother Jared does and he posted the recipe there.
My sister Tiffany and her husband Adam live in Georgia so we didn't get to see them this Christmas, but I didn't want to leave her out. So click on her name to see food she made and recently posted on her blog, even though it's not a holiday recipe. 

My sister Sheri doesn't have a blog, but here are some cookies that she baked up for all of us. They are like a sugar cookie with sprinkles baked in. Pretty, huh?

Sprinkle Cookies
2½ c.  flour
1 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 lg. eggs
2 t. vanilla
½ c. multi-colored sprinkles

Preheat the oven to 375º. Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until just combined.

Place the sprinkles in a small bowl. Scoop up a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll it between your palms to form a ball. Roll the top half of each ball in the sprinkles. Place the balls, sprinkle side up, on an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving about 3 inches between cookies.

Bake the cookies until they are pale golden around the edges but still soft on top, about 10 minutes. Let them stand on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days.
Yield: 2 dozen

Good food and super people who I love!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Goodbye 2010. Although it was a hard year, the last couple of weeks have been full of good times with family and friends (old and new).

I finally got to meet Tara, who has been a blogger friend of mine for a while now. She knows my sister Heather in real life. A while ago Heather had a link to Tara's blog on her blog and I clicked on it and commented and we started visiting each other's blogs. Tara has a new blog (although she is such a busy single mommy/student that she doesn't get to update much) called  Yes, I Make My Own Stuff. No, I'm Not a Dirty Hippie. She is awesome in person too. And I got to spend time with other friends (like Sherami and her family who used to live near me, but now live too far for my taste) and to talk to others on the phone too. I had a great end to 2010 and am looking forward to a good 2011! 

I still have a few Christmas goodies recipes to post so here's another. I promise I'll get a pondering post up pretty soon.  

I have seen a similar recipe on a few different blogs, but I originally found this at A Recipe A Day and tried it out on our neighbors' treats plates. I didn't think the cookie part was special, but loved the bites with the cherry and fudge topping. 

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

1 (10-oz.) jar maraschino cherries
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk

Drain the cherries, reserving 3 teaspoons. juice. Cut cherries in half and set aside. Preheat oven to 350º.

Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the egg, vanilla, and 2 tsps of the reserved cherry juice; beat until well blended.

Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and gradually add to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Press your thumb in the middle of each ball and place a cherry half in each indentation.

Put chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until chips melt and the mixture is well blended. Stir in remaining 1 tsp of cherry juice. Spoon 1 tsp mixture over each cherry half. Bake for 10 minutes.

Makes 3 dozen or so depending on the size of your cookies.

Japanese Cheesecake

My son Alex, who was in Japan for 2 years, has asked me a couple of times to make Japanese cheesecake. I've never had it before, so I di...