Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Hershey Kiss Cookies

I'm planning on making Christmas cookies this weekend. But I'm thinking about leaving out the sprinkles... what do you think? Happy Baking!


  • 48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Candy Cane Mint Candies
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Red or green sugar crystals, granulated sugar or powdered sugar (garnish)


    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Remove wrappers from candies.
    2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; add alternately with milk to butter mixture, beating until well blended.
    3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in red sugar, granulated sugar, powdered sugar or a combination of any of the sugars. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
    4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and cookie is set. Remove from oven; cool 2 to 3 minutes. Press a candy piece into center of each cookie. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.

    Friday, December 5, 2014

    Burdened Hearts

    I'll admit it, I'm one of those people who gets most of their news updates from Facebook. I tend to be fairly out of touch with current events unless I hear something via word-of-mouth. Anyways... today I read something that left me scratching my head, I suppose you might too after this post.

    I came across one of numerous articles about Abortion protests. And honestly, I was heartbroken for those who stood on the side of abortion rights, but at the same time, I didn't know how to respond to the protestors (not that I could have an actual conversation with them).


    Let me begin by saying that I don't think I need to give a drawn out explanation of my views. All you need to know is that I am pro-life. The reasons are out there, and I already wrote out my views in an essay that I composed in High School. If you are interested, a simplified version of my beliefs stems from my faith in God and the practical science of pregnancy and the progression of fetal development.

    Here's the reason why I wanted to write down my thoughts on this particular article:

    A few years ago, I remember hearing stories from some of my friends who don't share my convictions about how disgusted they were with pro-life protestors. Some might say that this is a good thing. It means that indeed, the protests are getting people's attention. But I don't know if that's the right response.

    To be truthful, the protestors angered my friends to the point where they closed their ears to any reasoning on the pro-life side.

    Now you see my dilemma.

    What are we to do? Abortion is a real issue and I believe that there are very easy, practical reasons for not supporting that "choice." Most pro-lifers protest outside of Planned Parenthood locations because they have come to realize that many women are afraid and uninformed. I suppose this is true in many situations. I've also heard of many situations where protests have indeed made women question abortion and seek out more information. So is there some validation to protests? I would say so.

    But what about those who don't have such a response? My heart aches to think we are hardening hearts to this cause.

    Does this place us at an impasse? Don't protest because it make people turn a deaf ear. Do protest because it informs women?

    I think that we - as Christians - shouldn't be known for what we are AGAINST and instead be known for what we are FOR.

    We believe that God loves his creation - both great and small, both new and old. 
    We believe that God loves children, regardless of their conception 
    We believe that God takes care of us - even when we are in difficult circumstances. He promises to see us through if we trust Him.  
    We believe that babies are the everyday miracle (and really cute). 
    We believe that God will make a way. 
    I wonder what would happen if protestors changed their signs to be less critical and more hopeful. Isn't that what our world needs anyways? Hope?

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

    The Doctor's Lady (Judy Hedlund)

    Lately, I've been in a reading mood, which of course, means that I've been scrounging amazon for new books. So I decided to share my newest read with you.

    As I always do, I skimmed a sample of the writing in google books, but I liked what I saw, so I bought it (It was a fairly cheap ebook). Honestly, I won't pay more than five dollars for an ebook. If it costs more than that, I prefer a hard copy. For a hard copy and a hard copy alone will I put out $10. But that's just me.

    Anyways, Jody Hedlund's writing (I had never picked up anything by her before) was incredibly reminiscent of Janette Oke to a certain extent. I didn't expect that. But I believe, her style is largely in part due to the fact that the Doctor's Lady was inspired by Marcus and Narcissa Whitman.

    I didn't realize the historical relevance until I read the author's note, but it was such a sweet story (and I do appreciate good research) that I wanted to applaud her for turning a true story into an engaging, novel-worthy story.

    Here's the BCC:
    Priscilla White knows she'll never be a wife or mother and feels God's call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.  
    Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God's leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.
    I really enjoyed the book. For the most part, I don't read, "based on a true story" type books because true story don't always carry the same tension that something more fictional might. Still, I loved the historical details, many of which were direct parallels to the Whitman story, even the secondary characters of Mr. and Mrs. Spalding. And maybe I'm biased because one of my own characters is doctor, but Eli Earnest was amazing. He and Priscilla... oh my goodness, I looked forward to every scene where they were in the same space (I can't say "room" because they were on a wagon train) because they would have the best conversations.

    If you enjoy the history of the west, or even the history of American evangelism and mission work - this book give great insight (with a wonderful flare of romance). She really captured the idea that often, People of the early 1800s (in this case, the 1830s) believed that the Native American ways (in this book, the Nez Perce) were heathen and inferior - it was their job to civilize them - rather than simply bring Christ into the culture. I suppose I never considered that. But Priscilla definitely enters the story with this worldview (Eli challenges her).

    But in summary, I would count this book among my favorite combinations of "historical" and "romance" in the truest sense.

    Find it on Amazon
    Find it on
    Find it on GoodReads

    Monday, December 1, 2014


    I have a new favorite recipe in my book.

    Currently, I'm doing all of my Christmas baking. In the midst of all the cookie craze, I decided to attempt something new.

    I'm sure that I've mentioned it before, but a significant portion of my heritage is Swedish. So I tried to make Pepparkakors (Ginger Cookies). They came out pretty darn good, if I do say so myself.

    • 1 cup butter (softened)
    • 3 1/4 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ginger
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (you can use molasses)
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • Extra flour for rolling out dough
    1. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Set aside.
    2. Stir together butter and sugar until creamy.
    3. Add the egg, maple syrup, and water to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat the mixture until it's fluffy.
    4. Stir the dry ingredients into the mixture 1 cup at a time. Mix well after each cup. 
    5. Chill the dough for an hour
    6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Set out ungreased cookie sheets.
    9. Divide the dough in half and roll it out on a floured surface. Aim for 1/8 inch thick.
    10. Use cookie cutters (I like flowers and other scandinavian-ish festive shapes) and place the cookies 2 inches apart on the sheets.
    11. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are lightly browned. Watch the cookies carefully. They Burn easily. Transfer to wax paper to cool.