Thursday, December 23, 2010

We wish you a merry Christmas....

Can you believe Christmas is only days away?  It's hard for me to realize that sometimes.  My sister mocks me because I usually have most of my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving... not this year.  This year I STILL have one more thing to get.  In my defense it's actually a gift I'm picking up for my mom, not something I'm buying, but still.  I feel like I'm not finished.

We've had fun enjoying Christmas parties for work and with our small group.  I've baked and baked until my oven told me to back off for awhile.  Spencer and I have exchanged gifts and we had an early Christmas dinner last night.

We've looked at Christmas lights a few different times, watched two Christmas programs, seen every Christmas DVD we own, and set up the trees, lights, and decor around the house.  It looks and feels like Christmas.

In the midst of all of these wonderful things though, I can't help to imagine what it would've been like as a teenager, pregnant and unmarried, riding for months on a donkey to a city you've likely never been to.  Arriving only to discover every single hotel is full.  To add to your already tricky predicament you're ready to give birth and there is no place to stay. 

New parents are used to a slew of people coming in to see their new baby, but angels?  Shepherds?  Kings?  I can't imagine what that would be like.  God's plan truly was one of a kind.  I'm so grateful for his gift to us.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tis the Season

Tis the Season to bake cookies fa la la la la, la la la la la.  So I've been making cookies and I decided to try a new kind of cookies (I tend to default to chocolate chip).  I found a recipe on P-Dubs website that she linked from another website: two peas and their pod.

They sounded irresistible so I figured I'd give them a try.  I am SO glad that I did.  These cookies are one of the best things I've ever had...ever.  They are the kind of cookie you would take with you if you had to pick just one to eat on a deserted island for the rest of your life.  This is the cookie that you want to eat alone so no one can watch you lick every ounce of caramel off of your fingers.  This is the "why are you talking to me while I'm eating my cookie" cookie.

Are you ready for this one?  Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Sea Salt.  Oh my goodness!

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
5 T butter
7 T unsweetened cocoa
2/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. plain yogurt (I didn't have any so I used low fat sour cream)
1 t. vanilla
Soft caramel rolled into little balls (I heated mine up in the microwave to make it more pliable)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat cookie sheets with non-stick spray.  Mix flour, soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Melt butter and combine with cocoa powder and sugars.  Mixture will resemble coarse sand.  Add yogurt (or sour cream) and vanilla, stirring to combine.  Add flour mixture, stirring until moist.  Wrap the chocolate dough around the caramel balls.  Place balls on cookie sheets and sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until almost set.  Cool on pans 2 to 3 minutes or until firm.  Remove cookies from pans; cool on wire racks.

I had to experiment with how to cover the caramel.  I found the best method was to flatten a ball of dough.  Put the caramel in the middle and then cover with another flattened ball of dough, pinching the sides closed.

These are.... oh so good!  Give them a try!