Sunday, June 30, 2013

thankful for bouquets of flowers...

The last couple of weeks have been filled with flowers, due to my mom's recent surgery.
I am not complaining, because I am a lover of flowers!
I know they only last for a little while, but during their time they sure do bring joy!
It amazes me that the vast variety of flowers, in all of their different colors, can come together and make such beautiful bouquets. It is a magical thing. It shows how much God loves us. There is something special we can learn from these bouquets of flowers...

Through my mom receiving these flowers (& many, many cards), I personally have felt so overwhelmed by the kindness of so many sweet people in our lives. So many people have thought of her & prayed for her through this. People that truly care for her. These flowers represent that love. By now, these beautiful flowers have mostly died, but the love they represent has not.

And being able to capture even just a little bit of their beauty, with a camera, is a gift from God that I am so thankful for! These particular flower photos are just a few of several other flower photos that I have taken over the years... BUT these mean something extra special to me!

FYI... My mom is recovering very well from her surgery & I am so thankful that God has taken care of her (& us) through this! She still has a process ahead of her & the recovery time is a bit long, but I know God will see her through. He has done so much for us already! I am blessed & so incredibly thankful!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

recipe: lemon & coconut meltaway cookies

Lemon & Coconut Meltaway Cookies

Ingredients for the Cookies…
1 cup butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
Zest from whole lemon
Juice from half lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Ingredients for the Glaze…
Juice from half lemon
1 ½ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup coconut, toasted

Directions to make cookies…
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add in the powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice & vanilla; beat well. Gradually mix in the flour & salt; beat until combined. Stir in the coconut. Cover and chill the dough for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1" balls and place them 1” apart on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until golden on bottom, but pale on top. Transfer cookies to wire racks and allow them to cool.

While the cookies are baking, make toasted coconut to top each cookie. Evenly spread ¼ cup of coconut on to a small baking pan and toast it in the 350° oven for about 5 minutes or until it is golden.

Directions to make Glaze...
 Put the juice from the other half of your lemon into a small bowl.
Whisk in approx. 1 ½ cup of powdered sugar. This should be a thick glaze. If it is too thin add a little bit more powdered sugar; if it is too thick add a little bit of water.

Once the cookies are completely cool, dip the top of each cookie into the glaze & sprinkle each one with a little bit of toasted coconut. 

So lemony & they melt in your mouth!! Yumm!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

recipe: spinach & feta puffs

Spinach and Feta paired together in a flaky pastry is amazing!
These are so good for appetizers and for brunch. 
And the recipe is easy, because you use store-bought puff pastry.
Yumm... I love these!! 

Recipe: Spinach & Feta Puffs

2/3 cup fresh spinach
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup minced onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 large egg
1 sheet puff pastry rolled out flat (keep chilled until its time to use)

Preheat oven to 400°.
Spray muffin tin liberally with non-stick spray.

Put 3 good handfuls of fresh spinach into a food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped. You should have 2/3 cup of finely chopped spinach. In a medium bowl, mix the spinach with the feta, onion, olive oil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg and then fold it into the spinach mixture. Set aside.

Roll out the puff pastry so that it is even and flat. Using a pizza cutter, cut the puff pastry into squares that are just big enough to fill the muffin cups and for the corners to be folded over the filling. (I used a 24-cup mini-muffin tin, because I like these as an appetizer size! However, you could use the standard muffin size if you’d like.) Once you are done cutting the squares, place one in each muffin cup and press it in into bottom, leaving corners out. Then, fill each cup with the spinach/feta mixture. Finally, fold the puff pastry over filling, pinching the corners together in the center.

Brush the tops of the puff pastry with egg wash and bake until the pastry is golden brown and puffed, about 20-25 minutes. Allow the puffs to cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Run a sharp paring knife around pan edges to loosen; turn out puffs onto rack to cool slightly before serving.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

thankful snapshots // life lately

It has been a while since I have blogged. Life has felt overwhelming. 
I have a lot of photos, recipes and words that I have wanted to share lately.
However, I just haven't felt much like sitting down to blog. 
Even though I haven't blogged much, life has gone on... with all of it's ups & downs.
Lately, there have been a few disappointments. Plans have fallen through. 
Sometimes life takes unexpected and unwelcome turns. It happens to us all.
Last week, my mom had her surgery
And lately, extreme fires have been burning all around Colorado, destroying so much. 
There are difficult things all around. But there are also things to be thankful for!

I am thankful that my mom's surgery went really well.
I am thankful for the love & prayers from people all around us.
I am thankful for beautiful flowers that bring colorful joy, even if it's only for a moment.
And mostly, I am thankful for the gift of peace that this world cannot give...

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid."
John 14:27

The LORD has truly given me that peace. 
Truly knowing Jesus, means having the Holy Spirit within you.
And having the Holy Spirit means that you can have perfect peace right when you call upon Him.

This world gives a little bit of "happiness" and a whole lot of worries and fears... 
But peace is a gift the world cannot give. It only comes from Jesus.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

in the mountains on memorial day...

I have been a little bit behind on processing & sharing some of my photos lately... These are from a little trip to the mountains that I took with my mom, sister & uncle on Memorial Day! It was a perfect day for a getaway to the mountains. I absolutely love that cool & fresh mountain air... so so good!! Every time I go to the mountains I daydream about living a simple life in a little cabin surrounded by a big green field with horses grazing & huge trees everywhere! 
We found a little picnic table to stop and eat lunch. And a cute little chipmunk stopped by!

Huge pine trees! How I love that smell...
After lunch, we hiked around the creek and climbed some huge rocks... the perfect way to get exercise!
And finally, we made our way to the little lake. 
There were so many people there, but we did walk around it for a bit.
I am so thankful for the photos and memories from this beautiful day! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

thankful snapshots...

Just a few words on what I have been thankful for lately...
quite times of reading & writing my thoughts.
breathing in the fresh mountain air.
sitting on the deck in the morning & listening to the birds sing.
eating sweet cherries.
a new stove to bake goodies in.
most of all, GOD's LOVE! 
knowing His perfect joy & peace is the best of all!