Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dear XJL

Dear XJL:

Seven years ago today you arrived as a blessing to us. You're arrival into this world wasn't without drama but with your first cries you serenaded us with your joy. From your first grasp on your daddy's finger you showed us what true love really meant.

(Jan. 28, 2008 - Right after birth. Holding Daddy's pinky in NICU)

As a baby, you fought for your independence but were stubborn in your ways. You loved to rock in your swing, happily independent - but you wouldn't take a bottle and would only have milk from me. You were a fiercely determined little one. You knew your people, you embraced your place.

                                                 (Goofy Face - 8 months - Minneapolis Zoo)

We dressed you up. We remember every moment. You were our first. You made your Daddy a daddy and your Mommy a mommy. The days were cataloged. The growth was charted. The photos were scrapbooked. I remember the first time you laughed  (in your carseat in Shakopee - we cried), I remember when you took your first steps (on my birthday in our condo in Madison), my heart burst with joy seeing you in your first Christmas program at Capitoland Children's center. There were so many moments and with each new step away from us, a new moment of independence and pride.

                                      (Mary Poppins & Bert - Halloween 2013)

Each birthday is monumental in its own right, but this year I feel I have seen a jittery preschooler turn into a confident young lady. You are loyal, thoughtful, serious and silly. You love... deeply. But more than stuff, you love ideas and experiences and God. You are curious about life, about meaning, about the Spirit, about joy. I look at you now, and I see so much promise - innocent joy - graceful truth.

(Super excited to read Great Grandma Lewis's card - 3rd Birthday, 2011)

I am so proud to be your mom. There are days I don't feel qualified. I feel so unworthly that you - the gift of your smile - your presence and your love - have been given to me without condition. I worry that I say the wrong things, that I break your heart - that I don't even know that I am doing it. For each of those pains I've caused - seen and unseen - forgive me. You know, cause you've learned - None of us are perfect and I am not either. I am just trying, like you, to learn and to do a little bit better every day.
 (Loving the steel slide at Rustler's Rooste - Phoenix, 2014)

This year, we started praying together more. You started to lead our prayers. I love that. Don't ever be afraid to talk to God - He is listening and loving you. Just like your Mommy & Daddy do. God has great plans for you and I can't wait to be sitting in the front row with the loudest applause. We love you! Happy 7th Birthday XJL!!

(Very Brave - Got her ears pierced this week. January 2015)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies with Peanut Butter Powder

So far this January I've been embracing a little more of "domestic" Eddy, trying my hand at meal planning, cooking, organizing and getting the house in order. Yesterday afternoon I decided it was time to throw together some cookies as a treat for the little ladies..

Unable to access Pinterest or my usual cookie recipes, I started with the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in my old faithful New Cook Book but I can't stick with a recipe so it quickly got amended and WOW! I've got to share! These are the softest, gooey-est, chocolate chip cookie yummos ever!

Preheat Oven: 375 Degrees

1/2 cup Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (mine is from Costco)
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter powder (PB2)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla or vanilla paste (I had some left over paste from Christmas baking)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts (optional - I didn't use them)

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the coconut oil and butter on medium high for 30 seconds. Add sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and peanut butter powder. Beat mixture until combined scraping sides. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Beat in as much of flour as you can with mixer  - finish by hand if needed. Stir in chocolate chips. 

2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. 

I used my Mary & Martha paper bakeware -  tart pans -  to make two large over-sized cookies. These came out with a blondie-like consistency. Bake 12 - 17 minutes. I checked mine at 12 and added 2 and 1 minute increments thereafter until the tops of the cookies had a nice brown on them!