Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I made chocolate cupcakes. I'm sharing the chocolate love with the recipe:

1 box Devil's Food cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup warm water (I USED COFFEE yummmmm)
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl on medium to medium high for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick. Divide into cupcake tins, should make 24 good sized cupcakes. Bake in the 350 degree oven for 20-24 min (toothpick test!)

While the cupcakes are baking--make the frosting:

1 8 oz package cream cheese at room temperature
1/4 C butter (1/2 stick) at room temperature
3 1/2-4 C powdered sugar
1/2 C cocoa powder
1-2 teaspoons milk/creamer/liquor/coffee (options are endless, I used hazelnut creamer) 

Blend cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Add in cocoa powder until blended. You may need to add a little bit of milk or creamer (I had hazelnut worked fine), depending on the consistency you want. My frosting was nice a creamy/fluffy texture. You also can add a little bit more cream cheese, if you want it to have more zip to it (or cool whip. also a fun addition). If you're going to add the milk/creamer/additional liquid to the frosting, I would go ahead and use 4 cups of powdered sugar. Have fun with the recipe! Especially when it comes to frosting--you find the best combos through experimenting. Once the cupcakes are cool, frost generously with frosting! 

Then EAT! They are REALLY good (I had two).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I am usually a peacemaker. I don't like conflict. I don't like dissension.  I'm at an interesting point in my life--a place of transition. Going from a completely independent and "successful" life immersed in deep community to a new city (town?). New church. New relationships. Going from saving and spending money to debt and wishlists. Feeling like a failure because I'm choosing change instead of financial security and promotions. Knowing that this is right for now, yet struggling. In my current life situation, I recognize the need to FIGHT. 

FIGHT for joy. FIGHT against lies that satan whispers to my broken places. FIGHT the empty/dark/twisty feelings that rage inside of me and threaten to take control of my entire being. FIGHT my tendencies to give glory to things of this world rather than my Savior. I want to join Jesus in the battle He's raging (has raged) for my soul. Oh that my worship would be an overflow of my lifestyle and heart. That the Lord would continue to draw me to Himself. That my life would be one that SHINES and DECLARES His glory. 

My beautiful and wise sister (who recently entered the BLOGGING WORLD) encouraged me to read through Ephesians 6-- to ready myself for the battle. 
Ephesians 6:10-20

10 Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. 12 For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. 13 This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist,
    righteousness like armor on your chest,
    15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.
    16 In every situation take the shield of faith,
    and with it you will be able to extinguish
    the flaming arrows of the evil one.
    17 Take the helmet of salvation,
    and the sword of the Spirit, which is God's word.
    18 With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. 20 For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough in Him to speak as I should.
He is all. He is enough. He is good. 
He fights for me. HE'S WORTH FIGHTING FOR!
Lord, save me from myself. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I'm a movie star!

Well. I'm not REALLY a movie star. It just seems like it.

Have you ever seen the movie Facing the Giants? I love that movie for a multitude of reasons.
  1. Who can resist a high school football thriller?
  2. It's a nice movie. No raunchiness. No crude language. It's a nice breather from the bleepity bleeping that I feel like happens so often.
  3. There are characters in the movie that remind me of people that I know--the teacher that prayed for students in high school, the friend or aunt that has infertility problems, the families with drama.
My one qualm is the fact that EVERYTHING turns out okay in the movie. I mean EVERYTHING. I think sometimes we get fed the lie that if you're a real Christian and are 'right with God', life will be easy. Or life will suddenly just be hunky dory. If you pray hard enough ALL sickness will be gone from your body, or a job will magically appear even though no applications have been filled out.

So now you wonder why I brought it up? I feel like I'm living in a Baptist made for TV movie. Everything seems to be going my way. Seriously everything. 
  • I got in to Iowa State.
  • I got approved for in state residency (even though my last two tax returns have been in Texas and I've lived in Chicago for 3 of the past 5 months). 
  • I got into all 7 classes on my "wish list" including one that had a 12 person wait list. The registrar's office did an override to put me in since I seemed like I "cared" more than the waitlisted people. 
  • I checked my university bill to see how much I owed and saw that I had been granted financial aid for over half of my tuition. That meant I was able to pay for all of my tuition and books on my savings--I only have to get a part time job if I want to, not out of necessity. 
  • God had put some amazing women in my life here in Ames. FRIENDS. Sweet sweet friends. ALREADY! What a blessing.  
The new path has been forged: I'm going back to school to get my teaching certification in Family and Consumer Sciences Education. Tomorrow's my first day! I've definitely got the whole freshman jitters thing going on. My bro jokingly told me to just give my fears to God. Drew was so right. His eye is on the sparrow--and clearly on me as well. He's got my back. He has moved mountains on my behalf. He's already claimed victory over death at Calvary. He can help me find my classrooms. He can do all things. I really hate first days. I don't have my first day outfit picked out yet. Well. That's kind of a lie. I HAD it picked out, but I ended up wearing it for church instead. I guess I could wear it again. I don't know anyone in my classes...they'd never know. Muaha.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

TREATS: GFDFSF Banana Streusel Muffins

I made some ridiculously amazing pumpkin muffins last week and had a hankering to make another quickbread--but alas, 1/3 of the muffin consumption in our house (aka my mom) has allergies to all things gluten, dairy and soy. I decided to just use a recipe that I've loved previously and doctor it to be allergy conscious. 

Banana muffins that are allergy friendly and completely edible even if you DON'T have allergies!! Yum. Enjoy friends.  

2 cups gluten free flour mix
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or butter if dairy is not a concern or applesauce for flair)
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/3 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 4-5 medium bananas)

Optional streusel topping:
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons brown or white sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter (depending on allergies)
If using vegetable oil in the topping to make this dairy free, you may want to also add 1 tablespoon of water so there's a little more binding in the streusel. Not a must, but it will make the topping stick to the muffins better.

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease either a 9x5 loaf pan or set out muffin tins with liners for about 18-20 muffins. 
Mix together all dry ingredients in a separate bowl. 
Using stand mixer or hand mixer, beat eggs, vanilla, sugar and oil until well blended. Add banana to liquid and blend. Slowly combine dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. **ONLY STIR UNTIL JUST COMBINED** Over mixing at this stage can make quick breads dry or chewy. 
Pour batter into loaf pan or muffin tins. The original recipe claims that this makes 12 muffins, I came out with 18.

If making the streusel, use a small bowl and combine all ingredients. Spoon mixture evenly over muffins or loaf then bake . 9x5 loaf should take an hour to an hour and 10 minutes, give or take a few minutes (depending on your oven) OR until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf. Muffins should be done in 20-30 minutes (toothpick test or gently test them with your finger to see if they spring back at all). 

I despise over-cooked breads, so watch carefully---no dry breads/muffins for us!

Monday, January 3, 2011

It was awesome!

In case you missed bro preached at Cornerstone on Sunday and it was amazing. Here's a link to the audio if you want to listen to it. He is a gifted and prophetic speaker. THANKS FOR PRAYING!

Or the video version...

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Meet my brother Drew.
He's the guy that will make me an aunt this year when he and his wife get their two kids from Africa. I'm really pumped for them. He's preaching in "big church" at Cornerstone for the first time tomorrow at 10AM.

Pray with me? For clarity, for confidence, for him to be used in a mighty way.