Monday, April 16, 2012

BMA Catch-it 2012

I don't want to forget it. It was an amazing time.

But in an hour our family leaves to Israel for two weeks, and I still need to finish packing and getting all my stuff together. So, at least to mark Catch-it, I'll post pictures, and the rest will just have to be memories!
"Plane crash" game.
Caleb is super happy that he gets to lead this excursion and no one else knows where they're going. :)
Where are we going?
Both of Magda's legs were "broken" in the "plane crash".
This is where we had the main program
Baseball! A key component to Catch-it.

Two of my close friends- Barca, and Kristi
Crazy games!

Dad came to speak at Catch-it. He did an awesome job sharing with the students about Christ.
Food is also important!
Anyone know the game Mau? That was the most played game at Catch-it this year.
I love my fellow BMA students and I am so thankful for how God is working in their lives.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Easter and other food

I promised I'd post the other recipes I made for Easter, so, here they are!

Pecan Mini-Muffins

My mom has made these in the past for Thanksgiving and other fall occasions, but I felt like they were just as good at Easter! They are just delightful. Ok, they're full of butter and brown sugar, but in mini-form, they are a delectable treat. And for special times like Easter, it's ok to have a little bit of butter and sugar. The original recipe doesn't say to make mini-muffins, but I liked them even better in smaller form.

I used a gluten-free flour blend to replace regular flour. The one I like best is Silvana's, and I am truly thankful for her and her recipes!

6 cups white rice flour, preferably Bob's Red Mill *I usually do half brown rice and half white rice
3 cups tapioca flour (not starch!)
1 1/2 cups potato starch (preferably Bob's Red Mill)
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons xanthum gum, preferably Bob's Red Mill

In a large bowl, mix together and store in airtight container."
The verdict?
: Delicious, and full of flavor. Super easy to make! Anyone could bake these-- gluten-free, or not.

Copycat Recipe: Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs

They sound amazing, right?! And sadly, I didn't get any pictures of these beauties before they were all eaten. But they were amazing. Even the guys at Easter said they tasted like the real thing. So, with all credit to Katie, here is her picture of these peanut butter eggs.

The verdict?
: In the words of Chocolate Covered Katie:

"Oh oh my. Big fat peanut butter-stuffed chocolate eggs." 

Yum. Truly.

And lastly, the joy of finding Easter eggs. (Izak Till style)

Note: Click on the name of the baked good to find the recipe. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter and citrusy

First of all, and most importantly, on Easter we get to remember what Christ did for us on the cross 2000 years ago. He took our place and our sins, so that we can be forever with Him. I am so thankful for this Truth. And it brings me so much joy to be able to celebrate Him on this day with so many other believers across the world. It's incredible to stop and realize how merciful God was (is!) to us, and how loving, for sending His one and only Son to die for us. To die for me. All I can do is thank Him.

For more about our Easter, visit my mom's blog. She put up some great pictures (even of snow that day!!), so you should check them out!

Do you remember my Easter post last year, where I shared recipes? Well, it's that time of year again! Last year my grandma took part in the Easter baking as well, but this year it was up to me. How fun! Seriously, I was so excited to bake for our 36 guests.
Citrus Chocolate Chip Cookies
The cookies on the plate above are citrus chocolate chip cookies made with almond flour. I adapted this recipe just a little bit:
- I added a teaspoon of lemon zest, and a teaspoon of orange zest (I think this made them extra delicious)
- I used a vegetable shortening instead of the coconut oil (I'm intolerant to coconut)
- I used half maple syrup and half agave for the sweetener

: Soft and tasty, loved the citrus in them- very fresh and special, I would add more oat flour to make them crispier, because they fell apart just a bit. But overall, I loved the simple recipe!
Citrus Hot Cross Buns
I guess I must have been in a spring mood, because I couldn't get enough citrus flavor this Easter. The next star of the table were these Hot Cross Buns. Now, I have never tasted, or made any kind of hot cross bun. Sad, I know. So I have no idea what they're supposed to be like. I'm sure they taste different when someone who knows what they're doing makes them.

 I personally wasn't the biggest fan of these, but my mom says they are one of her favorite things I've ever made. Hmm, I guess I'll trust her! I am quite sensitive to the taste of yeast in baked goods, so maybe that was my problem.

: I wish they rose more (maybe I didn't do it right), I loved the currants (found them at Marks&Spencer's!), the texture was ok, they weren't too heavy. I think I'd try a different recipe next time or get an expert to make them with me. (Grandma??) :)
Lemon Curd Bars
 I have made these bars before once last year, and loved them. They really aren't very difficult to make, but they taste amazing! The lemon curd is just sweet enough, and no sugar is even involved. Super happy about that.  I love that there are only wholesome sweeteners in this recipe (honey!) and lots of protein (nuts!), so I don't feel as bad eating these as normal sugar-laden lemon bars. *Teehee*

A few notes:
- Use the best honey you have, and try to find one with a light taste
- I used pecans in my crust instead of cashews, because that's what I had. I personally liked the ones with cashews better- they complemented the lemon flavor better
- Be sure to let the crust bake enough so that it doesn't get mushy and fall apart in your hands
- I used blanched almonds, but I think whole almonds would give a more robust flavor

: Light, flavorful, and not overpowering. The lemon curd itself is delicious too if you needed it for waffles, or ice cream. I will make these again, but will be sure to buy cashews and light honey.

Part 2 to come tomorrow! Just a couple more recipes left!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Faith in hardship

On Wednesday, our class and Caleb's class took a trip to Auschwitz. This was the first time I'd ever been there, and it was a heavy day. You hear about everything that went on during WW2, but to see the place where it all happened with my own eyes was something completely different. There aren't even words to describe it.
Image source
When I got home I started reading a book by Corrie ten Boom called "The Hiding Place". It's an incredible book- truthful, sobering, and real.

Corrie was a Dutch Christian, and during the occupation of Holland hid Jews in her own home, and found many other safe places for them. Eventually, her family was arrested in 1944, and her father died 10 days later at Scheveningen prison where they were first held. A sister, brother and nephew were released, but Corrie and her sister Betsie were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp, where only Corrie survived.

Reading about Corrie painted a more vivid picture in my mind of what things were really like in concentration camps. I still have a hard time taking it all in. But what I do know is that God's power is always greater than what we can see. Corrie experienced that in a personal way in unexpected circumstances.

“There are no 'if's' in God's world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety - let us pray that we may always know it!”
― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

 “When we are powerless to do a thing, it is a great joy that we can come and step inside the ability of Jesus.”
― Corrie ten Boom

Auschwitz and all the other concentration camps will forever be a reminder of what humans are capable of because of sin. The ten Boom family will forever be a reminder of what God is capable of despite our sin, because He loves us.  

 “This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

"Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ...But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
 Romans 8:35,37-39 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Light is always brighter

"The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."
Romans 13:12
"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”"
John 8:12

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Legendary Lemon Bars

A big shout-out to the Pitcher family today!

This is Andrea Pitcher's recipe that she always used for every holiday. It even became Nicholas' signature dessert for events. This taste will forever be connected to the years their family lived here in Czech.

There's just nothing quite like a pan of bright yellow, sweet lemon bars to perk up your day. The original recipe is with normal flour, and I just substituted my favorite gluten-free flour blend (if you are curious about this, feel free to comment and I can share). Otherwise, I pretty much left the recipe as is, and it turned out wonderfully.

So thank you to the Pitchers for this recipe that holds memories. I love it!
1/3 cup margarine or butter
1 cup sugar (split into 1/4 in crust and 3/4 in lemon mix)
1 cup flour (or gf sub)
2 eggs
2 TBL flour
2 tsp shredded lemon peel
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup or 1/2 cup lemon juice- Nicholas says he makes his with more lemon juice- that's the way I like them too!
Powdered sugar (optional)

Beat margarine with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add 1/4 cup sugar. Beat until combined. Beat in 1 cup flour until crumbly. Press into the bottom of an 8x8x2 baking pan. Bake in a 350 F (180C) oven for 15-18 minutes, until golden.

Meanwhile, combine eggs, the remaining sugar, 2 TBL flour, lemon peel, lemon juice, and baking powder. Beat for 2 minutes. Pour over hot baked layer.

Bake in a 350 F (180C) oven, for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned around edges and center is set. Cool. If desired (of course, you will desire- who wouldn't!) sprinkle powdered sugar overtop. Cut into bars.

 And, like I said before, Haley and I made these together. Somehow things taste better when you get to share them!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lemon bars together

Haley Chase came to visit us for the first time this weekend from Slovakia. What a joy it was to have her here and for her to actually see our world!

We talked.

We drank tea together.

We went for a walk.

We watched the sun beams shine down into the valley.

She saw Malenovice (our JV training center) become a real place in her mind instead of just a picture.

We made lemon bars together.

It's simple things like this that make it so different when you actually see a person instead of just Skype with them. This weekend, we actually made memories.

*Lemon bar recipe to come this week! They are just as delicious as they look!