I Was Dying

First I was dying to finish high school and start college.
And then I was dying to finish college and start working.
And then I was dying to get married and have children.
And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough for school
so that I could return to work.
And then I was dying to retire.
And now, I am dying … and suddenly I realize I forgot to live.

Anonymous

Cranberry Bliss Bars

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I’m not generally a huge fan of Starbucks, I much prefer Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for all the caffeination needs. But I’ll occasionally go into Starbucks and a few years ago tried and fell in love with the Cranberry Bliss Bars. They are so amazing but are also ridiculously expensive. So after searching for the perfect recipe to recreate I decided to make my own.

Ingredients
Bars
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups of light brown sugar (can use dark brown sugar but it will taste off)
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces white chocolate

Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
6 ounces white chocolate
1/2 cup dried cranberries

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Bar Prep
1) Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 13 x 9 in pan with parchment paper.

2) In a medium bowl melt butter. Stir in brown sugar. Set aside and let it cool.

3) Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

4) Transfer the butter and sugar mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer once it has cooled.

5) With the paddle attachment beat in the eggs and vanilla on medium speed.

6) Gradually add in the flour, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

7) Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the cranberries and white chocolate into the batter.

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8) Spread the batter out evenly in the prepared pan.

9) Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Check the bar for readiness with a toothpick in the center. When the toothpick comes out clean, remove the bars from the oven. And transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool.

Frosting Prep
1) In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the cream cheese and powered sugar on low speed with the paddle attachment until well blended.

2) Melt the white chocolate on 20-30 second intervals in the microwave. Make sure to stir in between each interval so that the white chocolate doesn’t burn.

3) Add about a third to half of the melted white chocolate into the frosting and mix until well incorporated.

4) Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the bars.

5) Sprinkle the cranberries over the top of the frosting.

6) Transfer the remaining white chocolate into a piping bag and with a small tip drizzle over the frosting and cranberries.

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Cut the bars into triangles. Store the bars in the refrigerator. For best taste remove the bars from the refrigerator approximately an hour before serving.

Ukrainian Salsa (Аджика)

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Adjica (salsa) is one of my favorite things in the world. I will add it to mashed potatoes, rice, quinoa, buckwheat, soups, and just about anything else. This is one of those recipes that makes a ton of salsa. I can it and have it in hand for whenever I may want it.

This recipe makes about 10-12 mason jars of salsa. I would definitely recommend you half or even quarter it, especially the first time that you make it.

Ingredients
2 kg bell peppers
2-3 kg tomato
1 cup garlic
2 kg green apples
1 cup sugar
4-5 spicy peppers (jalapeños, habanero, chillies)
100 gram salt
150 gram oil
150 gram vinegar
Parsley or cilantro to taste

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1) Grind the bell peppers, tomatoes, apples, spicy peppers, and garlic on a meat grinder or food processor. It should all be the consistency of salsa.

2) Transfer into a large pot and add the oil, sugar, salt, vinegar and parsley.

3) Bring to a light boil. Once the salsa is boiling reduce to low heat and cook for 20 minutes.
*your entire house will smell like jalapeños and habaneros for days.

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4) Once the salsa is cooked ladle it into mason jars, close them and set aside. Wait for the lids to pop up and then leave overnight to cool before moving into storage.

Far Too Long

It has been a year and 3 days (I checked) since my last post. A lot of things happened in my life at that time which made me stop blogging. It was a personal decision – not that all that many people even read this blog.

But I have now decided to start this blog back up. This had been a place for me to share my interests and I would like to continue doing just that. I love to cook, read, and be an overall smart ass. I know a whole lot of quotes and so I tend to use them to make myself sound smarter.

I hope to make updating this blog into a regular thing. So without further ado allow me to get back to creating amazing recipes to share.

Ciao!!

One Solitary Life

While helping to clean out the house of the lady that I had taken care of I found several framed magazine articles. Two of them really caught my eye, and got me excited to share them with all of you.

One Solitary Life

There is a young man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30, and then for three years he was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot into a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

While he was still a young man, the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth, and that was his coat. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today he is the central figure of the human race and the leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together have not affected the life of man upon this earth as has that One Solitary Life.

Author Unknown

Of Life and Death

Dear friends, I want to apologize for not keeping up with my blogging. These past two weeks (I think), have been purely insane! Allow me to explain.

I have been a caregiver for some time, taking care of an ailing old lady (hey, she was 100 I can call her old). It worked well for me, I could work nights and still go to college and afford to, oh I don’t know … LIVE! Two weeks ago the lady that I had taken care of for four years died, it was a long time coming and her death was almost a relief. The final week of her life became very bad in both her temperament and everything that happened around her. Even though I knew full well that her time was up a few weeks before her death it was still a shock to all of a sudden find myself without a job. I have money saved up so being temporarily unemployed would not a catastrophic event for me, the bills would still get paid and no credit cards would be charged.

Yet it was still quite unsettling to not have a paycheck coming in. I almost immediately begin searching for a job, but not knowing what it is that I truly want to do with my life made it hard. My old job had been comfortable for me, it was far from a dream job but it payed the bills and provided me with a comfortable schedule that allowed me to be heavily involved in my church and also continue my education. Now I had to think of what I actually wanted do with my life. My mom suggested that maybe I should move back in with them and focus on completing my education. I love my parents, they are the best parents that anyone could have (in my humble opinion). But to move back in with them after having lived on my own for three years, after having experienced freedom from them; Mom, I love you but NO FREAKING WAY!

Than a golden opportunity knocked, my friend’s dad has a business, their office manager is pregnant and has just been placed on very strict bed rest to save the baby. So he needed someone immediately, or as close to that as possible. So here I am with my little bit of experience working in an office, mind you a medical office, in high school. I had never done most of the work that they needed me to do, but I am a quick learner (no seriously) so 6 days after losing one job I started another one which I knew next to nothing about. But the hours work for me, I can still go to school and pretty much set my own hours at will – I guess that’s the perks of knowing the boss most of my life! And most of all, since my boss is a deacon at my church he will not stand in the way of my involvement in church for fear of the wrath of the pastor, JK.

I have now worked 6 full days at my new job, and I have to say who knew that sitting behind a desk all day could be so exhausting?!

But beyond my personal life, we have been in full Christmas play mode at church. Nothing like having one play get thrown out at the last minute and having to scramble to write and re-write another one ready in 3 days so that we can actually be ready by the time we have to perform it! It has been crazy, with everything piling on at once, but I am thankful to have a good job with a wonderful boss, to have people in my life who will call me out on my bullshit and who will lift me up when I’m down.

With the final weeks of classes, final exams, work, Thanksgiving, and Christmas play practices: I know my schedule will not let up, instead it will only get more intense as the weeks drag in and I will be completely elated when the calender reads January 2. But I am thankful that I have someone to work this hard for, that my Sunday School kids will have an awesome Christmas to look forward to like the ones that my friends and I now look back on.

I wish for you all who may be in the same boat as me to have patience and to continually remind yourself that one day these kids will look back on all the wonderful memories that they are making, and how wonderful it is that you will be in those memories!

Blessing my friends, I hope all of you are having a wonderful autumn and are getting to enjoy all of your loved ones company.