[...] God wants us to have intense experiences. (65)
~ from the book, "Making a Way Out of No Way" by Monica A. Coleman
Yesterday was full of loving and it was absolutely wonderful. First, I went to my friend, Katie's house, and we watched the movie Julia and Julia to get us in the mood for cookie making. After a few cups of tea and peanut butter and honey toast - Yum! - we were definitely in the mood to bake cookies. We had to make these cookies for the cookie swap at my church's Christmas party that night. Katie - my friend - made cute, little lemon cookies, but I made big, honkin' Monster Cookies. The recipe is from the book, "Mrs. Witty's Monster Cookies," by Helen Witty and this is a much loved book, as my mom and I used recipes from this book all the time when I was a kid
The cookies are called monster cookies, because they are so big - six inches! - and the ones I made are called "Apple Saucers." They have apples, walnuts, raisins, oats, apple juice, lemon extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves, making them the perfect holiday or fall treat. And they are so hearty that they are also a perfect breakfast bar and much yummier than any breakfast bar that you can buy!
1/2 Cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 Cups (packed) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Big pinch ground cloves
1 1/2 Cups chopped, peeled, firm tart apples (about 2 medium apples)
1 Cup raisins or currants
1 Cup regular or quick-cooking rolled oats
1 Cup coarsely choppeed walnuts
1/4 cup apple or orange juice
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
2. In a mixing bowl (using a wooden spoon) or in the large bowl of an electric mixer (I used Katie's fabulous KitchenAid electric mixer, which I do slightly covet...), cream the shortening until soft.
3. Then beat in the brown sugar until the mixture is fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the lemon extract.
4. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Stir half of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. Stir in the chopped apples raisins, oats, and nuts.
Form and Bake the Cookies
For six-inch monsters: For each cookie, measure out a level 1/4 cup of dough; place the mounds of dough well apart on the greased baking sheet (most sheets will only accomodate three, but mine handled six just fine!). Flatten the dough, using your fingers or a rubber spatula, to make neat five-inch rounds.
As Katie and I were baking together, with Christmas music playing in the background, it seemed as if the room was filled with a loving glow. In fact, I believe it was. I remarked to Katie that, "I think this is what the world is supposed to be like-just two people baking cookies together-and not what it usually is." Katie agreed, saying that she tries to make the world this way as much as she possibly can.
In the book I am currently reading, "Making a Way Out of No Way," by Monica A. Coleman, evil is described as being loss and inwardly, I grieved just a little bit over the loss that so many people have of the kind of wonderful, joyous moments, like the one I was experiencing. I want this world to be full of joy and I want to bring joy into this world.
Later, I went to two Christmas parties, each of which had their own special kind of joy. My church party was shorter, but full of different people thoroughly mingling with one another, while my best friend's party was like five different, separate parties. I must say, I enjoyed both types of parties equally. It was nice getting to see some faces I had not seen in a while at both parties, including my blogger friend, Ashley, who runs the inspirational blog, Overcoming Schizophrenia. At my church party, there was lots to do and many people to talk to, but it left me feeling like there was not enough time or space to meet and greet everyone I wanted to. At my best friend's party, I gave myself permission to stay mostly with one group of people-a circle of friends that I had not seen in a long while. These people always make me laugh and by the end of the night, we were all talking about how our cheeks hurt and were going to be sore the next day from laughing so much.
This is how the world is supposed to be-full of joy, laughter, and new experiences. I dearly wish that it was this way for everyone.