Friday, March 25, 2016

My Favorite Sugar Cookies

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

1/2 Cup Butter
1 1/2 Cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Tsp Almond Flavoring
3 1/2 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Soda
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, vanilla, almond flavoring and sour cream.  Mix thoroughly.  Measure in  separate bowl the dry ingredients.  Slowly fold in the dry ingredients into the creamed butter and sour cream mixture.  Cool dough for 2 hours.  Roll out on flour or powdered sugar to about 1/4 inch thick and cut with your favorite cookie cutters.  Bake at 425* for 4-6 minutes. Cool on wire rack or wax paper.  Ice and decorate.

I love making sugar cookies for Christmas and Easter, in fact if the mood strikes me right I love making cookies just about any time.  The best part of delicious cookies besides being made with love is the butter.  I use real dairy butter in the cookie (even sour cream) and butter and milk in the icing.  Below are my favorite recipes.  Be sure to try them out!  They are so delicious!

Mom's Favorite Cut Out Cookies

1 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Shortening
1/2 Cup Butter
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Tsp Almond Flavoring
3 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
Cream together sugar, shortening and butter.  Add eggs and flavorings.  Slowly fold in flour and baking powder.  Cool dough for at least 2 hours.  Roll out with powder sugar or flour at about 1/4 inch thick and cut with your favorite cookie cutters.  Bake at 375* for 10 minutes.  Cool on wire rack or wax paper.  Ice and decorate.

My Favorite Icing Recipe (makes roughly enough for a double batch of sugar cookies)

1 Pound bag of Powdered Sugar
2 Tsp Vanilla
1 Tsp Almond Flavoring
1 Stick of softened Butter
Milk to add to correct texture (roughly 1/2 cup)
Put softened butter and flavorings in a large mixing bowl.  Add powdered sugar.  Pour milk a few tablespoons at a time until the correct thickness is reached for icing and blend until smooth.  Dye according to your liking. 

Easter Cookie Deliciousness

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Washing Other's Feet

It's Holy Thursday and I was in church for a very beautiful mass with our area bishop.  Tonight, focusing on Pope Francis' Year of Mercy, our bishop encouraged everyone in the church to focus and pray for those that we are called to serve.  Are we serving others like Jesus served his apostles? 

Gospel Jn 13:1-15

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come
to pass from this world to the Father.
He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.
The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over.
So, during supper,
fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power
and that he had come from God and was returning to God,
he rose from supper and took off his outer garments.
He took a towel and tied it around his waist.
Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash the disciples’ feet
and dry them with the towel around his waist.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him,
“Master, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus answered and said to him,
“What I am doing, you do not understand now,
but you will understand later.”
Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered him,
“Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me.”
Simon Peter said to him,
“Master, then not only my feet, but my hands and head as well.”
Jesus said to him,
“Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed,
for he is clean all over;
so you are clean, but not all.”
For he knew who would betray him;
for this reason, he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

So when he had washed their feet
and put his garments back on and reclined at table again,
he said to them, “Do you realize what I have done for you?
You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am.
If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet,
you ought to wash one another’s feet.
I have given you a model to follow,
so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

I couldn't help but be called to stay after mass for adoration and reflection time.  Where in my life is God calling me to serve others?  Am I do everything I can to be merciful to others and show love?  So often we forget that we may be the only love a suffering person may come in contact with.  Also so often we also forget that our suffering and pain offers us the opportunity to know and show love.  I also couldn't help but also think about the times when I turned down help from others.  Was I refusing love in my life?  Was I blocking God from washing my feet?  Are you open to the people working in your life to offer you mercy and love?   So many thoughts, many of which moved me to tears. 

I have been so blessed with people in my life that have washed my feet.  I didn't deserve to be served, I didn't feel worthy.  I am a sinner, but people have reached out regardless and washed my feet, in fact just like Jesus washed Judas' feet even though Jesus knew he was his betrayer.  How beautiful is our Christian faith to have a God who humbled himself to become a man, to serve men and then suffering a humiliating death on a cross.  With each passing year I find even more beauty in this Holy Week.  I encourage you to also reflect where you are being called to love and receive love.  Let us wash each others' feet.