Return to Rest

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Recover from the Holidays

One of the most dreaded parts of the holiday season (Thanksgiving until my birthday) is the amount of traffic that is created.  I love living in metropolitan areas – but I’d rather do anything than fight busy intersections and crowded shopping malls.

What is it about the holiday season that raises our blood pressure, turns highways into crowded parking lots, and makes doing errands almost unbearable?

Something we DON’T DO: we don’t rest.

We strive.

We plan too much.

We go too often and too fast.

We don’t take time.

We don’t REST.

This goes not only for our physical activity, but also for our spiritual activity.  We seldom take time to enjoy the Christmas season and all that it entails.  Even if we go to Christmas Eve services, we are rushed getting in shopping and huge family meals with lots of cooking before and after it.  We rush into places that we need to go and never take time to rest and enjoy the holiday season.

I look forward to the days after the holidays when the parking lots of back to normal, the traffic is back to normal, and life can resume a comfortable, full life of friends and cooking and photography and play dates and doing nothing with my Mister.

Hello December 9: Cooking Edition

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Wow – the holidays are upon us and there is much activity in my kitchen. I’m glad the oven and stove will be on more because that means I can stand where its warm most of the time but not crank up my heat in our home.

Here is what’s planned for this week:

plates

Chicken Noodle Soup: via Tyler Florence
Smoky Grill Rub: via Southern Living for a gift
Peppermint Divinity Bars – via Southern Living (which I’m so excited to have a subscription for)
Nutella Sea Salt Truffles – via On Sugar Mountain
Chai Truffles – via Southern Living
Chicken Spaghetti – for lunch during our marshmallow making
Salted Caramel Swirled Marshmallows – via Bake or Break
Salted Caramel Sauce – via Brown Eyed Baker
Strawberry Margherita Mini Cupcakes – via A Helicopter Mom (virgin, don’t worry)
Homemade Herbed Salt – via 5$ Dinners
Refried Beans for Taco Tuesday: via Simply Recipes and Camille Styles
Curried Hummus: via Heather’s Dish
Chocolate Pistachio Thumb Print Cookies – via How Sweet It Is for the ARWB Cookie Swap on Friday

Here we go. What are you cooking this week, for the holidays, for gifts, for your family? What recipe are you most excited about?

Pomegranate White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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Oh, bring on the holiday season. I love baking for things during the holidays…trying new festive recipes that get out of my kitchen in a hurry. These will be gone tomorrow! :) And I did much better on tasting them than the buttercream sessions earlier in the week.

I found this recipe on :

Pomegranate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup pomegranate arils

Cream butter and sugars, add egg and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add to the creamed mixture. Fold in oats and white chocolate. Fold in (gently) the arils. They will pop, but you want them to pop in your mouth, not in the dough.
Spoon onto sprayed cookie sheets and bake at 375 for 10 minutes.
Enjoy the pop of tart and the creamy goodness of white chocolate and the chew of oats. These are definitely a holiday winner!

Much & Link Love: November 21 edition

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Vacation over: Thanksgiving ahead.
1. Vacation was great: hiking, eating, sleeping, photoging, seeing friends. Beautiful weather.
2. Parents come in town tomorrow.
3. I’ve decided not to do the half on Thursday. That would take out 9 hours of what my parents and I could do together (drive, run, drive), so we will find stuff to do in Raleigh without going to Charlotte.
4. Friends are crucial to my wellbeing, but I also love downtown when I don’t see another soul. I’ll have to find a time to do that after my parents leave. Hmmmm. Maybe New Years.
5. It just wasn’t a pretty football weekend, except for the GATORS. I was in Boone (home of ASU) and loved saying GO GATORS. One of the signs I saw read “Gator: It is what’s for dinner. Go App.” – Well, that didn’t happen.
6. Short week in the office, busy week of editing and reading.
7. To shed some weight this holiday season (instead of put it on): one meal a day has to be either oatmeal, egg white omelette, or veggies. That will definitely help cut some calories during the day.
8. Got some new things in the works for after New Years. Thinking and excited.

Link Love:
1. Girls Gone Wise blog hits up entitlements and rights of women.
2. I think I would like to host one of these. Anyone in RDU interested – good way to start the new year.
3. These will definitely be making their way to a holiday party near you.
4. These will also be making it to a Christmas party near you (if you live in RDU or Lakeland).
5. Love this article that Justin posted on his blog. Often as Christians we ignore culture. But, here are some wise ways to engage and redeem. Hopefully a post will be coming on that by a friend of mine.
6. I would like to try this Chicago-style pizze at home one night, maybe while the parents are here.
7. Ed Stetzer to the rescue - especially if you are flying this holiday season.
8. I thought of these videos a lot this wknd while scaling 23 feet up a ladder on a side of a mountain.