Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturdays are for Sweets

Well here we are, the end of October, about to start the busiest time of the year, holiday season. I decided it was time to finally get these two cakes posted, after all, we did them back in the summer.  They are our regular flavors, vanilla cake with our buttercream.

We sent more graham crumbs with this cake to finish covering the top and then the side as well. We didn't put all of it on here to try to help keep our recipient's car clean.

Both of these cakes were fun to do. I like the beach, so that made these beach and luau cakes fun to decorate.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What's Cookin' Wednesday- Homemade Candy Bars

I originally found this recipe in a Taste of Home magazine. I adapted it and changed it a little, but with this one I have ventured too far away from the original. It is always a hit when I make it, and only recently have I even tried any of it. I will go ahead and apologize for the lack of pictures this week. They are usually headed out the door shortly after I get them finished. The article I read about them in claims that they are similar to Kit Kat Bars, which is why I made them in the first place.  I would argue that they are perhaps similar, but Kit Kat, they are not, as that is my favorite, by far.

Homemade Candy Bars

  • 8 ounces Waverly crackers, divided
  • 1 cup butter, cut up
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
Start by lining the bottom of your pan with crackers. I have tried putting melting chocolate and covering the bottom first, but I didn't hear any results from that time, so I usually don't, besides that just uses more anyway.
Next, melt the butter, I usually use unsalted, but I like unsalted, much better than regular butter for pretty much any type of cooking anyway. However, I am sure that regular salted butter would be just fine, it would just increase the sodium. After the butter is melted suffiecietnly, add the milk and sugars, I find it is easiest to add the graham crackers crumbs last. Stir until the mixture is sufficiently combined. 
Cover the first layer of crackers with roughly half the mix, repeat and then top it all off with final layer of club crackers.
In another pot, or even double boiler, melt your chocolate chips and butterscotch together and add your peanut butter, the smoother your peanut butter brand is, the better this will turn out. 
After everything is melted, pour it over the top layer of crackers and then let that cool a touch on your counter and then place in your fridge for at least an hour for it to set up well. I usually don't have the hour, so I usually just place it in the freezer, room permitting and that seems to work just fine. However,  I wouldn't recommend freezing it.
This is always a hit, the only thing I would like to change is the crackers, I would much rather find a recipe for a wafer, that would be closer to the kit kat wafter. I have considered using those sugar wafers, but I haven't had the chance yet.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

SIng Sing Sing Thursdays- How He loves Us.

I first heard this song on Total Axxess with Wally. It is a music/variety show that comes on in the afternoon on our local Christian music station. While I don't agree with alot of Wally's viewpoints, he does play some good music. Anyway, he had David Crowder on one day and he was talking about this song. He said the first he heard it, he was on a plane and it just spoke to him, so he is there sobbing in the middle of a crowded plane. So he decided to add it to his new album, which already had 16 songs on it. I think it is great, just a good opportunity to reflect how much He really does love us.

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What's Cookin' Wednesday- Banana Pudding

So, here we are the middle of October and the first Wednesday recipe post in quite some time. I have been cooking, well some, but not a whole lot. We have just been busy, even more busy since school started and since the baby is taking less naps and sleeping less during the day, I have much less free time than I did. Anyway, I made this Banana Pudding this past summer for a family. I don't like the recipe that comes on the box of vanilla wafers, just don't like the cooked taste, and besides I surely didn't want to heat up the oven, therefore the house in the middle of the summer.
Super, Super Good Banana Pudding

  • 1 package cream cheese
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 4 bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 package vanilla wafers

Yes I know, cream cheese? But ah, it makes the pudding. On to the method. First you simply mix the cream cheese until it is fluffy, to get some air in it, I would recommend a hand mixer, but you can easily accomplish this by hand. On a sad note, we lost old mixey, our stand mixer this past summer, I was trying to get some batter off the side of the bowl and the spatula I was using got caught up in the tines. Instead of breaking the spatula, but the mixer head tore all apart, oh well, I have an second hand kitchen aid that has one setting.....super high, and it throws stuff all over the kitchen, so I make do with our hand mixer as much as I can.
Next, add in the condensed milk, I sent the spouse to get the ingredients and she came back with evaporated milk, which worked fine, I haven't any idea what the difference is anyway. Then add the pudding mix, regular milk and vanilla and continue to beat until all your ingredients are mixed well. Finally fold in about half of your cool whip, because seriously, why would you bother with any other whipping topping?

Then spread out your vanilla wafers, banana slices and then cover with your mixture. Or, as I like it just mix it all together, not as pretty, but oh so good.
Serve whenever....I like banana pudding better the second day, but this tastes pretty good they day you make it.

Oh and of course cover your pudding with the rest of your cool whip, shew, bout to leave out an all important step.
Sorry my pictures aren't better, but then I have never professed to be a food photog;-)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday School- Consider it Pure Joy Part One

This would be another part of the new segments that I have been thinking about. Since it typically takes me most of the week to get ready for Sunday School and I put alot of time and effort in reading and studying and gathering information I figured I would post my efforts.
We use the KNOWN material from Lifeway and I think it is pretty decent literature. I wish they focus alittle more on the passage in the material but on the other hand it has gotten better from last year and it is probably the best Sunday School material I have ever been familiar with. All in all I am thankful just for the opportunity to teach in the first place.
This past Sunday's lesson was on James 1:2-4 which is obviously about having Joy in the midst of trials. Instead of posting the whole lesson today I think I will break it up into at least two parts, partly because I have alot that I used yesterday morning.

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials. James 1:2

I found some presuppostions or foundations as I would term them on a blog I read this past week and I think the author borrowed it from Douglas Moo in the Pillar New Testament Commentary Series. 
I will paraphrase, but again, the idea is not originally mine.
2. God is perfectly good. There is not the slightest hint of evil in Him. He cannot commit evil and does not hold grudges nor is spiteful.
3. I am perfectly forgiven through Jesus Christ's sacrificial death on the cross.
This sums up my viewpoint and I can run everything about what I believe about trials and tests out of these three points.
Now, lets look at the passage. The first thing that jumps out at me is James uses the word whenever. There is no if, might, maybe, perhaps or slightest hint of a question in the sentence. As a human we are going to go through tough times, it is simply unavoidable. We are fallen people in the midst of a sinful world. It is a wonder and testament to God's grace that we are not faced with more trials.
Our lesson pointed out that if we are facing trials then more than likely we are on the right track. That is, if we are living from the Lord then we should expect opposition from the enemy. However, we have to keep in mind that sometimes God uses trials as form of correction and discipline in our lives. He will sometime use those tough time to wake us up and bring us back to Him.
Now going back to the beginning James instructs us to consider. You could swap out examine or evaluate, we should evaluate our trials with Joy, and not just any Joy, but Pure Joy or Great Joy, we should consider them to be among the best things to ever happen to us.
I also want to point out the word various. Notice when we go through trials it seems like they all come at one time, or as I like to put it they overload the zone. I used the analogy that they are like bananas, they come in bunches during Sunday School and that got a rise out of the guys.
To put it in a sports analogy, consider a quarterback under pressure. He snaps the ball, then he might have as many as four defends running straight at him, trying their hardest to kill him and stop the play. Our tests seem to take a similar approach, if they can overload our defense then it is much harder to deal with. However, that is crux of the matter. If we just had one trial to deal with , we might just be able to take care of that ourself, if the quarterback just has one defender running his way, he can usually side step him and then get the ball off. However, when we are overloaded then we have to rely on God to get us through the trial.
Lastly, lets take a look at the word 'trial'. It refers to something that will test a person for the purpose of proving and never the purpose of causing him to fail. Even though we go through tests and trials we can have the confidence that God is with us in the midst of them. Just like Jesus was with the Disciples n the boat in Mark 4:35-41. Jesus was the one that told them to get into the boat in the first place. He knew that the storms were going to come, but let them happen anyway. He even took a nap in the middle of it all. Sometime, we like the disciples can get terrified and loose our focus, but all we have to do is call on the Saviour and He will calm us, just like He did the wind and waves. Mind, He doesn't always take away the trial, but He will bring peace and return our focus.
to be continued.....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sing Sing Sing Thursdays-Overcome

I love this song, it is 'Overcome' by the desparation band.
If this doesn't move you, you might just need to check your pulse.
I am also adding the youtube link, so if you are not familiar just click away!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sing Sing Sing Thursdays- Offering by Paul Baloche

I sang the first verse of this in our Sunday Evening worship, well with the help of our Associate Worship Minister, at any rate a first for me. It is a new song to me, in fact Paul Baloche is a new artist to me, even though I have previously heard some of his music. It is fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone.
Offering by Paul Baloche
The sun cannot compare to the glory of Your love
There is no shadow in Your Presence
No mortal man would dare to stand before Your throne
Before the Holy One of heaven
It's only by Your Blood and it's only through you mercy
Lord I come

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus may You receive the honor that You're due
O Lord I bring an offering to You
I bring an offering to You

I bring an offering of worship to my King
No one on earth deserves the praises that I sing
Jesus may You receive the honor that You're due
O Lord I bring an offering to You
O Lord I bring an offering to You
O Lord I bring an offering to You
I bring an offering to You

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sing Sing Sing Thursdays

So, here is one of the new blog series I have been contemplating. We are big music fans here in the Clifton household and I figured we would share the lyrics to some of the songs that we have been rocking out too. The first one inspired the name for the segment, and since I am a big fan of Chris Tomlin I figured I would start out with this one. The title is Sing, Sing, Sing and is on the Hello Love album.

We will sing, sing, sing
And make music with the heavens
We will sing, sing, sing
Grateful that You hear us
When we shout your praise
Lift high the name of Jesus

What's not to love about You?
Heaven and earth adore You
Kings and kingdoms bow down
Son of God, You are the One
You are the One we're living for

You are the love that frees us
You are the light that leads us
Like a fire burning
Son of God, You are the one
You are the one we're living for