Monday, April 28, 2014

When you left...

When you left, you died.
But it wasn’t you.
It was what you could have been.
When you died,
My other children died.
The smiling faces which
Could have looked into mine.
The arms which could have
Wrapped around me.

When you left, you took
Your anger with you.
I found a new life,
One of joy and peace.
But not hope.
Because when you left,
You also took
My belief in myself.

When you left, I knew
That all of myself which
I had poured into you
Was gone.
I could make my life
New again,
But it would never be
What could have been.

When you left, you found
A new life for yourself
Someone who could shape herself
Into your shadow.
Someone who wasn’t me.
And I was glad
That I didn’t have
To be your shadow any more.

When you left, you left
The love I had tried to give you
The love I can no longer have
For anyone.
You left a new love.
My heart will never be
What it was.
It will be more.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Garden

When I first saw you,
you were burned by summer sun,
tangled in ropes of bindweed
and choked by desert weeds.
I saw something of myself.

My biography was written
in earth-packed scars left where dogs
had raced the mail trucks
barking at strangers,
in the furrows of truck tires
left seasons ago to fill with weeds,
and in tattered remnants of
once-beautiful flower beds.

It was too much for me,
I had no way to heal you,
no water to bring life.
I turned away.

But after the winter cold
was warmed by the return of the sun
your fight thrust forth in
purple crocuses and yellow daffodils.
Hyacinth spread an indigo cloak
over the bindweed of last year,
bringing beauty and color
to what I thought was utterly gone.

I again saw something of myself,
life cracking the shell of ruin,
Needing no one else to nourish it
or recognize its beauty.

I still had no way to heal you,
no way to give what you needed,
but I fought with you,
because I needed you.
Clearing what was dead
to make way for what could still live,
I planted hope with the daisies
and joy with the marigolds.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Jalapeño Lime Cookies

The idea with these cookies was to elevate dessert to something more than plain sweet. Rather than spicy, I wanted these cookies to taste sweet and bright until the end of the bite when a subtle warmth hits your mouth. It took a ton of tests to make them come out just right, soft and chewy with a hint of warmth. Unfortunately, the judges liked their cookies chocolate and sweet. But I still think they are winners!

Jalapeño Lime Cookies

These chewy cookies require no electric mixers, making them perfect for little helpers. Their bright lime flavor melts on your tongue followed by a subtle, warm heat from the jalapeño reminiscent of summer days on the beach.

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1-2 roasted jalapeños, seeds and skin removed and chopped finely
  • 2 tsp. lime zest
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lime zest

Heat oven to 350°F, placing oven rack in middle position. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place sugar in a large bowl, cut up the cream cheese into small pieces, place on top. Melt butter and, while still warm, pour over sugar and cream cheese. Whisk to combine. In a small food processor or blender, blend egg, jalapeño, lime juice, lime zest, and vanilla, whisk until smooth. Blend into cream cheese mixture. Set aside.

Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. With a rubber spatula, fold in cream cheese mixture until smooth. Do not overmix. Combine 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tbsp. lime zest. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, roll each piece in lime sugar and form into balls. Flatten the dough into 2-inch circles. Bake one sheet at a time until edges are slightly brown, about 12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, then cool on rack until room temperature.

Lime Sour Cream Glaze

  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp. sour cream

Meanwhile, combine lime juice, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in sour cream. When the cookies are cooled, drizzle icing over the top, and allow to harden before serving.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Cupcakes

I've finally decided to share some of the recipes I've developed myself, starting with the cupcakes that won 3rd place in a Ghirardelli chocolate competition. I hope you enjoy!

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Cupcakes

Surprise! These cupcakes contain hidden zucchini and avocado: sweet chocolate cake, layered with earthy, rich chocolate mousse and topped with tangy white chocolate lime topping. For an even simpler version, just bake the cake in a 9x13” pan, layer with mousse and cream, chill, and cut to serve.

Sweet Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup packed, grated zucchini

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl, just till blended. Set aside. In a food processor, blend eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla, and zucchini until emulsified (no longer separates.) Fold egg mixture and chocolate into the flour and mix until just combined. Pour batter into 24 lined muffin cups, about ½ inch deep. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20-30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.

Rich Chocolate Mousse

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. milk
  • pinch salt
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Blend avocado, vanilla, milk, salt, chocolate, and powdered sugar in a food processor, spoon into cool metal bowl. Fold whipped cream into the avocado mixture with a rubber spatula. Spread over top of cupcakes, smoothing even with the pan rim. Chill until set, about 15 minutes. Heat a knife under hot water, run around edges of cakes and lift out.

Tangy White Chocolate Lime Topping

  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 ¼ cups butter
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lime peel, grated
  • 4 oz. white chocolate, melted

Combine egg whites and sugar in metal mixer bowl. Place over a saucepan of simmering water, and whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture reaches 160°F. In stand mixer, whip on medium-low speed until mixture is cool, and mixture is stiff and glossy. While beating, add butter one tablespoon at a time. Beat until mixture is smooth and fluffy. Slowly add vanilla, lime peel, and chocolate. Pipe white chocolate topping onto the tops of the cupcakes.

Optional: For garnish, zest one lime into long, thin strips. Heat ¼ cup sugar and ½ cup water in saucepan until simmering, add lime zest, cook for about 10 seconds, remove from sugar water, and let sit on parchment paper, garnish cupcakes when cool.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Redesign of Dating

Yes, I know this is probably a sign that I have too much time on my hands. Because of my visual nature, it sometimes helps to graph things out. Once I was done, I just had to laugh at myself. Once I started laughing, I had to share. Please note that this is just a diagram of silly thoughts of mine. Please don't take it too seriously, or think I'm supposed to be making some wise philosophical point or judgment call on the merits of one over the other. Everyone's different. Some of us are just more different than others. So here it is: The Common Practice of Dating (as a flowchart.) You'll probably have to view it full sized to read it.

Now, this is just how I've observed people's expectations. It's not supposed to show how dating actually happens. I doubt most people think of it like this, anyways. It's just what I've noticed when people talk about dating, relationships, and moving forward.

I think of things strangely. Most of the time, I blend pretty well, but sometimes it really smacks me across the face. Dating is one of those face-smacking parts of culture that I just don't get. This next flowchart is diagramming how I think a good relationship should develop. It has pretty much the same end points, but the process is wildly different. Again, remember this is just for fun. It's not supposed to say that my way is better or anything. If anything, it's just a sign of how strange I really am. [Edit: I cut it into two pieces to make it more viewable.]


Now, I don't get many of you reading this blog. It's kind of my own "mommy blog" where I get to let my hair down, get off the doctrinal topics and just let a little more of the whole me out to play. But if you do see this, let me know what you think! Analyze these things. That's what makes life interesting, right?

Monday, November 25, 2013

False Gifts

she seeks
to give gifts
but unwanted
is no gift at all
just a prisoned cage made
with bars of obligation
resentment and fear
so she ceases
unbound and
lonely

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Beauty Hollow

She stands, a hollow tree
grown through foul and fair
ring and ring laid on by time
through sorrows, joy and care

Upright through wind and storm
as floods have raged around
she withstands the fury still 
her roots stretch, deeply bound

Surviving water and fire
her secret heart abides
the smallest foes' assault:
the rot her beauty hides

A wonder to all who see
majestic, strong and tall
despite her inner wounded core
she, aching, gives her all

'Til, on a softer day
the sparrows sing, reposed
upon her spring-fed branches
her deepest truth exposed

None hear the chilling crack
the sparrows, frightened, fly
alone with birds and butterflies
her trunk splits ground to sky

So ends all strength and beauty
they are never heard from more
when deep within they are graced
by empty, hollow core