Posted in Baked Perfection, Coffee Time, Warm the Soul

Sunday Visiting

5811FEC469Over the past couple of weeks, I have found myself hosting impromptu gatherings on Sunday afternoon. Good thing the house was somewhat orderly. All that was needed was a quick swipe in the bathroom and a bit of vacuuming to make ready for company.  I’m so glad they came. What followed in the form of encouragement and blessing far outweighed the momentary inconvenience of its short notice.

We have long passed the days when people simply stopped by on a Sunday afternoon.  I can remember as a child it was a very pleasant happening when someone came to call.  There was no special fanfare needed. A pot of coffee was brewed and conversation was enjoyed. It was just simple and easy and extraordinary all at the same time. We found our lives elevated by the presence of guests.

Perhaps this is a custom that should return—this Sunday afternoon visiting. It’s not hard. There is no need to consult Pinterest to create perfect environment or food offering. A kitchen table with tea and cookies are quite enough for this event that pushes companionship to the forefront. The benefits of such a practice? They can be measured in ah factor of an afternoon made wonderful because friends stopped by.

Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Here is a very quick and easy brownie recipe I used last time my grandkids and their parents came by. It is very good recipe. So good, we have to double it every time.

The Best Brownies

Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix oil and sugar until well blended.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla; stir just until blended.
  4. Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
  5. Stir dry ingredients into the oil/sugar mixture.
  6. Pour into greased 9 x 9 square pan.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until sides just start to pull away from the pan.
  8. Cool completely before cutting.

Note: I usually double the recipe and bake in a 9 x 13 pan. If you double the recipe, you will need to cook longer than 20 minutes.

Posted in Baked Perfection, Coffee Time, Involving the Heart

No To-Go Cup, Please

Along in the afternoon, my thoughts turn to a cup of tea and a little something sweet. It is certainly a very nice respite for a busy day. While visiting Germany, I found this to be the common practice. Whether we were out and about or happened by a friend’s house (Yes, people actually do that there.), coffee or tea was brewed and a cookie was offered without fail. And it was all enjoyed while sitting and visiting.

Coffee Time at a little bakery found on the square of Radeberg, Germany.
Coffee Time at a little bakery found on the square of Radeberg, Germany.

In our grab and go culture we miss this simple pleasure of refreshment around some small talk. If we actually took time to sit and enjoy each other’s company, we might find our lives a little less hectic and a little more meaningful.  You see, the refreshment does not come from the snack like we think.  You’ve seen in the old movies when they ask, “Would you take some refreshment?” Food was certainly was offered but I believe it was far more than that. Refreshment comes not from the eating of treats rather the time spent in sweet fellowship. And time is a key component to making it all work.  Friendship is not fast food. It a sit down occasion to be savored.

Life is better shared with friends. It’s just a fact. So take a break from the hectic and find refreshment.

“To be with old friends is very warm and comforting.”

~ Ian Ziering


My daughter gifted me Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman Cooks Food: From My Frontier cookbook a few years back.  I have used many of the recipes and all of them have been pretty delicious. It is my go-to reference when I want to take something to a potluck or share with a friend.  The following is a cookie recipe I used recently for a Bridal Shower.  I think they would also be the perfect thing to serve your friends while you sip tea and invest time in each other.

Citrus Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (4 Sticks) Salted Butter, Softened
  • 1-1/2 cup Sugar
  • 2 whole Large Eggs, Separated
  • 4 cups All-purpose Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Orange, Lemon, And Lime Zest (approx 1 Tablespoon Each)
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange, Lemon, And/or Lime Juice (2 Tablespoons Total)
  • Icing
  • 3 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Orange, Lemon, And Lime Zest
  • Juice Of 1/2 Lime
  • Juice Of 1/2 Lemon
  • Dash Of Salt
  • Extra Zest, For Decorating

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Cream butter and sugar until combined. Add egg yolks and mix until combined (set whites aside for the icing.) Add the zest and the flour and mix until just combined, then add juice and mix until combined.

    Scoop out heaping teaspoons of dough, then roll them into balls between your hands. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 13 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep on the cookie sheet for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the pan with a spatula and allow to cool completely before icing.

    To make the icing, combine 1 egg white with the rest of the icing ingredients. Whisk thoroughly until combined, adding either more powdered sugar or more juice until it reaches a pourable but still thick consistency.

    Drizzle the icing across the cookies in several lines, then do it again in the other direction. Sprinkle with extra zest before the icing sets.

    *Check out her site for beautiful pictures of the step-by-step instructions.

    ENJOY!

    Table set for tea at a friend's home in Germany. It was a beautiful time of sharing our lives.  This created a memory that will stay with me for a long time.
    Table set for tea at a friend’s home in Germany. Beautiful.

    If you enjoyed reading this blog, take a look at another blog I write. Girl on Adventure is a collection of lessons God is showing me as I move through life.  I hope you enjoy it.