Joy – Psalm 16:11

Each month I am trying to work on a characteristic of God in myself.

Galations 5:22-23

On the other hand, the fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

For December I was working on joy, but I have to admit I did not get very far. So, I am expanding the study of this quality in scripture into January. In general, I feel like a happy person, but I am subject to bouts of depression usually sprung on by worrying too much. I need to do a whole study on not worrying! For now: joy:

You make known to me the path of life. In your presence is abundant joy; There is happiness at your right hand forever. – Psalm 16:11

First of all, I am happy that I have God’s Word to direct me to the path that leads to Him. What an awesome, caring God He must be to have provided this for us instead of just leaving us in the dark. And second, this is a fallen world. Satan conspires against us constantly to try to bring us the exact opposite of happiness. Or he disguises himself as light and we think we are happy, but we are really sinning. Falling into his trap. I am content knowing that I will achieve real and perfect happiness when I am in the presence of the Lord forever. For now, there are so many blessings that I can take joy in and I can take joy in serving the Lord.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for providing your Word for us so that we know what to do in this fallen world. We know how to get to You and that in itself is something to be so joyful about. Please give me the motivation to stay in Your Word every day so that I will never forget the path to You. Please help me to turn from my sin and help me to see hidden sins that I might not even realize I am doing. Let the Holy Spirit constantly remind me that this is not my true home and true and perfect and eternal happiness is not here, but with You. Allow me to see my blessings and be joyful for them and convict me to serve You more and more. I will take immense joy in that. Thank you Lord. I love you.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Kolaczki

One of my favorite cookies, especially around the holidays! My mom’s side of the family is polish so we have always had these.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 cups pastry flour
  • 2 cups jam of your choosing
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter, flour and cream cheese until it is fluffy.
  2. On a well floured surface, roll the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for an hour.
  3. On a well floured surface, roll the dough out into a thin, flat piece. Cut the dough into even sized squares. Place jam in the center of each square. Fold the sides of the squares in, pinching the corners together.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until corners just start to brown.
  5. After they have completely cooled, dust with powdered sugar.

In the picture I used apricot jam, strawberry jam, and fig jam. I would say apricot and raspberry are the most popular. You can also make your own jam.

Cream cheese is a pretty popular filling too:

  • 2 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoom vanilla extract
  1. In a bowl, cream together the cream cheese and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Refrigerate until ready to fill pastries.

You can store these cookies in airtight containers with parchment paper in between the layers or in the fridge. I definitely like to put the cream cheese ones in the fridge.

What is also great about these cookies is you can customize them however you like. You can make them bigger or smaller. I always thought that there was never enough jam in these cookies so I loaded mine up. 😀

Honey Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 15 oz. can pineapple slices in juice, drained
  • 1 can seeded black cherries in juice, drained
  • 1 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plain yellow corn meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour honey into a buttered 10 inch cast iron skillet or a pineapple upside down cake pan. Tilt to spread evenly. Top with pineapple and cherries.
  2. Beat sugar and butter at medium speed with stand mixer until fluffy. Stir in vanilla. In one bowl, whisk together flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In another bowl whisk together buttermilk and eggs. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat just until blended. Spread batter over pineapple.
  3. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Shield with foil after 45 minutes if necessary to prevent over browning. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
  4. Invert cake onto serving platter. Drizzle with honey glaze and let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Honey Glaze

  1. Bring 1/4 cup honey, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar and 1 tablespoon butter to a simmer. Stir lightly. Cook 1 minute, then remove from heat.

Honey Maple Glazed Carrots

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced on a long angle
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • decorative flowers, optional

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly oil a sheet pan. Place carrots on prepared pan and drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup and honey. Sprinkle with coriander, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Spread in an even layer.
  2. Roast for 10 minutes, stir to redistribute. Continue roasting 15-20 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes. Look for caramelized edges and tender carrots.

Make sure you use pure, quality maple syrup. The generic stuff just burns.

Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place veggies on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and stir. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir.
  2. Arrange brussel sprouts cut side down. Roast 20-30 minutes. Toss gently a couple of times during cooking.
  3. Whisk mustard and vinegar. Slowly pour olive oil and whisk. Season to taste.
  4. Toss veggies with vinaigrette. Serve warm, luke warm, or cold.

If you like your veggies very soft you can cook them in the pressure cooker with a cup of chicken stock, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. You can also add about 4 cloves of minced garlic.

Buffalo Chicken/Jackfruit Stuffed Peppers

In these pictures I used jackfruit.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium multicolored peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded chicken, or jackfruit
  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup shredded low moisture part-skim mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 3 tablespoons blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Brush all sides of bell peppers with oil. Arrange cut sides down. Bake until slightly softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir chicken or jackfruit, yogurt, mozzarella, hot sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne and 2 tablespoons scallions in a large bowl.
  3. Remove peppers from oven, pour off remaining juices. Flip peppers. Spoon chicken/jackfruit mixture evenly into peppers (about 1/3 cup each). Bake until tender and heated through, about 15 minutes. Drizzle with dressing and scallions.

Amish White Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups warm water (between 100 and 110 degrees)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups bread flour

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
  2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp towel. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes and divide in half. Shape into loaves and place into 2 well oiled 9×5 loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

My husband says that this bread tastes overly yeasty, but I think it is supposed to. I like it and it is a little bit sweet. The second loaf I wrap and put in the freezer until I am ready for it. I read somewhere that if you turn the oven on for 20 seconds and then place the dough inside the oven it will rise faster.

Tangerine Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • orange zest of 2 tangerines
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 1/5 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 6 tangerines
  • powdered sugar

Directions

  1. In a bowl mix eggs and sugar. Add zest, oil, milk and yogurt. Mix well. Sift in the flour and baking powder and mix.
  2. Cut tangerines into halves. Sprinkle the bottom of muffin tins with sugar. Place the tangerines, cut side down, into muffin tins. Pour mixture over each tangerine.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

I was surprised that these turned out pretty good. I used the little, seedless halo tangerines. These muffins are not very sweet at all. Great as a breakfast muffin. I also made a gluten free version for my gluten intolerant co-worker. I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour.

My mom said these taste like Christmas. hehe

Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips, or more to taste
  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl with a handheld mixer on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs. Beat until smooth. Add ricotta and vanilla and beat to combine.
  3. Sift flour and baking powder into bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Mix on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
  4. Drop cookies in heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets. Leave about 2 inches between cookies. Bake, rotating the trays from top to bottom halfway through, until cookies are puffed and golden at the edges, about 18 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Dust cookies with confectioner’s sugar before serving if desired.

I got this recipe from the newspaper! A lady named Lidia Bastianich.

I had to take these out right at 18 minutes. Any longer and the bottoms started browning. I also thought the suggested amount of mini chocolate chips was perfect.

Molasses Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together melted butter, 1 cup sugar and egg until smooth. Stir in molasses. In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Blend the flour mixture into the molasses mixture. Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and roll in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until tops are cracked. Cool on wire racks.

These are great and I personally don’t think they are overly sweet. They are always a hit at my job.

I use a cookie scoop to make the balls the same size. Mine started cracking right at 8 minutes and I took them out. I cooked some a couple minutes longer and they were overdone.