Monday, July 16, 2012

An Inspiring Book and Easy Dessert (before I leave the country)

I've been packing my bag, marking things off my lists, leaving instructions for my family, and preparing to leave for India today. I'm headed with 2 friends from my church to spend a week with our friends who live in Northern India. We will be seeing their world and learning how we can support and be involved in the work that they are doing there.

I can't believe it!  The day is finally here.  I am excited, expectant and yet feeling utterly unprepared for what lies ahead on this journey I am about to take.  Before I go, I thought I'd leave you with a couple of things I've been wanting to pass along to you.

So, I'll make it quick:

This inspiring book.

If you are a mom, you should think about reading this book.  If you know a mom, you should think about recommending this book to her. Last week I started reading 52 Things Kids Need From A Mom,  by Angela Thomas.  I like her a lot.  I saw this book at a store a couple of months ago and picked it up.  
CONFESSION: I have a book buying issue.  I know, it's true.  This weekend, when I was running to Target with my pal, Amy, to pick up my last things for the trip, we were in the book section and I was really trying to only buy one new book.  I confessed to her that "I have a book buying problem", which I knew was safe to share, since she too has this "issue".  She said, "it could be worse... that's the way I see it!  We could be spending our money on far worse things than books."  She's right.  Although, you know, from my summer reading stack, that I didn't need one more new book this summer.  (And Amy gave me a copy of a book she is also reading , The Supper of the Lamb, by Robert Farrar Capon.  Have you read it?  I'll be taking it on my trip and will let you know more!)

So, this Mom-book is great.  I knew it would be solid, but had no idea how fresh and practical and fun to read and INSPIRING it would be.  Each chapter is just a couple of pages and highlights one of the 52 things she proposes that kids need from their moms.  She is gracious and bold and fun and intentional all at the same time. She is the mother of 4 children.  She knows what she's talking about. 

Now, I'm sure it would be great to read one chapter each week for the year...stretching it out for 52 weeks, but I can't.  I will say, I am trying to shut the book after each chapter and think about it, maybe tell someone near enough to listen.  Then I proceed to the next chapter. Like putting your fork down between bites of food.  
I love her examples and her humility with which she boldly challenges us to be intentional moms.  I have been trying to implement some of her suggestions already.  
I started to send an email to several friends telling them about the book, and then I decided to just write about it here to share with even more people.  

When I find something that I love, it's hard for me to keep from sharing it with others!

A yummy easy dessert:

The other tidbit I want to share with you is a recipe that I've been meaning to share for a while.  It's a simple, tasty dessert from Everyday Food magazine from several years back, that we like at our house.  It was originally called "Cookie Break Up".  We call it 
Cookie Brickle though .  While the name Break Up is accurate, as it's a cookie that you "break up", I think it's a downer name for such a great cookie!  Who wants to eat a break up?  I try to avoid break ups in my life.  I renamed it Cookie Brickle a few years ago.  It looks like a chocolate chip cookie, but broken into pieces.  However, it's texture is crunchy and is very buttery tasting – reminescent of toffee.  Brickle reminds me of Butter Brickle Ice cream, which is toffee flavored and the definition of Brickle is "easy to break".  So...Cookie Brickle it is .  It's super yummy and because the pieces are broken you feel justified in eating a little piece, and another little piece, and another...

It is the best recipe to make when you have just a few minutes and can't get to the store.  You surely have all of the ingredients in your house.  It's a great thing to take to picnics or places, as it's easy to transport and can't mess up along the way.  (They are conveniently already broken!)  We have taken them to a pool party and a picnic at the creek this summer, and they were well received and easy to pack and take. 

Cookie Brickle 
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Line a 10 X 15 inch rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in salt and vanilla.  Reduce speed to low; mix in flour (dough will be crumbly).
Stir in chocolate chips.

Press mixture evenly onto prepared sheet.
Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.
Cool in pan 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To serve, break into pieces with your hands.

 My kids help me make it.  Asher made it by himself the other day with just minor supervision (mostly about not pouring flour all over the floor). 

In these last days of July, if you are needing some inspiration, here is my two cents worth. 

I'll hopefully have great photos to share with you of my journey to India and stories of the people I encounter.  Who knows, I might even get to bring back some Indian recipes or culinary skills!


  1. Please, please bring back good Indian recipes! That would make me happy. Have an awesome trip!

    I have a book buying "problem" too but I agree with Amy. There's worse ways to spend money.

  2. Did I tell you that Angela Thomas is who Lee took to Bolivia?!!! I need to pick up this book..I need intentional mommy training.

    I'm going to make this recipe TODAY...although, last time I had your brickle, I couldn't stay out of it. I know the kids will love it too...maybe we'll make it together! :)

  3. My family met your sweet family at the beach last year. You were reading this book and I picked it up as soon as I got home. I LOVED it! I bought a case of them and have given them to all my mom friends with little messages inside about how they have inspired me to be a good mom. I must say that you inspired me in just the few days that I was around you. I hope our paths will cross again!

    1. Kristi,
      I love hearing from you and about how you have blessed your friends with this book!
      I thought about you the other dayWe are going back to the beach this July and staying at the same house. Are y'all going to be there?

  4. Yes! We will be there 6/29 - 7/14. We are staying in a differently house nearby. We will definitely look for you guys! Yay! My kids will be so excited, too.