Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The mint that refreshes

9:25 p.m. Today's project was to get up around 7:45, get dressed, make coffee, post my scripture on Facebook, read today's selection from My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chamber's seminal book of devotions, and drive with all prudent dispatch to the store to get some peppermint extract!

Why such haste? Because yesterday, Ralphs down the hill from my house in Canyon Crest was out of even their generic brand. And when I asked for Schilling, a brand used for generations, they "no longer carry it." I resignedly asked when the extract would be on the shelves, and this morning was it. The shelf would be restocked overnight. I guess this time of year the local residents all have the same idea, an idea that calls for mint flavoring! If I hadn't been pressed for time, and the rain hadn't made driving very unpleasant and marginally dangerous, I would have driven elsewhere. I made sure that our visitor Nick moved his car from behind mine in the driveway, and made two kinds of cookies anyway, adding mint chips to the meringues to make up for the missing extract. It is for the frosting on my layered mint chocolates that I need the real thing.

I decided to go up the hill to the other Ralphs in Mission Grove after calling to see if they had the item. Assured they did, I drove over, carefully, in the pouring rain. While there searching for bargains, I also picked up a pork roast for Christmas dinner, some generic cereal for Steve, and bagels from the markdown cart. Then came a wonderful bonus blessing. I felt a tap on my shoulder, and there was my old girlfriend and women's ministry co-worker from years ago at Harvest, Rocky Petty! A huge smile on her face, blessing everyone in the radius of her joy, Rocky made my morning. The checker whose line I went through said, "I just love that woman! Every time she comes in, she just inspires me!" I said, "Yes, that's Rocky, full of the Lord. It's totally the Lord shining through her!" The checker then wished me Merry Christmas!

"Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven," Jesus said in Matthew 5:16. We all need to exemplify the Light of the World who dwells in us, Jesus Christ our Lord! (Even in this dark and wretched rain!)

I thanked God for His exquisite timing and direction in something as simple as a trip to the store! It was nothing I had done, and that includes not having a very good attitude. He just is that good to me--and to you!

At home, I took the meringues out of the oven, and found they weren't as minty as they should be, so I soaked a tiny bit of paper towel in the extract and placed it in each cookie tin. By later in the morning, the taste was strong!

Our evening was blessed by our guests, the Ilies, rescheduled from yesterday. We had mulled cider, turkey pot pie, spinach salad and three kinds of cookies for dessert. What a neat time of fellowship and getting to know each other better! I am very glad Heidi will be marrying into their family, because they are very strong and anointed believers, so my heart is at peace and full of joy!

No matter my stresses and momentary irritations, God is always refreshing my spirit and encouraging me throughout the days--He is the only source of rest for my soul!
Forgotten Cookies (Mint Meringues)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat until fluffy 2 egg whites (at room temperature) and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar with a wire whisk attachment on your mixer at top speed. Gradually add 3/4 cup of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Add a few drops of red or green food coloring and 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract.
Stir in 6 oz. (half a package) of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Drop by scant teaspoonful onto a greased cookie sheet (or use parchment paper). Place in preheated oven. Turn oven off immediately and leave in overnight or at least 8 hours for meringues to dry.
Chocolate Layer Cookies
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup margarine
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sliced or slivered unblanched almonds
Mint cream
Chocolate glaze
Cake:Melt chocolate and margarine in microwave, on high 1 minute, stir, then 30 seconds. In a bowl, beat eggs and sugar until ivory colored. Add flour, nuts, chocolate mixture and stir. Pour batter into greased and floured 8" or 9" square pan.Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan.Spread mint cream evenly over baked cake. Cover and chill until firm, about 1 hour. Drizzle chocolate glaze over mint cream layer. Chill again and cut into small bite-sized squares. Keep refrigerated.
Mint cream: Beat together until smooth, 1 & 1/2 cups confectioner's powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons soft margarine, 2 tablespoons milk, and 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract.
Chocolate glaze: Melt together 2 tablespoons margarine and 2 oz. sweet chocolate,

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