This Week’s 7 – Summertime Snacks

Each Monday on the Pure Purpose blog, I feature This Week’s 7, a simple list about an everyday topic, giving you ideas and encouragement. This week’s list gives you ideas for scrumptious summertime snacks. Add your favorites to the list, and we’ll all refresh our recipes this summer!

Farmers’ Market Salsa

2 ears fresh, sweet corn, cut off the cob

1/2 medium red onion, diced

2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped

1 1/2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved

1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and chopped in chunks

1 jalapeno, sliced

1/4 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves chopped

1 lemon, juiced

1 lime, juiced

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, tossing to coat. Put the salsa in a sealable plastic container.

Mixed Berry Dessert

2 tablespoons low-fat yogurt (key-lime or lemon)

Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, torn

1 cup cubed cantaloupe

4 medium strawberries, stemmed and quartered

1/4 cup raspberries

1/4 cup blueberries

Whisk the yogurt, lime juice, and mint together in a medium bowl. Add the fruit and toss to combine. Serve.

Watermelon Cookies

Watermelon

Vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt (or cream cheese or other icing substitute)

Sprinkles (optional)

Slice melon into 1-inch-thick slabs, then use cookie cutters to make shapes. Frost your treats with vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt (spoon the yogurt into a squeeze bottle to make decorating really fun and easy) and top them with
sprinkles if you like.

Twisted Shake

1/2 cup milk

2 scoops chocolate ice cream

3 tablespoons chocolate syrup

1/8 teaspoon peppermint or orange extract

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Mix on high for about 8 seconds or until the ingredients are evenly combined, then pour into a tall glass.

Fruity Fruit Punch

2 cups cranberry juice

1 cup pineapple juice

1 cup orange juice

1/4 cup grenadine syrup

1/4 cup lime juice

1 lemon, cut into thin slices

1 lime, cut into thin slices

3 1/2 cups club soda, chilled

Mix the juices and syrup in a large pitcher. Chill for at least an hour to let the flavors to blend. Right before serving, add the lemon and lime slices and the club soda, then pour over ice.

Pudding Pops

1 small package of instant chocolate pudding (3.4 ounces)

2 cups milk

1/2 cup sugar

With a wire whisk, blend together 1 package of instant chocolate pudding, 2 cups milk, 1/2 cup cream, and 1/2 cup sugar. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds. Or, pour it into small plastic cups, cover each with aluminum foil, and insert a craft stick through the foil. Freeze and eat.

Chocolate-Dipped Trail Mix

3 cups nuts (peanuts, almonds, and pecans)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup coconut flakes

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix together the nuts, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, raisins, and dried cranberries or cherries. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave. Pour the chocolate over the baking
sheet in ribbons. Stir to coat everything. Let the chocolate cool, then break the mix into pieces and pack it in individual containers.

What’s one of your summertime favorites?

Life Side-by-Side

Grammy was my mom’s mom. She and I were close. When I was little, I’d often go to her house on Sunday afternoons or spend the night. We played Solitaire side by side. We had tea parties. I roller skated for hours in her large driveway (or in her basement on rainy days). She let me eat Jello with whipped cream and Little Debbie treats.

Grammy was still alive when I got married, and I wanted to learn how to fix my favorites of her recipes. I could have simply copied her recipes but I scheduled a day of cooking with her. (1) It was going to be fun to spend an entire day with her, and (2) I knew I’d
learn more of her “secrets” by working by her side. The women in our family don’t necessarily follow recipes closely, so handing over a recipe usually won’t duplicate someone’s end result.

Lasagna and custard were the two recipes I remember requesting. I wrote specific notes as Grammy blended, whipped, and
folded ingredients. I still have my original notes, and I’ve used them many times (I’m getting hungry for both recipes as I type!). I learned what ingredients I could substitute and what were “must haves.” I learned a couple short cuts. I learned how to tell when each dish was “just right” to pull from the oven and how soon I could serve them.

Most of all, it was a great day – not because I learned how to make Grammy’s lasagna and custard but because I got to spend the day and make memories with her.

She died several years later, and the end of her life was tough on our relationship, but I have a lot of great memories with her. Her life was a gift to me. I’m sure there were times I took her for granted, but I’m glad for the times we invested time in each other.

There are people – related or not – in your life who can pour into you. Who comes to mind? How are their lives a gift to you?

There are people – related or not – in your life you can pour into. Who comes to mind? How is your life a gift to them?

Write two notes of encouragement – one to someone who influences your life and the other to someone whose life you influence. Don’t put it off. Do life side by side. You’ll learn a lot more than you might expect.

A good person gives life to others; the wise person teaches others how to live. Proverbs 11:30

The Secret Cookie Recipe

For many years, I made chocolate chip cookies every Saturday night to take to church the following morning. I baked pans of cookies to take to musical practices when I was choreographing. I baked for extended family gatherings. I baked for school auctions, potlucks, and meetings.

Baking is relaxing to me, and people seem to enjoy my chocolate chip cookies, so it’s a win-win. Sometimes I’ll ask my daughter if she’s willing to take cookies somewhere so I have an excuse to bake. But our family doesn’t eat the cookies. Oh, we might have a couple when they’re fresh (in other words, if they’re still warm), but that’s it. They’re not special to us. We can have them any time we want.

Others think they’re something special.

I got the recipe when I was in grad school. I was in a study group at Debbie’s house, and she made them. They were delicious, and I had to have the recipe. I still have her handwritten recipe card, one of the first recipes I collected. I tweaked it a bit as I began to bake, and I’ve shared my adjusted recipe with others, but I often hear their cookies don’t end up the same as mine.

It might be that I don’t exactly follow a recipe. I haven’t measured the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies for…as long as I can remember. I’m not sure I ever measured. My mom didn’t measure much when she baked and cooked, and I adopted the “throw it in until it’s the right consistency and taste” approach.

I’ve tried to write down a close representation of what I include in the chocolate chip cookies, and I include the “secrets” I’ve found make the difference between an okay cookie and a “gotta have more” cookie. It thrills me when someone is able to replicate the cookies. A friend recently posted a comment about my cookies on Facebook, which started a thread of comments about chocolate chip cookies and baking. I included the recipe in a comment, and several tried (and succeeded!) in baking the ooey, gooey, chocolatey goodness in the following days. I hope they savored every bite…as I savor baking, throwing together a variety of ingredients to create something scrumptious.

I was thinking about the way I bake the other day when I was chatting with a friend about God’s Word. Everything we need to know how to live is in there, but I don’t know it all. I don’t understand it all and how it blends together. I could read it day in and day out for the rest of my life and still be surprised by it. I’d still have questions. But it’s all in there – everything I need.

If knowing what to do – determining God’s will – was always easy, I think the Bible would look different. It would be Step 1, Step 2, Step 3….It would say, “If _____, then _____.” And it does both of these things in different places, but…it also tells me to speak up and be silent, act boldly and be humble. Confront, forgive. Follow, lead.

There are no contradictions in the Bible. God is consistent and unchanging. He’s not into situational ethics. He’s into a relationship that draws me to continually interact with him. If I could read the Bible like a recipe, I could follow it to every ounce and teaspoon, mix and blend with precise timing, and have a predictable result every time. But I wouldn’t have to rely on my relationship with God. I’d become legalistic. Instead, I must be obedient to God through the process. I interact with him through his Word. I get instruction, and I try to apply it, checking results along the way.

I read A, so I choose B, which results in C. What does God say about what C is supposed to look like? Am I matching up? So far, so good? What adjustments do I need to make? I need to dig in more. I tweak direction and focus. Okay, that’s better. Right, God?

Faith is a relationship, which means I need to be involved. I can’t replicate without a recipe, but I also need to know how to adjust the recipe along the way because (1) only God knows the specifics, and (2) baking without him is like replacing the margarine for butter, white sugar for brown sugar, whole wheat flour for white flour, almond for vanilla, baking powder for baking soda, and mint chips for chocolate chips. You might like what you end up with, but it’s nothing like the masterful creation you were intended to have.

Want to try some yummy chocolate chip cookies?

2 cups butter-flavored Crisco shortening

3/4 cups white sugar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs

3 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

16 ounce bag of chocolate chips

Use mixer to cream together the shortening and both kinds of sugar. Then beat in vanilla and eggs. This is the “secret” step. Be sure the mixture is fluffy before you stop. Add flour, baking soda, and salt to the creamy dough and mix. Add chocolate chips by stirring with a large spoon. Drop by tea-spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 360 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Cookies will be soft. Let them stand on the cookie sheet for a minute or so and then place them on waxed paper to cool completely.

ENJOY!

 In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1