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Food

The Best Sugar Cookies

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These are the best sugar cookies, ever! You may not believe me. A sugar cookie is a sugar cookie. I disagree. I have had many beautifully decorated sugar cookies that taste quite bland with a dry texture. This amazing simple recipe is full of flavor with a nice soft texture.

My family absolutely loves these cookies. I usually make them for holidays and special occasions. I have zero decorating skills. My cookies are very homemade looking. But, they taste so good. 

A lot of the fun of homemade sugar cookies is the decorations. My boys always helped when they were little. Each cookie was a tiny canvas for them to express themselves with icing and sprinkles. If you have kids they will love creating their own edible masterpieces.

I have used buttercream frosting, and a corn syrup based frosting. The best decorating icing is royal icing. It sets up perfectly for stacking and the decorating possibilities are endless. My cookies in the picture have corn syrup icing. It sets up similar to royal icing, but it’s much runnier. It’s not the easiest icing to work with, but I didn’t have the ingredients for royal icing so I had to make do. 

You can find the recipe for royal icing here: Gingerbread Cookies

Enjoy this easy, no refrigeration required, sugar cookie recipe.

Happy Eating!

 

 

 

Sugar Cookies 

 

Ingredients

1 cup butter 

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon almond extract

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 cups flour

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375° 
  • In a small bowl add salt, baking soda, baking powder, and flour. Whisk together.
  • Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Add vanilla, almond extract, and eggs. Mix on medium high speed until combined. It will look lumpy from the eggs. That’s OK.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix on medium high speed until combined. 
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Use your favorite cookie cutters and transfer to a baking sheet, and place them about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. The sugar cookies should be light in color. If the edges are brown they are over-cooked. 
  • Leave the cookies on the trays for about a minute before removing them to a cooling rack. 
  • Cool completely and decorate.

Notes:

  • If the dough is a bit sticky, just place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
  • Oven temps vary so keep an eye on the first batch or two of cookies until you see how your oven cooks.
  • Place your oven rack in the middle so the cookies bake evenly.
  • Line your baking sheets with parchment for easy clean up. You can also just bake the cookies directly on your ungreased cookie sheets. 
  • I always use salted butter for all my baking. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar Cookie Icing

 

Ingredients

1 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons milk

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon almond extract

 

Directions

  • In a medium bowl blend sugar and milk until smooth.
  • Add corn syrup and almond extract. Beat until smooth and shiny.
  • Use food coloring to make whatever colors you prefer.

 

Notes:

  • This is very runny icing. The texture reminds me of white school glue.
  • Use a small amount on each cookie. If you put too much of the icing it will run over the edge of the cookies.
  • It will set up overnight.
  • If the icing is too thick add more milk and corn syrup in about the same ratios.
  • I usually just play around with the texture until I get the consistency I want.

Faith, Trials

Jesus Will Get You Through Your Storm

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“I’m scared Lord,” I whispered as I fell asleep.

I had a vivid dream that night. I was standing on the shore of a stormy sea. The water was choppy with big waves and wind. The sky was filled with gray clouds. Jesus stood next to me. He stepped out to the stormy sea, and I took a step with Him. We walked through the storm together on top of the waves. Jesus was by my side the whole time.

In my dream Jesus did not calm the storm, and He did not part the waters. Jesus took me through the storm. I woke up with a sense of peace and comfort. Jesus spoke to me in a dream without saying a word. He was going to get me through my storm, and He did. 

Jesus will get you through your storm.

Sometimes God will calm the storm. Sometimes God will part the sea. And sometimes God will calm you, and walk  you through the storm.

I prefer “calm the storm”, not “walk through the storm”. But God knows what is best for each of us, and He is always concerned with our heart and our faith. He sees the entire story, we only see the storm, and we want it to stop. 

When we walk through the storms in life with Jesus our faith grows. We learn to trust Him and follow Him. If we go ahead of Him and take our eyes off of Jesus, we will begin to sink. There is good news. Jesus is a rescuer. Peter learned this lesson.

25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:25-31, NIV 

As soon as Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and saw the wind he was scared and began to sink. Wind is scary. Big waves and storms are powerful forces. They cause a lot of damage. But Jesus is bigger.

Jesus rescued Peter without hesitation. He knew that Peter was doubting. We all have doubts at times. Is God really going to help me? Can He? The answer is yes. 

Peter walking on water is a miracle. Just imagine what miracles God can do in your storm. Our faith grows in hard times. You and I can walk on water with Jesus, not on our own.

The key to getting through the storm is to follow Jesus. We must keep our eyes on Him. The moment we look at the wind we will begin to sink. 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:2a, NIV 

God can fix any problem with a snap of His fingers. When He does not immediately calm our storms, He is doing something much deeper in each of us. We are being refined to be more like Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. This is never easy, but Jesus will help us. 

Storms are opportunities for our faith to grow. We are not alone in the storms. Jesus will help us to make it to the other side. Trust Him and keep your eyes fixed on Him. And when you start to sink, cry out to Jesus. He will rescue you.

Love you all,

Meghan

Father God,

Thank you for always hearing our prayers and cries for help. Thank you for Jesus our Savior. Thank you for making a way through the storms. For all those in storms right now, give them peace, comfort, and provision. You will make a way through. Keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. He is everything.

In Jesus name,

Amen 

Photo by Kammeran Gonzalez-Keola on Pexels.com

Obedience

Do Not Fear Man

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Hello, my name is Meghan, and I am a recovered people pleaser.

The disease to please is deceptive. It looks really nice on the outside. But it hides an awful, sinful truth. Pride. Wait a minute, people pleasers are so nice. They only want what’s best for others. No, not really. 

As a former people pleaser I can tell you the ugly truth. You please people to make them happy and like you. I thought I was doing good. I was motivated by my own needs. It’s all about me. I did not see that at first, and yes, that sounds really harsh. Sure, the facade is niceness. But, it’s actually selfish. The motive to people please is fear of man. That is wrong.

I was not aware of my people pleasing ways until I was a teenager, maybe late teens. Once Jesus opened my eyes to my problem, He then showed me how dangerous it was. We are to fear God, not man. 

The motive to please people is fear and insecurity. That is not from the Lord. I could jump through a million hoops and still disappoint many people, and I have. When Jesus began to unravel me, and reveal all of my ugly prideful ways, He set me free. There is freedom in fearing God and only God.

I am to please my Heavenly Father. He never shames me, guilts me, or turns me away. When you put God first and pleasing Him first, there are times you will offend people. It was hard for me to disappoint others, initially. Now, I’m pretty good at it. Hahaha!

People pleaser me: What will they think?

New creation in Christ me: What does God think?

Everything changed for me. My motivation used to be what would others think of “fill in the blank decision”. My motivation now is pleasing Father God.

The Bible is quite clear on this topic. We are to fear God and not man. 

The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me? Psalm 118:6, NASB 

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. Proverbs 29:25, NIV 

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31, NKJV 

Now I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed someone, has the power to throw that person into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him! Luke 12:4-5, NASB 

If you are struggling in this area I feel your pain. I was in that same place. There is hope in Jesus for total freedom from pleasing people. You can start today. Ask God to reveal areas where you are fearing man and not fearing God. It will be difficult at first. 

No is a powerful word. Begin with saying NO to things that you know are wrong. Pray about your decisions. Read the Bible and stay grounded in the truth of the Word. Ask God to give you strength and courage to say NO to the fear of man stuff in your life. The Holy Spirit will give you the words to say when you have to tell someone NO. 

Fearing God does not mean we are rude, heartless robots. God fearing people love, forgive, show grace, and mercy. We just aren’t motivated by fearing man. We do what’s right and sometimes that means we are going to tick some people off. That’s OK. If we are obeying God and following His Word He will help us. 

God first, always. 

Love you all,

Meghan

Father God,

Thank you for your patience, grace, and love. Help all of us to stop fearing man. Forgive us for the times we have put other’s desires above Your desires. Help us to stay focused on You and pleasing You. Stop us from the disease to please people. Set us free. Help us to love others and honor You in our lives. We praise You, the One true God. You are Holy!

In Jesus name,

Amen 

Food, mustard seed sentinel

Homemade Granola

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Walk into any grocery store and there are numerous varieties of granola. Some are good and some are not so good. The taste of homemade granola is superior to store bought. You can customize the granola with your favorite oil, fruits, and nuts. This basic granola recipe is a great foundation to build upon and make it your own. 

Granola is calorie dense and loaded with all kinds of goodness like vitamin E, iron, folate, magnesium and a host of other vitamins and minerals. It tastes so delicious that it doesn’t seem possible that it’s packed with so much nutrition. This is my kind of healthy eating. Good tasting and good for  you. 

Granola is a versatile food. It’s a great snack all by itself. Mix some granola into your favorite yogurt. Have granola with milk for a real breakfast of champions. Add granola to a smoothie, or pancakes, or muffins. Be as creative as you like. No matter what you do with this delightful granola you will enjoy every morsel.

Making your own granola is cost effective compared to the high priced store bought stuff. There is no stirring involved with this granola recipe. Just press it into the pan and bake. So simple and so tasty. You will save money, have a nutritional snack, and feel great. 

Happy Eating!

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34 

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Homemade Granola

 

Ingredients

½ cup vegetable oil

⅓ cup maple syrup

3 teaspoons vanilla

⅓ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

5 cups old fashioned rolled oats

2 cups slivered almonds 

2 cups dried fruit

 

Yields 10 cups of granola.

 

Directions

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Spray rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the vegetable oil, maple syrup, vanilla, brown sugar, and salt. Stir in the oats and almonds and mix until evenly coated. 
  3. Spread the oat mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Use a spatula to press the mixture firmly until it’s compact. 
  4. Bake for 40 minutes until lightly browned. Rotate the baking sheet halfway through for even browning. 
  5. Cool for 1 hour until the granola reaches room temperature. Break the granola into pieces and mix in dried fruit. Store in an airtight container for up to one month.



Notes 

  • Spray your cooking utensils beforehand with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  • Add-ins: flaked coconut, any dried fruit you prefer, chocolate chips, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Use chopped almonds, pecans, walnuts, or any nut you like.
  • Use coconut oil or olive oil if you prefer. 

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Go to the link below for this recipe and many more of my recipes on Mustard Seed Sentinel, Meghan’s Corner.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-homemade-granola

God, Trials

The Waves Cannot Prevail

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The gentle waves roll up on the beach and then gently roll right back. Over and over again the ocean repeats this beautiful rhythm. I have been watching this incredible show from our hotel room window this morning. My husband and I are finally celebrating our 25th anniversary (4 months late) with a stay at a gorgeous beachside hotel. Back and forth, back and forth the waves crash. How do those waves know where to stop?

God tells the ocean how far to go.

Do you not fear Me?’ declares the Lord.

‘Do you not tremble in My presence?

For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea,

An eternal limit, and it will not cross over it.

Though the waves toss, they cannot prevail;

Though they roar, they will not cross over it.

Jeremiah 5:22 NASB 

I have always loved the beach. The ocean brings me an immediate sense of calm. When I look out at what appears to be an unending sea, I can breathe a little easier. My soul feels relaxed. I am reminded just how small I am in this massive world that God created. My problems begin to shrink, and God becomes even larger to me. 

The storms will come. The waves will get big at times. Everything may look as though it’s over. Those big waves come and crash, bigger and stronger each time. Yet those waves will not prevail. Sure a sneaker wave can knock you out, but you can and will get back up. Eventually the ocean will calm down once again. 

The God who made oceans also made you. He cares about every single thing you are facing. He knows exactly what you need to learn from those big waves, or even those small ones. God is in every tiny detail of our lives. Awesome Holy God loves us so very much. 

God will not let the waves prevail over you.

Did the waves knock you down? If you look up there is a hand reaching out waiting to help you. It’s Jesus’ hand. Our perfect Savior loves to save us in our troubles. So take His hand. He will help you, comfort you, provide for you, and heal you. Jesus is the all sufficient Savior.

I am going to take a bike ride along that beautiful ocean as those waves come just far enough and then roll right back. I see Jesus in those waters, and God’s mighty hand holding back the waves. And I know I’m going to be all right, and you are too.

Love you all,

Meghan 

If you need prayer please send me your requests meghanewhiteauthor@gmail.com

It’s a privilege to pray for you.