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Excitement from diverse places February 6, 2018

For an author to be without words is never a good thing, but AND today I am struggling to find the right words to describe the emotions coursing through me.

 

It started this morning when I woke up grumpy. I’ve been fighting some type of sinus/cold virus for almost a month and I’m at my wits end. I wanted to whine, but didn’t want to subject anyone I love to that self-pity so I cocooned in my room, putting away laundry and trying to pray.

 

When my cell phone started chirping with text after text I grabbed it in frustration, then smiled. A dear friend was announcing the release of her first book. She’s been working on this for quite some time and I’m delighted it has all come together. The multiple texts from other members of our writers group showed all were just as happy. Reports of orders being placed on Amazon warmed my heart and energized me to get dressed and head out the door.

 

It was 10:15 and I wanted to see how many people were already in town for the much anticipated SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. Growing up during the Space Shuttle program, I admit I grew jaded with the crowds that tromped into town for launch days. Cars clogged the roads and every empty field along the river. Families wandered into the road without looking and causing us locals to be extra vigilant as we went about our daily lives. This morning, though, I reveled in the cars parked along the side of the road and the visitors milling around. I ached to stick around and be a part of this historic day, but work called and I had to get home to get ready.

  

Early birds get the best views

The large building across the river is the Vehicle Assembly Building. Until December there was a boat from Hurricane Irma where this RV now is

Be careful, eager spectators crossing!

By the time I arrived at the office, the launch had been pushed from 1:30 to 2:20 due to upper level winds. I felt a selfish sense of hope that the launch would be scrubbed and rescheduled to tomorrow when I would be home to see it. When the next delay pushing back to 3:45 was announced, again that selfish spirit perked up.

 

As 3:00 approached, I prepared to access the SpaceX livestream. The minutes ticked down and there was no announcement of another delay or a scrub so I chose to hope that all would go well. My pulse quickened when we reached five minutes before launch. I focused on my work until we were just under two minutes then my eyes couldn’t be torn from the video. Steam billowed around the three rockets strapped together and I clasped my hands in front of my face, whispering words of encouragement as if the machine could hear me. 

 

With the last seconds my throat tightened and my breath caught. Would it fire? Would it rise off the ground? Would it explode on the spot or a few seconds into flight? Memories of Challenger gnawed at the back of my mind. The rocket rose higher and higher, three flames of fire blended into one. The excitement of the SpaceX team was tangible as each milestone was ticked off. I watched in awe, knowing how unheard of a successful test flight such as this is. I felt the tears gathering in my eyes and longed to share the excitement with a crowd of like-minded spectators. 

 

The adrenaline has faded away and I think about how long it has been since the American people had a hope for exploration beyond our own planet. We have sent machines to gather data, but we need to send people to experience the outer regions first hand, to provide information only a human can express. Today, was the first step toward sending humans beyond the International Space Station and I feel an excitement that I hope you all can share.

 

In case you missed the launch, you can watch a replay below.

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A whole lot of butter January 13, 2018

Filed under: Baking,DIY,Recipes — itsrebekahlyn @ 8:25 AM
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You may recall my blog about making body scrubs as Christmas gifts last year. If not you can read it here. My friend, we’ll call her Bee, was so impressed with my creativity and the quality of the scrub I gave her, she asked if I knew anything about using cocoa butter. She had a block of it and wasn’t sure what to do with it. I didn’t have any experience myself but knew a number of lotions used cocoa butter so I told her I’d look for some recipes.

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Winter Wonderland February 18, 2014

Filed under: Baking,Family — itsrebekahlyn @ 8:19 AM
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The first time I saw snow falling was on a high school band trip to Washington DC over Spring break. The cherry trees were in bloom and the weather was beautiful when we arrived. Two days later we awoke to flakes falling outside our windows and kids running down the hotel hallway shouting “It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” (more…)

 

Laughter, Love, and Lemons February 3, 2014

Growing up, my family was part of a family life group at our church and the times we shared together were deeply ingrained on my subconscious. I don’t remember how old I was when the group started to drift apart for a variety of reasons, but then again, I am getting older and memories are harder to call upon.

However, I do remember the love, laughter, and feeling of safety of those nights singing and studying the Bible. I’ve measured every church group since then against the feeling that settled deep in my heart during those gatherings. (more…)

 

Saturday Tea March 11, 2013

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Over the weekend I had the immense pleasure of appearing at another Afternoon Tea with the Author event. This time I was delighted to have my friend and fellow author, DiVoran Lites join me. We had a great time of fellowship with a group of Christian women and then shared about our adventures in writing and publishing.

Even though I was one of the guests of honor, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to do some baking. I saw a recipe in my Tea Time magazine last year for mini Boston Cream, Key Lime, or Strawberry trifles, but haven’t had an opportunity to make them. With spring right around the corner, well, technically already here in Florida, I thought the Key Lime trifles would be a good fit. I pulled out the various serving glasses I have collected and got down to business. It was a joy to make the custard and whipped cream from scratch. I used to think cooking from scratch was a lot of work, but I’ve come to appreciate it. I feel a real connection with the foods I’ve made from the ground up, quite literally when using produce from my garden.

It was tricky getting the custard and whipped cream into the miniature glasses, so I thought I would try using a pastry bag. This was only my second attempt at using a pastry bag but it definitely got easier as I went along. By the time I completed 8 of the 16 servings I was feeling pretty confident and was able to pick up the speed. I think they turned out nicely and enjoyed the ohhs and ahhs when they were served to our guests.

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Mini trifles weren’t enough for me though. I wanted something crisp as well and turned to a Lemon-Lavender Shortbread recipe I found on one of my favorite food blogs, Chelsea Bakes. You can find that recipe here.

I loved getting to meet some new friends and reconnecting with others I haven’t seen in years. I have to extend my sincere thanks to our hostess, Pam. She provided a beautiful and warm setting for us to share our experiences and may have even convinced one of the guests to host her own tea. I also have to thank the talented Ginger Morrison for the amazing cake she made.

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Gifts from the Heart January 23, 2013

Filed under: Baking,Cooking,Family,Recipes,Tea — itsrebekahlyn @ 12:00 PM
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The first month of a new year will soon be in our rearview mirror and I haven’t posted a blog. Forgive me for getting caught up in Table of Cookiesthe crush of Christmas activities and succumbing to the flu.

As you may recall, I was in a baking frenzy the first couple weeks of December. I had toffee and five different types of cookies piling up in my kitchen, but there was one more recipe I couldn’t wait to try; Vanilla-Sour Cream Tea Bread. This recipe came to me in the November/December issue of Tea Time magazine.

On my weekly stroll through Target I had stumbled upon a package of  disposable loaf pans. I dropped them in my cart certain the perfect recipe Tea Bread Loaveswould come along to fill the pans.  My loaf pans were larger than therecipe called for so I doubled the measurements and was able to make 6 loaves (7.5×3.25×2-inch).

When the tea bread was baked and cooler I packaged it up along with my cookies and toffee to give to coworkers, my hairdresser, and my masseuse. I loaded my treats into the car and delivered them around town and the office. Over the next several days my coworkers came to me and thanked me, telling me what their favorite treat had been. When I saw my hair dresser and masseuse this month, they both had stories of how they had shared the tea bread with their families on Christmas and received rave reviews, asking for the recipe. Talking with my masseuse last week about how much her guests had enjoyed the tea bread , I realized that I experienced as much pride in these compliments as I do when I receive compliments on my writing, and I felt the same jolt of happiness that I get when I’m in the kitchen mixing up a new treat.

Why did we get away from homemade gifts? Sure it can be time consuming, but in the long run it shows how much we care about those we are giving the gift to.  Next time you are struggling to find the perfect gift, consider  opening your pantry or flip through a cookbook. There are bountiful ideas out there for gifts from the heart.

Vanilla-Sour Cream Tea Bread

as seen in Tea Time Magazine

makes 4 mini-loaves

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup melted butter

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla, butter, and nut flavoring

I had trouble finding this flavoring so wanted you to see what it looks like

I had trouble finding this flavoring so wanted you to see what it looks like

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Spray 4 mini (3×5-inch) loaf pans with nonstick spray with flour. Set aside
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, whisking well. Set aside
  • In a small bowl, combine sour cream, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla, butter, and nut flavoring, stirring well. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until wet ingredients are incorporated. (Batter will be stiff.)
  • Divide batter evenly among prepared pans, patting level using a spatula.
  • Bake until light golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20-30 minutes.
  • Remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.
  • Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

* I doubled the recipe and made 6 loaves (7.5×3.25×2-inch).

*A bit of lemon curd spread on a piece of bread is delicious

Bread & Lemon Curd

 

Tea, Biscotti, and Me August 1, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Books,Cooking,Recipes,Tea — itsrebekahlyn @ 6:16 PM
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This weekend I had the privilege of appearing at another Afternoon Tea with the Author, this time in Anderson, SC.  The women I met were warm and welcoming.  When we offered gifts to those who asked questions, Lois was quick to jump in, asking when I gave my life to God.  Since I write Christian fiction, I was actually a bit surprised this question hadn’t come up in my previous Tea events.  I was nine when I first prayed for God to come into my heart, and I remember actually thinking a little person was going to come live inside my heart.  I enjoyed talking with these gracious Southern women, sharing about my writing process, and where I get my ideas.

The food was wonderful too.  I love biscotti and was thrilled to see a plate of homemade biscotti sandwiched between fresh scones and a cranberry-coconut bar that was to die for.  Of course I couldn’t leave with out getting the biscotti recipe.  If you give it a try let me know what you think.

Pistachio- Craisin Biscotti

Line a heavy, large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk 2 cups flour with 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder.  Set aside.

Beat 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 tsp. grated lemon zest & 1/4 tsp. salt.

Beat in 2 large eggs – one at a time.  Add the flour mixture just ’til blended.

Stir in 3/4 cup chopped pistachios & 2/3 cup craisins.

Form the dough into a 13″ long, 3″ wide log on the parchment sheet.  Bake until lightly golden, (about 40 min.)  Cool 30 min.

Place log on a cutting board.  Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4″ thick slices.

Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet.  Bake again ’til pale golden. (about 15 min.)

Transfer biscotti to a rack & cool completely.

These may be served plain or dipped in dark or white chocolate & set on rack to set.

 

 
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