Recipe: Buttery Pecan Cookies

1 Cup of softened butter

1 teaspoon of maple syrup

3/4 cup of sugar

2 1/2 cups of flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

an egg

1 small bag of pecans.

 

1.) In a mixing bowl, add the butter (softened) and sugar together. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy.

2.) Add in the (1) egg and maple syrup.

3.) In the same mixing bowl, continue mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.

The mixture at this point should seem like dough.

4.) kneed the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap. Then place dough into the fridge for 1 hour.

One hour later….

5.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

6.) Roll it thin with a rolling pin, into shapes.

7.) Cookies go in until bottoms are a tad golden brown.

 

  • S.B

 

 

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My Christmas Traditions.

One thing I have been thankful for is that my family was rich with tradition. Growing up, during December, we had a special thing going on (almost) weekly. Christmas was my mother’s and my grandmother’s favorite time of the year. My grandmother would start putting up her Christmas village in November. Her Christmas village, as a child and even as an adult, was the most fascinating time of the year. This year, to my dismay, she is only putting up one table (her village typically is over five tables). Below I have listed my holiday traditions, that I have been doing since I was seven years old.

25 days of Christmas – Starting the first of December, I would receive a candy box, that would have chocolate hidden behind the numbers. Every day after dinner, I would search for the correct number (day in the month) and I would pop open the door and a small piece of chocolate would be there.

Kathy Treats – Last year I made a blog post all about Kathy Treats and how to make them. Everyone knew it was Christmas season when my aunt would bring home, salted pretzels, M & M’s and Hershey Kisses. This year, I did not shop early enough for the Hershey Kisses, they go into stores starting in November, and they stop selling the last week of November. They are impossible to find in December. Instead this year, I will probably find white chocolate melts, and do it that way.

St. Nick’s Day and Ornament giving – On St. Nick’s Morning, we would receive an ornament to place on the tree. This ornament would be specific to the year you had. The year I learned to play guitar, I got a guitar ornament and the year I learned how to drive, I got a steering wheel. The ornament would have my name on it and the year that it happened.

Christmas Eve – On Christmas Eve, we would get to open one gift. Which was always fresh new Pajamas to wear on Christmas Day.

Santa’s Hat – on Christmas day the person to hand out the gifts would be the person wearing Santa’s Hat. It was always really important to me, because I came from a huge family, and I was considered one of the youngest.

Tis the season to be merry.

  • S.B

Speak Love: Donation Post

In the next coming months, I will be able to make a greater impact in my community, specifically with my college. As many people know I am part of the movement called, Speak Love. Which is an all-inclusive group that focuses on love and accepting one another no matter what our walk of life is. Nick Jackson, who started Speak Love, is also my friend and mentor who has helped me through this journey with setting up the Gateway Branch. Although, we primarily focus on suicide prevention speeches at high schools and colleges, we would be taking a new route with Gateway.

Not only will we be focusing on suicide prevention, we would also be focusing on poverty within education. Many of the volunteers for Speak Love understand what it’s like to only have a few bucks in our pockets, trying to make ends meet. Hopefully, through donations we would be able to donate the little things that mean a big thing. These times would include socks, diapers, pencils, notebooks, ext. However, we cannot make this part possible if we do not have people willing to donate the items.

Which is why I am now asking those who read this blog to donate to this cause. Every penny counts and I know that Speak Love and Gateway would be grateful knowing that there are people out there willing to donate. Below is the link if you can do so.

 

With much love and respect,

 

  • B

 

https://www.gofundme.com/gatewayspeaklove

 

Dinner Conversations (Short Story)

     I’m sitting at the dining room table. It’s been a long day of school, and my parents expect me to say something more than, “It was boring.” Which, no matter how true it was, apparently saying it seems worse than telling a lie. “It was great. I learned new things.” I could tell them that, however that involves another conversation… which includes saying what I learned.

What did I learn today? In second bell Marcus decided to throw an eraser at Isabell, who then made a huge scene, which the teacher bought. In study hall, I finally finished my sketchbook, with my own version of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. At lunch, I again sat by myself, but that’s mainly because my group of friends no longer exist. Well, Maria still has my back. You rat a kid out once for cheating and suddenly you’re the snitch of the eighth grade.

It was at that moment that I realized that my parents were staring at me. I had a plate full of chicken, rice and broccoli and hadn’t touched it yet. It was father’s favorite meal, which meant mother was up to something. “Placement tests for the art school is a month.” My mother said, while looking at my father. This was an argument which they had been having for a month now. Mom wants the art school, and father wants the public school, which he attended. The issue with both was that I wanted to get far away and just live a bit. And as usual, they go off into their own conversation on why the other is right.

There is no time like the present.

“So, as it happens, I found a really good school for next year.” My parents look at me clueless. This had been the longest running conversation at the dinner table. The conversation about my future beat out our conversation on how we would beat the apocalypse. Which is a conversation we’ve been having for over a year now, due to all the apocalyptic shows my father watches.

“That’s good sweetie!” She’s trying to be supportive, but every word is cracking because she doesn’t want me to go to the district public school.

“Wherever you want to go, is where we will send you.” He says confident that I’ll pick the cheapest future for myself, go into the family business and still be highly successful.

There is no time like the present. I play with my fingers and scramble the words out. “There’s a boarding school, about four hours away, located in Nevada.” My parent’s jaws are dropped. For once they can agree on one thing, I was going crazy. I have an opportunity to live my life outside Roseburg, Idaho and be proud of it. I don’t have friends here and it will be hard enough going to high school.

Many moments pass.

I start to eat. I’m scarfing down my plate, so I can leave the table and go to my room. Nobody is talking. They both can’t be thinking that much, they barely think that much in general. As they continue to sit in silence, I get up. I push in my chair and clean my dish.

“Sweetheart, wait.” My father, holds out his hand. He’s going to give me that, father side hug and tell me what a huge mistake I’m making. That boarding school is for teens with issues. I don’t have issues, obviously, because I’m their little girl. But I please him and walk over. Leaving my dish in the sink.

“May I ask why you’d want to go to this boarding school?” If I knew he was going to ask questions, I would have prepared for them.

“Well… um…” How do I put something so cruel, into the nicest words for such fragile people? I’m fourteen years old, that’s not how the world is supposed to work.

“I want to move away, be on my own. I want to experience new people, and can say I enjoyed it. Staying here, where the sun hardly shines makes me depressed. I don’t have friends at school, my teachers keep sending home notes saying they need you to sign off on things, which I then sign. It’s not that you two did anything wrong, or that you messed up… But secretly I’m wanting more.”

My father hugs me, and for once he’s on my side. “Okay, I understand. I’m not hurt, and if it’s what you want then I’m sure your mother and I can get –” He’s cut off right in the middle of his heart warming speech. A speech I desperately needed from him. Why would my mother do such a thing? This may be the only time I get this from him.

“No.” The most understanding person in this room says. She gets up and walks out of the room. I sit down at the table once more.

Father looks at me and says, “Maybe next dinner she’ll be alright.”

A 1 in 4 Chance

1 in 7 men will also encounter some sort of domestic violence. So, out of 600, that means 85 men will experience domestic violence. For women, it is 1 in 4. Using the same 600 that means 150. More personally, my graduating class had 222 women in it. That means, out of those women, 55 of them would experience domestic violence in their life time. Sadly, one of them was me.

In December, I considered myself lucky. I thought, those numbers would never be me. You see, the older generation, taught the next generation that, yes the world is cruel and full of unfortunate things but, we are lucky enough that we only see it on the news. That only big cities, or people who walk near alleyways are going to get hurt. We tell ourselves that we should feel safe, that we have no reason NOT to feel safe. But we never truly know how unsafe we are. The cruel world that we see on the news, is just around the corner. Things like domestic violence, assault and battery, they don’t just happen to people in alleyways. They don’t happen to people who keep their doors unlocked. They don’t just happen to people who live in big cities. On top of that, it’s not always committed by people that you don’t know. Sometimes it’s people you willingly invite into your home. People who you trust and even care for.

On January 4th at 8:30 am, Assault and Battery happened in my kitchen and dining room. By people I’ve known mscreen-shot-2017-01-18-at-1-22-46-pmy whole life. Since that moment, all I could think about was, “why”? I had a personal connection to these people, it’s something I would have never seen coming. At night, I don’t close my eyes counting sheep anymore. When I close my eyes, I see myself being hit, repeatedly. I see myself being thrown to the floor, my head pounding against the hardwood and my back being kicked.

Everyone tells me that my bruises don’t look bad, but when I look in the mirror, all I see is the purple and blue marks that now cover around my eye. A nice warm hug seems nice, until I realize that I’m trapped within someone’s body. It’s the little things that I loved doing that now seem so scary. All because I was told, “It would never be me.” Because I was told, that good kids like me don’t get hurt like that. That obviously, only people who throw punches receive punches.

I refuse to think like that anymore. I have children, young ladies looking up to me. If I told them, that the cruel world is miles and miles away from where they slept. I would be lying. That world is right outside our doorstep. In these past days, I’ll admit I let this one incident consume my life. Because I was… I am scared. It’s not a matter of “If” it happens to me, it’s a matter of “when” it happens to me. Nobody should have to live like this.

I can’t just let what go happen to me. I shouldn’t be asked not to press charges because someone might get upset or hurt. What happened to me is unacceptable, and naive to think that it would never happen again. I am 1 in 4, and eventually I’ll be okay.

For more information about types of violence, please visit the websites below:

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence 

Andrew D. Stine: What’s the difference between Assault, Battery and Domestic Violence? 

30 Shocking Domestic Violence Statistics That Remind Us It’s An Epidemic 

Violence Against Women 

RAINN

To seek help, please visit:

Women’s Crisis Center

The City Mission 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

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Christmas Recipes #1: Kathy Treats

Origin:

Way back when I was about six years old, my aunt introduced these fan favorites to my brother and I. She told us, that she had a friend named Kathy who would make them during the christmas season. They didn’t have a name for the treats, so my aunt just started calling them Kathy Treats.

The fun thing about these, is that you can only bake them when it’s the winter season. They require Hersey Hugs, which only go on sale from November to January. They are known as a “deluxe” Hersey candy. However, although they are supposed to stay in stores until January they sell out extremely quick. I start buying the Hersey Hugs around the second week of November, mainly because they are super cheap in the beginning, whereas near the end of their shelf life they jump up one or two dollars.

 

What You’ll Need:

At least 4 bags of Hersey Hugs . (There are roughly 50 Hersey Hugs in each bag)

1 Salted twisted Pretzel Bag (different from the featured image)

4 bags of original M & Ms

2 cookie sheet pans

Cookie Containers

 

Directions:

1.) Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 350 or higher. Each oven is different. Some heat up faster than others. I typically preheat the over to 375 because the hotter the oven the quicker the Hersey’s will melt.
  • While the oven is preheating empty at least two spaces in your freezer. It needs to be as big as a cookie sheet pan.
  • unwrap all the Hersey hugs you are going to use for the first batch. Make sure the foil does not stick to the chocolate. Also dump the M & Ms into a bowl (for easy access).

2.) Baking:

  • Lay out the non-broken pretzel pieces onto the cookie sheet pan. You want as many pretzels on the pan as possible.
  • On top of the pretzels place a Hersey Hug in the center.
  • Put in the oven
    • Keep a close eye on the Hersey Hugs when in the oven. When they start to sink/melt take them out of the oven.
    • There is not a set time for how long it will take them to melt, mainly because it depends on how hot your oven is.
  • After they come out of the oven, quickly place the M & Ms in the center of teh HErsey Kiss
  • Place the batch in the freezer for them to cool.

3.) After Baking:

  • Every other batch is when you should take the Kathy Treats of the sheet pan in the freezer.
  • Put them in a container and place in the fridge, until ready to eat.

 

200 Hersey Hugs = 16 or 17 Dozens 

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes

*Bake/Cool Time: 15 minutes (each batch)

 

*Time differs for each baker.

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving

On this day, I have so many things to be thankful for. Looking back at these past eleven months, so many people have helped me become a stronger woman. In the past year, I graduated high school, started college, got a job I actually enjoy going to and so much more. No matter what my journey was or what my current journey is, I know that I’m not doing it alone. I have a wonderful support system, that is literally on standby any time I need them.

There is so much negativity in the world right now, that today I’m happy to be sharing it with positive people. 2016 has been through a lot as well. A flower was grown in space, and NASA started their project to send a probe to jupiter. Leonardo DiCaprio won an oscar, J.K Rowling wrote another book and the Star Wars Saga was revived.

This year my friends and I are getting together for a Friends-giving. We get so busy throughout the year that sometimes it’s easy to forget what brings us all together. I hope that while we enjoy the turkey and the pumpkin pie, we remember the little things in our lives that have made it worth living.

Sixteen reasons I’m thankful for 2016:

1.) Second chances, because sometimes all you need is a double take.

2.) NDA for preparing me for college and for my college advisors who sit with me for hours, so i can pick my perfect schedule.

3.) Stress Relief lotions and Sleep Candles.

4.) The guy that road the bus with me for three months, to make sure nobody followed me home. Also, because when it stormed really badly, my school supplies would have gotten soaked, had he not given me his only umbrella while waiting for the bus.

5.) To the woman who sold me my first car. Thank you for letting me buy it in October instead of January.

6.) My health.

7.) My job and co-workers. (plus the company I work for )

8.) Photo albums, that remind me of great memories and stories to tell.

9.) Daring myself to push the limits and get out of my comfort zone. Which ultimately made me a better person.

10.) The followers and the viewers. Whether it be social media or this blog, thank you for always listening to what I have to say.

11.) I’m thankful for the military that keeps my country safe, so that I may live a life full of opportunities.

12.) That Pope Francis is highly involved with the 2016 culture.

13.) Being able to donate blood every two months. I’ve saved five lives so far, and receiving those letters make my day.

14.) For those who entered my life and then decided to leave. You have made me a stronger person.

15.) Hypha, who spends up to an hour of her day editing these blogs before they go public.

16.) Britney Spear’s album Glory.