Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

Crustless Pumpkin Pie August 30, 2013

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 5:42 pm

The Whole PieI’ve been itching to do some baking and with the fall quickly approaching, I had pumpkin on the brain. Okay, I always love pumpkin, no matter what the season. I try to hold my desire to bake with pumpkin off until at least September, but this year I slipped up. It’s like listening to Christmas music in July. Somethings just can’t be helped.

I had purchased all I need to make a classic pumpkin pie, but once I got into the kitchen I decided I wanted to do something different. I went through some recipes and compared them to the supplies I had ready and on hand. In the end, I decided on a crustless pumpkin pie. A lot of factors went into this decision. The main reason would be laziness. I didn’t want to make a crust, bake it and then add the filling. The next reason was the crustless pie recipe I chose had a brown sugar-oatmeal crumble on top and that sounded good.

Just a sliceThe results where quite tasty and it was a surprisingly healthy recipe. Who knew subtracting the crust also subtracted calories? Go figure! The pie comes out a bit more custard like than the average pumpkin pie, but that is okay because my husband was trying to talk me into making a custard pie earlier today. I think I do miss the element of a crust and I probably won’t do crustless again. However, for a first time experiment, I’m glad I branched out and tried something new.

Because my pumpkin stash happens to be the big cans from Costco that make two pies, there is a good chance that there will be another pumpkin something produced from my kitchen in the future. I only used half of the can of pumpkin, so there is another half a can just waiting to be turned into pumpkin goodness. I’m thinking either muffins or bars! I’ll keep you posted!

 

 

Things We Do For Love July 17, 2013

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 11:05 am

This Sunday kicked off the beginning of our Family VBA at Bethel Church. We’ve intentionally moved our VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) to the evening so that parents can attend with their kids. Instead of our station leaders doing everything, they simply introduce the lesson and activities and then turn things over to the parents. We provide all the materials for parents to lead their children in fun activities and spiritual discussions. Our hope is that they would see how powerful this family time is and incorporate it into their daily lives at home. We are trying to create a shift that says parents are the spiritual leaders of their families and that church isn’t the only place your children can receive spiritual growth. I’ll go into a lot of more details about how our week of Family VBA went, but this post is a little bit of bragging and a little bit of whining from me!

When we were looking over the curriculum for our last night, there a special snack called “Bright Bites”. They are pretty much ice cream cone cupcakes with yellow topping to look like flashlights. The theme of the last day is how God’s word helps us stand strong and the Bible verse talks about how God’s word is a light to our path. Thus the flashlight themed snack. Since our last day of VBA has a different flow, we usually dismiss the families and offer them to stay for ice cream bars. Ice cream bars are simple and easy and have no assembly required. However, my hubby really liked taking the theme a step farther with the snack, so I found myself volunteering to make these ice cream cone cupcakes.

What a task! It took me over 7 hours to complete the process and it was a lot of work! I learned the hard way not to overfill the cones. The first batch was riddled with mishaps. But I learned from my mistakes and the rest of the baking was pretty successful. We used yellow cake and lemon frosting. To finish off the look, I sprinkled yellow sugar crystals on top. In the end, I had 192 Bright Bites ready for families tonight. I’ll be honest and say that it took a lot of effort. I kept thinking about ice cream bars and how simple they would have been… But, I love my hubby and he really wanted this element for our grand finale. I now know that I will probably never agree to do that again, but we do a lot of crazy things for those we love! Me included!

The Failures!

The Failures!

Waiting to be frosted!

Waiting to be frosted!

Bright Bites up close!

Bright Bites up close!

All done!

All done!

 

Jam Making 101 July 14, 2013

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 7:30 am

I <3 Raspberries

Summer is such a diverse time for me – especially this summer! It seems like I keep hopping from one thing to the next. It’s contained a lot of celebrating – the 4th of July, my Dad’s birthday, Jeremy & I’s wedding anniversary. Then I’m in full on VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) prep mode and my head is totally at work. We have furniture for the baby’s room stocking up and Jeremy bought paint for the nursery. One evening we headed over to his parent’s house to help them pick berries and I’m learned how to make jam for the first time.  The next day I’m visiting a friend up north to have lunch and the day after that I’m in a 6-hour childbirth class… Work, family, friends, cooking, baby… Hop, hop, hop!

While I have many topics to write about in the near future (baby updates, VBA updates, my 400th blog post!), today is going to briefly highlight making jam for the first time! Jeremy’s parents have been visiting family and asked us to pick some of their raspberries while they were gone. They had a ton of berries so they told us to take a few for ourselves as well. I was amazed at how many berries they had and even after picking a generous amount for them, we were able to have enough to make some jam for ourselves. Picking the berries reminded me of my own childhood. My neighbor had a bunch of raspberry bushes that us kids would attack every summer. So good! I love picking them right off the bush and popping them into my mouth!

My hubby is so much more domestic than me! Really, he is a whiz in the kitchen. He’s been making jam and salsa the last couple of years and I just let that be his “thing”. I never really dropped in or offered to help. This year he let me be a part of the whole process! When we got home, I cleaned the raspberries and mashed them up! I added the lemon juice and the pectin and the sugar. I watched things boil and even got a chance to pour the jam into the jars! Jeremy helped me by sterilizing the jars and helping me move the funnel from jar to jar. He also lowered the full jars into the boiling water so they can could set or whatever the official canning term is! I don’t really know!

It was a lot of fun working alongside my hubby and he was very patient with me as I asked questions. I view jam making as so 1950’s even though a lot of people do it today. It love the feeling that I’m doing something that people have done for a long time. It’s like passing on a legacy or something. It just feels special. It was also fun to see the whole process from berry picking to the jar! There is something satisfying about knowing we made this jam! It might seem silly, but it was a highlight of my week!

I used to view jam making as something complicated and kind of a scary, but I’m here to encourage you to try it! It’s not as hard as it seems and I’m glad I learned! Thanks, Jeremy! You’re a good teacher!

 

Christmas in July July 11, 2013

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 5:20 pm
Homemade Gingerbread Cake

Homemade Gingerbread Cake

Last night, I did something different with my Wednesday night class of girls. I decided it would be fun to do Christmas in July. Growing up, my mom would pull out the Christmas dishes in the month of July so we could get some extra mileage out of them. It was always a lot of fun and kind of a silly. My class really loved the idea of bringing Christmas to July and so I set off to plan a Christmasy evening.

The night started off with Christmas Games. We did a Christmas Word Search, A Guess that Carol Game, Christmas Carol Word Scramble and Fill in the 12 Days of Christmas. I gave out prizes as the night went on for whoever got the most answers correctly. We finished the Christmas games with the Left/Right Game. I handed out the last of the prizes and as I read a story, the girls had to pass the presents to the left or the right when they heard the words left or right. It was a lot of fun and in the end everyone walked away with a prize, so it was like Christmas!

As much as I wanted to do a Christmas lesson, I had to continue on with our current unit so I didn’t get behind. There are only so many Wednesday nights left with my class and each lesson is carefully planned so we end our unit in time for the school year and the class transition. So, from Christmas, we popped over to our Self-Esteem lesson.

After the lesson time, we did a Christmas craft which involved decorating a Christmas ornament while listening to Christmas music. I made gingerbread cake for snack from scratch. This was my first time not using the packaged mix and it turned out surprisingly good! I’m never sure when it comes to making cake from scratch if the texture will be just right or the flavoring! I jazzed up the cake by adding whipped cream on top. For a touch of holiday color, I used green and red crystals.

The night was a big hit and the girls told me it really felt like Christmas. One girl mentioned that she was going to ask her parent’s for a present since it seemed so real. I’m not sure how well that was received, but I have to agree, I felt in the holiday spirit. The games and the flavors of the holidays made me wish that it was really right around the corner. I’ll just have to patiently wait now until the real holiday! It was fun to get a jump start on celebrating!

 

Life After Hawaii July 2, 2013

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Cooking Experiments,Family Time — Amy Scott @ 7:16 am
Strawberry season is here!

Strawberry season is here!

Well, all good things come to an end and this will be the first blog after all the Hawaiian updates and stories. I hope you all enjoyed your sneak peek into our vacation. There was just too much good share in one, singular blog. Thanks for following the Maui highlights day by day. I honestly thought the daily posts might annoy you all, but I had some good readership numbers and I heard from many friends and family members about how much loved the stories and wanted to hear more. It always makes my heart happy to know that people are enjoying what they read here. Maybe I should start traveling for a living and writing about my adventures? If only!

Now it’s back to the real world. Seems like Jeremy and I landed in Washington and hit the ground running. The first full day home, Jeremy was back to church and I was at a dance recital for a wonderful student that I mentor. We’ve had our first big strawberry harvest come through and we’re up to our ears in strawberries! I made strawberry shortcake to celebrate and it was delicious! My first night back at my Wednesday night class, I made strawberry ice cream sandwiches from a recipe I saw in Food Network Magazine. You take sugar cookies and put strawberry jam on them and then put a scoop of strawberry ice cream in the middle! Yum! I’ve also used the strawberries to make a smoothie. I think my hubby will soon be canning and making strawberry jam! Good times!

Belle - A very ugly plant that bloomed into a beautiful flower this weekend!

Belle – A very ugly plant that bloomed into a beautiful flower this weekend!

Last week, we had our annual trip the Oregon Zoo with the kiddos at Bethel. It was a fun day, but very warm! It seems that we brought the hot and humid weather back with us from Hawaii. I got a little sunburned, but it was really great to be out and about. I was concerned about walking all over the zoo with being pregnant, but it didn’t bother me at all. I was super tired that night, but for the day, I was able to keep up with the kids and I was happy for that.

Friday night, we had family over for dinner and had a good time with them. Jeremy barbequed up some yummy ribs and we had grilled corn and baked beans. We played a couple of games and ended the night with s’mores by the fire. It was the perfect summer day! I’m loving the summer time food and being able to share it with family.

Saturday, we headed up to Mt. Rainier National Park for my grandma’s 80th birthday party! It was great to head up to the mountain because it was the perfect temperature up there. We’ve been in a heat wave, so it was nice to sit in the shade and enjoy the mountain air! It was great to see family members who I hadn’t seen in many months. The hot topic right now are the babies since both my cousin and I are expecting. We’re due about three weeks apart so it was fun to talk with her about where they are at. The found out while we were in Hawaii that they are having a boy and it seems they don’t have any names either. I can relate to that!

Sunday, we started to decorate for VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) after church! It’s hard to believe that in just a few weeks our Family VBA will here! I spent the morning making many photocopies in preparation for the big week! The deadline to register is coming up on July 10th and our deadline to register for Kid’s Camp is coming up this weekend. Now that we’re into July it seems like the summer is just flying by! So much good stuff still ahead. I can’t wait to share it with you!

After Hawaii Collage

 

Sugar Rush May 15, 2013

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 1:16 pm

It’s been quite the Wednesday so far! I flew through my productive morning. I love these days because it’s just me, Jesus and the dog hanging out and spending time together. Yesterday my hubby came down with a very unknown allergic reaction. The poor guy had a rough day. I got up this morning and started to deep clean the house and do all the household laundry. We have no clue what caused this reaction, but I figured cleaning never hurt.  Once the house was in good shape, I moved on to my next project – baking my class snack! I decided on cupcakes and went to work. After the cupcakes were in the oven, I decided to make my hubby a special treat since it’s been such a weird week for him. Usually he gets the leftovers from my class snack, but he doesn’t often get goodies that I make just for him. He had mentioned wanting Rice Krispie treats last week and I had picked up marshmallows for them yesterday. While my cupcakes baked, I made my hubby a batch of Rice Krispie treats that he doesn’t have to share! I sent him a text with a picture of the pan and I got a very excited response back! In fact, the treats are already missing a chunk out of the pan since he came home for lunch today.  Once the Rice Krispie treats were in the fridge, I focused on frosting the cupcakes. These cupcakes are nothing special – just chocolate with vanilla frosting. I added some sprinkles for a little extra pizzazz. It’s no one’s birthday tonight, but cupcakes are a good snack for any reason in my book – just because! With all this sugar around the house, I’ll have to make sure I share the cupcakes at church. No need to bring home extras when I have goodies in my fridge too! What a sugar rush!

This week's sweet treat!

This week’s sweet treat!

 

Me again! March 13, 2013

I couldn’t help but laugh yesterday when we got invited out to dinner. Of course, I wanted to see family while they were in town, but that would put my “plans with other people streak” up to 9 social days in row. I’m not sure that is a record, but it’s been a crazy week and a half. Anything but routine. However, that leads me to today. Wednesday. Yes, I’ll have class tonight, but today I feel like myself again and that my life has somewhat gone back to normal.

When I get super busy I notice that I don’t read and write as much. In fact, the last few weeks I really haven’t the desire to pick up a book. Strange, I know. I’ve learned that I only have so much energy and when I choose to invest it being social a lot of the things that feed my introverted soul get push to the wayside.  It’s been a great day for me to journal. I miss my times with a pen in hand or spent at the keyboard (like right now). I also gave a couple hours to reading. Surprisingly, I went from having no books I’m interested in to a pile sitting on the window sill next to me. This feels normal! This feels like the Amy I know so well.

I also had time to make a class snack. I’ve been going a bit retro in my class snacks.  Last week it was no-bake cookies from my 1963 church cook book and today it was Rice Krispie Treats. Out of the blue, they sounded so good! I can’t remember the last time I’ve made them! My favorite part of the process would be cleaning up the bowl with a spoon after it’s all said and done! I can’t let those small krispies covered in marshmallow go to waste, now can I? I’ll do my best not diving into the pan before I have a chance to share them with the girls!

I don’t want people to get me wrong. I’ve had a delightful time socializing over the last week. On Sunday I had a tasty dinner and dessert with my parents and sister. You can’t beat the combo of Chipotle and Menchies! They are a match made in heaven. Monday I met with a children’s pastor from down south. The great thing is we are around the same age and in the same line of work. Living in rural Lewis County means my interaction with other female ministers is limited to non-existent. I really enjoyed getting to know her and I do believe we will meet again in the future. After one coffee date it was off to another, I met with my mentor, Vicki, since I was in her neck of the woods. It was great to catch up since I hadn’t seen her a while. I love my times with her because she encourages me so much. No matter what she is cheering me on and telling me that I can do it. It’s nice to have someone believe in you even if you are unsure of yourself. Like I mentioned at the beginning, yesterday was dinner with Jeremy’s brother while he was over on this side of the mountains. It was a great meal and I’m always glad for an opportunity to see out of town family members.

Today is a short break. A calm to be me and do what I do best. Tomorrow I have a breakfast meeting with another children’s pastor. It’s blind date week for me since I haven’t met either of these children’s pastors before. As valuable as networking can be, I’m always a little on edge when meeting someone for the first time. I have my own insecurities I  have to deal with. Tomorrow night is our local AG business meeting. The nice part is that it will take place at one of my favorite Chinese restaurants! General Tso’s Chicken here I come! So as you can see, even a busy schedule has its perks.  I have a feeling that March will continue at this pace with a Pinewood Derby this weekend and our giant Easter Eggstravaganaza quickly approaching. I’m thankful though for quiet days where I can read and write and make childhood treats for my girls. These days are the ones that hold me together. I finally feel like me again! Here’s hoping the feeling sticks around!

 

Continued Adventures in Domesticity February 28, 2013

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 7:27 pm

I feel momentum after Monday night’s soup success. I thought I would share with you some of other projects from this week. As promised Tuesday night was cake pop night. I have officially decided that I don’t like making cake pops. These turned out just fine, but really the whole process is just a little too much for me. I would prefer to make cupcakes. I think once I get to the candy melt part cake pops lose their fun factor. It’s a slow process to dip them all and make sure all the excess drips off so it doesn’t run and make a mess. I did learn from my mistakes and made the cake pops about half the size of my last attempt. This made for less casualties and helped the candy melts go a lot farther. I took these cake pops to my class last night and they were a hit. The only problem is that I have a lot them left over and I know I don’t need to eat them myself. Oh temptation… I will say no. I hope!

Chocolate Cake Pops with Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Cake Pops with Cream Cheese Frosting

Tonight I had the joy of making dinner again. Oh yeah, two homemade dinners in one week! I must be like Martha Stewart or something! Just kidding. I guess I made waffles on Tuesday, but that was from a mix, so we’ll call it semi-homemade. I’m trying to make my food and not just microwave it (or pour a bowl of cereal and call it dinner). The menu this evening was Sausage and Ricotta Stuffed Jumbo Shells. They were so tasty. I’ll be honest and admit that tonight was a team effort. My hubby cooked up the meat and we both stuffed the shells together. I’m not trying to prove myself so I was perfectly fine working side by side in the kitchen. Stuffed shells is something I’ve always wanted to try, but never have. Once again, Food Network Magazine was the inspiration. I didn’t follow their recipe, but they had stuffed shells featured in an article and the picture looked so good I had to get jumbo shells when I went grocery shopping. Totally worth it!

Yummy Stuffed Shells

Yummy Stuffed Shells

I’m not sure what tomorrow holds. No cooking/baking plans yet. I’m thinking Saturday might be a cookie day. The great thing about trying new recipes this week is that I’m learning cooking isn’t impossible. I’m sure I will fail and succeed in the kitchen, but the more I try the more comfortable I will become with the whole cooking process. It’s not 1950, but there is something nice in my head about making dinner – at least once or twice a week. For the other days, there is cereal! :)

 

Guess who made dinner? February 25, 2013

Filed under: Cooking Experiments — Amy Scott @ 6:27 pm
Bubble, Bubble!

Bubble, Bubble!

If you guessed my hubby, Jeremy, you would be right about every other day off the week, but… NOT TODAY! Today I made soup for the first time – completely by myself! I’m pretty proud right now! You  have to realize that I have next to no cooking skills. Every year I tell myself that this is the year I’m going to start cooking dinner. I’m really good at Kraft Mac and Cheese and anything you empty from a box and put in the oven. However, to me that doesn’t really count.

I loved getting Food Network Magazine over the last year. It was a Christmas gift in 2011. This year I decide that I couldn’t live without it, so I subscribed for three more years. I know that three years is a long time, but it was the best deal for the price. I usually make one thing a month from the magazine and it’s usually the best looking dessert that catches my eye. While the key-lime cheesecake bars will probably be next, something else looked good too. Okay, a lot of things looked good. It was the cheese edition! How could it not? I stopped to ponder making their Apple-Cheddar Soup with Bacon. It sounded like a great flavor combination that reminded me of going out for fondue. This Friday, I made sure to add the ingredients to our shopping list.

Apple-Cheddar Soup with Bacon!

Apple-Cheddar Soup with Bacon!

While the directions say it should take 40 minutes, it took me about an hour. I crisped up some bacon in the pot. I chopped up the onion, apples and potato. I stirred frequently to make sure that nothing burned. I added the liquid ingredients and then the cheese! This was my first time making soup, but it was also my first time using the stick blender. Very educational.

Normally when I cook, I feel like the food wins – not in a yummy tasty way, but in a it conquers me kind of way. I’m always stressed about does that look cooked all the way through, should it smell like that, should it look like that. I’m always second guessing myself. You should take that as a sign that I really care for those who are going to eat it. No food poisoning on my watch.  Surprisingly, everything went as plan and nothing caught me off guard. Hurray!

I sprinkled some bacon on the top of the bowl and took a thick slice of bread for dipping because to me bread and soup are made me to dipped together. It was tasty! Jeremy gave me his approval and so far we’re both still standing! Woo hoo! Success! For those of you who make soup from scratch all the time, don’t mock. This is a baby step in the right direction for me. I’m trying to discover other uses for my kitchen besides baking. But speaking of baking, I’ll be heading back into the kitchen to make a sheet cake later this evening. I’m going to attempt cake pops take two tomorrow night. I think I’ve learned from my mistakes so hopefully my second attempt will turn out better then the first. I learned the hard way in the cake pop world that size really does matter!

 

Comfort Cookies and Other Things I Need February 6, 2013

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Cooking Experiments,Women in Ministry — Amy Scott @ 3:44 pm

My day hasn’t turned out the way I expected. It hasn’t been bad, but it’s had a few bumps that I didn’t foresee. It seems like my week has been a bit bumpy as well. I keep trying to stay on top of it all and I just don’t feel like I’m keeping up.  So in order to avoid a panic attack, here are the few things keeping me together.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies!I wasn’t sure I was going to have time to make a snack for my class tonight, but things fell into place and I was able to home this afternoon. I decided to make Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies because oatmeal and chocolate are some homey and yummy and comforting. I needed to make something that would feed my soul and these cookies are the ticket. I had just enough oatmeal on hand and they turned out great. Tonight is a snack that I made for myself more than the girls and that is okay.

Prayer has been the one constant in my life over the last week. While I’m pretty routine with my prayer time, it seems like this last week I’ve stepped it up. When you’re empty, the one place to fill up is at the feet of the Father. This morning especially I took a lot of time to read my Bible and pulled out my prayer journal to pen all my thoughts to the Lord. Throughout my day, the constant connection to the Lord is what brings peace and assurance to my heart. When I talk with God it reminds me how small I am and I how I really can’t do this without him. Prayer has been sustaining my life and giving feet to my faith. Without it, I’m sure I would fall apart.

When the stress level rises I turn on the music. I’ve been listening to Switchfoot and The Rocket Summer. I love losing myself in lyrics and singing along to these heart songs. As the music fills my home I find myself relaxing and my blood pressure lowering.

I’ve been rereading some great books by authors I dearly love and have touched my heart. I’m reading both Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Both books are celebration of life and about finding light in the dark. It’s so good for me to be reminded. God is here in the small moments of my daily life. His gifts sustain me and I continue to count them because they are like bread, they give me life. Authors can good friends and I’ve been hanging out with some the best buddies through the page.

However, I can’t spend my entire life making cookies, listening to good music and reading soulful books. Today is Wednesday which means ministry. I have dinner with a young student whose family is going through some very serious trials. I’m not exactly sure what to tell this tender heart as we converse.  I will do my best to encourage her and to give her peace. I’m praying for God’s words because mine seem so flat and not enough. This situation is bigger than us and that means we need to give it to God. I hope I can help her see that God is walking beside her each second of this difficult journey. After dinner it will be time for church and I will see my class of girls for the first time in two weeks. The cold had me down last week, so I’m happy to rejoin them. Today is a week before the sleepover deadline so I’ll be nagging them pretty hard to get those permission slips in.  I also feel like such an adult when I remind them of deadlines.

Speaking of being an adult, I still need to clean the kitchen up from my cookie baking! Signing out!