Monday, October 29, 2007

Create-Your-Own Biscotti!

I am making biscotti for our Fall Festival coffeehouse this week, and this seems to be one of those recipes that you can't seem to mess up (the best kind, in my opinion).

Create-Your-Own Biscotti
(adapted from The Chocolate Cake Doctor)
1 box any flavor cake mix
1 cup flour
1 stick butter, melted
2 large eggs
½ tsp flavoring (vanilla, almond, etc.)
¼ to ½ cup mix-ins (chips, nuts, dried fruit, etc., chopped)

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients together (a stand mixer makes short work of this, but you could also use a hand mixer), about 3-4 minutes. Mixture will be thick and form a ball (you may have to use your hands to get it all the way into a ball).
Pat dough out on a cookie sheet (you can use parchment if you want) into a rectangle about ½ inch thick and about 6 inches wide, mounded a little in the middle. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean. Slice on the diagonal, about ½-1 inch thick slices, directly on the cookie sheet (if you move the dough, it will crack). Turn the slices carefully onto their sides. Put the cookie sheet back in the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Then turn the oven off and let the biscotti sit in the closed oven for at least 35 minutes, and then cool completely and dip in chocolate, if desired.

Successful combinations so far:
Yellow cake mix, almond extract, almonds, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips
Chocolate cake mix, vanilla extract, chocolate chips, dried cranberries & blueberries
Chocolate cake mix, dark & white chocolate chips
Chocolate cake mix, vanilla & spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)
I'm going to try chocolate with peppermint chips at Christmastime!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

An old post, but I wanted to add it.

So, Krissi and I were talking about being popular the other day... How if you're the popular one, it's easy to look down on those who aren't; and if you're not the popular one, it's easy to look down on those who are. Silly, but true. And that's a whole 'nother issue. But I've been thinking about the church, and how we sort of do the same thing. Not with popularity (although unfortunately sometimes that happens, too), but with knowledge.

Some people like to talk about faith intellectually and philosophize and search after more and more knowledge; some people don't. Those who do usually have a hard time understanding those who don't, and vice versa. Those of us who like the intellectual stuff can turn into big fat snobs about all our knowledge, and discuss it in ways that alienate those who don't think the way we do. For those who don't get into all that, there is always the risk of seeing snobbery where it isn't, and being too accepting of what others claim is true.

Historically, Christians have always swung between these two extremes. Sometimes the pendulum swings too far in favor of scholasticism, bringing with it influences which are not godly and not committed to orthodoxy (in its basic sense, meaning right belief). The opposite is just as dangerous, and a spirit of anti-intellectualism sometimes still reigns in our churches.

We must guard against both kinds of error. Jesus himself said that the greatest commandments are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. If we run away from knowledge and study, we are not using our minds to glorify God. If we consider knowledge as an end in itself and beat people over the head with it, we are still not using our minds to glorify God and are certainly not loving our neighbors!

To use some theological words… sometimes it seems to be a battle between right belief (orthodoxy) and right practice (orthopraxy). We either focus on knowing all the right things and do nothing, or cling to our practices and works and forget about the doctrines behind them. These things are not mutually exclusive!!

One of the things that frustrated me about some small parts of my seminary experience was how some students and professors seemed to use the big theological words as a sort of password into a secret club. It felt very exclusive, as if systematic theology and its vocabulary were a mysterious code or an inside joke. I have big problems with this, not the least of which stemmed from my not knowing what some of the big words meant, either! What I have come to realize for myself is that the big words are a kind of shorthand. They encompass big concepts that would otherwise take a lot more words and time to explain, so we use them with other people who know what they mean. However, we should never assume that other people know what they mean; or, worse, assume a superior attitude because we know and others don't. It's an old joke, but whoever came up with the idea that to assume is to make an ass out of u and me had it just about right.

We must commit ourselves to right doctrine, to finding the truth and allowing it to set us free. We cannot absolve ourselves of the responsibility to teach truth in our churches, to search for it as for hidden treasure. We cannot take the easy way out and find ourselves on the bandwagons of ignorance and prejudice. We will not do what is right unless we know what is right, and Who.

But we cannot ignore the fact that not everyone is the same. Those who like big books and big words must find ways to be in the church with those who would rather all those things were a lot smaller and easier to digest. God has created us to work together (gee, I think I read somewhere that there are many different gifts, but the same Spirit…). We need each other.

Another thing: the church should be a place where we can ask questions and look for the answers. If we don't provide that kind of atmosphere, those asking the questions will go elsewhere and find answers that may not be true or helpful. We cannot be afraid to ask hard questions and dig deeply (God can handle it!); but somehow we have to learn to do it in a way that doesn't alienate those who aren't asking the same questions we are. Let's work on being clear and concise without quarreling over words, and doctrinally sound without lording it over others.

This has all tumbled out faster and more jumbled than I intended it to. Being the kind of person who enjoys the intellectual stuff (obviously!), I have to remind myself that
"Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up." (1 Cor 8:1b).
"Do not by your eating [or studying, or whatever] destroy your brother for whom Christ died." (Rom 14:15)
"For whether you eat or drink [or read or study or investigate or…] or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Cor 10:31)

This means excellence. But it's for God, not for us.
To glorify Him, not to feed our egos.
And that goes for both sides.

Originally Posted at 7/21/2006 3:59:46 PM


I heard a radio piece this morning on my way to work.
It only gave part of a story, of which I know there is more.
However, most people hearing the 10-second summary will never hear the rest, or bother to investigate, and will form their opinions accordingly.
How often we judge - issues, people, or whatever - based on incomplete or biased information!

I want to be a Berean!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I think I must have been born in the wrong century.

We need to bring back afternoon tea.
And we could have these to eat with it:

This is the first recipe I've really tried from my Cooking Light subscription (August 2007 issue), and it's yummy!
Lime-Mint Shortbread, with Lime Curd.
Two separate recipes, but the shortbread recipe suggested the lime curd addition, and it works.
The perfect accompaniment to a nice afternoon cup of tea.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I'm an acronym

Strangely, has TWO (yes, count them, TWO) acronyms for my name.
"Keeping All the Resources in New Orleans Alive"
"Krewe Aiding Trash Removal In the New Orleans Area"
And somehow, people often get slightly offended when they ask my name and I say, "Katrina. Like the hurricane."
I guess it's better than the serenade I got when my second-grade classmates and I were reading "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow": Katrina and Ichabod, sittin' in a tree...