Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Valentine's Desserts that Almost Were

What do you do with 24 half-pint canning jars and a package of candy canes left over from Christmas?

You make beautiful Valentine's Day desserts. That flop. 

Well, that's what I did anyway. Not at all what I would recommend. I did learn some lessons from all of it: To read the ingredient list carefully; To think twice before taking on a huge dessert while on your own with two of your kids and you are 8 months pregnant and really tired; And, to read the ingredient list, again. 

I'm still going to give you the recipe because it is amazingly delicious. And, really it is not that difficult if you just read the ingredient list carefully.  If you're still on the hunt for a Valentine's Day dessert, this is it. A bunch of you (24 of you, to be exact) were actually going to have individual size versions of these delivered to your doorstep on Thursday.  Um . . . . not so much now. But, make it for yourself, especially if you have leftover Christmas candy canes. Put them to good use! Just be sure to WHIP the WHIPping cream before adding it to the other ingredients. Because I didn't do that. And it was a runny mess.  True story, friends. 

Frozen Peppermint Cheesecake 

For Crust
1 1/4c. choc wafer cookies, crushed
1/4c. butter, melted
1/4c. sugar
For Cheesecake
18 oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
114 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1c. hard peppermint candy or candy canes, crushed
1/2c. mini choc chips
2c. (1 pt) whipping cream, WHIPPED

For Crust
1.Combine cookie crumbs, butter and sugar

2.Press firmly on bottom and halfway up sides of 9" springform pan, 13"x9" baking dish, or individual size glass dishes. I used half-pint wide mouth glass canning jars. 

For Cheesecake
1.In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy
2.Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk
3.Stir in crushed candies and choc chips
4.Fold in whipped cream. (Note: Seriously, WHIP the whipping cream before you add it. I am a total dork that I didn't do that. Major flop.)

5.Pour into prepared pan; cover
6.Freeze 6 hours or overnight

1.Cut into desired number of slices
2.Garnish with peppermint candies, whipped cream and/or choc sauce, if desired
3.Return leftovers to freezer

Sunday, February 3, 2013

What's in a Name?

Jameson Elliott Compton.

Our two year old. Pure joy. A smile that lights up any room. At least one thousand giggles a day.

I've shared before that Jameson was born in a dark time for Eric, me and our marriage. I'm not ready to share details with the interweb-world. But, let's just say it was dark. Sometimes I found myself sinking in an ocean of despair. Our personal struggles mixed with post-partum hormones were enough to push me into a deep depression. I remember laughing to myself at the idea that things would ever be truly good again, let alone better than before our mess. I was clinging to Jesus with everything I had. My only means of emotional survival was keeping the Word open on my kitchen counter, my bathroom counter, my nightstand and scrawled out on index cards on the dashboard of my car.

Through all of it, Jameson made us laugh. He rarely cried. Not only was he always joyful, Jameson was and still is a good eater, good sleeper, good traveller. Easy would be an understatement. As our pediatrician said not too long ago, Jameson was Jesus's way of letting me know that He was still there.

In Genesis, God tells Abraham that a post-menopausal and previously barren Sarah will bear him a child. A baby boy. Sarah overhears God speaking His promise to Abraham and she laughs to herself at the thought of bearing a child in her old age. God overhears Sarah's laughter and knows her thoughts. His response is: "Why did Sarah laugh? Is anything too hard for the Lord?" (Genesis 18:13)

In the midst of despair, Sarah laughed to herself at the thought of God's baffling promise. Like Sarah, in my darkest hours, there was a mix of faith and unbelief that marked my days. As I clung to Jesus in faith, I also had my own moments of doubt, laughing to myself over the thought that life could ever truly be good again.

Well, Sarah's story continued. When she found herself holding her first baby at 90 years old, she said "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." And she added, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age."(Genesis 21:6-7). Sarah and Abraham named their son Isaac, which means son of laughter.

Once again, I find myself identifying with Sarah and her laughter, this time on the other side of seeing God's promises fulfilled. Eric and my story continued. Here Eric and I are, over two years later. Walking through life with a healed marriage, marked by God's redemptive hand. Jesus has proved that He redeems. He walked us right out of the darkness. He walked us into the light with deeper relationships with Himself and with each other. To God be the glory, great things He has done. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. I laugh with Sarah, knowing that God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. Who would have said that Eric and I would have the marriage we do today, about to welcome our fourth baby into the world?

Now, I know I'm kind of jumping all over the place with this post. But there is a point, I promise. 

Names are a big deal in the Bible. God often re-names people. Abram became Abraham. Sarai became Sarah. Simon became Peter. Saul became Paul.  And now, Jameson Elliott is going to become Jameson Isaac. 

Call us crazy, but we are re-naming our two year old. Well, his middle name anyway. Jameson's names were just two that we liked. There was no special meaning behind Jameson or Elliott. Marshall's middle name is Eric's middle name. Eliza's middle name is Grace - it came out of our study of Paul's letter to the Romans, the year that I was pregnant with her. (Little did I know it would become the most popular girls' middle name in America!). And, our fourth baby's name is loaded with meaning (but that's a story for another post). 

So, it only seems fitting that Jameson gets a middle name with meaning too. Maybe it seems two years late. Maybe it seemed late when Sarah didn't have a baby until she was 90. But, God's timing with Sarah's Isaac was perfect. Maybe our marriage seemed hopeless. But, God's redemption was perfect. We think maybe this is just God's perfect timing for renaming our little guy Jameson Isaac, our own son of laughter.