Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hot Chocolate and Marshmallow Cookies

Happy Advent, All! I just love this time of year; don't you?

At mass this weekend, Fr. Mason discussed how we all seem to overlook the Advent season and go straight for Christmas without giving it a second thought... but Advent is an equally beautiful season that needs to be celebrated as well! While I am very much looking forward to the Christmas season and everything that comes with it, I will be making more of an effort to enjoy this peaceful and "sobering" (as Father said) time of the year. Don't get me wrong -- I will still be planning for Christmas and all of the giving and quality family time that comes with it, but I will also be taking more time to take in and reflect on the gospel readings!

Speaking of giving, there is absolutely no reason for going broke during Christmas. Contrary to what society believes, the celebration of Christ's birth isn't about expensive electronics and material gifts; in fact, the best gift you could possibly give -- or receive -- is one that comes straight from the heart. One of my favorite ways to show my love for someone is through food. Whether I am taking a meal to a new mom, cooking for family, or surprising my husband by preparing his favorite dish, there is something so satisfying about feeding someone.

That being said, why not consider giving a homemade gift to someone special this year? Take for example these delicious Hot Chocolate and Marshmallow Cookies, which would make a perfect gift for a neighbor, family member, or secret sister.


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract 
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 10 marshmallows
  1. In a large bowl, mix sugar and softened butter until fluffy in texture. Beat in vanilla and eggs.
  2. In separate bowl, mix remaining dry ingredients (minus marshmallows). Slowly mix to creamed mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. 
  3. Drop teaspoon full of mixture onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes in a 350 degree oven. 
  4. While baking, cut marshmallows into halves. 
  5. Remove cookies from oven and immediately add halved marshmallows to top. Let cool and enjoy. 
To complete this gift, place cookies into a festive container with packets of hot chocolate and colorful straws! 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Mass Must Haves (AKA How to Survive Mass with a Toddler)

Have you seen the gif going around Facebook that jokes about a parent's reaction when somebody says 'When I have kids, they will never act like that'? I did -- and it got me thinking about those naive moments when I was in high school thinking the same thing about unruly kids in church.

Well, judge and ye shall be judged, Annie... no parent is perfect!

Since my husband works on Sundays, I usually take the boys to church solo, which can be a major challenge at times. For the most part, my nearly 3-year-old is pretty well behaved during mass (minus this week, when I looked up and saw him kissing the little girl in the next pew... oy!), but I still like to have a little backup just in case things take a turn for the worse. To do this, I pack nearly the same things each week that have proven time and again to keep him occupied.

Here is a look at my "Mass Must Haves" that I store away in the diaper bag each and every week:

1.) The Easter Bunny put these little plastic gears in Jackson's basket this year and they are SO cool! You basically just connect and build with them, but I like them because they are quiet and keep the toddler occupied for hours minutes at a time. (Hey, I'll take whatever I can get!)

2.) I was gifted this children's mass book when I was pregnant with Jackson and he loves looking through it and "reading" it to me.

3.) As every parent knows, quiet and (relatively) no-mess snacks are a saving grace... our favorites are Mott's Fruit Snacks and these Go-Go Squeeze yogurts (both found at Costco).

4.) St. Nicholas left this beside Jackson's shoes last year and it is so cute! It's a little activity book that not only tells the story of Christmas, but includes a bunch of correlating stickers and coloring pages. Despite it being a Christmas book, we use it year round.

5.) Crayons and paper... so simple, yet so effective!

6.) I try to keep our book selection at mass religious, so I will usually grab one of our smaller board books, like The Story of Easter.

Now it's your turn to share: What are your mass must haves? Help a mamma out! 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

10 Minute Homemade Cobbler

Whenever I have company (whether it be a play date, family, or the Pope), I like to have something on hand to offer because -- in my mind -- there is nothing more hospitable than walking into a friend's home and being offered coffee, a warm treat, and heartfelt conversation. My go-to used to always be warm french bread (store bought -- I have yet to venture into baking my own bread!) with homemade jelly, Nutella, or other toppings, but now it is this SUPER EASY cobbler that I adapted from Jenny Cookies.

When it comes to dessert, fruit cobbler seems to be a universal favorite. (And what's not to love about a dessert that's chock full of fruit and topped with a crumbly, buttery topping?) Try this foolproof treat for yourself!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp. finely chopped pecans
  • 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp. melted butter
  • 4 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 can pie filling (cherry, apple, blueberry, etc.)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together flour, sugar, pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour butter over mixed ingredients and break apart any chunks with fork. Set aside.
  2. Place pie filling in greased 8 x 8 pan and top evenly with mixture. 
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until topping is browned. 
  4. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Let's Go Public, Shall We?

It's November 15, 2016 and I am finally sharing the blog that I have been praying about and planning for for more than a year now.

So, welcome to this little corner of the internet!

For those of you who do not know me in real life, I am not an apologist, theologian, or strong evangelist (though I am working on it); I am simply a Cradle Catholic, wife, and mother who felt a strong calling one day to start this blog.

After months of pushing it aside (which was easy to do since I'm not only a mom, but a writer who works from home), the calling became stronger and stronger -- to the point where the story of Mary and Martha kept popping into my head at the most random of times.

Okay God; I'm listening! But what exactly am I supposed to do with this? And who will I really be helping?

To answer that question, I really have no idea... but I appreciate you joining me on this journey as I figure it out!

As you may notice, I started writing recipe posts back in February (around the same time I bought the domain name and shopped for pretty templates) and didn't do much with it again until now because -- well, I got pregnant with our second son and ended up sleeping whenever I should have been up and working. However, even when I wasn't working on getting the site together, I was thinking about it.

A lot.

As you may also notice, my menu bar is currently small, but will grow with time. (In addition to recipes, I plan to write about Catholic reflections, book reviews, simple decor, entertaining tips, and so much more.) My ultimate goal for Living Like Martha is to create a place for Catholic moms, daughters, sisters, and friends to come together to share about their faith, favorite podcasts, new recipes, wine recommendations, etc.

Stick around, friends! In the meantime, I would love to hear any suggestions or general feedback you may have -- let me know in the comments, on FB, text, or whichever means you prefer.
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