Sunday, April 24, 2011


My favorite part about tonight's Easter Vigil Mass, as with the service I attended last year, was the Litany of Saints. If I can link correctly, you will be able to find a great version here. The community of saints has become increasingly important to me over the last few months -- not much time, I know. I just think the idea of having an entire community of people, ancestors, saints, holy people, scholars, martyrs, pastors, parents...everyone from Jerome and Augustine to Isaac, Sarah, and Abraham...Prisca and Aquila...Peter, Paul, and Andrew...all the apostles...Mary Magdalene and Veronica...and countless others throughout the ages...all praying for us, for me -- is beautiful and powerful.

As I waited for the Mass to start tonight, I thought, 'A man died nearly 2000 years ago...and here we are today. In this church, at this school, with my life's work still stretched ahead of me, vaguely shimmering in the distance, all because of a man who died on a cross.' More than a mere man, of course; he was a God-man. But still, a man.

I panicked tonight as I saw an older, raggedy-looking man walk down a side aisle in the church. I panicked because my first thought was, 'I don't want him to sit next to me; he looks a little odd and maybe unpredictable.' But not only because of this thought -- the true source of my panic was a realization that if I do not treat people as though they are Jesus...if I am not welcoming to those I consider the least...and those who are the least...those who are or might be hurting, scared, frustrated, lost...I will go to hell. "What you did not do to the least of them, you did not do for me." Am I welcoming to all? Or only to those I deem worthy? Smart enough? Possessing of adequate social graces?

This is a hard saying for me. I like being comfortable. I like being able to reasonably predict how people are going to act. As much as I want to stretch my comfort zones, I am scared to do so. But God doesn't care whether my reason for giving someone the cold shoulder is shyness or disdain. He cares that I give someone the cold shoulder and make him/her feel unwelcome, period. And my thoughts are all known to God, too, which means that I have to work at changing my thoughts themselves, not just at putting a believable smile on my face, sucking it up, and doing God's work while wishing I didn't have to.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Watching the Boston Marathon yesterday was incredibly inspiring. The wheelchair and elite athletes first, then the mere mortals, most of whom can run an entire marathon at a faster per-mile pace than I can run for just one mile! It gave me something to aspire to; not for next year, but maybe in two or three years. Maybe.

Spending time and sharing the spectating experience with friends was an incredible gift. From the one I first met nearly eleven years ago to those I have met in the last few months, they all add joy and purpose to my life, and support my motivation to chase dreams and achieve goals.

And how perfect is that -- to be surrounded by people who push me to be better, to transcend myself and my self-imposed limitations? Maybe they think I am smarter and more fit than I am, or maybe I don't think I'm as smart or as fit as I am -- or as I can be. Either way, they invite me to achieve more than I thought possible.

I am incredibly grateful to have them in my life.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Margaritas in...

Pound cake? Check.

I intended to make margarita cupcakes, but found a lemon pound cake recipe, have really cute mini loaf pans, and thought I could just sub out the lemon for margarita mix. (I was going to be a purist and mix my own tequila:triple sec:lime juice, but given the cost of tequila and that I don't really drink it...I figured pre-mixed was a much more cost-effective way to go. I put 3 tbsps of margarita mix (yes, the mix is alcoholic) in the batter, and didn't really get much of a margarita flavor. I mean, it tastes good, but mostly lemony and a bit sweet -- definitely not like tequila at all! Then, I poked holes in the top of the loaf with a toothpick and brushed more margarita on top; it made the loaves nice and moist, but still no bite. I want something with a little bite to it so I can roll the rims in a bit of salt! Every bite should be like biting into tequila-y, lime-y goodness -- not like taking a shot of tequila -- but I'm not there yet.

I also tried making a margarita curd, but put too much sugar in it; I should have reduced the amount of sugar, because I was following a lemon curd recipe. Again, it tastes really good, but too sweet and not like a margarita. Hmph.

So, back to the drawing board. I might have to suck up the cost and go buy a small bottle of tequila, at least to brush on top of the cupcakes, when I try them again tomorrow. And I'll buy some limes, and add some zest to the batter...and definitely reduce the sugar in everything.

The good baking news for today is that my second recipe, from the Flour Bakery cookbook, just came out of the oven and looks delicious. I wanted something breakfast-appropriate that could double as a vehicle for all the jam I canned last summer, so I baked a bran-raisin muffin recipe in mini loaf pans. Super cute, and more surface area for jam!

I think I may be done with baking for the day, unless I make the pate brisee for home made pop tarts a bit later this evening. I will probably end up making it tomorrow, so I can actually get some schoolwork done today. I was going to tackle brioche, but don't want to end up with more baked goods than I can eat! Though I am sure no one would complain if I brought some to school on Tuesday....

Friday, April 15, 2011

Testing the photo-uploading process with a picture of the lemon buttercream layer cake I made for my mom's birthday last weekend....

A beginning.

After hearing me wax eloquent about my plan to concoct margarita cupcakes for marathon Monday, a friend asked me tonight if I had a baking blog. I told her I do have a blog of sorts, but am not very good at writing in it...and my food photography sucks, which does not help matters. But I started thinking, why the heck not just go for it? As the name of my blog implies, this will not be only about baking; but baking certainly occupies a significant role in my life, so will likely also play a central role here.

Tomorrow morning, ingredients. A lack of butter and eggs makes baking difficult. Tomorrow afternoon, pop tart dough. And possibly brioche dough. As well as a trial run at margarita cupcakes. Yes, with salt around the rim of the frosting.

And, of course, Augustine will require my attention. De Trinitate, go!