Thursday, February 5, 2015

Martha Washington Candies




Valentine's Day is fast approaching and this is the time of year I really love! Well, actually now through Spring. There's just something therapeutic about baking/cooking and fitness. But fitness is another post. ;)

While I’ve seen these candies made every Christmas, I prefer to make them for Valentine’s Day. I was given this particular recipe from my mother-in-law who made them for many years. This recipe varies from others I’ve seen in that it calls for more butter, and no vanilla. I’ve also seen them made with coconut flakes and nuts. But out of all of them, these are my favorite. :)

Plus, we’re kickin’ it old school by using the paraffin wax which gives the candy a glossy finish. Here's how you make these.

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter, softened
2 lbs. powdered sugar (8 cups)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
24 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 block paraffin wax

Directions:

Mix the butter, sugar and sweetened condensed milk together until smooth. (I had to change out my attachment on my mixer to a dough hook)


 Form into balls and place on a plate or cookie sheet and refrigerate until cold.



Melt paraffin wax and chocolate chips in double broiler.



Dip balls in chocolate. (I have found the easiest way to accomplish this is place the candy on a fork, and then use a spoon to "ladle" the chocolate over the candy. I have tried placing the candy in the chocolate to coat it, but it dissolves and loses it's shape And believe me, I've tried it every which way).



Now place the candy on baking sheet lined with parchment paper to cool.(Make sure you're alone in the kitchen, or these sweet lil' things will disappear before you can finish).


Don't worry - this is a messy process!


Repeat a second time.



Store in an airtight container.

I hope you all love these as much as I do. Happy Baking!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Self-Love...What It Is and What It Isn't


"The most terrible and violent of our own afflictions is to despise our own beings." -
Michel De Montaigne

Self-Love. Two small words whose meaning runs so deep.

Self-love is the belief you hold that you are a valuable and worthy person.

Self-love shouldn't be confused with narcissism. To love oneself means acceptance. Narcissism is being in love with yourself.

Love is a verb and it is expressed through our actions.  

I love this quote - "Once you've accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you."

I thought this was such an important subject. When your in a domestic violence situation your vision of yourself is skewed. I came out of that situation with such low self-esteem. Well, virtually non-existent self-esteem would be more accurate.
There was a time in my life after that when rejection would thrust me into doing self-harm. I would turn all that pain inward and punish myself. Abuse victims often experience that. We can't handle criticism. Or for that matter, even gentle correction. Immediately, all we see is rejection. It has taken me years to learn to love myself. Accepting my flaws. I always strive to improve, but no longer see all the lies I was told over the years. Loving yourself means protecting yourself from harm.

Choosing to love and accept yourself is the most important decision you will ever make. It will affect every area of your life. So do it, and let it be your superpower, if you will. Self-love actually increases our ability to love other people.

I read something very interesting recently. "Self-love is not a crime." So why then is it we are so hard on ourselves?

Well, first it could be depression. Certain situations you've experienced in your lifetime can lead to low self-esteem and devaluing yourself. That person needs positive feedback in order to feel worthwhile and validated as a person. And while doing for others is what we should do, if your accepting of yourself, you won't requite that positive affirmation in return.

Secondly, you may have unrealistic expectations of yourself.

Have you ever stopped to notice how critical you are of yourself as opposed to how critical you are of others? 

How perfect of an example of love it is that God loves us (imperfect) people, perfectly. Perfect loves casts out all fear. We should be secure in the knowledge that He loves us, and in turn we should love ourselves.
It's being selfish not to love ourselves.Have you thought about the second commandment? Galatians 5:14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love our neighbor as yourself." So if we don't love ourselves, we can't follow the commandment.

I survived. I am beautiful. I am desirable. I am worthy. I love. I am loved. 

When you are accepting of yourself, things become easier. The little things no longer seem like a crisis. You're happier. Your relationships improve. Not to mention, you're healthier. Life itself becomes simpler.

Self-love can be reborn by practicing self-affirming activities. I have found fitness greatly helps me in this area. I have also recently taken up Tia-Chi. Exercise is very helpful (and for me therapeutic) when dealing with depression.
I also spend time in prayer. Matthew 7:7-8 says  “Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.” Talk to your Heavenly Father. He longs to hear from you. He wants to help you.

My hope for you is that you realize how truly valuable you are. Thank you for walking with me on this journey. Know you are not alone. If I can help just one person who is struggling or needs encouragement, it makes it all worthwhile.

xoxo