(Not so) Easy Bake Oven

When I was about 7 years old, I told Santa i wanted an Easy Bake Oven for Christmas.  When my 7 year old self woke up on Christmas that year, she found that Santa had left her a brand new microwave oven.  The Santa in my neck of the woods was a practical thinker.  My parents quickly came to Santa’s defense.  “Oh, Amber, just imagine.  Your own microwave.  You could heat up your own food and keep it for down the road when you’re older.”  That microwave went straight to the attic where it waited until the parents decided it was time to sell the never opened / never used appliance.  And little 7 year old Amber never got to experience the wonders of the famous Easy Bake Oven.

Fast forward a few years to my 20th Christmas.  As you get older the presents tend to get less extravagant: clothes, toothbrush, candy – all the essentials.  That year there was something interesting with my name on it.  This item was large and wrapped in festive paper, thus signaling that the gift was from mama and daddy.  I opened it up and what did I find?  A brand new Easy Bake Oven, a deep shade of purple, revamped for a new generation of children.  Apparently, that unrealized childhood wish took a toll on my mama’s conscience over the years.  She finally was making sure I knew what it felt like lay hands on an Easy Bake Oven.  Somewhat of an impractical gift since for a college girl the microwave would have been far more useful.  But this story is more interesting, so I’ll keep going…

That Easy Bake Oven held a place of honor in our hallway for about a year and a half, where it remained unopened waiting for the perfect opportunity to bake some scrumptious cookies or cakes one day.  Just this weekend, my mama and I decided to take the packing off of it and see what this baby could do!  Let me just say, from the moment we started reading the directions, we were underwhelmed.

  1. Allow 20 minutes for oven to heat.  —  Twenty minutes?!   Does it really take a high-powered lightbulb that long to get warm?
  2. Mix contents of packet with 1 teaspoon of water.  We had to read that several times to ensure the ‘1 teaspoon’ was not a typo.  However, once we examined the contents of the cookie dough mix packet, it was clear that only 1 teaspoon would be needed to wet the entire mixture.  I was truly afraid if the air conditioning came on while I was opening the packet, it very well could blow my entire cookie mix away.
  3. Portion size:  12 cookies.  Hmmm… Methinks maybe not.  Oh wait, sorry.  Misread. 12 cookie *bites*  Ever seen the cereal called cookie crisps?  That’s about the size of a ‘cookie bite’.
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Just a spoonful of dough….

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There goes 12 cookies

After we finally got the dough made and distributed it into 12 little portions on the pan, we let it bake in the oven for 9 minutes.  You want to know something I learned about that Easy Bake Oven system.  It’s really a test of your faith.  When you put that little pan of your 12 cookie bites in the oven, you have to let it sit there untouched for the full 9 minutes plus 5 minutes of cool time before you can even see any evidence that the oven actually cooked the food.  There’s no view finder or peek hole or anything.  Just faith, trust, and pixie dust.

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The results

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Teeny tiny cookie crisps

It all worked out well and good for us.  The cookies came out looking a little flat, but the taste was right on point.  Still, I think a lot of work for so little reward.  Don’t worry.  We had 24 full-size chocolate chip cookies on backup that we cooked in our full-size gas range oven.  Note:  This is the only way to use an Easy Bake Oven.  As means of creating a preamble to your main dessert course.

 

 

 

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Life is Always Interesting

Life is always interesting, especially for those of us who make sure to keep it that way.  Apparently I have one of those faces that people are instantly attracted to… Maybe it’s the innocence in my heart or my welcoming countenance or even the eagerness in my eyes – but whatever it is, quite often I find myself making friends and finding admirers in the unlikeliest of places.  In fact, last weekend was filled with such experiences.  (If you’d like to know more of the specifics, you can fill out a contact form here. I’ll do my best to answer any of your questions.)

A little personal insight into my life:  Not long ago, I was involved in a serious relationship that everyone (including me) thought was leading to marriage.  As it turns out, our two souls were not being knit together in quite the way I had imagined, and the relationship, as we had known it, ended.    The thought of losing a friend distressed me more than knowing I had lost a lover.  Of course, there was a healing process involved.  Most people will experience these feelings of love and loss, and it’s not an unfortunate happening at all.  We can actually learn a lot from these events.  However, I have come to find that having hope and a close friend and the prospect of new love certainly helps us view the situation in a more positive light.

Budding relationships certainly give us hope in many cases.  As it turns out, it doesn’t take much for me to feel like I’m falling in love with someone.  If you combine genuine compliments with good conversation and laughing and then throw in some elegant dancing, chances are I will fall pretty hard for you.  Of course, it’s not altogether unreasonable for me to feel twitterpated by these actions since my primary love languages are words of affirmation and quality time.  Still, feeling everything so deeply can lead to hurt feelings when reality isn’t quite as you imagined it.

A friend recently remind me of the old adage, “The heart wants what the heart wants.”  I find this statement to be true in romance and many other regards as well.  If we can accept that some things are just the way they are, then why does it hurt so much to want something or someone that you cannot have – that society deems unacceptable?

Scripture says, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young; instead, be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).  Of course, we could just as easily substitute the word “young” with other labels… Do not let anyone look down on you because you are old, male, female, black, white, gay, straight, rich, poor…  Why must such labels hold us back?  Why are there barriers?  Why can’t we love whom we wish without fear of rejection?  I can’t solve all the world’s problems but I can make a difference one life at a time.   We’re all different – all unique individuals with special gifts.  Imagine how that line of thinking would change our daily interactions: viewing every life as a precious thing and cherishing the moments we have with all kinds of people.  I’m going to try to live like that.

Sitting in a Coffee Shop

You know what’s interesting?  Everyone in a coffee shop manages to stay in their own little world.  I don’t know how they do it.  I so badly want to find out what these other people are doing.  Is this man in front of me a novelist coming up with a fresh twist in his plot line?  Is this girl beside me a college student working on a paper that’s due tomorrow?  Is this couple nearby discussing a project at work?  Are they meeting for a casual post-work date?  Are they in an interview right now?  Who is this person sitting behind me, whom I have barely visually acknowledged but who fills my senses with his presence and the sound of crunching chips?  Is that woman in the corner who is deeply entranced in her book a former drama or music teacher, or maybe even a retired actress?

And then our eyes meet briefly… for an instant the walls between us come down.  And then just as quickly those walls rise up again…

Alas, I am not cut out for the coffee shop mentality.  I have too many questions – too much curiosity to sit quietly as these lives pass me by.  And yet it becomes so easy to drown out the rest of the world, here in this coffee shop, and pour out my most intimate thoughts and feelings.  Perhaps this phenomenon can henceforth be referred to as the Coffee Shop Effect.

Now I am reminded of a song:  Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg.  Take a listen if you’ve never heard this song.

A New Series: Where in the world is that?

Because I feel the urge to add more scenic pictures to this blog, I am going to be posting a series of pictures from places I have been.  Feel free to comment with your guess about where the picture was taken.

We’ll start with this lovely historical town.  I was able to visit this locale over the holiday season.

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Can you name this city?

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How about this building?