"hands are the makers"

Sweet Tea Recipe

Today I want to share a little recipe of my absolute favourite summer time (heck, anytime!) cold drink.  Since I live in Canada, I used to have to save up my taste buds for this goodness for trips to the states.  Usually the southern states.  Which just wasn't often enough!  Finally, I thought to myself one day, "What the heck Reva, why don't you just make it?" Duh.  So I did.  And now I'm going to share it with you.  Because the only thing that's better than having a glass of this is stuff, is having a glass with friends.  Enjoy!
6 black tea bags (I used Tetley, because that's what I had)
1/8-1/4 tsp baking soda (cuts the bitterness, secret ingredient!)
1-2 cups sugar (depends on your sweetness like-ability, I just use 1 cup)
2 cups boiling water
6 cups cold water

(directions below photos)

If you are in the States, and don't want to make your own sweet tea, Gold Peak is one of my favourites.  This guy has been in the fridge for months now, waiting for that special occasion.

Boil a kettle of water.  Add baking soda and tea bags to a heat safe measuring cup.  Add 2 cups boiling water and stir to dissolve baking soda.  Set the timer for 15 minutes, and let that goodness brew.
After 15 mins, gently remove tea bags, making sure you don't squeeze/wring them out.  Add desired amount of sugar (I used 1 cup) and stir to dissolve.
Pour 6 cups of cold water into your juice jug, and add tea mixture, stirring to incorporate well.
Refrigerate until cold.
Serve with ice and a straw for ultimate refreshment.  Drink up the sweet goodness and share with friends!

Words on the Wall : Prologue

A while back, my husband was feeling a little bit discouraged about the reactions he was getting from people (even close friends, which was more discouraging) with regards to him sharing his faith in Jesus.  Since March, we've had a revival in our home, in our faith, and Josh decided that he needed to actively pursue sharing the gospel and helping others recognize the blessing and salvation that can come through Christ.  Because he was feeling so beaten down, I snuck into my studio one night, and painted some encouraging scripture on the biggest piece of paper I had, and stuck it up on the wall next to his side of the bed.  The next night, during our evening reading, we happened to read his new favourite verse, so I snuck off again, painted that one, and stuck it upon the wall again.  Currently these are just haphazardly taped up in our bedroom, torn spiral bound edges and all.  Even though I loved how bright and colourful they were (yay acrylic inks!), and the fact that I find myself staring at them often (because I'm so stoked on a particular letter shape or curve *nerd alert*), they just weren't really doing it for me aesthetically.  So I talked to Josh and my sister a bit (thanks Skype!) about the idea of painting a big chalkboard on the wall instead.  That way the verses can change easily, and we can leave them up to study for a week, and then move on to something new.  We can also use the board to leave messages, take notes or jot down ideas, and save paper.

Originally I was just going to paint right on the wall, but I swayed away from that idea after thinking about how much primer would eventually be needed to cover it.  So I settled on buying a large hunk of mahogany under-floor something or other, and hanging a thin piece of wood instead.  Josh and I have been collecting some nice pieces of drift wood down at the beach recently for different projects, and we have the perfect pieces to cut in half (that was an adventure to cut) and use those pieces as a frame for the board.  I settled on using store bought chalkboard paint, instead of making my own with paint and grout, since I was only using a small amount.  Don't forget to treat your board with a coating of chalking after your paint dries.  I'm so looking forward to practicing my lettering, encouraging my husband, reading the Bible, and dwelling on God's word through this project.  I'm looking forward to it so much that I've decided to share it with you too!  Each Sunday, I invite you to read the verse along with Josh and I, with each chapter of Words on the Wall.

Flourless Dark Chocolate Cookie

(makes 2 dozen or so)

Today I want to share with you my absolutely favourite oozy gooey brownie-esque flourless dark chocolate cookies.  I love them, and so did all of our friends who got these treats in their Christmas goodie bags this past year.  

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (melted) + ½ cup not melted
3 large egg whites (room temperature)
2 cups icing sugar (sifted) + 2TBSP kept separate for rolling
½ cup cocoa powder
1 TBSP cornstarch
¼ tsp fine salt

Preheat over to 350*F.  Spray 2 baking sheet with non-stick spray (or line with parchment…sometimes spray is filled with all sorts of weird things you wouldn't want to eat).  In a glass bowl in the microwave (about 2 mins) or on a double boiler, melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips, stirring until melted.  Cool slightly, enough to be able to handle.

Using a mixer (hand or stand), beat egg whites to soft peaks.  Gradually beat in 1 cup icing sugar. (I was bad and didn't sift it…the cookies still tasted great!)  Continue beating until it resembles marshmallow creme. 

Whisk 1 cup of icing sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a separate bowl.  On low, beat dry ingredients into the meringue mixture.

Mix lukewarm melted chocolate and ½ cup chocolate chips into mixture.  Dough will be quite thick.

Roll 1 TBSP dough into balls with your hand (will be sticky!) and roll in the extra couple TBSPs of icing sugar, to coat.  Space 2 inches apart on baking sheet.  

Bake 15 mins until puffed and tops have cracked.  Cool cookies on sheets, on baking racks for 10 minutes (or until completely cooled, if you are forgetful like me).

Eat and enjoy tremendously.  Share with your friends if you want, or hide them away for yourself.
Sorry for the iPhone pictures...but camera battery decided that it didn't want to put out any more energy this week, and, instead, take a nap on the charger for the evening.