Monday, June 17, 2013

Music Hath the Power to Wake a Crying Beast

We had a special church service yesterday, our end-of-year Flower Communion, when everyone brings a flower and puts them in communal vases and leaves with a different flower, representing the beautiful diversity of shared community.  We took red roses, a yellow day lily, and some purple spiderwort; we left with three peonies and an interesting maroon wildflower.

At one point in the service, the minister instructed us to pull out our pens because we needed to correct some lyrics, changing "bear our troubles" to "bare our troubles," albeit at the request of the composer.  Only in a Unitarian Universalist church!  It reminds me of the Garrison Keillor joke, something about "Bible Study at 7 p.m..  Bring your Bible and your scissors."

The rest of service was a "hymnal romp," with many favorite songs--"Come, Come Whoever You Are," "For the Beauty of the Earth," "Let it be a Dance," "We'll Build a Land," "Spirit of Life," Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire," "For the Earth Forever Turning," and others (impromptu versions of "Forward through the Ages" and "Lo the Earth Awakens Again")--and I cried through them all!  Peri-menopause hit hard yesterday and I went to boo-hooing, crying through church and then again at a school performance (and our kids were NOT performing!), for no reason.  Blah.

But I was fine once the singing was over and enjoyed the church potluck.  We took Seed Savers Heritage Bean Salad and Marmalade Shortbread Bars, which were well-liked.  There was a great fluffy strawberry-rhubarb cobbler, but I didn't get the recipe, and some yummy Saltine "Toffee" with sliced almonds.  It was a nice little picnic on a beautiful day.

But I'm glad we won't be at church for awhile; I'm too overwhelmed by the singing and crying.

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Marmalade Shortbread Bars
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons preserves (any flavor)--orange marmalade was great!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 8-inch-square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang. Whisk the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Work in the butter with your fingers to make a crumbly dough.

Refrigerate 2 tablespoons of the dough for topping. Press the remaining dough into the baking dish; freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

Bake the crust, 15 minutes. Spread the preserves on top, leaving a 1/2-inch border; crumble the reserved dough on top. Return to the oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, 25 more minutes. Let cool 20 minutes, then lift out of the pan and cut into squares.

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Saltine "Toffee"
1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 (11 ounce) packages chocolate chips ( 1 1/2 cups)
40 saltine crackers
1 cup sliced almonds
nonstick cooking spray

Line jelly roll pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray.  Lay crackers out flat on foil.  Melt sugar and butter until foamy (3 minutes).  Pour over crackers and spread to coat.
Bake 10 minutes in 350ºF oven.  Remove from oven.  While hot, sprinkle with chocolate chips, let soften and melt, then spread.  Sprinkle with nuts.  Let cool.  Refrigerate until hardened.  Break into pieces like peanut brittle.

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