Be Inspired...Do Inspired!

We're one month into the new year and will you be turning into a “resolution regrets” pumpkin tonight when the clock strikes midnight and January 31 comes to a close?

Here’s how I choose to stay out of that particular pumpkin patch.  

I don’t do resolutions.  I do themes(another story for another day).

My theme for this year is “Inspir-action”!  Don’t just be inspired, but do inspired.  

This past New Year’s I was re-inspired to get back to making inspiration count.  And I like to make up words - so I’m calling it “Inspir-action”.  You get it - doing not being!

How many quotes have you pondered and been inspired..but the inspiration ends as soon as your pondering ends?

How many messages, sermons, teacher’s lectures,etc. have you listened to and been inspired... but the inspiration stops as soon as you get beyond ear’s reach?

How many homeless peeps have you seen on a street corner, been inspired to make a difference….but the inspiration stops as soon as your car goes around the corner?

How many stories have you read - stories about hunger, clothing needs, shelter needs and been inspired to make a difference...but the inspiration ends when the story is forgotten?

How many  inspiring recipes have you clipped out of magazines, downloaded, gathered, even purchased ingredients for and never cooked?

I could go on...but we’ve all been in and out of  the “I’m so inspired, but do nothing” walk of life.

I’m committed to putting action to something inspiring every week.  

The first week  this year my husband and I (along with our grands) put together blankets and cans of hearty soups for the local community center.  Inspiration came from the verse James 2:15-16: If we see someone in need of food or clothing and we say to them, “Go in peace, be warm and well fed” but we don’t do anything to help, what good is that?  Nothing on a grand scale, but if I wait until I can do something on a grand scale… something becomes nothing!

Two weeks into the year I was impressed  by my friend Kellie’s beautifully decorated cookies.

Going beyond being inspired, I asked Kellie to share her secrets with me. Not only did she share her recipe and techniques - she helped me decorate them.  My niece’s wedding reception was their debut. Oh so beautiful but a bit on the crunchy side (see **my learnings in the recipe)!

I know, like the cookies, my every  “Inspir-action” won’t turn out perfectly, but I’m giddy with all the new learnings ahead of me and hopefully some that will be not only life changing for me, but for others as well.

May you be inspired to do inspired!

from my table to yours,

helen

Scrumptious Orange Sugar Cookies          (yield 3 doz. 3” cookies)

Delicious, delicious, delicious is all I can say!  Shared from my friend Kellie - I don’t know the origin of it, but she added the cream of tartar, and I removed vanilla extract and replaced with orange...so feel free to make it your own and make some changes!

4 cups all purpose flour

1 ¾ cup cane sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cream of tartar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

¼ cup agave nectar

1 tsp. vanilla paste

1 tsp. orange extract

2 large eggs

In large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cream of tartar.  Mix wet ingredients together and add to dry ingredients.  Mix on low for about a minute.  Stop mixer and scrape down sides.  Resume mixing on low to medium  until all combined and dough pulls away from sides.  Shape mixture into a large mound.  Divide into 4 equal section. Shape each section into a flat rectangle about an inch thick.  Place separately into ziptop bags and refrigerate for one hour(can be frozen at this point for up to one month).

Remove dough from refrigerator and let soften (one section at a time). Place between parchment sheet and roll out to ¼ “ thick.  Cut out and place on parchment lined baking sheets and return to refrigerator for 20 min to chill.  Bake in preheated oven 350* until edges are slightly brown 8-10 min.  Let cool completely before decorating.  (They can be frozen in ziptop bags after cooling and decorated at a later date.  When ready to decorate, remove from freezer and let come to room temperature then decorate with royal icing).

 

Royal Icing w/Orange   (enough for 3 doz. 3 inch cookies)

2 pounds confectioner’s sugar

4 Tbls. meringue powder

pinch of salt

¾ cup water

1 tsp. orange extract

In mixing bowl combine dry ingredients.  Add water slowly (you might not use all of it) to desired consistency.  Add orange extract and mix on low til well combined.  If adding liquid color, adjust water accordingly.  Spoon into pastry bags and decorate!  I like to pipe edge with thin line, let it harden, then go back and fill in with additional icing smoothing it with a small stick or spoon.  Let icing harden then place in airtight containers for storage.  Can keep for one week.  

 

**my learnings!  

I made 120 for a wedding reception - doing the icing a week early.  I stored them in flat pizza boxes for easy transporting….learning:  they looked beautiful but were crunchier than I had hoped!  If you need to do them ahead of time, after decorating and the icing is set, store in airtight container.  I should have placed one layer in ziptop then placed them in the pizza box for storage!  Should they go crunchy on you, you can place them in an airtight container and add one slice of bread.  The moisture will leave the bread and go into your cookie!