Friday, July 23, 2010

FHE: Cookies and the Scriptures

In our church, Monday nights are set aside for what is called "Family Home Evening". The church holds no events or meetings on Monday nights, and encourages members to stay home and teach, play, and generally spend time with their family. Since M works late most evenings, and ALWAYS late on Mondays, we move our Family night to accommodate his schedule. For the past few weeks Fridays have been his earlier shifts, so they've worked well for us.

This week, the assignment fell on me to prepare the lesson. Since M doesn't cook, and i am determined to teach him AND our boys to cook at least a few basic things, I decided that once a month, on one of my lesson weeks, i would prepare a "cooking lesson". For our first one, since M wouldn't be home in time for us to make dinner together, we made dessert - double chocolate chip cookies! This recipe is the best I've ever tasted, and is solely responsible for my massive, pre-SparkPeople weight gain. But I'm pregnant now, and M and the boys are more than willing to devour as many as possible for the sake of their mother's hips.

The boys had a great time, and laughed hysterically when it came their turn to hold the mixer.

They enjoyed licking the beaters afterwards....

... while dad stirred in the chocolate chips (i was determined to do as little as possible, as it was supposed to be THEIR learning experience).

umm.... yeah... M isn't wearing his teeth. Can you tell?? Hahaha!
Then i gave them each a spoon and a tray so they could form the cookies...
M made his really big...

E made his too small, and mom had to keep adding dough to them...

(those crumbs right below his fingers? yeah, that's how big his cookies were)
R used his spoon to eat the dough rather than drop cookies on the sheet, so mom took it away and he contented himself with stirring the big bowl...

While the cookies baked, we had our lesson. I'm going to summarize it here, because it was put together "on the fly", as it were, and i was surprised and impressed with how much baking cookies can be parallelled with living the Gospel.

(just for emphasis, I'll say again, I had NO IDEA where I was going to go with the lesson, as i hadn't planned one beyond baking cookies. So the fact that it went together so well was pretty fun!)

I explained to the boys about the recipe we used to make the cookies. We talked about how a recipe is a list of ingredients and instructions for making something good. I showed them all my other recipes that i use for cooking different foods. I even told them a story that immediately came to my mind; when i was about 9 or 10, i wanted to make a pizza and was determined to do it on my own. I made a dough of flour, water, and salt, and despite my mother's warnings that i needed yeast and other things if i wanted it to turn into pizza dough, i insisted i knew what i was doing and went ahead, topping it with tomato sauce and cheese. Well, you can imagine the pizza tasted horrible! I didn't follow a recipe, and even though it looked, smelled, and felt like dough before it went in the oven, once it came out of the heat it became all too obvious that it had not been properly prepared.

Then I asked the boys, "Did you know that there is a recipe that tells us how to make a happy life?" And we explained to them about the scriptures, and about how living the principles of the Gospel has helped us so many times in our own lives, and helped us to be happy and find peace. M, in brilliant inspiration was able to find us a scripture to read:

"Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do." 2 Nephi 32:3

(I love that it even had "feast" in there... heehee)

During the entire process, E kept asking us, "Are they cookies now? Can we eat them?"
And so, when the cookies came out of the oven, I showed him a tray of unbaked cookies....

And then the tray of baked cookies...

And i explained how the cookies were not actually cookies until they had been baked, and now that they were baked we could eat them. 

M, still in "scriptorian mode", and rifling through his scriptures, mentioned the verse about "the refiner's fire", and a light went on in my head! If we use my experience with the pizza dough, and our cookies as examples, it shows that a food may be prepared any way, but whether or not you have followed the recipe correctly does not become apparent until it "goes through the fire" (literally for us, because ours is a gas oven. haha!), or is baked. Similarly, we must all be tested and tried, and whether we have followed the "recipe" the Lord has laid out for us becomes apparent only after we have come through our trials. As M put it, with regards to my pizza dough, "those who don't follow, or don't know, the commandments don't know where they're going wrong until... it's time!" 

I then told the boys that we wanted to "follow the recipe" and be delicious cookies. E didn't much like the idea of being a cookie, but he's too young to get metaphor anyway.

I love the Gospel, I love my boys, and i love my husband! We work so well together!

For fun, here's a couple more pictures:

I was taking R's picture (he likes to do the weird squinky eye thing...), and E's expression is his "take my picture too, mom!" face. 
(Side note - the boys each had three cookies - right before bedtime!! I wonder if they'll ever fall asleep....)
Aaaaand.... My cookie recipe!!!

1 c. Margarine or butter (somehow, i find Becel makes the best cookies!)
1 1/2 c. Granulated Sugar
2 lg. Eggs
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 c. Flour
2/3 c. Cocoa Powder
3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 c. (or one bag) Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Cream together margarine and sugar.
Add eggs and vanilla, mix until light and fluffy.
Add dry ingredients and mix well.
Stir in Chocolate Chips.
Drop on UNGREASED cookie sheet in 1 1/2 to 2 inch balls.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Makes 5-6 dozen cookies (depending on how big you make them).

Now, i'm going to go help myself to another one right now, while the chocolate chips are still melty...

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