3/4 c. softened unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. grated zucchini
2 1/2 c. unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped walnuts
Mix all ingredients together. Bake at 350 degrees on a greased cookie sheet until golden brown – approximately 12 minutes.
This recipe takes me back to the summer of 1985 and a day I spent with my Aunt Louise, whom we affectionately called ” Weezie”. She had an abundance of zucchini in her garden that year and together we came up with this recipe. Trial and error, lots of taste testing. A very sweet memory. I hope your days spent baking are filled with laughter and the creation of fond memories for years to come.
I know all of us have, at one point in our lives, sat in the shade of a large tree. The canopy of branches granting us reprieve from the heat of the sun on a warm summer day. You can picture it, can’t you? But have you ever wondered , who planted this tree?
Well, A few weeks ago I took a walk around Centennial park here in Nashville and the trees are gorgeous. They are huge and the size of the trunks indicate they have been here for a long time. As we were reading the tourist signs that dot the walking path, we learned that many of the trees were planted over 100 years ago while the city prepared to host the Centennial Exposition of 1897. WOW, to think the efforts made so long ago were personally blessing me today. The shade these trees offer is incredible and it sets the back drop for all the beautiful gardens that are able to grow in the park today.
I want to share a quote with you that I saw yesterday while skimming an article in the Wall Street Journal and it made me think of those big trees, about leadership, about legacy. It is a quote by Warren Buffet and it says this…
“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago!”
Those words have deep meaning. It is the investment we are making now that will have long lasting affects on those we might never even know in the future. It made me think about my family, specifically my kids. What am I doing now that could have a positive impact on them, on their future families? My grandchildren or great – grandchildren – We all will leave a legacy, it is up to us what that will be.
I also think about this in my role as a leader. What am I doing today that could help others in our organization thrive in the future. How is my relationship with God? The relationship that guides all others, am I investing well in it so that my faith is shared and others find their faith in God strengthened too? These are eternal matters, the type of investment that will still be giving shade long after I am gone.
I want to encourage you today to keep investing in yourself, your relationship with the Lord and in your relationships with family, friends and your work. That kind of positive investment will sure to yield benefits for years to come. Your tree that is planted today will most definitely be the shade someone else is thankful for in the future. Invest well!
FOR THE PRETZEL CRUST
2 c. crushed pretzels
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
3/4 c. (1 1/2 stick) melted butter
1/4 c. granulated sugar
FOR THE CHEESECAKE LAYER
1 (8-oz.) block cream cheese, softened
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 C. heavy whipping cream
FOR THE STRAWBERRY TOPPING
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. water
1 3 oz package of strawberry gelatin
1 pt. fresh strawberries, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, stir together pretzels, chopped walnuts, butter and sugar until combined. Transfer to a 10” tart pan or a shallow pie pan and press firmly into pan. Bake 8 minutes and let cool completely.
- Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add heavy whipping cream and beat until medium peaks form.
- Spread over cooled pretzel crust.
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water and cornstarch and bring to a boil. Boil 2 – 3 minutes, whisking constantly until thickened. Add strawberry gelatin and whisk until combined. Let cool 5 minutes.
- Arrange strawberries in a single layer all over the cream cheese layer, then pour gelatin mixture over the top of the berries. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
** This recipe reminds me of summers spent in Minnesota with my Grandma Swenson and the pot luck dinners we had at Aunt Ida’s farm. **
8 ounces Angel Hair Pasta
1 pound medium shrimp, cut into bite size pieces
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
6 Tablespoons Butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon Lemon Pepper Seasoning
3/4 cup Fresh Parmesan Cheese
2 Tablespoons Italian Parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
In a large pot cook the pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Using the same pan, heat olive oil and 2 Tablespoons of butter. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant.
Add the shrimp and salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the shrimp start to turn pink. Add the Italian Seasoning and Lemon Pepper. Add the pasta back to the pot with the remaining butter, parmesan, and parsley. Stir until mixed and the butter is melted.
Add the lemon juice right before serving.
I have a story to share with you.. I love a good cup of tea. I was back in Colorado last week working at MOPS Headquarters – we had a lot going on and I was super busy. So after a long day, I still had some things to work on and I went to make a cup of tea. I was distracted reading emails and thinking of what I was needing to have ready for the next morning. I wasn’t really paying attention to the details.
Side note, My son also is a tea lover, so he had made a cup right before me and used the water in the kettle – but again, I wasn’t fully paying attention. I put the loose leaf tea into the infuser, chose my favorite cup and turned the electric tea kettle on. I went on to do a few other things and came back to pour hot water into my mug, but guess what? I didn’t realize there wasn’t any water in the kettle when I turned it on – so no tea for me. I had to fill the kettle once again with water and start the process over.
So why am I sharing this with you? – because I felt like it was such a good reminder to me to fill the kettle before I can pour a cup of tea. Common sense right? But how often as leaders do we get distracted, do we just keep doing and put our heads down and we don’t even realize that we are depleted, our water is gone and given to fill someone else’s cup.How often do we not remember to fill up before turning the switch on and expecting for everything to be in full operation even though we are operating on empty.
Obviously this is a metaphor for self care for filling ourselves so that we can pour into others. But it really is essential to good leadership, I would even say it makes the difference between good leadership and excellent leadership. A reminder that our overflow can only happen when we are filled. For me this time is filled with the time I spend with God. Reading scripture and praying. The time I invest in learning – For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
I know I am not alone in this, I also know it takes intentionality to pour into ourselves. So why not start today – take that time to fill up. Spend some time alone in prayer. Choose a new book to read or listen to a great podcast. Then once you are filled, be ready to share that abundance.