Great British Bake Off Fantasy League – Week 5

Hold on to your soggy bottoms because it is “Pastry Week.” Can Linda maintain her winning ways in the technical challenge? Will someone repeat as Star Baker? We are halfway through the competition, so things are getting a little stodgy! Get ready for an update on the Fantasy League and we debate how to pronounce a certain candy bar favorite. Plus, Heather is embracing fall with some “Pumpkin Spice Latte” cookies!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies with a “Pumpkin Spice Latte” variation

1 cup – canned pumpkin

1 cup – white sugar 

½ cup – vegetable oil

1 – egg

2 cups – all-purpose flour 

2 tsp – baking powder

2 tsp – ground cinnamon

½ tsp – salt

1 tsp – baking soda

1 tsp – milk

1 tsp – vanilla extract

2 cups – semisweet chocolate chips

½ cup – chopped walnuts

Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts. For “Pumpkin Spice Latte” variation, fold in 2 tbsp instant coffee before baking. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Great British Bake Off Fantasy League – Week 3

Time for the bakers to “prove” themselves because it is “Bread Week”! Who got a Paul Hollywood handshake this week? Whose bread rose to the occasion? And how did Heather’s Lemon Cheesecake turn out? Find out all of this and more in a jam packed episode! Plus, Heather shares her recipe for her hotly sought after Oatmeal Creme Pies!

Oatmeal Creme Pies


1 Cup – Unsalted Butter (Softened)

2 Cups – Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp. – Molasses

2 – Eggs

2 Tsp. – Vanilla Extract

1 Tsp. – Baking Soda

1 1/4 Tsp. – Salt

2 Tsp. – Cinnamon

1/4 Tsp. – Nutmeg

1/4 Tsp. – Ground Cloves

2 Cups – All Purpose Flour

3 Cups – Quick Oats

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and molasses. Mix in baking soda, salt, and spices until thoroughly combined. Mix in flour until just combined. Mix in oats until just combined. Scoop dough onto greased cookie sheet vary size based on how big you want pies. Cookies will spread significantly. Flatten cookie dough before bake. Bake for 7 minutes. Cookies may appear under-baked. Allow them to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing from cookie sheet. Allow cookies to cool completely.

Cinnamon Buttercream Filling

1 Stick – Unsalted Butter (Softened)

4 Cups – Powdered Sugar

2 to 4 Tbsp. – Milk or cream

2 Tsp. – Vanilla or Bourbon

1/2 Tsp. – Cinnamon

1/2 Tsp. – Salt to taste

Whip butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and 2 tbsp. of milk. Begin whipping and medium high speed. Add additional milk as desired for lighter, fluffier icing.

Sandwich buttercream between two similar sized cookies with 1 to 3 tbsp. of buttercream depending on size of cookies and personal preference. Allow sandwich cookies to rest for 15 to 30 minutes so icing can set before serving.

Great British Bake Off Fantasy League – Week 2

It is “Biscuit Week”! Or is it “Cookie Week”? You know we have things to say about those snap happy British cookies. Maybe we’re too soft in America! There was a MAJOR shocker this week for Star Baker. Plus, Heather shares a lot about her favorite cookies and about the Lemon Cheesecake she’s baking this week!

Lemon Cheesecake


1 1/2 Cups – Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/2 Cup – White Sugar

Zest of two Lemons

1/2 Cup – Butter (Melted)

Combine crumbs, sugar, and zest until thoroughly mixed. Pour melted butter over mixture and stir until butter is evenly distributed. Pressed evenly into bottom of a 9″ or 10″ springform pan.


5 – 8 ounce blocks of softened cream cheese

5 – Eggs

2 – Egg yolks

1 1/12 – White Sugar

1/8 Cup – Flour

1/4 – Cup heavy whipping cream

Zest of three lemons

1 Tbsp. – Lemon Juice

Combine cream cheese and eggs until smooth. Add sugar, flour, and heavy cream until smooth. Add lemon zest and lemon juice and mix until just combined. Pour filling over crust. Place in a COLD oven then turn heat on to 225. Bake for three hours rotating pan after an hour and a half. After three hours, check if cheese cake has risen significantly and is springy but firm. Edges would be lightly golden. Add bake time as needed. Turn off oven and allow cheesecake to cool as oven cools. Remove after one hour, allow to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving.

Great British Bake Off Fantasy League – Week 1

GBBO is back!! This is exactly what 2020 ordered, right? Join us as we recap “Cake Week” with all of it’s ups, downs, and controversies! Who are this year’s bakers? Who made it onto our teams? Who could be on yours? We talk about why we like cake for very different reasons and wonder together if GBBO is headed in a dangerous, American direction with Cake Week. Heather also shares her tips for amazing Pumpkin Spice Donuts!

Pumpkin Spice Baked Donuts

3 eggs 

3/4 cup oil 

2 15oz cans plain pumpkin purée 

2 tsp vanilla extract 

2 cups brown sugar 

1 1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder 

3 tsp cinnamon 

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves 

1/4 tsp ginger 

1/4 tsp allspice 

2 cups white flour 

1 cup whole wheat flour 

Mix wet ingredients with sugar until smooth. Add in baking soda and baking powder, salt and spices, mix until thoroughly combined. Add in flours and stir until just mixed. Bake in donut tins for 15-17 minutes at 350 until tops of donuts are firm and springy to the touch

Great British Bake Off Fantasy League – Episode 1

Welcome to the Great British Bake Off Fantasy League Podcast! In this episode we will tell you all about our love of GBBO and how we got started competing over it. Heather gives some tips for baking Triple Chip Peanut Butter Cookies. Plus, you’re invited to join the league!

Triple Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 Cup – Butter (softened)

1 Cup – Brown Sugar

1 Large Egg

1 Tsp. – Vanilla Extract

3/4 Cup – Crunchy or Creamy Peanut Butter

2 Tbsp. – Additional Crunchy or Creamy Peanut Butter

1 1/3 Cup – Flour

1/2 Tsp. – Baking Soda

1/2 Tsp. – Salt

1 Cup – Chocolate Chips of your choice (Milk, Semisweet, Dark, etc.)

Instructions: Cream together the butter, sugar, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Then add salt and baking soda. Finally, add flour and chocolate chips. Stir until just mixed. Scoop onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes.

Are you going to eat that?

Beginning in my teen years I’ve had a love/hate relationship with food. This is the time of life when most women (and plenty of men) start becoming self-conscious about weight and physical appearance. I was no exception, and began interacting with food as alternately a tool and a weapon. I’m not naturally slender and tend to gain weight easily, so the way I felt about myself was heavily tied to the way I was eating. I would overeat as a tool to self-soothe or eat very strictly in an effort to lose weight. Then food would quickly become a weapon wielded against me as a capricious master, one that I could never fully control. Either I would be “good” during a period of discipline and self-control, or I would eventually start being “bad” and eat more than I ought. My litmus test on the good/bad scale was always my weight. My worry was not about living in freedom as a steward of God’s good creation, but about being thin and “good” in the eyes of our culture.

The Last Supper

It wasn’t until graduate school where I had to attend an Overeaters Anonymous meeting for an addictions counseling class that I recognized that in many ways I was a slave to food. As I listened to the group members share about their thoughts and impulses, I saw myself in a mirror. Food was controlling my life by defining the way I viewed myself. I was consumed by trying to not overeat and then by guilt if I ate too much. As I thought about the 12 Steps, I knew that I had to apply the first two to myself:

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

This was a turning point in my life. I stopped seeing my relationship with food as being defined by weight, and saw it defined by sin. My inability to treat food as a good gift from God had caused me to abuse it and use it to meet my own needs and desires in selfish and unhealthy ways. This wasn’t about being thin, this was about being holy.

Here’s a fun exercise, try word searching “feast” in a Bible website like You’ll quickly see that all of humanity has this love/hate relationship with indulgence, and that God cares very much about it. Sin and idolatry come when we take something good that God has made for our flourishing, and try to exert our own control and lordship over it. We treat it as our own rather than a good gift to enjoy.

God gets frustrated with the idol of self-indulgence (or restriction and subsequent abuse of our bodies) because we are abusing what is His, and in so doing we pursue our own destruction. (Jer. 16:8, Hos 2:11) The Lord loves good food and feasting as a source of rejoicing and community.

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
    you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light.

Psalm 36:7-9

After all, Jesus told us to remember His death and sacrifice through a meal (Luke 22:14-23). Food itself is always very good, it’s only our twisted idolatry that leads us to use it in unhealthy ways.

So what would it look like to be free in the ways we relate to food? To be free from the self-righteousness of false control, and free from fear and shame? In my journey it started with Step 2. I admitted to Christ in prayer that I was powerless to control this abuse in my heart (if your struggle isn’t food, insert your habitual sin(s) that you can never fully control). I had to ask God to do what I could not do for myself: to rewire me to desire food in a better way. I didn’t need behavior modification, I needed a heart change.

Here’s the funny thing about admitting helplessness to God and asking for help…He actually helps us. Over time the Lord created changes in my impulses and thoughts, and the way I reacted to temptations in my environment. He routed out the sinful desires of my heart that were making me a slave, and replaced them with the freedom of humility. No longer do I fear food but am free to enjoy the fruits of God’s earth with gratitude and appreciation.

OCBP Feast

A celebration of joyful community at the CCO’s Ocean City Beach Project last summer

I still pray regularly for the Lord to help keep me from sin in my eating habits, it’s an ongoing process. But always I am motivated by the beautiful hope that Jesus teaches me how to feast with joy rather than shame. As the honored guest at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Matt. 22:1-14, Rev. 21), He invites me into a celebration of full hearts and rich communion.

On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare
    a feast of rich food for all peoples,
a banquet of aged wine—
    the best of meats and the finest of wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
    the shroud that enfolds all peoples,
the sheet that covers all nations;
    he will swallow up death forever.
The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears
    from all faces;
he will remove his people’s disgrace
    from all the earth.
The Lord has spoken.

Moon Festival

Celebrating Moon Festival with IUP Taiwanese students, a feast that brought our nations together