Thursday, April 14, 2011

Syrup Tea Cakes

If you're from the south, you've probably been to a cane grinding a time or two.  I just love the history and sense of family that comes from being a part of these events.  And if you've went to one, you've probably not come home empty handed.  More than likely, you either purchased or were given a bottle of fresh cane syrup.  Cane syrup is delicious on hoecakes, biscuits, pancakes, and waffles.  But it is also delicious when made into a soft, sweet cookie.  This recipe was passed down from a friend of my parents and is a favorite among our family.  My dad bakes these "tea cakes", as we call them, and takes them to shut-ins in our church.  And since this recipe makes more than enough for you to share and eat yourself, my children are never left out in the distribution of these amazing cookies.  So if you're in the mood for some cane syrup, pull that bottle out and get to work.  You will not be disappointed!

1 1/2 c. cooking oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. cane syrup
2 eggs
1/4 c. boiling water
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. mace
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
self rising flour  (don't ask how much... I don't measure)

Mix all ingredients (except flour) very well.  Using your hands, work in flour.  Roll about the size of small biscuits and place on cookie sheet.  Flatten.  (The softer the dough you can work with, the softer the cakes.  Grease your hands to roll.)  Bake at 450 degrees until brown around the edges.  (Don't ask how long... it's different for each batch.  Just turn your oven light on and peek in every now and then.)  Enjoy! 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


One animal no one should desire to be called is a "sloth".  While strolling through the zoo yesterday, I pointed out the sloth to my daughter and reminded her of why she should never desire the title of "sloth" or wish that title upon anyone else.  Sloths are slow moving mammals that hang upside down on their hooklike claws and feed on leaves, plants, and fruits.  A sloth has long, shaggy fur that harbors its very own ecosystem.  According to, one study found more than 950 beetles on a single sloth, living off the algae growing in its fur.  Are you disgusted yet?  
As vile we as humans may believe this animal to be, our God has been merciful to the sloth by giving him this fur.  The fur on a sloth grows away from his extremities to provide protection from the natural elements he is exposed to.  This fur also houses alge which acts as a camoflauge to protect him from predators.  Doesn't that thrill your soul?
Our Lord is so gracious to provide for each of His creatures on an individual level.  Though this sloth is lazy, eats things that are tough on his digestive system, and does things a bit backwards (hanging upside down), God still takes care of him.  He still provides for his every need.  And if our Lord will look after the sloth, how much more will he provide for you and I? 
In no way am I endorsing sloth like behavior.  Nor am I encouraging you to be lazy and just expect God to lay everything out for you.  But what I want you to see is what He showed me yesterday; that He loves the sloth, He loves you, and He loves me on an individual level.  He will provide His grace to meet us where we are.  Yes, he did provide the sloth protection from the elements.  But it did not come without a price!  Think of the heavy load this animal must carry around in his fur.  God's grace is sufficient, and He may very well shelter you from harsh elements.  But that grace was not free!  God had to sacrifice His only Son to give us the freedom we can have through Him. 
The Bible does have some examples to remind us about not having sloth like behavior.  We should take these verses and heed their warning.  However, next time you have the chance to see a sloth up close, remember where you were before grace was showered upon you and be mindful of how you must show that same grace to others.

The lazy man does not roast his game, but the diligent man prizes his possessions.  Proverbs 12:27 NIV  

The slothful hideth his hand in [his] bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.  Proverbs 26:15 KJV

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.  Romans 12: 10-13 KJV