it has a name for a reason. let’s keep it that way, m’kay?

Below is a rant I cannot keep to myself anymore.
If you’d prefer to skip straight to the cookie recipe, please feel free to do so.

Now Precious Readers, I really hope after this post we remain friends. However, I do have an extremely serious pet peeve that must be shared.

There’s a reason it’s called “Christmas” and not “the Holiday Season.”

I know, I know. There are those who celebrate Chanukah, and Kwanza. Which is fine, I have no problems wishing someone a Happy Chanukah or Happy Kwanza. It’s those who celebrate nothing and have to make a big fuss about it that bother me.

In my place of work during my Daily Life, there are very few people who are Christians. Again, which is fine. I’m not going to shove “You should believe in Christianity” down someone’s throat. I, myself, did not become a Christian until I was 16 years old.

The problem I have is with people who are extreme to point out there is nothing. You know what? I say, let those who believe in a higher power, do so in peace. I don’t go around shoving Christianity down your throats, so please don’t Bi

If I’m wrong, or other religions, faiths, spiritualities are incorrect and there is absolutely no afterlife, reincarnation, or dispersion through the universe, then… What?  Nothing will happen when we die?

So what’s the big deal?

If we’re wrong, we’re wrong. There won’t be anything to change it and we’re all dust in the ground. Don’t go shoving your non-belief down my throat.  Honestly, what’s the harm? If it makes people act morally and humanely towards others and our environment, how is tis a bad thing? Yes, there are people who choose to use their faith as a method of hate-

which I 100% disagree with

-but 95% of believers in something tend to be more along the lines of peace towards her/his fellow man. Real Christianity specifically is of the belief that God is a God of LOVE and loves everyone, and we should treat others with love, no matter their background, sexual preference, previous sins, etc.

Now, I am definitely not saying I’m perfect.

Far from it, as you may have read in earlier posts.

I am the last person who would say I was a good person, a moral person or least of all a perfect person. However, I make choices every moment of every day to try and do my best to help others.

However, one thing I will not stand, are those who shove the idea that there is no afterlife, reincarnation, dispersion into the universe, or whatever, only to then turn around and tell me about their “Christmas” plans. Non-believers of anything should not be celebrating “Christmas.” This pet peeve irritates me to no bounds.

They should be celebrating: Winter. Or Winter Vacation. Or Snowfall. Or that crappy holiday, Seinfeld talks about: Festivus.

Christmas is a holiday specifically focused on the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

This is so important, I will repeat myself:

Christmas is a holiday specifically focused on the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

No, according to the Jewish calendar, Dec. 25th is not His actual birthday, but it is the day our country recognizes as His birthday.

I wish I did not have listen to others who do not believe in Christianity use the term so casually to define their Winter Vacation plans. There is a reason it’s called CHRISTmas, and not ATHIEST-mas. Now, Jewish, Agnostics, Buddhists, etc., at least you believe in something to celebrate during the winter season, so please go and celebrate the Winter Solstice, Chanukah, Kwanza, etc. in peace. At least you are recognizing something and calling it by its seasonal name appropriately.

For those who do not believe in anything, please leave me to celebrate CHRISTmas on my own in peace, while you celebrate your Winter Vacation.

Katie’s “Christmas Rant” – out.

To perk up this blog a wee bit, since it’s a rough way to end the Christmas Season, I am sharing a Cranberry Pecan Biscotti recipe with you. Alas, it is not my own personal recipe, I found it through a co-worker. However, since Pilot and I are wickedly poor, I tend to make Christmas Cookies each year for my family. This year I tried biscotti and they were a huge hit. I have some tips below, along with a fun article that was written about biscotti.


Pecan Cranberry Biscotti

Makes approximately 24 logs, or rounds


½ C. pecan halves, toasted (other nuts can be substituted)

1 tsp. baking powder

2 ½ C. flour

1 ¼ C. sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

3 large eggs

2 large egg yolk

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 C. dried cranberries

Zest of 1 lemon and/or orange

1.  Heat oven 350°.  Toast pecans in oven.  After cooled, finely chop half the pecans, and leave remaining ones in halves; set aside.

2.  In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine baking powder, flour, sugar, and salt. In a bowl, beat eggs, yolks, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients; mix on medium low until sticky dough is formed. Add in pecans, cranberries, and zest.

3.  Turn dough out onto well-floured board; sprinkle with flour, and knead slightly. Shape into 9-by-3 1/2-inch logs. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Reduce oven to 275°.

4.  Let cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. On a cutting board, you can choose to:

a.  Cut logs on diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices; or

b.  Cut logs into small,1/2 inch thick rounds

Then, place flat on baking sheet; place in oven 20 minutes each side. Cool completely and place in air tight container.

Some tips:

A reminder to allow yourself plenty of time. This is a slow-baked cookie, and will need to be baked TWICE. Once for the original dough logs, and a second time to crisp up the cut sides.

For my biscotti, I only used orange zest and a little orange juice to add to the flavor of the dough.

Before kneading dough, flour your working area and your hands thoroughly. It’s a very sticky dough.  If it’s crumbly, persevere and keep working it. If it’s absolutely too dry, add a little bit of water and work the dough thoroughly before deciding to add more. IT’s supposed to be a drier dough.

When cutting the dough, I highly recommend a bread knife. If you do not own a bread knife, a serrated blade is the next best thing.

Check out this great article from Susan Russo, featured from NPR. It has some great additional tips and a little bit of history about biscotti.

Final Season’s Greetings before the New Year approaches!

Holy cow, the New Year is approaching quickly!

What are your favorite Christmas (or Chanukah, Kwanza, etc.) recipes? Please share!

don’t worry, i won’t reference Thor

Can’t we all just get along?

So, of course, my first attempt at a weekly blog post would be to tackle a highly sensitive topic: Science versus Faith.

That’s right.

This topic is one so passionately discussed, it has divided and united colleagues, friends and even family. It has been the tiniest kindle to spark a conversation, all the way to being the vessel that spawned wars amongst great nations.

The Crusades, anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

One of my all time favorite shows, which is of course the entire world’s favorite: J. J. Abram’s, LOST Heck, an entire episode was dedicated to this debate.

Are you beginning to grasp that I’m a huge J. J. Abram’s fan, yet?

Though several critics believe the titular battle was between characters Jack and Locke, the producers insist it was actually an internal struggle of the character, Dr. Jack Shepard, a gifted spinal surgeon or “man of science” who must confront several spiritual questions by The Island, such as the concept of free will, fate and destiny.  Several plot devices are the direct consequence of a “leap of faith” choice each character makes.

Now, from previous posts I’ve made, it is clear that I am a woman of faith. But I promise, Precious Readers, I’m not going to use this blog to get preachy.  This is an important topic for any writer to explore, and this post is just to open the door for some friendly debate. 

Keyword: FRIENDLY.  Let’s keep it nice here.

Now keep in mind: religion is the “showboat” of faith, it’s the sexy representation of “faith.” But remember, “faith” is a concept. Not a religion itself. Many people forget this, but it’s true. In fact, organized religion isn’t even the top definition: defines faith as:

1. Confidence or trust in a person or thing
2. Belief that is not based on proof
3. Belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion
4. Belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.
5. A system of religious belief

Now bear with me, sciency-based peoples, you’ll have a turn too.

It’s important to note that faith was first described as “confidence or trust in a person or thing” and that “belief that is not based on proof” was definition #2, NOT #1. Having faith is not directly tied to a religion.  It is the idea of believing in something.  It can be yourself, in others, in another concept such as “love” or “destiny.”

And what about science?  Is science strictly all numbers, equations, and hard fact?  Read this next description and you tell me:

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines science as:

1. The state of knowing: knowledge as distinguised from ignorance or misunderstanding
2. A department of systemized knowledge as an object of study
3. Knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method
4. Such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena: natural science
5. A system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws

The way I’m interpreting this, is that humanity has driven a hard line between science: a concept of discovery or search for understanding, and faith: believing in something without understanding.  But are these areas so clearly separated?  Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. I think these two concepts are more intertwined than we care to admit.

Discovery is the journey of finding something we haven’t seen or understood. Science is the process of making a discovery. But, wait a second.  Isn’t believing that “the truth is out there” its own version of faith?  Wouldn’t a scientist have to believe that there is more knowledge “out there” to pursue discovering it? Research is just a method to prove their belief, whether that proof is right or wrong. A researcher must have faith that the proof is “out there.”

Now, you may be wondering, what’s my theory?  It’ll probably be just another “Bible thumper” answer and that Christianity is the end all/be all. That believe in Jesus Christ is all that matters, and that’s it.

Well, you’d be wrong.

It is human nature to want to understand our surroundings. “Science,” the need for discovery and understanding of our world is a necessary thing. Nature, humanity, love, connection – these are all mysteries that should never go unsolved. Sure my foundation of how this world was created may be different than yours, but maybe you and I aren’t that different after all.

Some find it surprising, but I’m a Christian and I have a love of science fiction. I’m a semi-Trekker and paranormal enthusiast.  But even Star Trek was “to boldly go where no man has gone before.” Isn’t that having faith that there is more to understand, even though we don’t have proof that it’s out there?

I know. Long-ass way of getting here, but this is a lengthy topic.  But…

Riddle me this:

What is the absolute question that everyone asks themselves at least once?  Of course, the answer is: Why are we here?  The core of any human is the pursuit of finding a greater understanding of who we are and our purpose.

But wait, a second… Didn’t we just decide that was also the entire purpose of science, too?  The pursuit of understanding?

I am a Christian, but I also believe God gave me a brain. I enjoy using it. Although there are some individuals I swear have theirs shoved up their a- Oh, never mind. Back to the topic at hand! 

I believe there is a place for science and faith in this world, and discovering the unknown is the the ultimate pursuit, whether it’s science-driven or faith-driven.  Instead of thinking of them as enemies, think of them more as concepts that need each other. They’re not at war with each other. They’re at perfect balance and will help us to understand more than we ever dreamed of.

What do you think?  Does faith have a home in science and vice versa? Or are they really two different animals?

And… Ok, I can’t help myself. Maybe ONE Thor reference. Enjoy.