Community Meals

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As I was perusing the internet I came across this quote:

Churches that have not nurtured a common life among members will find hospitality to strangers difficult.  The table is central to the practice of hospitality in home and church.  The nourishment we gain there is physical, spiritual, and social.  Whether we gather around the table for the Lord’s Supper or for a church potluck dinner, we are strengthened as a community. Meals shared together in church provide opportunities to sustain relationships and build new ones. They establish a space that is personal without being private, an excellent setting in which to begin friendships with strangers.

I don’t remember where I got this or who wrote this, but I find the statement appealing.  One it makes me wonder how my church family is doing in this area of life (and how I am doing within the church body).  For me, it’s fairly easy to invite people into my home, or my life, to share a meal or drink coffee, in order to know one another.  I have the ability to make friends wherever I find myself and (not boasting) if you were to ask Ben, he would tell you, “Kamille has an inquisitive nature to draw people out by asking questions and putting them at ease.”  This type of hospitality and welcoming doesn’t scare me, but I know it scares other people (and that’s okay if it does).

However, what’s hard for me in my idealist/dreamer ways is seeing a need for hospitality & community meals in the larger church gathering; yet, it stays fairly idle.  I get discouraged, because I read quotes like the one above and say, “YES, we need that to survive, to breathe, to truly know one another.”  I get discouraged, because I see people on the fringes not knowing how to make their way in and I’m only one person (who just happens to have two little ones and by default it makes me less available).  Does anyone else feel like this?  Whether, it be the outsider trying to make your way in or the insider trying to find an opening?

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But, in trying to live in the “glass half full” mindset, I see how amazing a meal can bring people together.  It’s not HUGE; yet it is!  I know I felt incredibly loved & cared for in my postpartum stage with my two girls through people bringing meals.  For one, I was simply famished like any mother nursing a schizophrenic sleeper.  And two, it’s something I didn’t have to think about.  Blessing.  We are community friends with four Japanese students who are studying at Western for about six months.  We can alleviate some of the language barriers and anxiety by feeding our bellies, and ultimately our souls.  Blessing.  There’s a young adults gathering called ‘Soup & Story’ through our church body.  People who don’t know one another are able to find friendship & be friendship through something simple as soup and bread.  Blessing.  And I got to make some wonderful pumpkin whoopie pie cookies last week for the new group of freshman at Western.  A time when they’re possibly feeling insecure or fearful about being away from home, I can put my baking skills to good use.  Blessing.

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As I share this recipe with you, I hope you will see the many blessings in your life and ways to shower down blessings on someone else.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple-Marshmallow Cream Filling (printable version)

Adapted from this recipe by Two Fat Cats Bakery, Portland, Maine My changes were adding ground ginger and using rapadura sugar in place of the granulated sugar.  I found this from Bon Appetite.

Ingredients

FILLING

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
  • 2 teaspoons maple extract

CAKE

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup rapadura sugar (you can use granulated)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree or 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used whole)
  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray

FILLING

  • Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add marshmallow creme and maple extract; beat until blended and smooth. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.

CAKE

  • Sift first 8 ingredients into large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in another large bowl until blended. Gradually beat in oil. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in pumpkin. Add dry ingredients in 2 additions alternately with milk in 1 addition, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Cover and chill batter 1 hour.
  • Arrange 1 rack in bottom third of oven and 1 rack in top third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment; spray lightly with nonstick spray. Spoon batter onto baking sheet to form cakes (about 3 level tablespoons each; about 12 per baking sheet), spacing apart. Let stand 10 minutes.
  • Bake cakes until tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through baking. Cool cakes completely on baking sheets on rack. Using metal spatula, remove cakes from parchment.
  • Line cooled baking sheets with clean parchment; spray with nonstick spray, and repeat baking with remaining batter.
  • Spoon about 2 tablespoons filling on flat side of 1 cake. Top with another cake, flat side down. Repeat with remaining cakes and filling. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Store in single layer in airtight container at room temperature.
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About Kamille

daughter of the most high.wife.mother. sister.daughter.aunt.friend.baker. culinary seeker.singer.storyteller. hospitality giver.foodie View all posts by Kamille

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