Kaitlyn's Blog

Cooking with Kaitlyn: Mug Cakes!

September 11, 2014

After a long day of classes, exams, and homework, sometimes you really need a little chocolate!

Although I live on East Campus (and have a kitchen) now, my first two years at Liberty I lived on a regular residence hall without that convenience. So when my roommates and I were in desperate need of chocolate stress relief, we would dream of conquering the DIY staple: the mug cake.  

This weekend my roommates and I decided to give it a try, and bake some mug cakes, as well as some mini cheesecakes for our dear friend’s birthday.

Our finished mini cheesecakes!

This was quite the baking endeavor – we were making four different recipes at once: Oreo cheesecakes, strawberry cheesecakes, and two types of mug cake – yellow cake and chocolate hazelnut!

Amanda checking out the baking cheesecakes!

Claire stirring up the cheesecake batter!

After successful completion of the cheesecakes, we began our work on the mug cakes.

Kaitlyn’s Guide to Mug Cakes

Chocolate Hazelnut

(You can find the recipe we used here.)

This cake took about ten minutes to prepare, and takes less than two minutes in the microwave.

Ana mixing in the most important ingredient: chocolate!

Stirring up the mug cake batter!

Cooking the chocolate cake!

The finished product! 

Ana testing out the first mug cake!

Our bakers’ thoughts:

Claire: “A little dry.”

Ana: “It’s not bad, it just doesn’t taste like anything.”

Amanda: “Can I just have more chocolate?”

Verdict: The best part is the chocolate drop on top. We should have cooked it a little less and used a larger mug to make it cook more evenly. Overall, it’s not the greatest cake, but is a good option for desperate bakers without ovens!

Yellow Cake

Here’s the recipe we used:

(Makes two mug cakes)

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large egg

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup granulated sugar

6 tablespoons (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) self-rising flour

PREPARATION

Place the butter in a large mug and microwave it for 20 to 30 seconds until melted. Add the egg and whisk it in with a fork. Stir in the milk, vanilla, and sugar. Add the flour and salt. Beat the batter until smooth. Divide the batter between two mugs. Microwave separately for 1.5 to 2.5 minutes each until risen and firm.

Our bakers’ thoughts:

Claire: “This one is really good!”

Ana: “I like this one a lot better – it actually tastes like cake!”

Amanda: “I like this one!”

Verdict: This one was delicious – it cooked well and could be used with a variety of fun toppings.

Overall, we had a fantastic day baking all of our creations. We learned a lot about the logistics of mug cakes and how to make them even more delicious the next time we have a cake craving!

Amanda, Meagan and Ana having a great time baking!

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Love One Another

September 10, 2014

One of the most important things I’ve learned in my first two years at Liberty is this: prioritize people. I’m not always the best at this, but I’ve learned that one of the first things to go when life gets busy is investing in the people in your life. This year, I wanted to make it a point to spend time with important people in my life and cultivate better relationships with them. So last week, some of my friends from my church back home and I got together to get dinner after our classes.

My dear friends and I - Lauren, me, Angela, and Kaya. 

These girls are so special to me – not only for how much I love each of them individually, but for how their presence at Liberty feels like an extension of my wonderful church family back home.

I love these girls. 

Sometimes it’s easy at school to get caught up in your own little world – whether that’s your major, your sport, your hall, or for me, debate. But I’m learning that it’s so important to open your eyes to the people God has put in your path and be a good steward of those gifts of relationship. My mentor recently told me that a friend of hers keeps lists of her weekly goals, and that she always includes a list for relationships. I love the spirit behind that – prioritizing and being intentional about the relationships in your life.

As the semester gets going and homework and other responsibilities pile up, I hope and pray that everyone will keep their relationships a priority!

John 13:35 (NIV)

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

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Freedom in Service: Liberty Debate Serves!

September 4, 2014

When people ask me why I chose Liberty, there are a lot of potential answers I could give.

God had a plan for me to go to Liberty.

I love the atmosphere.

The first time a professor prayed before class, I was amazed.

The campus is gorgeous.

But the answer I usually give when I don’t have time to explain the long journey God brought me on is this: I wanted to go to a Christian school and I wanted to debate – Liberty is the one and only place I got both!

But sometimes in the business of research, traveling, competing and generally being caught up in the craziness of a full-time debate schedule, I forget why I love that unique combination.

I love my team. I love how we support each other, pray for each other, serve each other, love on each other, and are all striving to debate and serve Jesus and do life together.

This weekend, I was reminded of how wonderful this combination is. Our lovely team SLC (Spiritual Life Coach, check out Liberty’s awesome student leadership system here), Meagan, put together a whole day of service to start our year and debate season!

A few of the teams working at All Nations Community Church.

Every student at Liberty has to complete CSER (Center for Christian/Community Service) volunteer hours every semester, and students on the debate team do our CSER hours as a team!  This year, for part of our CSER hours, we had a day of service we called Liberty Debate Serves. Meagan organized all the debaters into different teams, and gave us different tasks to do throughout the day. My group started out the day picking up trash from a local elementary school, before taking some time to get breakfast and pray over our day of service.

One of our new first year debaters, Amanda, and I, picking up trash!

Me and first-year debaters Katie, Ashleigh, and Amanda!

We then moved onto working at Living Word Baptist Church, cleaning baseboards for the student ministry and killing weeds in the playground. After finish up at Living Word, we drove to a children’s education store and purchased some supplies for All Nations Community Church’s after-school tutoring program in downtown Lynchburg.

Our group dropping off the supplies at All Nations Community Church!

After working off campus for a while, we spent some time doing some fun activities on campus – leaving pennies head-side-up around DeMoss, writing encouraging notes to our coaches and alumni of the team, and making a giant Thank You card for Liberty’s IT department, who work on our debate laptops quite frequently!

Amanda working on a thank you card for the IT department.

Debaters working on crafting butterflies for children with cancer.

After spending the day on our service projects, all of the different teams went to Meagan’s house to debrief and eat some good food! Other teams had worked in a food pantry, made crafts for children with cancer, and cleaned people’s windshields!

Debaters debriefing outside Meagan's apartment. 

It wouldn't be a good debriefing without s'mores! 

Playing volleyball after our great service day!

Our team had a wonderful day serving our community, but the best part of the day was when we all got together and shared what we had experienced. I love that I am on a team that can spend a weekend pouring everything we have into researching our topic, strategizing, not sleeping, and debating our hearts out. I love that I am on a team that can spend a weekend pouring everything we have into serving our school, our community, and each other. But more than either of those things, I love that I am on a team that can do both of those things, and then spend an evening talking about how to serve while we’re debating, how to have a heart of gratitude when we lose, how to treat our competitors the way we treat our community at home, and how to live out our mission on this earth at a food pantry, a church, or a debate tournament.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” ~Galatians 5:13-14, NIV

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Scaling and Soaring: Camp Hydaway

August 28, 2014

This week, the debate team took a small break from weeks of research and preparing for the upcoming season, and spent some wonderful time at Camp Hydaway.

There is so much at Camp Hydaway – the lake, beach, campsites, an ATV track, and over 50 miles of hiking trials.

Our team took on some of the challenge course; doing team-building activities, scaling a wall, and flying through the air in a harness.

Our team starting out with a team-building exercise. 

Our experience was great – the staff at Camp Hydaway not only taught us a lot about the way we interact with each other and how to work better together; they were passionate about strengthening our individual relationships with Jesus.

Working together to get each member over the wall.

The best part, by far, was when we got a chance to be thrown through the air on a harness. I did it last, and there was just a little light breaking through the trees lining the clearing we were in. It was breathtaking and beautiful, to be soaring through the air as the sun slowly slipped behind the trees.

Camp Hydaway is amazingly beautiful.

 

My sweet friend Erin getting ready to soar!

Our team had an incredible experience at Camp Hydaway, and if you haven’t checked it out for yourself, you should do some exploring! There is so much Camp Hydaway has to offer Liberty students, especially while the weather is still beautiful and warm!

We didn't give this ladder a try - there is still so much for us to explore at Camp Hydaway!

 

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Summer Days

August 21, 2014

Hello again! It’s so exciting to be back at Liberty and ready to start the next school year! I said it last year and I’ll say it again – I can’t believe I’m halfway done with my undergraduate career at Liberty! It’s been an incredible ride and I can’t wait to see what new blessings this year has in store!

I had a wonderfully busy summer that involved lots of kids, work, friends, and God working in my heart. Here’s a quick run-down:

1. My beautiful and talented little sister, Kendra, graduated from high school!

Kendra and I right before the big ceremony.

2. My family moved from Florida to Northern Virginia, and my lovely friend Meagan agreed to take on the 13 hour drive with us.

Meagan was gracious enough to fly down to Florida to drive with us the day after her 21st birthday. 

3. I spent two weeks at Liberty working with high school debaters at the Liberty Debate Institute!

All of our wonderful campers!

4. I was infinitely blessed to spend a week in the mountains of West Virginia with my home church at youth camp. I led a small group of middle school girls, fought in an epic shaving cream war, valiantly protected our dorms from bug invasions, and had my life forever changed by our Lord’s emancipating grace.

My lovely little group of middle school girls on our last day of camp.

5. A few weeks before school began; the Liberty Debate Team began our preseason research and practice for the upcoming debate season. After a week of work on campus, we spent a week in a gorgeous cabin in Gatlinburg, TN.

Taking a break from research to go go-carting! 

Abby, who I had the incredible blessing of rooming with for our preseason camp, ready to beat all the boys at go-carts!

 

I had an incredible summer, but I’m exceedingly eager to begin this semester and find out what God has planned for this year!

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