Hidden Treasure

005Depending upon your family traditions or country of birth, you may call it a pot sticker, pierogi, dumpling, gnocchi, gnudi, or spaetzle. But whatever you call it, it is a yummy bundle of pastry, filled with hidden treasures that (unless named beforehand) can only be found by opening it!

I choose to call my yummy pastry a “Bundle” . . . and in this case, the hidden treasures are strawberries, cream cheese and toasted sliced almonds! And because it is harvest time for this delicious fruit, there’s no better time than now to share the recipe with you!

Strawberry Bundles
Serves 8

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Bundle Ingredients:
1 pkg. refrigerated pie crusts (2 crusts)
4 cups fresh sliced strawberries
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
½ teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons of toasted sliced almonds
2 egg whites

whipped cream

Directions:
To make cinnamon-sugar, combine ingredients and set aside.

Bring pie crust to room temperature according to package directions.  Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel and cinnamon. Mix cream cheese and almond extract. Divide pie dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and then flatten into a 6 inch circle. Spoon ¼ cup of the berry mixture into the middle of each round. Top with 1 tablespoon of cream cheese and 1 teaspoon of almonds. Lift up the edges of the dough and crimp with your fingers to seal. Pierce tops with a fork to allow steam to escape. Brush with egg whites; sprinkle each with ½ teaspoon cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a light drizzling of the leftover berry mixture and a dollop of whipped cream!  Refrigerate any leftovers. Store the remaining cinnamon-sugar in an airtight container.

Food for ThoughtFOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Have you ever literally found a hidden treasure?  Several years ago, the television program, Good Morning America, interviewed a gentleman who had just unearthed a large, rare emerald while digging in his own backyard in North Carolina! It was huge, and while they didn’t place a value on it at that time, judging from the size of it, I’d say this man was set for life! I watched in amazement and quietly wondered if there were any treasures buried in my own backyard . . . hmmm, what did I do with that shovel??? But then, at that moment, the Lord spoke to me that I truly am “set for life” because I have a treasure far, far greater than any emerald a man could ever find in this earth.

Matthew 13:44 says “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” Back in those days in the poor communities, people buried their treasures in the ground because it was the best, most inexpensive, safe place to protect their valuables. The man in the parable “went in his joy” to sell everything he had. Why? Because he found a treasure worth having above all else he owned. He didn’t have enough money to buy the treasure, but after selling all he had, he could afford the field.

32 years ago, I found my treasure of all treasures, a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. While there is no amount of money and nothing I could ever do to earn this treasure, selling all that we have, as described in the Matthew 13:44 parable, means a surrender of all that we own and everything we are to His Lordship. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure.

And as this adventure continues, there are more treasures to be discovered!  Just like the bundle of pastry has to be opened before you find the hidden treasure in it, so too His Love Letter to us, the Word of God, must be opened and searched out. What we seek does not consist of silver and gold . . . or strawberries. Rather our quest is to gather the precious gems that come from a full knowledge of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). If we truly are to get to know Jesus, we must be immersed in His Word and led by His Spirit. God’s truths must be sought earnestly with all the attention of someone seeking hidden treasure.

The psalmist said, “I rejoice at Your Word as one who finds great treasure.” (Psalm 119:162).  For I have “laid up treasure for myself as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that I may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:19)

So with a warm “Strawberry Bundle” and cup of coffee in hand, I’m off to open His “Love Letter Bundle” and discover the treasures inside! I hope you have a treasure-filled day!

– Cheri Henderson

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