Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year, New Mercies, and YUMMY Appetizers

"The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning."
Lamentations 3:22-23 (New Living Translation)

Wow! I cannot believe it is almost 2010! I am looking into this New Year with a heart full of hope and gratitude. This coming year, my awesome hubby and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary on May 28th! I feel so thankful to God for blessing me with such an amazing man to share life with. If you would like to see just how awesome he is, you can read my previous post at http://butterflykissesntastydishes.blogspot.com/2009/11/gods-great-gift-to-my-heartmy-husband.html
My Hubby and I have a heart full of desires and hopes and dreams and we are lifting them up to God in this New Year, and we are expecting His Love and Blessings to pour over us. I love that the God we serve is not suprised by any trial that we face, any hurt that overwhelms us, any desire that goes unfulfilled in our "time line", or any worries and fears that weigh us down. One of my favorite verses is Lamentations 3:22-23, "The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning." Two things I can always count on-God's love for me is UNENDING, and His mercies are fresh every morning. Lately, I have been imagining His love pursuing me, chasing me, surrounding me, enveloping me, washing over me, and consuming me. Two of my newest favorite songs are by Tenth Avenue North. The first is called, "TIMES." Here is a link so you can listen to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAVHeVDML5k
The second song is called, "Hold My Heart." The link to that video can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ry6udsW9leA&feature=related
Please take some time this week to listen to these songs and allow God to overwhelm you with His love and His promise of His presence and new mercies this New Year.

Now, I know many of you will be hosting or attending New Year's Eve Parties and I wanted to give you some ideas for a couple of appetizers to make or bring. Both are fairly easy, and super yummy. Hope you enjoy! Happy New Year! Thanks so much for reading my blog!
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Postively “Melt-in-Your-Mouth, Do-the-Happy-Dance” Peanut Butter Fudge
Ingredients:
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 cup peanut butter
1- 7 oz jar marshmallow creme
1 tsp vanilla
Directions:
Combine sugar, butter, and evaporated milk in a heavy 2-1/2 quart saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. Add the peanut butter, stirring until melted. Next, add the marshmallow creme and vanilla; beat until well blended.Spread in a buttered 9 x 13 x 2 - inch pan. Cool at room temperature, then refrigerate. Cut into squares when firm. Enjoy! I promise that you will not be able to stop at just one piece ;-)!
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Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
This recipe was given to me by my BFF in North Carolina who guest posted for me on my birthday http://butterflykissesntastydishes.blogspot.com/2009/10/carolina-blue-birthday-wishes-pumpkin.html
She is a SUPERB baker and an even more SUPERB friend.

Ingredients:
1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese
½ cup butter, soft
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla
¾ cup mini chocolate chips finely chopped/shaved chocolate

Directions:
Beat together butter and cream cheese. Mix in sugars and vanilla. Stir in chocolate chips. Shave chocolate with a vegetable peeler to roll the ball in. Cover and chill 2 hours. Shape into ball, wrap with saran wrap, and chill 1 hour. Roll in shaved chocolate before serving. * Serve with graham cracker sticks.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Southern Style" Mexican Food

During the month of December many people welcome family and friends into their home for fun, fellowship, and laughter. After the holidays, most people are tired of eating turkey and pumpkin pie and are looking for something quick, easy, and affordable to make for dinner. Not only does this meal meet those qualifications, it is also very yummy and is the most requested "meal" I make. We live near the border of Texas/Mexico where Mexican food is the standard and desired food of choice. Now, I must confesss this Southern girl does not have a taste for Mexican food, but I have been told that I could pass for a Mexican Senorita who can cook a mean enchilada ;-). So, invite some friends over for dinner and try these "Easy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas" and "Dessert Tacos". Let me know what you think.

Easy Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas

INGREDIENTS:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup salsa
2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast meat
1 (15.5 ounce) can pinto or black beans, drained
9 (6 inch) flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese
2 cans Enchilada Sauce

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream cheese and salsa. Cook, stirring until melted and well blended. Stir in chicken and pinto or black beans. Fill tortillas with the mixture, roll and place into the prepared baking dish. Pour enchilada sauce over the top and spread with a spatula. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Cover with aluminum foil.
3. Bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through. Garnish with your favorite toppings such as lettuce and tomatoes, or sour cream.
NOTE: If you are in a hurry, you can use 2 large cans of shredded chicken.
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Dessert Sundae Tacos
Ingredients:
8 frozen round waffles, thawed
1 qt. chocolate ice cream, softened
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup hot fudge sauce, warmed
1 can Whipped Topping (Redi-Whip)
8 maraschino cherries, with stems
Directions:
Warm waffles in the microwave for 10-15 seconds; do no toast. Gently fold each waffle in half. Set in a 13x9 inch baking pan, open side up, keeping the rows tight so that the taco shape is maintained. Mix the ice cream and marshmallows in a large mixing bowl. Spoon the mix into the waffles. Cover the pan with foil and freeze until firm-about 1 hour. Before serving, drizzle the tacos with warmed hot fudge sauce and top each with a dollop of whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Serves 8. Enjoy!
NOTE: You can easily swap any flavor of ice cream or sauce that you prefer. Be creative. Let your children "design" their own taco.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Morning Muffins & Coffee Cake

Matthew 1:21
"And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
Every Christmas morning when we were kids, my mom would make blueberry muffins that we would eat before we opened our presents. I know that many families serve a Christmas Egg Casserole dish or special holiday breads. I am including two of my favorite Holiday morning breakfast dishes below. The Blueberry Cream Stresuel Muffins were posted in an earlier entry, but they are so good that they deserve a repeat :-)! The second recipe is called Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Coffee Cake-with a name like that it can't help but be simply delicious!


What is your favorite thing to serve on Christmas morning?




Blueberry Cream Streusel Muffins

INGREDIENTS:
4 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sour cream
2 cups blueberries



STREUSEL TOPPING INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, chilled



DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 24 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
2. In large bowl beat eggs, gradually add sugar while beating. Continue beating while slowly pouring in oil. Stir in vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and baking soda.
3. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture alternately with sour cream. Gently fold in blueberries. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups.


FOR TOPPING:
In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping over unbaked muffins.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.


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Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

1/4 lb butter (1 stick)

8 oz. cream cheese

1 1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

6 oz chocolate chips


Topping:

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup chopped pecans

(Makes one large bundt cake, or two medium bread-size loafs, or 4 small (individual size) loafs.)

Mix together the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl till creamy. Add the remaining ingredients, continually mixing. Add in the flour in small batches to make it easier to mix. Add the milk last. You may not need the whole 1/4 cup of milk, or you may need a little more. Batter should be creamy but not runny. Gently stir in chocolate chips using a large spoon.
Spoon mixture into pan(s). If using a bundt pan, fill half full. If using bread pans, fill about half to 3/4 full. Prepare topping by combining sugar, cinnamon, and pecans in a small bowl. Sprinkle topping over the batter before baking. Bake at 350° (F) for 50-55 minutes. Cakes will rise and become golden brown. Test by inserting a knife or toothpick. When done, the knife will come out almost dry. This tastes great served warm! Enjoy!








Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday to my Sweet Jaythan-3 Years Old!!















Happy Birthday Jaythan! My Big Boy is 3 now. You make Mommy's Heart SMILE!! I LOVE YOU to the Moon and Back!





Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Very Best Blueberry Cobbler

My parents are coming today to spend the next week helping us celebrate Jaythan's 3rd birthday and the holidays. I am very thankful for my parents. They are loving, supportive, and very giving of their time, resources, and love. One of my dad's favorite things to eat is Blueberry Cobbler. This is the best recipe by far. It has a biscuit topping (even cakey), and you could even use other berries or even peaches. The ooeey, gooey delicious blueberries burst out from below the crunchy topping. Be sure and use fresh blueberries for the best flavor. This tastes great served warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
Blueberry Cobbler
Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 lemon, juiced (3 tsp lemon juice)
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons white sugar
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1 pinch ground cinnamon

Directions:
1.Lightly grease an 8 inch square baking dish. Place the blueberries into the baking dish, and mix with vanilla and lemon juice. Sprinkle with 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of flour, then stir in the tablespoon of melted butter. Set aside.

2.In a medium bowl, stir together 1 3/4 cups of flour, baking powder, and 6 tablespoons sugar. Rub in the 5 tablespoons butter using your fingers, or cut in with a pastry blender until it is in small pieces. Make a well in the center, and quickly stir in the milk. Mix just until moistened. You should have a very thick batter, or very wet dough. You may need to add a splash more milk. Cover, and let batter rest for 10 minutes.

3.Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spoon the batter over the blueberries, leaving only a few small holes for the berries to peek through. Mix together the cinnamon and 2 teaspoons sugar; sprinkle over the top.

4.Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool until just warm before serving. This can store in the refrigerator for 2 days.

Monday, December 14, 2009

CUTEST APRON EVER & Holiday Cookie Contest Entries

One of the magazines that I subscribe to is hosting a Holiday Cookie Contest which immediately sparked excitement within! I have been perfecting my entries, and these are the two that I will be submitting. Try them out and let me know what you think. Even if I do not win, it is always so much fun to experiment and create.


ButterScotch Apple Pie Cookies



Ingredients:
1 box spice cake mix (I used the Duncan Hines brand)
1 egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
1 can Apple Pie Filling
11 oz bag of Butterscotch Chips



Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease three cookie sheets. Mix dry spice cake mix with one egg and ¼ cup of oil. Add 1 tablespoon flour and 1 teaspoon apple pie spice. Stir in the can of apple pie filling. Mix well and then fold in the butterscotch chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees F in the middle rack of your oven for approximately12-14 minutes or until lightly brown and firm. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire cooling rack. This recipe makes 36 large cookies. They can be enjoyed both warm and cool. They taste just like a slice of Apple Pie! Enjoy!


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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip PIE Sandwiches


Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Maple Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 ½ Tablespoons pure maple syrup


Directions:
Place 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 ½ Tablespoon pure maple syrup in the bowl of your kitchen aid mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate. Next, combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg in a large bowl with a whisk. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Add vanilla and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls on greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm. Remove from oven, let cool for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire cooling rack. Once the cookies have cooled, spoon a heaping tablespoon of the Maple Whipped Cream on half of the cookies. Top with the remaining pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to make pumpkin pie sandwiches. Refrigerate until ready to serve. These even taste yummy frozen...like a holiday ice cream sandwich! Enjoy!





Now, on to the CUTEST APRON EVER...



I know that I have mentioned my fascination with cute aprons before, but seriously, I think I am in LOVE. I recently discovered the store, Anthropologie, and they have the most BEAUTIFUL aprons I have ever seen. Unfortunately, we do not have an Anthropologie store here in Southern Texas, but I was blessed with the opportunity to visit one when I was in NC over the Thanksgiving holiday. I was also blessed with a VERY PATIENT BFF (God Bless You, Charity!) for waiting somewhat patiently with me as I perused the store for 1.5 hours plus :-). I left with only one apron, because, frankly, it was very difficult to decide on the perfect one. Check them out and see for yourself....

http://search.anthropologie.com/?q=aprons&international=false


Now, I was right, wasn't I?? I literally would love to own each and every one :-)! But, alas, the budget does not allow, and therefore, I chose only one...what do you think of my choice? Don't you just love the crocheted pocket and trim? It makes me smile everytime I walk into my kitchen, fueling baking passions deep within.




Saturday, December 12, 2009

God's Umbrella & Eggnog Cake

I was recently given an amazing devotional book that has blessed me just within the first week of reading it. It is entitled "Rain on Me-Devotions of Hope and Encouragment for Difficult Times" by Holley Gerth. My dear friend, Mari, sells this book through Blessings Unlimited: http://marinegrete.blessingsdirect.com/Products/Directory/CUST043/ProductDetails.aspx?prodid=849&cid=300

In the introduction it says, "Wherever you are and whatever your storm might be, know that you are not alone. God is with you, and he is whispering messages about the rain to your heart that will change your world forever if you ony dare to believe them."


One of this week's excerpts was entitled "Where is God When it Rains", and it talks about staying under the shelter of God's umbrella in the midst of a storm. I must admit, when the rain pours down in my life and things seem overwhelming, like on the days when I miss Savannah so much that it physically hurts inside, I want to run far away into the rain as fast as I can. On days like that it often seems so hard for me to see God, to feel His presence. But, it is on those days that He is simply telling me, "I am here, and I am giving you my umbrella of Love to cover you; I am walking through the rain with you." I am learning that I have to make a choice everyday...to stay as close to God as possible, wrapped in His loving arms, shielded from the storms around me.


God has also shown me through the unconditional love and support of my precious husband and dear friends that we are not meant to go through storms alone. Grief, loss, hurts, burdens, and sorrow lose strength and power over us when they are shared with others. Holley Gerth has also written the words of a Hallmark Card that perfectly describes what my husband and kindred spirits have done for me this past year.

"I wish I had a big yellow umbrella

that would keep all of the rain out of your life.

I would hold it over your head,

and the drops would splash, splash,

and you would never even feel them.

But, I don't have a big yellow umbrella,

so I'll walk through the rain with you."

I know that several of my dearest friends are hurting deeply now, and I pray that God will show me how to love them and help me to encourage them to find strength under God's umbrella. I encourage you to "walk through the rain" with your friends. Listen to them, sit with them while they cry, and love them in extravagent ways. Be a "foul-weathered" friend.

2 Corinthians 1:4

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us."


On a different note...

One of my hubby's favorite things during the Holiday Season is Eggnog. We buy the fancy-smancy type...Promised Land's Organic Homemade Eggnog. I decided to experiment with the eggnog this year, and the result was a Eggnog Spice Cake that my hubby declared "DELICIOUS!" So, if you are a fan of this popular holiday beverage then try this recipe out. It would be a great addition to a Holiday Party or a perfect Gift for friends and neigbors. Just package it on a pretty holiday plate (available at the Dollar Tree) and you have a yummy and inexpensive gift.


~Eggnog Spice Cake~

Ingredients:
1 package spice cake mix

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups eggnog

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon vanilla

Powdered sugar for dusting


Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. GENEROUSLY butter and flour a standard Bundt pan (or use cooking spray that contains flour.
3. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Beat five minutes, on medium speed with an electric mixer.
4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
5. Cool 10 minutes and invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.


This goes great with a glass of eggnog or a cup of coffee or cocoa.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Goodies and Gifts

I love to give gifts! Nothing brings me more joy than finding or making the perfect gift for someone. I have a gift cabinet where I store these "perfect" gifts and they wait there until God whispers in my heart to give them away. During December, I especially love baking holiday treats to give to my neighbors, church friends, and family. Over the next few days, I will be posting recipes of some of my favorites.

One of my most requested treats is the homemade hot cocoa that my wonderful Mom taught me how to make. This is WAY better than the packaged cocoa that you buy and tastes delicious topped with whip cream or marshmallows. I also love to drop a peppermint candy in the bottom of a steaming mug of this cocoa...pure deliciousness!

Nothing goes better with cocoa than a big container of "puppy chow" or "reindeer munch" as I like to call it during December :-). I posted the recipe to this a few weeks ago, but I thought I would share it again since I have already made two batches as gifts this week. Enjoy!

Be sure and remember that the Greatest GIFT we all have is the gift of Salvation and the PERFECT Love of our Heavenly Father. Oh, How He Loves us!!!! Check out this awesome song by the David Crowder Band: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWgeUrD4MHI&feature=fvw
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Puppy Chow
(Monkey Munch/Reindeer Munch)

This is such a fun snack for kids to help make and help eat. It is very addictive so eater beware :-)!

Ingredients:
9 cups Corn, Rice, Wheat, or Chocolate Chex Cereal (or combination) or Crispex
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Directions:
Into a large bowl, measure cereal; set aside. In 1 qt microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter uncovered on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal stirring to coat evenly. Pour into a 2 gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.
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Heavenly Hot Chocolate
Ingredients:
1 box (8 qt) powdered milk
1 lb. powdered (confectioners) sugar
1 jar (6 oz) Cremora
1 lb. chocolate Nestle's Quik
5 Tablespoons cocoa
Directions:
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Store in sealed containers. Use 1/3 cup mixture to 1 mug hot water or milk. Delicious!
NOTE: I double/triple the recipe to make a HUGE batch and spoon the mixture into cute holiday storage containers to give as gifts to friends. Just attach the instructions on how to prepare.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Heart



Psalm 138:2 "I will give thanks to your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, because your promises are backed by all the honor of your name."


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our Family this year. I made a new and heavenly dessert...a pumpkin angel food cake with creamy ginger filling. I love angel food cake and I love pumpkin so this was an extra special treat for me. Below is the recipe and a picture of my new cute apron (I have an apron addiction, I must confess :-)). Happy Thanksgiving!!




PUMPKIN ANGEL FOOD CAKE with Creamy Ginger Frosting
Cake:
1 box (1 lb) white angel food cake mix
1 tablespoon Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup (from 15-oz can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup cold water


Filling:
1 container (8 oz) frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger


DIRECTIONS:


1. Move oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 350°F. In extra-large glass or metal bowl, beat all cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 1 minute. Pour into ungreased 10-inch angel food (tube) cake pan.
2.Bake 37 to 47 minutes or until crust is dark golden brown and cracks are dry. Immediately turn pan upside down onto heatproof funnel or glass bottle. Let hang about 2 hours or until cake is completely cool. Loosen cake from side of pan with knife or long metal spatula. Turn cake upside down onto serving plate.
3.In medium bowl, gently mix whipped topping and ginger. Cut cake horizontally in half to make 2 even layers (We used an electric knife but you can also use a serrated one. Spread half of the filling on bottom layer; replace top of cake. Spread remaining filling on top of cake. Sprinkle with additional pumpkin pie spice if desired. Refrigerate any remaining cake. ENJOY!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

SUPER cute Shoes & Banana Bread Basics

Two of my favorite things are shoes and baking(specifically cute shoes and special requests for certain baked goods that I make) . I have been wanting a certain pair of shoes for quite some time. I have the shoes debut already planned. The ROAD ministry (http://www.roadministries.com/) is hosting its first Women's Conference next February with the theme "BEAUTIFUL FEET" and everyone is being encouraged to wear cute and fun shoes. My favorite Christian author and speaker, Angela Thomas (http://www.angelathomas.com/) will be speaking about her book, "Do You Think I'm Beautiful." Not only is Angela a fellow UNC Alum like myself, she is passionate about encouraging women's hearts by telling them how cherished, loved, and beautiful God thinks they are. Every woman in America should read this book...it is that good! The scripture it is based on is Psalm 45:11 which says, "Your King is enthralled with your beauty." If you have not read this book, I strongly encourage you to get a copy for yourself and every female you are close to. And, if you live in South Texas then I encourage you to join us for a Girls Weekend worsipping God together in February 2010.



Now, back to the cute shoe topic...the link to the store in which these coveted shoes can be found has been saved in my internet favorites for over 2 months. I have checked on them everyday, hoping that they would go on sale. But, alas, they have not, and this overly-cheap female just doesn't want to pay what the original pricetag reflects. I was starting to lose hope until today when I went to the physical store where these amazing shoes could be found and did the happy dance when I saw that they were on clearance for over 75% off!!! I paid a mere $7.87 for these funky, fun shoes! I like to think that when God planned this little blessing for me He was smiling the entire time as He knew the party it would cause in my heart :-)! And, the cool thing is I wasn't even going to the store to look for the shoes-the shopping trip had an entirely different purpose. YEA! Thank you, God, for unexpected suprises and loving me in little, fun ways!

So, I know you are just sitting on the edge of your seats, wanting to see a picture of these shoes. So, check them out and tell me what you think:



I LOVE it when someone asks me to make them one of my baking creations. One of my most requested baked goods is my Banana Bread. I have been told that it is pretty tasty and many people have asked for the recipe. Several years ago, I experimented with Paula Deen's Banana Bread recipe and made it my own with a few variations. I have baked over 20 mini loaves of this yummy bread over the past two weeks and many of my dear friends have been in 'Nana Bread Heaven :-). The recipe is below along with a few tips on the basics of making the BEST, Super Moist Banana Bread. Enjoy! May your hearts overflow this week in Gratitude to God for your many blessings!

Banana Nut Bliss


Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
4 very ripe bananas

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (divided)


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
Mix softened butter, bananas, vanilla & eggs in a separate bowl.
Mix dry ingredients into banana mix and stir in ½ cup of walnuts. Pour mix into greased loaf pan and sprinkle remaining ¼ cup walnuts on top of the loaf. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. This makes one 9" loaf or four mini loaves.

TIPS:I like to freeze overripe bananas in a ziploc bag and thaw them about an hour before I am going to make bread. Pour the bananas and their juice into the bread to make it extra moist. To soften butter, microwave in a bowl for 10-15 seconds. You can buy really cute seasonal ceramic mini loaf pans at Michaels Craft stores for only $1. These make great gifts and the receiver gets to keep a beautiful pan.

Monday, November 16, 2009

God's Great Gift to My Heart~~My Husband


HAPPY BIRTHDAY GOOGLY BEAR!!!


November 17, 1970....that was the day that God did something pretty amazing. I know what you are thinking, "God does pretty amazing things pretty much everyday", but on this day (November 17, 1970), God breathed His breath of life until the most amazing man I know. November 17th is my husband, Darin's birthday. I am full of gratitude that God would allow me the honor of sharing life with this humble, loving, and handsome man! He makes me laugh, He holds me when I cry, and He reminds me that God is always in control. Here are just a few of the many reasons I love my Birthday Boy:


1. He is so very Handsome.

2. He is constant.

3. He is humble.

4. He loves God with a faith that is genuine (not "bragalicious" as a dear friend just described him).

5. He has a cute wit/humor

6. He is a terrific foot massager :-)!

7. He is an amazing Father.

8. He is very patient.

9. He always encourages me to pursue/particpate in the things that make me smile.

10. He esteems me.

11. He is so very intelligent.

12. He is full of integrity.

13. He is trustworthy.

14. He is honest.

15. He is handsome.

16. He is an amazing teacher.

17. He is a great leader.

18. He strengthens my heart with words of affirmation.

19. He makes me feel cherished, safe, and secure.

20. Did I mention that he is handsome???


Happy Birthday to my Googly Bear! Your Smootsie Poo Loves You Immensely! It is truly an honor to be your wife!


BTW-This post is in Orange in honor of Googly Bear's favorite team-the Oklahoma State Cowboys!
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One thing my Incredible Hubby does not do very often is cook; however, he has been known to make (and eat very large quantities) of this easy, fun snack with a funny name.
Puppy Chow (Muddy Buddies)
This is such a fun snack for kids to help make and help eat. It is very addictive so eater beware!


Ingredients:
9 cups Corn, Rice, Wheat, or Chocolate Chex Cereal (or combination)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Directions:
Into a large bowl, measure cereal; set aside. In 1 qt microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter uncovered on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 30 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in vanilla. Pour mixture over cereal stirring to coat evenly. Pour into a 2 gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thankful

With Thanksgiving approaching, I find myself with a heart full of gratitude for the many blessings in my life. One of my biggest blessings is our church family. We have an amazing group of friends in our Sunday School and at church who love, support, and encourage us daily. Last night, we were extra blessed to spend the evening celebrating Thanksgiving with our Sunday School friends in our home. Our home was full of laughter, thankfulness, and lots of yummy food. I truly believe that God wants his children to live in unity, sharing and fellowshipping with each other like family. Take some time this month to thank your friends for their love and presence in your life. Meet a need in their life and share God's blessings with them.

Acts 2: 42-47
"They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved."
Hosting our Thanksgiving Party was extra fun for me because it gave me an exuse to bake! I made a Pecan Pie, Chocoate Pecan Pie, Granny's Pumpkin Cake (made into cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and a pumpkin hershey kiss on top), a Pumpkin Streusel Pie, a Chocolate Chess Pie, and Peanut Butter Honey Fudge. My home smelled heavenly all day yesterday. I am posting the recipes below. I would love to hear from my readers; let me know if you try a recipe and how it turns out. Also, feel free to share any baking tips/ideas with me as well. Blessings to each of you! You are a Treasured Child of God!
Angus Barn Chocolate Chess Pie

Ingredients:
1 unbaked pie crust 1 stick butter 2 squares Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate squares or ½ cup chocolate chips1 cup sugar 2 eggs beaten 1 teaspoon vanilla Dash of salt

Directions:
Melt butter and chocolate. Blend other ingredients together. Slowly add chocolate mixture to the other ingredients. Pour into crust and bake 35 minutes at 350°F.
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Peanut Butter Honey Fudge
Ingredients:
1 cup natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until the chocolate chips are melted and blended in (about 30 seconds).
Spread fudge into an 8×8 inch pan. Refrigerate until solid. Cut into 1 inch squares.
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Perfect Pecan Pie
(from Threadgills in Austin)

This is a delicious pecan pie recipe with an extra special ingredient. The molasses makes it especially yummy.
Ingredients:
1 refrigerated pie crust
3 Tbsp melted butter, plus more for brushing crust
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups light corn syrup
3 Tbsp molasses
4 tsp vanilla
2 cups pecan halves

Directions:
Fit Piecrust in 9 inch deep dish pie plate. Brush with a little melted butter. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend brown sugar, 3 Tbsp of melted butter, flour and eggs on low speed. Add corn syrup, molasses, and vanilla, and mix well. Put 2 cups pecan halves in pie shell and pour mixture over pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until filling is set. Remove to wire rack and cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Enjoy with a scoop of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream!

Chocolate Pecan Pie:
NOTE: This makes enough filling for 2 deep dish pies. I discovered this yesterday as I baked. I did not have enough pecans to fill another pie shell, but I did have chocolate chips! So, I improvised by placing 1 cup of chocolate chips into the bottom of another pie shell. I then poured the remaining pecan pie filling over the chocolate chips and baked it along with the regular pecan pie. It turned out AMAZING and was eaten very quickly.
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Pumpkin Streusel Pie
Ingredients:
15 oz. can solid pack pumpkin
14 oz. can sweetened, condensed milk
1 egg
1 1/4 t. cinnamon, divided
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1 graham cracker pie crust
1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 T. flour
2 T. cold butter
3/4 c. chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°. In large mixing bowl, beat pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, egg, 3/4 t. cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Pour into crust. Bake 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine sugar, flour and remaining 1/2 t. cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in nuts. Remove pie from oven. Reduce oven temp to 350°. Sprinkle streusel mixture over pie. Bake 40 minutes or until set. Cool. Serve with homemade whipped cream or cool whip. This is delicious warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Store in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grandparent Gratitude & Granny's Pumpkin Cake


I am so very thankful for my awesome Grandparents, Betty and Roland Young. They are truly examples of unconditional love in a marriage, and their Godly Example helped to shape the person that I am today. My Grandfather serves my Granny with a Love like God's-unselfish, abundant, and constant. I admire him deeply. He served in the Korean War, and I am so very proud of him. So, today, on Veterans Day, I want to say "Thank you, Grandaddy." You are one of my heroes, and I thank God for you and Granny!


My Granny taught me many things during the summers of my childhood. In one of my earlier posts, I wrote about her homemade cream cheese mints (http://butterflykissesntastydishes.blogspot.com/2009/09/excitement-new-sister-and-delish-cream.html). In previous years, my Granny loved to bake this Pumpkin Cake every Fall. I hope you will try it. It is fairly easy to make and delicious to serve at Thanksgiving or any Fall event.


I encourage you to take time this month to tell your loved ones how much you appreciate them and how thankful you are that God blessed you with their love. And, tell God how thankful you are for your family while asking Him to sustain and bless those you love.


Isaiah 46:4 "Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you."


Granny's Pumpkin Cake

1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
½ c. oil
¼ c. water
¾ c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. pumpkin
dash nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Pour in a greased & floured tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 1 hour. Frost cake when cooled with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 box powdered sugar
1 stick margarine, softened
1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Frost cooled cake
.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Candy Bar Explosion and Explosion of Love for My Sweetie



After October, I would have to say that November is my next favorite month. I love Thanksgiving-counting my blessings, being with family, and eating pumpkin pie! I also love my Hubby, and his birthday is November 17th! Each year for his birthday, I make him a special homemade cheesecake. This is truly a labor of love because cheesecakes are very time-consuming and very expensive to make. But, I would truly do anything to make my Handsome, Loving and Godly Husband smile. (Check back next week on his birthday to find out just how wonderful he really is!) Now, he has a sweet tooth and a strong love for anything chocolate. I have made this Candy Bar Explosion Cheesecake (it is from Juniors Famous Cheesecake Recipe Book) for him before, and he was in chocolate heaven. Just take a look at the picture alone-it is sure to make your mouth water and it begs for a cup of really good coffee and a night snuggled up with someone you love.


Blessings to each of you today! Remember that God wants to lavish His love on you!


“I lavish my love on those who love me.” (Exodus 20:6a)




Candy Bar Explosion Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups honey maid graham cracker crumbs or oreo cookie crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
3 Tablespoons Sugar
3 1.4 ounce Heath milk chocolate English toffee candy bars

For the cheesecake:
One 8 ounce Hershey’s milk chocolate bar
Four 8 ounce packages cream cheese (only use full fat), at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
¾ cup heavy or whipping cream

For the top decoration:
Four 1.4 ounce Heath milk chocolate English toffee candy bars
1 double recipe Whipped Chocolate Ganache
Assorted chocolate candies such as: semisweet chocolate chips, Hershey hugs and kisses, Reeses Milk chocolate peanut butter cup miniatures, kit kat pieces, rolos, butterfinger nuggets, chopped snickers, chopped 100 grand bars, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, etc…

For the whipped chocolate ganache:
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup cold heavy or whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small bowl, toss the sugar with the cocoa and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer on high until the cream thickens and soft peaks just begin to form. While the mixer is still running, add the sugar-cocoa mixture, then the vanilla.
Continue beating just until the cream turns a light-chocolate color and stiff peaks form. Watch carefully and do not overbeat at this stage (the cream might curdle). Use immediately for frosting a cake or piping decorations or cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Best when used within one day.

Directions to Make the Cheesecake:
Makes One 9 inch cheesecake, about 3 inches high

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Wrap the outside with aluminum foil, covering the bottom and extending all the way up the sides. Make and bake the cake crust for 8 minutes (mix the graham cracker crumbs with the sugar and melted butter and press into the bottom of the pan). Remove the pan from the oven, but leave the oven on. While the crust cools, chop the 3 heath bars with a chef’s knife into small pieces and sprinkle over the cooled cake crust.
Melt the 8 ounce chocolate bar in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and set aside to cool. Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the cornstarch in your mixer bowl. Beat with the electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down several times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese, one package at a time, scraping the bowl down after each one. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the melted chocolate bar, then the cream, just until completely blended. Don’t overmix!! Gently spoon the batter over the crust.
Place the cake in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1 inch up the sides of the springform. Bake until the edges look baked and the center appears set, about 1 ¼ hours (75 minutes). Remove the cake from the water bath, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours (just walk away-don’t move it). Leave the cake in the pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until completely cold, preferably overnight or at least 4 hours. Transfer to the freezer for 1 hour.
While the cake is in the freezer, chop the 4 heath bars into chunky, coarse crumbs (these should be a little finer than the ones chopped for the crust, since they need to adhere to the sides of the cake). Make the ganache and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Release and remove the sides of the springform, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan. Place on a cake plate. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the ganache with a metal spatula. Press the candy crumbs into the sides and arrange the chocolates on the top. Use lots of chocolates, so you completely cover the top of the cake! Refrigerate until ready to serve (do not cover at this stage). Slice with a sharp straight-edge knife, not a serrated one. Cover and leftover cake and refrigerate or freeze up to 1 month.

TIP: Small candies and miniature sizes work best, as you don’t have to slice through large pieces when cutting the cake.



Friday, November 6, 2009

HOPE and Wedding Baking Bliss!



May the God of hope fill you with all joy.
ROMANS 15:13 NIV

Today, I have been filled with HOPE. Hope in the Future God has for me! Hope in New Beginnings for two wonderful friends who are getting remarried tomorrow. Hope in the promise of the Joy that is found in the Presence of God. Psalm 16:11 says, "In His presence there is fullness of joy!" Yesterday, I was blessed with the opportunity to share my testimony/Savannah's story at the Feature Luncheon for our Women's Ministry at Church. I was quite overwhelmed beforehand as public speaking is totally not my thing. However, thanks to the prayers of my wonderful friends and God's amazing PEACE, I was able to share my heart with calmness and composure. This was the first time that I had spoken my "story" out loud, and as I was preparing it, many tears were shed. I am so thankful for this opportunity because it truly brought healing to my heart to talk about all the amazing ways that God has shown me His love this past year.

"Hope is more than a word; it's a state of being. It's a firm belief God will come through. Life brings rain. Hope turns every drop into the power to bloom like never before."-Holley Gerth

I pray that the rain in your life today brings forth beautiful blooms tomorrow!





I have included pictures of the wedding cake that I made for our amazing friends-my first attempt at decorating a cake for a wedding. I love the Jewel-toned Fall roses-they make me smile. The bottom three layers of the cake are (from-scratch) yellow butter cake with (from-scratch) caramel icing. The top layer is homemade chocolate cake. The icing is Wilton's recipe chocolate buttercream: http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Chocolate-Buttercream-Icing-1. I got the recipes for the cakes out of my new favorite cookbook-SOUTHERN CAKES http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0811853705?ie=UTF8&tag=wwwnanciemder-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0811853705



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Autumn is Fueling my Baking Passion

Okay, Have I mentioned that I love Autumn? Check! And, have I mentioned that I love Baking? Double Check!! Well, there is something about Autumn that just fuels my passion for baking. I love the aromas, tastes, and visual appeal of pumpkin and apple desserts and breads. So, you can imagine that my home is almost daily filled with these wonderful scents and tasty baked goods from September 1st until the end of November. This week alone, I have baked a Pumpkin Pie, Harvest Pumpkin Cookies, Snickerdoodles, and Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bars.

I am super excited because this weekend I am making my very first wedding cake for dear friends who are getting remarried! I feel truly honored that they trust me with this. There will be lots of kiddos at the wedding so I will be making red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and a special surprise on top (no hints, Amelia :-)). For the wedding cake, I plan to make a basic 3 layer white cake with chocolate frosting and jewel toned roses to keep with the autumn theme. I will be sure to post pictures after the weekend.

I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately-lots of commitments, lots of stress, Savannah’s birthday was last week, and Satan has really been attacking my heart with anxiety and fear. Baking is therapeutic to me, and I often find myself talking to God while I bake. As I was petitioning God about a particular hurt in my heart, He spoke this verse to me, and I wanted to share it with you:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upjon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Sometimes when life is spiraling out of control, we just need to stop and turn everything over to God. It is in that surrender that we will find the rest that our soul needs the most. He longs to carry our burdens for us. We just have to COME.

I am including the recipe for my Favorite Pumpkin Pie as well as the Harvest Pumpkin Cookies. Enjoy something made with pumpkin with your pumpkin! And, if you are more of an apple fan, then check out the caramel apple cinnamon bar recipe included in this previous post: http://butterflykissesntastydishes.blogspot.com/2009/09/autumns-mosaic-in-my-home-my-heart-and.html



Perfect Pumpkin Pie with
Maple Whipped Cream



Ingredients:
3 large eggs
2 cups fresh pumpkin or 1 can (15oz) canned pumpkin
½ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 deep dish refrigerated pie crust
Directions:
Fit pie crust into 9 inch pie plate. In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and place on a baking pan to prevent spills. Bake 45-55 minutes at 375 degrees or until the filling is set and the crust has slightly browned (the center will still look wet). Place on a rack to cool. Refrigerate and serve with Maple Whipped Cream.


Maple Whipped Cream:
Place 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 ½ Tablespoon pure maple syrup in the bowl of your kitchen aid mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Refrigerate and serve with a slice of pie!


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Harvest Pumpkin-Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1⅓ cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
½ cup Sugar
½ cup Brown Sugar
1 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup raisins or cranberries





Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray baking pans with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, Sugar and Brown Sugar in large bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract; mix well. Add flour mixture; mix well. Stir in walnuts and raisins or cranberries. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned and set in centers. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Savannah's Heavenly Celebration-Angel Food Cake


Tomorrow, October 28th, is our daughter's birthday. Savannah Grace has been safe in the arms of Jesus for a year now. If you are new to this site and would like to know more about Savannah's story, you can visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/savannahgraceburrell In honor of her birthday, Darin, Jaythan, and I are spending the day together celebrating and honoring her life. We are first going to spend some time visiting her grave and bringing new flowers and butterfly-shaped balloons. Later, we are going to the hospital where I delivered her and donating the same burial gown in honor of our precious daughter to be used by another baby who gets to be with Jesus right away. Because we want to make it a celebration of her time with Jesus, we are going to have "Angel" Food Cake later that evening that Jaythan will help make. He loves to help Mommy in the kitchen. And, he LOVES his Sissy. I will blog about our day later when I am emotionally able to process it all in understandable words. But, now I want to offer the Angel Food Cake Recipe that I like to bake. I also want to ask that you pray for our hearts that are grieving. I have found myself overwhelmed by my grief since Sunday-crying from the depths of my heart, and pleading with Jesus to hold me close.


Matthew 5:4: Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.


2 Corinthians 1:3-4: Blessed be the God and the Father of our Lord Jesu Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.


Raspberry Angel Food Cake


Ingredients:
10 egg whites
1-1/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cake flour
2 cups fresh raspberries


Directions:
In a bowl, beat egg whites until frothy; beat in cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the extracts. Gradually beat in sugar until stiff, scraping bowl occasionally. Sift flour over beaten whites; sprinkle with berries. Gently fold flour and raspberries into batter until well mixed. Pour into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Bake at 325° for 40-45 minutes or until lightly browned and entire top appears dry. Immediately invert the pan; cool completely, about 1 hour.

Yield: 16 servings.


Notes:

I like to serve this with fresh raspberries on top and a generous scoop of homemade whipped cream (recipe below). Strawberries can also be substituted for the Raspberries.



Sweetened Whipped Cream


Ingredients:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions:
In a chilled small glass bowl and using chilled beaters, beat cream until it begins to thicken. (I use my Kitchen Aid Mixer). Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla; beat until soft peaks form. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 2 cups.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

An Apple a Day



So many people are currently fighting sinus infections, the nasty flu, stomach bugs, and various other sicknesses. I pray daily for God's healing in our loved ones lives and protection for our family from illness.
Psalm 30:2
"O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me."


Today I would like to share a new Apple recipe guaranteed to make anyone feel much better. Plus, I have always been told that "An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away." So, I encourage you to cut a thick slice of this Apple Pie and enjoy it with a generous scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream-Blue Bell preferably :-). Both my hubby and my parents have declared this a KEEPER!




Apple Crumb Pie

Ingredients:
1 prepared refrigerated piecrust
(from a 15-ounce package)
Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch ground cloves
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and chilled
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional
Pie Filling:
6 Golden Delicious apples (about 2-3-4 pounds), peeled, cored and cut in 1/2-inch dice
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar


Directions:
1. Arrange a rack in the lowest slot of your oven. Heat oven to 375°F. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch pie plate and decoratively crimp edge. Refrigerate until you are ready to add filling.
2. Crumb Topping: Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and cloves in bowl. Rub in butter with fingertips until crumbly. Stir in nuts, if using.
3. Filling: In a large bowl, toss together apples, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and cloves.
4. Spoon filling into pie shell, mounding slightly in the center. Top filling with crumb topping. Place on small foil-lined baking sheet.
5. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°F; bake 30 minutes more, until fruit is tender. Loosely tent pie with aluminum foil during last 20 minutes. Let cool for at least 1-1/2 hours. (Can be made a day ahead. Cover pie and store at room temperature.) Dust with confectioners sugar before serving. Enjoy warm with a generous scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Carolina Blue Birthday Wishes & Pumpkin Cheesecake Deliciousness

Today, I am honored to have my Kindred Spirit, Charity Taylor, guest post all the way from Chapel Hill, N.C., where the sky is always a little bluer and your heart is always a little happier. Charity shares my passion for baking, and is an incredible cook.

"Today is a very special day! It’s my best friend’s birthday! HAPPY, HAPPY Birthday Tina and may God truly bless you with a special year to come. Your abiding friendship is a gift to me each day.

In honor of your birthday and your favorite fall season, here is a recipe for my most requested version of pumpkin cheesecake. I started making cheesecakes several years ago, and this was one of the first I made for family Thanksgiving dinner. Each year I try a different one, but my family says this one wins the prize."


Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:
8 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 32), broken
½ cup finely chopped pecans
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Filling:
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
4 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
1 – 15 ounce can unsweetened pumpkin
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 large eggs

For the Crust:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Crush gingersnaps in food processor to crumbs. Combine pecans, butter, sugar and cinnamon with cookie crumbs until the mixture holds together. Pat out in springform pan on bottom and 1 ½ inches up the side of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.

For the Filling:
Whisk flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg together and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and sugar, beating until fluffy. Add pumpkin, vanilla, flour mixture. Beat until smooth, for several minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat into mixture.

Pour into crust. Wrap outside of pan with double aluminum foil. Set pan carefully in a roasting pan with a shallow level of hot water so that the water comes about half-way up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until set in center, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Turn oven off and open door so that the cheesecake can cool slowly, for about one hour. Then refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours before serving.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sissy's Songs playing in my heart Today and Yesterday

My sweet-hearted, compassionate, almost 3 year old, Jaythan, truly has a heart like God's. He is full of love, joy, and innocence. We listen to worship and praise music in our home almost all the time. I love iWorship dvds and play them constantly. Jaythan likes to call praise music, "Sissy's Songs". Sissy is what Jaythan calls Savannah (his sister who lives with Jesus).

This week as I was driving in the car, listening to my new Kari Jobe worship cd, Jaythan put his arms in the air, and told me "Sissy's songs", Mommy; Sissy is dancing!" Of course, his sweet utterance brought tears to my eyes as I was struck with the image that my dear son holds in his young mind of His sister in Heaven dancing with Jesus as Praise music fills the air. I praise God for that glimpse into my precious daughter's joy-filled life in Heaven!

This week has been emotionally overwhelming to me, and every thing seems to trigger tears and fears for me. So, I am frequently finding myself in constant communication with my Heavenly Father. No deep discussions are taking place; rather, I am simply requesting His presence, His Love, and His healing touch in extra measure. By continually acknowledging that He is here with me, I feel a calmness and peace that I cannot explain. So, I am learning that I must surrender my yesterdays, my todays, and my tomorrows completely to His perfect care.

"Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." I Peter 5:7
A friend of mine shared a beautiful poem with me today that describes my heart now. It is taken from a book called, Teardrop Diary by Erin McSparron.

Yesterday and Today

Grief changes on a daily basis,
And is difficult to understand,
For your feelings and emotions,
Can on circumstances depend.

Yesterday I felt okay,
And demands on me I could meet.
But Today I feel so overwhelmed,
And do very close to defeat.

Yesterday I trusted God,
And my faith was fairly strong.
But Today I struggle and I wonder,
What did I do wrong?

Yesterday it was enough,
That in Heaven I would see.
But Today my heart aches deep inside,
Because I want my babe with me.

Yesterday I saw new life,
And praised God for His miracle.
But Today I can't even look their way,
For I'll cry and be hysterical.

Yesterday I was confident,
That life can go on for sure.
But Today I feel that all this pain,
I'll forever have to endure.

Yesterday I prayed to God,
And felt with help I'd survive.
But Today I feel abandoned,
And the guilt eats me alive.

Yesterday I thought that I Was through the hardest time.
But Today I see that infant grief
Doesn't follow a straight line.

Today is a brand new day,
Full of doubts and fears anew.
I may have coped well Yesterday,
But Today I'm feeling blue.

I know that there is one thing,
That I did Yesterday but not Today.
I leaned on God and asked him
To lead me on my way.

For if I think that on this road I can go it all alone.
I find myself in a "Today"
That shows me I was wrong.

So surrender up your Yesterday,
And Today to God above.
Only He can bless you,
And surround you with His love.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kari Jobe, Spiced Cider Soap & Fabric Pumpkins—My Savannah Smiles for Today!

To be completely honest with all of you in the blogging world, for the past week, I have been feeling pretty overwhelmed, lacking in joy, and quite sorrowful. Maybe it is because it is 100 degrees outside where I live-even though it is OCTOBER! UGH! I hate heat, and I so want it to feel Fall-Like. Jaythan and I went and bought a pumpkin for the front porch yesterday, and as we were putting it out, we were both sweating. There is something terribly wrong with that, in my opinion. I miss Autumn; I miss the Colored Leaves on the Trees; I miss being able to drink hot cocoa without sweating; but, mostly, I miss Savannah. There-I said it-the real reason for my “blahness” of late. I am not sure if it is because I have been holding tightly to my grief and instead putting on a “happy face” and “being strong” in front of others. Or maybe, I am afraid to grieve because I think that others will question “why isn’t she over it-it has been a year?” Or maybe, just maybe, my heart is aching because part of me is missing? I think that it is a combination of all of those things as well as her looming birthday in a few weeks.

But, before this post becomes so overly depressing, I am going to refocus.
I know I have so many reasons to be thankful, and God has blessed me tremendously, so today I sought out joy for my soul. Today’s joy (or Savannah Smiles as I like to call them) came in three forms.

1. My new Kari Jobe Cd. This is an amazing compilation of Worship songs that remind me of God’s presence, His unfailing Love for me, and my need to surrender everything (all these yucky emotions) to Him so He can Heal my heart. All of the songs are AMAZING! But, If I had to choose my favorites for today they would be, “Everyone Needs a Little” and “Singing Over Me.” You can listen to them on YouTube at the following links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUcJHz_jWs4&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjt3Yd-CxFg
I love the stanza in “Everyone Needs a Little” that says, “He will lift you up. He will lift you up higher than sorrow. He will lift you up and cover your soul with healing.” My soul is so in need of being lifted up and healed by my Heavenly Father today.



2. Spiced Cider Bath & Body Works Foaming Hand Soap-I bought this today and it almost made me do the happy dance in the store. This stuff smells INCREDIBLE and it brings Autumn into my home. I have washed my hands at least 30 times today. I cannot get enough of it! I am seriously considering going back to buy the Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin variety as well.

3. Craft Time with my Little Man-I love doing crafty things and I love spending time with Jaythan so I have started combining both loves into one. Today, in honor of it being 100 degrees outside, we made a fabric pumpkin! I saw the cutest pumpkin project at this website:
http://www.reallifeblog.net/2009/09/kids-craft-turn-toilet-paper-roll-into.html
I didn’t have the exact color fabric and pipe cleaners, but I have to say that I think our pumpkin turned out pretty cute! Not to mention, the cutie with the pumpkin! We had fun, and it made my heart smile to see how excited Jaythan got that we made a pumpkin.

So, now you have a glimpse into my heart for today-all the yucky and beautiful parts. Isn't it amazing that God loves us when we feel unlovely! Enjoy the pictures and be purposeful in finding Joy in the simple things. Much Love!

Friday, October 2, 2009

TEARS IN A BOTTLE & PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

October is typically my favorite month of the entire year! Not only does it mean that Autumn has arrived, it also includes my birthday! You can check out my earlier posts to learn about my love of all things Autumn as well as my obsession with my birthday. I usually celebrate my birthday starting October 1st and lasting until the 31st-I like to make the entire month special J and my hubby does an awesome job spoiling me and making me feel like a princess.

Because of my obsession with October, you would think that I would have woken yesterday (October 1st) with a happy heart and rejoicing that the anticipated month had arrived. However, that isn’t exactly what happened.

I had a busy day of appointments, the first being my MOPS meeting. I was especially excited about MOPS that day because it was our annual SPA day and I love all things spa-like! I was sitting at the table surrounded by friends, and the kind lady giving us our spa treatments asked me how many children I have. Now, I hate that question because I never know how to respond. I have two children; however, one of them currently resides with Jesus and not with me. Usually, I respond by saying I have one son, Jaythan. However, yesterday, I replied, “two-a boy and a girl”. Then one of the ladies whom I thought knew about Savannah’s death, asked me “how old is your daughter?” My heart sunk, and I replied, “she passed away last October.”

I waited a few moments, and then excused myself to the restroom. As soon as I walked in the restroom, I fell apart emotionally. I began crying from the depths of my heart uncontrollably unlike I have cried in months. It was as if my heart had been holding it in and it all had to come out. It physically hurt to cry that hard, and it has been 6 months since I have allowed myself to grieve like that. I sat in that stall for probably 20 minutes and just CRIED. And all I could say, was “God, I can’t do this; I need my daughter.” I told God, “October isn’t so much fun anymore!” (My precious daughter’s birthday/heavenday was October 28 of last year.) As I sat there with my head in my lap and my tears falling consistently onto the floor, I heard God whisper to me, “I am collecting each of those tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8); I do see you, and I am Here with You.” Now, did I feel instantly better and did I stop crying immediately? No. But, I did feel God’s presence, and I knew that it was okay for me to grieve. I often feel guilty anytime I cry anymore, but yesterday God was telling me it’s okay to mourn. This is likely going to be an unfun October for me this year, and I may cry uncontrollably daily. But, I am thanking God for meeting me on the first day of this somewhat-unbearable month and telling me that “He sees me, and He cares.”

Jaythan and I go on “dates” to Barnes and Noble twice a month to play with the train set, read books, drink chocolate milk. On our last date, we picked out an Autumn-themed book that has now become his favorite. It is a story about a Bear Family called, “That’s when I’m Happy.” Last night when I was reading it before his bedtime, I was especially struck with the first few lines of the book.
“There are some days when I’m very happy, and then there are some days when I’m a little bit sad. But, now on those days when I’m a little bit sad, I try and find my way back to being happy.”

Yesterday, was one of those days that I needed to find my way back to being happy…one of those days when I needed to be reminded of the many ways that God has blessed me. It was a perfect day to review my “100 things that bring me Joy” list that I wrote in one of my previous posts. If you are having a day that is a little bit sad and you need to find your way back to being happy, please know that you are not alone. God is there; He sees you; and He wants to comfort you. Let him Love You. Do something that brings you joy, spend time with those who make you laugh, or bake some of these yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Your heart and tummy will thank you!
Blessings to you dear friends. God Loves you with a Lavish Love!
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” I John 3:1a

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Add vanilla and chocolate chips. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm. Enjoy!