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

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

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.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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:

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:
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


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

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

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!