Monday, September 20, 2010

Autumn in my Heart, my Home, and my Kitchen

Joel 2:23
"Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains in righteousness. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before."

The following blog post is a repost from last year, but the same feelings are in my heart, the same decorations in my home, and the same yummy dishes in my kitchen. I LOVE all things Pumpkin. In fact, I really want to take a trip to IHOP to have some Pumpkin Pancakes. My mom texted me this morning that she was enjoying some at her IHOP in NC, and I was super jealous.

As for other Autumn (specifically Pumpkin) Goodies...
If you are in the mood for some yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, then just visit here:

If you are a Pumpkin Fan, then you have to try my Granny's Pumpkin Cake:

Or if you prefer a Pumpkin Cheesecake then click here:

Or maybe you would like to try some yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies:

If you are in need of the Perfect Pumpkin Pie Recipe or perhaps some Healthy Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, then click here:

Or my personal favorite...Pumpkin Angel Food Cake with Maple Whipped Cream Topping!

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.” ~Stanley Horowitz

I LOVE Autumn. It makes me smile; it makes my heart smile; it even makes me do Jaythan’s happy dance. I am a Southern Girl who lived the first 20 years of my life in North Carolina where Seasons exist, and the leaves turn amazingly beautiful reds, yellows, oranges, and plums every September lasting until late November. I am convinced that the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC is a glimpse of Heaven on Earth given to us by God to make our hearts happy.

Unfortunately, where we live in far South Texas (Northern Mexico ;-)), seasons do not exist. It has been 100 + degrees here for what seems like forever. There are usually only 2-3 days per year that are “sweater worthy”. Oh, and did I mention that the only trees that we have are Palm trees? Thus, no reds, yellows, oranges, and plums to make my heart happy. But, alas, I have gotten used to the nonexistence of Autumn, and have decided that Autumn can live in my heart, my home, and my kitchen.

Even though it is only the beginning of September, I have already begun to decorate my home for the season.

In my heart, I can decide daily to allow God’s warmth and presence to fill every part of my being. I can make time to spend playing in the park with Jaythan, taking walks with my hubby, and laughing over a cup of tea with my friends and family.

As for my kitchen, Autumn automatically makes me think of apples, Hot Chocolate, Pumpkin Pie, fresh breads, mouth-watering soups, and a Kitchen that smells like cinnamon and nutmeg. How could one not love the season that contains Thanksgiving, State Fairs, Hay Rides, and Caramel Apples? Or, not to mention, my birthday ;-)! So many reasons to celebrate :-)! Thus, I am going to start posting recipes over the next 2 months that make me think of Autumn-recipes that will fill your home and your tummies with satisfying warmth. So, invite your friends or family over, make some of these yummy goodies and enjoy Autumn to the fullest! Today’s recipe is a personal creation that I entered into a cookie contest when we lived in Fort Worth. They contain all the ingredients of Fall-caramel, apples, and cinnamon; and they taste like a caramel apple explosion in your mouth. Enjoy!

Be Blessed and Love Lavishly!
Christina B

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn. ~Elizabeth Lawrence

Caramel Apple-Cinnamon Bars

1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
¼ cup shortening
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
4 ½ cups coarsely chopped peeled tart apples (3 medium)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar
1 bag (14 ounces) caramels)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Mix the brown sugar, butter, and shortening in a large bowl. Stir in 1 ¾ cups flour, the oats, salt, and baking soda. Reserve 2 cups of the oat mixture. Press the remaining oat mixture in an ungreased 13x9 inch pan.
Toss apples, 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar, and 3 tablespoons flour and spread over the mixture in the pan. Heat the caramels over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted; pour evenly over the apples. Sprinkle with the reserved oat mixture, pressing lightly.
Bake the bars 25-30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender.
Cut the bars into squares while they are still warm. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Makes 36 bars.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lemon-Kissed Blueberry Bread

Today has been a beautiful rainy day, and I have spent my time playing Leap Frog Zippity Games, sewing custom aprons to sell for the adoption, baking my orders for the coffee shop and experimenting with some frozen blueberries and lemons. The day has been very productive-2 aprons completed, lots of laughter with my son, baking orders finished, and a new recipe for lemon-kissed blueberry bread. The bread ended up having a cake-like texture and would be the perfect baked good to serve at a fancy brunch or tea. It is simply delicious and I look forward to sharing it with my Sunday School class tomorrow. I think I may even make mini loaves and wrap them in wax paper tied with blue and yellow ribbons to give as gifts this year. One wrapped loaf placed in a basket with a jar of lemon curd or blueberry preserves would make such a nice present to give to someone having a "blue" day.

You are prayed for my dear friends and dearly loved by God!
"My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
Psalm 27:8

Lemon-Kissed Blueberry Bread
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Lemon Glaze:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 9x5 inch loaf pan (I use Bakers Joy Spray with Flour). In a large bowl, beat together the melted butter, 1 cup sugar, lemon juice and eggs. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add the flour mixture into the butter/egg mixture alternately with milk. Gently fold in the lemon zestand blueberries. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine lemon juice and 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl. Remove bread from pan and drizzle with glaze before slicing. Enjoy!