Saturday, June 18, 2011

White Chocolate Blackberry Streusel Bars

Where we live in South Texas, produce is very cheap, especially during the summer months. I recently got blackberries for 88 cents a package and decided to try this recipe I found from the Tasty Kitchen Blog (their recipe called for making strawberry streusel bars). I altered it a little to accomodate the blackberries, and the end result was fabulous! This is a great recipe to use for a picnic, bbq, or summer party as it utilizes fresh fruit, and once it is sliced into bars it is easy to transport. You could use any variety of berry and jam that you like. I am sure blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries would taste wonderful as well.

Have a Blessed and Beautiful Father's Day Weekend! You are prayed for daily and dearly loved by your Heavenly Father.

"Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord
forever." Psalm 23:6


White Chocolate Blackberry Streusel Bars
2 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
¾ cups White Sugar
¾ cups Light Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoons Baking Soda
½ teaspoons Salt
1 cup Cold Butter, Cut Into Small Pieces (2 sticks)
8 ounces, Blackberry Jam (1 cup)
1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
2 cups Blackberries, Flattened and Smashed with a Fork
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, both sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. Add the chopped up cold butter and work it into the dry ingredients with your fingers, a fork, or a pastry blender until the mixture looks like small crumbles. Reserve 1 1/2 cups of this mixture.
3. Dump the remaining crumb mixture into an ungreased 9x13 inch pan and press it into an even and thick crust.
4. Bake in 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes or until it is firm to touch. Do not brown.
5. Remove pan from oven. Warm the blackberry jam in the microwave for 30 seconds and then stir in the lemon zest. Drizzle the warm jam over the warm crust and spread with a spatula. Spread the smooshed blackberries over the crust. Sprinkle on the reserved cup and a half of crumb mixture.
6. Return pan to 350 degree F oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until the crumbs on top are lightly browned. Then remove it from the oven and let the pan cool for 1 hour.
7. Melt the white chocolate in microwave at 20 second intervals until fully melted, making sure to use a microwaveable safe dish. Drizzle melted white chocolate c over the streusel top. Cut into bars. ENJOY!

Makes 15-18 bars (dependent upon the size of the bars you slice)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Monkey Muffins-A Yummy Breakfast Treat for Kids of All Ages

I absolutely love Taste Of Home Magazine. It has some of the best, easiest, and healthiest recipes in it. I subscribe to their weekly emails as well, and this week they sent out a printable Taste of Home Kids Coloring Cookbook that you can download. Since my four year old loves helping me bake and cook, I was super excited to receive this and immediately printed it out. Yesterday, we made the Monkey Muffins, and they were a HUGE hit. Seriously, these will likely become a staple in our house. I love that the recipe calls for healthy ingredients like bananas and peanut butter in a yummy treat that kids will love. My son has eaten several already (for breakfast and for snack). So, if you happen to have some overripe bananas, bake up a batch of these this weekend and let your kiddos join in the fun. If you would like to download the Kids Coloring Cookbook, just go here:
We can't wait to try the rest of the recipes. We plan to make the Pretzel Sparklers and Fourth of July Pizza very soon.

Note: The original recipe calls for making mini muffins, but I used regular sized muffin pans which yielded 24 muffins instead of the 72 mini muffins.

Happy Father's Day to all of the Amazing Dads out there! I am so blessed to have an Awesome Dad who loves me unconditionally and sacrifice so much for me. I also am blessed to be married to an Amazing Father to our children. My husband has a deep and evident love for our son and soon-to-arrive daughter. I thank God for these blessings!

Have a Beautiful Weekend. You are prayed for and loved immensely by your Heavenly Father.

“Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the LORD. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”

Psalm 68:4-5 NIV


Monkey Muffins


1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided

2 eggs (or 1/2 cup egg beaters)

1 cup mashed overripe banana (about 2-3 bananas)

2/3 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon skim milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup minature semisweet chocolate chips


In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the mashed
bananas, peanut butter, milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda
and salt; add to creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.
Fill greased or paper-lined miniature muffin cups three-fourths full.
Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes or until a
toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes
before removing from pans to wire racks. Makes 72 mini muffins or 24 regular-sized muffins.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dancing the sacred dance of joy and grief simultaneously...and yet "NEVER ONCE" have we been left alone!

"But if the grieving begins to linger too long, it can be good to circle around to the gifts again; to whisper thanks, to receive the blessing, and to turn ourselves outward. Grief closes us in. Gifts spin us around to thankful, and thankful opens us wide for the giving." (Emily from

As Bella Joy's Pregnancy draws to a close, I am finding myself often overcome with so many conflicting emotions-sheer joy and hope and bliss at meeting my baby girl, holding her close, and whispering my love to her while at the same time I ache with an unexplainable sorrow and yearning for our Savannah Grace who is dancing with Jesus now. I find myself dancing as well...the dance of joy and grief in these final days of pregnancy. On the days when my heart is overwhelmed, I am choosing to whisper my gratitude and receive God's blessing-our Bella JOY, trusting Him to hold Savannah Grace close to His heart. One thing I have learned since Savannah's death, is that God has NEVER left us and NEVER stopped loving us...He has remained in control; He has NEVER left His throne-He has remained FAITHFUL. I love Matt Redman's new song, "Never Once"...especially the line, "Every step, we are breathing in your grace." We never walk alone! What a promise to cling to in days of grief, and in days of joy!

Please pray for us in these final weeks that our hearts would be comforted with the HOPE and PROMISE that we will see our first daughter, Savannah Grace, very soon-we have the promise of Heaven and the Promise of Christ's return. Pray that we can focus on the BEAUTY that our God has brought out of the ashes and the JOY that is coming in the Morning for our family. Bella Joy is truly a miracle ( and we are praising God for His AMAZING LOVE and the ways in which He is healing our hearts.

You can listen to the "yet-to-be-released" Never Once song on Matt Redman's facebook page:

Never Once by Matt Redman

Verse 1

Standing on this mountaintop

Looking just how far we've come

Knowing that for every step

You were with us

Verse 2

Kneeling on this battle ground

Seeing just how much You've done

Knowing every victory

Is Your power in us


Scars and struggles on the way

But with joy our hearts can say

Yes, our hearts can say

Chorus 1

Never once did we ever walk alone

Never once did You leave us on our own

You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Repeat Verse 2

Repeat Pre-Chorus

Chorus 2

Never once did we ever walk alone

Never once did You leave us on our own

You are faithful, God, You are faithful

You are faithful, God, You are faithful


Scars and struggles on the way

But with joy our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone

Carried by Your constant grace

Held within Your perfect peace

Never once, no, we never walk alone

Ending Chorus

Never once did we ever walk alone

Never once did You leave us on our own

You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace

Evermore we'll be breathing out Your praise

You are faithful, God, You are faithful

You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Crumb Cake that says "Bon Appetit!"

I found this amazing recipe in Bon Appetit Magazine...a magazine that traditionally scares me because of the complexity of the recipes. However, I decided to bravely try this breakfast goodie, and the tediousness of it was well worth the effort. It is described as "a tender sour cream coffee cake that is topped with a thick layer of cinnamon-scented streusel." It made my kitchen smell heavenly and the end result was beautiful, delicious, and even "gourmet". So, if you have an hour a half to spare and you enjoy making amazing breakfast treats, then give this recipe a try. I promise you won't be disappointed. I can't wait to share ours with our Sunday School class in the morning.

Blessings and Love to you my dear friends. Your Heavenly Father loves you dearly!

Psalm 34:8

"Taste and See that the Lord is Good, blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him!"

New York-Style Crumb Cake

Topping Ingredients:
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, warm
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Cake Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix both sugars, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl and whisk to blend. Add warm melted butter and stir to blend. Add flour and toss with fork until moist clumps form (topping mixture will look slightly wet). Set aside.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter or spray with cooking spray a 13x9x2-inch glass or metal baking dish. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat room-temperature butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla extract and beat just until blended. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, beating just until incorporated after each addition. Transfer cake batter to prepared baking dish; spread batter evenly with rubber spatula. Squeeze small handfuls of topping together to form small clumps. Drop topping clumps evenly over cake batter, covering completely (topping will be thick).
Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and topping is deep golden brown and slightly crisp, about 1 hour. Cool cake in dish on rack at least 30 minutes.

DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely. Cover and let stand at room temperature. Cut cake into squares and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Serves 15-18

Friday, June 3, 2011

Pecan Chewies (a.k.a Portable Pecan Pie :))

My hubby loves Pecan Pie, and this simple, yummy recipe allows him to have a "slice of pie" in his lunch bag each work day. These bars are portable and taste just like the Pecan Pie loved by so many. They are especially good served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel. However, they taste great at room temperature as well. Bake a batch this weekend and I guarantee your family will thank you. Blessings to you my dear friends! You are dearly loved by your Heavenly Father!

1 John 3:1
"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"

Pecan Chewies

2 sticks butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cup pecans
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Melt butter, add brown and white sugars, and blend well by hand (no mixer). Add beaten eggs, stir well. Add flour and stir until all lumps are gone. Add pecans and vanilla. Pour and spread into a greased and floured 9 x 13 baking dish. Bake approximately 50 minutes being cautious not to over cook. Enjoy!