Friday, October 31, 2008

Blanket Adieu...

It has been cold here for the last week (by cold in mean low 50's high 40's at night). I am usually cold-natured and my husband is the opposite.

This week I pulled out our comforter (which we haven't used since late March) and put away the light blanket that has covered our bed the last several months. It is so fun to wake up with a comforter around my ears, all snuggled and warm. This does however make it hard for me to get out of bed though. I do feel however that fall is officially upon us and that makes me very happy.

So what is the weather like for you?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies...

This afternoon while J. was supposed to be napping (which he never did), A. and I made some cookies. Cooking, especially baking, is one of A.'s favorite things to do. So, as she stood on my kitchen step-stool, she poured the ingredients in as I measured them. She took some home to eat after dinner and my DH was very happy to have some "goodies" as well. I thought that I would share the recipe. I hope you enjoy them!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups plain oatmeal
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl, beat margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Alteration: For a more hearty/healthy taste, substitute 1 cup of Original Craisins for the chocolate chips.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Mayonnaise Preference...

This past spring my DH and I discovered a new product that we have just completely taken to. The product is Kraft's Mayonnaise with Olive Oil. It is healthier, that is if Mayo can be, then regular mayo and it is definitely worth giving it a try.

Have you tried it? Did you like it?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vermont Oatmeal Maple-Honey Bread...

Yesterday I made some of the most delicious sandwich bread. It has a hint of cinnamon which makes it just a tiny pit "fallish" and it is very simple to make. The loaves turn out beautiful and taste wonderful. I found the recipe in my King Arthur Flour Baking Companion, this is a baking must have. I did not have the maple ingredients so I used brown sugar and did not put in any maple flavor. I hope you like the result as much as my DH and I did.

Vermont Oatmeal Maple-Honey Bread

2 1/4 - 2 1/2 cups (18-30 oz.) boiling water
1 cup (3 1/2) thick oat flakes (rolled oats)
1/2 cup (2 3/4 oz) maple sugar or brown sugar (4oz)
1/2 teaspoon maple flavor (optional)
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 oz.) butter
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cups (7 3/4 oz) whole wheat flour
2 cups (8-9 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups (8-9 oz) bread flour

In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, oats, maple sugar, maple flavor, honey, butter, salt, and cinnamon. Let cool to lukewarm (110 degrees F).

Add the yeast and flours, stirring to form a rough dough. Knead (about 10 minutes by hand, 5 to 7 minutes by machine) until dough is smooth and satiny. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap., and let the dough rise for 1 hour; it should double in bulk.

Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a loaf. Place the loaves in two greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread pans. cover the pans with lightly greased plastic wrap (or a proof cover) and allow the loaves to rise until they've crowned about 1 inch over the rim of the pan, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the loaves for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove them from the oven when they're golden brown and the interior register 190 degrees F on a instant-read thermometer.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Two Years Ago Today...

My how two years can fly by. Two years of ups and two years of downs have come and gone. Yet, we (my DH and I) have peace about our loss. Two years ago today, we lost our precious little baby to a miscarriage.

I have reflected on the pain that immediately followed and the brokenness of my heart. Looking back, I see how God was there for me to cry out to when I didn't think that I could bear the pain. These two years He has been my Comforter and my Hope. He knows my tomorrows and is there with me as I go through them.

"Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall
strengthen thine heart:
wait, I say in the Lord."
~Psalms 27:14

Monday, October 20, 2008

Finishing a Dress...

I am a part-time nanny/babysitter to two precious little children. A. is going to be 4 in January and her brother, J., is 17 months. They come over to my house several days a week and we play and do fun activities. Today, A. and I were playing in my sewing room while J. napped. Then out of the blue she asks, "Are you ever going to wear that dress with the flowers on it?" and points to the dress on my dress form. I answered her by saying, "I will whenever I finish sewing it." A. then says, "Oh, well its been on there a for while."

I guess that since it has been over a year, I should really try get the dress finished. I need to make some alterations in the waist, finish the buttons on the front, and hem it. I also need to finish my sister's placemats I was making her for her birthday (last march). Hopefully, I can finish them before her next birthday.

Anyway, I thought that I would share my embarrassment about my unfinished project. Nothing like a 3 year old to make you feel guilty for not getting it finished yet.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thursday's Thoughts...

Today it actually feels like fall. The wind is blowing and it is quite cool outside (60 degrees). I think that I will actually wear a sweater today. It is so very exciting. I have been waiting for fall weather to come and now some of it is finally here. So, what is the weather like for you today?

Today my DH and I are going to plan Frisbee golf. We have missed going recently because it has been way to hot to spend over an hour in the blazing sun. But now, we have the opportunity.

Today my DH finds out the results of his comprehensive exams that he took last month. I am sure that he did fine, but now he will have the peace of mind that they are behind him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fabric Galore...

Hi there to all of you! When did it get to be Wednesday? I went to sleep last night thinking that it was Monday. The week is just flying by.

Some of you may know that I have a very strong attraction to several things (material things): black shoes, flip-flops, shoes in general (uh oh, I am starting to see a pattern), pajama pants, and fabric. All of the items mentioned above are present, in a certain degree of abundance, at my house. I say all of this to say that last weekend the quilting store in my area had a large fabric sale.

They had various fabrics for $4.00 a yard. I found a whole bunch of Amy Butler fabric that I liked for $4. $4!!! Can you believe it? I mean it is normally $9.25 a yard.

I went into the store planning on just buying maybe 5 yards. But, there were so many prints that I liked that my 5 yards quickly turned into 20 yards. I can't wait to start on some projects with it. I am determined to complete at least one project before Thanksgiving.

I bought a group of pink and orange coordinates...

Some brown/pink coordinates (the top two)...

And some blue/green coordinates.

They match in real life, honest.

So, do you have a collection of fabrics or some other type of crafting supply?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What Jane Austen Taught Me Review...

Today I finished the book What Jane Austen Taught Me About Love and Romance written by Debra White Smith. I really enjoyed reading this book. The book is written based on various Jane Austen novels and First Corinthians 13:4-8.

The book is an easy read. The chapters in it are fairly short and perfect bathroom/waiting in the car reading. Debra White Smith basically took a part of the verse and paired it with a Jane Austen novel character. For instance, the phrase "Love is patient..." is paired with "Emma Woodhouse and Sir Patience Extraordinaire". The book actually made me want to read one of the novels and I have recently started reading Sense and Sensibility.

This book encouraged me to be a better example of what true love (the First Corinthians type) looks like in relation to those around me, whether they be a neighbor or a family member. This book would be great for teenage girls as well.

If you would like to find out more about this book, click here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Week and the Weekend...

Well, hi to all of you! I hope that as the week draws to a close you feel like you accomplished many things this week.

I was sick for part of the week (Wednesday and Thursday) which really stinks because I had planned on getting more done that I really did. The part that I am really sad about is I had to miss my photography class. In the end though, I caught up on the housework that needed to be done today and tomorrow I plan on spending most of the day sewing.

I believe that I will let all of the apples of the world be, at least for this weekend, and do something else with my weekend. I really want to make caramel apples; I think I might try that in a couple of weeks.

So do you have plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pumpkin Crinkle-Top Muffins...

This morning I made some muffins for my DH's Bible study group. They turned out really well. I took a basic pumpkin muffin recipe a made a few adjustments.

Pumpkin Crinkle-Top Muffins

2 eggs
1 1/4 cup white sugar, divided
1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease muffin pan or use paper liners.

Beat 1 cup of sugar, oil, and eggs together until mixed well. Add pumpkin and water to the egg mixture. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Beat just until moist.

Mix 1/4 of sugar and 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon together in a small bowl (or a reclosable container to save for later use) until blended.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar ( a little more or less depending on your taste). Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Stick with toothpick to see if cooked thoroughly. Cool for 3 minutes before serving.

Yield: 12 regular size muffins

An Encouragement from God...

Last night while doing my Bible study, God brought me to I Peter 1:6-7. I am so amazed how God brings just what we need at the right moment. Maybe this will be as much of an encouragement to you as it is to me.

"In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary,
you have been grieved by various trials,
so that the tested genuineness of your faith
--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--
may be found to result in praise and glory and honor
at the revelation of Jesus Christ."

~I Peter 1:6-7

Monday, October 6, 2008

Apples This Way and That Way...

Hello to all of you. I hope that your weekend and your Monday went well. I hope that you had the opportunity to take in the fall weather around you (if that means pretty trees or just slightly cooler temperatures).

My DH and I had a busy, yet relaxed (if that is possible) weekend. We spent most of Saturday at a college football game. We had a good time cheering on our team on even though we did not win. It was fun getting to spend time with my DH.

Yesterday after church I got into apple mode. I peeled about 18 pounds of apples while my DH and I watched a movie and after the movie was over began making Applesauce and Spiced Apple Waffles. All in all I made 6 1/2 more quarts of Applesauce and almost 4 dozen waffles.

I have had a request or two for the Applesauce recipe that I use. I originally got this recipe on a blog last year and then tweaked it some. This recipe makes "not very sweet, but not tart" applesauce and I used all organic ingredients (which is just a matter of choice). The apples that I used are Honeycrisp apples and have a very smooth taste. I have doubled the recipe both times I have made it. If you would like more information on the "How to's" of canning, click here.


2 cups of unsweetened apple juice or cider
8 pounds of apples (I used Honeycrisp Apples)

In a large stew pot or dutch oven bring apple juice to a boil. Peel, core and slice the apples. Place apples in hot juice and let cook until soft, about 40 minutes.

Remove from heat and ladle into food processor or blender in batches processing until smooth, usually just a few seconds). Combine the batches afterward to ensure a consistent texture before laddling into jars. Laddle into prepared jars.

Process quart or pint jars with a water bath for 15 minutes.

Yield: 2-3 quarts

The following recipe is a wonderful waffle recipe I found online sometime ago and have tweaked just a little. The recipe is pretty involved. I tripled the recipe since the waffles freeze beautifully. I made a double batch last year and put them in the freezer. When I wanted waffles I would just take a few out and put them in the toaster (just like an Eggo). I stored them in gallon size Ziploc bags and they kept for almost a year. The recipe is definitely worth the trouble (especially if you make a big batch) because they taste the delicious.

Spiced Apple Waffles
3 eggs, separated
3/4 cup milk, warmed
3/4 cup buttermilk, warmed

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, grated
(I used 1/2 Granny Smith and 1/2 Gala)*

1 1/2 cups cake flour
(I used 1/2 all-purpose and 1/2 whole wheat cake flour)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar

1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

In a large bowl whisk together egg yolks, buttermilk, milk and butter. Stir in apple. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to yolk mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir in toasted pecans.

Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Add sugar 1 T. at a time; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes. Fold half of whites into batter and then the remaining whites.

Pour about 2/3 c. batter onto waffle iron. Cook waffles until golden brown, about five minutes. Keep warm in 200 degree oven while cooking the rest of the waffles (if you are going to serve them immediately).

Top with syrup, powdered sugar, or honey butter if desired.

Yield: About eight 6" Belgian waffles

*I used the largest holes on my grater because anything smaller just makes mush.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

October Welcomes...

Hello to you! Can you believe that it is already October? It seems like last October was not to long ago and now here is another one.

Well, this month will be a nice, but semi-busy month. I am currently taking a photography class and it is eating up a lot of my free time. The class goes for 8 weeks so I am almost half-way through already. That is a pretty sad thought, I am really enjoying it and learning so much.

This month my DH and I will be going on a short weekend trip as well. It is going to be a very rural type of trip with horseback riding, fishing, and hiking. It is a trip that I have designed to help my DH relax after his hard work for the last 6 months as he was diligently preparing for his comprehensive exams. I am looking forward to this time away from the busyness of everyday life.

The month of October can be nice sometimes to because it is the calm before the busyness of the holidays. I really want to host a Pie Swap this month. Monica over at The Homespun Heart gave me the idea and I think that it would be so very fun. I am thinking about hosting it on the last weekend of the month, hopefully.

I am getting to teach one of my dear friends to sew. I think it will be really fun to do and I like getting to share things that I do with others. The real question will be how good of a teacher I will be. I guess we will have to ask her when we have finished.

Apples I do believe are the centerpiece for my activities for this month. I am planning on making another batch of applesauce, some Spiced Apple Waffles (to put away in the freezer), and at least a few Caramel Apples. I just love this time of year.

I am also hoping to get my ETSY shop opened up this month as well. That is an ambition I have, whether or not it comes to pass is yet to be seen.

I have also set a goal of exercising everyday for the whole month (except on Sunday). I am not being ambitious about the amount or intensity. Just doing a one-mile walk each day is better than me really pushing myself once every other week at the gym, right?

Also, this month is a time of trust in God for me. I am having to daily remind myself to trust in Him about things in the past and the things in the future. I am having to rest in the perfect peace that He gives to my troubled heart.

This is my verse for the month:

"I wait for the Lord, my soul doeth wait, and in his word do I hope."
~Psalms 130:5

What all do you have going on this month?