Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just Doin’ Some Fall Baking…

I just love how our house smells this time of year… like pumpkins and nutmeg, apples and cinnamon… Mmm. Bri and I hosted our Life Group the other night and I was just thrilled to get any excuse to whip up some yummy baked goodness. These are some special family recipes that make me feel all warm inside. I hope you’ll enjoy ‘em too!

First up is my great grandma’s recipe for the classic fall treat, Pumpkin Bread. It’s moist and pumpkiny with a hint of cinnamon! Here’s what you need…

Sorry ... I love to bake at night which makes for not so pretty pictures.

Great Grandma Hale’s Pumpkin Bread
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 Tsp baking soda
3/4 cup canola oil
2 Tsp cinnamon
15oz pumpkin

Grab a small bowl and beat your eggs. Then add sugar and oil and mix well.
Mix the dry ingredients and add to previous mixture. Add pumpkin, mixing well.
Pour batter into greased and floured aluminum pans. (4 small or 3 regular size)
Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes until centers seem to bounce back when touched.

HINT: to keep loaves moist -- wrap in saran wrap when hot. (As soon as you take them out of the aluminum pans.)

This next recipe came from a lady named Katy Clay. She owned an incredible little tea room called "Katy's Corner" in a Victorian Cottage near the famous Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. My Mama & Daddy bought her recipe book in 1982 on a weekend trip together. My Mama still raves about how good the food was and she's been makin' this Apple Cake ever since! Here's the yummy ingredients...

Marmie's Apple Cake                                       Katy Clay
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups peeled, finely chopped apples (about 4 average size apples)

First, cream the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well. Grab another bowl and mix dry ingredients, then add them slowly to the creamed mixture. The batter will be very stiff at this point! Add the apples & vanilla and mix it well!

Pour your batter into greased and floured 9" x 12" cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

After the cake cools completely, sprinkle powedered sugar on top and serve!

Happy Fall! Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Burger Friday and a Burrito?

Rach has done it again... this one shocked me with how stinkin' good it is! Who would have thought that a beef and bean burrito with rice and cheese could be just as good... if not better on a bun?! You must try this! Here's what you need...

Beef 'n' Bean Burrito Burger                                                     Rachael Ray
with Guacamole
1 pound ground beef sirloin
15oz can black beans (drained & rinsed)
1/2 cup leftover white rice
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 Tsp cumin 
1 1/2 Tsp coriander
4 hamburger buns
4 leaves lettuce
1 large tomato, sliced
4 slices cheddar cheese
For the Guacamole:
1 Roma tomato
1 jalepeno
juice of a lime
small bunch of cilantro
2 ripe avacados
garlic powder

First up...HERE's my recipe for the Guacamole. You won't need a very big batch (unless you've got some extra chips laying around!)

If you don't have some leftover rice laying around, you'll need to whip some up.

Now, grab a large bowl and mix the beef, rice, beans, cumin, chili powder, coriander, S&P. This will make four large patties!

Get a couple Tbsp of EVOO in a large skillet over medium-high heat. You'll cook the burgers for about 6 minutes on each side, adding the sliced cheddar in the last minute or so.

Meanwhile, throw the buns under the broiler to get 'em toasty.

To assemble these bad boys, put some lettuce and tomato on the bottom bun, then the cheesy burrito burger, and a hearty helping of guacamole.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Whatcha Got Wednesday #7 & More Fall Goodies…

I don’t know about ya’ll, but I’ve been baking up a fall frenzy over here! It’s been nice and cool and little bit grey here in So Cal and I’m ready for hot chocolate every night and some sort of pumpkin baked goodie! I definitely went to Starbucks the other day for a non-fat, sugar free latte… and ended up with a rather large Pumpkin Spice Latte AND a Pumpkin Cream-Cheese Muffin too! Oh geez.

So in order to help you all blow your diets too….

Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls: S’more Cookie Bars!

Nothin' says fall like S'mores around a bon fire... and these can be made inside where it's nice and cozy... but with all the gooey marshmellowey goodness!

Annie @ Annie’s Eats: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins!

My Starbucks weakness now has a recipe to go along with it! THANK YOU Annie!

Abby @ Confabulation in the Kitchen: Homemade Fall Oreos!

My Daddy just LOVES Oreos... and how fun are these Fall cuties?! I bet they're a whole lot better than the store bought ones! 

Amy @ The Idea Room: Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes!

I have such a sweet tooth in the morning (well all day really) but Bri and I are definitely fans of big Saturday morning breakfast! We're sure excited to try out these pancakes! 

Tracy @ Sugarcrafter: Apple Cider Doughnut Holes!

Mmm mm! Homemade doughnut holes with fallish twist?! Count this girl IN! 

Happy Eating!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Country Music & Good Friends…

This was the Summer of Country Music out here in Cali and boy oh boy was this girl HAPPY! You’ll have to excuse the blurry pictures… Who loves cheap seats like we do? Amen?!

On our way to see Brad Paisley & Justin Moore!

Besides getting to go to THREE concerts with some of my FAVORITE artists, I got to spend some time with the amazing girl up there … Jes. God definitely put her in my life at a point when I was ready to tuck tail and RUN back to Missouri! She has been not only a friend when I needed one, but an amazing, encouraging, Godly woman! Boy did I strike gold when Brian and I signed up for Life Group at Our Church out here in Cali! He knew just what I needed (always does) and Jes has been just that!

 Brad. Amazing. Guitar skills = WOW.

Our personal Country Concert Series started with Brad… I’d seen him before, but he never fails to amaze me with his guitar playing! Justin Moore opened for him and he blew our socks off too! We brought the hubbies along for this one… but when it came time for Carrie and Rascal Flatts… they were OUT.

Carrie. That girl's got style! Rockin' a tux, a GORGEOUS skirt, & flyin' over the audience in a truck!

I have loved Carrie Underwood since her days on American Idol! (Yes… don’t judge me. I sometimes watch that show.) I brought a picture of her to the salon the day I got married so my hair would look Carrie-fabulous! Well…her concert was nothing short of breathtaking! From coming up and out of the middle of the stage with fabulous outfits, swinging on a big tree swing, flying over the audience on her truck, and her crystal clear voice, I was in heaven. That girl can SING! Jes & I had a great time! We especially liked Billy Currington opening for her! Any other ladies a fan of his?

Joe Don, Gary, & Jay Rockin' Out!

The very next day, us crazy girls headed for the Rascal Flatts tour! Those boys never let me down! I’ve seen ‘em before… but I always forget just how many hits they’ve had! Every song is a blast to sing along with!

What a great way to have some fun out here in Cali! I feel so blessed to get to get to step back into my Midwest shoes and enjoy some good ol’ Country Music!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Whatcha Got Wednesday #6... My To-Do List!

I have this fabulous little habit of stock piling ideas, patterns and tutorials (mentioned HERE). This is where my little weekly post comes in handy! So in an attempt to actually get some of these lovely projects started, I thought I'd share em' with ya'll! Enjoy...

Penny @ Sew Take a Hike : Pretty Hexi Quilt!

Penny is wonderful. Her blog is a cheery spot for all things quilted! Not only do I LOVE this quilt, she has all kinds of great tutorials and patterns, plus she's super talented! Her quilts are fresh & original and she makes me wanna go whip something up RIGHT now!

Cheryl @ a Pretty Cool Life: Rainbow Bunting Baby Quilt!

If you've stopped by my blog before... you KNOW my obsession with pennants. See HERE, and HERE. This quilt is DARLING! Someone needs to have a baby so I can make one... or maybe I'll just make it in a larger size for me? The icing on the top? Cheryl has some super tutorials and her blog is a JOY to read!

Melissa @ The Polka Dot Chair & Moda Bake Shop: Snuggly Layer Cake Throw!

I know it's gonna be a pattern I LOVE when I see it on TWO of my favorite blogs! Melissa makes quilting seem easy... and she's my kinda girl! Her blog full of fun tutorials and craftiness! She was featured on Moda Bake Shop... which is an AMAZING resource for tutorials and patterns all made with the most wonderful fabric ever... Moda! What could be better?

Lindsey @ The Pleated Poppy: Easy Throw Pillows

We ALL know Lindsey from The Pleated Poppy! She's just... a blogging, sewing Queen! Her shop makes me drool. She does amazing things with fabric and these pillows are just what I need to whip up with the next item on my list! HERE's her easy peasy tutorial!

Park Avenue by 3 Sisters for Moda @ Fat Quarter Shop 

Okay, so it's not a blog... but I REALLY, REALLY want this fabric!! I think I'm in love. It matches my living room perfectly and I want to whip up the Snuggly Layer Throw & some matching pillows too! I'll definitely be using my upcoming birthday money to snag this layer cake!

Monday, October 18, 2010

It Pays to Be a Book Junkie #2

It’s not often the ol’ blog gets all serious… the last time was HERE. I just thought that all you lovely people out there would like to know what’s been goin’ on with this little book-wormish, baking obsessed, Pottery Barn loving homemaker! I suppose it’s officially fall(though it most definitely does not feel like any FALL I’m used to here in So Cal,) I’ve been craving sweet pumpkin treats, fall decorating and making lists of recipes for Thanksgiving! I’m also missing my Chiefs Football, chilly—sweater wearing weather, and family time.

So in order to keep my waistline in check (yikes,) Bri’s wallet full, and my mind in a positive state… I’ve been reading some great books, and doing a few bible studies that are really kickin’ me into shape!

First up… I recommend that ya’ll grab a copy of Francine Rivers’ new book Her Daughter’s Dream which is a sequel to Her Mother’s Hope… which you’ll need too. It’s a tale of mothers and daughters… love & misunderstandings… and well, it’s well worth the read. Trust me.

I’ve also started two new Bible Studies… one with my Life Group (our amazing group of friends out here… they’re family), we’re doin’ The Me I Want to be by John Ortberg.

This book has been a great challenge for me to be “The me I’m meant to be” versus trying to be someone other people want me to be or who I think I “should” be. I need to remember that my calling in life to be a wife, homemaker, volunteer at church, and someday mother is more than enough for God… and really… does anything else matter? The pressures and guilt to have a career so that I’m worth something are a daily struggle for me.

And last, but definitely not least, my Women’s Bible Study is currently doin’ Pricilla Shirer’s One in a Million. I don’t know how to fully describe how much this study speaks directly to my life! It’s been such a blessing and so good for growing my faith! In this book, I’m reminded to seek after the abundant life God has for me. To experience Christ fully, and in that, have peace and joy! Amen?!

What are you reading right now? What’s been inspiring & encouraging you lately? Or do you need a little encouragement? Talk to me!

Friday, October 15, 2010

PE-CAN Goodness!

Mmm Mm! I do loooove pecans! I like ‘em candied, in pies, cakes, muffins… you name it! I stumbled upon this delicious recipe a few weeks ago and have made it TWICE since then! The recipe is so stinkin’ easy! And these muffins are perfect, buttery, comfort food! And just right for this time of year! You MUST make these! Here’s what you need…

Pecan Pie Muffins                                                          Black Hawk Wife (
(Makes 8 regular sized Muffins)

1 cup light brown sugar (packed)
½ cup flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie seasoning (this is my tweak)
1 cup Pecans (give ‘em a good chop)
⅔ cups melted butter
2 eggs

Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350 degrees & grab your muffin pan & spray it with some cooking spray.

Stir together the flour, pecans & brown sugar, and pumpkin pie seasoning in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat the butter & eggs until smooth

Combine the two bowls & spoon the muffin batter into the cups.

Bake for 20-25 minutes & serve ‘em warm with butter!

Sadly, I didn’t get a pretty picture of one before a certain someone grabbed & gobbled ‘em all up! NOT me! Okay, well maybe I helped.

Happy Fall!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Whatcha Got Wednesday #5 & Some Encouraging Blogs!

This week is all about the blogs that inspire me… ones that dig a little deeper & give encouragement and help grow my faith. Here are just a few of my favorites…

Katie Davis @ The Journey

Katie Davis is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. She is 21 years old and gave up everything to move to Uganda because God called her to go there and love children. She has taken in FOURTEEN children! She is 21 and takes care of 14 children! Did you hear me?! She also started an organization that feeds and educates 400 children! Her blog makes me want to do something THAT important in the world, and I’ve been brought to tears reading it. HERE is her story.

Julie Carson @ Joy’s Hope

Julie brightens my day every time I stop by her lovely blog. It’s beautiful, funny, crafty and FULL of encouragement… like her Happy Sundays! She tells the heartbreaking story of her blog’s name HERE. She is such a strong, Godly woman of faith… and she gives me such HOPE! Please stop by her site and see for yourself!

Lyndsie & Daniel @ A Love Worth Waiting For

Lyndsie & Daniel have a truly inspirational story! God brought Lyndsie through Cancer and a hysterectomy at age 21 and now he’s walkin’ beside them as they wait for their baby through adoption! Not only is their faith strong and their love deep… but they are constantly encouraging me! Check out Thankful Thursdays & Prayer Requests! This blog will truly bless you!

A Love Worth Waiting For

I hope these will be encouraging to you this week! God Bless!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tastes like Home…

This is a recipe that I make when I’m missing Missouri… it’s what my Mama made every Sunday in the fall and winter and we’d eat it while watching our Kansas City Chiefs play some football! I’ve tried several Chili recipes, and this one’s just about perfect… at least I think so! Here’s what you’ll need…

See that packet up there? That’s Williams Original Chili Seasoning… and without it, it’s just won’t taste the same. Marmie (my nickname for her) shipped me about 20 packets of that wonderful stuff just so I could make some chili!

Marmie’s Sunday Chili
28oz crushed tomatoes
28 oz red beans (NOT chili beans or kidney beans!)
2 lbs ground sirloin
1 packet Williams original chili seasoning
Salt to taste
Shredded cheddar cheese

The secret to this recipe is to let it simmer for a long time! It’s a pretty easy recipe and the secret is to let it simmer and bubble for a long time until all the flavors come together.

First grab your soup pot and brown the ground sirloin. Add the tomatoes, beans and seasoning and bring to a bubble. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for at least 45 minutes. Salt it to taste. Serve it up with cheese on top and saltine crackers! Bri likes his with a peanut butter sandwich, silly boy.

Now go watch some Football! Amen?

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Dining Room Reveal!

I can’t believe we’ve been in our new condo for 3 whole months! It was an interesting summer… between trips and visitors, ants (ew.) and getting the allergy inducing carpet FINALLY replaced… BIG sigh. I feel a little more at home, and it’s starting to get nice and cozy! First up is a place that certainly gets plenty of use around here… Our Dining Room!

Here's the before...

And here's after...

Sorry about the bad pictures... I couldn't seem to get any in the daylight that weren't grainy, or at night that weren't too dark. I think it's time to upgrade from the tiny digital camera that lives in my purse.

This is what I've got so far... I'm sure the centerpiece will change almost weekly... I do that. My poor Hubby probably thinks I'm crazy. Poor guy. AND... those beautiful fall flowers up there? He brought them home the other night... just because he's wonderful!

I just love these milk bottle tealight holders! I struck gold at Yankee Candles a while ago... you'll see more of my finds throughout our little abode in future posts!

You can't really see it, but I put my Great Grandma Hale's Banana Bread recipe in that frame up there... just felt like the right thing to have in my kitchen.

I was in love with these Pottery Barn shelves for so long... and after waiting, and saving and waiting... they finally found their home! I filled them with one of my favorite things... dishes! How could I hide those beauties in cabinets?!

I think these curtains are just darling! I was all ready to make my own, when I found these at an affordable price HERE. I also found many other adorable things at Piper Classics... the wish list is getting so very long.

I scored this little mail bucket at Joanns on clearance... LOVE that place! And around here... we stumble to the kitchen for coffee half awake. It helps to have a sign to point us in the right direction.

Here's the view from the kitchen... which I'll post pictures of real soon! Hope ya'll are havin' a great weekend! I'll be hosting my baby sister for her 23rd Birthday! We'll be eating, shopping, pampering, and spending plenty of time doin' some girl talk!