"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future! "
Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, September 30, 2011

Homemade Foaming Hand Soap

I have been making my own foaming hand soap for awhile now. I really like the foam kind much better than the liquid so I thought I would give it a try and see if I could make it.  WOO HOO, it was sooooo EASY!

I used an old foam bottle that I had and just followed the simple steps below. . . . .


I know of a few people who also throw in small pieces of soap into a bottle of water and get the same results.  I haven't tried that yet, but you know it's on my list!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Before Prayer meeting this evening, I made these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins using a recipe I found on Pinterest.com.  I have to say they are so good AND they are easy to make too!  Actually, I was told that they are even better than the ones you can buy at Starbuck's! WOO HOO!  

While I was making the batter, I discovered that I was missing not one, not two, but THREE of the ingredients I needed, so. . .I had to improvise.  In this recipe, I made the following substitutions:

For the nutmeg ~ I used an extra 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and 1 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice

For the vegetable oil ~ I used an equal amount of cinnamon apple sauce

For the butter ~ I used margarine, but I will NEVER use it again when I make any kind of struesel topping, it crystallizes and gets hard

FILLING:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract

MUFFINS:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

STRUESEL TOPPING:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

DIRECTIONS:
For the filling, combine the cream cheese, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Once blended, cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.

For the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F, and line muffin pans with cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree ,, vanilla and oil. Mix on low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

For the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (2 tablespoons). Spoon a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into the very center of each cup. Divide the remaining batter among the cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a tablespoon of the streusel mixture on top of each muffin.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving, the cream cheese filling will be very hot!

I hope you enjoy these muffins as much as we are!




Monday, September 26, 2011

Trying Something New

I have ALWAYS loved taking pictures, doesn't matter what of, I just like to point and shoot. Sometimes, I don't even look, I just push the button!  LOL  It is amazing though, the things that you actually capture when you're not even trying!  lol  I have never thought of myself as being a "photographer" really, just someone who loves capturing those special moments of my family and friends.

About two weeks ago, my friend G-Girl, asked me to take some photos of her for the cover of an album she is working on, and also some family portraits.  They are an AWESOME Christian family with hearts as big as their smiles!   

These are some of the results of my first two "official" photo shoots. I love my bloggy-friends and value all of your opinions, soooo......please take a look and tell me what you think!










Friday, September 23, 2011

Sisters Are Great!


My sister came over today with a surprise for me and I was soooo excited.....GOOSE BERRY PATCH COOKBOOKS! 


WOO HOO!

I just love these.  They are filled with so many neat ideas and recipes.  I can't wait to make a cup of coffee and sit down at the table with these and RELAX!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Did You Know. . . .


. . .I LOVE MY COFFEE CREAMER?  I reeeeally do! I love it even more when I can get it on sale.  The Bailey's creamer that I have pictured here, is normally $2.49 a bottle at Martin's, Food Lion, and/or Wal-Mart.  Martin's had it on special one week for their savings card members for $1.50 a bottle.  My sister and I each had $1.00 off coupons, bringing the cost of each bottle to $.50 each.  WOO HOO!  Needless to say, we stocked up!  These freeze really well too!

Did you know that your coffee creamer is not just for coffee anymore.  I use my coffee creamer in place of milk when I make pancakes, French Toast, waffles, desserts that require milk, and so many other things...it gives it an extra boost of flavor. 

You can also use the powdered creamers as well:

*Mix two parts creamer to one part cold milk, add sugar and vanilla if desired. Whip until stiff; it makes flavored whipped topping for desserts.

*Add 5 teaspoons of coffee creamer to a cup of water, and it can be a replacement for milk in recipes.

*Use the liquid creamers to thin down ice cream when making milk shakes, home made blizzards, or add to smoothies. You can also use both liquid & powder for malts and hot cocoa.

Do you use flavored creamers in more than just your coffee?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Firin' It Up!

Sunday was rainy and a bit chilly so Skippy thought it was a perfect day to fire up the wood stove to make sure everything was working right.  So, off to the yard he went to finding some kindling and getting some dry wood.  It's a good thing I made a kindling pile last week, huh?  lol

At first there was a little bit of smoke inside, but after the temperature rose, it dissipated.  We will have to go up on the roof and put the metal brush through to loosen up the creosote so we can clean it out.  This is not a difficult job......just takes a little bit of time.

While My Skippy Man was working on the stove, I was in the kitchen cooking up a pot of homemade chicken and noodle soup.  I never follow a recipe for this........I just add whatever seasonings I want to taste.

 During the winter season, our stove is in use EVERYDAY!!!  Not only does it heat our home, but I use it to cook on and heat water for doing the dishes, making our liquid laundry detergent, etc..  It saves a BUNCH on our electric bill.  This year I will find a way to make some kind of baking box to go on the top, around the pipe.  How awesome would THAT be?   Actually, I would absolutely LOVE and old fashioned cast iron cook stove......SOME DAY!

Do you have a wood stove?  If you do, I'd LOVE to come by see it! Please leave a comment and a link back to your blog so I can come and see you!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Goose and her friend Marshmallow came over the other day to make some strawberry jam.  Marshmallow wanted to make something special to give to her teachers.  Freezer jam is QUICK, EASY, and DELICIOUS!

For this recipe you will need:

2 cups crushed strawberries (buy 1 qt. fully ripe strawberries)
4 cups  sugar, measured into separate bowl
3/4 cup water
1 box  SURE JELL Fruit Pectin

WASH & RINSEWASH & RINSE 5 (1-cup) plastic containers
and lids with boiling water. We used canning jars because they were being given out as gifts and would be eaten right away.  Dry thoroughly. Stem and crush strawberries thoroughly, 1 cup at a time. Measure exactly 2 cups prepared fruit into large bowl. Stir in sugar. Let stand 10 min., stirring occasionally.



MIX water and pectin in small saucepan. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Continue boiling and stirring 1 min. Add to fruit mixture; stir 3 min. or until sugar is almost dissolved. (A few sugar crystals may remain.)

 

FILL all containers immediately to within 1/2 inch of tops. Wipe off top edges of containers; immediately cover with lids.






Let stand at room temperature 24 hours. Jam is now ready to use. Store in refrigerator up to 3 weeks or in freezer up to 1 year (in plastic containers). Thaw in refrigerator before using. 

ENJOY!!




Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Peanut Butter Brownie Squares


"All you need is love. . . . . . . but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."

~ Charles M. Schulz ~

I was looking for a little something special to make My Skippy Man yesterday and I came across these on the "DUNCAN HINES" website......Peanut Butter Brownie Squares.  I thought, how can I go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter!

Skippy really liked these brownies, especially with vanilla ice cream. I liked the brownie part, however, I thought the frosting was too sweet and needed a stronger peanut butter flavor so next time, I will decrease the amount of powdered sugar.  If you make these brownies and reduce the amount of powdered sugar, don't forget to reduce the amount of shortening and milk as well.

For this recipe, you will need:

Brownies:
  • 1 pkg Duncan Hines® Chewy Fudge Premium Brownie Mix
  • 1/2 cup Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Crisco® No-Stick Cooking Spray

Frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp Butter, softened

Drizzle:

  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
Baking Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F. Spray only the bottom of 13x9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Prepare and bake brownies according to package directions for cake-like brownies. Cool 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. For frosting, combine confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, milk and butter in small bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer until blended. Spread over warm brownies.
  4. For drizzle, place chocolate chips and shortening in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high power for 1 minute or until melted. Drizzle over frosting. Allow chocolate drizzle to set before cutting into bars.
    ENJOY!!

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    In Good Company

    "Friends are the most important ingredient in this recipe of life!" 
    Author Unknown

    This past weekend we had the pleasure of not only attending a Beth Moore Simulcast at our church, but to also have some WONDERFUL FRIENDS come and visit with us.


    I think most of you may recognize the BEAUTIFUL LADY in this picture with me.....this is Andrea from "Arise 2 Write".  She has come down before and attended some of our other Women's Ministry activities with us, but she usually attends them alone, but this time. . . . .






     
    she brought her AWESOME husband and he attended the Beth Moore Simulcast right along with us.  


    We spent the weekend just relaxing, talking, and of course, eating. LOL! It was truly welcomed ..... a much needed time of fellowship.






     


    We were even given a rip-roaring fire by none other than My Skippy Man.  He really knows how to have a beautiful ending to a beautiful day!