Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What Does Fall Taste Like: Pumpkin-Cinnamon Muffins

I always wondered why fall was the only season 
with two names and after reading all the scientific reasons, 
it comes down to this....
there are many reasons!!     
One reason is because fall was once referred to as 
“harvest” because that is when farmers gathered 
their crops for winter, between August and November. 
Around the 1600s more people started moving 
into cities and the word harvest was replaced with 
"fall of the leaf" which comes from the 
Old English word feallan, which means 
“to fall or to die.” 
Over time, the phrase was shortened.   
"Fall of the leaf" is more like a phrase and 
so it was shortened to fall.  
In old French they used  autompne, 
and in old German they used abernten, 
and in Latin they used autumnus 
which means  autumn.  
It doesn't really matter to me what we call it, 
I just enjoy this time of  year.  
I love everything about it....cooler days, changing leaves
fuzzy slippers, warm apple cider and pumpkin anything.  
These Pumpkin-Cinnamon Muffins are what fall would 
taste like, if we could taste fall.

Makes 12 muffins 


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place muffin liners in muffin tin.  Spray with cooking spray.


For the muffin batter:

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4  teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2  teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 brown sugar
2 eggs
1  teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces pure pumpkin
1/4 vanilla almond milk or regular milk

Make the muffin batter: 

  • Whisk together in a large bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla, yogurt and pumpkin. Mix until not quite combined. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula. Add milk and blend until combined. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and again mix with the electric mixer until not quite combined. Finish mixing with a rubber spatula. There should be lumps.
  • Fill each muffin cup 2/3 with the batter.

For the crumb topping:

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted butter
pinch of salt

Make the crumb topping: 
  • In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, butter, and salt. Stir until mixture is combined – there should be some small lumps. 
  • Top each batter-filled muffin cup with a spoonful of streusel, spreading so the tops are evenly coated and press down slightly. 
  • Bake 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, maybe with a crumb or two.

Save Money: Spicy Pinto Beans

I am always looking for ways to cut my grocery bill without buying unhealthy food for my family.  I make an effort to not buy processed foods as much as possible.  If I do, I own it.  If I want chips, I get them.  Overall, though, I want to make healthful choices and healthy does not always equal affordable.  I love trying new ways to make the same things.  Beans are cheap, however, I noticed the price going up even on dried, bagged beans.  I remember when they were under a dollar and now all varieties are over a dollar.  A 1 lb bag of dried beans is the equivalent to 5 cans....still a way more affordable option.  Beans are one of the most versatile foods out there.  There is so much flavor packed into these beans and you can make different meals with them.
Some of our favorite ways to eat these beans are with cornbread, make them into tostadas and burritos or as a side dish with grilled chicken and greens or corn on the cob.


  • 2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 1 ham hock or ham or bacon (optional)
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 each mini red, yellow and orange bell peppers, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 whole jalapeno, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder  or creole seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt (if using creole seasoning, omit salt)


  1. Rinse beans under cold water, sorting out any rocks.
  2. Place beans in a stock pot with the ham hock and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours, checking occasionally to make sure the water level is fine. Add more water as needed.
  3. Then throw in diced shallot,  peppers, garlic and jalapeno. Cover and continue cooking for another hour, remembering to check the water level.
  4. Add salt, chili powder, seasoning salt and pepper, then cover and cook for another 30 minutes, or until beans are tender. 

Posted by on August 4 2011

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Everything Cookie

The Everything Cookie
When you're in the mood for something sweet, try these cookies.
This is like the everything bagel only in cookie form.  There are so many different ways you can make the Everything Cookie. Use what you have in the pantry to create this amazingly, chewy cookies.  This cookie would be great with white chocolate chips, macadamia nuts, butterscotch chips, Heath bar chips, broken pretzels, raisins, get the point.

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2  eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup oats 
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (dark or semisweet)
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2  cups puffed rice cereal


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Cream the butter with both sugars in a mixing bowl until fluffy.
  • Add peanut butter.
  • Add the eggs one at a time. 
  • Add the vanilla and beat.
  • Combine the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.  Add to the mixing bowl and mix until combined. 
  • Add in the oats, PB chips, chocolate chips and nuts. 
  • Add the cereal at the very end, mixing until just combined. 

Use a large cookie scoop to scoop balls of dough onto a cookie sheet. 
Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes, and then allow to cool on a rack.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Oatmeal-Jam Squares

 This dessert is all the best things of a fruit pie without the wait.  
It comes together in under 30 minutes.  
This is a great dessert to make with your kids because it is so easy, especially for the younger kiddos.
I have a secret ingredient that I think is responsible for the addiction you will have after just one bite.  It makes people wonder what makes this taste so good??!!

Recently, I bought lingonberry jam and pumpkin butter.  
They are my favorites!  I decided to make these Oatmeal-Jam Squares with the lingonberry jam and it was delicious...a little tart and a little sweet.  

You will need~~

  • refrigerated pie crust
  • jam
  • oatmeal
  • flour
  • butter
  • brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • freshly ground nutmeg (secret ingredient)
  • salt


  1. Unroll 1 refrigerated pie crust onto a baking sheet. 
  2. Spread with 3/4 cup jam
  3. Mix 3/4 cup each oats and flour, 6 tablespoons melted butter, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and a pinch of salt. 
  4. Mix crumb mixture and drop over the jam. 
  5. Bake at 450 degrees, 15 minutes. 
  6. Let cool and cut into squares using a pizza wheel.

Spread jam evenly on crust.

Make crumb mixture in a bowl.

Sprinkle evenly over jam.

Using a pizza wheel makes it easier to slice.

~ I have made this with strawberry jam, lingonberry jam, pumpkin butter and apple butter.  All delicious!! 

~ After unrolling crust, spread cream cheese on dough then jam and crumb mixture.  So yummy!! 

Sunday Fried Chicken

I have always shallow fried my fried chicken until my oldest bought a deep fryer.  I told myself that I would never purchase a deep fryer for I feared all the things I could and would fry.  We have fried quite a few things but nothing is as good as fried chicken.  I have a few ways that I fry of them is how my Italian grandmother would make fried chicken... Italian style.  Italians have a way of making any dish Italian style just by adding a few key ingredients like Parmesan or Romano cheeses and garlic.  Another way is probably the more traditional way by soaking chicken in buttermilk and breading with seasoned flour. 
Either way is yummy!!

A few simple steps....
  1. Soak chicken in buttermilk.
  2. Make flour mixture. 
  3. Coat chicken with flour mixture.
  4. Fry chicken.
I do not measure the ingredients I use for the flour mixture.  I will do my best and give approximates. Of course, It depends how much chicken you are frying, if you will need more or less. 

  • About 3lbs of chicken
  • buttermilk or 3 eggs with a splash of milk (whisked together)
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup Panko crumbs
  • 1/4 corn meal
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • pepper
  • parsley flakes
  1. Soak chicken in buttermilk or egg mixture
  2. Meanwhile, mix the last 10 ingredients together.  Use seasonings to taste.
  3. Fry chicken in batches.  Add 1/2 to 3/4 inch oil to a large, heavy skillet.  I use a cast iron skillet if I am not using the deep fryer.  Cover and fry until golden, turning once, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Keep warm in the oven set at 300 degrees.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fast and Easy Maple Walnut Pie

I had never been a fan of pecan pie until I had walnut pie.  After trying this Maple Walnut Pie, I fell in love with both the walnut version and pecan version.  This pie reminds me of fall and winter, but truth be told I make it year round!  This pie is amazing with vanilla bean ice cream or freshly whipped cream, but most of the time I just eat it plain.  This recipe is not fussy at all.  You can whip it up in minutes and you don't need to wait 6 hours for it to cool like other pies out pie and blueberry pie to name a few. To make this already super easy pie even easier, you can use store bought crust.   Fall is officially in a couple of days and I feel like celebrating with a warm slice of Maple Walnut Pie!!

  • Pie dough (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup maple syrup (real stuff only)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


  • Roll out dough onto lightly floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll into a 13-inch circle. Fit into 9-inch pie plate. Trim edge, leaving 1/2-inch overhang, then fold over and crimp. Chill shell 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, toast walnuts by scattering onto baking for about 6-8 mins at 350°.  You will begin to smell the walnuts toasting and you will know they are done.
  • Scatter cooled, toasted walnuts in shell.  
  • In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, maple syrup, butter, vanilla, brown sugar, and salt. Pour mixture into pie shell over nuts.
  • Transfer pie to baking sheet and bake at 350° and bake until crust is golden and center is just set, 30 - 40 minutes.
  • Transfer pie to rack and cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. 
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

 add walnuts
 add maple filling

A few simple steps to this amazing dessert!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Spicy Salsa Cheese Dip

I love anything with cheese and this Spicy Salsa Cheese Dip is one of my new favorite dips!
The gooey, warm, melted cheese with the fresh taste of cilantro and tomatoes and spicy peppers makes this the perfect dip anytime.
You can adjust the heat by adding less or more peppers, depending how you like it. Also, experiment with different cheeses.  The possibilities are endless!!

  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 small tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 serrano peppers, diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  •  salt
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese 
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz cream cheese 

  1. Combine 1 tablespoon diced shallot, the tomatoes and half of the cilantro in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. 
  3. Add the remaining diced shallot, the serranos, jalapenos and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the shallots are tender, about 3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and cook, stirring, until completely absorbed, about 1 minute. 
  5. Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. 
  6. Stir in the cream cheese, pepper jack and cheddar cheese until melted, then remove from the heat; stir in the remaining cilantro. 
  7. Transfer to a bowl and top with salsa. 
  8. Serve with chips. 
~This can also be made in a slow cooker.  Do steps 1-4 on stove top and then add to slow cooker.  Then do steps 5 and 6.  On low for 2-4 hours.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

10 Things for Teen Girls~ Book Giveaway

Psalm 127:3
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 

As a mom of an almost teen daughter, I thought reading this book together would be a wonderful way to start new conversations.  I know my daughter is going to feel all the same feelings I felt at her age and this book makes it easy to share.
I took it a step further and shared the 10 Things for Teen Girls with a group of friends who also have daughters the same age and through their feed back, they agreed that this book prompts questions...lots of questions and that is a good thing.

Family Christian Bookstore is giving one copy of 10 Things for Teen Girls away.  Enter right here, right now!  

The giveaway is limited to the US . 
I was not monetarily compensated for this post. Family Christian Stores sent me this book in exchange for my review. However, these are my own honest opinions.

The world is run by teen girls: parents of teen girls, teachers of teen girls, boys trying to date teen girls, feminists who want to empower teen girls, companies trying to sell things to teen girls, and people who have had it “up to here” with teen girls.   Chances are if you’re reading this, there is a young woman in your life for whom you desire the very best, and 10 Things for Teen Girls can help with that.
Based on student minister Kate Conner’s runaway blog post, this book answers a lot of important questions: Why should I follow my heart? Should I care what other people think of me? Why are boys only interested in my body? How do I handle my emotions? Am I beautiful? Am I enough? 

Proverbs 22:6 
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.


When I moved from the dessert to the Ozarks, my visual landscape changed dramatically.  Before, I saw a sea of dirt outside my window and now I have the most beautiful views of green!   My property has tons of pine trees and with pine trees comes pine cones....galore!  Whether you want them or not, they are there.  My kids get put on "pine cone duty" often.  Not their favorite gig.  This time I had the idea to collect the pine cones and make them scented.  I can't bring myself to pay for scented pine cones that the stores carry when I know I have hundreds at home for FREE!  I have seen a bag of about 8 pine cones cost $25!!
All I bought was warming oil at Walmart for $2 (I really wanted to try cinnamon nutmeg and all I had at home was a tangerine essential oil).  

Sprinkle oil on pine cones.

I already had this 3 tier basket.  A wicker basket would work, too!

Start filling it up.


This is a simple decorating idea and so pretty and smells good too!