My angels

My angels

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bursting Blueberry Muffins

Here is my tweaked version of a recipe I found on  I have tried many different blueberry muffin recipes and this is my favorite.  It tastes most like a bakery muffin to me.... I'm taking these on my Thanksgiving trip.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/14 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease (REALLY GOOD) muffin pans or use paper liners.

In a large bowl, cram butter and 1 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time- blending between each addition.

Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Add flour mixture, alternating with milk.  Mash 1/2 cup blueberries and stir into batter.  Fold in remaining blueberries.

Fill muffin cups and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and wait 20 minutes to remove from muffin pans.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Clove Studded Oranges and Project With Love!

Thanksgiving is approaching fast and I am so excited to be spending it in the mountains of VA.  I love to decorate and prepare for the holidays.  I have been dying to do some clove studded oranges like my mother did when I was a kid.  We had an impromptu dinner party the other night and of course I was excited because I had a reason to deck out my oranges.  They make for a rustic centerpiece and add a wondrous scent to any room.  The dinner party was lovely and the topics of conversation were natural to say the least.  

Our dear friend prepared a turkey breast and beef tenderloin and I made some sides, roasted potatoes and a salad.  We used my homemade apple- cranberry relish, it was better than I hoped.  I made a pumpkin roll for dessert and it was demolished within minutes.

I finally got to tie-dying the last batch of donated white T's for project With Love!  Jack and Gabriel helped me, they were excellent assistants.  They twisted up the shirts with a fork and dropped them into the hot water.  It was a lot of fun.  I will keep you posted on which shelters this batch goes to.  If you are reading this and have not donated any gently used white T- shirts to project With Love!, please dig through your closet and lets brighten the day for many needy people with a refurbished white T-shirt and bag of homemade granola.  All you have to do is donate your shirts and we'll do the rest.  You can search With Love on Facebook for more details.  If you have donated, God bless you and thank you.

It's been a long day and I'm going to watch the Eagles vs. Giants game on the couch with my husband.  The boys actually went to bed nicely tonight! Whoo hoo!  GO GIANTS! I hope to share more recipes tomorrow.  Hugs and love.....

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fixed, Fire and Food

My morning started out around 5am.  We had one child that peed in the bed and the other one was up and ready to go at 5am.  I played musical beds last night which is nothing new in this here house.  My body is used to functioning on limited sleep since we welcomed our first baby boy 4 years ago.  That is why God made caffeine.  I drank a big ol' cup o Joe and hurried the crew to get dressed.  I tried to excite them with the idea that we were taking Charlie to the vet.  Yeah, it was still a bit of a struggle, but we've had worse days I can assure you.  We took Charlie, our 9mo Golden Retriever to get neutered today. I hope it calms him down a wee bit.  Wishful thinking, hey it works.

I managed to get a little sewing in after I stripped all the beds and did my housewifely duty of dishes and laundry.  I love having fresh sheets on all the beds.  It's heavenly.

I built my first fire in the fireplace all by myself today, well Gabriel tried to help.  I feel like I'm in a cabin in the woods with a fire going and it makes me feel delightfully peaceful.  It mesmerizes me.  I made some pretty delicious blueberry muffins but I will not be putting any pictures of those up.  They taste yummy but look far from charming.  I will post the recipe tomorrow because I'd like to tweak it just a bit more before I share it with my fellow followers.  Well I'm off to eat take out Chinese food with the family.  I can't believe we've never eaten take out Chinese in our home..... there's a first time for everything.... hugs and love!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cookies in a jar...

It was another lovely day here in Hanover.  The sun was shinning so bright and the colors of the leaves are just magnificent.  I truly love the fall.  As I sit in front of the fire with my feet up in my cozy kitchen/sitting room, my husband is freestylin' with regards to the "tootsie roll" and MC Hammer very loudly.  I can barely hear myself think- that's what my mom always said.  My little toe heads are supposed to be coloring pages but it's more like coloring one another and arguing about it......  

I made some of those jar cookie mixes today.  I have never done it before and it was way more messy and time consuming than I thought but, I had fun.  They came out really nice.  I want to line my entire pantry with them! Oh yeah, I don't have a pantry.... Daniel and I impulsively ran out to Home Depot a few months ago because we "had" to get shelves to put up in the room that will soon be our pantry-  those bad boys are still sitting in the shed primed and ready for some paint.  Maybe I will get to painting them this weekend so I can display all of my jars.  Here are the recipes I used for the mixes.  Hugs and love.....

White Chocolate Cranberry in the middle and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip on each side

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (i omitted these)


Layer the ingredients in a 1 quart or 1 liter jar, in the order listed.

Attach a tag with the following instructions: Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until fluffy. Add the entire jar of ingredients, and mix together by hand until well blended. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges start to brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 min; remove to cool on wire racks.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


2/3 cup all- purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 packed brown sugar
1/3 granulated white sugar
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate morsels, or butterscotch morsels
1 1/2 cup old fashioned or quick oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts (i omitted these)


Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.  Place flour mixture in 1 quart jar. Layer remaining ingredients in order listed above and make sure to press firmly after each layer.  

Attach a tag with the following instructions: Beat 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) softened butter or margarine, 1 large egg and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until blended. Add cookie mix and 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional); mix well, breaking up any clumps. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to cool on wire racks.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I'm sitting at my house with a belly full of turkey and fixings from the Thanksgiving Luncheon at Jacks preschool.  I've got my WoodWick burning next to me and a sleeping toddler in the other room.  I figure now is the perfect time to share a few words and hopefully 2 of my recent recipes that are super tasty.

I tried canning strawberry preserves yesterday- well um I think I was wrong.  Canning is harder than I thought a few days ago.  The preserves will make a delightful addition to pancakes, ice cream or toast.   I did not add pectin to my recipe because I really like things as natural and earthy as possible and I found recipes that did not call for packaged pectin so, I thought I was in the clear.  I know pectin is naturally occurring in fruit but little did I know, strawberries have very little so my preserves or jam did not gel like I had hoped.  I ran out last night and got  a candy thermometer and I now know not to double the recipe with preserving, which I learned after the fact.  I will try again with a smaller batch and see how it works.

I have been on a pumpkin roll making kick. It's a dessert that is better than delicious and it makes a nice dessert to share since it presents so well.  I made one yesterday to take for dessert at the preschool today but, someone decided to eat all but 1/4 of the loaf.  Yes, Daniel couldn't resist.  He kept going back for more until there was almost none.  I ended up getting Krispy Kreme donuts for the luncheon, they are always on time.  Hugs and love!

So check it out....

 Pleasantly Plump Pumpkin Roll


3 eggs beaten
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
confectioners sugar for dusting

* The first time I made this I only used cinnamon and omitted the next 3 spices and it was still wonderful.


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Butter or grease one 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan.

In a mixing bowl, blend together the eggs, sugar, spices (cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg) and pumpkin.  In a separate bowl, mix together flour and baking soda.  Add to pumpkin mixture and blend until smooth.  Evenly spread the mixture onto the greased jelly roll pan.

Bake 15-22 min in the oven.  Remove from oven and allow to cool enough to handle.

Prepare a lightweight tea towel (cotton, not terry cloth), I like to use the very thin white flour sack type tea towels for this.  Lay it out on your counter and sprinkle confectioners sugar onto the towel where you will by placing your cake.

Remove cake from pan and place on tea towel.  Roll up the cake by rolling a towel inside cake and place seam side down to cool.

Prepare frosting by blending the butter, cream cheese, confectioners sugar and vanilla.

When cake is completely cooled, unroll and spread with filling.  Roll up again without towel.  Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper, seam side down and refrigerate until ready to serve.  If your cake sticks to the towel you can add a little more confectioners sugar to the top of the cake to cover it up :).

Bangin' Banana Bread


1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup apple butter
3 1/2 bananas, very ripe and mashed
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts toasted and chopped ( i'm not a fan of walnuts so I omitted these)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line you loaf pan with parchment paper or grease.  (I grease, the more grease the better)

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Beat sugar, eggs and apple butter using a hang mixer until light and fluffy about 2 min.

Add mashed bananas, sour cream and vanilla.  Fold in dry ingredients (and nuts if you prefer).  Pour into a lined or greased loaf pan and bake for 45min to 1hr.

* I used 4 mini loaf pans and it took about 20-25min to bake.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Today is the beginning of a new chapter

Well I've been using that creative side of my brain and it is making me oh so happy. I figure starting a blog will give me yet another outlet, instead of blowing up my facebook status updates with all the things I'm doing.  I don't really understand the whole world of blogging, but I am probably thinking it is more complicated than it really is which leads to my first subject.  Canning.  My mother has been canning for years.  She learned from her Grandmother, Ma-Maw.  I had a small interest in it a few years ago but I did not have the energy or patience to learn.  At the time I had an adorable high need, curious, intelligent baby Jack, who was in demand.  Jack hasn't changed much but, he is now in pre-k and busy learning during the day.  I have found now that I am not working out of the home, I have a lot more time to try new things and incorporate some learning experiences for my son Gabriel who is "two half." He loves to entertain himself with his trucks and trains.  His big thing is riding his power wheel John Deere tractor around the yard and putting sticks and rocks in the bucket and trailer.  He calls it working, I call it precious.

At any rate I had my first go at canning the other day and I'm in love.  It is not nearly as much work as I anticipated.  I love the process and most of all the beautiful jars of delight sitting on my countertop. I had a bunch of Granny Smith apples that I didn't want to go to waste, so I made an apple-cranberry relish in hopes of adding a little flare to my turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.  Today I made some caramel applesauce.  It turned out a bit more tart than I had hoped but it will make a delicious glaze for ham or pork, so I'm excited.  The boys didn't mind either they gobbled it down with dinner tonight.

I have been really enjoying the fall.  The leaves in Hanover Co are absolutely gorgeous, I'm so grateful to be able to enjoy the little things in life....  I planted some pansies the other day and I'm hoping they are going to pop because they are looking a little puny.  I have also been tye-dying white shirts- all of the ones I could find in my house and many others that were donated to project WITH LOVE!  My friend Jen Lane started this beauty- tie-dying  refurbished or new white t-shirts and giving them to the needy with a bag of granola.  I got in on that deal because I really needed to get out of myself and in to helping others.  Those dag on Frye boots I obsessed over for months were not making me feel very good, although I do still love the boots.  I feel much better helping others than obsessing on what i want or think i need.  I have also gotten a head start on Christmas gifts this year which is incredible for me.  With all of that said I will post some pictures and try to figure all of this blog stuff out until next time......hugs and love.