Monday, July 11, 2011

Is it too Early for Pumpkin?

Hey there ladies!  Is anyone else longing for cooler weather and the beautiful colors of fall?  I'm trying to enjoy the season we're in, but it is a little warmer than I care for.  It's just plain HOT!  And this North Dakota girl's hair just doesn't look right in this humid Alabama weather! While I would love to feel the cool breeze of fall on my face, I have to remind myself to look at the blessings of summer before the pass by unnoticed.  Summer will be over before you know it, the kids will be back in school and cooler weather will be upon us.  Don't let these days go by without taking the time to make some great memories with your loved ones. 

There is work I can do in preparation for autumn.  I can start canning some of the delicious veggies and fruit from our garden.  We can continue catching up on family time while the kids are out of school. I can work on some inside projects while we have a flexible schedule and don't go out much in the afternoon.  I can continue decluttering. I was inspired by Aunt Ruthie at the Sugar Pie Farmhouse to start preparing for fall.  When I take out my bins of decorations, I want a clean house to work with. I can enjoy the rest of the season we are in while preparing for the next.  If we simply long for tomorrow, we'll miss the blessings of today.

With fall on my mind, I wanted to share a couple of recipes that my family loves all year round.  Why not take some of the recipes you like from other seasons and make them another time of year?  It makes a normal day seem special. 

Our kids love anything with pumpkin in it.  We haven't found a recipe that they don't like, so these are in our 'anytime of year' collection. 

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Whipped Cream
I found this recipe at a few years back. I added the whipped cream topping in effort to change the typical frosting for something lighter for the kids.  I use Cool Whip Lite.

1 spice cake mix (2 layer size)
1 15 oz can pumpkin
3 eggs
1/3 c vegetable oil
1/3 c water
Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour batter into 24 (regular sized) lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes for big cupcakes or 12-13 for the mini cupcakes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely before adding Cool Whip.   Note:  I like to use my mini muffin tin. After baking, freeze some for another time. (No Cool Whip on those, of course)

Pumpkin Pancakes
These are the only pancakes we eat at our house.  They are that good.
I have been making these for a couple of years and I cannot find the recipe again. If this is your recipe, let me know!  I'd love to give you credit!
This is how I store the extra batter:  See note

2 c flour
3 T brown sugar
1T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1 t vanilla
1 3/4 c milk
1/4 c oil
3 eggs
1/2 can pumpkin puree
Topping:  Butter and powdered sugar

Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine dry ingredients and add to wet.  Stir together until combined.  Bake on a griddle at 325 degrees....That's the best temp I've found.
Note:  I make what the kids will eat, then I pour the rest into quart-sized Ziploc bags (each bag contains the approximate amount of batter the kids would eat for breakfast), lay them flat and remove air while you seal it. Lay flat in the freezer. Either thaw in the refrigerator the night before, or thaw in a bowl of water the morning you need them. Allow 15-20 minutes for thawing if you're doing this.

To top our pancakes, I lightly butter them and then use our hand strainer to dust powdered sugar over them. 

Enjoy the rest of your summer!   These days will be gone before you know it and you'll be looking back at memories.  Make 'em great!

Ms. Jess

PS  If you are new to Aunt Ruthie's site, pour yourself a cup of coffee and sit back. You'll just love digging your way through her archives!

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Inspiration Thursday: Pamper Yourself

Time for Inspiration Thursday over at Gussy Sews This week we're talking about pampering yourself.  When we have the chance to head up to Nashville to visit my family, we jump at the opportunity to go on a date.  It's even better if we have a chance to see Stone Silo.  My brother Mike and his girlfriend Robyn are a great duo!  If you're in the Nashville area, go check them out!

Usually I don't have time or an opportunity to go do something that would fall in the category of pampering.  Some of that is by choice.  I love being at home and I love being with my family.  Those are things I don't want to give up. BUT...I do need to do some things for myself. Let's face it.  It isn't all sunshine and roses, so little things help.  Getting a coffee from Starbucks is probably my favorite indulgence. Well, that and a run through Target or Hobby Lobby to look at all the fun things.  Skinny Macchiato with half the vanilla. Don't forget the whipped cream and caramel sauce on top!  Mmm.  It's a good thing our coffee shop doesn't have a drive-thru or I'd stop there much too often. 


Once in a while I'll take some time to sit at Barnes and Noble...with a coffee, of course...and just read or look at books.  What a great way to relax and even find some inspiration!  Speaking of inspiration, take a look at this magazine I found the other day. It's full of ideas and just beautiful!

Southern Lady Fresh Style 2011
As mamas we have to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our family!  They depend on us. Have you noticed what it's like after you're sick for a couple of days?  Our families need us to create that loving cozy feeling that we all want in our homes.  
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