Friday, December 7, 2012

Peaches N' Cream Coffee Cake


I made this delicious Peaches N' Cream Coffee Cake for mom's group this morning. Its sweet aroma filled my house, and I was almost drooling as I wrapped it up for the car ride. When I got to mom's group I made up my mind that I was going to be good today. No sweets. However, although I didn't eat one sweet at mom's group, on the car ride home, I kept glancing over at the leftover coffee cake on the passenger seat. I then began to debate with myself in my head:

"Should I try a little bit when I get home? Maybe if I just have a little bite...No! I can't give in! Actually... I've done great this whole week, I should treat myself and just enjoy a nice big piece! Arggg... I shouldn't have any...but what if it isn't really good and I put it on my blog? I sort of NEED to try it...."

Back and forth, I debated. I just couldn't make up my mind.

Until I got home.

I didn't think twice and just cut a good-sized piece with a glass of milk. And before I could debate with myself any longer I took a bite. SoooooOoOoO good. The soft peaches with the sweet vanilla icing melted in my mouth as I bit into the moist coffee cake. Yumm Yummm... I'm so glad I get to share this recipe with you now!


PEACHES N' CREAM COFFEE CAKE
Recipe Adapted from Tidy Mom

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups Flour
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
3/4 cups Butter (Softened)
2 Eggs, separated
1 cup Heavy Cream
1/2 tsp Salt
2 1/4 tsp Baking Powder

Peach Topping:
2 (14oz) cans of Sliced Peaches
1/3 cup of Peach Juice (drained from can)
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons of Corn starch
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Vanilla Icing:
1 Tablespoon Butter (Melted)
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 cups Powdered Sugar
3-5 Tablespoons Heavy Cream

Directions:
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees and Grease a 9" springform pan. Place parchment paper on the bottom of the pan.

Prepare the Peach Topping. Drain the 2 cans of sliced peaches, reserving 1/3 cup of the juice. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the peach juice until smooth. In a small saucepan, combine the peaches, peach juice with cornstarch, sugar and cinnamon. Bring the peach mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Once at a boil, stir for one minute. Set aside to let cool.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut in the butter (mixture will be crumbly). Reserve and set aside 1 cup of this mixture for the crumb topping.

In a small bowl, Mix together the egg yolks with cream and add this to the flour mixture. Add salt and baking powder and mix until very smooth. Gently fold in the egg whites. Pour into the springform pan.

Place the peach topping evenly over the top of batter. Sprinkle with the reserved 1 cup of crumb mixture.

Bake for 55-65 minutes until lightly brown on top.

Once done, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes then remove from pan. While it is cooling, make your vanilla icing. Combine the melted butter with the powdered sugar until smooth (will be thick). Add Vanilla. Gradually add a tablespoon at a time of heavy cream until you have the desired consistency
(Able to drip and drizzle over cake).

Drizzle the coffee cake with vanilla icing. Slice and serve and enjoy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you all have a relaxing day with family today, and that you remember the many blessings God has given you. It is so comforting to know that no matter what situation we are in or how much we have, there is always something to be thankful for.  Just knowing we have a God who loves us so unconditionally and who sent his only Son to die for us is the greatest blessing we could ever ask for!

I have such a long "Thankful" list, but this year I'm just so overwhelmingly thankful for my beautiful daughter. Sometimes being a mom makes me want to rip my hair out and go hide in the closet all day, but truly, Chloe Marie is God's most precious gift to me! I'm looking forward to spending the day with her and Max and the rest of our family today.

Later, I will be headed out to finish as much Christmas shopping as I can by grabbing some Black Friday deals. I don't know why, but I absolutely love the chaos and the crowds of Black Friday! My adrenaline spikes, my pulse races, and I almost feel as though I am shopping in an out-of-body experience as I run around grabbing fantastic deals. Shopping is so fun...and bargain shopping is even better!

I know it has been such a long time since I've posted... I've been a terrible blogger. However, I'm going to keep posting whenever I can and hopefully I'll become more diligent with daily posting.

Enjoy your Turkey =)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Apple Crisp Pie


I am always debating between whether or not to make apple crisp or apple pie. After dealing with this internal debate every Autumn, I finally came up with the idea to just combine the two! Apple Crisp Pie... It is my favorite apple pie by far, and I get to enjoy the best of both desserts combined into one tasty dish.

This pie is time consuming, but for me and my family every bite is worth the time! As you can see, I wasn't even able to take a picture of a complete pie because everyone wanted to devour it beforehand...so sorry for an incomplete pie photo!


APPLE CRISP PIE

Ingredients:
Crust:
♦ 2 1/2 cups Flour
♦ 1 Teaspoon Salt
♦ 1 Stick of Cold Butter, only slightly softened
♦ 1/2 cup Shortening
♦ 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of Cold Water

Filling:
♦ 8 Large Apples, peeled cored and sliced thinly (I use Cortland)
♦ 1/4 cup of Packed Brown Sugar
♦ 1/2 cup of White Sugar
♦ 1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
♦ 2 tablespoons of Cornstarch
♦ 1 tablespoon of Flour
 
Crisp Topping:
♦ 3/4 cups of instant Oats
♦ 3/4 cups Flour
♦ 3/4 cups Brown Sugar
♦ 6 tablespoons of Cold Butter, only slightly softened

Cream Cheese Frosting Drizzle (Optional):
♦ 4 oz Cream Cheese, Softened
♦ 1/2 stick of Butter, Softened
♦ 1 1/2 cups of Powdered Sugar
♦ 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Start by making the crust. In a medium bowl, mix together salt and flour. Cut in cold butter and shortening with two knives, until shortening and butter particles are almost unidentifiable. Sprinkle in the cold water, little by little, tossing mixture with a fork until all flour is moistened. Form mixture into a ball, cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator.

Combine all filling ingredients except for the apples until fully blended. Add mixture to the apple slices in a big bowl, mixing everything together until all the apple slices are covered. Set aside and let this apple mixture sit for a while.

Prepare the Crisp Topping. Stir together oats, flour, and brown sugar. Cut in the butter in the same way you did with the crust, leaving butter pieces no bigger than pea-size. Set aside.

Take out your crust dough from the fridge and divide the ball in two. Roll out one half of the dough on a floured surface and place gently in the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate, letting the excess dough hang off the edge. Pour the apple filling on the bottom crust, arranging the apples evenly. Pour crisp topping on top of the apples.

Roll out the other half of the dough and cut it into long strips. Arrange and form the strips of crust to create a lattice over the crisp topping.  Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of plate. Seal by pressing the bottom crust with the lattices edges on rim of the pie plate. Flute pie crust edge as desired.

Place pie centered in the preheated oven. Also as a precaution I always put a few pieces of aluminum foil on the bottom of my oven to catch any juice that bubbles over from the pie. This will prevent the juice from burning and sticking to the bottom of your oven.

After 15 minutes, lower your oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 60 minutes, or until apples are soft. If your crust seems to be browning faster than the apples are cooking, place alluminum foil over the pie as it continues to bake.

While pie is baking, prepare your Cream Cheese Frosting by blending all the ingredients until frosting is creamy.

When Pie is done, let it cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Serve pie with cream cheese frosting drizzled over each slice by placing the frosting in a ziplock bag with one tiny corner off. Also serve pie with vanilla ice cream or whip cream! YUMMMMMMMMMMMMM!






Saturday, October 20, 2012

Baby Urges


A couple days ago, I had the pleasure of meeting little Bailey Kate (6 lbs 8 ounces, 20 inches long, born on 10/16/12). It seems like yesterday we were just having the baby shower for Jill! Now her beautiful baby girl has finally entered this world. I'm so excited to watch Bailey grow up with Chloe! Hopefully they will become good friends like Jill and I have become!

Bailey was so sweet and content the whole time I was there. I really enjoyed being able to hold a newborn again (as if the baby urges haven't been strong enough already for me!) Chloe is getting so big so fast... she is no longer a baby but a toddler. It won't be long now before we will be ready to give Chloe a little brother or sister!

Little Bailey:


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Outdoors after a Busy Week


Last week, I was really busy helping my amazing friend, Sarah, prepare for her wedding. Since I was one of her bridesmaids and Chloe was the flower girl, I had to run around and buy last minute items that we needed. Not to mention it took about 3 trips to the Mall and 2 trips to Target to finally find a classy outfit for Max to wear! I managed to get everything I needed in time for the wedding on Saturday though, and we all had such a wonderful time.

The wedding was beautiful and perfect! I was so nervous about how Chloe would behave as the flower girl, but she sat in that little wagon like a beaming princess as the ring bearer pulled her down the aisle. Then Chloe slept through the whole reception in a room out back which gave Max and I some time to just enjoy ourselves. Hopefully, I will have pictures of the wedding to post on here soon. Congratulations, Sarah and Tim!

In addition to preparing for the wedding, last Thursday, Max and I celebrated our 4th anniversary. I couldn't be happier that God put the two of us together, and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with that amazing man. I love you, Max!

This week, I'm trying to make up for lost time and catch up on the indoor and outdoor chores. Yesterday, I finally did some yard work while Chloe took a nap because winter is fast approaching! I weeded out all my gardens and raked the front lawn. When Chloe woke up, she was ecstatic to be involved in this process. She would love to spend every waking minute being outdoors!


Chloe especially enjoyed playing in the garden dirt:



Time to go work on the inside of the house today... Have a beautiful Wednesday!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Getting Back on Track

It seems like forever since I've written about how I've been doing with eating right and exercising.

This summer, I was actively devoted to living a healthy lifestyle. I consistently blogged about my progress through that journey, and inadvertently my blog readers held me accountable each time I posted. I think I was able to encourage them, and I know they encouraged me, giving me strength to continue what I had started. Thus, it was so easy to blog about goals I accomplished and hurdles I overcame.

On the contrary...it's more difficult and embarrassing to blog about failures. I need to be honest though and can't pretend that living a healthy lifestyle is always just a bubbling joy. The past month my exercising has been slim to none, and my eating habits have been whorish boorish (accidentally put whorish instead of boorish...haha).  Truth is: we are all human and mistakes are bound to happen.

I'm not really sure how I got so off-track. Sometime just before Chloe's birthday party, I think I just got so busy and exhausted, not to mention my hormones have kicked back into high gear (welcome back, Aunt Flo!). Whatever it was, I ran to food through my anxiety instead of turning my anxiety over to God. It is frustrating to feel like I've backtracked, but I'm not going to let one month keep me from being healthy for the rest of my life. This moment, right now, is all that matters.

I'm 3 days back into eating right again so I think it's safe to say I'm finally back on track. I'm hoping that me stumbling onto the beaten path for a couple weeks will actually be just as encouraging to people as when I was following my healthy plan to the T. Nobody is perfect and fall-outs will take place (even month long fall-outs). I'm just trying to stay positive and do the best I can today. The days of past are gone and there is nothing I can do about it now.
Philippians 3:13–14
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Before I end this, I need to share another quick verse that my mom shared with me:
John 6:34-36
And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
When I'm feeling anxiety or stress, I can't run to food for comfort which leaves me ultimately sick and unhappy. I need to run to Jesus, who is my "Bread" of life! I never thought about that verse in this context before but it was so helpful. Jesus is the "food" I need to comfort me during my weak moments.

This is a picture from my deck this morning. It's not too great of picture but it still represents a morning where I felt so much of God's peace surrounding me. As the sun rose through the mist and the trees, God seemed to be illustrating his love and forgiveness by saying "It's a new day, move forward with Me!"


I hope you all have a fantastic Columbus day! Move forward with God by your side. You'll never regret it!


Friday, October 5, 2012

Pumpkin Bread


Although there are loads of butter and sugar in this pumpkin bread recipe...it is the best I've ever tasted.

My mother-in-law, Wendy, made it this morning for "Mom's Group", and all us mom's fell in love with the bread. It was so moist and sweet. I swear that for every bite, an Hallelujah chorus sounded. Wendy got the recipe from Streaming Gourmet, and I immediately made the recipe when I got home. I added some cream cheese frosting drizzle and oh boy....yum...

PUMPKIN BREAD
Recipe from Streaming Gourmet

Ingredients:
♦ 3 cups all-purpose flour
♦ 1 tsp ground cloves
♦ 2 tsp ground cinnamon
♦ 1 tsp ground nutmeg
♦ 1/2 tsp salt
♦ 1 tsp baking soda
♦ 1/2 tsp baking powder
♦ 3 cups granulated sugar
♦ 2 sticks of butter, really soft, half melted
♦ 3 large eggs
♦ 1 (15 oz) can of pure pumpkin

Cream Cheese Frosting Drizzle (Optional):
♦ 4 oz Cream Cheese Softened
♦ 1/2 Stick of Butter Softened
♦ 1 1/2 cups of Powdered Sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease bottoms and sides of two medium loaf pans.
 
In a medium bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.



Blend Sugar, Butter and Eggs together on medium speed until fluffy and creamy. Add the pumpkin and combine well.
 

In three batches, add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix gently until fully combined. Pour evenly into greased pans. 
 
Bake side-by-side for about one hour or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean the top is golden. 
 
In the meantime, blend together the Cream Cheese Frosting ingredients until smooth. Set aside. When Bread is done, cool 15 minutes, then remove from pans and transfer to cooling racks. Place the frosting in a ziplock bag. Cut one tiny corner off and drizzle the frosting onto the bread, or if you prefer, just heap spoonfuls of frosting to individual slices =P.



Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apple Picking



Last Sunday afternoon, Max, Chloe and I went apple picking with both our moms and some of our siblings. It was so much fun in comparison to last year when Chloe was just a little newborn. Now Chloe can join in on the excitement and even pick her own apples off the trees! 

Chloe loved the pumpkins (I got way more photos of Chloe with Pumpkins than with apples...oh well):


She loved the apple cider donuts:


She kind of cared less about tractor ride:


She loved the apples:


Chloe makes everything a million times more fun! We are looking forward to going to the fair this Sunday!

Before I end this I have to put a photo on here of Chloe in the pumpkins when she was 4 weeks old....my baby is all grown up...=( See how much she's grown!






Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Creamy Stroganoff



After looking up different stroganoff recipes, I concocted this recipe last night, and not only was it easy to put together, it was also really yummy-- a true comfort meal that the whole family enjoyed. Chloe couldn't stop mowing down on it!

It was hard to capture a photo illustrating how delicious the stroganoff tasted! You will just have to try out the recipe and see for yourself how creamy and savory it is!

Creamy Stroganoff

♦ 3 Tablespoons Butter
♦ 1/2 Onion (chopped finely)
♦ 1 Pound of Ground Turkey (you can use ground hamburg if you prefer)
♦ 1 beef bullion Cube
♦ 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
♦ 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
♦ Dash of Pepper

♦ Egg noodles (I used whole wheat)

Cream Sauce:
♦ 1 (10 3/4 oz) can of cream of Mushroom Soup
♦ 1 cup of milk
♦ 1 cup Sour Cream
♦ Pinch of ground Thyme
♦ 2 Teaspoons of Mustard

Directions:
Fill a pot 2/3's full of water and bring to a boil. Add egg noodles. Cook until tender, then drain and set aside.

In the meantime, in a large skillet, melt butter on medium heat. Add chopped onions. Cook onions until soft. Add ground turkey, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and crushed beef bullion cube. Using a wooden spoon break up the ground turkey and stir occasionally until meat is fully cooked.

While ground turkey mixture is cooking, make the cream sauce in a medium sized mixing bowl. Using a whisk, combine cream of mushroom soup, milk, sour cream, thyme and mustard until well blended. Add cream sauce mixture to the skillet with the ground turkey. Mix it all together and stir occasionally until it starts to bubble. Turn heat down to low and let simmer for 30 minutes, still stirring occasionally.

Serve Stroganoff mixture over egg noodles and enjoy!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Haircut #2

Ugh...what a long week. Chloe and I have both been sick and Chloe has needed my constant attention...poor baby... I hate that I got her sick. To make it more difficult, Max has been working 12 hour days (while working 2 hours away) so he has pretty much had to come home and go right to bed. Alas, it is Sunday and a new week begins!

I got a trim last Monday, but it turned into a much shorter haircut than I wanted...more of a stack haircut. I didn't have my regular hairdresser so I should have waited...oh well. Its not bad, just not what I was going for:


I have gotten quite drastic this year with my hair! Here is a before and after haircut timeline from the past year:




I'm glad I've become more adventurous with my hair! Long hair is pretty but I don't miss it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Apple Streusel Muffins


Oh my goodness. I had to cheat on these muffins... It took me a couple tries to perfect this recipe, but in the end it was worth every failed attempt. My final adjustments to the recipe resulted in muffins that are incredibly moist, with a perfect blend of apples and cinnamon...topped with a sweet, crunchy streusel topping....fresh from the oven...smothered in butter...oh yea... They are SO good.

 Definitely a must-make recipe for Fall!

APPLE STREUSEL MUFFINS
(Recipe yields 12 muffins, or 6 large)

Ingredients:
♦ 2 cups Flour
♦ 1/2 tsp Salt
♦ 2 tsp Baking Powder
♦ 1 tsp Cinnamon
♦ 1/2 cup of Oil
♦ 1/2 cup Milk
♦ 3/4 cup Sugar
♦ 1 Egg
♦ 1 tsp Vanilla
♦ 2 Apples

Streusel Topping:
♦ 1/2 cup Sugar
♦ 1/3 cup Flour
♦ 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
♦ 1/4 cup butter, slightly softened but still a little firm

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or place liners in a muffin pan.

Peel and dice apples into small pieces. Set aside.


In a large bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, blend together oil, milk, egg, sugar and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to the dry until fully blended (batter will be thick). Stir in diced apples.


Spoon batter into muffin pan.


Make your streusel topping. Stir together sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in the butter (I use two knives and just keep cutting until all the butter is in tiny little pieces throughout the topping). Spoon the topping evenly on the batter in the muffin pan.


Bake for 20-25 minutes (for 12 muffins) or 24-28 minutes (for 6 large muffins) until toothpick comes out dry when inserted into the center of a muffin.


Savor the deliciousness of these muffins! Don't eat too many of them ;-)