November 13, 2015
Okay, it’s November. Time for the obligatory pumpkin recipe.
I suppose that over the years, I’ve often neglected pumpkin because I have an unwritten rule that desserts should contain chocolate. Therefore, the pumpkin pies and pumpkin rolls were overlooked. Now, in my maturity, I see their value and appreciate their goodness. And you know, pumpkin used to be limited to desserts before it made its way into coffee, butter, and soaps and lotions.
So pumpkin in a muffin? Now one of my fall favorites. These muffins are delicious with a cup of coffee in the morning. Oh, and the chocolate chips are a welcome, if not necessary, ingredient.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 2/3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter and set aside.
Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir together eggs, pumpkin, and butter.
Stir pumpkin mixture into flour. Add chocolate chips.
Spoon into prepared pan.
Bake about 18 minutes.
Makes a dozen muffins.
*Adapted from recipe in “Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer.”
November 5, 2015
We’ve kinda been in the dark around here this week. And it’s not just the daylight savings time change. Although the premature darkness hasn’t helped the situation.
No, we’ve lost a light.
The light fixture in the older boys’ room suffered one final blow and came down beyond repair. Too many run-ins with footballs, shirts being tossed in the hamper, and swinging light sabers.
We had all gotten used to the clanging and clinking noise it made when the light fixture separated from the ceiling fan. Each time, our resident handy man repaired the situation and light was restored.
Not this time.
And yet we’ve made do while waiting for a new fixture to be found, in stock, and in the correct size. These things take time and often, a few trips to the store for exchanges.
Some nights, I’ve likened the room’s atmosphere to the Ingalls’ house from Little House on the Prairie. Thankfully, though, ours was enhanced with electricity and battery-powered devices. A lamp from the living room made its way into the boys’ room. Flashlights were gathered for bedtime reading.
Ever feel like that fixture? Dealing with daily bumps and hits. The busyness of schedules. The bills in the mailbox. The ignored phone calls. All come together to leave you hanging by a thread. Wondering how your light can keep shining. We feel all banged and bruised and put out by life.
How can we be a light to the world, when our own feels like it's going out?
We don't have the words for a needy soul. Offer a smile.
We don't have the energy to shout His praises. Whisper, "Abba Father."
We can't gather eloquent words to form lengthy prayers. Bow a knee and listen.
We can't take in one more news report. The ones being broadcast on TV, online, or within our own circles. Recall times He has been faithful.
The way ahead seems dark. Remember He is the Light of the World.
Don't just sit there in the dark. Go get a lamp from the living room. Open the Living Word. Hoard up flashlights in your bed. Hide His Word in your heart. Scrounge to find some candles. Turn on the hallway light. Open the blinds. Do something while you wait. Your light isn't out.
Flickering? For the moment. Out? Not a chance.
Feeling in the dark? Shine on. Click here to read more about being a light.
November 2, 2015
Not many things can speak my language like a yeast roll, a breadstick, or a croissant. I’m a bread girl.
I remember during our newlywed years, I served some sort of bread at supper each evening. Lots of those refrigerated crescent rolls. And my patient husband would quietly get a butter knife in preparation to scrape off the burned bottoms.
We slowly exited the routine of burning and scraping. And I’ve had to lay off the bread somewhat.
One of our favorites from those early years was Cheese Cracker Bread, a recipe I saw Chef Art Smith prepare one day on a TV show. I printed off the recipe and while the paper is beginning to yellow, the bread is still a good one.
Don’t skimp on the black pepper. It’s a key ingredient.
Cheese Cracker Bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour (or sift a cup of all-purpose)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400.
Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Using a pastry blender or two butter knives, cut in the butter, cheese, and pepper until the mixture is crumbly.
Stir in buttermilk.
Press into bottom of 11 x 17 pan.
Bake about 18 minutes.
Tear into pieces to eat with soup or salad.
October 31, 2015
And the winner of the custom "Home" pallet sign is...
Laura, North Carolina girl!
Congratulations. Thanks for reading and entering!
Didn't win, but would still like a sign? Orders gladly accepted.
The calendar reads October, but this is the dishtowel that hangs from my stove handle.
But you know what? When the mercury rose to nearly one hundred and the month was marked July, the scene was the same.
(For the record, it does get washed. It’s just my go-to favorite.)
It’s not that I don’t have others. I actually have a drawer full of other towels that actually match my kitchen paint colors and aren’t seasonally inappropriate.
It’s not that I’m fanatical about reindeer or Christmas decorations. Come to think of it, I actually don’t even like the design. Kinda tacky.
It’s just that it works. So well. I’m comfortable with it. Do you know what I mean? It’s been worn to just the right thickness. Not too bulky, not yet full of holes. Just right.
So why change it?
Dishtowels? They’re one thing. Other parts of life? They’re another.
Change happens. I could compose a long list of changes our family has faced recently. Plenty of positive ones. Equally as many stressful ones.
Sure, we’ve put our hands up in celebration over some of them and our feet down in protest of others. Whether it’s a cause for rejoicing or a reason for weeping, change moves us. It helps us leave the past in the past.
One of my favorite Scriptures comes from Isaiah 43, verses 18 and 19.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”
If we’re too busy clinging to the old ways, how will we make room for the new things God is preparing for us?
When we’re stuck in the past, sometimes we’re just that: stuck.
Stuck in a rut. In a comfort zone where we become stagnant and don’t flourish.
Change can be uncomfortable. Downright unnerving at times. But it grows us and stretches us. Change makes way for the new.
New people. New opportunities. New ministries.
It calls us to look for our security in an unchanging God.
So while I’m learning to embrace some changes, you’ll still find me holding the same towel, allowing a reindeer to dry my pots and pans.
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