Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

I know, I am at the tail end of pumpkin season, but I can't let it completely slip by without posting this fabulous recipe for pumpkin coffee cake.  I do not like pumpkin pie, and I don't even really like cake, but this pumpkin coffee cake is a favorite with me and with every other person in our house.  In fact, one of my boys asked for it for his birthday cake this year.

This cake has just the right flavor and texture for coffee cake, and the crumble topping is the perfect finishing touch. Delicious!  Serve it with a cup of hot chocolate and you have yourself the perfect Fall indulgence.

Click here for a printable copy of this recipe.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
pinch nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 ½ cup pumpkin puree
1 ½ sticks butter
1 ½ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ tsp. Vanilla

For the crumble:
3 Tbsp. butter
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt (scant)

Cream butter and sugar together.  Add salt, baking powder, baking soda, spices and vanilla and mix well.  Add eggs one at a time, then the pumpkin and mix well.  Set the mixer to low and add the flour until just combined.  Turn off the mixer and finish folding the batter together with a spatula.  Pour the batter into a greased 8 inch springform pan.  Smooth out the batter and top with crumble.  Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.

For the crumble:  Place all ingredients in a bowl and combine with pastry blender until it resembles a coarse meal.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Grain Free Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

I have been trying to eat a little bit better lately, but I still need a little something sweet now and then.  I ran across this recipe from Texanerin on Pinterest awhile ago, and decided to give it a try, since it is grain, and dairy free, and the sugar content is fairly low for a cookie.

I was won over by these little shortbready like cookies.  I make a batch of them and then just put them in my freezer to be eaten when a sugar craving strikes.  They hit the spot every time.

You can find the recipe here at Texanerin.

As I was reading through the comments, both on Pinterest and her website, I found that quite a few people had trouble making these cookies, and they didn't turn out that great, so, since I feel like the ones I made were delicious, I decided I would walk you through some of the things I did, and hopefully they will turn out for you as well as they did for me.

Apparently, the type of Almond flour and Coconut flour really matters in the success of this recipe.  These are the brands I used.  I found them both at Sam's Club.  You can also buy the almond flour from Amazon.  I couldn't find the coconut flour I used on Amazon, but I think the Bob's Red Mill brand would work just as well. (Affiliate links below)

Once I have opened these bags, I keep them in the freezer, so that requires me to measure out the amount I need for the recipe in advance and let it come to room temperature before baking these cookies. (Trust me on this one, the only time I have had these cookies flop on me was when I tried to hurry too fast and made them with these flours fresh out of the freezer.)

This is what my cookie dough looked like after mixing.

I used my 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to portion out the dough before rolling into balls.  The dough is a little crumbly, so I always have to squeeze the dough together before rolling.

Here are the cookie dough balls once I have made the thumbprint indentations in them.  When I first pressed my thumb into them, the edges were quite a bit more ragged than this, but a couple of presses with the fingers and they  were looking more rounded like I wanted.

Fill them with jam and they are ready for the oven!

And here they are all baked and in my freezer container ready to be popped in the freezer as my emergency sugar stash.

I love these little almond raspberry thumbrint cookies.  If you are gluten free, or cook for someone who is, or if you are simply trying to reduce the amount of wheat in your diet, give these a try.  I think you will be happy you did.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Child's Table Makeover

Today, I am sharing a favorite little corner in my house.

This little table and chairs has been a favorite of my kids for years, ever since my oldest was a toddler.  All these years later, my youngest two (now seven and six) still use it.  They love to have breakfast, lunch and snacks there.  They also like to use it to color, paint, or build with Legos.  It has been a great little set.  It hasn't always looked like this though.

The only picture I could find of it in its previous state, was this one in the nursery in our previous house.  It doesn't look bad in this picture, but trust me, by the time I got around to making it over, it was in serious need of it.  My boys had not been easy on it.

I figured as long as I was making it over, I might as well make it a little more fun.  So, I painted the table a soft gray.  I painted one chair a fun green color, and the other a pretty aqua. (Colors, I liked and would go with our dining area, but also were boy friendly.)  I finished off the top with a food safe clear coat, and this little table has been holding up beautifully for the last few months!

The bouquet that decorates this table, (and that I sadly cut the top off in this picture), was made for me by my then first grader for mothers day this year.  The flowers are his hand prints that have been wrapped around pipe cleaners.  He was so excited to give it to me, and I love it!  It is the perfect little decoration for this table.  He loves it, and it makes me happy, so I imagine it will be staying for awhile.

I love those flowers, I love this table, and I love the little boys that sit at it!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Back at It!

I have been so busy with building a house, moving into a house, and trying to finish a house that I have not made a quilt or even worked on a quilt for almost two years!!!  Today - - I finally cut one out!! It feels good to be back in the game.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Peanut Butter Blossoms

I am sharing my recipe for one of my favorite cookies today.  These Peanut Butter Blossoms are a little old fashioned, but in the greatest way.  If you are a fan of chocolate and peanut butter, give these a try.  I think you will be very happy!!

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream butter, egg, peanut butter, vanilla, and sugars.  Add dry ingredients slowly into creamed mixture and mix thoroughly.  Take a spoonful of dough, rounded into a ball, and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for 8 minutes.  Remove from oven and press a chocolate kiss in center.  Return to oven and bake for 2-5 minutes more until the edges are lightly browned and the center is still soft.

Now for a few tips . . .

To form the balls of dough, I use my 1 tablespoon scoop to portion the dough, so they all end up the same size, and then roll them into balls.

When they first come out of the oven they look like this.

Press the chocolate kisses into the cookies, so they look about like this - then return them to the oven.

When you remove them from the oven after the second bake, they look like this.  Perfection!!!

And just because I love these cookies so much, I am sharing a couple more beauty shots of these babies.

Perfect Peanut Butter Blossoms (or Peanut Butter Kiss cookies - I've heard them called both.)  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Organized Cleaning Closet

I am popping in today to share my organized cleaning closet. This closet is a work in progress, and I am sure that it will evolve and improve over time, but this is where we are at for now.

When I was designing my kitchen, I knew I wanted a large closet to hold cleaning supplies.  This was something that was sorely lacking in my previous home, so I wanted to make sure that I had a place to hold everything.

This is the cleaning closet from the outside.  I apologize in advance for the pictures in this post.  My island is between the windows and this closet, so I get a weird shadow that I am not skilled enough at photo editing to remove, plus they are a little blurry, because I couldn't use my tripod with the island in the way.

Open it up and this is what is inside.  

I love this shopping bag dispenser.  I know a lot of people don't use shopping bags anymore, but with my large family, I can't take enough reusable shopping bags for everything I need, so I use the ones from the store.  Our store has a big recycling bin at the entrance where I can return them to be recycled, but I always hold onto some, because they definitely come in handy sometimes, and this dispenser keeps them nice and compact.  Plus it is easy to use.  Originally I used the adhesive strips to mount this to the side of the cupboard, but they didn't hold the dispenser up for long, so I ended up mounting it to the cupboard with screws.

This broom/mop holder is also a great way to keep those things in order.

I keep my vacuum in another closet (that is a post for another day), but the attachments are all in a bag hanging from the broom/mop holder.  Cleaning supplies that are used for other rooms are kept in a caddy.

I also attached a wall file to the door to hold other miscellaneous cleaning supplies.  I love how it takes advantage of the extra space on the door.

I purchased the bag dispenser and broom/mop holder from Amazon, and I am including affiliate links to the exact products I purchased.  I bought the wall file from Ross, but I am including an affiliate link for something similar at Amazon as well.

There are still improvements I would like to make to this cleaning closet, but for now, I am pretty happy with how it is working for me.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Top Two Star Wars Party Tips

A few years ago, I threw a Star Wars party for my then six-year old boy.  It was a total hit, and since it still seems to be a popular theme for boys that age, I thought I would share the top two things that made our party so fun for the boys that were invited.

I won't go into everything we did.  There are so many great things online to choose from, and I think it is best if you try to tailor your party to your child and their friends, but I will share the two things that every single boy that was at our party enjoyed and couldn't stop talking about.  These are the things that I would advise any parent to do if they are throwing a Star Wars party for their son that is around six years old.

Light saber training. This was, by far, the biggest hit of the party.  We got a bubble machine and held it up high while we moved around the room a bit.  We told the boys they had to pop all the bubbles with their light sabers before they hit the floor. They did this for a long time and kept saying over and over "This is awesome!!!!!!"  The light sabers were made from the ever popular pool noodles, cut in half, with a little silver duct tape and black electrical tape for handles.  I would definitely recommend something like this, or something even softer, because each child is bound to get hit a time or two in the frenzy to pop all the bubbles.  We had a few perplexed faces after being smacked by their neighbors light saber, but no tears, and the boys all recovered quickly and got right back to it.  
We used this bubble machine and it worked great for us. (affiliate link)

The Star Wars cupcakes.  I used these Star Wars:  The Clone Wars rings as toppers. The boys loved them and were picking up all the extras to cover as many of their fingers as they could.  

These rings are no longer available, but I found some other cute Star Wars rings that would be just as cute, as well as some cool light saber toppers that weren't available when I threw my party, but I think the kids would have loved them.  I am providing affiliate links to them below.

This Star Wars party was so fun for the boys and I must admit that I had a lot of fun with it too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tuesday's Tip - Simple Organized Kids School Work

Today I am sharing how I organize my kids past school work.  I know some people have awesome filing systems or scrapbooking methods to organize their kids keepsake school work, but all of that is a bit too much work for me - especially when I consider the following story.

Right after my husband and I were married, his mother brought out a box of keepsakes for us to take to our house.  I guess she was sick of storing it.  It contained old school work, report cards, art projects, etc.  After we got home, my husband went through it quickly and then threw it all away.

Most likely, my boys will be the same way, so I don't want to hold on to every little thing, or spend hours and hours on some fancy system to organize their things.  But, on the off chance that they are a little more sentimental than their dad, I want to make sure that I hang onto at least a few things from each year.

So, my simple solution is just a bin for each one of them.  I store them on the shelves of their closets, and then when something comes home that I think I want to hang onto, I simply put it in the bin.  About once a year, we get them down, the boys look through everything and we decide if there is anything that can be tossed.  So far, the bins have not filled up - although my older boys may need a second bin in the next year or two.  My boys enjoy looking through their old work, and I have to admit, I enjoy it too.  It is fun to remember them when they were littler, and to see how far they have come.

I don't even give these bins a pretty label.  I just use a black sharpie to put their name in the corner, and we are good to go.

So, if you are looking for a simple, fuss-free way to organize your kids past homework/art projects, I highly recommend this method.  It is nothing fancy, but it works.

I have created an affiliate link below to the bins that I use and love.  They are nothing fancy, but they are functional and durable.  I have had mine for years and they still look like new.

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