Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Serious, Serious Treats


I made these this morning.

And it's a good thing I did, because quite frankly, IT'S BEEN A DAY.

If I hadn't had these to comfort me, I may have turned to the hard stuff.

(Like that big bowl of Halloween Candy over on the kitchen counter)

These are Pumpkin-Chocolate Swirl Buns, an adaptation of a recipe from Smitten Kitchen

These, my friends, are yeast buns, and that makes them bigger and better than any old muffin.

I was a little worried about the dough as it is very sticky and almost stringy, but all my fears were dashed the minute I got my first taste.

Please, please, please take the time to make them. You won't be disappointed.


Pumpkin-Chocolate Swirl Buns

1/3 cup warm milk
1/3 cup plain pumpkin puree
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons unsalted, softened butter

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
8 ounces (1 cup) chocolate chips, or chopped bar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 Tablespoon cream

sugar for sprinkling (I used Turbinado sugar)

In measuring cup, combine milk with yeast and a pinch of sugar. Allow to proof 5 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin and the egg. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, remaining sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the yeast-pumpkin mixture and mix on low to combine. Add the butter 2 Tablespoons at a time, mixing until the butter is incorporated before adding the rest. Scrape dough from the paddle, add the dough hook attachment  and knead on medium speed for 10 minutes. The dough will be quite sticky and stringy. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

(I let mine rise closer to two hours...)

While the dough rises, make the filling. In the bowl of a food processor, process all ingredients until all of the butter is distributed and you have an uneven, gravely mixture. Set aside.
Liberally butter a 12-cup muffin tin. Set aside.

Once dough has risen, turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Allow to rest 5 more minutes, before rolling the dough out into a large rectangle, the short end measuring about 12 inches–the long edge can be about 18-22 inches. Sprinkle the chocolate filling evenly over the rectangle, it will be bumpy, and begin rolling from the short end all the way up into a 12-13 inch log and pinch to seal. Gently saw off about 1-inch spirals, placing each into a prepared tin. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise another hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350*F.
Whisk together the egg and cream, brush gently over the tops of the proofed buns and sprinkle liberally with sugar. Bake in the center of the oven for 15-25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Oh! I added a glaze (because, duh, a glaze makes everything better) made of orange juice, lemon juice, and powdered sugar.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Who Knew The Saints Were Into Yard Work?

On occasion I get all funky and go so far as to think outside the box.

Last week I was having my Bible Study ladies over and I thought to myself, " I think I'll make Beer Bread".  Now to most of you this is nowhere near outside the box (as a matter of fact, it's smack dab right there in the big middle of some of your boxes) but to me (and my life-long Baptist self) it's right up there with a Walk on the Wild Side.

I was feeling practically Episcopalian.

This madness necessitated a trip to the HEB and I was determined to be all casual and calm and lackadaisical about the whole ALCOHOL BUYING EXCURSION so as to not draw attention to myself like I did the year I sat in my car for at least 40 minutes wearing a trench coat and hat waiting for everyone to empty out of the local liquor store so I could run in and buy some bourbon (I think) for some Christmas Candy.

It's a wonder I wasn't arrested for casing the joint.

No. This time I had a plan. A plan which involved also buying some other large items such as a 36- roll pack of toilet paper and a 50 pound bag of dog food which would conveniently shield my beer purchase in my shopping cart.

Just in case I ran into someone I knew.

I didn't want to have to explain the whole beer bread plan to someone before I actually had the pictures and recipe posted to substantiate my claims for the purchase...

In other words, and quite clearly, I have never had a logical thought in my life.

Anyway, I didn't see a soul I knew, and paid for my lame plan when I had to hoist that mondo bag of dog food into the car. I have the pesky habit of making things harder on myself than they need to be.

(In case you hadn't guessed)

If you're interested, though, I ended up buying St. Arnold's Lawnmower beer because I read it was made right here in the Houston area, and besides, it's named for LAWN EQUIPMENT.

And I like to think, personally hand-crafted by a group of landscaping Men of the Cloth.

So, Win-Win.

It would be so great if I had a picture of the final product, but that would have required some thinking and planning on my part. And me and planning are not intimately acquainted so to speak.

Here's what it looks like before it goes in the oven!

Try the recipe- I think you'll really, really like it!

If you want to get really crazy, throw in a handful of grated very sharp cheddar cheese!

Beer Bread


(This makes one loaf...)

3 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
3 T. sugar
1 (12 oz.) bottle beer
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X5 in. loaf pan.
In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
Pour in the beer and mix together just until incorporated.
Pour 1/2 of the melted butter into the pan.
Put the dough into the pan.
Pour the rest of the melted butter on top.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Best eaten warm!!

Hope you like it!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Want to Join Our Team? Try-Outs Soon!!


Very rarely do I click on and watch videos that people post because well, BIG WASTE OF TIME.

But when The Chief took the time to forward this to me recently I knew it must be SOMETHING TO SEE.

It's tough to impress The Chief. Believe me, I know.

So take a look at this little clip because The Chief, Weegie and I just might make this our new hobby.

I mean we've already got the lake.

And clearly we're so adventurous and all.

Hang in there til you get to the best part. Believe me, you'll know! Actually the longer you watch, the better it gets.

After you watch you simply must let me know what you think.

Would you like to join us?

Here you go.

Lu's New Hobby

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Princess and The Big Uncomfortable Pea

After yesterday's post of No Interest Whatsoever, I thought it only appropriate that I continue in that same vein.

(It's Theme Week!!)

I've mentioned maybe once or twice or maybe too many awful times to count that The Chief and I have very different opinions on what constitutes a pleasant sleeping environment.

While I prefer a soft mattress, a temperature near freezing, extremely high thread count sheets, a nice low steady humming noise and a constant stream of cool air blowing directly onto my person (I've always dreamed of sleeping in a wind tunnel of sorts, or maybe with one of those large industrial 6 ft. tall fans that they use in auto repair shops),  The Chief, on the other hand (and I might add freakishly) would prefer to sleep on a bed with a sleep number setting of "granite", a temperature of I'M PRETTY SURE MY SPONTANEOUS COMBUSTION IS INEVITABLE, no cover at all, and with air as still as, well, very, extremely still air.
And no steady humming at all.

I ask you. In what universe is that normal?

But we have persevered, and as all married couples do, sacrificed our ultimate happiness compromised periodically to make this whole commitment thing work.

While I have learned to sleep at a higher temperature than I would prefer, and even do OK with a semi-firm mattress and The Chief has gotten used to the pleasant hum of an oscillating fan (only if it is not pointed directly at him) and will even occasionally as a joke come to bed wearing a knit cap as a visible symbol of his tolerance of the temperature I prefer that he calls "the tundra", we still on occasion, have issues.

I should probably warn you right now that this story will not likely get much more interesting.

But in the interest of fairness and your continued participation, I don't think we have quite reached the high point just yet, either.

So seriously. Hang on to your hats.

I kid. No hat-holding required.

Anyway, The Chief has been sick. The kind of sick that when you are pretty much well, and feel fine during the day, as soon as your body goes horizontal at night you began hacking in a process that is likely to lead to the coughing up of one or both of your lungs.

Well. Last night The Chief went to bed  a while before I did and I could hear him coughing pretty enthusiastically while I was in the bathroom taking my bath. I was hoping that I would miss the majority of the whole coughing spell and he would hack himself into a pleasant sleep by the time I finished with my whole nighttime ritual.

No such luck. When I crawled into bed, not only was he still coughing, but I determined pretty quickly that he had gotten up at some point and turned the ceiling fan down from medium to low and I was quick to surmise that I was going to either die soon, or at the very least never go to sleep (even after he coughed himself unconscious he began some pretty  impressive snoring). I considered hopping up and just turning my beloved fan back onto medium (thankfully he had not thought to fiddle with the oscillating fan which I had quite unselfishly pointed up and away from the bed) so I still had my noise (I'm practically a saint, I know) but after an hour or so I finally decided to just ditch all those ideas and go to the guest room.

As it turns out the guest room with the best oscillating fan is also the guest room that is currently housing about 20 huge boxes of hardwood flooring (for the farmhouse) stacked directly in front of the bed. I couldn't possibly consider the other guest room with the perfectly accessible bed because that oscillating fan makes a funny clicking noise so, um, no thank you ma'am.

In retrospect I suppose I could have transferred the good fan to the room with the good bed but I'll admit that I sometimes do not do my best cognitive thinking at 2 am.  I proceeded to climb the mountain of boxes to get to the bed and then scaled (ha! a musical/piano-ish pun!) the piano bench ( there's a piano in the room too) to get to the fan and turn it on. Mission accomplished. I then attempted to get back to the bed and in transit one of the folded antique (old) quilts that I had stacked there earlier decided to slide off the bed with me riding right along with it, ruining a perfectly good pedicure in the process. After sobbing for a minute or two I laid down and pulled up the sheet, and was immediately overwhelmed with the scent of my oldest son (who stayed in this room for a few weeks over the summer and on occasion does things like ride his bike for forty miles at night and then goes to bed without a shower). Now keep in mind that I love this son (as well as his brother) but this is not the same sweet scent that I loved when they were babies and smelled of Johnson's Baby Shampoo.

Seriously? Have I not washed these sheets since he left in early August last week?

Then, evidently, I blessedly fell asleep for about 3 hours before The Chief (who leaves very early for work) burst in, turned on the light and asked in a concerned but mostly a Very Loud Voice "what on earth are you doing in here?"

I'm not sure how I responded, but he eventually left and that was my night in a nutshell.

A very long and boring nutshell, I realize.

I feel like I should at least redeem myself with some kind of moral to the story.

All I can think of is:

This is what it's really like to be married.

I suppose I wouldn't have it any other way.

The End

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Things You Likely Don't Need (or Want) To Know

I wanted to sit myself down here and get something written lest I allow myself to be once again  inexplicably drawn into watching another football game on TV which has no absolutely no meaning or concern to me. I've decided that it's just wrong to continue to pretend to watch when as soon as I look away I can't remember who is winning, or who is playing, or basically who I am.

That's what you call a big waste of time people. Time that could best be used to do something important like Google hair products or wrinkle creams or the correct spelling of words that concern me like deterrent (or is it deterrant?) Or are there 2 t's and just one r?  I can't even bear to think about occasion.

See. Critical things.

I have just a few things I want to share (none of which are important or earth-shattering). Or even mildly interesting.

I pre-apologize to the large percentage of you who will likely die from boredom before you reach the end of the post.

1. I bit into an artichoke heart today that changed my life in a bad way. I don't think it was spoiled, but it definitely did a number on my mind as well as my taste buds. It was all I could do not to jump up from the table, run home, crank up the power washer, and use it on my tongue. Have you ever bitten into anything that was just so wrong that you were sure you could never remove it's memory from your mouth? I eventually decided to forego the whole power washer plan, but it's comforting to know that it's sitting out in the garage if I need it.

2. Yesterday I gave Weegie a bath. This almost put me in a back brace. Today we got home from church to find that the little prankster had decided to roll in things unmentionable while we were gone. Horrible things. Things that are traditionally only rolled in at the farm. The second bathing necessitated Aleve.
Me, not him.

3. What is up with Greek yogurt? My HEB reorganized their dairy section to now accommodate an entire aisle of yogurt, 75% of which is Greek. Now I am a fan of the Greek yogurt, but by golly, I believe we have reached the saturation point. Please tell me you agree.

Let's give some other countries a chance.

Like I said. Nothing you needed to know.

Except this:  Have a great day.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Look again. Supper is just behind the Pickles and to the left of the Sour Cream.

Now maybe in your fridge it's hiding closer to the Greek yogurt or maybe over by the mustard, but trust me, it's there.

I made this soup in about 20 minutes this afternoon, and most of that time was spent chopping up some onion, carrot, and garlic.  A few days ago I made some kind of baked rice and chicken thigh dish which 1) had no real name and 2) yielded a fair amount of leftovers. As much as I try to cook for just the two of us, I tend to cook for the legions. I'll venture a guess and say that many of you have perfectly good leftovers in your fridge right now that while may seem unappealing for a second run, might just be the ticket for a reappearance in a soup.

Just use your imagination.

I sauteed some onion, garlic, and carrot in a little olive oil and then added a bit of my favorite Better than Bouillon Chicken base, some chicken broth, and about two tablespoons of tomato paste. I let this cook for just a few minutes, then stirred in some of the chicken thighs (chopped into cubes) and rice. I let it all cook together for about 10 minutes and then stirred in a handful of frozen chopped spinach.

Throw in a little salt and pepper and voila! (That's French for you made soup).

So really. Take another look. It's there.

And please get me a TAB while you're at it.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Ignorance and The Bliss

Most of you have likely tasted these little jewels before.

Special K Bars. Not the kind in the box on the shelf at the store (no thank you ma'am.) but the kind you make yourself.

The addictive kind.

When my Mom made these when I was growing up I thought of them as diet food (oh the ignorance and the bliss...)  I mean wasn't Special K cereal what all the moms ate to try to lose weight way back then? And besides y'all, they have no butter in them... isn't that what makes something diet-y?

A similar snack, The Rice Krispy Treat, even has butter.

So yes, these will  clearly MELT THE FAT RIGHT OFF YOUR BODY.

If you've never made them yourself shame on you. I slap your hand.

Nothing could be easier.

Here's the plan:

Skinny Hips Bars (AKA Special K Bars)

1 c. sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. peanut butter

6 cups Special K cereal

1 (12 oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (6 oz.) bag butterscotch chips

1. Pour 6 cups Special K cereal into a large bowl.

2. In a heavy saucepan combine the sugar and corn syrup and heat over med.low heat just until tiny bubbles begin to appear around the edges. (Stir frequently)

3. Stir in the peanut butter until well blended. Remove from heat.

4. Pour the mixture over the cereal. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Press (careful! it's still hot) into a greased 9x13 pan.

5. In the microwave carefully melt the choc. chips and butterscotch chips together. Stir well until smooth and well combined. Carefully spread this evenly over the cereal bar mixture. Let cool and cut into bars.

Just don't eat too many too fast. That kind of drastic weight loss isn't healthy.

Not healthy at all.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Farm Tour: Volume I've Lost Count

We've had some glorious rainfall at the farm and things are looking delightfully alive.

I thought you might want to take a little tour.

There's actually some grass in the yard!

And water in the lake! It's by no means full, but by golly, this time last year it was practically gone.

Oh. And if you look really closely you'll see the smoke and remnants from The Chief's first burn pile of the year!! Oh how he loves to burn. I wish I had taken some pictures of the huge piles of driftwood (mostly full trees!) that he has piled up with the tractor. We're on the north end of the lake and all of the dead trees/logs eventually end up somewhere on our shore.

The gate to the woods beside the house.

This old pot has been around forever. It was used mostly to wash clothes. With a fire built underneath, the clothes were dipped down into the hot water with a large stick.

We are all about the modern conveniences. One for hot, and one for cold!

So many of the large trees have served as convenient fence posts over the years. This barbed wire was probably placed around this tree 75 to 100 years ago, and the tree has just grown around it. You see this everywhere.
Somewhere  on the farm there's a tree with the stock of a rifle grown into it. Someone (maybe my great-great-great grandfather?) leaned it up against the trunk of a tree years and years ago and just forgot about it (or most likely couldn't re-locate it, after all, there are a lot of trees!) and the trunk of the tree just enclosed it! Someone found it several years ago.

You'll find pieces of old farm equipment everywhere. This is part of a hand plow that  was pulled behind horses.

Weegie always has a hard time deciding where to go, what to do, or more likely what to roll in 

There are tons, I repeat tons of petrified wood at the farm. As a matter of fact, when I was growing up we had so much of it that we lined all the flower beds with it, just like moss rock or landscaping timbers.

I went out the backdoor Friday evening and lo and behold this snake was trying to steal off with one of my little toad buddies! I just couldn't have it! Everyone eventually went their separate ways.

We had another wonderful little rain shower Saturday evening. Here's a shot looking out over the hay bales at the pretty cloud-streaked sky!

Hope you enjoyed your Monday farm tour!


Friday, October 12, 2012

When Better Than Good Enough Is Just Right

Well, I'm sure you know what I mean.

Sometimes things are good.

Like Weegie soaking up the morning sun with his Squeeky toy.

Or a piece of The Fresh Apple Cake made with Honeycrisps.

It really is the absolute best. I shared the recipe before on here, do I need to post it again??

But. As good as those things are... this is better

A piece of The Fresh Apple Cake with a little Salted Lemon Caramel Sauce.

See. I told you.

This sauce is something you don't want to miss. I promise.
I can think of all kinds of things you could drizzle it over.

Pecan Pie
Pound Cake
Ice Cream

Your finger.

A carrot.

It makes anything better than it was before.

(Except Weegie, of course. He can't be improved upon!)

Try it. You'll love me more than Friday!

Salted Lemon Caramel Sauce

2 cups light brown sugar
½ c. heavy cream
½ c. milk
1 stick butter
¼ tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ T. vanilla paste (or vanilla)
The juice of one lemon

Combine the brown sugar, cream, milk, and butter in a medium saucepan and cook while stirring over medium heat. You don’t really ever want to see it boil…
Cook and stir until it begins to thicken. (about 8-10 minutes) Stir in the salt. Cook for about 5 more minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla paste and the lemon juice. Stir very well.

Let cool slightly but serve while warm.
This makes a lot and can be reheated in microwave!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

One Oreo or Four?

(Thank you Pinterest for being the eye on my life.)

Hidee Ho people.

It's hard for me to muster up much enthusiasm as I seem to have developed some sort of odd cold that has settled in my eyes. There's puffiness and oozing like you would not believe, and yes, it's just as attractive as you might imagine.

But there are a few things (5) I've been meaning to share and I should probably give you a heads up now about all the potential boring.

2.  My oven blew up. And this time I'm serious. Occasionally I'll use a term like blew up for dramatic effect like yesterday my tube of mascara blew up. Which actually just means that while I was applying my mascara I somehow got black mascara glump spots all over the front of my blouse. And while it seems ever so much more exciting to use the fancy, action language, the reality is I can't wear my glasses while applying mascara and therefore cannot see that I am personally flicking the stuff all over myself each time I joosh the wand in and out of the tube. Blew. Up.

But my oven really blew up. I have a duel fuel double oven. The baking uses gas, and the broiling uses electricity. I was baking something in the smaller side oven and decided I wanted to switch it to broil to get a little color on the top, well, in a twist of fate my broiler element decided to short out in the split second that there was still some gas in the oven and poof! Or should I say POOF.

I was standing right beside it and although uninjured, it just about scared me to death. The Chief even sauntered into the room fairly quickly after the boom (which is saying a lot because he rarely bothers to come check anymore on odd/loud/disturbing noises that come out of the kitchen).

And it appears that my UPS man has absconded with the new broiler element I ordered (and spent all of my Secret Money on).

So the nightmare continues.

5. We've been invaded by owls. Really. Someone needs to do something. All the hooting is very suspicious and eerie. But I think owls are cute so no physical harm or anything. If you're the  superstitious type this does not bode well for my entire neighborhood.

4. I wore my cowboy boots yesterday. (!!) It was actually cool enough and I was feeling rather kicky and fun. Until I got home and realized the ruffly beige!! blouse I was wearing had a huge BBQ sauce stain right on the very center ruffly front. That kind of cancelled out any sassiness that I had been feeling and also probably explains the weird and pathetic looks that I got from the ladies that work at Pier One. I guess the lesson is, when you get mascara all over yourself and have to hurriedly switch blouses, you might want to give yourself a cursory look in the mirror before prancing off in your cowboy boots and So Slimming jeans from Chico's.

Major Fashion/Beauty Fail.

1. I need to write a whole post soon about a) me getting a TV recording device for the very first time b) me first trying to figure out if the box-things we have currently sitting near the TV are recordy-thingies or just play-ey-thingies c) me talking to the Comcast customer service (??) people trying to set it up  d) me realizing I have evidently buried the original remote to our TV in the backyard somewhere and completely blacked that out of my mind.

I may just make this story a recurring series. Like a looping nightmare of sorts.

3. I have two (2) awesome fall recipes that you're gonna just love. You will be tempted to gift me with money and jewels after I share them.
Please feel free to gift me with money and jewels after I share them.

What have y'all been up to?


Monday, October 8, 2012

One Potato Two Potato (Or: A Prescription for Insomnia)

Here's how to do it:

1. When you come out of the bathroom and get into bed immediately notice how horribly hot the bedroom is.

2. Decide that you are close to a heatstroke.

3. Look over at The Chief and find it unbelievable that he is sleeping under a blanket.

4. Poke him with your finger to make sure he's not dead.

5. Decide it's too hard to tell.

6. Realize, as you suspected all along, that he is in fact an alien from the tropical planet WELOVETOSWEAT.

7. Wonder if you should share that information with your sons.

8. Become very disturbed when you realize that they are also half-alien.

9. Feel somewhat enlightened when you realize that this explains a lot of weird things over the years.

10. Decide you will count sheep.

11. Remember that you prefer to count alphabetical fruit and vegetables instead.

12. Try to decide if you will do alphabet vegetables, or alphabet fruit.

13. Decide on fruit.

14. Make the determination in your heart, once and for all, if you're going to allow yourself to count tomato. You know it's going to matter when you get to "T".

15. Become frustrated at your indecisiveness.

16. Try to remember  if you locked the front door.

17. Try to reenact your movements earlier when you went out the front door to look at your sick lemon tree. Wonder if the awful scale disease is in any way connected to The Chief's homeplace.

18. Wonder if that is one or two owls that you hear in the tree right outside your bedroom.

19. Decide that since you're typically a big goober you most likely did not lock the door.

20. Get up to check. In the kitchen, run directly into the corner of the island. Decide you are absolutely sure that you have broken your little toe in four places.

21. Hobble back through the bedroom and into the bathroom.

22. Decide that yes, The Chief must be dead since he didn't wake up when you screamed.

23. Fashion a handy splint for your toe from a bent Q-tip and a band-aid.

24. Wonder why you didn't become a fancy doctor.

25. Get back in bed.

26. Yep. That's two owls. Remember that they say that means death.

27. Worry.

28. Try to recite some bible verses. Forget the important words. Try to get up to go look up the verses but realize the band-aid on your toe is stuck to the sheets.

29. Reach down and yank the whole thing off. Decide you're a dork for thinking it was broken.

30. Wonder if you may have suffered a concussion in the kitchen.

31. Begin to design some kind of night-walking protective helmet in your mind. Wonder if it will make you a billionaire.

32. Think surely that is not three owls.

33. Decide this spells certain doom.

34. Decide you are about 2 minutes from a heatstroke. Get up, go into the bathroom and check the tag on your nightgown to make sure it says all cotton. Decide that tags lie.

35. Make a note to call and report the whole conspiracy to Wayne Dolcefino. Wonder how that man is still alive.

36. Go back to bed. Wipe some sweat off your forehead and flick it over toward The Chief. Note that he doesn't wake up.

37. Decide it really might be a good move to call your friend that researches family genealogy.

38. Wonder if they keep public records on WELOVETOSWEAT.

39. Wonder if you should get up and Google it.

40. Begin again at #2. Or #7.

41. Decide it really doesn't matter which...


Friday, October 5, 2012

Friday Fun!

Happy Friday y'all!

I'm so excited to be a featured guest over at my dear friend Bev's blog today!

You can check it out at Fresh Start Stories.

Bev is an awesome writer who not only collaborated with actress Mary McDonough to write her memoir Lessons from The Mountain, What I learned from Erin Walton, but also has the most wonderful series of book, Seasons of Cherryvale, which follow characters Maggie, Grace and other lovable,  quirky residents of the Cherryvale community. You never know what drama/hilarity/action you'll find in this small town!

Here I am with my copy of the the latest installment in the series, Autumn Changes.

Remember to checkout Bev's blog here at Fresh Start Stories!! and then look for all her books on (for Kindle too!).

You'll be glad you did!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

It Was More Fun Than Searching For Socks

Not too long ago in this First and Maybe Final Food Forum Friday post I shared the recipe for my favorite Giant Ginger Cookies.

They're big.
They're full of fall flavor, and they're delicious.

But perfect and delicious are sometimes just not good enough. Sometimes I need perfect, delicious, and sassy.

Something with a little flair so to speak.

So today, instead of thinking about The Chief's recent challenge to me "Lu, you really need to figure out what has happened  what you've done with all my black socks",

I decided to doctor up my ginger cookies.

I am nothing if not an avoider.

(By the way, have any of you seen his socks? They are lost. Yes, all 27 thousand pair).

I know.

So here's what I did.

I added some fresh ginger,

Lots of my favorite warm cinnamon...

and some tangy citrus to a simple yet scrumptious recipe for ginger cookies.

I rolled them in a mix of sugar, nutmeg, and citrus zest

and baked them until they became...

Ginger Cookies with a sassy attitude!!

Here's the recipe- I know you'll like 'em!

Sassy Orange Ginger Cookies

¾ c. shortening                                                                                      
1 cup light brown sugar                                                                           
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger                                                                                                                  
¼ c. molasses                                                                                                                                  
¼ c. dark corn syrup 
4 T. freshly grated orange rind                                                                                       
1 egg     
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt                                                                                                               

For the sugar coating:
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (or 1 tsp. ground nutmeg)
4T. grated orange rind
2 T. grated lemon rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the shortening, sugar and ginger until soft and quite fluffy. Beat in the molasses and the corn syrup. Add the egg and beat well.
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Stir into the creamed mixture and blend thoroughly.
In a small bowl stir together the sugar, nutmeg, orange rind, and lemon rind.
Roll balls of dough in the sugar mixture and place on greased cookie sheet.
Bake for about  12 minutes.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Be Thou Not Stingy

In honor and celebration of the first day of my Favorite Month I give you this recipe. To be honest, it pains me in a way. The Pumpkin Crunch (LET'S ALL PUT OUR HANDS TOGETHER) has been a long-time part of my arsenal.

My secret list so to speak.

But I had so many requests from my Bible Study ladies that I don't think I can with good conscience, refuse.

After all they're my Bible Study Ladies and I think it's pretty clear that my reluctance to share could very well land me in some deep theological water. (And me without my floaties, if you know what I mean...)

Anyway, you'll absolutely love this! You'll love how easy it is! This has been around for years and there are numerous versions. Don't waste your time on the others.

You'll love me for sharing!

Please love me for sharing...

Pumpkin Crunch

I  (15 oz.) can pumpkin*
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
3 eggs
1 yellow cake mix
1 ½ c. chopped pecans
2 sticks butter (melted)

1.       In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, cinnamon, and eggs. Beat about one minute on med. high speed. Pour mixture into a buttered  9x13 in. baking dish.
2.       Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the top of the pumpkin mixture. Do not stir!! Sprinkle the nuts over the dry cake mix, and then pour the melted butter evenly over the top.
3.       Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes. Until golden brown on top.
4.       Serve warm with Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla.

*Make sure that you are using canned pumpkin puree and not canned pumpkin pie filling (yuck)