Thursday, September 11, 2014

There are NO words.

Today, Let us all pause in Remembrance.

God save us all from such a day. My heart and prayers are with those personally touched, in any way, by the events of September 11, 2001.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Finally, Signs of Autumn!

Good Morning and Happy September!! As you may already know, I am in love with the Autumn/Fall & Winter seasons!! I just can't wait! I know some of you are still clinging to the last days of summer, but I am anxiously looking forward to Autumn!! You may even recall, one of my most read and featured posts, here, with you was "Anxiously Awaiting Fall"! You can see that one
Great Bread pudding recipe!

Well, It's that time of year again, where I CAN NOT wait!! I am so excited that the first sign of Fall's arrival are starting to show up around my home!  In Northern California, that mean that the grapevines lining one side of my driveway are starting to turn those Beautiful shades of RED!!

And the pathway, in my rose garden, (on the other side of the drive) are beginning to be littered with dried rose petals and leaves!! I love the way it looks so much, I haven't had the urge to sweep them up just yet!

This is looking back down my driveway from the carport!! LOVE! Do you enjoy this time of year, too? Or are you clinging tightly to the last days of Summer? 

 With all that said and pictured here, I must tell you, that I still have the random, beautiful rose blooming here and there!! It's the best of both worlds, right now! What a beautiful feast for our eyes the Lord provides. I am so abundantly Blessed!
,So to celebrate this "in between seasons," yesterday I baked up a batch of both, Pumpkin-Chocolate-chip muffins and some wonderful Apple Cinnamon ones!  Are hey ever a hit! Both of them!
I made the Apple Cinnamon ones with Applesauce, in place of oil, and I chopped up a whole Golden Delicious Apple to throw in the batter! I love those chunks of fresh fruit!

This morning I have started peeling and seeding a couple small Butternuts to make some of my "Roasted Butternut Squash Soup"! You can find that recipe Here
I hope you are enjoying your weather, whatever it may be,  and finding a way to enjoy and celebrate it, before the bigger changes of the Season begin! 

Many Blessings to you all, Always..

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

All Because 2 People Fell In Love~

This is In Honor of My Parent's 57th Wedding Anniversary!
Two More Loving People you will never meet.
Congratulations Mom and Dad! I hope you enjoy this! We sure enjoy you!

All Because Two People Fell In Love!

        Did you ever Imagine this?!!

Yes, It keeps going!


And, then
 Mustn't forget 

And, I'm certain not last and that I've probably missed someone, so not least!

We Love You So Much! Thank you for being you!
God Blessed You and Continues to Bless us all with your Love.

~Theresa (with the consent of my sisters, Ha!)

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Perfect Apple Pear Crisp & It's Gluten Free!

Welcome!! If you are new here, you already know how much I love to Bake.  And, usually, I love to bake the good old fashioned way with lots of flour, sugar, nuts and butter! Who doesn't?! Recently, I  have noticed that a few of my wonderful friends are completely gluten-free.. One, by choice, but the other two have to be based on health issues. This presented a challenge to me, because let's face it,  I have to be able to share my cooking with my friends and family! Yes I've said it! There is absolutely NO joy, for me,  in baking my wonderful yummy recipes  if I can't share it with the people I Love.
So on that note, I took it to task to come up with a great recipe to make/bake for my gluten- intolerant friends!  I looked over A LOT of Gluten-free recipes, to see how they were replacing flour, mostly.  There is actually quite a bit of information out there! But, I didn't find a recipe that I was super-excited to try. With it being summer and the wealth of fresh fruits available, I wanted to make something that would celebrate that..  I love Apple Crisp! My family has made it since I was a child. We had a Golden Delicious apple tree in our yard and made all things apple from it, every summer. But, the one thing that every person in my family still makes is a good crisp.  So I got my inspiration from there!

Of course like most crisps, ours includes Flour and Oats.  What I found out about oats and oatmeal was this, that if you buy completely organic oats, that have not been milled around flour products or other gluten-carrying grains, they, themselves, are gluten free.  However, if you are worried about your supplier, you can alway purchase 'gluten-free' Oats from  Whole Foods or another natural food stores.  So armed with that new knowledge I started playing with the recipe, looking at other ingredients that would make a tasty the crisp topping, without using flour.  What I came up with, to my own amazement, was actually better than my traditional Crisp!

 It is now the only way I will make a Crisp.  My first use of this 'recipe' was baked over peaches (you may remember, from a recent past post that I had easy, free access to those).  I made it for one of my friends and she loved it!  The real surprise to me was, that I did, too!! I mean REALLY loved it.

My supply of peaches has all but disappeared, but, what I have had on hand quite a bit lately was apples, but not really enough for a full crisp. I also had some Pears,which I'm being truly honest, have never been my favorite fruit. However, I have enjoyed baking with them before! So, that is how this recipe came about, and I have to tell you, it is a hit & a new favorite of mine, as well.

So, here's what I did:

I combined 3 lg apples ( I had 2 Gravenstein and 1 Granny Smith) but,  you could use whatever your favorite baking apple is.
I, didn't want to use a whole lot of sugar in this recipe, and since pears have quite a sweet flavor, I decided to combine them with my apples.

I combined 5 small to med. pears (peeled and sliced) in with my apples.
Then, I tossed them with 1/3 cup white sugar
1 full teaspoon of cinnamon
1 heaping Tablespoon of Red Mill's Gluten-Free Pancake Mix. (I find this works much better than the plain gluten free flour. Especially, with fruit, because I love the way the tapioca flour, included in it's ingredients, pairs with baked fruit) It is also wheat and dairy free.

Fold together a few times, in a large bowl then dump it into a buttered pie pan.

Now you are ready to add your gluten free "crisp" to the top!

In a separate, dry bowl, I combined:
2/3 cup of organic oats
1/2 cup gluten free pancake mix
1/3 cup almond flour (I like the roasted better, but that's up to you)
1/2 cup light organic brown sugar
I added a little cinnamon to this, as well.
Toss with a fork, and add

about 6 tablespoons of melted butter to your oat mixture. Work it in well, so it starts getting clumpy. Then it's ready. Scoop over the apple/pear mixture allowing for some mixture to get into all the nooks and crannies.    

Place on a foil covered baking sheet in bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F for 35-50 mins.  Use your knife to check the tenderness of the apples.  By the time the knife slides in easily your crisp is ready!

Place on a foil covered baking sheet and bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F for 35-50 mins.

Use your knife to check the tenderness of the apples.  By the time the knife slides in easily your crisp is ready!

A little coffee or tea and you have a very tasty, nutty flavored, Gluten-Free dessert to share with your friends and family!
As I said earlier, I have made this with peaches, too, and last week, I even made one with Blueberries.  The recipe is the same, just adjust the fruit measurements! I hope this gave you a good tool to put in your recipe box to enjoy and to make for your friends with dietary restrictions.

It is always such a pleasure, for me, to come share my going's-on with you all. Thanks for following along with me!  For more pictures and tips, pop on over to Shoestring's Facebook page if you like, you can find it Here

I will be sharing this recipe with these lovely ladies:

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ruffles & A Rummage Sale Desk Make My Room Complete

Well, Happy Summer 2014! Is it warm where you are? It sure has been here, and not the usual heat, the "new" 'monsoonal moisture' as they've been calling it on the news. Between you and I, it's not my cup of tea. Or should I say Macchiato?...I have been very busy working on many things for myself, my family, church and home these last few weeks! Least of which,  was finally finishing up my Bedroom the way I really wanted to!

Doesn't everything look just heavenly with a little sparkle to it?! I was actually editing this photo to share with you an accidently clicked this button, I'm not sure I could do it again, if I wanted to. But, I like it! Here is a look without the "magic". Isn't it still just heavenly? 

I have been waiting for some time for two very important   things for me to feel my space was the way I truly wanted it. The first one you are seeing....Ruffled curtains! Aren't they wonderful?!  I had intended to make ruffled curtains myself, but had read from many bloggers, whose style I love, that they used bedskirts, dust ruffles and other things to achieve the same look for pennies on the dollar. Now your talking my language! So, as suggested by another Blogger friend, I checked out ruffles on Amazon! I'm not kidding! Unbelievably, they knew what we liked! I found these ruffled curtains already made! And, no they did NOT break the bank. But, with the money I saved on my New Desk, the second thing I needed to complete my room, It was a very do-able makeover! And, I am thrilled with the results. I couldn't wait to share with you.

Do you notice how you have never seen a picture of my desk?! Be thankful. An absolutely wonderful man, from long ago, bought it for me, and though his intent was so incredibly wonderful and generous, it was never 'my style'. I never had the heart to tell him. Well, if he's reading this post now, he knows, and I'm actually certain he would pleased for me.

This is my new desk!
I absolutely love it! Since I work in my bedroom, it was imperative for me to find a nice piece that would match the style of my room and be large enough and very welcoming to come to. I wanted a nice cherry wood to match my bed and I really wanted a front drawer that would drop open for my keyboard and mouse. I have been looking for about two and a half years.  A couple of weeks ago, a quick pop over to my Mum's church for a rummage sale and there it was! 

(These are some adorable little  business cards my sister made for me. Thanks,Di!)

I absolutely love it! Did I say that already?! I do. It was exactly what I had wanted and get this, I'm not ashamed to dicker on price, I walked away with my perfect desk for twenty dollars!
Yes $20! So, now you see why I could afford to buy the curtains!
Different view (sorry about the light)
See the drop down drawer!!

When all is said and done, my room is, now, how I had always pictured it. Can you feel me smiling, because I am. 

Dreamy Image here:

But, quite honestly even without the fun effect, I Love what I ended up with!

Thanks for coming along with me as I navigate through the Blessings and pitfalls of this life. You have all been so wonderfully supportive and kind. I hope you have a space that you have or are working on to call your own and that makes you smile.  Have a wonderful week. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

How to Make Your Own Butter - Great Summer Project to Do With Your Kiddos

Good Morning!! Thanks for popping over for a visit.  So, have you ever made your own butter? If not, you are truly missing out and I don't think it could be easier. It's funny, little things, can give us such a feeling of accomplishment. Not to mention, that you will shock your friends and family with your amazing talent! (LOL, really it's so easy, you'll be almost embarrassed at all the praise you will get for doing this simple thing)!
So, I really want to break it down for you, because when I first started doing this myself, I thought it would be a very daunting task, and that only 'special' people, you know, the Martha Stewart's of the world, could possibly do! Ha! So Easy...but people will think you're as talented as M.S! Another thing that I really love about this, is doing it with children! You can't believe their amazement! As if,  you had some magic powers or something!

Okay, Step 1 - Buy a half gallon of Cream. Yep that's it! I don't know about where you live, but this isn't something you can buy at most stores, they usually only sell pints or maybe a quart, but good old Costco sells this half gallon carton for only $3.99!

Make sure it is Heavy Whipping Cream. And, no, Half and Half will not work.  I have used my Kitchen Aid here, but I have also made it in a food processor.  I have been told, and I cannot see why not, that you can also do this in your average, garden variety, Blender. :) 

Okay are you ready for it? Step 2 - Pour Whipping Cream, take out of the fridge an hour before you're ready, (room temperature is best for this)Now, pour it into your Bowl, Food Processor or Blender. (Little tip here: to stay dry and not have cream all over your kitchen, do no more than 1-1/2 - 2 cups at a time. Yep, I learned that one the hard way)

Do not put it in High! You can use the middle setting for this and walk away for a little bit. But, if you are doing this with your kids, I suggest you stay and watch! It really is fascinating to see the transformation. Obviously. the first you will see is a nice whip cream texture. (Doesn't that look beautiful?) The mind wants to stop here, because we like it, and we are familiar with this, but do not stop your machine!  
It is so pretty, though.. Okay, so if you need a little whip cream for dessert, or for your Latte or just to taste, now would be the time to get it out. :)  But, then, turn it back on and keep blending..

<-- Now you start seeing this. If you've made your own whip cream, you know this is when you have gone a little too far and it doesn't have that nice silky look anymore. It's ok, this is what you want. Don't stop blending! 
Now you've really done it! it's gone from anything even remotely looking like whip cream to looking almost like a dry, grainy texture in the center! I know, weird, eh? It's really suppose to do that! This is just the fat and water content separating, this is normal.  When you get to this point, though, I would highly recommend putting your splash guard on. Because what happens next is truly amazing!!

All of the sudden, this liquid starts shooting out of it, splashing about everywhere!! Bizarre, eh? That liquid is the best Buttermilk you will ever taste!! Bonus!! You get fresh, Homemade Butter and Buttermilk!! I highly recommend placing a clean cotton towel over your mixer while this is happening..

When it starts doing this, have a clean, dry, sealable container ready, because now you are going to turn your Blender off and drain the buttermilk off into that container! And does it ever taste good in your recipes!! I love to use this buttermilk for my scones or biscuits, where you can really appreciate the flavor! Make sure to seal and refrigerate your buttermilk. You're not quite done yet.

 Put your bowl back in place and turn your Blender back on. You may get a little more buttermilk here to drain off, or not, it just depends on how much liquid you already got put of it. If you continue to get some more liquid, repeat the draining step again.   Okay this is Step 3! Now that you can see that you have creamed butter in your bowl, you can add honey (I add about 1 Tablespoon of fresh, unfiltered raw honey from Whole Foods to mine)Yummm! If you like, you can also add herbs and garlic of your choice, if you want just plain sweet cream butter do not add anything. Continue to blend for another minute or so.

I have never heard of anyone else doing the next step, and it probably isn't necessary, but I like to take one of my bottled waters out of the fridge at this point and just pour about 1/2 cup over the butter as it blends, it seems to chill it and make it come together a little nicer, but hey, that's just me. You can skip this step if you like and just scrape your yummy butter out of your blender or mixer and put it into a bowl that has an air seal lock.  You will be amazed. It comes out of the bowl easier than anything else you've ever made.

From the half gallon( 64 oz.) of whipping cream we started with,  you should yield approximately 4 cups of butter and 4 cups of buttermilk!

Now, if you are lucky enough to have a butter crock, (or blessed with a friend who finds one for you, thanks Linda) like the one below, you can store a 1/2 cup of your fresh butter in it. It is simply sealed by placing 1/3 cup of cold water in it, before placing the butter in the lid. This way you can have some spreadable butter on the counter and store the rest in your fridge in an air-sealed container. Any tupperware will work here.

I hope you do take this fun little project on, I have nor gone back to stick butter, other than for baking, ever since I made my first batch of honey butter!!

Many Blessing to you all for a wonderful week!! I hope you are all enjoying your summer!

I'll be sharing this with the following wonderful Ladies!
The Ultimate Linky  Creative Kids Tasty Tuesday   Ivy and Elephants  Yesterfood  Savvy Southern Style My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia  The Scoop @ Cedar Hill Farmhouse   A Stroll Thru Life   Katherine's Corner Thursday Favorite Things    French Country Cottage Feathered Nest Friday   The Charm Of Home's Home Sweet Home    Imparting Grace: Grace at Home     Stringtown Home's Sisterhood
Posed Perfection's Creative Ways    Vintage Chic     Nacherrow's Fridays Unfolded
Natasha In Oz      Shabbilicious Friday    I Heart Nap Time's Link Party Palooza   The Dedicated House Cindy's Romantic Home   Mamas"Little"Treasures Wake Up Wednesday  The DIY Dreamer

This post was featured by the incredibly talented & very kind Joy from Yesterfood I adore Joy and her wonderful Blog and am so completely honored! Many Thanks!

Completely surprised to also be featured by the wonderful & talented, Richella, from Imparting Grace

Friday, July 4, 2014

Brownies With Flair!

Happy Fourth of July!! I had hoped to have this recipe up for you all a little earlier... but, life happened, as it tends to do.  So, It's here now, and (I think) a great thing to bring to your Barbeque or Celebration!! I was trying to come up with something rather easy, but more special than just another brownie.  Hence, I now have "Brownies with Flair" to take and share with my friends and family with all it's Yumminess for the Summer celebrations going on!! I know the kids will absolutely love it! (If the adults don't eat it first...hehe)

Can anyone tell me, when  Chocolate with some more chocolate, marshmallows, nuts, topped with some more "pretty"chocolate is not a hit?! Well, at least in my family, the answer would be never! 

The very best part of this, is how easy and quick it is to make! You probably even have most of these ingredients in your cupboard, already. I love that! If not, easy enough to pick up & fairly inexpensive. I used store brand mini marshmallows, the brownies, well I like Pillsbury! :) The chocolate chips semi-sweet and milk are a great price here @ Trader Joe's and the walnuts were again another store brand. Not too tough, eh?

So, here we go. First, and this is a tricky one, prepare and bake your brownies, according to the directions  on the box. I added 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and substituted applesauce for the oil, but that's pretty much it.  
Then it looks something like this ( I used a 9x13" pan).

 Have your chocolate chips and marshmallows ready, because you are going to need to work quickly once it's baking.  About 3 minutes before it's done, pull your pan out of the oven and scatter 2/3 of a a bag of mini marshmallows over the top, then sprinkle with 1/3 cup each of milk chocolate and semi sweet chips and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts. You'll  want to do this rather rapidly so you don't loose the internal temperature of your brownies.  Once you have all that evenly scattered over your brownies, pop it back in the oven for 2 mins. max! You don't really want to toast your marshmallows or you will get the crystallized sugar texture, so you're just really melting them. really, and that happens in under 2 minutes!  Pull them out and let them cool for about 5-10 minutes. Now you're ready for the fun part! 

This is what it look like at this point! Very hard not to just grab a knife and dig in right now!! But, I'm an adult and I can show some restraint.. (So, I just lick my fingers, where the marshmallow and melted chocolate, accidently got smeared. ;)

Melt about 1/4-1/3 cup of your leftover chocolate chips. Either kind is fine, I used the semi-sweet here.( You can use your microwave here, just be careful not to overcook) Now, when you have them melted add 1/2 teaspoon of canola or other rather tasteless oil to your  chocolate. I know it sounds kinda gross, but you will really never taste it and it makes the next step so much easier to work with and gives you such a better appearance. Now, with a good fork, take your  bowl of melted chocolate and drizzle your chocolate back and forth over the top of your Brownies. Have fun with it and choose a direction or pattern you want your drizzle to go, until you have used up your melted chocolate. (Just one last note, I usually do this with my pan over a washable surface on a wire rack, for easy cleanup). 

Then, lucky you! You end up with something that looks like this! It wows your family and really is very easy to do!!  Are you spending the day with your Family? I hope so. I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July with people you love!

I am blessed with family close by, and some more that will be down for a visit. My house just happens to be 1/3 of mile away from where they put off our towns fireworks display and my large front covered porch is the best seat in town!! I think, at last count there will  be 8 or 9 of us out there! So, these goodies will come in very handy and I am certain not a crumb will go to waste!

I truly hope you will give this recipe a try, you will be completely surprised at how easy it really is!  Many Blessing to you and yours for a happy and safe Holiday!!

I will share this with: