Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Friday, October 12, 2012

Jump start Fall with these Pumpkin Cream Cheese muffins.  I made these last weekend.  It takes a little time because there are actually three steps to making them.  They were good, but I think I would add some pumpkin pie spice to these to give them a little more "kick".  Enjoy with your "only available in the Fall Pumpkin Lattes!"

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins Recipe from Food.com

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

1 (8 ounce) package
cream cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons flour
5 tablespoons white sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons chopped
pecans (toasted these briefly first on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees,
for about 10 minutes.)
2 1/2 cups flour (I used half white, half whole wheat
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups.
3. FILLING: Beat cream cheese until soft.
4. Add egg, vanilla and brown sugar.
5. Beat until smooth.

6. Set aside.
7. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and pecans.
8.Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly.
Set aside.
9.In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
10. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and gradually incorporate eggs, pumpkin, olive oil andvanilla.
11. Beat together until smooth.
12. Fill cups with pumpkin mixture until they're about 1/2 full.
13. Carefully add one tbsp of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the batter.
14. If you're using paper cups, try to keep cream cheese from touching the paper.
15. Sprinkle on the streusel topping.Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25


Fall Decorating with White Pumpkins!

It's Fall Ya'll! In the mountains of North Carolina the leaves are revving up for their show and the air has turned crisp with even a hint of frost a few mornings! Yep, it's Fall and I love it! I love decorating for Fall because you can stretch it out for at least two months to cover Halloween and Thanksgiving! And I love the white pumpkins that I have found this year! If you can't find white pumpkins, why, just paint them! I love these examples of decorating with white pumpkins!

I Could Learn to Love Laundry

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I hate doing laundry.  I hate dryer lint. I hate used dryer sheets all over the floor. I hate my gross laundry room. BUT I think I would LOVE laundry if I had one of these serene laundry rooms! And of course mine would stay looking like this ALWAYS! :) One can dream...

This (click here to see the makeover) is my favorite! It just makes me smile and go ahhhh.....

I love how you can take even a small space and make it so cute and elegant...yep elegant laundry...that's what would motivate me I think! 

Click Here to see the details...It is the size of my kitchen for heavens sake!

Well enough laundry envy for now.  It's Saturday morning and I need to trudge downstairs to my basement laundry room and dive in to my not-cute-or-elegant-a-bit laundry duties! I think I will play pretend today!

Take A Smile and Give it Away :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'm back...with blueberries!

I'm back.  It's been a while.  Life happens ya know? There's Easter, and moving one child out of a dorm and then graduating another from college.  Life happens fast. (Grad pix to come).

But in enjoying my addiction (Pinterest) I keep seeing these beautiful pics of blueberries.

And it brings back such sweet memories of taking my girls blueberry picking each summer.  Just like strawberry picking, we ate more than we put in the buckets! I think I might try to talk them into going again this summer! 

But now I want to fix everything blueberry! How 'bout these yogurt covered blueberries? Brilliant!

Check out The Caffeinated Chronicles of Supermom for the easy instructions.

And then Oh dear there's these Blueberry Pancake Cupcakes...Check out the recipe on this sweet blog Your Cup of Cake!

I have another great recipe for a peach blueberry pie that I will share soon! It's a great summertime go to recipe!

Now let's go play with blueberries!

Vegetarian Santa Fe Salad

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Here's a yummy one that I have now made twice in the past two weeks. Translation= It's good!

I found this one on The Pioneer Woman's website...remember...she's my favorite. On her site there is an area called Tasty Kitchen, where folks from all over post their recipes.  This recipe was posted by One Mad Housewife.

So try this one...it has lots of yummy veggies...black beans, corn, red pepper, avocado....easy & good for ya!

Mini Pallet Signs

Monday, March 19, 2012

You've seen these cool pallet signs on Pinterest right? I think they are so neat and believe I could get carried away with these and completely fill my house with them.

I ran across this great idea from U-Create for the cutest Mini Pallet signs.  How clever! They are so smart over there!  Check these out!  They would make great gifts too!

Go over to U-Create for the full tutorial on how to make these!
Simple list of suppplies and easy to make!

What Makes Us Think We'd Be Happy With More?

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Be Thankful
Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.
It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are
also thankful for the setbacks.
GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles
and they can become your blessings.
~ Author Unknown ~

Healthy and Pretty and Easy....it's Quinoa!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's all the rage. Quinoa (KEEN wah). I have seen it on menus and on recipe sites. I think I may have eaten it once without knowing it...

I ran across this recipe recently. I admit I stopped because it was a pretty picture.  I do that. Anyway I have been seeing lots of  pins lately for quinoa recipes.  So I took another look.  Turns out it is very healthy! How 'bout that...and you can cook something pretty with it.  Healthy and pretty...hmmmm....

Anyway I printed out the recipe and thought "I'll make this sometime...of course when there are just girls around to eat it." Then when at the grocery store I didn't have the recipe with me.  It happens a lot.  So I tried to remember the ingredients.  Not usually good for me to do.  But I actually did pretty good and got it all (or had some of it) except for mangos.Oh yeah and the lime juice (I just used lemon juice instead) But  I forgot mangos.  I bet the mangos were the best part.  Oh well.

Here's the pretty picture from The Tasty Kitchen that made me stop...and want quinoa!

I made this recipe last night (con mangos and lime juice).  Our local grocery store had one...yes just one...type of quinoa.  It was a flavored kind....red pepper something. Anyway, as it turns out, quinoa is good.  And healthy.  And easy to cook.  

I encourage you to try this recipe if you are looking for healthy...and pretty...and easy.

I found the recipe on The Tasty Kitchen...which is on The Pioneer Woman (remember she is my favorite). You can click here to download and print the recipe.  Come back and let me know if you try it...I hope you remember mangos!

Here's the not so pretty, really blurry, I need a new camera pic of my Confetti Quinoa...but it is evidence that I indeed did make it!

Confetti Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette 

Blueberry Cornbread...of course!

Monday, March 12, 2012

I ran across this recipe for Blueberry Cornbread today and just couldn't help myself...I had to share it. And I am going to HAVE to make it! I mean when have you ever seen blueberry cornbread? 

I could use local fresh ground cornmeal from Dellinger's Mill.  I can pick it up at The Market on Oak anytime!  For now I will have to use frozen blueberries, but it won't be long until we can pick local blueberries too! 

But one question I have is...what do you eat blueberry cornbread with?  Well I don't know...maybe I will just eat it by itself!:)

I found this recipe at BlackJack BakeHouse. There are some other really interesting recipes there too! 
Gonna have to check those out soon! 

You can go to Black Jack BakeHouse here and get the recipe...it's pretty easy...which I appreciate and pretty much require.  So go get it and let me know if you whip up a pan of blueberry cornbread before I do!

What {Who}Deserves Your Gratitude?

The Best Ever Lasagna....really!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Okay I haven't always liked sharing recipes. Even when someone shared them with me.  There are nice people in the world....sharers.  But sometimes I feel that when I find a great recipe I should keep it to myself...like it is a treasured family heirloom recipe.  Ancient Chinese secret..ya know? But I am trying to be a better recipe sharing person. (Since I am a really bad recipe stealer) It does make me feel kinda good after I have shared a good one! 

This recipe wasn't shared with me...but it was there for the taking. (see what I mean?)  I LOVE Ree Drummond...The Pioneer Woman.  I bought her cookbook and followed her blog BEFORE she had a Food Network Show.  She is cool.  I want to be her.  This is Ree's Best Ever Lasagna recipe.

Anyway, so far I haven't tried one of her recipes that wasn't great.  Sometimes best ever. And this is one.  SO....I am being one of those better people and I'm sharing.  For the few souls who might see this post...congratulations! You win! It's your lucky day! Trust me!

So here is the link to The Pioneer Woman site where you will find The Best Ever Lasagna Recipe.  Make it! I did! It's good! Share if you like!

And just so you know...the best part is there aren't any fancy smancy ingredients...you probably have these in your cabinet...or at least you know which aisle they are on at the grocery store!

(Photos from The Pioneer Woman website)

When There Are No Words...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It has been over a month since my last post. I just haven't had the words.

On February 1st our family lost a large part of our heart in the passing of my nephew. At the age of 41 Brian was loving, kind, funny, generous and amazingly talented. Less than two years prior to Feb 1st, Brian lost the love of his life to Lymphoma. His heart was broken and never repaired. Left behind are their two children, ages 19 & 15 with questions and heartbreak beyond what their years can fathom. And my sweet sister and brother-in-law are broken hearted and lost.

With my sister and her husband serving as pastor and pastor's wife for nearly a quarter of a century, one would think they are prepared for loss. They have guided many of their flock through the pain and grieving of their own loved ones. But it is different when it is your own child. They are no longer pastor and wife...they are mom and dad. And now executors of an estate and all that comes with that. They are trying to go back to work each day now, with a strong face, but their hearts are shredded. I can't imagine.

Each day I think of Brian. Even though we lived hundreds of miles apart, and I didn't talk with him every day, I miss him. I miss the thought of him being an email or text away. I can't believe he is gone. I keep trying to allow myself to picture him with his wife Ann, walking the streets of heaven hand in hand. Happy again. No more heartbreak and longing for the love of his life. As a brilliant graphic designer, I picture him "sprucing up" heaven with his designs. I know he is happy now, no more pain or sorrow or grieving. No more stress of raising two children alone. I know that.

I am faced with the reality that I can't help. Not really.
I know that my sister knows I love her and would do anything even though we live hundreds of miles apart. But other than my daily prayers for them, I realize there is nothing I can do. And that breaks my heart again. She and her husband are hurting, suffering, grieving, lost and I can't help. The only thing that stayed in my head during the days after losing Brian and throughout the funeral were the words from a song...
You are God alone, from before time began, You were on Your throne, You are God alone. And right now, through the good times and bad, You are on Your Throne, You are God alone.
These words kept swirling through my head. They helped me focus on God during the absolutely unimaginable "why?" days that followed. Only God can help them through these dark days. They know that. They know God. They have seen His work. But when you have been knocked to your knees, it is hard to look up.

I read a story recently of a woman who suddenly lost her teenage son, her only child. She was talking about how to help the grieving and she said "the person experiencing deep grief is in shock. Their mind has shut down. They have difficulty concentrating. They can't handle reading serious or lengthy literature or listening to long sermons. Charlie Walton, who lost two teenage sons, and authored the book, When There Are No Words, said "I have decided that… at least for the first three months of your grief… your mind is somewhere else. You walk. You talk. You sit up and take nourishment. You appear to be fully inhabiting your body. But… if someone had the power to look inside your skull… they would see a note on the kitchen table of your mind. The note would say, 'Make yourself at home. I'll be back in three months.'"

I believe that. I believe my sister and brother-in-law are going through the motions right now. I am strengthened knowing that God goes through the motions with them. When no one else can help, when friends and family try but their words are empty, I know that God is there with them. At three in the morning when they lie awake because their minds won't let them sleep...God is there. I pray each day for their strength, healing of their broken hearts. I pray for Brian's two children who in less than two years have lost both their parents and now have been separated to allow for family to care for them. I know we aren't suppose to ask "why?" But I think God expects us to anyway. He knows.

When someone you love loses someone, it is so hard to know what to do. Words often fail, so it is often said to express yourself through a loving hug, a handshake, even a simple touch. Just being there is a ministry. Charlie Walton wrote a whole chapter on hugs in his book, When There Are No Words. To explain the benefits of a hug, Walton begins by saying there is no way to quantify the pain of grief. He says: Pain doesn't come in pounds or ounces or gallons. You just feel like you are standing before a mountain that you are going to have to move one spoonful at a time. It is a task you can never hope to complete… a mountain that you can never hope to finish moving. But… as you stand surveying that mountain of grief… a loved one steps forward with a hug that communicates clearly. You can almost picture that person stepping up to your mountain of grief with a shovel and saying, 'I cannot move the mountain for you… but I will take this one shovel full of your grief and deal with it myself.' It seems to me that every hug helps dilute the pain a little more… that every sincere hugger carried away a small quantity of the mountain they were facing. "

I want my sister and brother-in- law to know that I stand with them with my shovel.  I want to help them move this mountain. I know that their friends, co-workers and family also stand beside them with their own shovels too.  We will move this mountain Linnie.  With God's help...we will move this mountain.

Oh Dear Me...Biscuits with Chocolate Gravy!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What is more Southern than biscuits? Did you know you can't get them anywhere? Nope. Plenty of sinful places out of the southern states don't have biscuits on the menu! Some poor people in this world have never had a biscuit. (Note to self:: add them to prayer list).  My mother ALWAYS made biscuits from scratch.  I have never eaten a refrigerator- grocery store-biscuit from my mother's kitchen. I can remember watching her mix the lard (gasp), flour, & buttermilk with a worn aluminum gadget and then hand patting the biscuits.

Who knew it was so hard?

I have tried.  I guess I thought you inherit the skill. The gift. But you don't.  Well I didn't.  I am the queen of refrigerator, pop it out of a can biscuits.  Now I will say the frozen ones are pretty darn close though.

I want to be a biscuit maker. A real bon-a-fide biscuit maker. So I am going to try and this recipe seems to be the closest I can find to my mom's.  And lordy they have also included a recipe for chocolate gravy. Now that's incentive to make biscuits.

Photos from Sprinkle Bake's website

Check out Sprinkle Bake's great step by step guide to making biscuits and gravy! 

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Love One Another { and a free printable too!}

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Valentine's Day is getting close.  Yes, I know it's January.  But how I know is that all of our local discount stores (You know the ones) have fully stocked Valentine's Day aisles.  When we are little (or have little ones) Valentine's Day is about little boxes of Valentine's Day card sets saying Be Mine.  The excitement of making your own little VDay  mailbox in elementary school and then sharing your cards with your friends then counting your own.  Nothing was worse than not getting a card from someone you really liked. :(

Then in our teenage years it was about boyfriends and girlfriends and whether you had one or not.  If you didn't then you just wanted Valentine's Day to silently and quickly go away.

In the married years, it starts out sweet and romantic and then in many cases it fades to maybe exchanging cards.  If you weren't married,  then again...you just wanted it to silently and quickly go away.

But really Valentine's Day is for everyone...at least if we think about in terms of Christ's love and his command to Love One Another.  Couldn't we take Valentine's Day, whether young or old, married, single, divorced, widowed, dating...and make it a celebration of LOVE? God's love for us and our love in turn for others.  A great day to do something special to show anyone that they are loved.  

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." John 13:34.

How fun to take Valentine's Day and make it a day to surprise people in our lives with special gifts and cards to show them they are loved!

Here is a great {free} printable from Becky Higgins for Valentine's Day.  It would be cute in a VDay display in your home ...yes I think I shall do this...but how sweet would it be to frame and give to friends?

You can download the free printable from Becky's blog! Thanks Becky for such an awesome reminder of what LOVE and Valentine's Day should really be about!

Being Grateful is Tough to Do...I Am Ashamed to Say

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sometimes being grateful is just tough to do.  I have to be honest, I actually forget sometimes to be grateful.  So many days I get up out of my warm bed, get into my hot shower, put on my clean clothes, eat a hot breakfast, drive to work in a car I own to a job that I enjoy and that pays me well. All of that in one hour or less and many mornings I have gone without even thinking about how grateful I should be. 

I am trying to do better though.  Now, before I even get out of bed, I say "Thank you Lord for this day and all that you have planned for me." Some days I go on to continually thank Him throughout the day for all of the big and little things He does for me.  Some days it may be the only breath of gratitude I give until I go to bed at night.  But He knows my heart (something else to be grateful for) so I hope He knows I am trying.

It should come easy though right?  I mean, aren't we really the most blessed people we know? We...Christians. He gave us the greatest, most unselfish gift...His Son...and all that came with that gift...salvation, mercy, grace, healing, forgiveness...How many times a day do we truly kneel our hearts and thank God for THAT gift much less our material gifts and blessings? I'd guess not many. 

I am ashamed of my lack of gratitude.  I am ashamed that I just get so busy enjoying all of my blessings that I forget to be grateful. I have seen and been given so many blessings in my life...my children, my husband's miracle recovery from leukemia, my children's health, a praying mother and so many many many other things.

 I saw a quote some time ago that said...

Boy wouldn't that wake us up to gratitude?
And our lack of it?

"Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness." Psalm 107:8-9
Could I even list the many blessings that God has given me in my life? In one day?  I think I might start a daily gratitude list just to amaze myself daily of His goodness~

Designer Dish Towels...So Cute & So Easy

Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss has the DIY Tutorial for these adorable dish towels on her blog.  How cute are these? (and of course I loved these with Appalachian colors). I think this will be one of my rainy weekend projects.  What great gifts this would make for new brides, teachers, even girls just starting in their first apartments.  These cake designs are so cute, but you could also do your own designs for cupcakes, or ice cream sundaes, or any design that might match your own decor.  Here's the link to the tutorial (she has great step by step pictures too).  Don't you love these?  I will show you mine next week if I get one made! :) Show me yours if you do ok?

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Valentine's Day Photo Chain

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I ran across this Valentine's Day craft project that is so so cute! It would be great for families, couples, even for teachers to do as a project with their kids.  I think you will love this!

I first saw this idea at eighteen 25 blog and immediately knew this was a keeper!  They graciously give the link to Scrappy Girl to get the full tutorial on how to make it so I am passing along the grace and sharing with you!  I hope you get a chance to make a heart  photo strip chain this year!

Scrappy Girl

My Anti-Hoarding Checklist

Monday, January 16, 2012

At the beginning of each year I always think I need to do Spring cleaning...clean out closets, kitchen cabinets, you know, get a fresh start. But I like my stuff.  Even the stuff I haven't worn in years. And I am a little lazy when it comes to cleaning in the winter. Jus' saying.  But if you need a little help, a little checklist like I do, then check out this one!  This great checklist is from Mimi and Meg Blog and can be downloaded for free from their site.by clicking here.

So let's  make a pact...let's check off at least one of these this week! By the Spring we'll be done!

Gratitude {turns what we have into enough}

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Shut the Front Door!

So, Christmas is over.  And I have actually gotten all of the Christmas decorations packed away.  (Except for the Christmas dishes still stacked on the bar and the two live Christmas trees still in their stands on my back deck).  One problem though, my front door is bare. Naked.  I am one of those that believes your home is not fully dressed without something on the front door.  It should be a rule that doors are never naked. But mine is naked. Bare. Everything is showing. So I am searching for something crafty, creative and easy to dress her up a bit.

Here was my little front door all dressed up for the holidays.

The door decorations were basically done with 
Dollar Store ornaments & garland! 

In searching for a new wreath idea, I came across these great ideas! What does your door look like post holiday?

Check out the DIY Instructions for this moss wreath from the 
Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss Blog!So classic and so easy with supplies from the local hardware store!

Sweet Wreath Ideas for lots of season from the

This Snowball Wreath is so cute for the entire winter! Check out the easy DIY instructions to make your own at 

Now let's go out there and dress our doors! 
Just Say No to Naked Doors!