Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

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It’s official. My baby is growing up. My oldest daughter turned 8 this weekend, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around that idea. As a Mommy, I have mixed feelings. I miss my little cuddle bunny that called vegetables “begebles”, but I am also treasuring the conversations we are having now, as she tries to sort through her little world. I’m having to learn to give her rope some more slack, as far as responsibilities she can work her way into. One of my greatest struggles is letting go of the reigns in the kitchen. It’s “my” safe zone, and having someone else tinkering in there makes my heart beat faster. I want things done a certain way, and egg shells in my bowl makes my blood pressure rise. I’m learning to grit my teeth, and try to enjoy the process of baking and cooking with her, and it’s getting better every time. She loves being a part of the process, and I love to see the excitement as she learns new things. A couple weekends ago, we made cupcakes!
I’m excited to share my favorite cupcake recipe. I stock up on canned pumpkin through out the year and wait excitedly for the announcement that it is fall, so that I can make these. I have made them twice now in the last few weeks, and each time, I have had to share them with friends quick, because they do not last more than a day or two at my house, which is plain dangerous. On that day we  were having company over and my friend had insisted (it was more like threatened) that I make these cupcakes for dessert. I got to bake them with the girls, and actually let my ‘little lady” do most of the measuring and stirring. She had a blast! The end result was two girls, happily licking bowls and spatulas of batter, watching the oven as the cakes baked. It made all the teeth gritting and elevated heart rate totally worth it.

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These cupcakes are great by themselves, but I can never resist piping some cinnamon cream cheese frosting on them. If you don’t have access to canned pumpkin, here’s a link on how to make it at home. If you get the canned stuff, be sure to get the 100% pumpkin puree, not the pumpkin pie filling. There’s a significant difference. You could also substitute 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice blend for all the separate spices. I had posted the cream cheese recipe before. Just add a teaspoon of cinnamon to this recipe, and you have the frosting I used.

Adapted from All recipes
Makes 24 cupcakes.
Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup milk
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree
Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. Grease 24 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners. In a bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg,cloves, allspice, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, beat the butter, white sugar and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (you should see the mixture look noticeably lighter in color). Add the eggs one at a time, allowing each egg to combine before adding the next. Stir in the milk and pumpkin puree after the last egg. Mix in the flour mixture, stirring until just incorporated. Scoop the mixture into the prepared muffin tins ( I use an ice cream scoop).

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3. Bake until golden, and a toothpick to the center comes out clean (22-25 minutes). Cool slightly in the pan, and then transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Frost the cupcakes with the prepared cinnamon cream cheese frosting linked above, or simply enjoy as is.
Enjoy!

DSC_0033Devotion For the Day:

We have been reviewing Galatians 5 that talks about the fruit of the Holy Spirit with our kids and I wanted to share it with you.

Galatians 5:22-23- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things, there is no law.

As we were talking over these qualities, my husband explained to the girls that you cannot portray this fruit without the help of the Holy Spirit, and I was thinking…. it’s so true. We all admire the attributes above, but humanly speaking, it totally goes against our nature. It becomes so hard to do the very things we wish we could, until the Holy Spirit is within us. These qualities are then an outward manifestation of the wonderful transformation happening within us!

Strawberry Cake

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There comes a time when you break down and listen to that voice in your head that is screaming for cake. That day, my friends was this past Monday. This weekend I made a trip to the farmer’s market and made off like a bandit on one of my finds. 8 containers of strawberries for $6. I almost ran to my car after I paid for the berries before Mr.Seller dude changed his mind. I flash froze more than half of them for smoothies and shakes, but the other berries sat in the fridge for a day or two taunting me every time I cracked the door. I kept dreaming of a cake with big chunks of fruit inside. It simply had to be done!

After perusing through my share of strawberry cakes that claimed to be from scratch but had gelatin (gasp!!) I found the winning one on one of my favorite blogs, smitten kitchen. It is a simple unassuming batter topped with a ton of berries, and sprinkled with sugar to help the strawberries turn into jam. It is simply perfect! The recipe called for a cup of sugar in the batter,  but I cut it down to 3/4 cup so the sweetness of the strawberries would be the star. I’m so glad it did. It was just the right amount of sweet for me.

I will give a firm warning though…. do not bake this cake, pull it out of the oven with just enough time to set it on the counter and snap one picture and assume it is safe to take more pictures when you return home in a couple of hours. Especially not if you have two daughters and a husband prowling around. I present exhibit A.

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This is what I found. The culprits were all in bed, with full tummies, I presume. The cake lasted less than 24 hours at my house, and we shall miss it dearly 🙂

Adapted very slightly from Smitten Kitchen.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound (450 grams) strawberries, hulled and halved

-Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 10-inch pie pan or 9-inch deep-dish pie pan ( I used a 9-inch spring foam pan). Do not use a 9-inch regular pie dish because it will overflow.
-Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 3/4 cup sugar until pale and fluffy with an electric mixer, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla until just combined. Add dry mixture gradually, mixing until just smooth.
-Pour into prepared pie plate. Arrange strawberries, cut side down, on top of batter, as closely as possible in a single layer. Sprinkle-remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over berries.

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-Bake cake for 10 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 325°F and bake cake until golden brown and a tester comes out free of wet batter, about 50 minutes to 60 minutes. (Gooey strawberries on the tester are a given.) Let cool in pan on a rack. Cut into wedges. Serve with lightly whipped cream. (I totally forgot to turn the temperature down, and baked mine at 350 Degrees F for 48 minutes).
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Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days, loosely covered, but clearly it didn’t survive that long at my house!
Devotion For The Day:
Two years ago, my family started planting potted plants. It is a fun project for my older daughter because she actually gets to see the plants change over time, and there’s the added bonus that when she’s off school for the summer, she gets paid to water the plants. We do flowers all year round in some pots, and herbs in some for the spring and summer. This year we were late in starting her off with her job, and we ended up with VERY dried out rose bushes. It was remarkable how quickly they went from blooming in the spring, to bone dry a few weeks later. I felt terrible, because I was sure they were gone for good. I was actually getting ready to pull them out and toss them, but my husband pruned them off and insisted that if we water them consistently for a few weeks, they will survive. I will be honest and say that I was extremely skeptical, but figured we might as well try.
Well, they are back! A week or so ago, green new leaves started breaking through, and we were so excited about it. Walking past them the other day, I had this thought that has stayed with me. I thought of all the times that I have been in such a dire situation that I thought all was lost, or when I have watched someone and thought that there is no way that they can get out of the jam that they are in. Except with God, nothing is impossible. He can breath life into a situation that looks totally dead, and bring life to it. I have seen too many lives changed to doubt any more.
Two verses come to mind. John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. The second is Matthew 19:26, Jesus looked at them and said, “with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible”.
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Cream Cheese and Cinnamon Bars

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A few years ago, I attended a ladies luncheon and these bars were served. First thing I thought when I took a bite was… CHEESECAKE! I quickly hounded the hostess for the recipe, and have made it countless times since. I love cheesecake, but do not make it often since it’s definitely not the quickest dessert to whip up. These bars are the perfect solution to that. Whereas cheesecake has all these components to work up, plus the added disadvantage of having to chill for hours, these whip up quick, and can be served warm out of the oven, or chilled. No joke… 10 minutes of prep work later, the smell of warm cinnamon will be wafting through your kitchen and giving you the warm and fuzzies. It is one of my go to desserts when I have to take a dish to a pot luck. I took this to a dinner with friends once and one of the husbands quickly put in a request to have this instead of cake for his birthday. I was thinking “uuummmhh awesome!  No cake to frost… sign me up for that”. A few weeks later, he was a very happy camper on his birthday 🙂

The crust on the bars is crescent roll dough, rolled out on the bottom and the top, with the cream cheese layer in between. Be sure to let your cream cheese soften at room temperature to make it easier to cream with the sugar. I also let my egg sit our with the cream cheese. Cold eggs are harder to separate the egg white from the yolk.  There are a ton of different versions of these bars, but my favorite is still this one. I have added a can of apple pie filling before, and it was delicious. I have also seen where a layer of fruit preserve/jelly is layered over the cream cheese filling, then topped with the crescent dough. I keep coming back to the original though. I hope you will enjoy it as much as my family and I do. The pictures I took are of the chilled version, which makes it easier to cut into bars. It is delicious warm, but does not cut well, so has to be served in the baking pan. Not as pretty, but still yummy. One last note… I have tried using store brand crescent roll dough from different sources but always seem to be disappointed. This is one of those times I recommend sticking to a brand if at all possible. Pillsbury rolls produce a much better crust.

Ingredients:

2 (8 ct) pkg crescent rolls (tube)
2 (8)pkg cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) melted butter
1/2 cup sugar mixed with 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
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1. Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees F. Place 1 can of unrolled crescent rolls in a 9 by 13 inch dish (no need to grease the dish).
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2. Beat cream cheese, sugar and egg yolk until smooth. Beat in lemon zest, juice and vanilla.
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3. Spread mixture over the crescent rolls. Unroll the second can of crescent rolls over the mixture.
4. Pour (or brush with a pastry brush) the melted butter on top and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture and bake for 25-30 minutes.
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You can serve it warm out of the oven, or cool on a rack for a few minutes, then chill in fridge for a couple of hours.
Enjoy!
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Devotion For the Day:
If I could sum up the last few months, I would say that they have been leading me to the point of learning how to TOTALLY surrender my cares to God and know that He truly is able and willing to take care of me. Many are the times in the past that I have run to God with an issue, yet on the back end I was trying to solve the issue on my own. This has been one of these weeks when I’m really fighting the inclination to grab my “stuff” back and handle it. Today’s reading was so appropriate for my situation. Phillipians 4:4-8 says “rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God: and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, breathren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things”. 
If I am truly honest with myself, there is constantly something that I can fret and worry about. The reality is that we live in an imperfect, fallen world. However, it does me no good whatsoever to worry. Instead I am retraining myself to lay my cares at Jesus feet and walk away, trusting that He is more than capable of handling anything that comes my way. I choose to meditate on the things that will lead me to peace, true joy and freedom. It is a daily choice to surrender.
 

Chocolate covered Strawberries

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I have thought about this post for a few days now, and talked myself into, and then out of posting this recipe. After all… it’s a week after Valentine’s Day! Who wants to read about chocolate covered strawberries now? After much back and forth, I decided I had to post it, for a number of reasons. First, who said we can only have these delightful treasures on Valentine’s day. Secondly, how easy and inexpensive they are (it cost me $14 for the chocolate and a big pack of strawberries). That reason alone is good enough to make me post this. You see, I was at some store the other day, and casually walked by the chocolate covered strawberries, thinking how pretty they were, and how they needed to come home with me. This was before I looked at the price tag, and almost burst into a sprint in the opposite direction. $12 for 4 strawberries????? Seriously????? There was no way I could justify it. The third reason is that it’s a kid friendly recipe. It’s really hard to mess this up, so it’s perfect for little hands. My daughter had fun with this one.

My daughters woke up to a Valentine’s card and chocolate from their Daddy last Thursday, and my oldest wanted to do something special to thank Daddy. Since I am terrible with artsy stuff, a craft was WAY out of the question. The only option I really had was to cook something. I wanted to make something pretty that would not take us all afternoon, but could greatly involve her in the process. This was the perfect thing. She also wanted to share some treats with our sweet neighbors who have become her adopted grandparents. This way, we were able to kill two birds with one stone. Making these was a ton of fun for both of us. I could be a bit more relaxed since there weren’t a bunch of steps for her to follow (I am terrible when it comes to relinquishing control of my kitchen. I’m trying to learn….), and she had fun licking the chocolate bowl when we were done.

As far as the recipe goes, I will give you my instructions that are microwave directions. I had every intention of using a double boiler on the stovetop to melt my chocolate, until I realized my bowl would not fit on the saucepan that I had. The microwave was my last option, but proved to be so easy, I will do it this way every time from here on. I used semi-sweet chocolate and white chocolate, but any chocolate would do. Feel free to substitute milk or dark chocolate. I also think it would be fun to play around with different toppings next time, like shredded coconut or nuts. Just dip the strawberries in chocolate, then roll in the toppings before the chocolate dries. Have fun, and make them your own.

One more thing. I had big blocks of Styrofoam from an appliance we had just purchased, so I used that to hold the toothpicks until the chocolate dried. If you don’t have some handy, just line a pan with some parchment paper, or wax paper and lay them on it. They will be a little flat on one side when they dry, but just as good. You could also do this without the toothpicks, and just hold the strawberries by the stem. I just like the less messy method with the toothpick.

We had a pretty big packet of strawberries, so we were able to get a little over 30 covered berries. If you want to make less than that, be sure to adjust your chocolate accordingly. These make excellent packaged gifts.

Ingredients.

32 strawberries

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)

6 ounces white chocolate

1. Stick a toothpick on the stem end of the strawberries. Make sure the strawberries are totally dry, or the chocolate will not adhere to them.

2.Put your semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave safe dish. Set the microwave to half power, and heat for a minute at a time, stirring after each time. You want the chocolate just melted (too much and it will seize up on you, and become un-usable). Mine took just over 2 minutes. Once it is melted, if you choose to, add in a tablespoon of vegetable oil (this makes it more glossy, and helps with the texture).

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3. Working quickly, hold the toothpick and dip into the chocolate about 3/4 way up the strawberry. Dip the berries, and then  twist them a little to get the excess chocolate off. Place on the styrofoam block, or parchment lined tray.

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4. Put the white chocolate in a Ziploc bag. Melt in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until just barely melted. Mine took 1 1/2 minutes. Cut a very small hole on one end and squeeze to decorate over the dark chocolate. The smaller the hole, the better. (You could also melt the chocolate in a bowl and use a fork to drizzle the white chocolate).

5. Set aside to dry. It takes about 30 minutes.

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Devotion For The Day:

It’s still February, the month of love! I think of all the cards and flowers, chocolate and other gifts that go out every February as we take the time to celebrate our loved ones. I have been reminded a lot in the last few days though, about the ultimate love. God’s love. The kind of love that chases after me with reckless abandon. The kind of love that I don’t have to earn,  and that never diminishes. Today I want to share one of my favorite verses, because it really helps me grasp how deep and unconditional God’s  love for us is.

Romans 5:8. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Today I’m really excited to share one of my favorite cake recipes. The two cake recipes that show up at my house every few weeks would be this cake and my sour cream banana bread. They are both quick breads and do not require a ton of prep time, which is why I love them. I can easily have the batter whipped up and in the oven in less than 15 minutes, unlike most cakes that require more time and effort, and a stand or hand mixer. All you need is a couple bowls, and a whisk to mix this batter up. I also love these two recipes because I can convert the recipe into mini loaves, so we can keep some at home and share the rest.

I stumbled across this recipe watching Ina Garten on Food network a couple years ago, and I am ever grateful for her MAD baking skills. Her recipes never let me down. Her friends seem to have a ball at her beautiful home in the Hamptons, and her recipes are always flavorful yet approachable.I often comment that if she’s ever looking for a new dinner buddy, I’m game! I have considered sending her a message to let her know this, but I figure that might come across as a little weird and blow my chances 😦 I guess I might have to stop at hoping. Sorry for the detour… back to the recipe.

There are a few slight differences in my recipe and execution. I use Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt, because I like the thicker consistency.   As far as the pan size goes, this time as I mentioned, I am using mini loaf pans. I have a silicone pan that makes 6 mini loaves so I double this recipe and it fits it perfectly. The mini loaves cook in 30 minutes.She uses an 81/2 by 41/2 by 21/2 inch pan, but I have used a 9 by 5 inch pan and it worked out great too. Just cut the cooking time down slightly. I also skip the lemon sugar syrup that she pours over the cake while it’s still warm. I like it less sweet, but that is totally a personal preference. If you want to go all the way with Ina’s recipe, follow this.

Here we go…..

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 Cup Sugar

3 large eggs

1/2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil

Glaze:

1 Cup Confectioners’ sugar

2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease your loaf pan (she uses an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan).

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another larger bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla. In 3 batches, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Using a spatula, fold in the oil into the batter. Make sure it’s all incorporated.

3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a tooth pick in the center comes out clean.  Place on a cooling rack (with a cookie sheet under it).

4. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice for the glaze and pour over the cooled cake.

This is a variation I made a few months ago with a cup of fresh blueberries. YUM! I think raspberries would also work really well. It took an extra 10 min of cook time because of the moisture in the fruit.

Devotion For the Day:

Stepping into the water:
My devotional reading the other morning was from Joshua 3 and 4. I’m just now getting to the point in Joshua where the Israelites were all set to enter Canaan. Their beloved Moses had died, and Joshua was the new appointed leader. After the designated time of mourning for Moses has passed (30 days), Joshua is instructed by God that it is time for the Israelites to pack their belongings and go and occupy their promised land.
I can imagine all the excitement at their camp, as well as the anxiety. Was this really happening? All this generation of Israelites had ever known was wandering in the wilderness, since all the men and women who had left Egypt (except for Caleb and Joshua) had died in the wilderness due to their stubbornness and disobedience. To make things even more interesting, they now have a new leader. A ROOKIE! They had seen Moses perform all kinds of miracles, but could this Joshua do the same ? Was God really with Joshua?
God instructed that the Levites walk a half mile ahead of the group, carrying the ark of the covenant. The final descent has began. Now you know it’s not a coincidence that once they get to the Jordan River, they find the banks overflowing. It was harvest season, and the river is at it’s highest point. I like to see this moment as the final test, because God gives a simple, but powerful instruction. Have the Levites step into the Jordan, and He will cut off the water up stream. Note how God doesn’t say to stand on the river banks and He will cut off the water. They had to STEP into the water for Him to perform this miracle. It was an active step of faith. They had to do their part, all the while trusting that God was going to do His part, and not let them get swept away by the water. How God works!
This passage was such a challenge to me today. When God calls us to do something, we need to trust Him and step into the water. Canaan was ahead, but the Israelites could not reach it until the Levites took that step into the raging waters. The best part? God kept His end of the deal! He ALWAYS does. Joshua 3:15-16 NIV
15 Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, 16 the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away, at a town called Adam in the vicinity of Zarethan, while the water flowing down to the Sea of the Arabah (that is, the Dead Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite Jericho.

Sour Cream Banana Bread

I wish you could smell my house right now. It smells divine! I just pulled some banana bread out of the oven a little while ago, and we are camped out by the counter waiting for it to cool. I have to share a little story about my quest to find a go-to banana bread recipe. You see… I really dislike bananas, thanks to my older sister who decided when I was about 5 years old that she hated bananas. Seeing as I thought she was the smartest kid ever (don’t tell her I said that. I will deny it..) I figured I would follow in her foot steps. I actually talked myself into hating bananas, and to this day I can’t stand them. Of course I would marry a husband that LOVES bananas, and now have an almost 2 year old that would sell her left leg for a banana. She is bananas for bananas 🙂
I had to find a way to make use of left over bananas, and the quest to find a good bread recipe began. I tried a few, and each time my sweetie was quick to let me know it was not like the banana bread his mom made him when he was younger. Apparently, it was the bomb. Just when I was about to give up, I tried baking this one, and it won his approval. This is my official recipe now. It is not too sweet, and the cinnamon and nutmeg give it a wonderful spice flavor, without overpowering the bananas. I love mixing in a half cup of walnuts or pecans, but my sweetie hates nuts in his bread. Feel free to add them if you please. When it comes to picking the bananas, use the ripest you can find. The darker the spots and skin, the better. They have more sugars in them, and taste more banana-ey (I made that up) when baked.
Oh… and a little side note. I discovered something that has been really helpful. I was throwing out a lot of bananas because they were overripe and I was not ready to bake bread until I discovered that you can freeze them skin on in a plastic bag until you are ready to bake. Just thaw and mash. I now have a constant supply of bananas for bread.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp lemon juice
3 bananas

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
2. Melt your butter and cool slightly(I microwave mine). Meanwhile, sift out the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl mix the butter and the sugar. Next, add in the eggs and the vanilla. Make sure the egg is well incorporated.
4. Add the flour mix to the liquid mixture in 3 batches, combining until smooth.
5. Mash the bananas and mix in the sour cream and  lemon juice. Fold in the banana mixture to batter. Do not over mix. Pour into greased pan.
6. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Note: I often use three mini loaf pans instead of the 9×5 pan. They bake for 30 minutes. It makes it easier to share with my friends. This bread is dangerously good, and having too much of it around messes with my resolve 🙂

Devotion For The Day:

Wonderful Me:

 I read Psalms 139 a few days ago, and the words keep coming back to me. So much so that I HAVE to post this. Last night I was thinking about those verses again and the enormity of what they really mean. My sweet hubby would probably tell you that I have a PhD in being my worst critic. At the drop of a hat, I can give you a list a mile long of my imperfections. My prayer lately has been that I would be able to see myself as God sees me. That is why this chapter really speaks to me. I was thinking last night about all of God’s creation. The stars and the planets, all the varieties of plants and animals that he took such care to make, one different from another. The sea and sky and everything in it… I mean… there is no doubt that God’s works are wonderful beyond our human comprehension. Yet the pride of His heart was not in all the plants and animals and all the other stuff. It was in the creation of me and you. WE are the apple of His eye, created so that we can have a relationship with our Daddy.
The cool thing isn’t just that He made me, it is that He continues to know everything about me. When I rise, when I sleep, my thoughts (ouch) and my deeds. Yet all these things do not diminish His great love for me, and His desire to be close to me. As much as we might think that He would go running for the hills once He gets to know the real us, He always has His hand stretched out towards us. He loves us, and thinks we are wonderful. He loves Me… and He thinks I’m totally awesome. I hope these words from Psalms speak to you as much as they did to me.