“Loaded” Ultimate Pumpkin Bread

So today’s project included the desire to clean out some of the freezer surplus to make room for the up-coming season’s bounty plus I thought I might be able to get a yummy breakfast or two out of the deal. To my delight I had plenty of frozen pumpkin puree waiting for me. After digging around in the arctic air for a bit¬†I also found bags of chopped apples. Yay for me! ūüôā

With the pumpkin puree as my base, I whipped up a batch of Ultimate Pumpkin Bread batter and then threw in the thawed, chopped apples. I could have just stopped there, but still in my “purging” mode my eye caught site of a bag of pecans given to my husband by a co-worker for his birthday this past Friday sitting on the counter. I typically NEVER have fresh nuts of any kind in the house when baking so this was a great chance to try them out in a recipe.

The pumpkin bread recipe is always good, but with the two added ingredients, it turned out FABULOUS. The apples gave it a little extra sweetness while the pecans toned down the nutmeg and added a special nutty flavor all their own. Love, love, love it!!!¬† Talk about a perfect blend with the delicious pumpkin as the main ingredient.¬† Oh, and let’s not forget how moist pumpkin¬†bread is…Ahhh…Sweet blissful bites of heaven…. ūüôā

I’m very thankful that my boys are both enjoying working in the kitchen with me more and more.¬† I’s favorite thing to do is sit up on the counter next to me while I talk my way through a recipe and add ingredients.¬† He is gaining better fine motor skills every time he helps me pour ingredients inside the mixer, and after being shown once can now operate the KitchenAid on his own even adjusting the speed when I ask.

E likes to help me throw things into the mixer as well but his new favorite is helping with the cleanup.¬† Yay!!! ūüôā¬† Today when I told him I was ready to wash the dishes, he left the cartoon he was watching and ran to get his step stool so he could help.¬† Let’s just say this mama’s heart is soooo happy and thankful for my big guy.

So here’s the recipe for this wonderful bread.¬† Hope you enjoy baking this treat for your family too! ūüôā

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 C. flour¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
  • ¬Ĺ tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
  • ¬Ĺ tsp. salt¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
  • 1 tsp. baking soda¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†
  • 3 C. sugar
  • 1 C. butter, half melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 C. pumpkin puree (16 oz.)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C. chopped apples
  • handful pecans, finely chopped

DIRECTIONS:¬† Preheat oven to 350ňöF and spray two medium loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.¬† In a medium bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.¬† In the bowl of a stand mixer with the wire whisk attached, dump in the sugar. Take the butter and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds, so that it is half melted. Dump it into the sugar. Add the eggs. Cream these three ingredients together on medium speed for about 2 minutes or until fluffy. Add the pumpkin and combine well.¬† In three batches, add the dry ingredients and mix gently until each batch is just incorporated. Scrape the sides between each batch.¬† Pour half of the batter into a one of the prepared pans. Fold the pecans into the remaining batter and then pour it into the other prepared pan. Bake side-by-side for about one hour or until an inserted knife comes out clean the top is golden.

Yield: 2 ‚Äú9×5 loaves.‚ÄĚ

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Pancake Breakfast Cups

I found this neat idea on Pinterest (of course) and thought it would be fun to give it a try one day.  I had every intention of using the recipe that went along with the post, but I decided to go the lazy route instead.  I had made up a triple batch of my homemade buttermilk pancake batter a few days ago and still had a little leftover.  I was just going to pull out the griddle again to make pancakes for the boys, but after finding the pin for this idea, I knew I just had to give it a try.

Simply spray a muffin tin and pour 1/4 C. batter into each cup.  Place in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

The only thing I had to do differently¬†was push down the middles immediately after removing from the oven because my batter made little mountains instead of bowls. ūüôā¬† Not complaining in the least!¬† It wasn’t hard at all and I believe the original recipe would cost more since it uses 6 eggs for one batch. Yikes!

After getting your “bowls” formed, remove from muffin tin and fill with your favorite filling.¬† We used both homemade jelly and homemade freezer jam.¬† I could also just imagine filling them with honey or your favorite syrup not to mention maybe some scrambled eggs and crumbled sausage.¬† Another simple idea would be to place cooked pieces of sausage links inside the batter before baking to make a “pig-in-a-blanket.”¬† Yummy!¬†

This was just so much easier than taking up the time to stand over a griddle trying to flip pancakes.¬† Just pour and bake.¬† Plus I loved the fact that the kids were able to eat them with their hands instead of needing forks.¬† (Less dishes to wash! Yay!) ūüôā¬†

E, I and A were all very much into eating their breakfast.¬† Little¬†man¬†got a little charismatic about the whole experience!¬† Here’s the link to the original recipe found online¬†at http://www.sweettoothlove.com/pancake-breakfast-cups/.¬† Again the nice thing about this whole idea is that you can use ANY pancake batter you want!¬† Here’s my recipe¬†that I love and is reasonably priced based on ingredients.

A Special Day for Little Man

It’s March again!¬† Wow!¬† Time sure does pass quickly when you’re busy. ūüôā¬† For those of you who don’t know, we celebrate a very special day in this month for our little man I and many others all over the world.¬† March 21st (3/21 – representing Trisomy 21) is World Down Syndrome Day.

Friends from our Buddy Talk group have been busy putting together t-shirts, flyers and a family event to help spread positive awareness on this day.  Some local chain restaurants are even donating 20% of their sales to the Arkansas Down Syndrome Association this day only.  All in all, many people are doing everything they can think of to help spread the word that Down Syndrome is NOT a death sentence!!!

“As the parent of a child with Down syndrome, I know from experience that doctors, nurses, and other prenatal medical professionals are badly in need of accurate information about Down syndrome so they can deliver the life-changing news to expectant parents with as much clarity‚ÄĒand as little bias‚ÄĒas possible. For many families, and for many unborn babies, access to such information is literally a matter of life and death.”¬† – Matthew Hennessey “First Things”

“George Will once wrote that prenatal testing for Down syndrome was a ‘search and destroy mission.’ In the real world the test is done for one simple reason: If it is positive, you can, with the blessing of our culture, conscientiously justify an abortion.¬† We are taught that to have an abortion is to make a neutral choice. Lettercase trumpets that.¬† Expectant parents don’t need a booklet from a doctor who has taken the Hippocratic oath to tell them it is just fine to get an abortion. They have been taught that already!! [They need a booklet from a doctor that says, “The child in your womb is a human being. Whatever you do – do no harm.” That, they haven’t been taught.”] – comment from “First Things”

It’s sad to think that in 2012, 90 percent of all children diagnosed with Down syndrome inside their mothers wombs were aborted.¬† People think they are doing the child and the world a favor by taking his/her life, but the WORLD is what truly suffers.¬† In today’s society, we would all agree that we seriously need a good dose of love and compassion.¬† Friendships without judgment based on race, wealth, status, etc.

Society (or should I call it socialism) believes that if you cannot contribute to society, you are a drain on society and don’t deserve the life God gave you.¬† Though a person with DS might never become a part of the fortune 500, they are graduating high school and college, working full-time jobs, getting MARRIED and rearing¬†families, and all the while impacting the lives of everyone they come into contact with for the better.¬† I have yet to meet a group of individuals who are more tender and loving than those with DS!

Are there¬†challenging days and medical battles to wade through – yes.¬† However, just because a child is diagnosed in utero¬†with DS does NOT mean they are going to have the worse case scenario for the genetic disorder.¬† While several friends of¬†mine have children with DS¬†that have had to undergo open heart surgery¬†within their first six months of life, my son was born with a perfect heart.¬† He didn’t have the typical intestinal problems.¬† He is¬†his own person wired with his own set of ups and downs.¬† He is just like his¬†siblings, and we take each day as it comes.¬†

I am so thankful for our Buddy Talk group and all the people we are able to reach around the state of Arkansas and even accross the US.  Our greatest passion is to bring families together to support each other and gain knowledge, to share our ups and downs and to work together to spread awareness and protect the children yet to be born with DS.

Just remember… “We are more alike than different”

Help spread the positive awareness on 3/21 and hopefully save a life by breaking the stereotype!

Kitchen and Bathroom – Before & After

We are quickly approaching our 2-month mark for living out at the new house and little by little things are really starting to come together.¬† I still have no idea where Tim gets all his energy and drive from!¬† He is still working full-time at the law firm (plus bringing paperwork home to work on in the evenings), filling the pulpit more at church, keeping up with his TDK¬†Webwork business, and still being the wonderful husband and father to his family while continuing to fix all the things around the house. Phew!¬† I get tired just thinking about all the work he does!¬† Haha!¬† I’m trying to keep up with him as best I can, but my diabetes and this pregnancy kind of feel like the life has been drained out of me at times.¬† Makes me even more thankful that my dad and Uncle Ron could come down and help Tim with some of the bigger projects like getting the tankless hot water heater installed and all the downstairs’ woodwork finished.

I hope these pictures can give you a little glimpse into Tim’s productivity.¬† This weekend promises to be very busy yet productive since we will be tackling the upstairs to get the bedrooms and stairwell finished as quickly as possible.¬†

Kitchen Pictures

Before

After

Bathroom Pictures

Before

After – still need to put up the white tile around the shower.

Before

After

Have to admit that the $25 Craigslist sink and vanity we found¬†turned out nice with a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware.¬† It’s crazy to think that¬†was all we had to pay for all the cabinets¬†inside the bathroom!¬† The tall cabinets on the opposite side of the sink were free because we re-used them from the remodeling project we did at our previous house we sold.¬† Just updated them with a coat of white paint.¬† We even repurposed a wall mirror we had in our bedroom to use as the vanity mirror.¬† One of the small details to finish will be installing a faucet to match the hardware.