Friday, September 30, 2011

Spice Cake or Muffins

Last week I had Friday morning off, so I decided to bake something for the ladies at the church I work at. I was flipping through recipe books trying to find something I could make that I actually had all of the ingredients for and found this recipe in BHG New Cookbook. These turned out super good and moist! Everyone I gave them to asked for the recipe!

Spice Cake or Muffins

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup shortening (I didn't have any, so I used coconut oil, and it they still tasted good)
  • 1 1/2 cups unrefined sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk 
What to do:
  1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes
  2. Preheat oven 350 and Grease and flour one 13x9x2 baking pan, or two 8x1 1/2 round pans, or 18 cupcakes
  3. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger - set aside
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and shortening on high for 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
  5. Alternate adding buttermilk and flour on low speed.
  6. Pour into prepared dish
  7. Bake - pan: 35-40 min; round pans: 30-35 min; cupcake pans: 20 min. (use the toothpick test to make sure they're cooked through)
  8. Cool thoroughly
  9. Enjoy!

Simple Yellow Cake

Sunday afternoon Paul asked if we had anything for dessert. Usually Paul isn't much of a dessert person. There are only a few desserts that he really likes - brownies, cheesecake, and cupcakes. So when he asked for something, I was more than happy to find a recipe and make him something!
I pulled out my Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook and found this simple yellow cake recipe. The recipe is for a cake, but you can easily make cupcakes out of a cake recipe - keep the oven temperature the same, and decrease the cooking time by 1/3 to 1/2.

Yellow Cake (cupcakes too!)

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened 
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

  1. Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes
  2. Preheat oven to 375
  3. Grease and flour two 9x1 1/2 inch round pans or 8x1 1/2 inch round pans, or one 13x9x2 baking pan, or put baking cups into 24 cupcake 
  4. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside
  5. In a large mixing bowl bet butter on high for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, beating till well combined. Beat for 2 minutes.
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition
  7. Beat in vanilla
  8. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition
  9. Pour into prepared baking dish
  10. Baking times:
    1. 9 inch round: 20-25 min
    2. 8 inch round: 30-35 min
    3. 13x9x2: 25-30 min
    4. cupcakes: 20-25 min
  11. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes; remove cakes from pans, and allow to cool completely on wire racks
  12. Add frosting and sprinkles!

Since this recipe made 24 cupcakes, there was no way Paul was going to eat all of them, so I offered some to our neighbors. One family is above us, and they have 2 sweet young children. After offering the cupcakes to them, I was in the kitchen cleaning up, had the window open, and saw the mother and little girl walking out to their car. The little girl had the cupcake in her hand and said "Mom, this cupcake is really good!" My heart just swelled. I've had a lot of recipes bomb, so to have the approval of a little girl on this batch was a little reassurance that with some practice and continued learning about baking, maybe I can succeed at this!

God Bless

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cabbage and apple power salad

I LOVE fall!
Fall is the perfect season for cookouts, football game tailgate parties, and celebrating the cool evenings outdoors! (...along with citronella candles to ward off the mosquitoes) This recipe comes from my wonderful God mother, Bev, and is an easy "go to" side salad for a dinner with friends, a BBQ, or for lunch!
Supposedly the combination of all the ingredients makes it really healthy and powerful! Not to mention it just simply tastes good! It does have to chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, so this one does require a little pre-planning.

Cabbage and Apple Power Salad
  • 1 granny smith apple, sliced thinly
  • 5 cups shredded cabbage
  • ½ cup craisins
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 2 TBSP white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ c toasted pecans
1.       Mix together rice vinegar, raw sugar, vinegar, oil, pepper and salt
2.      Pour over cabbage
3.      Let chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours
4.      Before serving, add craisins and sliced apples, and mix well
5.      Garnish with toasted pecan on top and enjoy!

Happy Thursday to all!

This recipe is linked up with Kimi at Nourishing Gourmet's Pennywise Platter Thursday

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thanks Anna!

I got my first blog award! Thank you to my sister in law, Anna, over at A Day In The Life.

I'm supposed to share three random facts about myself...

1. I judge books by their covers - sad but true. If the cover doesn't catch my eye, I might not pick it up to read it.

2.  When I have kids some day, I want to name them each with a biblical name and a family name. I've already got a few picked out for boys and girls!  ;)

3. I can't sleep in past 7:00. It doesn't matter how late I stay up, or how badly I sleep during the night; 7:00am rolls around and I'm awake and there's no going back to sleep.

God Bless

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nothing better....

...than fresh baked bread
(except for maybe going to a Clemson football game on a crisp autumn day! GO TIGERS! 4-0!!)

This was a long, detailed process, but so worth it!

Delicious Whole Grain Bread
makes: 2 medium loafs
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt, or buttermilk
  • 4-5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 TBSP active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, melted butter, or melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2-3 cups whole grain flour
1. Blend water, yogurt or buttermilk; add flour. lay plastic wrap snuggly on top of dough; cover with cloth; let stand 12-24 hours in warm place
1. Blend warm water, yeast, and honey. Let stand 5-10 minutes until it bubbles up; blend in baking soda
everything mixed together
after 8 minutes - bubbling and risen
2. Blend olive oil, honey, and salt; work into dough; then add proofed yeast until all is well blended

3. Add flour in bowl until dough can be handled easily outside the bowl; turn out of bowl and knead for 20 minutes until smooth and resistant to kneading action, adding more flour, as needed to prevent sticking. (Ok, truth be told, I read this step and thought "heck no! there's no way!" So I used the dough hook on my kitchen aid stand mixer and let it knead the dough for 10 minutes, and then I hand kneaded it for 10 minutes!)

4. 1st rise: place dough in lightly greased bowl and cover with damp cloth; let rise till doubled in size, about 1-1 1/2 hours.

5. 2nd rise: work dough down gently, turn it over; cover and let rise until double, about 45 minutes

6. Work dough down again; place dough on counter with a little flour and knead breifly.
7.  Divide dough into two balls; knead into shape; place in two lightly greased pans

8. 3rd rise: cover with damp cloth and let rise until almost double, about 20-25 minutes

9. Preheat oven to 350. Place a pan of water in bottom of oven to create a steam for better baking
10. Bake 35-45 minutes until done (evenly browned; if pan was well greased, loaf will fall out of pan easily)
11. Turn loaves out and allow to completely cool on a rack

(I'm seriously about to cry! These actually turned out and smell amazing!! I can't believe I made some bread!)

12. Enjoy!

God Bless

Fresh yogurt

This morning I was able to enjoy a bowl of fresh, homemade yogurt that I made! 
Honestly, it wasn't as thick and creamy as store bought yogurt, but it was still good! And knowing that it's healthy and nutritious makes it all that more better and yummy. 

Homemade Yogurt
  • 6 cups Organic Vitamin D Whole milk 
  • 3 TBSP organic plain yogurt
Step 1: Turn your crock pot on low to let it heat up
Step 2:  Pour your milk into a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until it reaches 185 degrees.
Step 3: Once milk reaches 185 degrees remove from burner, cover with a lid, and place the pan in a sink half full of cold water.
Step 4: Let the milk cool down to about 100 degrees, stirring occasionally.
Step 5: Measure yogurt starter into a bowl and pour about a cup of the warm milk over it and stir together. Use 2 Tbsp of yogurt starter per 4 cups of milk.
Step 6: Pour remaining milk into heated crock pot.  Pour milk and yogurt from bowl into the crock pot and stir it all together.
Step 7: Put the lid on, turn off, and unplug the crock pot. Wrap a heavy towel around it. Let sit for about 8 hours.
Step 8: After the yogurt has finished culturing, place the crock in fridge to cool yogurt. 
Step 9: Allow yogurt to cool and set, and then enjoy!
This is my crock pot full of yogurt, sitting wrapped in a towel.

I put the crock pot of yogurt in my fridge last night to set and cool, so this morning I poured it into a big glass bowl to keep for the week, and small bowl for me to enjoy for breakfast. 
 This morning I topped my yogurt with cut up fresh peaches, and a drizzle of honey. 

All in all, not hard to do. A recipe keeper. And a week of enjoyment!

God Bless

Sunday, September 25, 2011


My sweet husband walks into our kitchen and says "You've made a mess". Usually one might get a little upset by this comment...but it was the truth! It was probably an understatement actually!

Today, I spent time in my kitchen baking and cooking and making a mess and loving every minute of it!

Pictures will be coming...but here's what I was working on

1. sourdough starter number two - day 2 and so far it's still alive and growing!
2. homemade yogurt - cooked, and now culturing and cooling in the crock pot
3. homemade bread - still in the soaking phase, will bake it up tomorrow
4. homemade yellow cupcakes - in the oven as we speak

So, yes there is a little flour on the floor, cabinets, counter tops, and maybe even walls. It wipes off easily enough. And so what if every bowl, cooking utensil, and pan is drying on top of the washing machine (it not only washes clothes it also functions beautifully as a drying rack!). In the end, I will have homemade yogurt and bread with no added sugar, preservatives, or enhancements, and hubby will have some (hopefully) yummy cup cakes that are made with read ingredients - especially love.

Like I said, pictures will be coming!

Happy Sunday!

God Bless

Saturday, September 24, 2011

And...round 2

I killed it.

My sourdough started died on Day 3. I think I added too much water and it drowned. Oops.

Now I'm starting over. Round #2.

I'm bound and determined to make this sourdough starter because I have had my heart set on making some sourdough bread! I've been finding all sorts of recipes to try and I can't wait! This just gives me something to look forward to for next weekend (since it takes a week to grow a mature starter).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Nut Granola Bars

It's about 3:30 in the morning and once again, I'm wide awake and can't sleep.
I hate it when this happens.
My mind just won't shut off, and one of the things I keep thinking about is meal planning for next week. I like to plan my meals and everything ahead of time and make one grocery stop per week. So I've been thinking about breakfast, and can't stop thinking about the most amazing nut granola bars I've ever had! I think I might have shared these before, but they are so worth repeating! (thanks to Enjoying Healthy Foods).

The Ingredients:

1 cup Almonds
1 cup Pecan
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup cranberries
4 TBSP coconut flakes
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup Almond Butter
1/4 cup Coconut Oil

The Directions:
Add Almonds and Pecans into the food processor and rough chop. Pour them into a bowl and add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cranberries and coconut flakes.

In a sauce pan add raw honey, almond butter and coconut oil. Once it is smooth and creamy add the nuts. 

Pour mixture into a 8x8 (with parchment) pan and spread evenly. Put in freezer for 2 hours to chill and set. 


Well that takes care of I gotta think of everything else!

God Bless

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's working!

My sourdough starter is GROWING!! This is actually working!
(I'm kinda surprised)

The first batch after 24 hours. You can see the air bubbles and a little growth. 

Stage 2: discard half the starter, add 1/4 cup white flour, 1/4 cup rye flour, 1/4 water to the remaining. Let it sit for another 24 hours! 

This is after only 8 hours! It's growing! This is good sign so far!

I'm kinda getting excited for some fresh baked sourdough bread now. :)

God Bless

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sourdough Starter

I want to expand my culinary experiences.
For example, I made a cheesecake from scratch for Paul's birthday. This was the first time I've ever made a cheesecake from scratch. As you can see it wasn't the prettiest cheesecake in the world, but it's the effort that counts, right?!

Today, I decided to try something I've wanted to do for a long time - make a sourdough starter. Basically, I'm growing a "culture" until it is mature and ready to use. It takes a lot time and care because you have to "feed" it every 12 hours and watch it closely to make sure its growing and expanding and breathing and bubbling and doubling and all that jazz!
So the next week or so will be chronicling my experiment in growing a sourdough starter!

Day 1:
  • clean mason jar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
Mix everything together and let it sit in a warm area for 24 hours.
Easy enough so far!

God Bless

Monday, September 19, 2011

Paul and I had a great weekend! We left Friday afternoon to spend the weekend in Greenville and Clemson. While it was a full weekend, it was a GREAT weekend. 

Saturday was Clemson game day! Clemson played Auburn, and WON! It was a really exciting game, and the Clemson football players played an amazing game. It was fun to be in the stands, cheering on the Tigers, and enjoying the game with family. 
Clemson players lined up and walking off field after warm ups.

Getting ready for the most exciting 25 seconds in college football!

This is what a sold out stadium looks like! over 75,000 of our closet friends! :)
Saturday night we had dinner with Paul's family to celebrate his grandmother's birthday, along with Paul and Anna's birthday. We went to Rick Erwin's Nantucket Seafood Grill, which was amazing! They even created a special vegetarian plate for me! 
Sunday morning we went to church, and then to lunch with Paul's other side of the family. It was fun to spend some time with Paul's family, but as always, it wasn't nearly enough. 

Now back to reality and life. I'm working every afternoon this week, which is good. I like having my mornings free to take care of household chores, run, and workout; and then work for a few hours in the afternoons. Paul has a rotation in Oral Surgery for the next three weeks! It's a good thing he enjoys it! 

God Bless

Friday, September 16, 2011

A long time coming...

My apologies that it has been so long getting a post up. Life has gotten busy with work. I'm still enjoying watching my little girl friend two days a week. And the other three days, I'm kept busy at the Child Development Center. I float between rooms, caring for sweet little ones any where from 5 months old to five years old! I've had my days filled with changing diapers, pushing swings, working on puzzles, singing songs, running with and/or after kids, feeding bottles, and filing papers. Pretty much I go where they send me, and do what they tell me to do. And honestly, I don't mind one bit. I don't have any stress, or lesson plans, and I get to know all of the kids. It's fun and it keeps things moving. :)

Other than that, here's some fun tidbits...

1. Paul and I are going to our first Clemson game of the season!! Go TIGERS!

2. Honey is my new favorite! I love it, and organic, pure honey is good for you!

3. I'm about tired of my short hair. All of you who voted for the longer length knew something. While I'm glad I was able to cut it off and donate it to Locks of Love, I miss the length and will be growing it back out - not as long as before, but at least a little below my shoulders.

4. I started watching Glee on Netflix, and I'm addicted. I haven't even finished the 1st season, but I will still start watching the 3rd when it starts next week, and continue to watch the 1st and 2nd in addition. :)

5. It's finally getting a little cooler, and the leaves are starting to change colors here! Fall is on it's way, and I love this time of year!

Have a great weekend!
God Bless

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tropical Storm Lee

Well, it wasn't a tornado, or a hurricane, or an earthquake. But it was a REALLY bad storm. What started out as a little rain yesterday morning turned into serious down pouring rain the rest of the day and then into the night. Not to mention the 60 mile per hour winds. No light breeze there. Oh, and then came the power outage at 5:00pm, just as I was starting to get dinner started. Power didn't come on till 12:15 this afternoon.
So what exactly is there to do in a power outage? Not a whole lot. No stove or oven to cook in. No TV. No movies. No internet. No light to read by (did I mention we don't have any candles and only two flashlights?).
So here's what we did.

First, we went to Zoe's for dinner. It's a cute little Greek restaurant not a mile from our place. We had to battle the wind and rain to get there, but it was worth it.

Then, when we got home, we pulled out our rocking chairs, opened the windows, watched the storm, and had spent some quality time together without the interruptions or distractions of TV, movies, internet, or books. It was actually quite nice. :)

This morning, still without power, I was able to sit in my rocking chair in front of the windows again to do my devotion. Our church is studying 1 Timothy, so I read through it chapter 2 again, and then read commentary by Vernon McGee on it.

Sometime around 12:15 the power came back on. Hopefully I won't have to throw out too much of the stuff in the refrigerator - just the dairy and meat products probably. And now I need to make a "power outage supply kit box", which will include, but will not be limited to: flashlights, batteries, candles, matches, snacks, water, a first aid kit, cards, a battery operated radio, and maybe a coloring book and crayons for fun!

This afternoon driving around there was some serious damage done by the storm. GIANT trees were uprooted and blocking roads. Leaves, tree limbs, bushes, and all other forms of debris littered streets, sidewalks, and yards. Fortunately, we did not have any trees fall on our apartment, although a tree did fall on our road and blocked access going towards direction.

If there is something I've learned from living here in Alabama, it's this - Don't mess with the storms!

God Bless

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Working girl

This week was my first full week of working. On Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, I am working at Canterbury Methodist Church Child Development Center. And on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I'm nannying for a 15 month old little girl. This was my first week working at the CDC, and it went really well. I'm a sub/floater, so I go where they need me and help out where I can (either in classrooms or in the office even).
Monday I was with a toddler class! They are so cute and so sweet! And it was fun to be working/playing with the little guys. Then Thursday I was working with a four year old class, which I'm used to. It was good to be back with an age group that I love. The class only had 10 kids, and there are two teachers! It was amazing! Friday was a staff development day, so I got to sit in a meeting and then help the teachers get their classrooms ready for Tuesday, which is the first day of their fall semester. Next week, I'll be in an infant class for two days! I'm not sure what we'll do all day with infants, but it will be fun to hold the little babies! :)

Day 15. A picture of someone who inspires you. My grandfather, Theo Moll. That's me, too!

My Papa immigrated from Germany to the US when he was 19 years old, with nothing more than a few dollars in his pocket and trunk with some clothes and personal items. He came by himself, and knew only one person. He started working in Cleveland, Ohio, and eventually started his own company. He was a man of God, who loved his family. I don't really remember that much of him, he died when I was in the 5th grade. As you can see from the picture, he was an old when I was born, and I didn't really have the opportunity to get to know him as well as I would have liked. However, I do know he was a good man, who worked hard, trusted the Lord, and loved his family. I hope I can live like that too.

God Bless