Thursday, October 23, 2014

Golden Pumpkin Bread



I made my first pumpkin bread of the season this morning. I must say, it was amazing. I ate several slices while the bread was still warm. In fact, I ate so much, I skipped lunch! ;)
I've been looking for a new pumpkin bread recipe. Mine was always good, but I was hoping to find a recipe that would produce a moister loaf. And I found it. :)

This recipe is different from other recipes I've seen (and used) in that it calls for butter instead of oil. And it uses brown sugar instead of white sugar. The loaf is truly a golden brown color!

And the taste doesn't disappoint. I tweaked the recipe slightly in that the original recipe called for one cup of pumpkin, but I added one can. I also added chopped pecans to the batter right before spooning it into the loaf pan. Also, I sprinkled a few pecans on top. :)  

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 can pumpkin puree
½ cup Land O’ Lakes butter, softened
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup chopped pecans

Directions:

1) Heat oven to 350* Grease one 9x5-inch loaf pan.

2) Combine all ingredients into a mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until well mixed.

3) Then spoon batter into prepared pan. (I also sprinkled a few chopped pecans on top of the batter).

4) Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
(I baked mine 1 hour 10 minutes).

*Keep in mind all ovens are different, so adjust baking time accordingly.

Recipe adapted from Land O’ Lakes.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Serenity, Now!


Serenity - Peace ; noun.  Freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.  

And then there's my personal favorite - 
mental calm, serenity.  

This post focuses on living within your means and avoiding debt.

“There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. - G.K. Chesterton.

We've all heard the old adage, "Keeping Up With the Jones'". But living within your means is peace. It truly is. Deep down we all want peace. Debt causes strife. You're no longer living in harmony. There's anxiety, tension, fighting. I know. And there can come a time in life when you just aren't making enough just to cover daily/monthly expenses. I know. (I was a  single parent for several years and it was hard).

I love what Proverbs 31 says: Especially the way it is worded in the Amplified bible.

16. She considers a new field before she buys or accept it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by neglecting her other duties; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.

Now what is it saying, exactly?

1) Make purchases carefully. Think before you buy. Do I really need it? How will it truly benefit me?
We all need a little money just for fun things. But as far large purchases that will impact your finances and family harmony, this is good to consider.

2) Before accepting/agreeing to any requests, (of your time and effort), make sure it doesn't infringe on your present obligations. Your family depends on you. If your strength and nerves are zapped, how much good are you to your family?

3) If you invest your time wisely, you will reap huge benefits. I know. :) For example, I've found if I plan our meals ahead, I can slash our grocery bill significantly. I'm not just running to the store, buying in a rush. If I plan my daily to-do list, I don't become distracted by other things and I can accomplish so much more, etc.

Cherish what you DO have. If you are never satisfied with what you have, you will never have enough. Each day you wake up is a gift. Smell the coffee brewing, listen to the birds singing. Hug your kiddos. Thank your husband for working so hard to provide for you.

I'm still a work in progress, but I try to find joy in everything. I hope you will too. 

(((hugs)))