Cupcakes~Wrap 'em up!

Saturday, November 27, 2010
Isn't it fun just how popular cupcakes have become! I enjoy making cupcakes (goes back to my LOVE of the individual serving). As a part-time caterer, I would much rather get orders for cupcakes...much easier than decorating a whole cake in my opinion. One of the FUN things I love doing for my cupcakes is adding a WRAP. There are lots of places you can order or buy these, but I save that expense and make my own. A very easy-peasy project. I found a template here. I use a decorative scrapbook paper and make my cupcakes look festive and fun for whatever event I am making them for.

From the recent Vintage-Themed Baby Shower I hosted.

Recently I was contacted by my friends at Gooseberry Patch. They plan to use my favorite Double-Maple Cupcakes in their SOON to be released book, 101 Cupcake, Cookie & Brownie Recipes (stay-tuned for a review and giveaway of this book). These are very special cupcakes for sure!

Double-Maple Cupcakes
(Printable Version)

½ cup granulated sugar
5 Tbs butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp imitation maple flavoring
2 large eggs
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup lowfat milk
¼ cup maple syrup

3 Tbs maple syrup
2 Tbs butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp imitation maple flavoring
1/8 tsp salt
1¾ cups powdered sugar

Toasted pecan pieces, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. To prepare cupcakes, beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and ¼ tsp. salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine milk and ¼ cup maple syrup. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Prepare frosting: Beat 3 Tbsp. Maple syrup and next 4 ingredients (syrup through 1/8 tsp. salt) at medium speed of a mixer 1 minute. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating just until blended (do not overbeat). Spread the frosting over cupcakes. dip in toasted pecans. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Joining at at~

Betty's 2nd Cupcake Sunday
Lisa's Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday

From The Hymnal~O Little Town Of Bethlehem

“Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you shall come for Me One who will be Ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2

I am starting my CHRISTmas From The Hymnal posts with one of my most favorites, O Little Town Of Bethlehem.

O Little Town Of Bethlehem

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy pray to the bless├Ęd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

Sharing for the FIRST time at Spiritual Sunday!

Thanksgiving Table

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wishing a Blessed Thanksgiving to all!

I thought I'd share my table from today. We chose to have a very low key holiday celebration with just our 2 teens at home this year.

I moved my old farm table into the dining room a couple weeks ago. I love this table. It came out of an old barn and was covered in probably a hundred layers of paint.

The chairs are a mish-mash of old chairs. I really like it that way.

I use an antique chest of drawers as a side board. It is perfect for table linens storage.

The dishware is Faded Antique from the Country Living line at Kmart. I loved this pattern when I saw it months ago and was thrilled to see it 50% off recently.

The chargers came from Walmart and I think the napkin rings were from there last year too.

Napkins are over-sized ones I made from some of my quilt stash.

The tablerunner is some antique lace I found and inset a lovely piece of fabric.

Glassware includes my vintage candlewick glass. I especially love the amber pieces.

Silver is some mismatched vintage silverplate from my collection.

Coming late to the party but joining in at Susan's Tablescape Thursday and Suzanne's Vintage Thingie Thursday.

Sweet Potatoes Two Ways

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sweet potatoes....It just doesn't seem like Thanksgiving dinner without them. I've tweeked our family favorite to the point that everyone in our house LOVES my way of presenting them for Thanksgiving. I posted the recipe I use last year (here it is).

My friends at Gooseberry Patch shared ~ Sweet Potatoes Two Ways ~ And I thought I'd pass those recipes along to my readers. Do you serve sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving and if you do, how are you doing them?

Originally shared by Mary Coglianese of Kailua, Hawaii, this recipe can be found in Goosberry Patch's, Best-Ever Casseroles.

Pecan-Topped Sweet Potato Bake

3 sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 t. vanilla extract
1/3 c. milk

Combine all ingredients; mix until very smooth and spread in a lightly greased 11" x 7" baking pan. Sprinkle topping over potato mixture and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve hot. Makes 4 to 6 servings.


1/3 c. butter, melted
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. chopped pecans

Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix well.

Shared by longtime Gooseberry Patch contributor Kathy Grashoff of Fort Wayne, Indiana, this recipe appears in, Autumn in the Country.

Apple & Sweet Potato Bake

4 c. apples, cored, peeled and sliced
4 c. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 t. onion, minced
3/4 c. apple juice
3/4 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. butter, melted
12 brown & served breakfast sausages

Layer apples, sweet potatoes and onion in a greased 2-quart casserole dish; set aside. Combine juice, syrup and butter; pour over layered mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Arrange sausages on top; bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until sausages are browned. Serves 6 to 8.

Sharing at Lisa's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

From The Hymnal ~ Thanks to God

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I knew I wanted to do a hymn of thanksgiving for the weekend before the holiday. I had a couple of them in mind, but hadn't decided on just which one yet. Then tragedy struck. Last Monday night while my daughter and I were at dinner, she received a call with the news that a former boyfriend had done the unthinkable...he took his own life. To say the least, this has been a very difficult week. Lots of tears, lots questions, little sleep and terrible sadness. Please lift this young man's family and loved ones up in prayer. I cannot even imagine the pain they are enduring.

This hymn reminds me that we are supposed to give thanks in all of life's circumstances....even when it is difficult and we are hurting. I am very THANKFUL for the hope I have in Jesus!

Thanks to God

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!

Gooseberry Patch Open House

Tuesday, November 16, 2010
For all my Gooseberry Patch loving friends, I am sharing their Homemade Christmas Virtual Open House........

Here are the recipes from the Open House! Enjoy!!

Sharing at Lisa's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday!

From The Hymnal~God Leads His Dear Children Along

Sunday, November 14, 2010

He calls His own sheep by name, and He leads them out. John 10:3

God Leads His Dear Children Along

In shady, green pastures, so rich and so sweet,
God leads His dear children along;
Where the water’s cool flow bathes the weary one’s feet,
God leads His dear children along.


Some through the waters, some through the flood,
Some through the fire, but all through the blood;
Some through great sorrow, but God gives a song,
In the night season and all the day long.

Sometimes on the mount where the sun shines so bright,
God leads His dear children along;
Sometimes in the valley, in darkest of night,
God leads His dear children along.


Though sorrows befall us and evils oppose,
God leads His dear children along;
Through grace we can conquer, defeat all our foes,
God leads His dear children along.


Away from the mire, and away from the clay,
God leads His dear children along;
Away up in glory, eternity’s day,
God leads His dear children along.


*Vintage* Tissue Paper Flowers

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Have you ever made flowers from tissue or crepe paper? We did this all the time when I was a girl. I think of them as vintage or old-fashioned. I am co-hosting a double baby shower this weekend. My co-host is in charge of the games (blah, I hate doing the games, lol) and I am in charge of the food and decorations. We (read that *I*) set the theme VINTAGE Baby. We have a girl baby (Eliana Elise) and a boy baby (Silas James) so we're going to have lots of, pink, green, yellow and lavender. I've collected a lot of the vintage Napco baby planters and needed something to put in them. Our budget is limited and I'd rather spend it on food and such, not live plants or flowers. If it was summer, I'd be raiding peoples gardens but alas, the flowers are done for the year.

After some thought, I settled on making pastel colored paper flowers. I've told a few people of this plan and they look at me like I've sprouted another head. Never heard of paper flowers? Well, they are easy, fun and best of all very budget friendly. I got a multi-pack of pastel tissue paper at Dollar Tree. That is enough for 60 flowers. The only other supplies needed are floral wire, floral tape, scissors and a wire cutter (unless you buy precut wire).

I am sharing a video tutorial for making paper flowers and will be sharing lots more from the shower in the next week including recipes and tablescapes. My flowers differ only in that I use a wire instead of string and then floral tape the wire to form a stem.

Sharing at:
Suzanne's Vintage Thingie Thursday
Debra's Vintage Inspired Friday
Laurie's Favorite Things

Veteran's Day

They Did Their Share

On Veteran’s Day we honor
Soldiers who protect our nation.
For their service as our warriors,
They deserve our admiration.

Some of them were drafted;
Some were volunteers;
For some it was just yesterday;
For some it’s been many years;

In the jungle or the desert,
On land or on the sea,
They did whatever was assigned
To produce a victory.

Some came back; some didn’t.
They defended us everywhere.
Some saw combat; some rode a desk;
All of them did their share.

No matter what the duty,
For low pay and little glory,
These soldiers gave up normal lives,
For duties mundane and gory.

Let every veteran be honored;
Don’t let politics get in the way.
Without them, freedom would have died;
What they did, we can’t repay.

We owe so much to them,
Who kept us safe from terror,
So when we see a uniform,
Let’s say "thank you" to every wearer.

Joanna Fuchs

A special THANK YOU to my Dad (pictured), Father-in-law, Grandfather, Uncles, Brothers-in-law for your service to our great country. For those who sacrificed all, no words are sufficient to express our indebtedness.

Scandalous, I Know!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I have a confession to make. It may shock some of you. I’m hoping that you all will continue to accept me despite this scandalous information. You see………

I DO NOT own a microwave!

I told you it was shocking, lol. In most kitchens, microwaves are pretty standard. Sometimes they come built-in. Some folks do not have one because maybe theirs has recently gone on the fritz (like my friend Rose). Not me. I choose to live microwaveless. Wasn’t always so. In fact, I’ve gone microwaveless a couple times. Both times a well-meaning family member put an end to my freedom buy gifting me with one. They must have felt sorry for me. Please don’t. Really, I am fine without one. Currently I have been without one since 2007 and I plan for it to stay that way.

Most people want to know WHY when they realize that my kitchen is sans microwave. Well, there are a few reasons. I know there are those who fear microwaves. While I like the fact that I don’t have to be concerned about these concerns, that has little weight in my decision to be microwaveless. Basically, I have a small kitchen. Counter space is at a premium. I can’t see making room for a microwave. Also, food taste SO MUCH better when it is conventionally cooked/baked. Count me a member of the SLOW FOOD movement. That is it in a nutshell. That said though, there are a few things that make it easier to be microwaveless.

A Tea Kettle
This is priceless. You can spend a small fortune on a tea kettle or you can spend very little. That all is up to you. Did you know that water tastes better boiled in a kettle than heated in a microwave? It has to do with the oxygenation of the boiling process. There was a day that every kitchen had a least 1 big kettle for making hot drinks, cooking, cleaning and bathing. I only recommend heating water in a kettle though since they can be difficult to clean. Want to heat up milk or this morning’s coffee, use a small saucepan. My only tea kettle recommendation is that you pick one with a whistling feature. I once totally burned up a tea kettle…long story, lol. My tea kettle has a place of honor on my stove top ALL the time.

Avoid Microwave Products
Some products are just designed for microwaves. Microwave popcorn, for one. There are brands that are popped on the stove rather than the microwave. We enjoy air-popped corn. Or maybe there’s a non-microwave snack food that you’d enjoy just as much. At any rate, find foods you like that don’t need microwaving, like baby carrots or some nifty recipe. Great bonus here, microwave products tend to be more expensive.

Invest in a few individual-sized dishes that go from fridge (or freezer) to oven
This will make reheating leftovers in the oven easier. If you have to prepare lunches for the workers in the family, most office lunchrooms have a microwave handy and you can just package them for reheating there.

Plan Ahead
Know what you need to pull out of the freezer the night before and always have a Plan B backup plan for meals. I keep a (homemade) frozen lasagne in my freezer at all times that can go right into the oven if and when needed.

Really, it is possible to live a full and fulfilling life without the assistance of a microwave. I do and so did countless generations before me.

Cast Iron Cooking & A Review

Monday, November 8, 2010

Last week I got the most wonderful news....I was the winner of a giveaway over at Mari's Once Upon A Plate. If you don't know Mari, you have to visit her blog...very inpirational!!

So what did I win? Barefoot Contessa's *How Easy Is That*.

I enjoy Ina's style very much and knew this would be a book I would use and enjoy. The Brown truck brought it last Thursday and I poured over each and every page. There are lots of recipes I know I'll be trying but there was a standout that simply screamed TRY ME!! You see, we're a cheese family. Never met a cheese we didn't like and when we travel, we search out local cheeses to bring home to try. When I saw Baked Fontina on page on page 91, I was thrilled....AND it calls for a cast iron skillet!!

Baked Fontina
(Printable Version)
1-1/2lbs Italian Fontina (rind removed) and 1-inch diced
1/4 cup good oil olive
6 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 crust French baguette

Preheat the boiler and position the oven rack 5 inches from the heat.

Distribute the cubes of Fontina evenly in a 12-inch cast iron pan.

Drizzle on the olive oil. Combine the garlic, thyme. and rosemary and sprinkle it over the cheese and olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper

and place the pan under the broiler for 6 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling and starts to brown.

How easy is that!!

We loved this appetizer and I even found a way to keep it lower carb...I ate it with lightly blanched cauliflower and broccoli. I'll be making this again as we get into the holiday entertaining season. I love this cookbook and am already pondering which recipe to try next!

Posting to Lisa's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday hosted this week At The Well and Michael Lee's Foodie Friday!

From The Hymnal~Little Is Much

Saturday, November 6, 2010

This hymn is another of my favorites!

Little Is Much

In the harvest field now ripened
There’s a work for all to do;
Hark! the voice of God is calling
To the harvest calling you.


Little is much when God is in it!
Labor not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown—and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ Name.

In the mad rush of the broad way,
In the hurry and the strife,
Tell of Jesus’ love and mercy,
Give to them the Word of Life.


Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.


Are you laid aside from service,
Body worn from toil and care?
You can still be in the battle,
In the sacred place of prayer.


When the conflict here is ended
And our race on earth is run,
He will say, if we are faithful,
“Welcome home, My child—well done!”


School House Rock & Get Out & Vote!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Have you remembered to vote today? Hoping so, and when you vote, be sure to take your children along with them how important it is to do!

Last September when we visited Minnesota, my dear friend Sharon planned a very special day for us to enjoy. She knows all about my love for all things with a a word, OLD!

We drove to Wisconsin and antiqued some of the most wonderful little out of the way spots and we visited Walker's Mennonite Bulk Foods Store. Then we carried on to the reason for taking this trip.....we went to visit and have lunch with Sharon's twin sister, Gail.

Gail lives in a lovely home nestled into the hill country of Western Wisconsin on several acres. They are surrounded by woods and horses and sheep. An idealic setting. Gail's house has a very special history in this area. At one time it was the area ................................................

Schoolhouse!! Isn't it just devine! I didn't take photos of the inside but will always remember how lovely the orginial wide-plank wood floors were, the high, high ceilings and the tiny little room that had floor to ceiling built in glass-doored shelving (the school library). This picture hangs in their entryway. The Blodgett School, 1937.

Some of my treasures I brought home from this trip include these sweet little flower frogs. I always wanted some small ones for standing up cards.

Dolly Dingle Paper Dolls...I just loved paper dolls as a girl and still love cutting paper.

I'm going to do something holiday related with these but haven't quite decided. Suggestions?

Sharing at:
Sue's REDnesday
Suzanne's Vintage Thingie Thursday
Laurie's Favorite Things

Cast Iron Cooking ~ Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

Monday, November 1, 2010

Last week I received my November 2010 issue of Everyday Food. I've shared before that our family tradition is to make (and eat) muffins for Sunday morning breakfast. It simply wouldn't be Sunday without muffins (well, occasionally I do get away with making scones or a coffeecake). When I flipped thru the magazine, I knew I would be making the Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins featured on page 112.

Years ago, my sweet family purchased for my birthday a lovely Griswold cast iron muffin pan. They knew I'd love it. Not just love it, but use it...OFTEN. It gets a workout most every Sunday morning. If you've never baked in cast iron, I have to share that it is simply the best....much better than other muffin tins.

A very nice sized muffin cup. Small, but not a mini-muffin. There is also only 11 cups...not a dozen or even a baker's dozen.

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins
(Printable Version)
10 Tbsp butter, room temperature
3 c all-pupose flour
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/3 c buttermilk
1-1/4 c pure pumpkin puree
3/4 c light brown sugar
2 large eggs

sugar coating:
3/4 c granulated sugar
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 12 standard muffin cups. Make batter: In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and pumkin puree. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture; and beat to combine.

Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup and bake until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in pan on wire rack. Working with one at a time, remove muffins from pan, brush all over with melted butter, then toss to coat in sugar mixture. Let muffins cool completely on a wire rack. Makes 12 muffins.

Sunday's breakfast was these WONDERFUL muffins and some lovely Orange-Spiced Tea. I bought some while visiting the Mennonite store in Wisconsin back in September. So yummy but I quickly went thru the small bag I brought home. I have made some of my own and it is just about as good as the one I bought. I plan to use some of this for holiday gift giving. It will make great hostess gifts.

The tea was the perfect compliment to the muffins. Oh, and the muffins have a dense texture very similar to an old-fashioned cake donut....I understand the name!

Orange Spiced Tea
(Printable Version)

3 large navel oranges
1 (8 oz.) pkg. loose black tea leaves
1-2 stick cinnamon sticks
2 tsp. whole cloves

Remove thin bright colored rind from each orange with sharp knife (no white); cut into thin strips. Spread out on cookie sheet. Heat in very slow oven, 250°F for 10 minutes or just until rind is dry. Toss loose tea with orange rind. Break up cinnamon stick and whole cloves and add to tea mixture. Place in a jar and allow to sit for a couple of weeks for flavor development.

Posting to:
Kristin's THIS WEEK'S CRAVINGS - Pumpkin Party
Lisa's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Lady Kathrine's Tea Time Tuesday
Michael Lee's Foodie Friday