Muffins from Heaven….even in January

I found these Pumpkin Spice Muffins this fall while looking for new things to bake for my family. They are from heaven, and your family will fall over each other trying to get them. Trust me…..you have to make them even though we can see spring on the horizon!

Ingredients

* Muffin Ingredients:
* 1 cup All-purpose Flour
* ½ cups Sugar
* 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
* 1-½ teaspoon Cinnamon
* ¼ teaspoons Ground Ginger
* ½ teaspoons Nutmeg
* ½ teaspoons Salt
* 4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces
* 1 cup (heaping) Pumpkin Puree
* ½ cups Evaporated Milk
* 1 whole Egg
* 1-½ teaspoon Vanilla
* ½ cups Golden Raisins (optional!)
* _____
* Topping
* 2 Tablespoons Sugar
* 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
* ¼ teaspoons Nutmeg
* _____
* FOR FROSTING:
* ¼ cups Softened Butter
* 4 ounces, weight Cream Cheese
* ½ pounds Powdered Sugar
* ½ teaspoons Vanilla

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until it is fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.

Pour into a greased muffin pan—batter hardly ever fills all twelve unless you keep it down to 1/2 full. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture over the top of each unbaked muffin.

Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. Ice with cream cheese frosting.

To make the frosting, mix all ingredients on high until soft and whipped. Spread onto completely cooled muffins, or place into a large pastry bag with a large star tip and go crazy! Store in the fridge, as icing will soften at room temperature.

A HUGE thank you to Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman for these. I take no credit on the creation of these muffins. I just love you too much not to share!

Crock Pot Rotisserie Style Chicken

I have had a super busy week and one night I needed to be planning ahead for the following evening. Since I haad not done our weekly grocery shopping yet I headed to the freezer. In there I found a whole chicken and it was screaming to be cooked. So here is a great recipe I have made before for a Costco Style Chicken at a fraction of the price.

The Ingredients.
–1 whole chicken, skinned (4-5 pounds)
–2 tsp kosher salt (if you’d like it as salty as the ones in the store, add another 1 tsp.)
–1 tsp paprika
–1 tsp onion powder
–1/2 tsp dried thyme
–1 tsp Italian seasoning
–1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
–1/2 tsp black pepper
–pinch of chili pepper (probably not necessary)
–4 whole garlic cloves (optional)
–1 yellow onion, quartered (optional)

The Directions.

I used a 6 quart crockpot for a 5 pound bird. It fit nicely.

Skin the chicken and get rid of the neck and other stuff from the cavity. This takes a while, and is gross. Keep small children away so you don’t freak out about salmonella. I skin whole chickens because I hate the idea of the chicken fat simmering all day in the crock—it also looks disgusting when the chicken is cooked because it’s all slimy and icky.

I get it that I’m weird. If chicken skin makes you happy, then by all means, ignore me.

In a bowl, combine all of dried spices. Rub the spice mixture all over the bird, inside and out. Plop the bird breast-side down into the crockpot.

If desired, shove 4 whole garlic cloves and a quartered onion inside the bird.

Do not add water.

Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 8. The meat is done when it is fully cooked and has reached desired tenderness. The longer you cook it, the more tender the meat.

I would like to thank Stephanie at A Year of Slow Cooking for this recipe. We have made this before and it is quick, easy, my children will eat it and it is economical. The original recipe on her site can be found here.

Happy Anniversary!

Today is my wedding anniversary! I have been married to my best friend for 9 years today. While we did not have a traditional wedding (we were married in Las Vegas and it was broadcast on the internet for our friends and family to watch) it was a wonderful day that is still very fresh in my mind.
I am so lucky to have such a wonderful, loving husband and not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for putting him into my life. We have had our ups and downs but through it all we have always remembered that we are a team and we are committed until the end of time. He has given me the gift of 2 wonderful children and I would not trade any of the hard times for anyone else’s sunshine and roses. He is mine and and I his and that is the way it is meant to be.

Happy Anniversary my love! I look forward to years and years and years of life with you. Good or bad, as long as we are a team we can do anything!

Happy Re-Birthday To Me!!

Today is a HUGE day for me. It is my second birthday…yes, you read right. I get 2 birthday’s every year.
You see, 16 years ago today I was given the 2nd chance at life. I was born in 1972 with a heart condition called a Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD). At that time, it wasn’t as well known as it is today and I honestly can say that I don’t know what kind of prognosis my parents were given. I do know that they took me home, they loved on me and that I had a cardiologist for as long as I can remember. I went yearly for check ups and was always told that as I got bigger, the hole in my heart would get smaller and it would eventually close.

I played sports as a child and even tried out for the Jr. High Tennis Team and the High School Swim Team. I didn’t make the tennis team but I did make JV swimming and really enjoyed it. In college one of my roommates played on the Rugby Team and I even participated in that. As far as I knew I was fine, healthy and my heart was working as it should.

Fast forward a couple of years. I was 20, newly married, working full time at a daycare and loving my “adult” life. It was time for my yearly check up so I went because I always went and knew that it was important. Much to my dismay something was not quite right. My doctor asked me to come back the following week for a stress test. Stress was right – he had me run on a treadmill for at least 20 minutes and I remember getting so tired and not being able to make it the entire time. The following week he called me with the results….my heart was in BAD shape and I was going to need more tests. I had those tests done (of course) and then I got the call….I was going to need surgery. Like, now….not next week or next year but NOW. I don’t remember much about that following week except that I met with a surgeon on a Friday. He explained to me what was wrong with my heart and that it wasn’t going to close or fix itself. He needed to fix it and he needed to do it then. He asked me if I was available on Monday. What??? No…I am NOT available on Monday!! I had a classroom full of kids that I needed to think about, my mother lived out of state at the time and he expected me to be off work for 6-8 weeks!!! Was he totally insane??
He agreed to give me 2 weeks to get my life worked out, get done what I needed to get done and the surgery was scheduled.
So on January 28th, 1994 I had surgery at Swedish Medical Center. Ironically this was the same hospital that I was born at. The surgery went as planned and by late afternoon I was in ICU, awake, alert and hungry! I remember asking for food (which I was denied!) and staying up very late that night to watch Johnny Carson. I had not been able to watch him for years and was so excited! The nurses that night thought I was totally crazy. They kept telling my I needed to rest and I was not going to have any of that until after his show was over.

I was in the hospital for only 4 days, discharged on Feb. 1st, 1994 and my life has never been the same since. If you knew me back then, or ask any of my friends I was a walking zombie getting through life before the surgery but did not know it. I didn’t know what it was like to have a heart that worked properly until after it was fixed. I had several follow-up appointments with both the surgeon and my regular cardiologist and after only 1 year was given the all clear! I would never need to see them again!

So today I reflect on all I have been able to do since then. I was told that without the surgery I would never have children, I would get sicker and sicker and that basically my life was half over! That means that had I not done it, today, at 37 I would be either on my death bed or near that. I cannot imagine! I know that God has so much more planned for me and I am so thankful that I had good insurance at the time that paid almost all of my $24K+ bill, that I had a supportive family around that was willing and able to take care of me during my recovery. That I had a great boss who understood I needed to do this and that I am still here today to share my story!

Today I celebrate my second lease on life!

Friendship is Priceless

Wow!!! Another card for you this week! I must be on a roll!
This card was make using the Priceless set. The card base is Certainly Celery with an older Sale-A-Bration paper for the bottom section and a small piece of Kraft card stock used as faux ribbon. The butterfly was stamped once on the image layer and then on a second piece of cardstock, cut out and popped up with Dimensionals. The Word Window punch was used to create the window for the sentiment. A simple ribbon and bow in Apricot Appeal was added to finish the card off.

This is a quick, easy layout that can be modified to fit any occasion. I hope that this layout will give you some inspiration to create a card for someone special or to have in your stockpile for future use!

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Stamping!

Sympathy Cards can be so hard

I have needed quite a few sympathy cards in the last few months and never seemed to have any one hand. So I decided I would make a few in the hopes that they sit and collect dust.

The Stamp set used is called Thoughts and Prayers. The colors used in this card are simply Elegant Eggplant and Naturals Ivory. I did not want a lot of color to overpower the sentiment. The background was done with the Big Shot and a texture plate. Just a few brads and a little bit of ribbon was added to give the card a finished look but not distract from the main image.
This was a quick project but I know when the time comes that it will be very meaningful for the recipient.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Stamping!

Picture this folks!


I am turning in my application today for the open position of Crossing Guard at my daughters school. It isn’t a role I really saw myself in or even went looking for. The job posting has been up for over a month but I didn’t think to apply for it because it conflicts with my Women’s Bible Study at church. However a couple of staff members contacted me and asked me to consider taking the position. They said they would be able to cover that morning shift but really wanted me for the others. I already spent about 5 hours per week at the school volunteering in my daughter’s class and this would only be about 5 hours per week. Plus it could possible work into other positions at the school such as a substitute Noon duty (helping with lunchroom stuff and the following recess) and maybe into a part time aide position. With Big D starting Kindergarten in the fall I thought it would be a great opportunity! I mean, I would still be able to work in both of their classrooms plus bring in a little extra income each month.

So, I have prayed about it (for a longggggg time), talked with my wonderful husband and decided that I am going to do it. I am not looking forward to standing in the rain but I figure it really does not rain much here, I can handle 30 minutes here or there right?! So, wish me luck! I will let you know how it goes!

Floral Birthday

I have not been that great about posting the cards I make on this blog but decided I really should since my SU! Website is new and I’m not very good at loading projects on it yet.
I found this color challenge over at Stampin’ addicts and while it was out of my comfort zone I decided to give it a shot.

The stamp set used is Fifth Avenue Floral. The colors for this card are Old Olive, Melon Mambo, Summer Sun and Kraft. I used a Versamark ink pad for the image on the background. On the center image I stamped the center flower in Melon Mambo and then I used a blender pen and the ink pads to water color the image in. It took a little time to get them all blended but I am really happy with how it turned out.

This card uses a gate fold instead of a traditional fold. With a gate fold you cut the card base at 5 1/4″ by 8 1/2″ and then you fold the two ends to meet in the middle. The card is then held closed by the belly band. It is a nice change from a traditional folded card.

I hope that this card gives you a little inspiration to get stamping!