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Posts from ‘December, 2010’

This and that


We have been enjoying our Christmas vacation very much and have a had a variety of experiences to savor. The week before Christmas the Michigan delegation was here and we thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them as well as our local family members. It's always great fun to have our grandson come to visit and this trip was no exception.

Here are Megan and Jim at Topher's house one evening for dinner:

picture of MJChristmas

Here is a picture of Drew wearing one of his favorite Christmas gifts -- Buzz Light Year Wings (from the movie Toy Story):

picture of Wingman

The Tuesday before Christmas was especially exciting as DD Nora and her fiancé, Topher (short for Christopher) became officially engaged! Her diamond is beautiful and we have begun working on things for the wedding which is planned for the beginning of April.

Here's the happy couple:

picture of Engagement Picture

We attended a lovely Christmas Eve service at our church. It is always a blessing to sit and relax and think about the true reason for the season and to contemplate Christ's sacrifice in coming to earth and all He suffered here for our behalf.

We shared Christmas dinner with some good friends and then spent some time visiting with Mark and Katie and saw their newly painted and partially decorated nursery. (No pictures yet.) They were anxious to get things set up and ready since this will be their last vacation until the baby arrives in April. As we were driving out to Mark and Katie's it started to snow. We accumulated about 2 1/2" and it was very beautiful. The news said this was the first white Christmas here in Greenville since 1963 and only the fourth in the last century.

Mark and Katie at Topher's:

picture of MK Christmas

picture of Christmas Snow 2010

We have been working on a few projects around the house this week. Rob stripped the wallpaper from our bathroom and then painted it. I still need to make a window curtain (I'm looking for some white ball fringe for it) and add a few new accessories. The new color is so much brighter and more cheerful.

Old bathroom look -- don't blame me, it was this way when we moved in!

picture of Hall Bath

New bathroom look:

picture of New Hall Bath

We've also done a little shopping, cleaning, trying new recipes, etc. It's been a fun and restful change from our usual pace during the school year.

I hope you all had a wonderfully blessed Christmas and will get to have some relaxing days here at the end of the year.

Becka


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A Christmas Craft


picture of Hymnal Wreath

It's been a while since I last posted. Life has gotten in the way of blogging. Our family from Michigan was here this past week and we had several activities planned for the whole family. We really enjoyed having them all here and will miss them as they drove home today. We will see them again pretty soon when they come for Nora and Topher's wedding in April.

A while back I mentioned that I had been working on some projects that I couldn't show yet. Well, I have actually already given this one to a friend who will be going away for Christmas, so I'm free to show it now. I saw this post about making a wreath from a paperback book and thought I would try making it from an old hymnal for my friend, Judy, who teaches music.

I found this old hymnal at a thrift store and thought it would be perfect for this project. The pages were a little larger than a regular paperback book so I had to devise my own method for rolling the pages, but over all it was a very fun project to make and I was pleased with how it turned out. I'd like to make more of these in the future if I can find some more old hymnals.

picture of Hymnal

I hope all of you are having a wonderful week and making progress in your Christmas preparations.

Becka


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A new pumpkin muffin


picture of Pumpkin Muffins

We had pumpkin pie for dessert on Thanksgiving and there was some of the canned pumpkin leftover. I found a new recipe on the Tasty Kitchen website for Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins and DH made them for our breakfast on Sunday. We cut back on the butter and the topping a bit and they were still quite tasty. Here's the recipe with our modifications:

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (recipe follows)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup milk

Topping Ingredients:
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl cream the butter and sugar and then add the egg. Mix in the pumpkin and vanilla. Add the flour and milk alternately to this mixture. Fill twelve greased and floured muffin tins 2/3 full (avoid using the paper liners for this recipe). Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 mins. or until golden brown.
While the muffins are baking combine the 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Melt the butter. When you remove the muffins from the oven let them cool only slightly and then dip the tops in the melted butter and then dip them into the sugar and spice mixture. Serve warm and enjoy thoroughly.

To make your own Pumpkin Pie Spice for this recipe combine the following:
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (heaping)
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger (heaping)
Mix thoroughly. This should make enough for this recipe.

Becka


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Fresh Corn Madeleines


I enjoy poking around in thrift stores, an activity DD Megan also enjoys. When we get together we often plan a trip to a thrift store or two. A couple of our local thrift stores have large collections of books which are fun to look through searching for treasures. I figure if I can find a book or a cookbook for 50 cents or a dollar it's cheaper than buying a magazine and I can always give it away or donate it back to a charity when I'm through with it.

This past year Megan and I collected children's Christmas books for my grandson Drew. She wrapped them in Christmas paper and he is opening one each day this December in anticipation of Christmas day. Here is a picture of him opening the first book:

picture of Drew Advent Book

On a recent thrifting excursion I found a couple of Sunset cookbooks that looked interesting. One of them had this recipe for Fresh Corn Madeleines which I thought would be great for making savory madeleines in the new pans I got for my birthday. If you don't have madeleine pans you could make the recipe in regular muffin tins.

picture of Corn Madeleines

Fresh Corn Madeleines

1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup minced onion
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 cup milk (may need more if dough seems too stiff)
1 cup fresh or frozen, thawed corn kernals

Melt the butter in a skillet and cook the onion until soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

In a bowl blend together the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the egg and milk. Combine the butter and onion, the milk mixture, and the flour mixture, stirring gently until just mixed. Butter and flour the madeleine pans (I used a spray) and then fill the pans. The amount you use will vary according to the size pans you have. Fill them about 2/3rds full. Bake at 350 degrees until firm to the touch. They will look pale on top but should be nice and brown on the bottom. Mine took about 15 mins. If baking as muffins bake for about 25 minutes.

I served these with Easy Beans and Rice and we thought they were very tasty. You can also freeze them and then thaw and reheat them for about 10 minutes at 300 degrees before serving.

Becka


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Something new for supper


picture of CB Ready

I tried a new recipe for supper one night this week that we really liked. The original recipe was from Taste of Home magazine. I made several changes in the original recipe, so I will post my version here.

Cheeseburger Buns

1 Tbsp. yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
3/4 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening, margarine, or butter
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
3 1/2-4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 lbs. ground beef or venison
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup tomato sauce (I used canned spaghetti sauce)
pepper and garlic powder to taste
8 slices processed American cheese, quartered

I made the dough in the bread machine, so I just put all the ingredients in the machine on the dough cycle. If you use the bread machine you do not need to use warm liquids. Let rise in the bread machine according to the cycle.

If you do not have a bread machine combine the yeast with 2 cups of flour, the sugar, shortening, and salt. Add the egg and the warm liquids and beat until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough and then knead for about 5 mins. Let rise until doubled, about 30 mins.
While the dough is rising cook the ground beef and onion until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Drain the fat and then add the tomato sauce and seasonings. Set aside to cool. This step could be done further ahead if you desire.

After the dough has risen sufficiently punch it down and divide it into 16 pieces. Roll or stretch each piece into a 5" circle. Place two of the small pieces of cheese on each round of dough and then add 3-4 Tbsps. of the meat filling. You can use a 1/4 cup measuring cup for this step. Bring the edges of the dough to the center and pinch closed. Place seam side down on a baking sheet. Grease the sheets heavily or cover with foil or use a liner such as a silpat or parchment. Cover loosely and let rise about 20 min. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 mins. or until golden brown.

Here is a picture of the dough circle with the cheese squares:

picture of Dough Cheese Squares

Here the meat has been added:

picture of Dough Cheese Meat

Here they are ready to bake:

picture of CBRawDough

Here's what they look like when you cut them open:

picture of CBCut

I hope you will try these. We thought they were really delicious.

Becka


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