Hello Pumpkin!

pumpkin bread b

When we recently experienced a very cool morning, all I could think about was baking! I dug into my trusty recipe box and found a tried and true Southern Living recipe for Pumpkin Bread, just a plain, straightforward recipe with nothing extra added, which meant I had all the ingredients! It makes 3 loaves, too! Since I intended to share 90% of the results, that was an added blessing! I baked them up in small pans, yielding 6 delicious loaves. They’re a perfect size wrapping up to give to friends! Even if you make them in the regular size pans, you’ll have one to keep, one to freeze, and one to give away!

wp-image--609544264

If you’re in a baking mood as I have been, and are hungry for something simply pumpkin, you’ll love this recipe!

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

How to Make It

Step 1

Stir together flour and remaining ingredients in a large bowl until smooth. Divide batter evenly among 3 greased and floured 9- x 5-inch loaf pans.

Step 2

Bake at 350° for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted into center of each loaf comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire rack.

wp-image--1716587396

It couldn’t be any easier!  Whip up a loaf, perk some coffee, and invite a friend over for some sweet Pumpkin fellowship!

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

Friday Favorites – OOTD video and Pie Workshop!

Happy Friday, friends!  This has been a packed week, but filled with lots of fun blessings!  Let me share some of them with you:

I held my first Apples of Gold Workshop last night.  It was a class to teach how to make Pumpkin Rolls and Pies!  We had eight ladies attend and we had SOOOO much fun!
The pictures below show

  1.  The calm after the (flour) storm!  Every lady rolled out pie dough and we covered every inch of my island with our flour, dough and fillings.  It was so great!
  2. Cutie Pies as I call them, because aren’t they cute?! Each lady made a pie in a Mason Jar lid and everyone was so creative and did a fantastic job.  They got to eat the fruit of their labors, of course!
  3. I demonstrated the technique of making a sponge cake and rolling it up and filling it.  Pumpkin Roll is loved by many and can be made ahead and frozen, making it a great dessert for Thanksgiving dinner!

161111_091220_collage-1.jpg

I bought some little plastic silver coffee spoons at the Dollar Tree and turned them into Chocolate Spoons for coffee or hot chocolate for when you want to turn your beverage into a bit of a dessert.  They would make great gifts, attached to hot chocolate packets and slid into seasonal bags!

I encouraged the ladies last night to use this holiday season to share the Gospel.  Bake up something or fix these spoons up and give them to a neighbor or co-worker and tell them you trust this will be good, but one thing we can always count on is that God is good (Psalm 34:8) and share the Gospel with them!

161111_090242_collage-1.jpg

Then lastly, I did a quick video of my OOTD (Outfit of the day) .  You can check out my You tube channel under Denise Cunningham and subscribe so you’ll be notified each time I upload a video. You can just click on the You Tube Icon on the video below and it will take you to my channel. I’m thinking of adding some Christmas prep videos in the next few weeks, that you won’t want to miss!

I have a little video of the Chocolate Spoon tutorial that will be posted later today!  I hope you’ll come check it out on my channel.

What have you been up to, what are you wearing and how are you experiencing the blessings of the Lord this week?

Stay refreshed!

Denise Signature 150 px

Fall/Winter Pantry Essentials

pantry.jpg

Last week I shared three of my Go-To meals when I’m in a pinch for time (and money!).  I also shared the items I keep stocked so those meals can happen.  I hope you’ll check out that post if you missed it.  But when it turns cooler my menu changes, as I bet yours does too.  We think about soups, stew, cobblers, and comfort foods to fill us when fall and winter approach.  Since I know those are the kinds of foods we’re going to want for supper, there are certain items I know I need to keep on hand.

Let me share some of the essential items I like to keep in my pantry so I can cook and bake at a moment’s notice.

  • Chicken stock or broth – I love to make my own stock after I’ve roasted a chicken.  You can find my method here.  I’ve even updated my method by putting all the ingredients in the crock pot and letting it simmer all day.  It’s so much easier than doing it on the stove!  I freeze my broth in Ziplock bags (double-bagged for fear of leakage), lay them flat and stack them so they don’t take up much room.
    Chicken stock is necessary for soups, but also many other dishes – enchilada sauce, and roasted chicken, for example.  It’s great to have it on hand. This soup is a ten minute soup, and great for flu victims!
  • Minute Rice
  • Baking Mix (Like Bisquick).  This mix can quickly be turned into pancakes, waffles, biscuits, Cheddar Biscuits, muffins, dumplings and more!  Check out these recipes!
    Here’s a homemade version  you can make and keep on hand:
    Homemade Baking Mix

    6 cups All-purpose flour
    3 tbl baking powder
    1 tbl salt
    1 cup shortening
    Sift flour, baking powder and salt three times into a large bowl.  Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Store mixture in airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 months.
  • Canned Goods – Right now is a good time to stock up as many stores have sales events going on for the holidays.
    • Beans
    • Tomatoes
    • Corn
    • Green Beans
    • Pie fillings
    • Pumpkin
    • Cream Soups
    • Pasta sauce
  • Pasta
  • Taco SeasoningHere’s my homemade version
  • Olive oil
  • Vinegar – Balsamic, White, Apple Cider – I love making my own salad dressings and if I have a good olive oil and choices of vinegar, I can mix one up in a minute!
  • Sugars – White, Brown and Powdered
  • All-purpose Flour
  • Shortening
  • Baking chocolate – Cocoa and chocolate chips
  • Oatmeal
  • Cake Mixes – Again, I stock up three or four when they’re on sale and keep for the Quick Cakes or desserts.

Of course I keep potatoes, onions. fruits, etc., but I’m only mentioning the dry goods here on this list.

There were lots of years that I couldn’t stock up my pantry, but had to purchase only what I needed that week.  If you can only add one or two extra items a week as you shop, keep an eye out for the sales and grab them when they’re marked down.  It will truly save you in the long-run!

Did I miss an item that you try to keep in your pantry?  What is it?

With love from my country kitchen,

img_8101

Friday Favorites – God’s Timing, the Potter’s Wheel and Fall Beauty

Happy Friday!  Here are some highlights of my week pictured below!

Liza found a cozy place to nap against my Vera Bradley bag; what’s cuter than a cat striking a pose?!

A dear missionary friend of our always says, “God loves to surprise us.” How true, according to Jeremiah 33:3 – Call unto Me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which ye know not.  Last Sunday our daughter and son-in-law announced that they believe God’s will for them right now is to pursue foster-parenting.  As an answer to their prayers, this is the direction God has led them.  We couldn’t be happier for them or the precious children they will love on.

Here they are sharing their hearts last Sunday.  How grateful I am for people who have encouraged them as they take this step towards obedience!

161103_124047_collage-1.jpg

As the pretty picture my neighbor boy colored for me says, He makes all things beautiful in His own time!  We look forward to all that God has in store for them!

Last spring I attended a Ladies’ Prayer Advance that literally has changed my world.  This weekend my husband and I are privileged to be attending a Couple’s Prayer Advance – our first ever.  He’s participating in some of the ministry part, but we are excited to be here to learn and grow and change and PRAY!  It’s held in Pigeon Forge, so we are enjoying the beauty of the mountains and their colors!

 

When we are in Pigeon forge, we love eating at a restaurant, The Pottery Cafe’.  Their food is great and they serve all their meals on pottery made next door.  We love going to the pottery shop and watching the potter making the clay into beautiful dishes.  It’s amazing, and such a reminder of what God wants to do to me each day.  My heart must remain soft and pliable if I am to be what the Potter designs.

Beauty, Prayer, Molding and shaping, and God’s timing – that’s what my week has held.  I’m so grateful for the Lord using the day-to-day events and happenings to teach me and prepare me for His will.

Even as we look towards next week and the election of our president, let’s remind ourselves that a sovereign God is in control and He is preparing and providing in His time and His way.  We can trust Him!

Stay refreshed,

img_8101

My Three Go-To Meals

Three Go-To Meals.jpg

There are always busy fall/winter days that demand a fast supper meal.  For those days, I try to keep the ingredients on hand for the entree’s  listed above  because they are:

  1. Done in under 30 minutes
  2. Filling
  3. Delicious!!!

To make White Castle Sliders, Cheese Ravioli with Tomatoes, and Sausage Corn Chowder, all I need to keep on hand is:

2 pounds hamburger
Hawaiian Rolls – I freeze these
Frozen Cheese Ravioli – I recently tried Aldi’s brand and it was very good!
Tomatoes (I freeze the cherry tomatoes and use them for this dish if I don’t have fresh on hand)
Red Onion
Parmesan Cheese
Canned Corn
Cream Corn
Evaporated milk
Potatoes
1 pound Sausage

These are all very basic staple items to keep.  Having them on hand allows me to put a great meal together so quickly!  

White castle sliders.jpg

White Castle Sliders
2# hamburger (80/20)
Dried Onion Flakes
Seasoned Salt
Sister Shubert Rolls
Sprinkle dried onion flakes in the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish.
Press beef over onion flakes, make a one huge patty.
Sprinkle with Seasoned salt.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until done.
Drain and Pat grease off.
Top with cheese slices.  Place back in oven for 2 minutes to melt.
Remove and slice into hamburger patties, the size of your buns.
Pasta dishes are great for quick meals, but this one isn’t your normal Spaghetti and pasta meal!  This is one of our favorites – in a hurry or not!  Add some toasted French Bread and a salad and your meal is complete!
ravioli

Cheese Ravioli with Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 pound cherry tomatoes
2 shallots, cut into wedges (I use red onion instead)
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces frozen cheese ravioli

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Halve half of tomatoes. Arrange cut tomatoes, whole tomatoes, and shallots on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; toss.
Bake at 425° for 35 minutes.
3. Add 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to pan. Bake 10 minutes.
4. Cook ravioli according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain ravioli, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add ravioli to tomatoes; toss. Add cooking liquid, if needed. Garnish with chopped basil.Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; toss. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes.
3. Add 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to pan. Bake 10 minutes.
4. Cook ravioli according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain ravioli, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add ravioli to tomatoes; toss. Add cooking liquid, if needed. Garnish with chopped basil.

 

This chowder is so hearty and comforting!  It’s been a favorite of our family for years! You could add some quick biscuits or just crackers and a salad to round it out.

corn-choweder

Sausage Corn Chowder

1 LB Bulk Pork Sausage
1 med onion
3 medium potatoes, cut into 1/2 cubes
2 cps water
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp salt
crushed 1/2 tsp pepper
1 15 1/4 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1 14 3/4 oz can cream style corn
1 12oz can evaporated milk

Preparation:
Crumble pork sausage into 4 qt dutch oven; cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. add onion; cook about 5 minutes more or until sausage is brown. Add cubed potatoes, water, seasonings, bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in the whole kernel corn, cream style corn and evaporated milk. heat chowder through.
6 Main dish servings

There are other meal ingredients that I have kept ready for those busy days and I’ll share some of those next week.  In the meantime, tell me what  ingredients do you keep in your pantry and freezer and what meal do you make with them?

With love from my country kitchen,

img_8101

 

What the Preacher’s Wife wore

When you open the weather app on your phone and this is what is says – how do you dress?!

screen-shot

Here’s what I try to do:

1019161347-1.jpg
Layers is the answer for me.  When it’s cool in the morning and evening I can leave on the top layer, when it warms up I can take off a layer. This outfit consisted of olive green jeans, a cotton blouse, leopard flats and a denim vest.  

Dressier outfit:

Last year I found this winter white skirt at the Dillard’s outlet.  I love the versatility it gives me!  Here are two ways I’ve found to wear it.  The one on the right is another idea of layering.

Now, for a whole different kind of outfit… Brace yourself!

With Trick or Treat coming up, maybe you’re looking for a simple DIY costume?  Let me show you the funny ones my husband and I did last Wednesday for our church’s Trunk or Treat.  I was a Rain Cloud, he was a Nerd.  Oh, did he nail it or what? Yikes!

costumes 1.jpg

Along with my rain cloud hat, the picture below will show you that I also wore a black top and pants, with rain boots to complete the outfit.

I went to the Dollar Tree and bought

  • a child’s cowboy hat
  • four bags of cotton balls
  • Blue foam squares
  • Blue ribbon
  • Gray paint
  • You’ll also need a glue gun, which I already had.

costume-instructionsTake the cotton balls and kind of pull them out to fluff them up a bit, then begin gluing them to the hat to create the cloud.  Cover the hat, using more than one layer.  This takes a while, just be patient.

Then cut rain drop shapes from the foam, I did about 20.  Glue two together with the ribbon in-between.  Attach the ribbons to the hat.  I tried to stick it up on that hat, between the cotton balls so it would stick a little better.  I dabbed a little bit of acrylic gray paint on the white cotton balls.  You could also use gray spray paint to add a touch to your cloud.

That’s it!  This costume cost me under $10!

Do you ever dress up for Halloween?  It was fun to “join the party” and have fun with the kids at church!

What are you wearing during these cool/warm fall days?

Stay refreshed by going to a Bible preaching church this weekend!

img_8101

Oh-So Moist Pumpkin Muffins

 

pumpkin-3

Saturday afternoon found me happily  not busy after a very busy week.  It was a very cool fall day, and I was home alone.  My mind went to one of my favorite activities – baking. I needed to have something for Sunday breakfast, and also wanted to send something over to my neighbors.  So, I decided to venture out and try a new Pumpkin Muffin recipe!  I have my old standby that I still love, but, like anything else, I wanted to try something new!  

The recipe I found calls for Coconut oil, which I’ve just started using this year.  It doesn’t make the muffin taste like coconut – it just gives a great texture!  Don’t be afraid to try it, but if you don’t have any or don’t want to use it, you can use vegetable oil instead.  If you’ve ever had a dry muffin, you know you never want to go there. ever.again.  But these are Oh-SO MOIST!

My husband came home when these had just cooled.  When he’s home, he really watches his sweet/bread intake, but he ate four of the little ones I baked without blinking an eye!  That’s when I knew I needed to share this recipe and my tweaks with you!

pumpkin-muffin-1

 

Oh-So Moist Pumpkin Muffins
Makes about 18 Regular sized muffins

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie spice
2 eggs
1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Coarse sugar crystals – optional

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
Measure out the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, coconut oil and vanilla extract.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together. Do not over mix, just stir until all the dry ingredients are mixed in completely.

I use an ice cream scoop to distribute the batter into each muffin cup. They will be nearly full. This will help give your muffins a nice rounded top. Sprinkle with sugar crystals for a nice little crunch on top.
Bake your muffins for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

pumpkin-4
I used autumn colored sugar crystals – that’s why there’s green and red dots on top!

I like putting these in the muffin tin, rather than papers because it also made the edges of the muffins a little crispy – which we love.

I hope you’ll try these if you get a little time in the kitchen this week (they don’t take long at all!).  Like me, you may be replacing your “standby recipe” with this one!!!

With love from my country kitchen,

img_8101