Friday, September 30, 2016

Joining the Pumpkin Craze

Missy Tippens

I have some fun things to share during this season of pumpkin. Have y'all noticed you see pumpkin stuff everywhere?!

I loved this. :) If I didn't already have a cabinet overflowing with mugs, I would've bought it.

But I DID buy this! I'm so excited.

In our new house, our ceramic top stove has a bridge burner that connects two regular burners so you can use a griddle on the stovetop. So I decided to buy a cast iron one from Lodge. And it's reversible! The smooth griddle side.

And the grill side.

I've only used it once so far--grilled some chicken. It was great! I'm so glad I bought it. Next time, I plan to make pancakes on it.

And to somehow include actual food in my post, I thought I would share a pumpkin treat I've had recently in addition to one of my annual favs--a Starbucks pumpkin spiced latte. :)

Here's my husband in front of one of his favorite restaurants, Cracker Barrel. I ordered the pumpkin spice pancake breakfast!

(Photo of my menu)

Here's what my plate actually looked like with the whipped cream melting. :)

Oh, my. These were so flavorful, filled with pumpkin pie spice and topped with whipped cream, cinnamon and powdered sugar. And you'll see I also added some maple syrup.

So if you haven't had enough pumpkin yet this fall, you may want to give these a try. When I finally make pancakes on my new griddle, I'll be sure to add some canned pumpkin and spices. I'll let you know how they turn out!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cowboy Cranberry Orange Muffins

We're talking all things cowboy today, and that's because of this....

Oh be still my heart, I love this cover!

And I just found out yesterday that "Home on the Range" was given 4 1/2 Stars Top Pick! from Romantic Times Review....

Oh, be still my heart AGAIN!!!!! Thank you Carrie Townsend and Romantic Times!!!!

So we have to celebrate. Why? Because why not? We should always celebrate good times, and the thought that this sweet story is touching hearts... and souls... is an absolute thrill.

Today we're going to reward someone with a copy of "Home on the Range"... Leave a comment here, and if for some reason the blog does not cooperate, then leave me a comment on facebook/Ruth Logan Herne... and if you need to friend me, I'll consider the friend request an entry!

The Double S Ranch books have a GREAT KITCHEN. I mean, it is huge, sprawling, state-of-the-art amazing and I'd give my right arm to operate a kitchen like that, but for the moment, I'll operate in my sweet old farmhouse kitchen!

And we sell baked goods at our farm stand, whatever form of deliciousness happens to jump out of the oven that day, and I wanted to try Cranberry Orange muffins.... so you're going to get TWO distinctly different recipes today. I think I'm partial to recipe #2, but that might be because it's PINK....

Recipe #1:

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried, sweetened cranberries chopped lightly
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup oil
1 egg
2 tablespoons orange zest (grated orange peel)

Pour orange juice over cranberries, heat for 30 seconds in  microwave, then let sit while gathering everything else.

Mix dry ingredients together. Add egg, oil, juice and cranberries mixture. Mix with spoon just until all ingredients are mixed in. Sprinkle top with sugar.

Line muffin cups with paper liner or spray/flour each cup. Fill 2/3 full and bake at 375° for 12 to 15 minutes.

These were hot and they steamed my camera lens!!!!  Do you see that I used colored sugar on the top so you get a kind of happy sparkle????


2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
2 cups cranberry orange relish

Mix dry ingredients. Add eggs, oil and cranberry orange relish.

Mix until all ingredients are moistened. The relish turns the batter PINK!!!! It's so pretty! Pink with flecks of orange and bits of cranberry goodness.

Bake at 375° for 12 to 15 minutes, until muffin springs back when touched lightly with finger.

Look at the difference! The pink recipe is moister, more like a carrot cake consistency... the extra 1/4 cup of oil, I think... the first recipe is more traditional old-fashioned muffin consistency, moist, but not spongy.... And with a wonderful hearty flavor.

But who wouldn't love PINK MUFFINS??????

I used multi-colored "sanding" sugar on top, it's the only color I had in the house, but it's pretty, isn't it? Sanding sugar is the bigger grind sugar that sparkles on baked goods...  Here's a link to some on Amazon:  SANDING SUGAR 

And the farm is hopping this week with fun pumpkin sales, great customers, and folks are putting our signs EVERYWHERE!!!!

It's so fun to see young families (and some not-so-young ones, too!) come by and have a great autumn experience for affordable prices. Our slogan is "We bring Farm-Fresh Friendly to You!" and with no middleman.... we can keep prices down. Win for everyone!!!

That's it for today.... and be sure to comment or dash over to facebook and let me know you want to be entered in today's drawing for "Home on the Range".

And if I can add you to my mailing list: Pure Bonus!

Multi-published, bestselling author Ruth Logan Herne is living her dream and generally wakes up pinching herself to see if this is real... and it appears to be! She lives on a fun, cray-cray farm in upstate New York that shelters children of all ages, dogs, cats, chickens, a mega-load of pumpkins and her fair share of wild creatures who occasionally gain access to her house. (She is not amused by such happenings, by the way).  Friend Ruthy on facebook, stop by her website, or hang out with her and her cool buddies in Seekerville where the daily chat is about writing... and reading!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Apple Tuna Salad and a Cute Owl

Since apples seem to be the theme of the week (and deservedly so), I went back into my recipe file to see what I could find to share that would complement the wonderful recipes Mindy and Jan posted.

I discovered my apple tuna salad, and decided that would be a nice counterpoint to apple desserts.

I’m always looking for healthy, portable lunches that are high in protein because I need that protein to get through the busy school day.

Tuna salad is great, but all that mayonnaise no longer agrees with me.

I was looking for an alternative and sort of accidentally created a tuna salad that is extremely healthy and tastes great too. The key is shredded apples.

I’ve always loved adding apples and walnuts to my tuna salad but one day when I was tired of cutting up apples, I grabbed my vegetable grater.

  I shredded the apples and added them with a smidgeon of mayo (for flavor) and the walnuts.


The shredded apples were the perfect counterpoint to the dry tuna so I didn’t need a lot of mayo or dressing. The walnuts added some extra crunch and filling protein.

Now I don’t think of eating tuna any other way.

Do you have any healthy ways you’ve changed up some traditional recipes?

And finally, I wanted to share my cute little owl. He's the happy byproduct of an unhappy event that made me so angry I wanted to vent.

I needed to buy a new bathmat so I headed to a local store after work today. I didn't see the bathmats where I expected them to be, so I went over to ask the owner where to find him.
I never got the chance, because the conversation I overheard made me SO angry that I stormed out of the store.

The store owner was talking to another employee about how he was going to fire two of his cashiers because they were handicapped. He went on to belittle these men with the most offensive language (I won't even repeat the mean words he used.) So instead of asking for help, I looked him in the face and informed him that he had just lost a customer.

But then I found myself on the street - still in need of a bathmat. There was really only one choice - a drugstore that sells medical items. I figured I'd give it a try. I was in luck. But they only had one color - light blue.

Okay, I thought. I can stand on a light blue bathmat in order to stand up to injustice.

And when I got home and opened it, this is who was inside.

So, now when I see my little owl bathmat, I shall smile.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Celebrating Fall with Apple-Cherry Crisp

Tex here, and yes, fall has finally arrived in North Texas. That means high temps have fallen below 90 and it's time to bake again. And let's face it, fall and apples go hand-in-hand, so what better way to welcome fall than by putting a twist on a fall favorite, apple crisp.

I love fruit desserts, though they seem to vary from season to season. Summers I think of cobbler, winter is usually pies, but I always associate crisps with autumn. And because there's no crust to worry about, they're so easy.

So here's what you'll need for the filling:

2 1/2 lbs. apples, peeled, cored and cut into cubes (I used Honeycrisp, but Rome is another good variety. Something with a bit of tart)
1 1/2 cups pitted cherries (frozen works best, but you can also use canned)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

For the topping:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans (or nut of your choice)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Okay, let's start with our filling. Mix together the apples and cherries.
Now add the dark brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.
And stir to combine.
Look at those glorious fall colors.

Pour into greased baking dish.
Now for the topping. Combine the flour, brown sugar, pecans, oats, cinnamon and salt.
Add melted butter
And stir until clumps form.
If you're like me, this is where restraint comes in. I could eat this mixture by itself. But then there would be no crisp to my apple crisp.
So go ahead and sprinkle the clumps over the apple/cherry mixture.

Bake 45-55 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.
Yes, the heathens got to it before I could take a pic.
But then it's oh-so-good while it's piping hot, especially with a melting scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Now that's what I'm talking about. I love the crunch of the topping with the tenderness of the fruit.
Can it just stay fall forever?

Now it's your turn. What's your favorite fall dessert?

Mindy Obenhaus lives in Texas with her husband and kids. She's passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more at

Monday, September 26, 2016

Apple Dumplings with Caramel Sauce

Jan here, with a bit of a hodge-podge post. But don't worry! We'll get to the apple dumplings!

First of all, don't miss the fun over on the Amish Wisdom blog! Mattie's Pledge is part of a fourteen book giveaway!

And next....

...Autumn has arrived in the Black Hills in all her glory!

On Saturday we explored a part of the Black Hills we've rarely visited. Formally, the area is called the "Central Hills," but people generally say, "We went up by Mystic today." Or, "We went hiking west of Rochford." Or, "We went camping up by Castle Creek."

But whatever we call it, the area is beautiful. It was also one of the earliest settled areas of the Black Hills (1876), which means that gold was found there.

At one time, gold drove everything in the Black Hills. But today we're lured there by the golden leaves of the aspens.

And now, finally! We get to the apple dumplings! We bought some apples and pears over the weekend. I'll tackle the pears another week (if there are any left!), and share one of my favorite apple delicacies with you.

Apple Dumplings with Caramel Sauce

Don't let the caramel sauce part of the name scare you - it practically makes itself!

For each dumpling, you need:

1/2 apple (any kind, but Macintosh or Golden Delicious bake well)
Pastry - more on this below
1 generous teaspoon butter
2 Tablespoons - heaping - brown sugar
a sprinkle of ground cloves
4 or 5 dashes...or more...ground cinnamon

I used Pepperidge Farms Puff Pastry sheets.

I try to keep a box of these in my freezer for last minute baking urges.

But for this recipe, you can also use pie crust or biscuit dough.


Thaw the puff pastry sheet according to the package directions. Then cut the sheet into four squares. Roll one square out until it's about 7" x 7".

Cut an apple in half and remove the core.

Place one half in the center of your pastry square and pile on the butter, brown sugar, cloves, and cinnamon.

Don't worry if the goodies spill onto the pastry!

Bring the corners of the pastry together at the top and give them a nice twist to hold them there. You can fold the edges together to close them, but don't worry about sealing them. As the dumplings bake, you want the delicious butter/sugar/spice/apple juice to drip into the pan and make your caramel sauce. :)

Place the dumplings in a greased baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350° for about an hour, or until the apple is baked through.

To serve, put the hot dumplings in bowls and top with the caramel sauce in the baking dish. A scoop of vanilla ice cream would be great on top if you have it!

And I guarantee that your kitchen will smell delicious!

Jan Drexler loves her family, her home, cooking and just about anything made by hand. But she loves her Lord most of all.

Stop by Jan's website to learn more about her books:

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Roasted Garlic and Tomato Bruschetta -- Easy!

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and we've done a lot of cooking, but nothing really fancy. My seven year old is still making bread about every other day. YUM. But I have to reign myself in because I want to simply eat fresh bread and real butter ALL DAY LONG.
 Happy boy with his first loaf.
 He's been working his way through this book. So much fun!
 It's pumpkin bread time!! You can find that recipe here. 
 I was picking tomatoes in the garden and wondering how I would ever find more time to can them with our busy week, when my neighbor called me over and offered a bag of delicious Galas. Yes, Please! I asked her if she wanted tomatoes, and she admitted that she was hoping for a few bags. Even better! So, I made a tarte tatin (recipe here), and some simply apple pies in ramekins.
 I'm terrible at crusts but my second oldest daughter is a natural. *whew*
 I just love our heirloom tomatoes. They make everything more interesting! Oh, and a pumpkin.
 So, I cut some of the bread into slices. This was maybe the fourth batch, and it was a learning experience, as in.... he forgot the salt. I had to laughed because I've done that! The bread looks SO GOOD, the house smells incredible and... yuck. But I hate to waste anything, so we decided to doctor it with some roasted garlic and tomatoes.
 I love these. I'm not sure what they're called but they're purple green stripey.
 So, cut lots of tomatoes and put them on a cookies sheet. Drizzle with oil and add some sea salt and pepper.
 Throw in some garlic, unpeeled.
 At this point my husband came in with some grapes. These are SO delicious, but they make me sad because we usually get about 150 lbs and this year, this was about half our crop. But we're still grateful for what we got and are looking forward to next year!
 About 20 minutes in a 400F oven. Poke the garlic to make sure it's soft.
 Peel and put in a bowl to mash.
 Mash it up a little. Taste to see if it needs more salt. Don't make a paste, just a chunky sort of roasted salsa.
 Mash the garlic.
 We also roasted some fish because I need PROTEIN. I cannot live on tomatoes and bread, as much as I'd love to.
 Oldest's plate: fish with roasted tomatoes, salad, and fresh tomatoes.
 Spread the garlic on the bread (lightly toasted after slicing).
 Doesn't look so pretty and the pics are fuzzy because I steamed the lens and then kept taking pictures. LOL
 MMMM. Bruschetta with roasted garlic and tomatoes.
I drizzled some of the olive oil and sea salt juice on the bread. It was nicely toasted so it held up under the assault of more juice. Then I added a few shreds of fresh basil.

That's all for now and I hope you're enjoying the change into Fall! It's COLD at night and I've had to bring out my little red writing blanket and wooly socks. Be sure to stop by my facebook pages:Mary Jane Hathaway or Virginia Carmichael where I talked about Jane Austen and all these historical. (Okay, and food. I like to talk about food.)

Until next time!