Friday, May 18, 2012

I just made these  yesterday, and they are ALL GONE by TODAY.. seriously, these banana muffins just seemed to hit the sweet spot here at my house.. Hope you enjoy if you decide to make them!

Jumbo Caramel Banana Muffins ( Taste of Home Feb/Mar 2006)

1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

FROSTING

2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

PREHEAT oven to 350F
LINE 6 jumbo muffin cups with liners ( I used regular tins , Spray WELL )
In small bowl, cream shortening and sugar on HIGH speed for 2- 3 minutes
ADD egg and beat thoroughly
ADD mashed banana and vanilla blending just until combined

IN SMALL BOWL, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt
add dry ingredients to wet mixing only until combined
DIVIDE BATTER evenly between muffin cups
BAKE for 23-28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. I needed the full 28 minutes
LET COOL in pan 5 minutes then transfer muffins to cooling rack

  Easy Caramel Frosting:

IN SMALL SAUCEPAN, melt butter over MED heat
WHISK in sugar and milk
CONTINUE whisking until mixture starts to take on a light brown color and comes to a rolling boil
REMOVE from heat and rapidly whisk in powdered sugar. Keep whisking until all lumps are removed
LET cool slightly
DIP MUFFIN tops into glaze or drizzle over muffins (use a spoon or a ziploc bag with the corner cut off)
enjoy! I am.. :)

Discounted fabric, worth it's weight in Gold..

Ok, so it's been a LONG time since I have come, and posted here. Life, well gets in the way.. some days, are nights, and some nights, turn into days. And some ways, I don't know which is which.. I wanted to share my friend, Diane M Jordan's quilting/ fabric website with those of you who sew, or who know quilting friends who might be interested in checking it out. Diane has some awesome fabric, and sales every week, found at www.djsdiscountfabrics.com, and as she was part of a group of quilting friends all over the country, I was blessed to be able to find out the awesome part of Diane's heart as a quilter as they all graciously sent a box , or two! of fabrics, batting and such to help in the baby donation charity work I do here in my small town.
Diane was part of this group of gals, who have so inspired me to keep learning about what it means to be a quilter , and I am so glad I can find a way to steer others who sew, towards Diane's website above.. The reason I am wanting to bless Diane with this note, is because of a testimonial of sorts at the quality of the fabric she sells. Its name brands, that anyone in the " know , and sew" of quilting would totally recognize. The quality of the fabric, whether its the yardage Diane sells, or the scrap bundles ( which I LOVE LOVE LOVE ) , is high end , and I have made many a scrap quilt already with the orders I have purchased the last few months. I just love sewing with quality materials such as what Diane sells on her website..

Truth is, I was so impressed by the quality, and speed of mailing Diane does all on her own, I made an additional order even though it was not in my budget that month. But I just " had to have it " , as we all know about quilters , and their fabric stashes.. Never mind , that mine is pretty much on empty right now though.. But I ended up buying, and blessing babies from Diane's fabric scrap bundles and that just tickled my fancy.. besides, they were cheaper than some I looked at on other websites, or Ebay .

 But I sensed a little discouragement from Diane today in our emails.. She is such an inspiration to me, and I want to just see what I can do to maybe move people her direction , ya know? Shes got the great weekly Wed. deals that I am always looking forward too, but more than that, she's got a heart to sell at affordable, and discounted prices for those of us who need to feed our addiction.

But shes also got a heart to bless those of us who can't go out and pay quilt store costs for the things that it takes to create beautiful quilts as we do. I know I can't, and this is why I keep Diane's website on my favorites page so I know where to go when I can purchase things I like, or need again.
One thing I do know is this.. from what I have bought from Diane's online store, there are babies here in my community that have quilts that were made by me, using much of Diane's scrap bundles which I have purchased, as well as patterns I have purchased from her website. I love to know that somewhere in some crib, or bassinet, or stroller are quilts that I have been able to make, and donate to the pregnancy center here, and knowing that fabric all the way from Mississippi, are part of those special heart felt treasures I have been blessed to create for babies, adopted or by birth. Please check out Diane's website, www.djsdiscountfabrics.com if you find yourself wanting to add to your stash, or to feed your addiction like I have done ..:)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Dawn Comes Early

Dawn Comes Early is a Brides of Last Chance Novel written by Margaret Brownley.
The story line involves Kate Tenney, the main character of the book who heads to the Arizona Territory from Boston, specifically, a large cattle ranch , after being dropped by her publisher for a banned novel that was just a tad bit "naughty".

That experience had left her disgraced in the eyes of those that she worked with, as well as a line of failed romances, for which she has decided she would never , ever be married.
Answering the ad to be “heiress” to a cattle ranch in the Arizona Territory, Kate hopes ranching turns out to be just as she wrote in her latest novel which brought her to the place where she meets, Luke Adams, whose presence stirs within Kate, feelings that she had tried to not feel - baring in mind, failed romances which she had tried to steer away from again.

Kate drew me in, as her spirit and determination to learn how to be a rancher was both bringing to light of what a spit fire she was in the story line, but also how she reminded me of myself in many ways , trying to accomplish new things that I didn't know I could do. Kate didn't give up learning about the running of a ranch, which she had no idea what it would entail, and when things seemed insurmountable, she dug her boots in, and continued on with reaching the goal, with surprises along the way - new feelings unleashed for Luke, and new dreams that seemed to break free from within her heart.
In my reviewing for Booksneeze, I have found some of the books, fact, or fiction to be either a little lightweight on the " Christian" themes , while others are so blatant " in your face, Bible thumping " that all I wanted to do is not finish reading.

Yet , "Dawn Comes Early " really wasn’t like either of those scenarios. Yes, there is religion there in the story line, but it is refreshing, and to me, thought provoking as I saw Kate in my own eyes, and could see a little of how she was changing, just from the experiences she was dealing with on the ranch.

I found this book to be quite enjoyable, at times bursting a bubble of laughter out of me,javascript:void(0) just thru her stubbornness, and the comments from one of the other characters whose " countrified terminology" really hits home, given that I live in the mountains where being a red neck doesn't mean being sunburned..

Would I recommend this book to other readers? Most certainly.. Laughter, excitement, romance, and thoughts about Jesus all wrapped up between two covers that catches the eye with soft, yet subtle colors of a ranch in the background .
I reviewed this book, for Booksneeze, for my honest reviews..

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Daily Gifts of Grace

As part of the Booksneeze program, to receive, and read books free, sometimes the hard part comes in writing an honest review of those books. Sometimes the stories, whether fiction, or not seem convoluted, scattered, and sometimes, just plain boring. I've read a few that fall into all those categories..
This book review , "Daily Gifts of Grace " ,

was a book that , though pretty, and gift oriented, fell VERY flat on the scale of a devotional book, as it is labeled.
I was saddened by some of the well meaning journal entries from many of the " Women of Faith" speakers, that the womens movement right now hear from. Some of these women, whose names are synomous with faith, seemed to have words that were so " of this world" , so " fluffy and happy " , that I could not wait to put the book aside, not to open it again. Faith is not about the happy go lucky world that some of these women seemed to talk about. Life sucks, as my friend says, Sucks eggs,. Even our faith, as God calls us to live, is not about feeling good, or having nice and pleasant experiences - yet, many of these daily entries for the year 2012 seemed to lead the reader into that feel good movement - and that is so deceptive, and so very disheartening.

"Daily Gifts of Grace", a book I received to review, and keep, was a book I have mixed emotion about, as I have read only half the book. Various Christian woman, such as Sandi Patty, Lisa Whelchel, Joni Eaarekson Tada, and Sheila Walsh among others, were good to share thoughts on matters that attempted to bring thought to a daily time of reflection as life presented itself thru their eyes.

Granted, some of these woman, from the often talked about " Women of Faith" movement, seem much more focused on what Faith is to their lives, while others seemed in this devotional book, more focused on the feel good, be happy movement that , truth be said, was pretty obvious in some of the daily writing.
The book starts with a scripture, but then the very short, and often times , very simplistic, and very worldly thoughts from some of the women, did not capture my interest , or my need to continue to read daily devotions from this " pretty" designed hardback book.

Yes, as a feel good book for a gift to a friend who is not into " religion", this would possibly fit that bill, as it is nothing more, in my opinion, than words shared on paper , where as other devotional books I have read, really provide the " meat and potato" meal that biblical thoughts, and experiences influenced from true believers have shared. This book falls short from that very " meal "..

Just going on what my spirit sensed as I read, there does not seem to be any active faith demonstrated in some of these woman's lives as they penned their thoughts, and experiences. Though there are a few very touching, and real scenarios that do bring up faith, and how God has moved in the lives of those writing as if Christ was directing their hand, most felt " put on " for the sake of a good read, and not words to uplift, or encourage others in their faith journey. I did not find myself even remotely interested in seeking God daily as I read about a quarter of the submitted daily thoughts.


As I have thought, would I buy this book, though colorful, and eye catching, knowing that many of the thoughts were to worldly, seemingly without a real commitment other than by word only, I can't say I would even think about purchasing it for myself, and probably not even as a gift.

Devotionals to me are what makes me get up in the morning, or go to bed at night, with thought in mind of how my faith can become stronger, and more meaningful to others whom I know. This is not that kind of book, sadly.. I closed the cover, and honestly, haven't had the desire to continue to read each daily offering for the 2012 new year..
I am not obligated to write a positive review of this book, or any others from the Booksneeze / Thomas Nelson reader program.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Snicker..doodles..from the kitchen

Having been asked for this recipe for Snickerdoodle CAKE, I am sharing the recipe here for all who love the sweet, cinnamony cookie taste! Enjoy!

Snickerdoodle Cake with Brown Sugar Cinnamon Buttercream

Ingredients

For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
1 3/4 cups fine or superfine sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole milk, warmed to room temperature

For the Buttercream:
4 1/2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8-9 cups confectioner's (powdered) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup of half and half, plus more if needed

To Bake the Cake:

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Butter and flour two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale in colour.

Beat the eggs in one at a time, fully incorporating each egg and scraping down the bowl between each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

Add about 1/3 of the milk, beat to incorporate, then 1/3 of the flour, again beating to incorporate.

Repeat this process, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until all of the milk and flour are added and mixed in evenly.

Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake, rotating midway through, for about 35 minutes or until the cake tests done.

Let the cakes cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes before turning out onto the racks to finish cooling.

To Make the Buttercream:


Beat together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until fluffy and pale in colour.

Add 6 cups of the confectioner's sugar and the vanilla extract and beat, starting on low and moving up to high, until it is fully incorporated.

Scrape down the bowl and add the half and half. Beat to incorporate again.

Add another 2 cups of the confectioner's sugar and beat, starting on low and moving up to high, until fully incorporated. Check the consistency of the buttercream. If it needs to be thicker, add the remaining confectioner's sugar. If it is too thick, add more half and half a teaspoon at a time, beating after each addition, until it reaches the consistency you like.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Quilting Ranny is running again!

I have a great giveaway blogsite that a friend in Washington state is doing for the holidays.. If you go to http://quiltingranny.blogspot.com , you will see Jean's amazing holiday giveaway prizes.. I know from past experience, as a randomly drawn winner, the prize I won ( AMAZING FABRICS ) blessed me like none other. This holiday giveaway Jean's got even more goodies, and I know you'd be blessed to win one of them as well if you hurry over to her blog.. So do a hop, skip, and jump to Jean's site,

http://quiltingranny.blogspot.com to leave "Quilting Ranny" a comment, become a follower on her blog, twitter or facebook , and get your name put in a drawing for 4 amazing prizes, and because shes such a special lady, a few more prizes at her whim..

Be sure to tell her I sent you, to, if you will, and want.. Shes my friend :-)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Covering..

One of the central characters in the book, " The Covering" by author, Dana Pratola,
"Gunnar " comes across as a manly man, who takes on his personal problems with the help of Tessa, who I found a very down to earth, sincere and realistic personality in this very well written book.

The characters were easy to relate to, as was the situation from which the story is derived. The writing style, as I began reading was spell binding, more so in this book than many I have read recently. I found it easy to want to hurry up and read the next page, the next chapter, as each of the characters tugged at my heart, for their pain or for their strength.
In my experience, reading,it was hard to put down as I began to be drawn into the story line, as It shared the love, mercy and character of Jesus Christ without being too " in your face" or " preachy/churchy".

In the story, Gunnar and Tessa reach out to a pastor (Bob), for help much like ones I have known myself. Gunnar's hard life, his tatto's, and biker mentality that many in society might shy from ,seeks out answers to his troubled past - all because of Tessa, who for some reason is not afraid of he, or his past.. She devotes herself to having his back, as the saying goes, and she walks with Gunnar to the most important place that is availaible- to God. Gunnars heart, as Tessa seems to see it, is beautiful, gentle, and she embraces Gunnar, just as he is, much like the Lord embraces us - just as we are.

This book is a keeper.. its also a book I HIGHLY recommend to be passed onto others in life that could benefit from both a good read, and a powerful read - but more importantly, a book that will tug at your heart strings, without it being sappy.. Its a book of complete gentleness, and compassion, while encouraging one to see others outside the box, rather than whats on the outer skin - thus tattoo's, earrings, ect..
Looking forward to reading more of Dana Pratola's writing - very , very good at her craft!