Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Spice Bars

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip 
Spice Bars
*****

I think the name of this recipe says it all!
Yum!!


Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 package {12 oz.} semi-sweet chocolate chips

Makes: 24 bars

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil.
You want it to overlap on all sides.


In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pie spice, baking soda, and salt.


Set aside and get ready for the good stuff:).


With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until sweet and smooth. 
Add egg and vanilla until combined.
I ran out of pure vanilla, but imitation works just fine!


Now, add the pumpkin puree.
The mixture should appear curdled...so don't worry!


Slowly add in the dry ingredients...who have been waiting patiently to join the party:).
Mix until just combined.


Fold in the chocolate chips...my favorite!
Spread the batter evenly into your prepared dish.
Bake until edges begin to pull away from the sides or a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs attached. 
This should take 35-40 minutes.

Make sure to let the cake cool completely.
Next, just lift it out of the pan, remove foil and cut into 24 perfect squares. 


Enjoy a scrumptious Fall treat!

Original recipe from Martha.
If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, you can make it!
Just mix together:
 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
 3/4 tsp. ginger
 1/2 tsp.nutmeg
 1/2 tsp ground all spice
  1/2 tsp. ground cloves

~Julia

Sharing this delicious recipe here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Freezing Corn on the Cob

We LOVE corn on the cob around here!
My garden has produced its fair amount this year, but we ended up picking 60 more ears to freeze. 
Freezing corn is fast, simple, and a real treat in the winter.


So, here are the easy steps to putting up freezer corn.

1. Get your happy helpers to shuck for you:). 
Many hands make light work!

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil.

3. Have your gallon size freezer bags ready and a towel to let the corn cool and drain for a few minutes.



5. I usually snap some of the corn into halves.
 We have little hands that like that size better.





6. Now, start blanching.
Blanch ears 1 1/2 inches in diameter for 6 minutes, 2 inches in diameter for 8 minutes. Larger ears should be blanched for 10 minutes.



7. Take them out and immediately put corn on in cool water {fill your sink} for at least 6-10 minutes. 


Take them out and let them dry on a clean dish towel.




8. Next, you could individually wrap each ear in a vapor proof film, like saran wrap, before putting them in gallon freezer bags.  
{I actually skip this process, and have found the corn to be just as delicious.}
9. Place ears in freezer bags. Make sure to squeeze ALL of the air out!

10. Freeze. 


To serve, simply dethaw and boil until tender...about 5 minutes. 


Enjoy the wonderful taste of sweet summer throughout the long winter months!


~Julia


I am linked HERE:).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Autumn Decorating...My Grandmother's Hutch

My Dutch Grandmother was sweet enough to leave me this hutch when she passed away. 
She knew how much I loved it.
It is fun to have it in my kitchen and remember her often.

Jen Rizzo is having a Fall hutch party.
How fun is that?


So,here are a few pictures of my kitchen hutch.


I collect white dinner pieces.
All of my dishes are mismatched ironstone.
If one chips or breaks, I just replace it with a tag sale find.
The soup tureen was a great purchase this summer.


I grew wheat in the garden this year...it just says "Fall!"


The jars were my Great Grandma Hazel's.







Pop on over to Jennifer Rizzo's hutch party for some wonderful ideas!!

Have a great weekend!
~Julia











Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our Master Bedroom

With the cooler weather coming, I have to admit, I am in the mood to feather, freshen, and make things a little more cozy in our home.
I look forward to the Autumn season each year!

I love to decorate on a shoestring budget.
It forces you to be creative with what you have.
Most things in our home are yard sale finds, hand me downs...or handmade! 

Here are some pictures of our master bedroom...






The colors are a warm, yet neutral.
I think I would describe my style as simplistic with a "prairie meets the cottage" twist.



 I bought the linen pillow from Mary Jane's Farm Fair in the Palouse area of Washington.
 How I LOVE her magazines, books, and website! 
I have even had the privilege of meeting her in person. 
Morning is our favorite time of the day, so the pillow is perfect on our bed.


My Aunt Barbara gave me the fabric for the pillow cases, and the red and white flower pattern is from Joann Fabrics.



The white quilt is from Goodwill.
I think I paid $12!
The drapes are made from drop cloths.
So cheap and yards of fabric for a fraction of the cost.

At the foot of the bed is one of my real treasures.
Darren's Grandmother crocheted this beautiful coverlet for his parents when they married.


It must have taken her months and months.
Her workmanship is absolutely amazing.
I feel so lucky to have possession of this heirloom.



I made the bed with my Dad before going away to college.
I have such fond memories of building it.


I like that it is slightly imperfect, a little rough, but beautiful at the same time.

At the foot of the bed, is a little extra seating.
I made this barn wood bench and painted it a distressed white.



We use it at the kitchen table to expand seating when we have guests.


The side tables are barn wood, too.
They are not exactly what I would dream of having, but suit the job just fine, and were simple to make. I continued with a distressed white finish. 




They are perfect for the $5 swinging lamps I found at a yard sale this year that make reading so easy in bed:). 
I also display a lot of family pictures on the bedside tables. I like to wake up and see the faces of those I love.


I even arrange them above our bed.



I hope you have enjoyed the little tour:).


Have a blessed day!


~Julia

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Summer's End & The County Fair

What a whirlwind of fun we had this past week!
Will and Tim were thrilled to be a part of the Fair and showed pigs for the first time.
They both did so well...blue ribbons and smiles all the way.
They also pitched in to help the 4-H club and worked hard to present the club well.
We were so proud:).
Here are just a few pictures from our week living at the fairgrounds...


We rode the mechanical bull. 
My sweet girl didn't give it a second thought.
I just love the expression on the little boy's face in the background:).



The boys were chomping at the bit to ride...of course...




...trying to out do the guys who went before them.
It was all in good fun:).


Jack just loved the goats. 
They were his favorite and he was VERY concerned that they might miss him.
So he wouldn't leave. 
I think he spent 10 minutes with this lucky guy...who fell asleep.




The boys showed their piggies so well!
It is a little harder than it looks.
Pigs are fast and curious. You have to keep them occupied and moving in a ring with 7 other pigs...who have the same thing {mischief} on their minds.


Doris was the speeder.
She broke all the rules and ran a few laps in her classes!




Here she is giving Auntie Angie a little kiss:).


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The experience was such a wonderful memory for everyone. 
4-H is a genuinely fantastic organization for kids.
We were all a bit relieved to not have to get up at 4:30am any longer, but sad to see Fair end. 
It is a monumental time of the year for us. 
The Fair symbolizes the last few wistful days of Summer coming to an end.
Goodness, even the warm weather has disappeared and in its place are blustery cool temperatures. 
Time to break out the hats and gloves:).


The memories of this Summer are lasting...
Isn't that what it is all about? 
Taking the time to etch fondness between family and friends in our hearts. 
That has been my theme this year.
Instead of thinking of the "big picture" each day and everything that I have to get done...I pause.
I try to hug a little more often...include them in what I am doing...laugh...play. 
I read about a study done to find out how many times a child needed hugs each day. It was discovered that they need at least 12. If they receive that many, they are more confident and have better self-esteem.
Amazing...isn't it?


I will leave you with a couple of my favorite Summer pictures of my sweet hubby and kids fishing as the sun was going down. 
A perfect end to a hot Summer day.






Have a great day!


~Julia

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Won!

I Won!

A few weeks ago, I entered a giveaway at The Nest for a $50 gift certificate to spend at CSN Stores. Wow, was I excited when I learned that I was the winner!! Sam is a sweet, sweet girl who has one of the most lovely blogs EVER! Have you visited her before? If not, you should. Her home is simply dreamy. It is a mix of farmhouse meets British cottage. Just look at some of the inspiration that awaits you...





She also has one of the most delicious Etsy shops! Her items are absolutely stunning, unique, and I think I want one of each, please.

French ticking stripe blue and white rosette lumbar pillow


Custom personalized fake grain sack monogramme pillow cushion

Linen ruffle lumbar pillow

Burlap French France pillow Avenue des Champs Elysees

She is a girl after my own heart...there are already Christmas decorations in her shop:).Aren't they precious?

NOEL Christmas burlap banner bunting

Burlap French Scandinavian style rustic Joyeux Noel Christmas stocking

So, on to what I chose form CSN Stores! You know I am fond of quality and I just love Le Creuset. I have never been able to actually buy a piece before, and I thought this was the chance to do so! Their line of enamel wear is durable, classic, and very useful! Here is the one I chose...not a penny out of my pocket...thanks to Sam and CSN Stores!

Le Creuset 6-Quart Stock Pot in Dune - N4100-2068

A 6 qt. stock pot will be perfect for Fall soups and stews. It will definitely come in handy for canning:)! I chose the color "dune" because most of my dinnerware and serving platters are white. 

Thank you so much Sam!
I am very excited to use my new stock pot:)!!

Have a wonderful day!

~Julia
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