Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

I love pumpkin! Apparently, I am in good company because since September I have seen pumpkin EVERYTHING online. This makes me happy! As far as I am concerned, I could eat pumpkin goodies year round. My favorite pumpkin recipe is pumpkin bread. I’ll post this recipe in the coming week. Today, I will share my oatmeal recipe I made this morning. It’s a very generous serving, and would possibly serve two people.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

In a small pot boil 1 1/2 cups water and add a dash of salt. The salt helps the water boil. I don’t know how, I’m not scientific, but it really works and helps with flavor. Next, add to the boiling water, 3/4 cup old fashioned oats. I don’t recommend instant. Turn heat down to medium and allow to cook for 5 min.

This is where it gets good, y’all. Add 1/4 cup pumpkin purée. Stir well. This is where you can get creative and flavor to taste. Here’s what I used:
2 tbls butter
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 tsp raw sugar
An extra dash of cinnamon
An extra dash of nutmeg

Once all the yummy spices are mixed in you can sit back and enjoy!

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Caramel Chocolate Bars

This recipe is a compilation of several recipes I came across when I decided I needed to use the can of Dulce de Leche that was taunting me in my baking cabinet. I was reading The Pioneer Woman’s blog last week and she made these yummy bars. I immediately realized a can (or 5) of Dulce de Leche was going on my grocery list. I needed the perfect excuse to experiment. So, I turned to Pinterest. After carefully searching, I decided to add chocolate and this is the delicious result. There is oatmeal in the crust, so I say it’s completely appropriate to eat for breakfast. Hope you enjoy.

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Caramel Chocolate Bars

prep time: 15 min

cook time: 45 min

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup packed light brown sugar

dash of salt

1 cup butter, softened

1 can (13.4 oz) dulce de leche

3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet, but milk chocolate would be yummy)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350*.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. I don’t currently have a pastry blender, so I used two butter knives and cut in opposite directions. Save about 1/4 of the mixture, plus a handful, and press remaining crust into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 baking pan. Bake 10 minutes.

In a small saucepan, heat the dulce de leche over low heat for a few minutes, until caramel is soft. Be sure to stir frequently.

Spread the dulce de leche over crust. As it cools it will be harder to spread, so spread quickly. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel and press slightly with a spatula. Then, sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over the top.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow bars to cool 15 minutes. Make sure bars are cooked completely before cutting.

A Return to Blogging

It’s been awhile since my last blog post. Three years, actually. So much has happened since then. I fell in love, got married, and had a baby! I decided I wanted a place to share things I love, enjoy, and find interesting. I hope to share recipes, products I love, parenting/baby information, and hopefully some encouraging words. I hope you will drop by and enjoy what I have to share. Until next time, and I promise it won’t be years before I post again, here is one of my favorites from our recent (first ever) family photo session. Summer Harper of Summer Time Photography gets the photo cred. She was awesome to work with. We felt so comfortable and relaxed while she did her thing, and we got some great shots!

 

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Just for fun, here’s an extra of my sweet baby boy Asa.

 

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And one one from our wedding.

 

 

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Things I Love About Texas

Things I love about Texas

  • Bluebonnets
  • You can have snow and wear flip-flops in the same week
  • Best Mexican food this side of the Rio Grande
  • Steak!
  • People wave at you when you pass them on the highway
  • Guns
  • We will fry anything
  • You can wear jeans to work
  • Cowboy boots
  • Two Steppin’
  • Big ‘Ol Texas hair
  • Sweet Tea
  • People really do say “bless your heart’ and they mean it
  • Margaritas
  • The Alamo
  • Dr. Pepper
  • The Texas Rangers
  • The sunsets
  • Pecans
  • People say y’all

 

‘Tis The Season For Boots

Now that it’s winter time and all, I have been looking for a pair of boots. I have my super comfy black knit Uggs, but I want something more along the line of riding boots like I see in so many magazines and photos. A couple of weeks ago I was going out with family and I remembered the pair of vintage Frye boots I bought at a tiny vintage store when I was in college. I paid $25 for them 10 or so years ago! I have tiny feet and I am postive no one else could’ve ever gotten their foot into them. A week ago I saw a similar pair of Fryes marked for over $300!!! I am totally gaining a love for these old boots. I still want a pair that has a little more versitility, however. The problem I am finding is that I don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars, and the tall boots are almost too high. I’m only 5’2”, there are 6th graders taller than me! I am posting some pictures of boots I liked from Dillards.com. Let’s go shopping now!

Steve Madden

Peanut Butter Brownies

I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes. It is a go-to dessert. These brownies have never failed me, and they are always a crowd pleaser. Did I mention how easy they are to make?

Peanut Butter Brownies

Ingredients:

2 sticks of butter ( you can use margarine, but why would you use something that is 1 molecule away from plastic?)

1 3/4 cup sugar

4 whole eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup smooth peanut butter

Preparation Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter and stir in remaining ingredients. Spread mixture in a greased 9×13 in pan and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy.

 

The original recipe says to add 1/2 cup chocolate chips to hot brownies and spread. Let sit 5 minutes until chocolate has hardened. I usually leave this part out. They are yummy on their own. I suggest spreading Nutella on them before eating. Enjoy!

Pet Peeves

We all have them. You know that thing that other people do that drives you crazy, and most of the time you haven’t told anyone how irritating it is? Some of the things that annoy me aren’t even worth telling people because I will only expose my own quirks. Then there are those things that have created friendships with people all because those weird things annoy them too. 

Here are some things that annoy me the most.

 I was just browsing facebook recently when I saw it, not once but TWICE, from two different people that I happen to know are college graduates. When referring to a particular event with their significant other wrote, “Bob and I’s vacation/engagement.” (Names have been changed to protect all involved.) Warning, I’m about to go off…

 

When, in your educated life, did someone tell you that ‘I’ needed the apostrophe and s to indicate ownership? Pardon me, but I thought the ‘I’ implied it was yours. Let me not begin to elaborate on the fact that it isn’t even the correct use of I. It’s not always “Bob and I”. Sometimes it’s me. COME ON PEOPLE!!!!! The incorrect use of I and me really ticks me off. Also, the incorrect usage of your and you’re. Didn’t that episode of friends when Ross goes off on Rachel help anyone remember the correct way to write it? Let me just say, I know I am not a perfect writer. I make typos all the time. You know this, you read my blog! I’m just saying that people should want to say it right.

A few other things…

 People being too cheery in the morning. I’m still half asleep, leave me alone.

People texting in the movie theater. I can see the glow of your phone!

People letting their kids jump all over me. It’s bad manners. I’m not a jungle gym.

People letting their dogs jump on me. And sniff my butt. Again, bad manners. Lock them up.

Traffic jams. Don’t people know I have somewhere to be?

People trying to sell me stuff I don’t want. If I wanted it, I’d go buy it.

 

I could go on. What are your pet peeves? This could get interesting so please leave a comment!

I Bake Therefore I Run

This week and next I am filling in for my dad’s secretary. I don’t really know what I am doing, but I can answer phones, take messages, and scroll through Pinterest.

Side note: If Pinterest is not currently on your bookmarks, it needs to be. Highly addicting! Basically it’s a collection of all kinds of things people are looking at online. You categorize and file them into folders to read, research, or print on your own time. GENIUS!!!

You know those days when you begin to think about dinner and it is only 10am? Oh, is that just me? Well, today I was drawn like a moth to a flame to all the amazing food pins. Pretty soon all I could think about was chocolate, cake balls, and brownies. Today was one of those days I wished I could have just stayed in the kitchen with an endless supply of coco and flour and baked until my heart’s content. Since I was sitting at a computer I printed off all the deliciousness to bake in my free time. The problem with me baking? Me eating.

 While prepping for my totally awesome 30th birthday vacation with Aly I made a decision to get healthy for my 30s. I mean, it’s only getting harder. So, Aly and I faithfully jogged, did a little yoga, and planked our bodies into submission. I was never a runner. EVER. As a matter of fact, I hated running in school. Still do, actually. The thing is running is free. I have also been able to push my body to limits I didn’t think were possible, at least for me. The rewards are totally worth it.

The reason this ramble session has gone from baking to running? If I am going to bake and eat all sorts of goodies, I have to run those brownies off. I bake therefore I run.

I’m Back

Did you miss me? I have been back in Texas for just over a month now. The first week was a bit of a blur, but life is beginning to feel normal again.
I apologize for the absence of posts, but I haven’t felt I had much to write about. Of course, I am never at a loss for words!
I have been giving some thought as to what I would write about from here. I have decided I will just write about life. I love seeing the humor in the things we all experience. I may throw my opinion in here often. Take nothing personal, and very little seriously. Thank you for sticking through the last boring month!

A New Chapter

The big news…

Last week I made a personal choice to leave Mattaw. This was my choice, 100%. The new administration is implementing a new policy requiring full-time volunteers to remain in country for 1 whole year. I couldn’t do it. Anyone who knows me for longer than a day knows that my family is very important to me. I couldn’t take a year being away from my ever-growing nieces and nephew. Must I also mention the amazing cousins I have that are some of my best friends? Cousins can be just like brothers and sisters that you don’t live with. I’m sure my grandparents are reading this and doing cartwheels in there living room. Ok, maybe not cartwheels.

A HUGE piece of my heart is staying in Kenya, and I plan to come back for it quickly. Over the next few months I will be praying about the next step. I have been blessed so much by this experience and made so many memories. I know God has a door He is waiting to swing wide open for me to walk through.

Mattaw, thank you. Huffmans, thank you. Aly, you know. Lima girls, you ROCK!!!

I want to close this post with this endorsement. Mattaw needs sponsorships. Currently they are going for 75 in 75. By Thanksgiving they would like 75 new sponsors. Please consider giving $35/month to help these kids grow! You can sign up online at mattawchildren.com.