Tuesday, October 26, 2010

♥ Tea on Tuesday: Pumpkin Pound Cake ♥

* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* 3/4 cup shortening
* 2 eggs
* 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 15-ounce can pumpkin
* 1 cup raisins
* 1 cup chopped pecans or other nuts
* 1 cup chopped maraschino cherries
* Orange juice (optional)
* Coarse sugar (optional)
* Maraschino cherries (optional)

1. In a large mixing bowl beat granulated sugar, brown sugar, shortening, and eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Add flour mixture and pumpkin alternately to shortening mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until combined. Stir in raisins, nuts, and cherries.

2. Turn batter into a greased and floured 10-inch fluted tube pan. Bake in a 350 degree F oven about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Brush with orange juice and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired. Garnish with maraschino cherries, if desired.

Makes 14 to 16 servings.

Make-Ahead Tip: Refrigerate cake, covered, up to 3 days. Or freeze, wrapped in foil, up to 2 months.

~~yummy recipe and photo from: bhg.com~~

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mindful Beauty

Five days a week, I travel from home to my job which is about a 35 minute drive. I would love to be a full-time "crafter", but it seems that's not the case at this moment. But I love to think in the future it could happen. :) It's a rather mundane type of job, directory assistance for a large university. Certainly not the job I planned when I was taking all those programming classes. But I fell into it in-between jobs about 13 years ago and here I am still today. I humorously think it must have been the state benefits that has kept me here after 13 years. I have been able to continue my education a class or two at a time and over the course of the past few years I have been training for Deaf Interpretation. The irony comes in as I found out a few years ago, during my 2nd year of classes, I am losing my hearing in my right ear, but that's another story for another day. :)

This morning as I began another 35 minute drive, as usual I began to wonder about the work day. Some of my calls would amuse you I'm sure. But today I didn't have much on my mind except trying not to think about our house situation. I still own my grandmother's home and we're looking into possibly selling it. After having a Realtor come out and appraise it, I was happy with the number if we were in a good market. But we're not...and that means at this point in our economy, I would lose about 20% of the value. Quite a chunk. So I pushed that far back into my mind since after all I am still not quite at the point where I'm ready to let it go anyhow. And we're living in our own home for now so there isn't really a great rush.

My grandmother was originally from Ireland and moved here to this country when she married my grandfather and endured the slurs of "war bride" from neighbors and family alike. My mother and I called her "mama", pronounced "momma" which is how I always spelled it anyhow. The older I get the more I think I am more like momma than I like to admit. ;)

I learned some valuable life's lessons from her after my parents died and I was a young adult. It's not a fair thing for a mother to outlive her children. We spent even more time together after my parents died. She was always full of tidbits of wisdom and I will always remember that she continued to decorate the house for Christmas the same as ever every year even though there was just the two of us after my divorce. She always said to do it for yourself, even if for no one else. She always believed I would remarry, though I certainly didn't! I think she laughed at me from heaven on my wedding day to Jeff.
She loved the outdoors and always saw the beauty in everything. That's what I was thinking of this morning before I began to ramble on. ;) She called it being "mindful". And so today, on that 35 minute drive through rural country to my "city job", I looked out over the mountains and saw the beauty of the leaves of autumn. Almost perfect as though they had been painted by an artist using such a grand palette of colors!

I wonder how often we just go on, doing our own things, and never really enjoy life. We just seem to exist from payday to payday. Maybe it's different if you have children, but I think we're all guilty of "rushing life". We all say, "one day when ______, then I will ______". What about now? I noticed someone posted on facebook today, "If you knew you could do anything without fail, what would you do?" I think the author was asking us why we don't even try, after all, you don't know if you will fail or succeed! Why not take the chance?

Hope you have a blessed and productive week!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I couldn't resist this cute photo! Yes, today is our 4th anniversary. We are in Gatlinburg TN this week. We were actually married in Pigeon Forge. Sometimes I can't believe it's only been 4 years and other times I think "where did the time go?" LOL. Either way, I wouldn't change a thing (well, only a few stressing times maybe!) Happy Anniversary to my best friend! :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

♥ Welcome Fall! ♥

I am so very happy that it is finally October...my favorite month! Not only because it's my anniversary month, although that's makes the icing on the cake, but I love the cooler weather and the changing colors. We are already having Autumn Rain...which is my favorite of course. With the cooler nights and all the rain, we are already seeing the colors of the leaves changing early. I love the smell of autumn and the change in cooking habits too. I am already wanting more warm soups and more "comfort foods". I always think of cinnamon scents in the fall & warm candlelight. Of course, being a crafty kind of person, I find I'm more into crafting too. During the summer, we stay so busy but autumn makes me think of more craft shows and Christmas projects.

Next week, we will be in Gatlinburg TN for our anniversary and their Fall Craftsmen's Fair happens to be during this time too. Yay! I am always inspired by all the artisans and come home ready to jump into making more goodies! What inspires you most about the fall?

Have a blessed weekend!