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Archive for September, 2011

It’s Pumpkin Time!

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I have been waiting for this time. I live for the smells and tastes of fall and winter.
Although, I never realized that it is so hard to find pumpkin in September. Apparently Libby’s canned pumpkin only cans pumpkin about 3 weeks out of the year and I’m about a week too early.
So, I went to organic pumpkin instead. After finding a substitute Libby’s canned pumpkin, I got to work. I made pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Yum…they are amazing.
Check them out…

Don’t worry! Recipe to follow…be on the look out!

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Homemade Pretzels

Are you looking for something fun and easy to make at home?
I’m not saying that you have to have kids or be around kids a lot for this recipe, however it is kid friendly and I have made pretzel shapes with the children that I nanny for twice now. They love it because they are cooking and making something and it just so happens that it is OKAY for them to get dirty in this one.

All you need is…
1 1/3 cup All purpose flour
1 tap. Honey
1 packet Dry yeast
1 tap. Salt
1 cup Warm water

That’s it!
First preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Can’t forget that!
All you have to do is out the yeast and honey in the warm water and let it sit while you do everything else.
Start with the flour add the salt then the yeast mixture. Stir everything in and at this time it will be dry.
Now is the time you (and the kids-if there are any) to get dirty so take your rings and watches off ladies and gentlemen and start kneading that dough!
Mash everything together. I always get it mixed up well and if it is still sticky I add some more flour. Then the kids can have at it!

Or you…whichever!
Use a lightly sprayed pan and put those beautiful home creations on there, pop them into the oven for 10-12 minutes…or until golden brown.

This is what they look like before baking…


Serve with honey or jam or my personal favorite, apple butter.
YUM!

I have to say…I didn’t come up with this recipe, a friend of mine gave it to me. She works at a Y and runs the teaching kitchen. SO fun!

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As I sit at the park watching a two year old play I realize I need to do a lot of things. I carry a little notebook in my purse that I am always using to jot down thoughts, lists, feelings, etc. Though, here lately, I feel like it is a constant thing in my life…there is always something to do. Here you might hear of some things from me that you haven’t heard before, so consider yourself forewarned.
Here goes…
1. Sign up for the GRE
2. Begin app for Grad school
3. Fill in my spreadsheets for nannying
4. Catch y’all up on what has been going on in my life for the past couple of weeks
5. Wash and wax my car
6. Vacuum my car
7. Hang the pictures in my room

8. Begin an exercise regimen
….
I’m sure there is more that I need to do and I will add accordingly. Don’t worry about that!
Until then…

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Birthday Girl

My oh my…how time flies. I can’t believe that the beautiful baby who was born on 09/22/2008 turned three today. Wow. My heart is kind of breaking. This child, my niece, is beautiful now and has always been. She is like a little adult. She speaks so clearly and with such a vast vocabulary.

She started out as this petite little thing that fit into the crook of my arm.

Then, she grew into a ball of personality almost immediately. She never disappointed when it came to making me smile and laugh and did everything she could to get attention.

And now…now, she is a little adult. Beautiful little adult and time has flown by so quickly!

Take a look at the birthday girl now…

Happy 3rd Birthday beautiful girl!

I love you!

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Funfetti Cupcakes

My nieces birthday is coming up this weekend and to help my sister narrow down her choices in cupcake recipes, I offered to test one out and give her my opinion. Of course I’m not going to turn down an opportunity to bake cupcakes!

So, my sister wants to make funfetti cupcakes with buttercream frosting. Of course these cupcakes must be from scratch because they are so much better when they are baked well from scratch.

This particular recipe calls for lots of ingredients, but it turns out quite nicely and tastes like a sugar cookie in cake form. My favorite ingredient in this recipe is the sprinkles. I used Marble Mix-ins, you know the ones that you put on top of your ice cream as a kid, even now…yeah, those!

I ate these plain as I baked this cake because I love them so much!

You fold the sprinkles in at the very end of making the batter and you can do this with any vanilla cake recipe. They turned out super cute, but for some reason I don’t have a photo of the finished product. 😦 I know, I know…it’s a sad day.

 

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Yiasou Greek Festival

Over the weekend, Amanda and I went to the Yiasou Greek Festival in Dilworth. We went mainly to eat traditional Greek food, and Greek food is what we got!

First of all, this festival is an annual festival that happens in September over the course of a weekend. It is a cheep entry, $2.00 to be exact and the food is amazing and the entertainment is offered by the Greek Orthodox Church in Dilworth. Entertainment includes music and dancing performed by the children of the church.

Anyway, now I can share my favorite food with you…you know that is my favorite part!

Spanikopita.

It is a creamy spinach, feta, pastry crust covered mound of deliciousness. When I eat this stuff, I die and go right to heaven. It is absolutely amazing and I would have this every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

YUMMY!!

In addition to Spanikopita, we had a Baklava sundae which was amazing, but I regret to inform you that in my haste to eat my sweet treat, I did not get a photograph of it.

I know, sad….I guess I’ll just have to go back next year and redeem myself!

Anyway, a Baklava Sundae is vanilla ice cream topped with chopped Baklava. Now, for those of you who don’t know what Baklava is, it is a layer filo pastry dessert that is filled with chopped nuts and sweet syrup or honey.

You want to talk about something bad for the waistline, but melt in your mouth delicious? Well, you have now found it, but of course it is worth every extra sit-up that is involved!

During the festival, there were men dressed up as Grecian soldiers putting on a parade. Check them out…

How cute is he?

Following behind the “security” there was a parade flying the Greek and American Flags.

 

Everyone stopped and watched as our flag passed and really it was quite touching because we went to this festival the day before 9/11. It was slightly chilling.

It was quite a popular event. We, without a doubt, had plenty of people watching to do while we sat and ate our treats.

It was tons of fun and I know that we will be going back next year.

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10 years today…

As I sit in Panera Bread, I am reading “The Charlotte Observer” where the front page holds a picture of the three firemen raising the American flag at Ground Zero. It brings a tear to my eye that has fallen down my cheek.

Ten years ago today.

It is amazing to me that so much time has passed. Though, that is what happens…time passes, but that day in the past will not soon be forgotten. I remember exactly what I was doing and where I was. The panic and worry that was plastered on my 8th grade English teacher’s face. We were writing a short story. Something upbeat and fictional which we were being allowed to have full creativity with when our Social Studies teacher burst into our room and whispered something into Mrs. McDowell’s ear. Shortly thereafter, we were all crammed into a classroom with all the other 8th grade students watching what we thought to be a movie.

We were sorely mistaken.

As we watched tears came to our eyes and we all began to worry about our safety. Family members and friends were on our minds and we wondered what was going to happen next. Throughout that day we discussed what happened in the great city of New York. How our lives would be affected and the importance of being aware of the world around us.

To this day, I still struggle to understand the complexity of what happened on that dreadful day as well as why it happened. Why is it that people have to be so mean?

So many innocent lives were lost on this day and it is a day that will be remembered forever. It’s name, 9/11, will never allow us to forget the date of this tragedy.

However, what we do forget is that on this day of nationwide tragedy, there are families who are torn between happiness and sorrow. An example that I was reminded of is a family who welcomed a new baby into this world. According to “The Charlotte Observer,” there were approximately 10,000 families that welcomed a baby on that day, approximately 30 of which are living in Mecklenburg County. Many of these families believe that there is a reason that their child was brought into this world on this particular day. Some believe that their child unconsciously knows that their birthdate is special in its own way. Still others wanted to save their children from a lifetime of remembrance, begging their doctor to postpone the infant’s delivery until after midnight.

You know what I think? I think that these children are a glimmer of hope. Hope of tomorrow, a future which can be changed for the better. Hope of compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance of others around us. Even though this day in history is a tragic one, there were pieces of it that remind us that we are the people who can change and we are the people who remember the people who died that day.

Remember the people who gave their lives that day and who have given their lives since then, fighting for a better future, for peace. That gives me hope.

Thank you to all of our service men and women out there who have given their lives for our independence, freedom, and our ability to pursue happiness.

God Bless America!

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