Friday, October 23, 2009

Taking a good hard look.....

This is difficult.

I really, really want to have my blog running at the same frequency it was 6 months ago. I keep getting so down on myself for not posting. It is starting to stress me out and that is not what blogging should be. When I started this blog Nathan was in Iraq and I needed the outlet to keep me going and keep me busy. Life has been so hectic and there have been so many changes over the past few months that I am beginning to think that my expectations aren't realistic.

I am NOT quitting or shutting down my blog. There is no way I could do that. But I am going to stop making promises. I am going to stop saying that everything will be up and running soon. By continuing to say that, I end up putting more pressure on myself.

There are so many reasons why I haven't been baking as much lately. We are still getting settled and trying to figure out life in the states. Anya has started school (pre-k), Eric is all over the place and is definately a handful, AND we got a puppy last week. One of the biggest reasons for not baking is that I have lost all my taste-testers. When I was in Germany I gave away a good portion of my baked goods to my friends and I don't have that here. Our small family cannot possibly consume all the delicious things I want to make.

I have been making some new dinners and will get those posted when I can. The only promise I can make is that this blog isn't going anywhere. I may only get a post up once a week. Maybe more, maybe less. But Cristine is here. Cristine is cooking. Cristine just needs to remove some of the pressure.

Just a quick note about groups.... Daring Bakers, SMS, TWD, MSCC, Cookie Carnival.... I don't know how much I will be participating. If you have to remove me, don't feel bad. Do what you need to do and I will do what I can. :)

Thanks for reading this novel and for listening to my rambling! How about a picture of our super cute Rhodesian Ridgeback, Tara, to make it worth your while? Lots of love for you all!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MSCC: Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes

I'm slowly but surely getting things back in order around here. Even though everything is unpacked, things are so crazy and I have yet to find much time to get in the kitchen. Hence why I am posting this so late in day!

I love anything pumpkin! One of my favorite things about fall is the plethora of pumpkin recipes floating around. I tend to go on pumpkin overload during October and November. I get excited to try new pumpkin recipes and pumpkin cupcakes seemed to be the place to start.

The flavor of the cupcake reminded me of a soft pumpkin cookie. Full of delicious pumpkin flavor and just the right amount of spice. Incredibly good! The book suggests using a cream cheese frosting to top these, but I had leftover Cinnamon-Nutella dip in the fridge and was running out of hours in the day, so that beat out making frosting. Believe it or not, I thought the cinnamon topping was fantastic.

Thanks to Betty of Eat My Cupcake for putting together this fantastic group! Check out the group's blog HERE.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

TWD: Allspice Crumb Muffins

I am so thankful that this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection was an easy one. Recipes don't come much easier than muffins and I needed to get back on the TWD wagon. My kitchen is unpacked and organized, but with all the "to-do's" that come with a move piling up, I just haven't had the motivation to get in the kitchen and knock out some recipes.

These allspice crumb muffins were fantastic. Allspice usually doesn't play a starring role, but I'm glad it did in these muffins because they tasted so yummy! The crumb topping was definately my favorite part, but I don't think there was a bad part of these muffins.

While trying to take pictures of these muffins yesterday morning, Anya decided the muffin she wanted was the one I was photographing. I told her that I needed to take a picture of it and she asked "Don't you want a picture of me with the muffin?". So, I am including that picture as well... complete with bedhead and Curious George pajamas!

Thanks to Kayte of Grandma’s Kitchen Table for hosting this week. The recipe can be found at her blog.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

No SMS, but how about an update?

My apologies to Jen of Not Microwave Safe for not participating this week. I really did want to make the Sticky Buns but time wasn't on my side. Oh, and for those who wanted the recipe for the Apple Crumble from last week, it is finally up. You can find it here.

We are officially in El Paso. We found a house relatively quickly and moved in last week. All of our stuff (minus the Jeep) was delivered on Wednesday and we have been busy, busy, busy getting everything organized. The dust is starting to settle and we are getting back into our old routine which means that my blog will be back up and running soon.

Thanks to everyone who is sticking around waiting for my return. I can't wait to get back in the kitchen full time again!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My SMS Pick: Apple Orchard Pecan Crumble

Ever since I joined Sweet Melissa Sundays I have been counting down the days until October 4th, the day where I would be able to pick a recipe for the group. Of course, I didn't really realize at the time that October 4th would fall right in the middle of an international move!

I decided to choose Apple Orchard Pecan Crumble for two reasons. One, I thought it would be a great way to welcome fall (which by the way isn't on its way to Phoenix... it was over 100 the day I made this!). The second reason I picked this recipe is the simplicity of it. The most difficult part was peeling the apples.

The apples are cut and mixed with cinnamon and sugar and then they are dumped into a 2 quart baking pan. The topping is fantastically delicious! A combination of brown sugar, spices, pecans, and butter... YUM!

The crumble before it headed into the oven

Thanks to all the SMSers who baked along with me this week. I am so glad to be a part of this group!

Apple Orchard Pecan Crumble

for the filling:

7 large tart apples, roughly 3 pounds, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices

juice of 1 lemon

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour

for the pecan crumble:

3/4 cup pecan pieces

3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Position a rack in the bottom third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 10-inch deep-dish baking dish or 2-quart ovenproof casserole. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.In a large bowl, stir together the apples and lemon juice. Sprinkle the sugar, cinnamon, and flour over the apples, and stir to combine. Pour the apples into the baking dish.In a large bowl, stir together the pecans, flour, brown sugar, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. Stir in the melted butter. Spread the crumble over the apples.Place the baking dish on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and thick. Remove to a wire rack to cool before serving. Serve warm with whipped cream.

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