Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A New Resolution

My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.
-John F. Kennedy
As the new year approaches resolutions are being made. Whether it be to lose weight, be with the family more, or quit an obnoxious habit; we are all out for a change of life.
Recently I began to ponder upon the upcoming year; my resolutions and the exciting events to come. Between wedding planning, traveling, and a surprising new adventure (more on that later), I forgot to ask how to serve the Lord more.
If we were to change the words in the J.F.K. quote from country to God, this would be the result.

Ask not what God can do for you, ask what you can do for God.
Too many times people get involved with themselves only praying for their own well being.

We all come short of thanking and praising God.  

If one begins to serve the Lord, in extension people are blessed with one's services. Helping out at church working in the nursery is serving, but also aiding poor mothers who just want an hour to themselves to worship. Toiling in the café presenting food brings happiness to a fellow church goer's tummy while at the same time laboring for Jesus.
Our resolutions need to begin and end with the Lord.

Let our new year begin first with serving God and blessing others with our work.

Nancy Jane

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Great Olive Oil Makeup Remover Experience

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Olive oil is my best friend. You can cook, clean, and moisturize with it; what else can a girl ask for?

I have been using it for months now as makeup remover, and it has been fantastic. Just pour it on a cotton ball and wipe! The toughest of eye liners fall prey to the oil.

Oh, how amazing the magical liquid is.

However, with the pros comes the cons. Here is a list I created to describe my experience with the golden oil.

  • No weird chemicals, all natural product.
  • Affordable: You can purchase an inexpensive bottle or a pricy one.
  • The wrinkles my skin is starting to develop under my eyes get moisturized.
  • Simple to use. 
  • Add a drop of Essential oil, such as peppermint, to olive oil for more benefits!
  • Ants. The annoying creatures manage to find the used cotton balls in my trash can. Or, they climb onto the counter and find the bottle I forgot to close and take a dip into the bottle. Thus ruining a the whole container.
  • Leaves a bit of an oily residue on skin you need to wipe off with towel.
Despite the cons, I will continue to be a faithful user. Of course, be sure to test it on your skin first if you are feeling adventurous. 

If you give it a try, let us know about your experience!

Nancy Jane

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Pomegranates: Jewel of the Fruits

What to do, what to do?

Don't be afraid to approach the pomegranate. It may seem like too much work to eat; but you are truly missing a delicious fruit if you never go near it.

We love to simply sprinkle pomegranate seeds on broccoli salad, coleslaw, or fruit salad. So delicious!

And don't worry swallowing the seeds, they haven't hurt me yet!

Mother Judith


Monday, October 20, 2014

Caramel Filled Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Cookie

By the amount of ingredients listed in the title, you know it's going to be good. I've made them for a Bible study group, and they were a hit!

Inspired by a television show, How I Met Your Mother, I decided these cookies needed to be made. The character, lovingly dubbed as "The Mother", offers another character some cookies. They are named something a little unsavory, however, the way she described the pastry made me want to devour them.

This is my interpretation of the delicious inspiration; hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Whole wheat flour is used in this recipe. It can easily be interchanged with white flour, however, I found the whole wheat added a unique flavor to it (and you can tell yourself it's healthier while you eat it...guilt free cookies! Haha)

While at Target, I discovered these lovely little guys; milk chocolate chips with caramel in the center. They work great for the recipe! Any brand of peanut butter chips will work, I grabbed Reese's because they were on sale...


Preheat oven to 350° F.
Mix together:
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of soft butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
Mix until creamy, then add:
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Mix, then add:
  • 2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour or White Flour
After fully combined add:
  • 9 ounce bag of caramel chocolate chips
  • 8 ounces, or 1 cup, of Peanut butter chips
Once fully mixed together, scoop tablespoon size balls onto a well greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Careful not to over bake the cookies, they are not as flavorful when over done.

Once cooled, serve with coffee or an ice cold cup of milk. These are great to eat in front of a warm fire place with your favorite hot drink.

The cookies will surely be a hit! I'm not making them for a while purely because I can't stop eating them!! Hope you enjoy them as much as my taste buds did!

Nancy Jane

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Crock-Pot Pumpkin Butternut Squash Chili

I enjoy making a batch of this Chili every Autumn. It is super hardy for those cold evenings (though, we have yet to experience a crisp Fall night yet this year!). The dish is delightful when accompanied by fries, cornbread, or all by itself.

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning
  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 cups pumpkin, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 cup corn- canned, fresh, or frozen
  • 2 cups cooked black beans- from the can or fresh
  • 2 cups diced fresh or canned tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh peppers- I used bell peppers, but any variety will do
  • 2 cups chicken or veggie broth
Simply toss all the ingredients into a crock-pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally. When finished, serve with a side dish of your choice.

Hope you enjoy the Fallish cuisine!

Nancy Jane

Friday, October 10, 2014

Maple Walnut Pumpkin Cake


Fellow pumpkin enthusiasts, you will surely enjoy this cake. It is so cinnamony, pumpkiny, and mapley. The pastry is filled with a plethora flavors, it doesn't need frosting, a simple powder sugar topping will do.

The maple syrup brings a whole new divine twist. It's not overpowering, just a lovely sweet addition.

The cake is extremely easy to bake...and devour.

  • 2 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup 100% pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup soft butter
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 375°F.

Except for brown sugar, combine dry ingredients in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, butter, and brown sugar. Mix in pumpkin purée, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla until completely mixed.

Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stir until the dry mixture is completely mixed into wet ingredients. Then add walnuts and stir.

Grease a cake pan and pour cake batter in it. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until finished.

When cooled, serve with a fresh cup of coffee in your favorite mug. Hope you enjoy this Fall time treat!

Nancy Jane

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Get Spooky With Gum Paste Jack-o'-Lanterns

Add some spooktacular pizzazz to cupcakes with little Jack-o'-Latterns. They're 100% edible, cute, and a tiny bit scary. These little guys are festively adorable!
For the dye, I found this Halloween themed food coloring at WalMart; but, I'm sure you can find this at other stores in your area. Or simply buy black and orange food coloring!

This project also requires gum paste. You can find it at WalMart, Joann's, or Michaels. If you're getting it from the latter two, be sure to bring your coupons!

Step One:
You'll need:
  • Gum Paste
  • Orange Food Dye
  • Fondant Roller or Rolling Pin
  • Small Pumpkin Cookie Cutter
  • Container to store cut outs in
  • Powder sugar and corn starch combined for dusting
IMPORTANT: Gum paste easily dries up when exposed to air. Be sure to cover unused gum paste in plastic wrap or place in Ziploc bag.
Pull out a chunk of gum paste, about the size of a golf ball.

Place orange dye on ball and roll until completely mixed in. Add more orange until it is the color you want.

Get out a roller. I use this 9 inch fondant roller from Wilton, it is small and easy to handle. It also has rings on it so you can consistently get the correct thickness. I use the purple rings for this project. But a rolling pin will work just fine. 
Side note: If the gum paste is too sticky, lightly dust the powder sugar and corn starch mixture onto it.

Roll out gum paste, about 1/8 inch thick.

Take pumpkin cookie cutter and cut out as many pumpkins as you wish.

Set aside and let dry over night in an open container. 

Step Two:
After the gum paste has hardened, now we can apply the faces! You can either purchase pre-made black frosting, or make your own!

You'll need:
  • Frosting
  • Round Icing Tip, Size 2
  • Icing Bags
  • Black Dye
  • Water
First, you will need icing. I used White Decorator Icing, which can be found at WalMart, Joann's, or Michaels. 

To thin out the icing, simply add a teaspoon of water at a time until you achieve the correct consistency. To test the thickness of icing, place a spoon in the bowl and see if the frosting is able to hold up the spoon. If not, then it is the perfect thinness. If you accidentally add too much water, its ok! Add a little powder sugar to fix the problem. 

Before water:

After water:

The icing will not be able to hold the weight of the spoon.

When soft, add black dye. This took a lot of coloring, and it kept photographing purple! 

When you get your desired color, fill an icing bag while the tip is already in the bag. Do a test run on to make sure everything is working properly.

Wipe off tip, place a pumpkin on counter and make a triangle for an eye. Fill in triangle, then repeat. Make a mouth, and voila! You have a Jack-o'-Lattern.

Have some fun and make a whole little family!

Let the frosting dry, takes about a couple of hours. Place on cupcakes, then enjoy!

Nancy Jane

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tractors and a Dress

A few weeks ago, my fiancé and I had an engagement photo shoot. Our fantastic photographer, Tyson Baker, managed to take beautiful shots of the two most unphotogenic people in history. 

Of course I had to do the session on a tractor, in a dress, and in a walnut orchard. It was a blast! Here are a few of my favorite shots; even managed to find one with my fiancé smiling!

Nancy Jane

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cinnamon Apple Scones

Simple yet full of spices; Cinnamon Apple Scones are sure to be a pleasant addition to you Autumn afternoon tea time.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup diced apples
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 2 eggs
Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in food processor. Turn on machine and mix.

When finished, add cubed cold butter into mixer, then blend until butter turns into little balls.

Pour mixture into bowl, add apples and optional walnuts.
In a separate bowl, mix eggs and 1/2 and 1/2. Pour into the flour and butter mixture. Stir until completely combined.
Place a piece of parchment paper on cookie sheet. Lay out dough and press into a circle about a half an inch thick.

 Using a butcher knife or pizza cutter, cut eight triangles. Separate and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until top slightly browns.

Pull out of oven and let cool when fully baked.
To increase the sweetness, add frosting. Combine powder sugar, a little bit of water, and a bit of cinnamon to taste and stir. Once you achieve your desired consistency, drizzle frosting onto scone. The perfect sweet addition!

Nancy Jane