Sunday, November 23, 2014

Happiest of Birthdays to my 16 Year Old Boy!

November 2013 - Kent celebrated his 15th birthday, had his soccer end of season party, and was in a JROTC Veteran's Day ceremony.
December 2013 - we baked cookies and celebrated Christmas with family. Kent even posed for pictures with his dog Diamond!
January 2014 - we had some snow and Kent let Lindsey discover his shiny eye wear.

February 2014 - more snow! Kent had a great time playing in it, and took some fantastic pictures when we had an ice storm.

March 2014 - Kent and his girlfriend April let me take some picture of them at the park and Kent made a batch of homemade potato chips.

April 2014 - Six Flags fun, Easter, and a JROTC event.

May 2014 - snuggles with his baby sister, playing games, and helping a friend after their motorcycle accident (hauling the bike onto a trailer).

June / July 2014 - a visit to Washington State to visit my family, Kent had such a GREAT time!

July 2014 - more pics from our Seattle visit.

August 2014 - playing at a park, playing with his friend Andrew, puppy snuggles, and making his sister giggle.

September 2014 - Official "10th Grade" pictures with Kent and April at their High School.

September 2014 - pictures from visiting Emory when we took Lindsey's 1st birthday pictures, Kent making pancakes, and snuggling his new pug, Roxy!

October 2014 - packing up to move to Lilburn (after living in Hiram for 10 years), an overnight with his friend Andrew, spending time with April, and of course being the very best big brother.

November 2014 - getting settled in at our new house, and letting Lindsey climb all over him, like she loves to do. Love this crazy, goofy kid!
 My young man has grown so much over the past year - it astounds me that yet another year has passed, and here he is now turning 16 years old today! My first born - he tries my patience, makes me laugh, disappoints me, makes me so proud, makes me so mad, makes me so happy, surprises me, makes me think, still gives hugs and says I love you, and is truly one of the best things in my life. I am so grateful for this kid, for all the ups and downs and in betweens. Kent is strong, so smart, independent, affectionate, generous, silly, kind, lazy, and crazy too. Love my kiddo!

Things have changed a lot between high school responsibilities, packing up and moving after 10 years at the same house, adjusting to a new home and new school, and having dogs and a baby underfoot most of the time. Kent, of course, has his days where he's had enough of everyone and wants to be left alone to do his own thing, but for the most part he is SO helpful at home, and has adjusted so well to the new house, neighborhood, and school and I am so proud of him. I can't imagine going through the move without all of his help - packing and hauling, unpacking and more hauling. Such a great helper!

Kent, I can't wait to see what this year brings your way as you continue to grow and develop into the young man you're becoming, and prepare for the day you head out on your own into the great big world. It is such a privilege and honor to watch you grow. I love you Kent!

And just for fun - here are a bunch of "little Kent" pictures... cutie pie!





Saturday, November 22, 2014

Morning Glory Muffins



If you're looking for a hearty breakfast muffin, full of yummy goodies like apple, carrot, walnuts, and dried cherries then look no further! This was a great breakfast treat. This recipe was perfect because I had some homemade pumpkin butter leftover from #PumpkinWeek not that long ago, and this recipe called for apple butter originally but I figured pumpkin butter would be a great sub - and it was!

I didn't grease my pans as thoroughly as I should have, so these stuck a little and I had to be careful removing them. They were a little bit over cooked as well - I should have checked at 15 minutes instead of baking 20 minutes before checking. They were a little dry. I took some of the batter and used it in a mini muffin tin to make good toddler-sized muffins, and my 14 month old really enjoyed these (bake for about 9 - 10 minutes for mini muffins)! I just made sure to be careful about the pieces of dried fruit and walnuts in hers, either removing them or cutting them small. We froze about 6 mini muffins for her (they make great, easy breakfast treats - pull them out frozen, dice into bite sized pieces and done - they thaw on your little one's tray, plus Lindsey seems to like the cold texture when they're still partially frozen)!

These are perfect for a grab and go breakfast, any day of the week!



Morning Glory Muffins I slightly adapted from JACLYN on AllRecipes

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated carrots
1 large apple - peeled, cored, and chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries
2 eggs
1/2 cup apple (or pumpkin) butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons wheat germ

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 18 muffin cups generously.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, apple butter, oil, and vanilla.
  3. In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, wheat germ, and salt. Stir in carrots, apples, walnuts, and raisins. Stir in apple butter mixture until just moistened. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about 3/4 full.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Salted Caramel Nut Brittle from Reynolds Wrap



Just in time for the Holidays around the corner, here is a DELICIOUS and easy salted caramel nut brittle recipe from Reynolds. For the month of November's All Recipes AllStar Program, I was selected to work with Reynolds. We are working with their fantastic heavy duty non-stick foil product. This is the first time I've used the non-stick foil, and I loved it for working with this brittle recipe - anytime you need to keep a surface clean and non-stick, this is a terrific product to keep in your pantry.

Find Reynolds on their Facebook page, twitter, or their website - and make sure to check their current coupons here!

I left the recipe as it is originally written below - it calls for toasted pumpkin seeds, almonds, and cashews which I didn't have on hand, so I subbed for roasted salted peanuts. The add-ins are up to you, mix and match to your taste preference! The roasted peanuts and toasted sesame seeds was a great combination and we are all enjoying this yummy, crunchy, sweet, sticky candy! I will definitely be using this again at Christmas time to share with others. Make sure you press everything down pretty FIRMLY into the mixture while it is still warm and soft - I didn't press the peanuts in very firmly and especially in the thinner sections they didn't stick into the mixture very well.

Starting with the important pan liner!
 Toasting the sesame seeds and getting the sugar mixture to the right temperature.

 Beautiful, caramelly brittle base spread out on the nonstick foil pan liner.


Salted Caramel Nut Brittle from Reynolds on AllRecipes

Ingredients
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon light-color corn syrup
1/3 cup lightly salted roasted cashews, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Directions

  1. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with Reynolds Wrap® Non-Stick Foil; set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar, water and corn syrup. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Avoid splashing side of saucepan. Clip a candy thermometer to side of pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thermometer registers 290 degrees F or a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into threads that are hard but not brittle. This will take about 18 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary to maintain a steady boil. Watch carefully the last 5 minutes to prevent overcooking. Remove from heat and remove the thermometer.
  3. Pour into the prepared baking pan. Tilt pan to spread mixture evenly. Let stand 2 minutes. In a small bowl combine the cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. Sprinkle evenly over candy mixture.
  4. Set baking pan on a wire rack. Cool completely and break into large pieces to serve.











DISCLAIMER:
I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com.

Products received from sponsors are only used for experienced-based reviews on Making Miracles. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Rebekah.
 


Thursday, November 20, 2014

5 Years Ago... Missing You

5 years ago today my world was flipped upside down and inside out. I learned my mother had passed away and was sent into a tailspin. That day I learned she was gone I was rushing around trying to get out of work early to head home and clean up and get ready for her visit. She was supposed to be flying out the morning she died to come stay with me and Kent for a week. The unfairness still leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

Here is a little photo tribute to her... so thankful to have all of these older pictures to go back through and look at.






I need to go back through my albums and pull more of the ones I have of mom with her grandbabies. Of course she never got to meet Lindsey, but she sure loved Kent and my brother's daughter Sofia. We have lived far apart from mom since Kent was about 6 months old, but she always kept in touch, and sent gifts and notes and always made us feel loved and special, no matter the distance.

5 years have passed since we said goodbye to mom, and though I can breathe a little easier than I could those first few months, the hole and ache in my heart is still there and I miss her every day. I am so grateful to have had the relationship we did and am grateful for the days I did have with her. She left an impact on all of those around her. Of course she was far from perfect, and she drove Kenneth crazy (heck she drove us all crazy at times!) but I was very close to her and loved her very, very much.

Some of the posts I wrote all those years ago:

Lost

Mom's Obituary


In Africa or Stanwood, Marysville woman was caregiver (news story about my mom)

#BundtBakers - Rum Pudding Cake


#BundtBakers is a group of bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient. This month’s theme is booze and our creative host is Lauren of From Gate to Plate. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com. All recipes and photographs can be found on our individual blogs, on our Pinterest board, and the #BundtBakers homepage.

Today's recipe is a rum SOAKED bundt - I mean soaked... literally... this has a definite "kick" to it with the 3/4 cup of rum added to the glaze and not baked / cooked off! I would actually reduce the amount in the glaze for personal preference if I made this again - maybe even down to 1/4 cup or at least 1/2 cup. The after taste was a little too strong for me personally. Other than that though, this is a WONDERFUL pudding cake and it is recommended as a Christmas cake by Pioneer Woman who originally shared this recipe (link below).

I generously greased and floured the bundt pan and then added the nuts and brown sugar topping.

The glaze ingredients coming together.

Beautiful cake - fresh from the oven!

Allowing the first portion of glaze to soak into the hot cake. Then the moment of truth (please don't stick, please don't stick, please don't stick...)

Not too bad! Just a little bit of topping left in the pan, and a beautiful golden cake soaking in the remaining glaze. Yumm!

This is definitely pretty and special enough for a get together - and it comes together without too many ingredients or steps (which is always a huge plus in my book!) This recipe takes a humble yellow cake mix and turns it into a beautiful Holiday dessert, perfect for any get together this upcoming Christmas season. 


I still cannot completely wrap my head around the fact that the Holiday's are quite literally upon us! We have been so busy with the move, getting settled at the new house, and getting our old house cleaned up and cleared out and ready to list.


Our big boy is turning 16 years old in just a couple short days, so I am sure I will have another yummy cake recipe to share with you soon - how in the world do I have a 16 year old child??! What really freaks me out is I was 16 when his dad and I married and started our life together... AHHHH!!!! That seems like a lifetime ago. I am so grateful for my little family - with all of our faults, flaws, and imperfections my husband and two children are my world. I can't wait to make some Holiday memories with them in our new place this year. :)

Make sure to check out the giveaways I'm hosting at the links below Cocktail Muddler: http://rebekahrose.blogspot.com/2014/11/blueberry-mint-tea-plus-professional.html 
Old Factory Candle Set: http://rebekahrose.blogspot.com/2014/11/old-factory-candle-gift-set-giveaway.html

Visit all the other DELICIOUS cakes made by fellow #BundtBakers today:

Just look at all that glaze soaked into the cake - SO moist, sweet, and delicious!

Rum Pudding Cake from The Pioneer Woman 

Ingredients

Cake:
1 box (about 18-oz) yellow cake mix 
1 package (3.5-oz) instant vanilla pudding mix 
4 whole eggs 
1/2 cup cold water 
1/2 cup canola oil 
1/2 cup rum (dark or light) 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 TBS brown sugar

Glaze:
1 1/2 stick butter 
1/4 cup water 
1 1/2 cup sugar 
3/4 cups rum

Directions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Grease and flour your bundt pan well (I smeared butter all over the interior and all the way up the sides and floured generously and didn't have any issues with the cake sticking).  
  3. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 2 TBS brown sugar into the bottom of the pan. 
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the yellow cake mix, instant vanilla pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and 1/2 cup rum. Blend until well combined and smooth.
  5. Pour batter into the bundt pan, over the top of the nuts and brown sugar, smooth the batter until even if necessary.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (be careful not to over bake).
  7. During the last 10 minutes of baking prepare the glaze:
    1. In a medium to large saucepan melt the butter. Add in the water and sugar and bring mixture to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly, for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add in the rum (I suggest using 1/2 cup instead of the full 3/4 cup). Blend together.
    2. When the cake has finished baking, drizzle 1/3 of the glaze mixture immediately over the exposed bottom of the cake to allow it to soak in (this is a little more than 3/4 of a cup). Allow this to soak in for about 5 minutes then carefully invert the cake onto a plate.
    3. Poke the cake surface (gently) with a fork all over. Slowly pour the remaining glaze all over the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
    4. Allow to cool to room temperature so the glaze has completely soaked in before serving.