Wishing You a Merry Christmas

Dear readers, I’ve missed you!  My absence from blogging lately has been due to being highly preoccupied with: finishing DIY Christmas presents, making food and hosting guests, wrapping up my last few days of school, and having to go to doctor appointments more frequently as I near the end of my pregnancy (2 more weeks!).  How have you been spending your holiday season?  I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year with all your loved ones!!!

Here is a collection of the shenanigans I have been up to:

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Holiday Bibs

(you can find the pattern here: Reversible Bib)

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Christmas Light Ornaments

(you can find the tutorial here: Ornaments)

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This project is a wonderful way to use up all those fabric scraps that you have!

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Deck your tree!

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OR package them up all pretty and give them away to friends and family!

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Quilted Table Runner

(You can find a tutorial here: Table Runner)

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I made it reversible to match my parents’ newly renovated and furnished dining room (good job Daddy!).

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Christmas Cookies!

(Okay, they aren’t all red and green but they sure were yummy!  I would know given that I ate half of them -__-)

Showered with Love for Baby and Me

After celebrating and cooking Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends on Thursday, attending a potluck fellowship dinner with my family’s church friends on Friday, we finished the marathon with a baby shower this past Saturday!  B and I were pretty tired but he and my best friend (S) were ever so helpful in getting things put together in time for when the guests arrived.  All the preparation was worth it and it was such a joy to be able to celebrate the coming of our baby girl with such dear friends.  What blesses me most is how much love and prayer baby, B, and I are covered in by so many.  It makes the journey ahead as parents less daunting just knowing that we have such support and encouragement to help us through.

Remember the posts from before with all the apple baby stationary and apple pom pom tutorial?  You will see some of those featured in the pictures below.  Pictures were taken by D. Ko, a good friend of S’s who I just met at Thanksgiving but graciously devoted herself to helping me capture these precious moments.

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Some goodies that I baked included mini apple pies and my youngest brother’s favorite Bavarian Apple Torte.  Click on the links for the recipes!  They are worth trying and easy peasy to make ^_^. (p.s. I cheat on the apples in the torte by just layering the top with one thinly sliced apple and reducing the amount of sugar and cinnamon as well.  It still tastes just as good!)

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Here are some other pictures of all the fun we had writing encouraging/funny notes on diapers, playing price is right, sharing motherly advice, and playing with tissue pom-poms.  Thank you ladies and gents for partaking in all the silliness!

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IMG_9549The End!

Not Your Average Pumpkin Bread

Prodigious.  Phenomenal.  Palatable.

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Pumpkin Bread.

Those adjectives are justly attached to this baked goodness that I put together this morning.  Granted, the loaf made B and I late to church and taught me to never bake before church because it is bound to take me longer to finish than I ever anticipate.  Actually, that’s probably true for most of my endeavors -__-.

Anyhoo!  Onto the recipe, which I compiled from several different ones on the web and then added a few changes of my own based on what I have available in the pantry.  This bread has a pumpkin bread base, cream cheese swirled coating, and a generous topping of crunchy oat crumbs.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Streusel Bread (aka Not Your Average Pumpkin Bread)

Streusel Topping:

  • 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of oats
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves (or 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice)
  • 4 tablespoons of butter (1/2 a stick) softened

Mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, and spices together.  Using a fork, cut in the butter and stir until the mixture becomes course crumbs.  I find that using my fingers is pretty effective at making this happen a tad faster.

Cream Cheese Swirl:

  • 8 oz. of cream cheese softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves (or 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream and egg together until smooth.  Add in the spices, sugar, and vanilla until the ingredients are all well incorporated.

Pumpkin Bread Base:

  • 15 oz. can of pumpkin (I had a 29 oz can so I just measured out about 1&3/4 cups
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 1 cup of oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1&1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1&1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of cloves (you can also use pumpkin pie spice if you have it on hand)

Beat the eggs, add sugars, vanilla extract, oil, milk and pumpkin.  Stir the wet ingredients until they are combined into a smooth orange mix.  Mix the dry ingredients together (sift if you would like but I just use the whisk to try and do that job since I am sifter-less).  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and with a spatula, fold the wet and dry parts together until just combined.  Do not worry about getting every speck of flour wet since over-mixing causes your baked goods to be rubbery dry.

Assembling:

I made one 9×5 loaf and 20 muffins out of this recipe.  You can alter the ratio as you please but adjust your baking time as needed.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Fill the loaf pan half way with the pumpkin bread base and the muffins can be filled about 3/4 of the way.  Then add the cream cheese in heaping dollops for the loaf pan and about a tablespoon on top for the muffins.  Swirl the cream cheese slightly with a fork or knife so that it adheres well with the pumpkin bread base.  Lastly, sprinkle generous amounts of streusel on top of the loaf and muffins.  The muffins take about 20-25 minutes to bake and the loaf took about 50-60 minutes to bake (each oven is different so check on them by poking with a toothpick to see if it comes out clean).

Enjoy!

yummypumpkinmuffinJust look at those crumbs!!!  Nom Nom Nom.  I’m getting hungry again…