Life, Pumpkin Bars and Pancakes

What's been going on of late, you may ask? 

Well.......

I've been grabbing every moment of time I can to spend with my husband while he had some time off from his work out of state; I've spent time with my sweet, lovely step-daughter who is on summer break from what is to be her last year of grad school this coming Fall; and I've helped my own daughter prepare for her first year of college, thankfully nearby at the local community college! While all of this has been going on, as a family we've managed to get in a few day trips to visit relatives, walk a birdsong trail at a beautiful park, stop in at a few farm market stands (and cook up some yummy side dishes with the produce we bought), shop at a couple of thrift stores (Oooo, I found 2 great cookbooks that I've started to browse through!), take a few walks through the neighborhood and "forage" for edible, wild growing things that only my step-daughter seems to know ~ lol! Yes, it's been a busy week and a half to say the least! 

Now that things have slowed down considerably, I was finally able to find time to do some baking in the kitchen, and try out a couple of recipes from one of my new cookbooks. One recipe, which was the biggest hit with everyone else, was also my favorite. Pumpkin Bars. If you've never had them, you'll want to give this recipe a try! The entire tray lasted less than 1 day, and my daughter's friend, who had never had anything pumpkin, took one taste, and was completely hooked!

PUMPKIN BARS

1 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 c. pumpkin
1 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Pour onto a lightly greased cookie tray. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Test with a toothpick to determine when done. Pick should come out clean.

I used one of my favorite large, round cookie trays as the picture below shows.

This next picture shows how shallow the baking tray is, and it worked perfectly. The batter was spread evenly and only came up to about half, or a smidgen more, on the sides.

And you know what? This batter could easily have some chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, or even raisins tossed in, and it would make something great tasting taste even better! But this time, I just made a simple confectionery sugar frosting and spread it over the entire top of the bars before cutting them.

 As an afterthought, I decided to try the little bit of leftover batter as pumpkin pancakes the next morning. I stirred just a few chocolate chips into the batter and dropped it by small ladelfuls into a preheat, greased skillet. They took a bit longer to cook than regular pancake batter, but oh, they were so good, fluffy and really delicious!! Just keep the heat on medium, and flip after a check on the bottom shows it to be turning an even more golden color. I just spread them with butter and no maple syrup, and they tasted wonderful. You may prefer a bit of syrup on yours!

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Are you the sort of person that generally sticks to the recipe, or do you like to add your own touch to it?

The Day Unfolds

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I started my day with an unusual breakfast..... gag if you must.....but I was craving fried pasta, which is something my husband taught me to make early on in our marriage. While he would only ever eat this with egg and broccoli or bits of chunked ham mixed in, I took walk on the wild side and added mushrooms, garlic and onions to mine. Now that would be something enough to make him gag! But I simply loved it, and I don't feel guilty saying so. ☺ I have this weird eating philosophy that I don't know if it would work for you, but it seems to work for me. I try to limit my carb intake to prevent that little "podge" in my tummy area. But if I do eat them, I once heard it said, and I have found it to be true, that if you eat carbs in the morning, your body uses nearly all of it and gives you an energy boost that's needed most at the start your day. After that, I mainly stick to proteins, a few veggies and fruits, unsweetened almond milk, water and diluted, 100 percent juices. Hey, all's well that ends well, and this works for me! 

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Next, I moved on to cleaning out the hummingbird feeders, and making new nectar. If you haven't realized already by browsing through a bit of my blog, I LOVE backyard birds! And these cute little creatures so inspire me. As tiny and delicate as they are, they're tenacious and persistent, too! Not to mention, as the last of the slivers of the sun rays are peeking above the horizon at dusk, these little guys are the last ones to be seen at my feeders. I'm just amazed by them!


I really wanted to get started on watering my flowerbeds after that, but quite out of nowhere I began to hear rumbles of thunder while the sun was still out. Curious, I poked my head outside only to discover a batch of storm clouds rolling in from the southeast which was causing all of the disturbance. Well, at least Mother Nature seemed willing to take care of the job for me, or so I thought! Ironically, as quickly as the storm clouds came in, they moved on through grumbling and rumbling all along the way, yet never dropping even a single bit of rain. Guess that chore is put back on the list, but I'll gladly do it because I can kill two birds with one stone by also catching some rays of sun! Ahhhh.....I just love summertime. ♥



Last on my agenda for the day is to wash the minivan. It really needs a washing! Have you ever had one of those moments when you're approaching your vehicle after having done some shopping, and cringed a bit at how dusty and dull your vehicle's getting to look? Well, if you haven't, I have. Lol! And for me, that definitely means it's time to get a little wet, a little soapy and a little refreshed while washing the car on a hot, summer day like today. Then I'll feel a whole lot better about things! Neat, tidy and shiny always makes me happy.

~ ~

Anyone out there just a little bit like me?

Cute Camper

Perfect for a simple overnight camping adventure!


Moonlit Path

Serene and beautiful....
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Makes me want to take a walk down this moonlit pathway!

Song Of The Cicada

It's that time of summer when the male Cicadas have begun what is technically known as their "love song" from the sunny branches near the tops of trees. This is one of a few interesting facts about the Cicada I'm surprised I don't ever recall having learned until just recently! And while from my childhood the sound of Cicadas was always bittersweet - so soothing to my ears, yet coming near the end of a summer I hated to see go - for the Cicada it's the beginning of only something wonderful; the courtship of a female who finds him attractive. 

Apparently this is not a face that only a mother could love!

The female will respond to her handsome male's call by doing a maneuver called the "wing-flick". When the male sees and hears her wing flicks, he replies again with a song making a lovely, ongoing exchange between the two. Now honestly, how many of you actually knew this as the reason behind that sound from the Cicadas? I feel like a kid who has just learned something new and thinks nobody else has ever known it before me! Ha, ha! But yes, I'm sure there are some of you that have. ☺

Here's a cute kids coloring page I found that shares some other interesting facts about the 
Cicada that you truly may not have known.

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I could sit under a tree and listen to the chorus of Cicadas for hours. There's just something about it that's peaceful to me.

~ ♥ ~

But what about you ~ do you find the sound of Cicadas enjoyable or just plain annoying? (I must admit, I've never heard them loud enough to drown out the sound of a lawn mower, though!)

Psalm 4:8 ~ Peace & Safety


A Future Home

When I think of a future home, my first thought is that it has to look welcoming and cozy ~ to me, anyways. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'd love for it to have a front porch, decorated with some comfortable chairs and a nice coffee table, all weatherproof, of course! I think dormers, shutters, or windows framed in a contrasting color to the house always give the home a bit of interest. too. (Though I once had a house where the bees loved to go in behind the shutter louvres and make nests that were hard to get rid of. Then I detested those darn shutters!) 

I've always admired a well defined sidewalk leading up to the front door. If flowers were planted along either side of it, that would really make it stand out in my eyes. A few neatly pruned trees in the front yard would give a nice touch to the overall picture as well. Norway Maples are my favorite. My husband, Dean, gets a big kick out of how I'm always pointing out a tree that looks so nice to me, and it's always a Norway Maple. Lol! They just have such a nice fullness and rounded shape to them, what can I say?

So when it comes to houses that seem to catch my eye, here's a few pictures to give you an idea. ☺

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And lastly, here's an example of windows framed in a contrasting color. Wish I could have found a bigger picture, but this'll have to do. I like how sharp the contrasting colors make the design style of the house look.....


~ ♥ ~

Are you house hunting? What types of homes, styles and design elements most appeal to you?

A Perfect Front Porch

Having a front porch is something I'd really like in my next home. But realistically speaking, not many houses have front porches these days. 

I think it's kind of unfortunate because I truly believe when people did have them, neighbors got to know one another better; thus the neighborhood was more of a tight knit community. Families were outdoors more visiting on the porch while watching their children play and ride bikes up and down the driveway. My father remembers sleeping out on his screened in front porch on a cot during some of those warm and muggy summer nights. Moments and memories like these last a lifetime.

If I had a front porch, I'd want it to look something like this, with the view of greenery all around. I like to be sheltered, but I still want to feel connected to all of nature that surrounds me. I can imagine hearing the birds chirping and feeling the wind as it rustles past the trees nearby. When you have a comfortable, inviting front porch like this one, any number of positive things are quite likely to happen!

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~ ♥ ~

Are front porches a favorite thing of yours, too? If not, what's something that you think is a really nice feature about a house?

Food Shows


I'm currently watching
Sunny Anderson on the
Cooking Channel. I really enjoy watching any of the food shows!

My new favorite, though, is Extra Virgin for it's Italian theme which speaks to my Italian heritage, and my love of Italian food! 


 Not to mention, I like the real expression of love between these two and the simple everyday life that's played out in their shows.

~ ♥ ~

If you're an avid Food Network or Cooking Channel viewer like me, I'd love to know which shows are your favorites, and why?

Fireflies

Just saw some of my first of the season. It isn't officially summer to me until I see some!
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What makes it officially summer for you?

Mmmmm....Berries

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I love summer for all the delicious, healthy, fresh picked berries you can find!

The Carnival Is In Town

Always a fun part of the summer in our village!
The ferris wheel is my favorite ride.....nice and easy, and what a great view from up top!

Lattice Privacy Panels

What a nice alternative for a bit of privacy when neighbors are just a little too close!
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An Outdoor Sink

Love this idea! And no extra plumbing is required because it connects to any outdoor spigot just using a hose. Now someone was using their head!

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A Homemade Canopy

Love this bright and cheery yellow themed seating area, complete with a homemade canopy for shade while relaxing!

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Check out this link for instructions on how to make your own canopy!

Flower Tree Ring

Flowers around the base of a tree always seem to dress it up so nicely!
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Faithful In Small Things

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 “Be faithful in small things 

because it is in them 

that your strength lies.” 

~ Mother Teresa

Hammock At Sunset

Oh, how lovely to watch the glorious sunset from the relaxing sway of this hammock!
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What God Has Promised

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I've had a bookmark of this very poem since I was a girl, and it has remained one of my favorites.....

Inviting Pathway

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Many would enjoy a stroll down this pathway!

Not Perfect, But Definitely Good

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A Bit Of Humor

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Laughter is good for the soul!

Lots Of Rain

I'm not sure where you are while reading this post, but here in northeast U.S. we've been having rain, rain and more rain. It cancelled the local parade, and even rained on Independence Day! Thankfully, the whole day wasn't a complete washout, but here's what it looked like at one point -

My nephew helping to keep his daddy dry while grilling!

The fun, laughter and squealing of all the children in the pool came to an end when thunder, lots of lightening and rain moved in!