Monthly Archives: September 2011

Orange Poppy Seed Bread

By: Melissa Pope
I found this recipe several years ago in Southern Living. It’s easy and makes two large loaves. It’s my “go to” when I need something quick.
Orange Poppy Seed Bread
3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl. Mix wet ingredients together in medium bowl. Combine dry and wet mixtures and beat on medium speed until creamy.
Pour batter evenly into 2 greased and floured 9″x5″ loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until pick comes out clean. Cool completely in pan.
Notes from me: I have to watch the baking time closely. Maybe it’s because I use glass pans and forget to reduce the oven heat 25 degrees. Sometimes I use smaller pans and those definitely need less baking time.  If you want to reduce the amount of oil used try using applesauce (I use unsweetened applesauce.) I would suggest trying 1 cups of veg oil and 1/2 cup applesauce.


Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD”

By: Melissa Pope

Imperfect, impatient, unwise, gluttonous, judgmental… All words I could use to describe myself. Words I could use to cripple and destroy my marriage, motherhood and ministry. I am all those things, but in Christ I AM so much MORE!
God doesn’t use perfection to get things done. In fact, He is glorified by using us despite our flaws and shortcomings. Here are some words from the apostle Paul found in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
The Bible is filled with stories of imperfect people. Really!! And God still worked and was glorified. Samuel’s sons did not follow in his ways.  There were many evil kings whose leadership was hurtful to the nation of Israel. Abraham doubted God’s promise. Moses was a murderer. David let lust have a foothold in his mind and followed through with a sinful relationship with Bathsheba.
Don’t be discouraged when you aren’t the perfect mom, wife or leader. Ask God to guide you and give you wisdom. Learn from His word.  Surround yourself with friends who will speak His truth to you. Learn from godly mentors. Humble yourself and work on becoming a better person (with God’s help).
Ultimately, God is so much bigger than we are. He doesn’t need us to accomplish any of His work on earth. He chooses to use our lives and what we meagerly make available to Him. I want to make myself abundantly available.

Recipe for the Changing Seasons

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven….” Ecclesiastes 3:1

By: Kerri Young

 I love it that God created seasons. Just think, how boring would life be if it was always the same? Fall-like temperatures have finally reached Northwest Arkansas. After a LONG, HOT summer, I am excited to start bundling up in crisp, cool weather. Maybe it’s because I’m cold all the time (or maybe it’s because of really good marketing in stores), but this time of year I crave sweet comfort foods and drinks. One of my favorite fall treats is a pumpkin spiced latte. I fortuitously stumbled upon this recipe on Facebook when someone shared it on the Crock Pot Girlscommunity page.   

This would go great with Gretchen’s cinnamon rolls(which, by the way, I have had the privilege of tasting several times and they are YUMMY!). I wouldn’t normally pass along a recipe I haven’t had a chance to make yet, but I couldn’t resist sharing something that sounds so delicious and could save you a considerable amount of cash this fall. And, I am the only coffee drinker in my house; I do not need this sitting around tempting me to drink it all. J

 I’m having “Team Time” with the cheer squad I coach in a couple of weeks and I’d love to make this for them (college students + coffee drinks = winning). So, please try it out and let me know what you think. I want to hear about any adjustments you recommend, for sure, as well as any similar recipes you might have. White Chocolate Mochas, anyone?  

 Pumpkin Spiced Lattepumpkinspicelatte

1 ½ Cups brewed coffee
4 Cups milk (any milk would work; including soy or almond)
4 Tbsp. canned pumpkin (this could be adjusted to taste)
1 ½ – 2 ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice

¼ – ½ Cup sugar
3 Tbsp. vanilla (might want to adjust a little if you use vanilla soy or vanilla almond)
Whipped cream to top

 Add coffee and milk to slow cooker, whisk in pumpkin, spices, etc. Cover and cook on high 2 hrs. (I imagine you could simmer this in a pot on the stove, as well.) Whisk again before serving and top with whipped cream.  Enjoy!!!




Out of the Mouths of Babes

“The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

By: Kerri Young

 I’m thankful that for most of my adult life I haven’t struggled with how I look, but I must say the post-partum months are a vulnerable time for me. Yes, I know the extra weight will eventually come off; but it’s frustrating when there is only one pair of pants in my closet that don’t look like I was poured into them. (I am aware the “skinny” look is fairly popular right now, but being able to get out of my pants without cutting them off is important to me.) Yes, I know the bags under my eyes will not be so prominent when I start consistently sleeping more; but in the meantime those craters are the first thing I see when I look in the mirror each day. And, yes, I know I should enjoy my “bounteous” breasts while I still have them; but it’s really hard to feel comfortable in a t-shirt when my chest is screaming to the whole world that all three of my children have liked my right breast better. J 

A couple of weeks ago I was standing in the bathroom attempting to quickly get ready and look somewhat presentable so we could go out to lunch with my husband.  I hadn’t showered in four days and I was exhausted from “sleeping” in the recliner with my two-month old on my lap for most of the night because something I ate had given him terrible gas. And, yes, even though he’s number three and I theoretically should be tough enough to let him “cry it out”, at 3 o’clock in the morning sometimes it’s just easier to hold him. 

After plunking my almost three-year-old in front of PBS and taking a 30 minute snooze with the aforementioned baby toot asleep on my lap in said recliner, I woke up and realized it was about time for my sweet husband to arrive and I was still in my pajamas. So, I hurriedly nursed little man, threw on a t-shirt–that may or may not have been clean–and some wrinkled shorts, pulled my frizzy hair back into a pony, and attempted to conceal the screaming shadows under my eyes with make-up. As I frowned at my reflection and finished blotting the concealer under my eyes, my precious second born came walking into the bathroom to tell me his show was over. He smiled up at me when I glanced down at him in the mirror and said with the most excited voice I had heard all morning, “Oh, Mommy, you look very nice!” My heart melted and I couldn’t help but grin from ear to ear. 

Instead of focusing on all my frumpy, had a baby a couple of months ago and haven’t really slept in almost a year loveliness, my son is able to look past the messy exterior to see only the mommy who loves him. And that makes me beautiful. In that moment the Holy Spirit gently reminded me that someone else sees past all my ugly and loves me for who I am: my Savior. I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to sing and do a little happy dance. And it also makes me want to kiss my kiddo for unintentionally reminding me of what matters: what’s on the inside. Everything else is temporary.

 It is my prayer that no matter who you are, what you look like, or what is going on in your life today, you would know how beautiful you are or can be in Christ. Oh, how He loves you so…. Delight in that today!!

The Perfect Excuse

…reach out for the exhausted, pulling them to their feet.  Be patient with each other, attentive to individual needs.  And be careful that when you get on each other’s nerves you don’t snap at each other.  Look for the best in each other, and always do your best to bring it out.  1 Thessalonians 5:14 (The Message)

I don’t know about you, but the fall schedule has me running all over the place!  Between school events and fall activities, I’ve been sucked into the soccer mom vortex-and my kids don’t even play soccer.  I have the tendency to go and go and go until I get burnt out.  This is where I have found that good mom friends are essential!  One of my favorite things to do is invite a few friends over for breakfast and let the kids play while we chat and vent and encourage each other.  I highly recommend it, and it’s the perfect excuse to use my cinnamon roll recipe!

With cooler weather headed our way I just couldn’t resist sharing this.  I have tried a few different cinnamon roll recipes, and this one has been my favorite.  Please do not look at the list of ingredients and get intimidated!  It’s a lot easier than you would think.  I get all my ingredients out and ready before I start, and that makes it a lot easier.  You can also use this dough recipe for dinner rolls.  Just form into golf size balls, let them rise until double, and then bake.

This recipe is meant for a bread machine, but if you don’t have one you can still use it.  It is much easier with one though!!
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2(3.4 ounce) package instant  vanilla pudding mix
1 cup warm milk
1 egg, room temp(important that it is not cold)
1 TBS white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 cups bread flour(reg flour is fine)
1 (.25 ounce) pkg rapid rise yeast(which is bread machine yeast)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup chopped pecans(optional)
1/2 pkg cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp milk

1. In the pan of the bread machine, combine water, melted butter, vanilla pudding, warm milk, egg, 1 TBS sugar, salt, bread flour and yeast.  Set machine to Dough cycle;press Start.
2. When Dough cycle has finished, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll into a 17×10 rectangle.  Spread with softened butter.  In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans.  Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over dough.
3. Roll up dough, beginning with long side.  Slice into 16 one inch slices and place in a 9×13 buttered pan.  Let rise in a warm place until doubled-about 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes.  While rolls bake, stir together cream cheese, softened butter, confectioners sugar, vanilla and milk.  Remove rolls from oven and top with frosting.

That is the regular recipe, but I do a few things differently.  I double the filling part.  Most of the time I just use milk and powdered sugar for the frosting-just depends on what kind of taste you want.  If you are wanting to make this for breakfast, I would suggest making the dough up the night before and put it in the fridge.  Get it out a couple of hours before breakfast the next morning and cover with a clean towel.   Put in on the stove top and go ahead and turn your oven on along with your hood light .  It should double in size during that time.

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