Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread

I saw this recipe on Pinterest, and decided to try it. Once it was done, I posted to twitter that I made it along with a picture... you know, just to brag. ;) Well, I had a few people asking for the recipe, so voila! Here is the recipe, and the pin I used to find it!

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Bread

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Vanilla Glaze:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp milk
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 Tbsp vanilla


In a saucepan over medium-high heat, brown 2 tablespoons of butter, letting it bubble up and turn a dark golden brown but being careful not to allow it burn (turn black). Once browned, remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the milk, return to stove and heat through. Pour the milk and butter into the bowl of standing mixer (fitted with a dough hook) and allow to cool so it is no longer hot but also not cool (about 100-110 degrees F). Once it has reached a warm but not hot temperature add the yeast and 1/4 cup of sugar and allow to proof. Then add the the pumpkin, salt, and 1 cup of flour. Stir until combined then add the rest of the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead for 6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and just slightly sticky. If the dough is too moist, add extra flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Move dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel. Allow to rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, brown another 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.** Making sure sugar evenly absorbs the butter. Set aside. Next, grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and flip out onto a clean floured surface and knead with hands for 1-2 minutes. Roll dough into a 20x12 inch rectangle.*** Evenly sprinkle the dough with the cinnamon sugar mixture and press into dough with palms of the hand. Cut the rectangle into 6 strips. Lay strips on top of each other and cut each strip into 6 even squares (cut in half then each half into thirds). Stack strips vertically into the loaf pan. Cover the pan with a clean towel and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

In the meantime preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After rising in the pan bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is a very deep golden brown.

To prepare the glaze, heat the butter, milk, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to boil then immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and powdered sugar.

Happy Baking (& Eating)!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pregnancy Update - 29 Weeks

How Far Along: 29 Weeks

Total Weight Gain/Loss: I have gained eleven pounds since being pregnant. Yep, I'm packing them on now! I was shocked to find out at my last doctors appointment that I gained 9 pounds in a month! They said that's normal, and healthy, and I'm doing good. However, I still freaked a little...

Gender: BOY! We are so excited!

Movement: I have a very active baby! He HATES being squished, so whenever I lean against something he "pushes" me away.
Justin and his son are playing with Morse code or something because we were all taking a nap the other day and Justin fell asleep with his hand on my stomach. While he was sleeping his hand was twitching and baby boy could feel it and could copy him with kicks! Seriously the cutest thing ever.

Baby is Big as a: Small Cabbage (17 inches, 2.9 pounds)

Sleep: Once I hit my 3rd trimester, sleeping has started to suck again. If anyone has any tips beyond a maternity pillow, I would be very grateful to hear them!

What I miss: Not too much... just sleep and being able to give people hugs without the awkward belly bump. Oh, and seeing my feet... ;)

Cravings: Still craving the red meat and now salad. I also love anything spicy. I just seem to be hungry all the time...

Food Aversions: I like things like Skittles, but they give me crazy heartburn, so I guess I have an aversion to them.

Symptoms: By the end of the day my lower back is so sore and painful! I think I figured out why; I carry my baby boy really low, and he's just the height of my kitchen counters. So unless I want to squish him and have him beat me up, I have to arch my back so I can reach the stove, sink, and counter-tops... It's kind of ridiculous.

Can't wait to meet our baby boy in about eleven weeks!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Couponing + Chili Recipe

I have used coupons since I got married and was in charge of my own pantry, but August 30th I went to a workshop in Chattanooga about couponing. The workshop was done by a ministry called "Time 2 $ave." It opened my eyes to a new way to save money and give to others. I decided I wanted to share some of this information with everyone because of how it changed my pantry and my pocketbook. (*Time 2 $ave has no connections to this post...)

 The biggest change for me was moving from a "we NEED this item this week" to "we USE this item" shopping. Basically instead of buying items at full price with one random coupon when you are in a pinch and need it, you buy items in bulk when they are on sale and you have a coupon for each item. It may not be when you need the item, but it should be so cheap that it makes sense to stock up on it.

For example, I bought two loaves of bread for $.34. I had two coupons for $.55 off one loaf of bread, and the bread was Buy One Get One free (BOGO). The store doubled the coupons, so I got $1.10 of each loaf of bread, but since it was BOGO it was like getting $2.20 off one loaf of bread while the other was still free. Thus, the $.34 for two loaves of bread. Here is my receipt for visual people:
Oh yeah, I got a nickel off for bringing my own bag.
Next is how much you should stock up on. Sales tend to go on a 10-12 week cycle. Meaning you should stock up on items you use often to last you 10-12 weeks. It sounds like a lot, but when you are paying $.34 for two loaves of bread, I'm pretty sure you'll make room like I did.

I get my coupons from the newspaper (I usually buy at least 4 papers each Sunday), and online at sites like Coupons.com, Smartsource.com, and Redplum.com. I also recently subscribed to All You Magazine because I heard they have crazy amounts of great coupons in each issue.

Now there are two types of coupons: manufacturer, and store. You can use both on one transaction. So if you have a Target coupon for Dove deodorant, and have a Dove Coupon, you can use both to purchase the deodorant!

As I stated before some stores also double coupons.

With the amount of coupons that you're likely to gather, you'll need a way to organize them. I use a binder with baseball card sleeves. I also have tabs for different categories so I know where to find my coupons.
My lovely binder full of gold.

My tabs.

Coupon gold!
Yes, the savings I have gotten with couponing have been WONDERFUL! (This has been the best grocery budget month in a VERY LONG time) But I think my favorite part about couponing is being able to give to others. Our church recently started a food pantry, and I have scored so many great deals on canned items, toothpaste, etc. That I have been able to give to others without actually taking much money out of our monthly budget at all! (Lots of free toothpaste! :D) And it doesn't stop with items you buy. When you coupon like crazy, you clip a lot of coupons, but don't use them all. I found out that you can mail expired manufacturer coupons up to 6 months old overseas to our military and they can still use them! (If you want the mailing address let me know.)

I love couponing, and I don't think I will ever go back to my old way of shopping. I save way too much money not too.

If you have questions, I'd be happy to answer them, but I also suggest you check out Time 2 $ave. Their website probably can answer your questions; plus they post daily deals on their site.

Lastly, I want to share a recipe that I use from my nicely stockpiled pantry. This is a favorite of my hubby and I; and I have almost all of the items in my pantry at any given moment... Quick and cheap meal!

Chili Recipe

1 lb Ground Beef
1 Medium Onion
1 can Light Red Kidney Beans
1 can Dark Red Kidney Beans
1 can Diced Tomatoes
1 can Tomato Paste
2 pkgs McCormick Chili Seasoning

Sour Cream

Brown the ground beef in a large pot, dice onion and saute with beef. Add both cans of beans, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, two cups of water, and both packages of chili seasoning. Mix well. Let simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until completely heated through.

I like to serve it with cheese and saltines. The hubby likes cheese and sour cream.
Recipe makes about 8-10 servings.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Well, I believe it has started. I'm "nesting." It started out with me just making lists of things that needed to be done before my little man arrived, but now it has escalated to actually getting things off the list.
This is just page 1 of 5...
The thing I have crossed off my list recently is finishing the pillows for the futon in baby boy's room. Here are my final products:
The first pillow is blue with white polka dots. I love the cute little bee! The second pillow is white with white polka dots, but I put on the random blue dots on one side.

The futon with the finished pillows.
Sewing the pillows didn't take me too long, only three days of sewing a couple hours each. I could have gotten it done sooner, but my sewing machine was being stubborn.

We also got started on securing the bookshelves around the house. The downstairs bookshelf is done, but we need a couple more parts to finish the bookshelf in the nursery. Then I can cross another item off my list!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Weekend was pretty chill for us, which was LOVELY!

Friday night we headed up to Gatlinburg to spend time with Justin's grandparents. We even stayed with them so we didn't have to clean up the cabin when we left! Talk about a blessing! Grandma and Grandpa totally spoiled us the whole weekend. I don't think I've eaten that much in a LONG time! We also got to see a "Miracle" a show in Pigeon Forge with them.

Saturday they had to work, so Justin and I went to Tanger to make a few returns, and he made a few purchases. Then we headed to Danderidge, TN. Honestly, it's beautiful there, but not much goes on. So we walked around downtown, went in a couple shops, and even got some homemade mint chocolate chip ice cream! I found this really cute baby boutique; but unfortunately, it was a boutique, which means expensive! However, I fell in love with this little newsie style crocheted cap for my baby boy! I'm going to have to go on Esty to find one similar! When we were done in Danderidge we drove back to Gatlinburg. Then we napped, watched football, and watched a movie. Around 8pm Grandma and Grandpa came home from work and we all ate dinner and played cards. (Grandma and I taught the boys how it's done...)

Sunday we all got up for church and have a wonderful time with the Lord. After church we all went to Golden Corral and ate too much. (Isn't that the point of Golden Corral though?) Then we went back home for naps.... I loved all the sleeping. We finished the evening with more card playing.

Monday we got up and packed up. While Grandma was spoiling us with more food, Justin looked outside and saw humming birds! He just got a new camera, so of course he spent 20 minutes taking pictures. Here is my favorite one.
CUTE! I wanted to hold it.

After breakfast we headed home. Which turned out to be a good thing because Tropical Storm Lee decided to come crashing down upon us! It took us 45 minutes longer than normal to make it home, and then once we got back, we weren't sure we could make it back to our house! That's how flooded everything was! Here are a few pictures of the roads and greenway yesterday!
The Greenway... a walkway that goes under bridges and all through town. Can you see the little bench that is covered in water?

The road right before our house.... crazy amounts of water!
As I'm writing this it's still raining.... I hope it stops soon!