Cranberry Orange Scones and 12 Hours In London

To be honest, I only recall eating a “real” scone once, and that was after an exhausting day of packing up, traveling, going thru the Tel Aviv airport, flying to England, and meeting up with a friend who took us to his Mum’s house for a late dinner (not to mention the tour of London we were about to take).

We met this friend who was volunteering for a group we are very close with, in Yafo Israel, and after we finished doing some filming for them, he ended up accompanying us around the ancient city for a little while.

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Playing around by the Statue Of Faith.   See how tiny Sam was?  🙂

As our six month stay in Israel came to a sad close, Abba contacted him to see what was the best transportation, place to stay and things to do, during our twelve hour layover in London.  Abba is incredible at researching and finding the best good, cheap flights.  If you can save a hundred dollars (or more) on nine people’s tickets with a long layover … who knows, you might just find a place in Buckingham Palace for that price :).

Anyway, if you love seeing the Heavenly Father’s hand move, hear this.  Our friend’s response was basically: “Hey, don’t think about it, I’ll take care of it!”

Great!

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But then reality kicks in: he is working, he does not have a place for us to stay and definitely no transportation for a family of nine!  He happened to talk to his mother and mentioned trying to figure something out.  Her answer was to bring us to her place … the lady she shared a house with was out of town.  Talk about perfect timing!  One problem (or as Abba says: opportunity for a solution) was solved.  But still … the transportation issue.

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Lydia our adorable little luggage guard!

May 24th 2006, we were scheduled to leave Israel and fly into the Heathrow airport at 8 pm.  That very morning, our friend got a call from a company he did part-time work for – delivering rental cars to the airport.  This time he “had” to pick up a VAN and have it at the airport by the next morning 🙂 :)!  Talk about perfect timing again!  He showed up in a practically brand new van, big enough for all of us to squeeze into … along with our many carry-on pieces.  Back then, you were allowed to travel with more luggage … plus, some of us heavier-packers decided when they said “one carry-on bag”, as long as the camera bag was attached to the purse, that was attached to the backpack, that was attached to us, you were fine … and it actually worked! 🙂

Our friend’s Mum was an incredible hostess and even though it was late, she had a parking space blocked off for us in front of her tiny, London row house and lots of yummy food for us to try.  There were soups, scones, biscuits (aka cookies in American English) … I can’t remember everything.  I just remember how she kept bringing one thing after the other and telling us to eat, eat, eat!

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Buckingham Palace.    Please excuse the terrible picture quality … they are from long ago 🙂

After feasting, everyone climbed back into the van and we were off to see London.  Did you know that all of the Public Houses (a.k.a. bars or pubs) in London close at 11 pm?  It was about midnight when we started driving around and everywhere was so empty.

We are generally late-nighters and I especially am usually pretty good at staying up, but we were zonked!  Completely worn out.  I had never tried so hard to stay awake and see EVERYTHING – and been so utterly unsuccessful.

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Going around a round-about backwards!

We really had a fantastic time though, and made so many good memories.  We drove on the wrong side of the road.  We saw Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the Thames River and who knows what else … this 11-year-old was falling asleep.  I do remember stopping and several people getting some coffee … maybe I should have tried it! 🙂

Anyway, fast forward to the end of 2015, here is our favorite “Tennessean” Scone Recipe.  For those of you who don’t want to be sliding your screen up-and-down as you chop berries, squeeze orange juice and mix batter, check the bottom of the post.  For anyone who want more details, here they are:

Cranberry Orange Scones

We usually one and a half this recipe to feed our family of nine and to have a few left over.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prep Work: Chop 3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries in quarters (we usually buy them in the fall, wash and freeze them).
Cranberry Orange Scones (1)
Wash an orange well, zest or grate the peel off very finely.
Cranberry Orange Scones (2)

Mix 3 cups white whole wheat flour,  1/3 cup sucanat, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda in a medium-large bowl.  Cut 2/3 cup butter in and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Cranberry Orange Scones (3)
Add orange zest and cranberries, combine.
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Cranberry Orange Scones (5)

Measure the juice of the orange plus enough buttermilk to make 1 cup of liquid.m

Add to the dry ingredients and toss with fork (or spoon) until moist clumps form.j

Dump onto the counter and pat/mush into a ball, incorporating the remaining loose flour.  Shape a circle (with your hands or a rolling pen) and cut into pie shaped wedges.  The size really depends on you … the thicker and bigger they are, the softer and heartier they will be.  Smaller wedges will be more crispy.  I generally will roll it out to about 1 inch thick and 8 inches diameter.  Cut either 8 0r 12 pieces for this size recipe.Cranberry Orange Scones (8)

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake 15-20 minutes at 375 F. or until lightly golden.Cranberry Orange Scones (9)
Serve and Enjoy!
Cranberry Orange Scones (10)

Cranberry Orange Scones

We usually one and a half this recipe to feed our family of nine and to have a few left over.
3 c. white whole wheat flour
1/3 c. sucanat
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
The peel of 1 orange grated, or 1 T. dried Orange Zest
2/3 c. cold unsalted butter
3/4 c. fresh or frozen chopped cranberries
1 c. buttermilk or the juice of 1 orange plus enough buttermilk to make 1 c.

Preheat oven to 375° F. Sift dry ingredients.  Cut in butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in cranberries and orange peel. Gradually add buttermilk tossing with fork until moist clumps form. Put dough on the counter, knead briefly to incorporate the remaining loose flour. Form dough into 3/4 – 1 inch-thick round (or about 8 inches diameter). Cut into 8 to 12 wedges. Transfer wedges to a baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until tops of scones are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the scones warm or at room temperature.

Cranberry Orange Scones (13)

Pray … About A Lawn Mower???

Pray ... About A Lawn Mower???

Have you ever wondered if the Father REALLY answers prayers?  I mean, in our little everyday life.  Does it really matter if we pray for our future?  Isn’t it already planned out?

We recently moved to a 115 year old  farmhouse with 4-5 times more land then we were previously renting.  It is going to be great … but there is a lot more to keep up with and my brother decided to buy a zero-turn lawnmower for the yards.

He purchased one, only to find out (after an extremely short time) that it was not described accurately.  It had mechanical issues and did not work properly on our hilly terrain.  He tried to contact the guy who sold it to him but the man was not interested in taking back this “wonderful” mower he had just sold the evening before.  The situation was hopeless.  My brother tried to reason with the guy but he would not budge.

Pray ... About A Lawn Mower???

As I stood outside repainting the quarter-round trim (an odd brown shade that provided an amazingly interesting contrast to the pink and green walls of our girl’s bedroom), I felt the urge to pray.

The prayer was not just for the man to be convicted and have a change of heart and to start walking honestly, but also for my brother and that he could accept whatever the Father had for him (even if that meant losing a chunk of the money he had been carefully saving for trucking school … and still be mower-less).

Tommy decided to send one more text, explaining our difficult situation and asking the man to please help him out.  He was even willing to take a $100 loss, if the man would JUST TAKE THE MOWER BACK.

More prayer … a long silence … for him, a battle between hope and despair, frustration and anger … and finally, the man responded.  His whole tone and words were changed and that evening, the mower was returned and Tommy had everything back, minus the time and some gas!!!

The Father moves in mighty ways!  I am praising Him for the change He brought about, and thankful that He does lead us through difficult times to mold us into better tools for His service.

Pray ... About A Lawn Mower???

Sometimes His plans are different from our wishes and it is crucial that we never doubt Him … at the same time though, don’t shrink away from His presence.  Be bold, worship Him, praise Him, sing to Him, dance before Him, rejoice in His mighty works … and lay your burdens at His feet.  Even our Savior encourages us to call out, seek, knock on the door, be persistent … and find!  (Luke 11:5-13)

He is mighty … how about you?

Another angel, who had a gold container for incense, came and stood at the altar.  This one was given a lot of incense to offer with the prayers of the saints on the gold altar in front of the throne.  Then the smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up to God from the hand of the angel.  Revelations 8:3-4.

P.S.  Lydia said I should mention that a few days later Tommy was able to get a working lawnmower and this one is a John Deere, so that adds 100 pluses 🙂


P.S. Don’t forget to participate in the Counting Your Blessings Challenge that’s happening right now!!Thankful_Square SMALL

Car Seat Baby Blankets – Win One!

Have you seen a car seat baby blanket before?

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Picture winter time … cold, windy, freezing … and you are trying to go somewhere in a vehicle. You want to keep your baby warm, but you’re having a difficult time maneuvering the car seat straps around the fuzzy warm blanket in which you have wrapped your sweetie-pie!

I have the perfect solution for you!!! It makes life comfortable for the baby and more simple for the parents.

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This blanket with feet is made from soft fleece fabric and is specially designed to use with a car-seat.  It also has snaps to form a hood. As you can see in the color options, several of these blankets have 100% Cotton Flannel Linings.

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This innovative design can stay with the baby while lifting in and out … it adapts to different baby slings, backpacks, strollers, joggers, carriers and swings … and it makes a wonderful blanket to swaddle your baby at any time!

These blankets are extremely simple to use in or out of a car seat:

Slide your baby inside the blanket and buckle in like normal … it’s that simple!1

If desired, tuck the “arms” around your cutie to keep him or her warm and cozy.

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​You can also form a hood by attaching the snaps on the “head” to the ones on the “arms”.

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And there you have it!  Simply perfect!

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With the hope that many of you will get to try this blanket out yourself, I will be giving away one of these blankets (of the $26 or less variations), as well as five $15 coupons to be used on anything in my Etsy shop!

That’s a total of six winners!!

You can enter through the rafflecopter below. There are twenty delightful blankets from which to choose and if you would like something different, you can have that too! Just send me the material and I will sew a custom blanket for you!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Brother’s Pumpkin Casserole Recipe

If you are looking for something delicious to add to a special meal, Thanksgiving dinner or to have as a dessert … you might want to try this Pumpkin Casserole!

It has a smooth pumpkin “filling”, smothered in a delicious nutty topping.  The flavors and textures are just perfect for an outstanding addition to your table!

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Pumpkin Casserole

Filling:
6 c. Mashed or Pureed Pumpkin (click here to learn about preserving pumpkin yourself. I was pretty surprised while shopping the other day, to see a little can of pumpkin puree going for $2+ when outside, the big pumpkins were on sale 2 for $4!)
3/4 – 1 c. Sucanat (or Sugar, OR 1/2 c. Honey)
1 t. Salt
4 beaten Eggs
½ c. Butter
1 c. Milk
2 T. Vanilla

Mix and pour into a 9”x13” casserole dish.

Topping:
1/4 c. Sucanat (or Sugar)
2/3 c. Flour
2 c. chopped Pecans
½ c. melted Butter

Mix and sprinkle over top of casserole dish. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes.

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Mashed Potatoes, Thanksgiving Turkey, Best Cranberry Salad, Pumpkin Casserole, My Green Veggies and last but NOT least, a Buttery Croissant … what more can you ask for?!

There you have it!  Have fun, keep that smile on your face and don’t forget, you are not just cooking for some imperfect people; you are working for a mighty King!  Let’s live, talk and eat royally 🙂 ***

*** (even when there is hardly anything in the cabinet and nothing in your wallet, be royal!  Our Father in heaven will not leave us alone and if it seems like there is no hope and nothing can get worse than this, put a big smile on because, things will have to be getting better soon!  Remember, trials come for our good.  Don’t mope around making everyone miserable and thinking about the problems.  Look up!  Pray, rejoice, and pray some more!  Our Deliverer is coming!)

How To Preserve Pumpkin and an Online Homemaking Conference!

You can do so much with pumpkin …

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… so why not put some away now, to use the rest of the year?

If you live in the U.S. more likely than not, you have a bunch of big ol’ pumpkins sitting at your local Kroger, Safeway, Ingles, Walmart, farmers market, or other grocery store.  Many people get large pumpkins for fall decorations or for carving jack-o-lanterns, but for us they are food!  There are many kinds of squash and pumpkins out there … I will not even try to be an expert on which is best for what, but we have enjoyed preserving and eating the large pumpkins for many years.  And for anyone who enjoys pumpkin and saving money, why not try it too?

Do you want to store away some pumpkin?  If so, you had better make sure you get some soon … they seem to disappear from the stores around the beginning of November.

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I plan on posting our favorite pumpkin casserole recipe very soon but until then, I wanted to re-share the way we freeze pumpkin.  The simple run-through is:

        • Select a pumpkin
        • Chop, cook and puree it
        • Pour into bags and place in the freezer
        • Thaw when ready and use!

Visit this post to find out more on What Do You Do … With Pumpkin?

On another note, since we have six pumpkins to process this year, to save on freezer space, I plan on canning some, as well as freezing them like before.  I found instructions this website that seem easy enough to follow, and I look forward to seeing if it works well.  If anyone has any tips for pressure canning pumpkin, I would be glad to hear them.

Homemaking Ministries is hosting an online conference and their early-bird pricing is available for one week!

This course includes videos from different speakers who are covering the following topics:

  • The Ministry of Homemaking
  • Recovering Biblical Homemaking
  • Homemaking and Working from Home: Is it possible to do both?
  • Homemaking—the juggling act!
  • Saving Time and Money in the Kitchen
  • Having a Plan for Keeping Your Home Clean
  • Prayer in Homemaking: gaining vision, finding time, and praying with our children
  • Finding Joy in Homemaking
  • Spiritual Disciplines for the Busy Homemaker
  • Calm Your Chaos
  • Unrealistic Expectations, Communicating your Needs, and Dealing with Differences
  • Bible Memorizations: 5 minutes a day, lifetime benefits for the entire family.

The conference is live (online) October 27th – 29th but once you sign up, you can have access to the videos and watch them at your leisure whenever you like – forever!  Plus, if you sign up before October 26th, you will receive $75 worth of free bonus items that can help you embrace your role as a homemaker!

Bonus items!! (Pre-conference ticket sales ONLY)

You can find more information and sign up for the conference on this page!

Have fun and keep smiling 🙂

Baked Oatmeal – Easy, Tasty Breakfast!

This is a super simple but yummy breakfast for a busy morning.  Here’s what you have to do:

#1. Toss everything together
#2. Flop into a pan
#3. Pop into the oven
#4. Bake for a little bit, then hurry it to the table, holler “Breakfast is READY!” and…
#5. … settle down for a pleasant meal!

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Baked Oatmeal
4 1/2 cups oats
3/4  or 1 cup sucanat (or sugar)
1 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup melted butter
Additional milk (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add remaining wet ingredients and stir until well mixed.

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Pour into a greased 9×13 casserole dish.

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Bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes (it will be cooked by 30 minutes, but if you would like it a bit more crunchy and chewy, let it cook until golden).  Serve warm with milk, if you like!

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We will be taking a break for the next week or two while we celebrate Sukkot – the Feast of Tabernacles.  We look forward to seeing you after that!

Simple Ranch Dressing Recipe

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I wish I had a quarter for every time someone commented on how good this dressing was or asked for the recipe!  We have made this recipe for years but recently Lydia (my 11 year old sister) did a little experimenting and added a couple dashes of cayenne pepper.  It adds a nice pop for anyone who enjoys a bit of spice.

Ranch Dressing
Yield about 1 cup of dressing.

1/2 cup Mayonnaise (see our easy mayonnaise recipe here)
1/2 cup Buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon Parsley Flakes (dry)
1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
generous dashes of Black Pepper and Paprika
a couple dashes of Cayenne (optional)

Gradually add the buttermilk to the mayonnaise stirring until smooth.  Add remaining ingredients.  Store in a refrigerator.  Serve.  Yes, it really is that simple! 🙂

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Ranch Dip: You can thicken this recipe to make a dip by adding more mayonnaise (or sour cream) until reaching the desired consistency/flavor.

Something that our family has started doing is eating our salad with both homemade Ranch and Italian dressings.  Try it and see!  Maybe we should start a “Ranchalian” movement?!