APPLE BREAD || a sweet recipe

apple bread

A couple of days ago, the girls and I took a dear friend out to pick apples at my grandparent's old farm.  We picked a big basket full of beautiful, tart, green apples.  I plan to make some applesauce, but sweet apple bread was calling my name :)

apple bread

One of my favorite resources for tried and true recipes is Jenny Hobick's blog, Everyday Occasions.  I have been following her blog for years and every recipe turns out so good!  I made a couple of modifications to her recipe....I only had 1 cup of granulated sugar so I used 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of granulated, and I baked my bread for longer!


4 small or 2 large loafs

2 Eggs
2 cups Sugar (or 1 cup Brown Sugar and 1 cup Sugar)
1 stick of Butter (melted)
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2 Apples, peeled and diced
2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare loaf pans by lining them with parchment paper, or greasing with butter.

In a mixer, combine eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.  Add flour mixture into the butter and sugar mixture slowly.  Add apples in and stir just until combined.

Pour batter in the pans.  

Bake for 30 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 15-20 minutes, then move to wire rack.

I love that it makes 2 large loafs, 1 to enjoy warm out of the oven and the other to give away!

bread packaged

This is the best sweet bread I have had in a while, it's so good and so easy!!!!!  The perfect after school snack or lazy Saturday morning breakfast bread :)




The other day the girls "got" to join me for a color consultation.  Typically they play with Grandma when I meet with clients, but that wasn't going to work, so they tagged along.  My client was SO sweet.  She turned what could have been a totally draining morning (shushing and nagging little girls while trying to be professional and have a meeting) and turned it into a fun and productive time.  A great reminder of how I want to treat those around me!  When we headed out into the alley way to look at all of the different colors she had tried painting on the building, she started to snap some photos of the girls.  This one is my favorite!

That evening, the girls and I decided to do some baking.  It seems fitting to bake all things pumpkin in October, so we started our baking spree off with pumpkin chocolate chip bread.

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This is a new recipe (to me) and the bread turned out so good!


2 loaves

3 cups flour 
2 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp baking soda 
4 eggs 
2 cups sugar 
2 cups canned pumpkin 
1 1/2 cups canola oil

Preheat oven to 350. 
In stand-up mixer, beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Gradually add in dry ingredients until just combined.  Pour in chocolate chips. 
Pour evenly into two greased loaf pans (4x8). Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on wire racks. 
Slice and serve.  It also freezes really well!

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So I leave tomorrow for California.  A two day paint training workshop for Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint retailers.  I will miss my little family dearly, but I am really excited to have a few days to myself, and get my creative juices flowing!  In the mean time, I have been filling the freezer and refrigerator with meals and treats.  I made these easy and yummy banana + pecan muffins and I thought I would share the recipe!






  • 4 (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) ripe bananas, plus 1 for garnish (more if making mini muffins)
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup of toasted pecans, for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan, regular or mini, with paper liners. Lightly toast pecans.

  2. Peel four bananas, and place them in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until mashed, about 1 minute. Add brown sugar, oil, and egg; beat until smooth. Reduce speed to low. Add flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; beat until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; beat until combined.

  3. Fill muffin liners three-quarters full. Slice remaining banana into 1/8-inch-thick rounds; place a slice on each muffin. Top each muffin with toasted pecans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes for regular muffins and 20 for mini, rotating pan halfway through. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Store, covered, at room temperature.

{savory} CHEDDAR & DILL SCONES || a recipe

I just thought I would pop in to share this easy and delicious savory scone recipe!  I love it when a food can serve two purposes.  You too??  These scones were perfect with our beef stew last night, and then equally perfect with our bacon and eggs this morning!


Ingredients 4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided 2 tablespoons baking powder 2 teaspoons salt 3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced 4 extra-large eggs, beaten lightly 1 cup cold heavy cream 1/2 pound extra-sharp yellow Cheddar, small-diced 1 cup minced fresh dill 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water or milk, for egg wash Directions Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine 4 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Mix the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss together the Cheddar, dill, and 1 tablespoon of flour and add them to the dough. Mix until they are almost incorporated.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it for 1 minute, until the Cheddar and dill are well distributed. Roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 4-inch squares and then in half diagonally to make triangles. Brush the tops with egg wash. Bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outside is crusty and the inside is fully bake.

This recipe is one of Ina's recipes.  She is one of my favorite cooks!  Her recipes are so approachable….and so good!


In other news, I took some pictures of the guest room progress.  But, it's too rainy and gray outside, my pictures just didn't turn out well.  When the sun shines again I will show the progress of the guest room!

Next on my list…..ordering a sofa, and furnishing Matt's office!  Fun!!

CINNAMON + VANILLA CHIP SCONES :: a sweet breakfast recipe


This morning I asked Addilyn what she wanted for breakfast.

'Scones, eggs and a little bacon'.

Awwww, a girl after my own heart.

I LOVE making breakfast on the weekends.  And even more than that, I love that my little sweet pea enjoys helping in the kitchen.  My vote was for pumpkin-chocolate chip scones, but I was vetoed, the  cinnamon-vanilla chip scones won,   2-1.  Fair and square.


These scones have just the right amount of spice and sweetness.  A little dash of allspice makes this a "fall/winter" scone in my book.


I was tempted to make a spiced-vanilla glaze, but I stuck with the good -ole powdered sugar glaze.  Next time, I am going to add some vanilla bean and spices to the glaze.   I will let you know how that turns out ;-)

Try making these soon, your family will think you are the greatest!


Cinnamon + Vanilla Chip Scones

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

pinch of allspice

1 stick of butter, cut into small pieces

3/4 cup white, vanilla chips

1/2-3/4 whole milk

1 egg, for egg wash

for glaze: 1 tablespoon melted butter, add 1-2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon milk.

Sift together the dry ingredients and work the butter in until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add in the chips and toss together. Slowly add the milk until the dough just comes together. Roll the dough out into a square that is approximately 1 inch thick. Cut into triangles and brush with egg wash. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Let scones cool completely and then drizzle with glaze.


HONEY WHOLE WHEAT BREAD :: a bread recipe

When the seasons change, and the weather turns cold, there is nothing better than warm, home made bread...right out of the oven.  It's my favorite.  My family's too!


This honey whole wheat bread recipe is so easy.  If you are intimidated by yeast, don't be!  Once you start baking with it, you will get more comfortable with it....I promise!  {Not to say you won't have total 'flops', at least I seem to 75% of the time ;-}  Try this, your family will love you for it!!




2 cups warm water

1/3 c. honey

1/3 c. canola oil

1 T. yeast

1 t. salt

2 c. whole wheat flour

5 (or so) cups of all purpose flour  (add until the dough pulls away from the sides and is no longer sticky).

Directions ::

Grease (I use butter) two loaf pans.

Pour 2 cups of warm water into your mixing bowl.  Add the oil THEN the honey.  Use the same liquid measuring cup and your honey will come right out of the cup.  Start your mixer on low.  Then add yeast, salt and 2 cups of whole wheat flour.  When those are incorporated, start adding the all purpose flour until  the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and is no longer sticky to the touch.  It usually takes about 5 cups.  

When the dough is just right, turn it onto a clean, floured surface and knead it for 5-10 min, or use the dough hook  of your mixer.  The longer you need it the more dense it becomes.  I knead this bread (on low, in the KitchenAid mixer) for 7-8 minutes.  Put some oil into the bottom of the mixing bowl and then add the dough back to the bowl to rise.

 My oven has a proofing setting for the rising phase but you could also heat your oven to 200 when you begin and then just turn it off so that the oven is a little warm but not hot.  I place a warm towel over the bowl and let it rise until it’s doubled in size.  It usually takes 45 minutes to an hour in the oven.   After it’s doubled, divide it into two loaves, shaping it into loaves by tucking the sides under, and then place into greased loaf pans.  Let rise again until it’s just to the top of the pans.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 min.

***This recipe makes two loaves so it’s perfect for sharing.  If I don't give away my second loaf, I wrap it in plastic wrap, then pop it into a freezer bag.  It's stays fresh in the freezer for quite a while, although mine never stays in the freezer longer than 2 weeks.**

recipe adapted from here

EASY HALLOWEEN NIGHT MENU :: easy home made dinner


I love to host parties and have friends and family over for any occasion.  Sometimes I have the time to prepare food and decorate, other times I don't.  I always want my focus to be on just spending time together, now how perfect everything looks or tastes!  I have found the more complicated I make food and entertaining, the more I am stressed and tired, and the food typically doesn't even turn out that good! We are having a few friends over for a quick Halloween dinner.  We all have littles to take trick-or-treating, so it will be a quick dinner, a stop in between the Halloween festivities!

I know we all have our 'go-to' easy-peasy meals, but I thought I would share a couple of my favorites!  These dishes have to pass the test of easy, tasty and can-be-made-in-advance!

Here is our Halloween menu ::

home made HERBED RICOTTA with pita chips


This home made herbed ricotta is so good....and so easy!!!  {I use the ricotta for the lasagna.}



I love this lasagna because it is easy and versatile.  I can make it the night before and just keep it in the refrigerator until an hour before dinner!



 PW CHEESY GARLIC BREAD {half with garlic and half without garlic for the kiddos}


And for drinks :: HOT COCOA and HOT APPLE CIDER

I figure we won't have any dessert since we will probably be eating too much candy ;-)

I hope have a great Halloween!!

OLIVE OIL PUMPKIN BREAD :: a quick bread recipe

pumpkin bread  

I am still baking anything and everything that calls for pumpkin!

I LOVE pumpkin and find I really only bake/cook with it in the Fall.

I thought I would share an easy olive oil pumpkin bread recipe I found online.  It's tasty and I love that it uses olive oil and honey, instead of vegetable oil and sugar.  **Full discloser, I added a powered sugar glaze and it adds just a perfect extra hint of sweetness.  A cream cheese frosting would be good too!**

Pumpkin Bread Recipe


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup  pumpkin purée*
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup  chopped walnuts or pecans

* To make pumpkin purée, cut a pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a foil or Silpat lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don't use for future use. Or, if you are working with pumpkin pieces, roast or boil them until tender, then remove and discard the skin.


1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

2 Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, honey and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts.

3 Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.

Can easily double the recipe.

Can easily add a powered sugar glaze or cream cheese frosting to add extra sweetness.


I thought I would share a scrumptious pumpkin spice muffin recipe.  Last week I made some to-die-for pumpkin + molasses cookies.  Seriously, I couldn't stop eating them!!  I will post the recipe, I just didn't get any photos, but I promise, you will want to eat the entire batch!!

Anyways, I had some left over pumping puree to use up.  A little breakfast treat sounded good, so I made some pumpkin spice muffins.


Pumpkin Muffins from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15 ounce can) 1/3 cup vegetable oil 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice 1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Put oven in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put liners in muffin cups.

Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.

Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.

Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

pumpkin muffin

Addilyn loves to help in the kitchen.  She picked out the muffin liners ;-) and she takes her role of taste testing very seriously.  Don't step between the girl and her muffin batter {or cookie dough, or cake batter or anything with butter and sugar}.

And on a separate note, I am loving my 'FALL' sign that I got from Anne.

Isn't it darling?

We did a little bartering after the SALE and I was thrilled to come home with this ;-)


Now go bake some muffins....your family will love you for it!!





'NO KNEAD' FRENCH BREAD :: a bread recipe


I love baking bread!

I love the way my home smells while it is in the oven.....I love a warm piece slathered with butter for a late afternoon snack.....and I love teaching my little sweet pea how to bake and navigate her way around the kitchen.

I have a few recipes that are my standbys.  This recipe is one of them!!  With the weather changing and soup season upon us, I thought I would share this recipe.  Seriously, you will see that it is so easy to make home made bread any time!!

bread dough

It's as easy as mixing the ingredients in a large bowl, letting the dough rise, shaping it and baking it.


I usually make two loaves.  A large one for us to eat right out of the oven, and a smaller one to give away or freeze.


No Knead French Bread From Artisian Bread in 5 Minutes a Day via The Ivory Hut

3 cups of lukewarm water 
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast 
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Grab a very large mixing bowl, or a large container that you can cover. In it, mix the water, yeast, and salt. You don’t have to heat up the water to a precise optimal temperature for the yeast. I’ve even used just regular tap water, and it’s worked well for me. Just let that sit together for a while (you don’t have to wait for the yeast to dissolve completely), then dump the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. You don’t need to knead this, and you’re not looking to make it come together into a dough ball. You just want everything mixed well, with no streaks of flour left, and you’re done.

Leave it in your container, covered (but not airtight, or it’ll pop), for a few hours. When it has risen and then deflated a bit, your dough is done. It’s ready to be used or stored in the refrigerator.

To bake the bread, just grab a chunk of dough, about the size of a grapefruit. Dust your hands with flour to help prevent sticking, and gently pull the sides of the dough toward the bottom, rotating the dough, until you get a roundish shape with a smooth surface. It should only take you about a minute or less to do this. The dough won’t be entirely in the bottom, where it may look bunched up, but don’t worry about it.

Put it on a cutting board that’s been dusted with cornmeal to prevent sticking, and let it rest for at least 40 minutes. No need to cover it. If the dough has been refrigerated, it helps to let it rest a little more, until it’s no longer chilled.

Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake, put a cast iron skillet (or a pizza stone) in the middle rack of your oven, and put a broiler pan (I used a cookie sheet) in the bottom rack. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Dust some flour on the top of your loaf, and slash the top, about 1/4-inch deep.

After twenty minutes of preheating, it’s time to bake. (You can put the bread in after 20 minutes, even if your oven hasn’t reached 450 degrees yet.) Slide the loaf onto the baking stone, and then quickly pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler pan. Then quickly shut the oven door to keep the steam inside. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until you get a nice brown crust. Remove and let cool completely, if you can wait that long.