Organic Pumpkin Muffins



Ingredient Batter:

3 1/2 Cups Organic Unbleached Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
3 Cups Organic Raw Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg 
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice 

2 Cups Organic Mashed Pumpkin 
2/3 Cups Spring Water
4 Organic Free Range Eggs
1 Cup Coconut Oil 
1 Teaspoon Vanilla 

1 Cup Chopped Walnuts (optional)

Filling for cupcakes:

12 ounces Organic Cream Cheese or Chev Goat Cheese
3/4 Cup Organic Powdered Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla

In large mixing bowl combine your dry ingredients. Mix well. In another bowl mix wet ingredients. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet until completely combined. If you want to add nuts in your pumpkin muffins do so now. In a separate bowl mix cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Insert into muffins or bread by dropping small spoonfuls on top. Scoop into muffin tin or pour into three bread pans. For bread bake at 350 F. for an hour or until a tooth pick when inserted comes out clean. For the muffins bake at 350 F for 15 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean.

Grab a nice cup of coffee or hot cup of tea and enjoy!

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Belle Meade Plantation


My cousin came for the weekend and since she has never been to Tennessee before we decided to show her around. We choice a local historical site, Belle Meade Plantation. We've been there several times but every time I learn something new. The house and grounds are stunning.



The plantation was founded in 1807 by John Harding. The thoroughbred horse business on the plantation began with the boarding of thoroughbreds as early as 1816, John registered his own racing silks with the Nashville Jockey Club in 1823 and began training horses on the track at his McSpadden's Bend Farm. 
Porch
When his son William Giles Harding took over the estate, he focused on breeding and racing the thoroughbreds however the Civil War interrupted both. After the war, the family picked up where they left off and between 1867-1868 General Harding won more races than any man living in the U.S. at the time.

Barn
As you step past the bullet-riddled columns (from the American Civil War) on the front porch and through the front door you are greeted by paintings of the Belle Meade's most famous horses. Almost all of the Kentucky Derby winners can track their roots back to Belle Meade. Such horses as Secretariat, Sea Biscuit, Barbero, and Iroquois trace their roots back to this plantation. 
Another view of the dairy


Side Saddle

The plantation is a wonderful place to visit for the entire family. It is a picture of a bygone era that is quickly fading on our ever changing American landscape. History is so much richer for places like the Belle Meade Plantation.  It is a way to touch, taste and breathe in history in a way to make it a part of you.  One that you will remember for a lifetime. 

The home tour is guided but as you complete the mansion tour you are free to walk the beautiful grounds for the rest of your experience here and tour the rest of the buildings and walk around under the massive trees that grace the grounds of the plantation. 
Dairy again
We had such an incredible experience.  Whether you love history, old buildings or horses this place is a great place to spend and afternoon. Especially if you love the Civil War era or have a pack of home schooled little ones who love field trips.

Inside The Dairy
Slave Cabin on the Plantation
Harding Family Cabin before building the mansion 
Inside the Harding Cabin
Stone Bench inviting you to sit and stay awhile
Smoke House
Beautiful Garden





Artifacts found on the grounds of Belle Meade

Urns decorate the pathway to the family mausoleum.

When You Feel Like Saying "When" - Dancing In The Rain


Life isn't about waiting for the storms to pass, it's about learning to dance with Him in the rain.

A few years ago my sister woke up on the couch to the sound of water dripping. Further investigation revealed that one of the second story toilets had overflown and was now dripping through the living room ceiling all over our new living room furniture. That night the house sounded like a large plane was parked in the living room and yet another one was in the upstairs bathrooms. On top of this our air conditioner was out and the days were in the low hundreds, so everyone was camping out in the master bedroom. It was loud, it was hot and it was crowded. For a couple of months it felt like just everything that could possible go wrong had gone wrong.

My parents and grandmother we're in a car accident.

One thing after the next after the next went wrong.

I remember laying on the twin size mattress on the floor, exhausted- spiritually and mentally. All I wanted to do was curl in a ball and sleep (but it was way too hot and loud to sleep). It pushed me to the point that all I could pray was please just make it stop! We had a small radio sitting on the floor in the corner so we could listen to music while we did school. It was set on a Christian music channel and this one song by Mandisa kept coming on. Part of the lyrics go something like this

"You got to hang on just a little bit longer, the pain isn't going to last forever, it's only going to make you stronger...". 
I learned through that whole experience that He teaches us through the pain and the suffering. He gives us more that we can handle over and over so that he can grow us. After all of that I realized that I was closer to Him than ever before.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33


This year at the minimum has been ok, at the worst its been a nightmare. If you knew me really well you would realize very quickly that I like knowing every detail before I get into a situation. I don't really care for surprises (not even the good ones) they make me nervous. You could probably say that I like being in control, but which one of us doesn't? From my grandmothers health issues to having to put my dog down. Its been stressful. Its been filled with many tears and "Why's". I'm like a small child asking an adult why the color red is red. Or why they have to go to bed.  But I'm learning as our family faces more trials, that I don't have to see the entire staircase I just need to see the step in front of me.

I'm getting better at giving it over to Him and being satisfied with just letting him take care of it while I follow in His footsteps. What ever he wants to happen is going to happen, and as big as I think my will is it is nothing compared to His. I may not understand why my dog had to get Kidney Failure, or why we had to put him to sleep three days after finding out. Or why I have eleven siblings in heaven. Or why innocent people have to get hurt. Or why this summer turned out the way it did, Or why my Grandmother is having mini strokes and the doctors don't know how to stop it. Or why or neighbors have to be jerks. But that's OK. Someday I will and will all make since.

In church Sunday the pastor was telling a story of a man who went to heaven and he saw his whole life mapped out in foot prints.

In the beginning his foot prints went in all different directions, then he saw two sets of foot prints, one really really big and the other tiny in comparison. Slowly the foot prints began to follow the second, sure they were spots where they would veer off in another direction for a time and then they would come back to the large ones. In some places deep ruts marred the sand. Then as time went by they straightened so that the matched the others and grew closer until the smaller ones appeared inside of the larger ones so that only one set formed across the sand. And the smaller ones began to grow and fill the larger ones.
Then much to the mans distress, two sets appeared again, but they weren't straight like before. They were strewn haphazardly across the sand like in the beginning. The man turned to God and said "I understand part of it. In the beginning where the foot prints are in all different directions is before I knew you. Then as I accepted you into my heart my foot steps began to straighten, but still there were times when I chased other things. The deep ruts are where I stumbled. But as time passed I began to become more like you and our  foot prints began to come closer as I began to walk closer to you, until finally my foot prints were on top of yours..."
"That's correct," God replied. "But what happened there where the foot prints are in all directions? Did I walk away? Did I stumble? What did I do?" And God replied "No, you didn't fall, or stumble, or walk away. That's where we danced,"


I think life is about learning to dance in the rain so that when the sun comes out it will be even more beautiful. Its easy to praise God in the sunshine, but its hard to when the rain is pouring down and your heart is breaking.

Organic Wet Beef and Bean Burrito


Ingredients:

1 Can Organic Refried Beans (16 OZ each) 
1 Small Package Organic Grass Fed Beef
Dash Of:
Himalayan Salt
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Chili Powder
Brianna's Fiesta Rice 
Flour Tortillas 
Enchilada Sauce 28 ounce can
Cheddar,Colby Jack Cheese or Jack Cheese

Directions:

Brown ground beef in a skillet and season to your taste. Add your can of re-fried beans to your beef and cook until warm. Grate cheese and set aside. Warm enchilada sauce in a sauce pan
Warm flour tortillas (we just place them on the burner on the stove and turn it in circles and flip it from one side to the other but you can get fancy and use a pan or griddle.) Heat until just warm, but not stiff and brown. Take flour tortilla and place on a plate. Scoop beef and bean mixture and place in the middle. Top with Brianna's Fiesta Rice (see below for recipe). Cheese and what ever else you like in your burrito. Fold up the bottom of the tortilla over your meat and rice mix.  Then fold the left side and then the right making your burrito.  Top with a ladle of enchilada sauce and some more cheese.

Enjoy!

Brianna's Fiesta Rice

Ingredients:

2 3/4 Cups Chicken Broth
1 1/4 Cup diced tomatoes and green chilies 
1 Tsp Himalayan Salt 
A dash of: 
Mrs Dash Fiesta Lime
Chili Powder
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder 
3 grinds of Pork chop seasoning 
6-8 black rip olives quartered 
2 Cups organic rice
2 Tablespoons Butter

Directions:

Boil broth and liquid from diced tomatoes and green chilies (needs to make 4 Cups) in medium size stock pan. Put your seasonings into the liquid. When liquid boils rapidly add rice and cook 15 Minutes (or as directed on the back of your container of rice) with butter. Add the olives and tomatoes and green chilies to rice.


Cottage Charm Part 7 Taking A Compliment


This old thing? I only wear it when I don't care how I look. - Its A Wonderful Life

Look around you and listen, children and adults alike stumble and falter when complemented on anything from a new haircut to that dinner you know they took all afternoon preparing. Why is that? Why is it so hard to just say what we aught to?

When someone tells is that our outfit is pretty we don't need to tell them it is a hand-me-down from our cousin Claire, or that we found it at a yard sale for 50 cents. (Only tell them where you got it if they ask. But there is no need to go into great detail as to where. You could simply say "It was a gift" or "it caught my eye at a yard sale".) They don't want us to explain all the reasons its not pretty or that we think it makes our hips look big. We need to just say "Thank you"

When I go to church everyone says I look like one of the latest Disney princesses because of my long braided hair. I found myself uncomfortable, but we need to fight that and just graciously say "Thank you". Maybe God is using others to bless us. Others on the outside see us in ways that we never do, often we are our biggest critic.

Walking With Mom


It has been a long road, so many memories. You were my Matron of honor at my wedding, you helped me scrimp to make the evening special and beautiful. You were mom and dad for me after daddy died and we were best friends when I grew up.

When you would go visit other family members I would try not to call so they could have you all to themselves but I would find myself standing in an all too empty kitchen wishing I could just talk to you. Just share my day or cry on your shoulder.

Time has marched on and still we walk side by side year by year. The doctors can't say why- but these strokes don't stop. They continue to plague you and frighten us all as the slowly steal one memory at a time. With them has come change... my friend has gone away and left only the small frail shell of a woman I loved. Someday's you remember me, other you don't. Someday's you know you are at home others you are somewhere else. Somewhere I can not follow no matter how much I wish I could. Someday's I repeat things two-thousand times and on the two millionth and one time, I have to remind myself that to you it is only the first time.

In the quiet times, I wonder- how the brain is so amazing. How it picks and chooses...


"Do the chickens have a place to go out of the rain?"

"Do I have shoes?" 

"What do I put on my feet?"...

I am tired.

Like the mother of a toddler that has to answer a string of "Why" questions that never end until night falls and she tucks her little questioner safely in bed and whispers exhausted prayers over them. Stealing away in the dark quiet moments to pray for the strength to finish the journey. To end the days with love, and honor...

Grandma's Organic Apple Pie


Pie Ingredients:

5 Organic Apples
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (Optional) 
2 Crusts
2-3 Tablespoons Raw Organic Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon 
1 Free Range Egg
1 1/2 Teaspoon Tapioca Flour or Corn Starch

Crust Ingredients:

 (makes 1)
1 1/4 Cups Organic Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt 
1/3 Cups Organic Butter
3-4 Tablespoons Cold Water 

In a medium size bowl place your flour and salt. Stir and add half of your butter and cut in. Add water and stir. Slice the other half of the butter into thin slices and knead into dough. Place in the fridge so butter can harden.


Roll crust out until it fits the bottom of your pan. Cut off extra. Stretch across pan and use a fork to prick the dough across the bottom. Slice apples and fill the pan. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over top and add the lemon juice.


 Roll the second crust out and cut into long strips. Weave the pieces back and forth across the top (over one strip under another) so it looks like a basket. If you have extra strips you can use them to make a bow or letter for the top of your pie.


Beat egg and brush on top. Bake 350 for 25 minutes. Serve warm or cold, we love to have ours with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Mmmm! So good!


Here are some other options for crust.



Cottage Charm Part 6 - Play Time Manners

~Play Time~

Manners please.  She would tell us that as a gentle reminder that we were not acting our best and it was just enough to nudge our conscience and do what we knew that we needed to do.  Manners are very important in play as they are at a museum, in church our favorite restaurant or grandma's house. We must then instruct our little ones on how to behave so that they never feel lost in a circumstance and don't know how to act. It is not a stuffy and antiquated notion, but something we do because we love our children and want them to feel comfortable  in many situations.

For instance, we should not be selfish but share what we bring to playtime with others if we bring snacks bring enough to share with our friends. 

Do not insist on going first. We need to wait and take turns. We should never cut in line. Do not hit, push, scratch or throw things at others. This may seem obvious but I see it happen time and time again when I volunteer at church with the children.  

If you see a girl alone with no friends, include her in your play time. It will bless both of you because you will have a new friend and she will be blessed by the love that you show her.