Monday, September 18, 2017

Apple-Raisin Cinnamon Bread on a Rainy Day


Hello, Dear Friends, I hope you are enjoying 
these mellow days of September! 

Here in western Washington State, the seasons 
are changing rapidly. 


It started with a 'visitation' :) 

A lenticular cloud formation, just past 
Mt. Rainier at mid-morning on Friday. 


These amazing cloud formations usually forecast rain 
within 24-48 hours. 

You can read about lenticular clouds and see more amazing photos, Here.



You might almost believe it's a UFO streaking
across the sky! 
Except it wasn't moving........
at least not perceptibly. 


The lower, wispy clouds are smoke, finally lifting,
from the Norse Peak fire near Mt. Rainier. 


By Sunday it rained. 

I could almost hear the collective sigh of relief
from every living thing. 


It has been the 2nd driest summer on record. 
The driest summer was during the years 
between 1915 and 1920 when the 
Pacific Northwest was in a drought. 
100 years ago. 

The good news is that we are having
 several days of rainy, cool weather. 
This will help slow down the fires 
 that were started by lightning back in June, 
in steep, rugged and remote 
locations that are difficult to access. 


While Mother Nature is doing the watering for me, 
I thought I would use my time to do some early Fall baking.
 Apple - Raisin Cinnamon Bread. 
Yum. 

This recipe is so easy - made with ingredients 
you might already have on hand. 
I like recipes like that......there's no planning
involved, just a sudden craving, 
a spare hour or two,
and a kitchen that smells divine. 



Apple-Raisin Cinnamon Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour a 9x5 in. loaf pan. 

1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 & 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 apple - peeled and cut into small dice
1/2 cup golden raisins



Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl and set aside. 

Beat white sugar and butter together until creamy. 
Add eggs, one at a time and beat until smooth. 
Add Vanilla extract. 

Combine flour and baking powder. 
Stir into butter mixture. 
Add milk and stir until smooth. 




Pour half of batter into loaf pan. 
Sprinkle half the diced apple, half of the raisins,
 and half of the brown sugar - cinnamon mixture
over top. 
Pat into batter. 

Pour remaining batter over apple layer, 
top with remaining apples and raisins, 
and brown-sugar - cinnamon mixture. 

Swirl lightly together with finger or wooden spoon handle. 



Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes 
or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

xoxo



Cut a nice, thick slice while still slightly warm :)



It's especially nice with a hot cup of tea 
on a blustery evening. 

Or with coffee and the newspaper on a lazy weekend morning. 



Happy Fall, my friends! 

xoxo


Today I am linking with:

Cooking and Crafting with J & J

Won't you join the fun?

xoxo







Monday, September 11, 2017

A Repurposed Pillow and Blackberry Squares


Hello, Dear Friends, I hope you are all well 
and safe as we continue to send our thoughts 
and prayers to all those in the path of 
so many disasters. 

I know many people must now start completely
over, and my heart just breaks for all of them. 

Here, we still have large forest fires raging, 
and we are much too close to one that is 
burning near Mt. Rainier, called the 'Norse Peak Fire'. 
This fire is now up to 50,000 acres and only 12% contained. 

So far no lives have been lost, which is a blessing. 
The National Guard is helping out, and we had 
a bit of rain overnight on Saturday, which helped, 
but as you can see by my photo, the smoke is thick
today, and the air quality is bad. 

Ramblin' Man is back to his 'real job' after a week off, 
and now it is just me and the dogs, one old and complaining
cat, Maggie, and Birdy Boy, the cockatiel. 


Here he is, my 'pretty bird', pausing from 
his task of trying to pull every pin out of my 
pincushion and throw them on the floor. 


This is what I was busy sewing, a new pillow for my 
daybed in the kitchen. 


This little pillow started out as an old T-shirt 
that I was about to donate. I loved the 
pink roses on the mossy green background, 
so I thought, why not make a little pillow 
out of it? 


I turned it inside out and traced a circle 
using one of my large platters :)


I've had this sweet, narrow pink lace forever....
I thought it would be perfect. 


A couple of large, green buttons were selected 
for the middle. 


I had a little surprise when I stuffed it......
due to the fabric being more stretchy in one 
direction, the pillow turned out oval! 


Here it is all done. I like it on my sewing chair......
it's soft and squishy and feels good on my back. 


But I made it for the daybed in the kitchen. 

The colors work so well......



It makes me happy :) 


But the seasons are changing, 
and I am ready for a change, too. 


The green fields have turned golden, 
and the leaves will soon turn, too. 


Even the light is changing.....
soft, diffused, mellow......


The nights are cooler and the days are comfortable, 
once again. 

We are even starting to get rain in our forecast....
more is expected later this week. 


I am in the mood for softer colors. 

I will be packing up all the greens.........
and replacing them with colors to reflect the coming season. 


Faded tans and grays


A little purple.....


The wonderful colors of nature. 


The cooler air puts me in the mood for baking, too. 


Anything with blackberries makes my mouth water.....


Would you like a piece? 


This recipe came from an old issue of 'Country Woman' 
magazine that I checked out of the library.

Unfortunately, I seem to have turned it back in without
writing down the recipe!

But I have another recipe that I have posted before
that is very similar (my absolute favorite)
that you can find Here . 


Here we are in our little corner of the world.....

on September 11th.....
a day that is forever etched into our minds, 
here in America. 

There is so much sorrow in life, 
but there is also hope. 
And resilience. 

There is one thing that is always true. 

Tragedies always bring out the best 
in mankind. 

xoxo 

Today I am linking with:

Cooking and Crafting with J&J

xoxo







Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Languid Days of Late Summer


Hello, Dear Friends, I hope you had a lovely
weekend and are enjoying these last few weeks of summer. 

We have had an extremely hot and dry summer 
here in Washington State. 
We've had only one rainfall since June and it was
very scant. 
Forest fires are raging in the mountains, with a 
 level 2 evacuation notice near the town of Roslyn, 
where the television series, 'Northern Exposure'
was filmed, about 2 hours from here. 
Level 2 means that you need to be 'ready to leave' 
if given notice to do so. 

There is also a forest fire near the left flank of Mt. Rainier, 
near the ski resort of Crystal mountain. 
You can see the smoke swirling around the mountain
and we have had very hazy skies from these fires, 
and the fires in Oregon. 


I just took this shot of the moon.....
Blood red from the smoke in the air,
It has been so hot, and the whole house
smells of smoke due to the open windows. 

Luckily, we are expecting rain by mid-week! 
I am praying that it comes in time to save 
the little town of Roslyn, and the beautiful 
resort, Suncadia, where my son and his wife 
were married 3 years ago, last month.

You can see the wedding weekend at Suncadia,
Here, Here, and Here.


Ramblin' Man has the week off work, but he is
not one to sit around, so he has been stacking
the 6 cord of firewood that is being delivered
by a hard-working young man, all nicely cut and split.

He does this in his 'spare time', because he is
also working on the 'finish-work' in the loft
that we are turning into our bedroom.


It's hard to take decent photos at this point,
but you can see the beams and the angles
and the windows he has had to work around
to finish the ceiling and work on the trim.


What you can't see are the open ledges that
need railings, and every time I go up there,
I get a bad case of vertigo.
But the light is lovely up there, and someday I plan to
put an easel in front of that window,
and teach myself to paint.


Below is our current bedroom, which we
are turning into a library/media room.
All my many books are in storage right now,
waiting for that glorious day when I can
put them on floor to ceiling bookcases.
I even have a library ladder that I found years ago in
a dumpster behind the mall and hoisted into my
 then, mini-van with the help of my sister.

So many plans and dreams....finally coming true.

Maybe by spring......


While he has been hard at work, I've been busy
with chores and watering, shopping and babysitting.
I love my drives to and fro, and snapped a few
photos of the golden countryside on my way.



I love the scent of new-mown  hay :)





Country roads - take me home.......


Queen Anne's Lace.


I get to babysit this yummy little bundle of baby sweetness -
soon to be the big brother of twins.

xoxo


He is crawling and standing now,
and I get to see the world through baby eyes once more.


Sometimes the joy is just too much.


*smile*


Too precious.


He can clap his hands, give kisses,
and babble 'Mama, Dada, and Gaga',
which I hope means 'Gramma'.

He can also cluck his tongue and make 'truck' noises!
Yes, he is a baby genius. :)

xoxo


In between, I've also been doing a bit of sewing, too,
which I will show you soon.

Thank you for your sweet visits and lovely,
encouraging comments, dear Friends.

I hope these last days of summer find you well
and looking forward to the cooler days of autumn.

xoxo

Saying continuing prayers for the people of Texas
and to all those in the path of hurricane Irma.

Please say some prayers for those in the path of
the wildfires and for the brave firefighters
who risk their lives to fight them.

xoxo


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