Apple Cider Cupcakes

My sweet Momma is a Halloween baby and turns 70 today!

We celebrated big over the weekend with lots of family, food and of course yummy cupcakes!

I was looking for some inspiration for cupcakes when I happened on a recipe where you replace milk used in most cake recipes with apple cider. That sounded like the perfect seasonal recipe so I adjusted the recipe to fit what I needed, gathered together eggs, flour, vanilla, apple pie spice, etc…. ad got to baking!

I loved how the cupcakes turned out and they were so moist! Honestly using Apple cider was a fantastic call! The fact the cider was fresh from Crow Mtn Orchard nearby made it even better!

I used a basic decorators buttercream icing tinted with Wilton gel colors for decorating.

Momma loves seasonal flavors and this was a great way to utilize her favorite!

Let’s not talk about the candles… seriously y’all , sometimes you have to improvise.

Here is the full recipe you can print for Apple Cider Cupcakes

BTW…. If you aren’t a fan of icing, serve these babies up hot with butter. Yep, they make fantastic muffins, too!!

Happy Halloween Y’all!

My Hallmark Movie Baking Moment Gone Wrong

Ah… the joys of fall!

I try to savor every one of them; a little at a time as not to burn out on pumpkin spice and of course the traditional autumn bucket list.

It doesn’t always work out the way I wanted and mistakes are generally made.

I suppose I could stress and fret over things, but as parenting four kids taught me, what is the point!?!

Sometime’s you just have to go with the flow.

Last week, Tammie (Talking With Tami) and I headed up to Elijay, Georgia in the north Georgia mountains to pick apples at the beautiful BJ Reece Orchards.

Aren’t we so cute?

It was the perfect 65° Autumn day in Georgia with lots of Rome Beauties to pick from and a gorgeous drive as well!

Girlfriend days are always valued and treasured, as well as much needed, and picking apples is so much fun and most relaxing!

Tammie and I decided we would use the fresh apples we picked to make a yummy apple crisp to enjoy over the weekend.

Gathering together all the ingredients like apples, oatmeal, butter, cream, flour and brown sugar we prepared two pans in the kitchen for our apple crisp.

Everything went so smoothly and seemingly perfect as we sliced and melted and mixed and crumbled the ingredients.

It was truly picture perfect.

As I said, not everything always goes as planned, despite how well you prepare.

If you recall, I mentioned having everything I needed, plus two pans. Tammie and I were just going to split the recipe, so I added more apples. About six more apples to be exact, so our pans were full.

The crisp baked up nicely, and was so pretty when done.

Tammie and I sat down to taste it all served up in autumn bowls, the fresh baked crisp topped with whipped cream…

And y’all…. it was so very, awfully dry!

Oh you could taste the tart crisp apples, but My picture perfect, Hallmark, apple picking and making dessert moment was ruined.

My Apple crisp was dry!

Then I remembered the extra Apple I added so we had enough in each of our dishes…. I didn’t compensate by adding extra of the other ingredients.

So what do you do when you have a dish you want to serve, and no time to make a new one?!

{There was an actual purpose in choosing this dessert}

You Improvise of course.

Heavy cream is what makes this dish so juicy and yummy, so I drizzled heavy cream over the top, sliced a few pieces of butter and popped it back in the oven until heated through again.

Definitely not as good as making it correctly the first time, but still good enough to share, and with no leftovers.

So here is your Lesson of the day: As holiday baking commences pay attention when you are baking, embrace your failures, improvise and pretend you did everything absolutely correct the first time as you set it on the table (after traveling with it to Tennessee) for your Momma to eat as part of her birthday weekend celebration.

Here is my Deep Dish Apple Crisp recipe in full so you can print it off! Keep some extra cream & even butter on hand for emergencies.

Happy Monday y’all!!

A Little Romance on Valentine’s Day

I have been a cheesy, hopeless romantic for as long as I can remember. This began when I was young and was fostered by the books I read, classic movies I watched, and creative writing in journals long gone. I adored the writings of the Bronte sisters, and the often tragic love stories of Shakespeare. I soaked up Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables wishing for my own Gilbert Blythe, and dreamed of being Christy traveling to the Appalachian Mountains to teach school. Twenty-fours years with Audley and I’m still that same romantic.

Tulips from Mr. Jones … just because

It’s easy to keep romance in our relationship as I am married to a man who, while not as hopeless as I, romances me in his own sweet ways. During the years we’ve been together he has planned special dinners, brought home little gifts or flowers when I least expected it, and refused to take gift ideas from me or the kids because he wants to pick out that perfect birthday or Christmas present himself. Whatever it is, it’s always special because Audley thought of me. To be truthful though, it’s the little things that mean so much. He loves the cheesy dates I pull together, including the ones where we just stay in.

These are some of my favorite moments. There is nothing more cozy that being in your own space without the world and its crazy distractions closing in around you.

With Valentine’s Day just a couple of days away (and on a week day), we took the time over the weekend while Audley was off from work, for a little relaxation, quiet time, and “cheesy” romance. With a fire in the fireplace and a nontraditional snack, it was the perfect time for conversation and reconnecting. Being romantic is a way to savor each and every moment you and your spouse have together; enjoying the unique journey you are taking together. Romance is such a simple way to show affection, and is not as difficult as people would like for you to think it is.

For our romantic evening in, Audley built a cozy fire in the fireplace, we found a fabulous country station on Spotify playing a little George Strait, Alan Jackson, Shenandoah, Reba, and Randy Travis, and I put together a wine and fruit board that we could snack on while talking.

While simple, this is such a wonderful way to spend time together. In a time where we are always on the move, disconnecting from the world is very needed for every marriage. You never realize how much the world infringes on your time, space and mind until you unplug!

Baker’s Dark chocolate and white chocolate melts; I just used sprinkles, pecans & mini chocolate chips on hand for decorating.  

Evenings in like this are also wonderful when finding a babysitter is difficult. Find something to occupy your kiddos or send them to bed, then enjoy each other’s company. Schedule simple couple time regularly, just as if you were scheduling a meeting at work. Be mindful in keeping romance in your relationships, and unplug from the world!

Aldi’s special cheese collection for Valentine’s Day.  BTW, Aldi has a great assortment of flavorful cheeses on a regular basis.  Its worth checking out!

My favorite part about this simple night in is that it didn’t cost much at all! Since it is close to Valentine’s Day, Aldi had these fantastic heart shaped cheeses along with some unique flavors (Wensleydale cheese with raspberries and white chocolate, aged cheddar, & cranberries with Wensleydale) in the store. I just paired them with crackers and made my own chocolate dipped strawberries for 1/8 of the cost of Godiva. Paired with non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice (Aldi had a Rosé grape juice cocktail) and crackers, this was the perfect platter to relax with and enjoy.

By the way, the cost of our evening in was around $23. That’s it.

When you look back over your years together, these are the simple moments you will remember and treasure. Take some time and plan your own “cheesy,” romantic evening in. You won’t regret it!

Valentine’s Date Night In

It’s the beginning of that week in February that everyone loves to hate: Valentine’s Day.

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If you ask most people, It seems they would rather skip Valentine’s Day, and feel it’s an overrated, commercial event.

I’m just the opposite, being a hopeless romantic I absolutely adore Valentine’s Day! It’s such a fun holiday whether you celebrate it with a sweetie, your kids, or gal pals! And despite what so many like to think, you don’t even have to spend a fortune to make it special!

Money doesn’t equate love, but thought, time and effort definitely show how much you care.

This week I’m sharing several ways to celebrate this holiday of love with your significant other, girl friends. & even yourself. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to find a whole new side of Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday this year, and you know as well as I do all the “good” restaurants were booked weeks ago. If you hit the local steak house, you’re going to be waiting for hours and looking over the movie guide there isn’t a thing worth seeing at the local theater!

So who ever said you have to go out for Valentine’s?

How about a movie night in?

If you don’t have grandparents nearby to entertain the kids for a little bit, after supper send those kiddos toddling off to bed early, (they’ll get over it), dim the lights, light a few candles, grab a box of donuts, a couple of mugs of hot chocolate and your favorite cheesy rom-coms for a cozy night for two!

This is the ultimate evening in; pajamas and donuts (oh my!), a patchwork quilt, and laughter as you just unwind together.

Need ideas for cute romance movies?

Try these:

You’ve Got Mail

Sleepless in Seattle

The Princess Bride

Kate and Leopold

Sabrina

Never Been Kissed

and Audley’s favorite, the Little Rascals (He’s such an Alfalfa fan)

The cost of this date? If you make your hot chocolate from scratch and add whipped cream, around $25.00 (a dozen conversation heart donuts from Krispy Kreme is $10.99).

By the way, you can’t even go to the movies for $25.

You don’t have to fight crowds. You’re able to spend time with your kids before sending them off to bed. Donuts taste way better than stale popcorn at the theater. And if you fall asleep snuggled in a patchwork quilt with you spouse on the sofa, it’s even more romantic.

Want to make the evening a little more romantic? Plan it ahead of time with your spouse, and send each other messages throughout the day to keep the excitement up for those few simple hours together. Use quotes from the movie you’ve picked out, conversation heart messages, or just a text saying how much you’re looking forward to sharing a little time with them that evening. You can make your messages a little spicy if you choose…. and I’ll just leave that here for you to ponder.

Love it or hate it, like anything else in life, Valentine’s Day is what you make of it. Try something new this year and see what happens!

Be sure to stop back by tomorrow for another easy, inexpensive date for Valentine’s Day!

What’s your opinion of Valentine’s Day? Let’s hear your thoughts!