Thursday, October 30, 2008

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake

1 box Spice Cake mix
1 can pureed pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

Preheat oven to 350. Put pumpkin and cake mix in a mixing bowl and beat on high for 2 minutes. The batter should be lighter and fluffier. Pour batter into a greased bundt pan and bake for 30 - 45 minutes or until a knife or cake tester comes clean when inserted into the cake.

You can serve this cake warm with ice cream or whipped cream and/or cooled with cream cheese icing or sprinkled with powdered sugar. It is also good chilled overnight in the refrigerator with whipped cream to accompany it or just straight out of the pan with your fingers :) I read somewhere that this cake needs to be kept in the fridge. I'm not sure why, but I did anyway. I also found this super cute idea for a pumpkin bundt cake. They have special "3D pumpkin cake pans," but I think you could just double the recipe and use 2 regular bundt cake pans. You would just need to let the cake cool completely and then level the bottoms before assembling.

This is SUCH a cheap and easy recipe and it really is very good. The consistency is more like a muffin than a cake, but is very moist and perfect for this Halloween weekend! I think this recipe would be great as a sheet cake or cupcakes too. I would just check it after 15 minutes and then again every five minutes just to make sure you don't overcook it. I think this recipe would probably dry out if overcooked. Have fun and let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Such a slacker...

I'm in Atlanta visiting family and participating in wedding festivities for my cousin. I have neglected my blog. Oh dear. Stay tuned for that pumpkin spice cake recipe I promised. So good and so easy. I swear! As Blayne would say, holla at yer boy. I miss project runway :(

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Election '08

I promised myself I wouldn't do a political post. Apparently I lied to myself. I just can't take it anymore. I have to let it all out.

There are signs of fatigue among Christians on this issue. Some argue that the sanctity of life issue is simply one among many important issues. Without doubt, we are faced with many urgent and important issues. Nevertheless, every voter must come to terms with what issues matter most in the electoral decision. At some point, every voter is a potential "single issue" voter. Some issues simply eclipse others.
This is the case with the sanctity of human life. I can understand the fatigue. So little progress seems to have been made. So much ground has been lost. So many unborn babies have been aborted. The culture has turned increasingly hostile to this commitment, especially among the young. There is a sense that many want to get on with other issues.

There is fatigue and frustration with the Republican Party and with limited progress. There is frustration with mixed signals and missed opportunities. There is the acknowledgment that we have too often been told what we want to hear and then ignored.

There is the sense that the battle has grown old -- along with those who are fighting it. There are signs that the culture is closing its ears. We all have other concerns as well. Can we make any progress on those if we remain tenaciously committed to opposing abortion?

Yet, there is the reality that we face a choice. This is a limited choice. And we cannot evade responsibility for the question of abortion. Our vote will determine whether millions of unborn babies live or die. The Freedom of Choice Act, if passed, would lead directly to a radical increase in the numbers of abortions. The abortion industry has told us that themselves.

The question comes down to this: How many lives are we willing to forfeit -- to write off as expendable -- in order to "move on" to other issues of concern? There is no way to avoid that question and remain morally serious. The voting booth is no place to hide.
~Al Mohler

I'm not going to act like I have any idea who I'm voting for, because I don't. I do, however, know who I'm not voting for. I am not voting for Senator Barack Obama. Geez. Don't gasp so loud. You might suck all of the oxygen out of the atmosphere. I have been inexplicably ashamed to say this out loud to anyone but my husband lately. I don't know why. I usually just say "undecided" and move on. But thanks to my friend Melissa and her amazing blog I feel like I can come out of hiding and reveal my true self to the world. Thanks Melissa!

As far as reasoning goes, there is really only one reason. Abortion. That's not to say I don't disagree with other policies of his, but this one is a deal breaker for me. It really is. I can't get past it. I have heard so many arguments on the issue - about how all life is sacred and abortion and war both take lives so voting for one against the other doesn't pan out - about how the real way to save these babies is education over legislation - about how the president doesn't really decide these issues anyway, so voting won't make a difference. I respectfully disagree. I'm not that eloquent, but my friend Thomas is. He went to law school people. He passed the bar. Watch out. So, in light of his amazingness, I'm using his words:

Abortion policy in this country is set by the Supreme Court. The American people have no way to affect abortion policy other than voting for a president and sentators who we hope will appoint and confirm justices that will, someday, make pronouncements from the bench that we agree with. There are a lot of "ifs" in there.

Roe v. Wade, and the more important case that came after it, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, take abortion policy away from the people and vest it in the courts. Defending Roe is not defending abortion, it is defending a system in which it is impossible to even have a debate about abortion. For all the talk about "choice," defenders of Roe and Casey do not want the American people to get to cast a vote that reflects their choice.

Overturning Roe would not outlaw abortions. It would merely allow states to pass laws and regulations governing abortions, including laws that could prohibit the practice.

So I have a hard time with calling Roe's defenders "pro-choice." The overall thrust of the abortion lobby's agenda has been to insulate abortion policy from democracy.

Moreover, let me echo Melissa. I am a single issue voter, not because I ignore all other issues, but because I have weighed the issues and found that none of them even compare in importance. If you believe, as I do, that a newly-conceived embryo is a person, then abortion is murder, and murder on a truly horrifying scale perpetrated on the weakest and most defenseless among us. Every other issue is fluff compared with a million murders every year.

And I will assert with some confidence that if a candidate supported slavery or preemptive nuclear war, most of you would be single issue voters, too. I believe it is our mere familiarity with abortion as a policital issue that keeps us from seeing how horrible it is. We are, I am, calloused to its horrors.

I will end by showing that Senator Obama's view on this matter is absurd. In his conversaion with Rick Warren, Obama said that the question of when life begins is "above my pay grade." That sounds nice and humble, but remember that Obama supports abortions at least in the first trimester (he actually voted to support outright infanticide, but we'll set that aside). If he is unsure about when life begins, shouldn't he be concerned that it might begin at conception or at least sometime in the first trimester? If you are unsure if your fly is down, you double check. If you are unsure if your chicken is fully cooked, you leave it on the grill for a few more minutes. If you are unsure if there is a car in your blind spot, you look over your shoulder again. If you are unsure whether there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, you wait before invading. But it's fine to abort your fetus, even if you're unsure.

The glibness reflected in this answer appalls me. If you are willing to abort something, you had better be sure that you are not killing a person. I fear that the ease with which he punted that question reflects the fact that abortions do not primarily harm the mother, but rather cause the baby. If a doctor is unsure whether you have cancer of the right or left lung, would you prefer he know before operating? Or, if it were impossible to know whether a certain kind of drug could ever be administered without creating a large risk of sudden death, should the FDA approve that drug?

To those that support Sen. Obama: I encourage you to answer the question of when life begins. If you are unsure, consider whether you should err on the side of caution.

If you are like me, you have pureed green beans in your eyelashes and crusty snot on your jeans and you can barely find the time to pee let alone research presidential candidates. At the very least, you haven't found the time to do your research. Here is some reading for you - and all in one neat little package :) These links speak on Obama's record on the topic of abortion as well as discussion on the topic from some highly respected people. Please take the time to look into it. It is so important to educate yourself.

Info on Freedom of Choice Act

Obama on the Born-Alive Legislation (an article by Dr. Robert George)

A Blog By Randy Alcorn
An Interview with Donald Miller
Albert Mohler article

ProChoice America Stats on Obama

With that said, I just can't do it. I just cannot support a person that would rather risk murder than infringe on a woman's "right to choose." As a woman myself, I honestly don't believe that I have the right to choose life over death in any situation, regardless of legislation.

I hope you aren't offended by this post, but if you are I can only hope that the initial offense subsides and deeper thought is provoked on the topic. Many thanks to the Richies for letting me plagiarize :) Happy voting peeps.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tastes as good as it smells!!

Sorry for the post hiatus. I know, I know. You've been crying yourself to sleep at night. It's okay, baby. I'm here now. I'm here... Liam and I were out of town visiting "Daddy" and I was just too busy to do much of anything but take care of business. Now it's back to the ole routine and, luckily, a little time for blogging :)

A friend of mine asked about possibly drinking the fall brew recipe that I posted last time. While it will not kill you, the fall brew is not meant for drinking and would probably taste nasty. This next recipe for Russian Tea is something that smells AND tastes like fall. As far as I know this is a southern staple. I'm not too sure about other parts of the U.S. I asked my friend Michelle in Ohio if she had ever heard of it and she had not. You should try it, regardless. It is a warm cup of autumn goodness, for sure.

Russian Tea

2 cups Tang
3/4 cup instant tea (unsweetened)
1/3 cup lemonade mix (not unsweetened)
3/4 tsp ground clove
2 tsp cinnamon

Mix 2 Tbs of powder per cup of boiling water. Add cinnamon stick stirrer if desired. Store left over powdered mix in an airtight container or bag.

First off, yes this recipe calls for Tang. Tang is awesome. Don't hate. Secondly, I have seen recipes that call for up to 3 1/2 cups of sugar in addition to the above ingredients. I personally don't think it needs any sugar, but if you make it and don't think it is sweet enough, know that you can add sugar. It's up to you. Let me know what you think!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Do you smell that? I think it's autumn!

As you all know spices are one of my favorite parts of the fall season. Sure, we all have candles and that do their best to make our home smell like we are baking a homemade pumpkin spice cake (more on that later), but nothing beats the scent of real cinnamon, cloves, and other yummy ingredients permeating the air. My good friend Rhondi gave me this recipe a couple of years ago and I make it every year. We shall call it "Harvest Brew."

Harvest Brew

1 lemon
1 orange
3 short cinnamon sticks
6 bay leaves
1/2 cup whole cloves

Cut lemon and orange into quarters. Combine fruit, spices & 2 quarts of water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, & simmer as long as desired. Add more water as needed. Any leftover mixture can be covered & refrigerated for several days to be re-used.

I personally have cut the cloves down to 1/4 cup. Since we don't have a large house I found the clove overpowering at 1/2 cup. Also, cloves are not cheap so I wanted to use as few as possible. Make sure you store the brew in the refrigerator when you are not using it. Since it uses fresh ingredients it can go bad. Believe me, you do NOT want the smell of rotten oranges making its way into the pores of every soft surface in your house. I don't know if there's enough Febreeze in the world for something like that.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm thinking we should just direct deposit our paychecks right into Publix's bank account. When selling things at a garage sale I should just say "Oh, you can make that out to Kroger please." Can you believe how expensive food is lately?? My word. My jaw literally drops every time I check out. I'm naturally averse to the concept of money as it is, but now I'm just getting downright irritable about it. I like to buy organic, especially for Liam, but my ability to do that is dwindling. So, in an effort to balance frugality with wellness I did a little searching and researching. I found that Earthbound Farm Organics has a guide on their website that directs you to the produce that most commonly contains pesticide and herbicide residues in order from the highest levels to the lowest.

Go to to see the full list.

For a quick reference, here are a few of the common types of produce with the highest levels of chemical residue -

Bell Peppers
Imported Grapes

These lists are really helpful to me as I am debating whether to knowingly poison my child or drop my life savings on a piece of fruit. Okay, that's a little dramatic. But you know what I mean... Now I will know that if I'm buying peaches, I should opt for organic. Frozen corn, not so much. Thanks Earthbound!

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