Friday, September 14, 2012

Changing Seasons

It seems like people in East Tennessee get the most excited about fall of all the seasons. I know there are lots of reasons for this, but here are some of my own:

  • Perfect temperatures: more pleasant outside playtime, hiking, camping, eating dinner on the back deck, windows open in the morning and at night. 
  • The food: I love using my slow-cooker and fixing all the yummy comfort foods that I associate with cooler weather.  
  • The beauty: I feel like God gave me an extra little blessing by placing me in the Smokies. Wow! The leaves changing is an incredible sight to see! I love the colors of fall... if you have been in my house, you know this. I love all things brown & orange & red! Fall even has a certain scent that I love. [side note: speaking of scents, I went to Bath and Body Works to get some refills for my wallflower plug-in and I discovered a new one that I am loving: Plum Wine Amber... heavenly! ]
  • Rush's birthday: this year is his 3rd! It seems like yesterday I woke up to my water breaking. I have fun planning his party, and this year will be extra fun since he actually has little "friends" that will be coming. He has asked for a "Choo Choo" theme. :)

Speaking of all things fall, I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I would like to make some homemade granola. I pinned a recipe for pumpkin granola a month or so ago and I have been waiting for the right time to make it. I gave it my own little twist...

5 cups rolled oats (I reduced by 1/4 cup & added 1/4 cup ground flax seed)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup brown sugar ( I reduced to 1/2 cup.)
½ cup pumpkin puree (I think it needed just a bit extra (maybe a TBsp) to add moisture where it is lost in reducing the agave.)
¼ cup applesauce
¼ cup maple syrup (I used maple flavored agave and reduced to about 1/5 cup.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, spices, and salt. Mix well.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into oat mixture and stir until the oats are evenly coated. They will be moist. Evenly spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
4. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and stir. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and stir in dried cranberries and pepitas. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
it turned out to be very yummy! I took a picture of it next to one of the pumpkins from my dad & papaw's garden. :)

Nicole Nordeman has a song called "Every Season" that is one of my favorites. This is the verse about fall. I love how she captures the beauty of each season, but, of course, fall is my favorite!

And even when the trees
Have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves
In mid-September
And sending us inside
Still I notice you when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and what's to come
You are autumn
We memorized Jeremiah 17:5, 7-10 quite a while ago, and just this week we added verse 6. It is not the nicest verse, but a great reminder of how much we need to depend on the Lord.
"He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes.  He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives."
On another true East Tennessee fashion, and as the wife of proud UT grad (I went there too), I will be spending this Saturday in a sea of orange watching the Vols take on the Gators. It will be my first time spending a day away from Lottie. I am looking forward to a fun time with Ben!

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