Friday, September 29, 2017

Caramel Apple-Pecan Bread

Autumn breakfast made easy with this gorgeously sweet Caramel Apple-Pecan Bread baked in oven-proof paper baking pans.

Fall is in the air and I'm determined to make the most of it! It's my favorite season, but it lasts for such a short time. Soon, most of our colorful trees will have turned bare and the ground will be covered with soggy leaves and munched-on acorns. The squirrels and chipmunks will be out in full force, gathering their winter meals. 

Have you seen these adorable paper baking pans? You just fill them and bake the same as you would for metal or glass. The bread comes out beautiful! I think they're super cute for gifting. 

I made this Caramel Apple-Pecan Bread for the kids recently. It's almost to pretty to eat. Almost. The caramel glaze on top reminds me of the Cracker Jack popcorn my Dad used to make us on a family night at home.

Here's the recipe--let me know what you think!

Caramel Apple-Pecan Bread
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sour cream or milk
1/2 c. oil
4 eggs
1 baking apple, grated 
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 c. chopped pecans (plus extra for topping)

2 TB. butter
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 TB. water

Heat oven to 350º. Grease two 8 in. loaf pans or four mini loaf pans. Mix brown sugar, sour cream, oil, and eggs together until well blended. Stir in grated apple. In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients, then add to wet mixture. Stir together and spread into pans. Bake for 40-45 minutes for standard loaves or 20-30 minutes for mini loaves. For glaze, melt butter in a sauce pan and stir in remaining ingredients. Cook until the mixture just begins to bubble and then cook and stir one minute. Drizzle on bread immediately and sprinkle with more chopped pecans, if desired.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Our Field Trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas

Hi friends! It's finally Fall in NW Arkansas! I've got the windows open and it's not supposed to hit 80º today! Sometimes that's as good as you get in the South---but I've also got walnuts and acorns slamming the tin roof over my porch and the leaves are turning a million gorgeous shades and I wouldn't trade it!

Last week, some members from our homeschool group took a tour of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. I decided to take just a few of the kids so I could spend some time in good discussion with them. Lynzie, Cainan, Selah, Avalon, and I got dressed up and spent a lovely morning out. We are blessed to have this awesome collection right here where we live!

Crystal Bridges was named for the nearby Crystal Springs that feeds the ponds surrounding the museum. It was opened in 2011 and is free to the public. 

John Cage Robot II, Nam June Paik, 1995
We began with a guided tour geared toward the younger kids. 

Endangered Species Series, Andy Warhol, 1983
Lynzie learned about Andy Warhol last year in an art class I taught so it was neat for her to see some of his work in person.

Rosie the Riveter, Norman Rockwell, 1943
Norman Rockwell is one of my favorites---I love his depictions of American life and history.

Coca-Cola (3), Andy Warhol, 1962
Here's the part where I get more honest than I probably should publicly. The museum bought this artwork at auction for $57 million. Fifty. Seven. Million. Dollars. It would take me all day to list the things that could have been done for this community with $57 million. I have a hard time buying the argument that this is a justifiable use of that kind of money for the future of Northwest Arkansas. Especially since---(oh y'all are gonna hate my guts!!) it's not even an original design. Andy Warhol is one of those artists that I want to put quotation marks around. Most of his stuff looks like he took advantage of a great big copy machine. Ok, don't stone me, moving on...

Hanging Heart, Jeff Koons
After a few more stops, we headed to the museum's restaurant, Eleven, for a catered lunch. We ended up sitting right underneath that big heart. It's only just now that I've read about it on the website and learned that it's made of steel and weighs over 3,000 pounds! Um...yikes?

We had a nice lunch of turkey sandwiches, chips, and apples. It was so great to sit in that sunny room and just enjoy my kids. Happy!

Night Zag Wall, Louise Nevelson, 1969-1974
After lunch we had the choice of seeing a special exhibit of work by Dale Chihuly or touring the museum on our own. The kids had some favorite things they wanted to go back and see so we opted to venture out on our own.

Supine Woman, Wayne Thiebaud, 1963
 This painting was the "most meaningful" to me because, on this particular day, I happened to be breaking in a pair of leather boots. OH MY. My feet were on fire by this point in the day---as were Lynzie's and Selah's as they'd chosen to wear heels. We all felt a little like Supine Woman. Ha!

Depression Bread Line, George Segal, 1991
On a more serious note, this exhibit actually did mean a lot to me. These children were here on a field trip with a school group. I wished we could join in on their discussion about the Depression Bread Line.

Passing by a window, Avalon spied this "big golf ball" outside and wanted to see what it was all about. It was 90º with about 90% humidity but we decided to be adventurous and go check it out.

American architect and inventor, Buckminster Fuller, created the Fly's Eye Dome as an answer to the need for inexpensive, portable housing in the early 1980s. Crystal Bridges recently acquired the dome, as well as Fuller's archives, and we were some of the first people to experience it in almost 40 years.

Fly's Eye Dome, Buckminster Fuller, 1965

A French Music Hall, Everett Shinn, 1906
Just about the time we began roasting, we headed inside to the part of the museum that Lynzie and I love best---the antique collection. She and I plan to go back (in sensible shoes) and check it out further soon. 

Summer Day, Frank Weston Benson, 1911
The Reader, Mary Cassatt, 1877

These are the oldest works of art we saw this day: a collection of six Colonial-era portraits attributed to Gerardus Duyckinck. This is the Franks family and they were painted around 1735.

Maman, Louise Bourgeois, 1999
On our way to the gift shop (postcards!!) we encountered this gigantic spider! Yikes!

To top off a great morning, we found a painted rock on our way to the car! Yay! What a fun day out!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

Hello Friends!

Well, as you can imagine by the last few weeks of bloggy silence, we arrived safe and sound in Arkansas and have been settling into our new home quite nicely! {Well, except for finding a snake in my bathroom this morning...but that's another post!}

I'm participating in the Happy Homemaker Monday journal prompts link up at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom. Join us, if you can!

Looking out my window...

This is the view from my front window---a beautiful Rose of Sharon bush! It regularly attracts gorgeous butterflies and hummingbirds, including this butterfly with a damaged wing who visits daily.

I am thinking...

That tomorrow I will try to finish unpacking my kitchen and living room!

I am thankful...

I am thankful for this beautiful home Jamie chose for us! We are the only house on a forested cul-de-sac. There is lots of privacy and lots of wildlife!

One of my favorite things...

 Yesterday, my son Cainan's favorite blogger, Rosanna Pansino, was in Rogers for her baking line tour. I got up super early to be one of the first 300 to grab a ticket---then took Cainan and Lynzie out later in the afternoon to meet her and get a photo. They were so thrilled!

I am reading...

Last night I started Majestie: The King Behind the King James Bible by David Teems. Earlier this summer, I read a biography of Henry VIII and his six wives, followed by a biography of Elizabeth I. Now that I'm through with the Tudors, it's time to move on to the Stuarts!

I am hoping...
I am hoping to be finished unpacking and planning school by the end of the month so we can start up our school year in October!

In my kitchen...

Tonight in my kitchen I treated two little girls to some ice cream while their older siblings were at church with Daddy!

In my garden...

The kids discovered a composting set up back in the forested edge of the property. Super excited to learn all about how this works and begin preparing for our spring planting next year!

Tell me about your plans for this week---I'm so happy to be back home being a homemaker!

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