Apple Pie Streusel Bars

When I stumbled across this recipe, I just so happened to have three small apples in my refrigerator that were just dying to be used. If you want a house that smells like fall (and heaven), a happy belly, and an even happier husband… go make this right now.

Seriously, they are so good.

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Ingredients

Shortbread Crust:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Apple Filling:

  • 2 large apples or 3 small apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Streusel:

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • caramel sauce for topping

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on all sides. Set aside.

Make the crust: Stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes while you prepare the filling and streusel.

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Make the apple filling: Combine the sliced apples, flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl until all of the apples are evenly coated. Set aside.

Make the streusel: Whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

Remove the crust from the oven, and turn the oven up to 350°F. Evenly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. It will look like there are too many apple slices, so layer them tightly and press them down to fit.

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Sprinkle the apple layer with streusel and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown. The photo below is before it was baked.

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Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Lift the foil or parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. I cut them into 16 smaller bars, but you could cut them into 12 larger bars. Once cut, drizzle some caramel sauce on top of each.

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Please note: this is not my original recipe, it belongs to one of my favorite bloggers and you can see it here. She gives instructions for how to make a homemade salted caramel sauce !

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On This Day: Our Home

I love the “on this day” feature on Facebook. It’s so fun to be reminded of memories from years past. I look at it just about every day and I’ve seen how God has answered prayers quite a few times. Over the last few weeks, my memories have reminded me of our biggest purchase: our home. Two years ago, Grayson and I bought the house that we have worked so hard to turn into a home. It’s not the biggest (by any means), or the fanciest, or the most beautiful… but it is full of love. It’s in these four walls that we’ve laughed until we’ve cried, had our fair share of fights, made up with kisses in the kitchen, shared good food around the table, brought our son home, and learned to (and are continuing to learn how to) love each other like Jesus does.

Today, I decided to share a few recent photos of this little home of ours. My grandma always said that the home she and my grandpa lived in right after they got married was her very favorite. I remember the look in her eyes when she talked about their little red and white checked kitchen and the white curtains and the pretty view of the pond. I know that no matter where Grayson and I move to in the future, I’ll have the same kind of fond memories of this sweet place where God has allowed us to start our family. Thank You, Jesus!

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The window above Landon’s crib was salvaged from my great grandmother’s house in the mountains before it had to be torn down due to a flood

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Thank you to my sister-in-law for the beautiful victorian mirror and to my very talented father-in-law for the upholstered headboard

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Mango Salsa

I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for quite a while. My Momma adopted it from her friend, Caroline, and it’s become one of our favorites for parties and get togethers. Everyone is just crazy over it! It’s fresh, flavorful, and as delicious as it is beautiful!
14203302_10210290604247153_8879708002120563249_nIngredients:

  • 2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped mango
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients and chill
  • Serve with tortilla chips

Letters to Landon: Making Me a Momma

My little Landon,

You’re 16 weeks old today and I’m kind of getting to that weird place where I don’t know whether to tell people you’re 16 weeks old or 3 1/2 months. Saying “3 1/2 months” makes you sound so old! I’m hanging onto the last little pieces of that newborn stage, but I can tell you’re like me in the sense that you’re moving right along, far before your Momma thinks you’re ready. I am amazed by you every day, my darling. I don’t know what I expected motherhood to be like, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s better than anything I could have ever imagined. It’s hard. Oh, it’s so hard, and scary too. But it’s the most rewarding, the most exciting, the sweetest, the most wonderful thing I’ve ever had the privilege to do.

There’s not a doubt in my mind that I was made for this. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be good enough, that I wouldn’t know how to love you, that I wouldn’t feel the connection to you that I’d hoped for and expected. But Jesus took care of all that. He’s a Savior who cares about the little details, ya know.

You are the sweetest addition to our little family. You make everything even more fun. Watching your Daddy love you has made me love him even more than I did before, which I didn’t even think was possible. You love to look around and always seem to just “take it all in.” You love music, you smile all the time (the most precious gummy smiles that make my heart melt into a big puddle) and you’re trying to talk all the time. You sleep through the night like a champ (and have been for about 2 months, now). You love to eat, and I’m more proud of successfully breastfeeding you (so far) than I am getting a college degree (haha! but really…). You have the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen, just like my Paw’s and you have the sweetest spirit and are so good natured.

You haven’t rolled over yet, and I’m not worried about it. You will when you’re ready, just like you held your head up and started making eye contact when you were ready. I got a little caught up in the beginning worrying about you reaching milestones when you were “supposed to” compared to other babies, but I’ve learned that all babies are different and I have to trust Jesus to grow you up strong and healthy.

I read to you and tell you stories all the time. You love being outside. You love going to church. You seem to recognize people now, and it’s so fun to watch you realize that your hands are connected to you! When we’re out and about and I get ready to feed you a bottle, you smile real big… like you know exactly what it is and get so excited!

Watching you grow and learn and thrive is bringing me so much joy. You seem so big. Where did my little baby go? That 6 pounds and 15 ounces of fragile, squishy baby? I want you to know that no matter what, I’ll love you forever, and always more than the day before.

Thank you so much for making me a Momma.

Love,

Momma

These are some family pictures we took recently on an abandoned farm in South Carolina. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing, and I can’t wait to go back and take some more when we get the chance!

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Labor Day Beach Trip

Last year, Grayson and I went with some dear friends of ours to Cherry Grove for the first time and instantly fell in love with it. Staying with our friends (who are honestly more like family) in their “happy place” is such a treasure, and we are so thankful that they share it with us. This year, Landon and Momma made the trip with us, which made it even more fun.

This was Landon’s second trip to the beach (read about his first beach trip here). Having already been to the beach with him once before eliminated a lot of the worry that comes with a first time mom taking a new baby to a new place, and he was spoiled rotten by everyone fighting for snuggles and kisses!

This year, Hurricane Hermine threatened our plans, and we actually left early Saturday morning instead of Friday afternoon, but thankfully, we were blessed with wonderful weather on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

We ate good food, had sweet conversation, watched the sun come up in the inlet, went on a banana boat in the ocean, went parasailing, and just enjoyed each other’s company. There couldn’t have been a more perfect ending to a great summer!

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