Apple Bread

My cousin Heather and I share recipes all the time and it’s so much fun. She brought this apple bread to Thanksgiving this year and I fell in love with it. I’m not a huge apple fan – I mean, don’t get me wrong, I can throw down some hot apple pie topped with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream – but for some reason, I just usually don’t usually make apple treats. This, however, has already become one of my favorite things to keep in the house for when guests stop by and I just want to offer them a snack, or to have with coffee in the mornings during my quiet time.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2-3/4 cup milk
  • 1 apple, peeled and sliced into thin pieces

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan well, so that it doesn’t stick when removed.
  • Whisk brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and set aside (this will be used to toss your apples in).
  • Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and softened butter until creamy. Then, addd in eggs (one at a time) until incorporated and then add vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Then, stir into the wet ingredients. Mix milk into batter until smooth.
  • Pour half of the batter into prepared loaf pan.
  • Toss your peeled and thinly sliced apple in the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture.

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  • Next, add half of the apples coated in the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture to the loaf pan. Lightly pat the apples into the batter.

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  • Pour the remaining batter over the apple layer and top with the remainder of the apples coated in brown sugar and cinnamon, lightly patting them into the batter once more.
  • Bake 45-55 minutes (I have found that I needed to bake mine 50 minutes in my metal loaf pan and 55 minutes in my glass loaf pan). When a toothpick is inserted into the top, it should come out clean.
  • Flip your loaf out of the pan, then flip back over so that the pretty apples in all their brown sugary cinnamon goodness show!

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The original recipe can be found here.

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Keep Crossing Oceans

Those who know me most personally know that I have been struggling with a broken relationship this year and it’s been weighing on my heart in the worst kind of way. There have been months where I have been angry, sad, frustrated, and confused. I have accepted responsibility for my attitude, apologized, been ignored, had my words misconstrued, and been talked about. I have gone back and forth in my mind between deciding not to care anymore, because I feel like I’ve done my part and the ball is in the other person’s court now to work towards restoration, and being devastated over the brokenness that this has brought to my family.

I came across this quote about a month ago (and it’s been 4 solid months since this person has spoken to me, and over a year since things have not been right between us), and it just really resonated with me.

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In the midst of being ignored when I reach out, time after time, letting them know that I’m praying for them, wanting to be a part of their life, and thinking of them, it’s easy to get discouraged. Maybe you’ve been there too? But, I want you to know something, friend! The Devil is the author of dissension. He wants your family to fall apart. He loves for relationships to be broken. He craves the heartache that miscommunications and lies and jealousy brings. John 10:10 tells us that the thief comes only to kill, steal, and destroy.

Just before Landon was born, I did the Armor of God Study by Priscilla Shirer and at the time, I had no idea how Jesus was using it to prepare me for what was to come in the months ahead. It is based on Ephesians 6, and it teaches you to remember that our problems are not with one another, but with the Devil himself- and allowing him to creep in and steal our joy and our peace and our strength is what makes him the happiest and most successful. If we can remember, right there in the midst of the hurt, that it’s Satan who we are up against, not the other person, then we can start to claim God’s promises and work towards the restoration that only He can bring. That all starts with prayer, the most powerful weapon a relationship with our Father equips us with. When we focus on prayer, He wills us to cross those oceans and climb those mountains – you know, the ones people tell you not to go to the trouble to cross or climb when people aren’t loving you like you should be loved. When we’re steadfast in prayer, obedience doesn’t necessarily become “easy,” but it does become something we want, because when you’re constantly in conversation with the Father, your heart starts to line up with His, and the more you know Him, the more you love Him… and the more you want to be like Him.

It’s only by His grace that I am able to still want restoration, after this person who I’ve been so close to was not there for me at the most important time of my life, has never even held my little boy or taken the time to be a part of his life, and has completely ostracized me. That’s what obedience will do. It will strip us of our selfishness and allow us to lay our pride at the feet of Jesus. It will make what’s most important take center stage, and help us focus on having a heart like Christ.

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I write all this to say, that you should never give up. If you’re in a situation where you think you’ve done all you can do, keep fighting for what lines up with the heart of Jesus. I’m not saying you should allow yourself to be hurt and rejected over and over again, because that’s not healthy. You don’t even have to reach out to the person. But, what you can do every single day, is pray. Pray your heart out for them. Pray for forgiveness, for peace, for restoration. It’s hard to be angry with a person that you’re fervently praying for. Over time, the Lord may soften their heart and I can almost promise you, that He will work in your own heart too, because He sure has in mine through all this. Keep crossing oceans.

Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.

2 Corinthians 13:11

 

Loaded Potato Dip

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My friend, Ginny, brought this dip to our Sunday School get together a few weeks ago and everyone fell in love with it. It is so delicious! I could hardly wait to make it myself, and when I made it for my family at Thanksgiving, I ended up tripling the recipe because the first batch was gone so quickly!

There’s actually no potatoes in the dip itself, but it’s actually made up of the toppings you could put on a loaded baked potato… so chives, bacon, cheese, and then of course that zesty ranch flavor that just tastes so delicious on a potato. It’s really easy to make, too!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 4 ounces of cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese (grated)
  • Bacon (cooked and crumbled)
  • Chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered ranch dressing mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce

Instructions:

  • Combine sour cream, cream cheese, and sharp cheddar cheese until mixed well.
  • Mix in ranch mix, crumbled bacon and chopped green onion (leave out some for topping, if desired), and Worcestershire Sauce.
  • Chill at least 2 hours before serving (the flavors really come together the longer you chill).
  • Serve with wavy potato chips, Frito scoops, or spread onto Club crackers!

Original recipe can be found here.

*Note: I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe, because it doesn’t make very much and that way, you would be using the full block of cream cheese. Also, my favorite dipper of choice with this dip are the Frito scoops (they hold up better for dipping).