Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Rise to Fall

Fall has officially arrived, and the weather is suddenly crisp and very wet. We are absolutely loving the vibrant colors.  For some reason, our surroundings seem more colorful this year.  The pictures above were taken of the intersection at the entrance to our housing development.  Stunning!  What a beautiful thing to see when leaving and arriving back home! 

I have started what will hopefully be my last year of school.  For a while anyway.  This quarter I'm taking Research Methods, a Community Dental Health class (that's not the official name, but is essentially what it is, a year-long class), and International Communications (a year-long class).  This entire year will be devoted to a group community project. 

Matt has started up flag football again for the 3rd year in a row, and this is the first year I'm out here every Saturday to watch!  I'm out here every day now, and I still get excited when thinking about that :) Matt plays for a Maple Valley team called Polk High, and they are currently 4 -1, so he's pretty excited that they are doing well.  I enjoy bundling up in my warm gear and wrapping up in a blanket to cheer him on with hot chocolate in hand.  Today, however, I missed the game that went from 19-20 to 26-20 in the last 22 seconds for a Polk High win!

Today I volunteered with Serve Day at our church, New Life Christian Church.  Every spring and fall, the church takes Salvation Army donations, has dumpsters set up for people to dump their trash, a metal recycle station for large items like barbecues, a shredding company comes out to shred sensitive documents, and for the first year we provided oil changes for single moms.  It was a very wet and dirty day as we unloaded garbage from people's vehicles and gave it to the dumpsters to be forgotten about forever.  Just as Christ willingly and lovingly removes our "garbage" from our lives no questions asked.  He lightens our load and lifts our burdens, and all we have to do is show up.

A great fall find was this recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins . . . so tasty and festive!

• 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3 tablespoons brown sugar

Streusel Topping
• 4 1/2 tablespoons flour
• 5 tablespoons white sugar
• 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 3 tablespoons chopped pecans (toasted these on a cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees, for about 10 minutes)

Muffin Batter
• 2 1/2 cups flour
• 2 cups white sugar
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Grease and flour 18 muffin tims.  (I made these mini muffins instead)

FILLING: Beat cream cheese until soft. Add egg, vanilla and brown sugar. Beat until smooth. Set aside.

STREUSEL TOPPING: Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and pecans. Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.

MUFFIN BATTER: In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and gradually incorporate eggs, pumpkin, olive oil and vanilla. Beat together until smooth.

- Fill tins with pumpkin mixture until they're about 1/2 full.
- Carefully add one tbsp of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the batter.
- If you're using paper cups, try to keep cream cheese from touching the paper.
- Sprinkle on the streusel topping.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.


1 comment:

  1. I would agree that this year seems more colorful than the rest! The serve day you participated in sounds like such a special community outreach! I keep finding more and more things in common with you. :)


I'd love to hear your thoughts!