Friday, September 19, 2014

Instagram Weekly Round Up

Time again for the weekly round up-- feel free to join in on the Confessions Facebook page. I'd love to see what you've been up to this week!

Have a wonderful weekend!

{ From Left to Right } 

1. Misty Morning from the porch
2. Reusing old bottles for Projects
3. Autumn Mum's arrive
4. Bath and Body works hoard
5. New door mat! 
6. Perfecting a new recipe for next week
8. Homemade enchilada sauce
9. Beer bread  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Healthier Streusel Pumpkin Bread

To quote my mother in recent days, "Anyone can make something taste good with a load of butter and fat-- that's easy-- but a chef that can make something taste amazing while still keeping it healthy, that's the true test of a good chef."

For a good part of my life my dad was a French Chef who in turn taught my mother how to cook. He used to joke that when they first got together she could burn water. In their later years my dad retired from the cooking industry and became a teacher and my mother having had years and years of practice soon out shined her teacher. As a child growing up in a home where good food is on the table every night, you tend to not be a novice chef for long. I remember my dad teaching me how to cook my first egg when I was 5 or 6, and that's really all it took. I was off and running baking my own cookies by 7 and planning cupcake parties by 10. It made for a golden childhood, truly something I will always look back on fondly. 

As an adult, cooking has certainly become more of a challenge for me. If you've ever cooked with a traditional French chef, you will quickly find they are sticklers for using pure ingredients. And of course everything does taste better with a pound of butter, I mean come on it's butter! For me the challenging part has become finding that balance of wonderful taste while avoiding the calories and fat of butter and oil. Hopefully this pumpkin bread stands up to the test in your home, since it's already gone from mine I think I can score this one a success. 

Healthier Streusel Pumpkin Bread

2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
2 cups brown sugar 
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbs pumpkin spice mix
15 oz fresh pumpkin puree
1 cup cinnamon apple sauce
2/3 cup honey 
1/3 cup almond milk

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs pumpkin spice mix
2 tbs butter (I use yogurt butter blend) 



Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl mix flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon. In a separate bowl mix pumpkin, oil, honey, and water together. Combine the bowls together.

Grease and flour 2 loaf pans. Pour into prepared pans.

In a small bowl using a fork mix all of your topping ingredients together until slightly crumbly. Sprinkle over the tops of each loaf.

Bake for 1 hour or until a tooth pick is inserted and comes out clean. Allow loaves to rest for 10 minutes before removing from pans.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

$8 Apple Sign

I'm gearing up for Fall's arrival-- which is officially here on the 22nd of September. I can already feel the air getting cooler and some of the trees around our house are already starting to turn yellow. Even when we lived in Florida, which has no season except summer we always made time to visit some where up North so we could enjoy the fall foliage too. Now that we live in North Carolina I can enjoy the action up close and personal, which makes it even more special. 

I couldn't hold back any longer on my projects list, so I started by making a new sign for my front porch. I still love my Cabin's sign but it was time for a change-- at least until Christmas when I'm sure I will be making yet another seasonal sign. 

I considered making a cool Halloween sign, but realized we wont be in town to enjoy Halloween this year! So I went with a Autumn apple theme that reminded me of our early days in North Carolina when we lived in Apple Valley. 

From start to finish I probably spent 2 hours give or take. Since it only required a square piece of plywood the whole thing cost only $8.00. 

I started by drawing out my design on my plywood...

Then cut it out using a jig-saw. I seriously hate those things, I always feel like my arms going to vibrate off but they do a good job. It's a small price to pay. 

Next I started color blocking basic colors, once that was dry I went back in and added detail and then finally the lettering. I really wanted it to look authentic so I didn't bother keeping my letters perfect straight with stencils. Initially I had planned on covering the stamps on the wood, but after the first coat I didn't mind them so much. It's really your preference on keeping them visible or not. 

At first I was annoyed the plywood chipped so much from the jigsaw but by the end of the project I thought it really had a cute effect on the over all look of the apple. 

 So there you have it one $8 Apple Sign. Next week is the big front porch reveal! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pinterest Tested & Approved Week 4

Today is Monday and that means it's week Four of Pinterest Tested and Approved, where I share some of the pins I've tried out and just how much I liked them. Feel free to join in on the fun over on the Confessions Facebook page, or follow me onInstagram for sneak peeks at next weeks tested projects!

Sitting in the car for the 10 hour drive home I some how managed to throw out my back between here and Florida. It's happened before, and it's something that usually goes away after a day or two. When we got home I was scrambling to find my electric heating pad but to no avail. Since it was so late at night and I didn't want to run out I decided to just make my own-- I was a little skeptical at first but seriously this thing is amazing! After two days of using it my back is much better and now I'm thinking I really need to make everyone in my family one!

*Tips & Advice*
When filling your heating pad, don't over fill. I did a mixture of white rice and lintel beans in mine, the lintel beans actually get hotter and stay hotter for longer periods of time. Don't heat your pad longer than 2 minutes in the microwave, if you find it's been heated too hot you can wrap it in a blanket or towel before use. 

It's only been in the last two years that I've become a fan of Kale, so I completely understand those of you who are wrinkling your noses right about now. As weird as it may sound, I can eat an entire pan of this stuff and not feel terrible. Not that I would ever do anything like that. *wink wink* So if your brave enough give it a try, because it's actually pretty darn tasty. 

*Tips and Advice*
Play around with different flavors, we tried making Ranch kale chips and they were actually pretty amazing! 

With Fall's official arrival only 7 days away I am so excited to get my hands on everything pumpkin! I really wanted to see if I could make my own pumpkin spice creamer and it was a success! Not only is this creamer super yummy, it actually includes real pumpkin puree. How cool is that?

*Tips and Advice*
Find a good air tight container to store in that pours easily, you'll be coming back for more!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Instagram Weekly Round Up

Time again for the weekly round up-- feel free to join in on the Confessions Facebook page. I'd love to see what you've been up to this week!

Have a wonderful weekend!

{ From Left to Right } 

2. Easy Sew Project (Pinterest Tested Next Week!)
3. Road trip buddy
4. New Martha Magazine
5. Quote of the Week
6. Kale Chips! (Pinterest Tested Next Week!)
7. Movie time with Mr.Major

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Easy Pumpkin Spice Blend

I always know Fall is right around the corner when I see pumpkin spice coffee being sold at every coffee spot between here and Florida. I love every aspect of Fall, from the awesome boots to the changing of the leaves but most especially I love pumpkin flavored everything.

This Fall will mark the one year anniversary of our moving to North Carolina so it should be an especially exciting one here in the Major household. To kick it all off I thought I would share with you my favorite Pumpkin Spice Blend, which is great in just about anything. I put some in my coffee yesterday as well as the Pumpkin Spice Streusel loaves I will be sharing with you early next week. So pull out those spice racks and start mixing because were going to put it to good use this Autumn.

 Pumpkin Spice Blend

6 Tablespoons Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Ginger
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Allspice
2 Teaspoons Cloves

Place all spices in a bowl and mix well together, store in an air tight container up to 6-8 months. 

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Travel Theme Wedding Details

This wedding was almost a test to see if I could do it all myself-- the invitations, decor, cakes, flowers and photography were all mine-- and I couldn't have done it all with out my crew of assistants and set up help. 

 This wedding was definitely a labor of love, and my sister graciously gave me the frame work and let me run wild designing it all. Since he's a well traveled military man and she loves to travel as well, we decided to go with a travel theme to match their coral and aqua wedding colors for the reception. The ceremony decor was set to be neutrals with soft glowing candles lining the aisle and their scrolled vows as the main focus.

From start to finish it was probably one of the most fun and exciting weddings I have ever been a part of. It was the first wedding where the groom getting choked up made me cry! It was an awesome day we will all treasure for a long time to come. 

The entire venue was held on Mac Dill Air Force Base at the Surfs Edge club. It had beautiful views of Tampa Bay Skyline as well as the bay. 

So there you have it. One Florida wedding all wrapped up and finished. If I had to do it all over again I don't think I would change a thing. Congrats to the Newlyweds! 


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