Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins.

What better way to start the fall season than with some pumpkin cheesecake muffins. I discovered the recipe a few weeks ago when I began searching for Halloween inspired brunch options. I’ll be hosting my first Witch’s Brunch this year and am in full fall/Halloween swing over here at the farm. While browsing Pinterest, Sally’s Baking Addiction popped up on my feed. Her pumpkin spice muffins stuffed with cheesecake filling and topped with brown sugar cinnamon streusel was the best find EVER. I tested her recipe out as sort of a dress rehearsal for the Witch’s Brunch and am now sharing it with you. Enjoy my friends!


Ingredients:

CRUMB TOPPING

1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

PUMPKIN MUFFINS

1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup pumpkin purée

1/2 cup vegetable oil (or canola or coconut)

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

CHEESECAKE FILLING

6 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and line 2 muffin sheets with 14 liners or spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Knock out the crumb topping first. Add brown sugar, flour and cinnamon to small bowl, mixing until well combined. Add the melted butter to flour mixture until crumbs form. You will add this as the topping at the very end before baking.
  3. Next, you begin the pumpkin muffin portion. Toss flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk brown sugar and eggs until combined. Whisk in the pumpkin purée, oil, milk and vanilla. Pour the wet portion into the dry portion, stirring until combined. Do not over mix the batter on this part.
  4. Last, you make the cheesecake filling. Beat the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Add the egg yolk, vanilla extract and sugar. Beat until combined.
  5. Spoon 1 tablespoon of pumpkin muffin batter into each muffin cup and layer with 1 spoonful (less than a tablespoon) of cheesecake filling. Add another Tablespoon of pumpkin muffin batter on top, filling each muffin cup to the top. Sprinkle each muffin with the crumb topping you made in the beginning. They are now ready to bake!
  6. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 and then 15-16 minutes at 350, keeping the muffins in the oven the entire time.
  7. Allow the muffins to cool in muffin sheet for 10 minutes and transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

* One awesome thing about these muffins is the ability to make them and freeze up to 3 months. It is suggested to thaw overnight and heat up if desired when ready to serve.


Happy Fall Y’all!

Phase 1 DONE!

phase-1-done

Between dirt deliveries, hauling drainage rock, digging trenches and installing the main sump pump, my cowboy has worked himself to death over the past few weeks. Thanks to him and his wonderful childhood friend, Phase 1 of the farm’s drainage plan is DONE. All we are waiting on is the gutter installation.

After digging the hole for the sump basin and trenches for drainage pipe underneath the house, our pump finally has a home.

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final-sump-pump

Underneath the drainage rock is perforated pipe which allows the water to drain to the sump and the pump inside will push the water out through the discharge pipe.

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The discharge pipe is located in a low point on the back side of the house, heading towards the pasture. We were fortunate enough to have the help of Andrew’s friend, Jordan, and he brought over his handy dandy Ditch Witch. What a God-send!

ditch-witch-1

Check out this nifty little thing! The best part about it is the size and easy maneuvering.

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After burying the pipe on a slope, you can’t even tell it’s there. Amazing.

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In addition to the trencher, there are also bucket and grading attachments. They used both when building the berm around the house.

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As of right now, the berm stands out because we lack flower beds but we will eventually incorporate more into the landscape. A border of drainage rock will be added on the edge of the berm to hopefully prevent erosion.

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After a long weekend and week of digging and hauling rock, my dear cowboy was more than ready for a break. Andrew continues to remain focused on the farm, our labor of love, but there are other things he would rather be doing than digging sumps and trenches. With the arrival of hunting season in our neck of the woods, his heart longs to sit in a tree pretty much every second of every day. They call it “buck fever” and he gets it EVERY YEAR. I get to experience his lovely mood cycles as such:

  1. excitement about the upcoming hunting season;
  2. anxiety about his hunting preparation checklist;
  3. irritability because he’s not hunting yet; and
  4. final mood swing…OBSESSION.

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He’s been hunting any chance he can get, early morning before work and late afternoons. Now that we have property for him to hunt, he takes advantage of every opportunity to sit in the stand. He’s definitely reached the obsession stage of hunting season. Oh, the life of a hunting husband.

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His view from the stand this morning was pretty stunning. Our neighbor has an 80 acre cattle pasture that Andrew is blessed to hunt this season as well. Not a bad way to start your Friday morning.

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“God guide this arrow for rewarded fruits of my labor. Amen.”

Seeing Andrew’s prayer on his arrow warms my heart and is another reminder of his belief in God’s goodness all around him. Andrew has respect for the animal he pursues and God’s beautiful creation. His efforts in preparation, his time in the stand and the end result of taking an animal he admires and values is a tremendous privilege God has provided to him. Hunting is a spiritual dance between man and animal and communion with nature. I view hunting in a very different light thanks to my hunting husband. I have a much deeper respect for the animals I eat now and I appreciate the circle of life as God intended it to be.

You know I’ll be hunting some myself this year. I’m still trying to snag my first deer! Good luck to all the hunters out there. I hope you have a successful season.

Until next time…

Decisions, Decisions…

decisions-decisions

Since I’ve decided to share our infertility journey with the world, it is time for another update on what’s happening in our quest for a family. It’s about to get real, y’all. Hope you are ready for some up close and personal sharing.

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Farm After the Flood.

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The aftermath of the Great Flood of 2016 has been minimal for us at Cypress Bayou Farm compared to the devastation of so many in our state. On our road alone, people sustained 4-5 feet of water in their homes and the piles of debris at the end of each driveway grow each day. As I drive down my street every afternoon, I see remnants of my neighbor’s lives sitting in a trash pile at the street – antique beds, entire dining room sets, clothes, pictures, artwork, toys, all destroyed. The grieving process that people are going through right now is heartbreaking. Entire families, Mom and Dad, Brothers and Sisters, Aunts and Uncles, have lost everything and have to start from the ground up. When I say “lost everything”, I mean water rose as high as their roof and the framework is all that remains after gutting their home. Countless stories of heartache and destruction are heard day by day and it seems everyone has been touched by this flood somehow. Louisiana is a resilient state after enduring many tumultuous hurricanes over the years and I know we will survive this flood and come back stronger than ever. What is even more apparent during these hard times though is the love we have for each other. Neighbors helping neighbors on this grand scale is something you pray for always and it is ever present here in Louisiana. It has surely restored my faith in humanity.

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Infertility Workshop & Baby Steps 2016

Me and Andrew workshop

This past weekend my cowboy and I attended the Sarah’s Laughter Infertility Workshop at Crowne Plaza in Baton Rouge, LA. I was reminded by a former high school classmate we attended our SJA Mother Daughter luncheon at this same hotel many moons ago. What a change in pace – sweet luncheons to heavy discussions about infertility. I would say we are sitting at the grown up table now.

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