Delicious Apple Carrot Zucchini Muffins

 

Pour a second cup of coffee with these yummy muffins!

 

Every year I bake zucchini muffins for my family. They are easy to put together and my family loves them. Just yesterday I was browsing zucchini recipes on Pinterest and found a new muffin recipe that sounded good, so I had to try it.

This Apple carrot and zucchini muffin recipe is borrowed from the blog at wineandglue.com. Lisa is a mom “ with a glue gun in one hand and a glass of wine in the other”. That’s my kind of mom, honest with a sense of humor! Check out her blog.

Apple Carrot Zucchini Muffins
Yield: About 18 muffins

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup oil
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp.baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup shredded zucchini (about half a medium zucchini)
1 cup shredded carrot (about two carrots)
1 cup shredded apple (about one apple)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray with Pam.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and oil.

3. In another large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.

4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture. The batter will be very thick.

5. Mix in the zucchini, apple, and carrot.

6. Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full.

7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Enjoy! My family ate these for a snack or breakfast. Either way they are moist and delicious!

 

I want to share with you all how I store muffins, cupcakes, cookies and other baked goods. About six years ago I saw these snap it plastic storage containers on QVC. They were selling a set of two and I don’t remember what I paid for them but they are handy and convenient to own. I have a handy deep one with a traveling handle and a shallow one without the handle. I’ve also seen similar containers at T.J. Maxx.

They keep baked goods fresh for me. I also store veggies like lettuce and beet greens in the refrigerator in them. Look them up if you need great storage containers for your kitchen.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

Seeking Stillness at the Lake

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Imagine a comfortable warm afternoon at the lake. As you sit on the beach, you dig your toes in the smooth sand, getting lost in the luxurious heat. The lake smells of a fresh earthy scent, yet there is a faint musty odor as well. People smell of sunscreen rubs and bug spray. Wet dogs shake their hair upon emerging from the lake.
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Many families are spending their vacation here, at the Mountain Lake Campground, nestled in the northern mountains of New Hampshire. Laughs ring throughout the beach, an indication of content families basking in vacation togetherness.

 

 

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I sit by myself reading a book. A few years ago I would’ve been on edge and not truly relaxing. The boys would’ve been swimming in the lake, racing to the dock a few yards away while I worried if I could help them if they struggled. I’ve never been a good swimmer and almost drowned when I was 8. This still haunts me today, especially if I’m in charge of little ones in the water.

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This day at the beach is a stark difference. The boys are not here and are working this day. It’s my mother in law’s and my twelfth year camping together but the first one without children. My husband has a busy work schedule in the summer with his lawn business and part time job for the town, forcing him to skip most of the camping trips. There were a few times he could camp and so we would race away for the weekend, towing the pop up camper with two excited boys.

 

This beautiful day as I sit in my quiet reflective thoughts, I thank God for my body being still. I really have a hard settling myself and giving in to relaxation. This moment at the beach is pure serenity, stillness that is unmatched. I also praise Him for giving me the gift hearty laughter of the families and my ability to enjoy it and smile with them. I am genuinely happy for them.

 

The silent lake holds the key to my stillness and serenity. The water calmly ripples ever so gently from a kayak cutting through it. In the left swampy corner, one can spot a sea of white, water lilies creating a beautiful scene. Overlooking the glossy tranquil  water stands strong stately mountains, guarding the lake with clusters of pines and firs growing around its circumference. I wonder which animals congregate within them.

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When you clear your mind of racing thoughts and jarring problems, you’re on the path to stillness. Open your heart to peace and acceptance of the moment. It’s a must that you give your body complete permission to allow it to happen, to enter relaxation and let go of everything. Maybe you can’t visit the lake and beach often and that’s okay. Seek a peaceful spot in your yard, perhaps under a special tree. Use that spot to be still and with that, your every being will cherish the peace.

 

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All My Best,

 

Heart and Soul ❤

 

The Early Days of August

A front view of our home this summer

 

 

It’s hard to believe that here we are, emerged in August! June and July have hurried by and left behind much rain. Summer days  of indulging in iced tea and watching flowers grow have commenced. August brings  steamy yet comfortable temperatures in the 80’s and relaxing breezes in our humble town. Flowers have bloomed and brought vivid colors to yards. The rich green grass is soft to my barefeet and cool to the touch.

 

 

It’s been awhile since I updated you all on our renovation and building projects. Some of you may remember my post last summer of my husband building his beautiful garage/barn. It’s pretty much finished besides pouring a cement floor and we need to purchase two industrial sized doors. We feel very proud of this structure and by chance it’s foundation is built where the old barn stood many years ago. This was done by  accident, for we didn’t know, but what a wonderful coincidence, don’t you think?

 

A look at the garage last summer. Isn’t it spectacular?

 

 

This summer Tom has started siding our house with cedar shingles. This is where we tore down an attached shed, leaving original clapboard ( not in the best shape) and unfinished work and insulation from many years ago before we were owners. I feel like I should help but I’m not too confident of using the nailgun. I hand him the shingles, alternating between fat sturdy pieces and the thinner shingles and of course I gab the whole time to keep him company. Tom was smart enough to keep the awning up to keep him out of the sun and rain. Eventually we can enjoy that side of the house with light brown shingles and a new window installed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer is the one of the best times to create new gardens. Tom helped me dig out a space in the corner of our house facing the diningroom and the kitchen. I planted little purple coneflowers which hopefully will rise towards the sun in magnificent height. To compliment that color, I included coreopsis with a warm yellow glow. While it’s pretty much done, I have a few finishing touches like the gorgeous bird bath my niece made and wait until you see what it’s made from! But that post will come later so be looking for it in a week or two.

 

 

 

August not only brings warm pleasant temperatures, but family! Tom’s mother, Theo, has visited all the long way from Lake Wales, Florida. She arrived last week with Tom’s sister Pam and her husband Jim. After a long tedious day of traveling, I served my chili for dinner. It was a little different than what I usually concoct because at the last minute I added garden zucchini and I think that was a great decision!

 

We’ve spent the week talking, eating wonderful meals and  enjoying the outside with walks(one walk through our town took 4 hours and about 6 miles). We also visited Tom’s sister Bev and her husband Chris last weekend in Easthampton, Massachusetts. It was a great drive down on 91 and the trip was a little under three hours. Bev and Chris are immersed in a challenging renovation project, a huge three story home on a quaint small town street. They are restoring it to its original state, which takes time and patience. They reside upstairs and eventually they will rent the bottom half to responsible renters. I look forward to seeing their progress the next time we visit.

 

During our weekend we explored the bike path on that area, walking in shady and sunny parts and met the nicest people. Bev pointed out how many dads walk their children there and we saw families taking advantage of the trail. Bev served us scrumptious scallops and a lovely hearty breakfast of blueberry oat pancakes. It was special spending time with Bev, Chris ( I love how he laughs at my jokes, one of the few), my niece Michele and of course Theo. It was a magical weekend and I didn’t want to say goodbye but I was itching to hit the road and make the trip up 91 to home.

 

As August has started, the summer clock is ticking away and I glance now and then at the calendar. I believe that I have to be back at school in three weeks. But as the clock continues to tick outrageously fast, I intend to savor the rest of the summer and welcome what happens in those days.

Theo, my mother in law and my husband Tom, after a long day of work for him.

Theo and I are camping in a cabin at a campground north of us for about five days. In that time I won’t be posting or responding to comments but I will rejoin you all when I get back home. I’ll be sure to jot down notes and take pictures of my adventures. Blessings to you all and your families.

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

An Ice Cream Cake

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Look out, Carvel! I’ve found an ice cream cake recipe and with my family’s approval, I’m deserting ( haha, what a pun) the expensive store bought cakes and making my own! I’ve made similar recipes before by simply placing layers of ice cream in an Oreo crust with whipped cream on top. This time is just a bit different because of the added toppings.

 

 

 

This time I chose my recipe from Dashingdish.com where the author provided a low fat version. I doctored it a bit to include regular cookie dough ice cream ( one of my husband’s favorites) and original Cool Whip. I figure if we are going to have dessert then it doesn’t need to be a low fat version. If I wanted that, I’d throw together a fruit salad. No, we’re going all the way with this one! I’m not generally a fan of whipped topping so instead I make real whipped cream.  This time I tried it and it came out great!

 

I- premade Oreo pie crust

½ gallon ice cream of your choice, softened

1- 8 oz. Cool Whip topping, thawed

Fudge sundae sauce or topping

8-10 Oreo cookies crushed, with rolling pin

Chopped candy ( I used Reese’s Cups)

 

 

 

Set out ice cream and whipped topping at room temperature. It took about 15 minutes for the ice cream and 30 minutes or so for the Cool Whip. Then combine the two, stirring until mixed together. 

 

Take Oreo crust from pie pan and crumble in a 10” springform pan tightly closed. Press down and flatten so it’s  even. I know what you’re thinking…what a shortcut! If you wish, simply buy Oreo cookies and crush to flatten in pan. 

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Put 1\2 of soft ice cream in pan spreading around so it’s even.

 

 

Sprinkle crushed Oreos over the ice cream layer.

 

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Get rid of that housewife aggression and crush some Oreos today! Haha

 

 

Top the cake with swirls of fudge topping, chopped up candy or chocolate chips and nuts if desired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The finished product and oh, boy was it yummy!

 

 

 

When I served this cake, I left it out on the counter for about 8 minutes just so that it was easy to cut through and it worked pretty well. This cake was for my husband Tom’s birthday, he turned 57 over a week ago. It was super easy and delicious for any occasion. 

 

 

I hope you are all having a great start to your week! I’ll probably have another post or two this week so be on the look out!

All My Best,

Heart and Soul

 

 

 

 

A Family of Marys

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My grandmother Gould with my Mom as a baby and my Aunt Sandy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A blurry black and white of three Marys, my cousin Mary ( Ellen), my grandomther Mary( Elizabeth) and me as a baby ( Mary Elizabeth)

 

 

 

 

 

When I was a mere squirt I remember being called, “ little Mary” from my aunt Sandy and her family. The reason being was that we had a few Marys and it got confusing when all of us were around each other. I liked the nickname for it made me feel special in some way.

 

 

 

My great grandmother was a Mary, my maternal grandmother was Mary Elizabeth, ( who I was named after!), my cousin on my maternal side was Mary and yet another cousin on the paternal side Mary. I must include my sweet sister-in=law Mary Ellen! She is a dear person and continues the Mary tradition. All my love to her. Whew….that’s a lot of Mary’s for the family to sort out and differentiate from!

 

 

 

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My grandmother’s  high school picture

 

 

I’m proud of my given name and I believe that the old world origin fits my personality. Sometimes I feel like an old soul and that living long ago would have suited me, especially in Victorian times. I’m truly grateful that my mom and dad named me this!

 

 

Do you have a well used family name that stays alive by being passed on? I hope you do…there’s a lot of history and meaning in a name.

 

 

All My Best,

Mary aka Heart and Soul

 

Happy Birthday Dear Katie

 

Here is sweet Katie, my special kitty who is celebrating 14 years of life this summer. She’s always been unique in many ways. First of all, she’s as skittish as they get! I know it’s because of her barn cat heritage and her mother, Rascal was crazy that way too! Just ask my former neighbors, that’s where we got our little cutie when she was  a wee kitten. Even though she’s scared of her own shadow, she certainly is a lovely pet and we’ll keep her. 

 

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Katie loves sweets and tried to have a bite of my cinnamon roll pancakes! No, no Katie!

 

We talk to our kitties like children and they react and passionately purr. We know they are listening even though they don’t know what is said.  I can tell you that  I know they feel the love and loyalty in our voices. Katie follows me around the house looking for a quick scratch or a hug. She loves being picked up and walked around where it’s higher. Her favorite walk is when Branden clutches her and brings her through our living room high in the rafters. This pudgy lady really misses her Bran when he’s away at college. There are nights she will repeatedly scratch at his bedroom door, hoping that he will emerge and scoop her up!

 

 

 

 

Despite her anxiety, her missing the litter box sometimes (which I’m trying to be patient about but observant) and her feminine temper towards our male Smokey, we truly love her and her company. No pet is perfect, but like our children, Tom and I only harbor unconditional love for her and our Smokey.

 

 

All My Best,

Heart and Soul ❤

 

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My lovey, Katie the cat hiding a near my son’s boxes.She keeps trying to get inside one! He’s fixing up his car soon with all these parts and will get it on the road.