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Acts of Service

Pumpkin Muffins and a heart to heart...


Pumpkin Muffins and a heart to heart...


Ok, these look GOOD, right?

I'm so happy to say that I have finally figured out this Gluten Free recipe switch!  I've been experimenting with a lot of our favorite baked items and I will tell you it's NOT easy.   The gluten free flour that says it's just a 1:1 ratio is not telling you the truth.  In my opinion...

I tried to make our favorite pumpkin cream cheese cookies last week and they didn't work out at all.  They weren't sweet and they crumbled so easily that you couldn't even barely pick them up with your hands to eat one.  So that got me thinking that they don't put the Xanthan gum (or similar binding agent) in their flour.  If you click on Xanthan gum you will find a link to what it is by a well known health expert.  He suggests that and other natural ingredients you can use in baking.  So, this time around I added 1/2 teaspoon to the recipe and it worked!  The muffins stayed together and baked perfectly.  I still think something to do with the gluten free flour almost nullifies the sweetness but I did not add anymore sugar.  I think you COULD, but it wasn't too bad this time and I added a little bit of cinnamon sugar on the top of the muffins to make them look pretty and have an added texture.  I love adding walnuts or pecans to the top of my muffins as well, but this time I didn't.  The girls don't like the nuts inside of the muffins so if I use them I only add them to the top of some of them... the ones I plan to eat! :)

So here is the Original Recipe:

Pumpkin - Orange Muffins

3 Cups Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Allspice
1/2 Tsp. Cloves
1 1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Oil
3 Eggs
1 16 oz. can of Pumpkin
1 Tbs. grated Orange Peel

Mix the dry ingredients and set aside.  Beat sugar and oil until blended.  Beat in 1 egg at a time until fluffy.  Beat in pumpkin.  Add the dry ingredients and the grated orange peel.  Fill muffin pan and bake at 350 for 20-24 minutes (depending on the size of the muffins)

Here's the GLUTEN FREE Recipe:

Gluten Free Pumpkin - Orange Muffins:

3 Cups Gluten Free Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Xathan Gum
1 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Allspice
1/2 Tsp. Cloves
1 1/4 Cup Sugar (you can add another 1/4 cup if you want them sweeter)
1 Cup Oil ( I use almond oil)
3 Eggs
1 16 oz. can of Pumpkin
1 Tbs. grated Orange Peel (sometimes I don't put this in... it's up to your preference)
Cinnamon - Sugar mixture for top of muffins

I also wanted to mention that I use organic ingredients as much as possible.  I know it adds to the cost, so it's up to you.

Mix the dry ingredients and set aside.  Beat sugar and oil until blended.  Beat in 1 egg at a time until fluffy.  Beat in pumpkin.  Add the dry ingredients and the grated orange peel.  Fill muffin pan and add cinnamon-sugar to the tops of each muffin.  Bake at 350 for 20-24 minutes (depending on the size of the muffins... these muffin trays made extra large muffins so they baked for 27 minutes)


Let me know if you make them and how they turned out! 

Now for that heart to heart chat...

The Lord has been really getting me to a place where I seek HIS PLAN for my life.  To really ask and search out what He wants me to do.  I know this is the age old question for EVERYONE... "What am I supposed to do with my life?"

I also know it's different, for different stages of our lives.  I have such a heart for those who are just about graduating High School and asking themselves this tough question because it's SO important at that time as well.  In fact, I have a blog post I keep meaning to write and it would follow this one perfectly... I will try.

But for those of us NOT graduating High School anymore... 

What DOES the Lord want for us & from us in this "middle" time of our lives?  (or maybe not so middle)

That's what I think we need to ask ourselves.  Do we just think our jobs as moms are "done" or almost done and then what?  We get more time, we don't have to make school lunches and we can read!  Oh... I'm ALL for that, trust me!  But I don't think that's the answer either.  That empty nester time frame is where I am headed with two raised and the last one starting High School next year.  So all of this is on my mind lately...

Here's a question I want YOU to ask yourself.  It stopped me in my tracks/thoughts this morning and it's stills swirling around in my head...

Am I living in my own unique place of grace?


Loaded question, right?

I started a new devotional on YouVersion.  It's Titled "Live, Love, Lead" and it's GOOD.  Find it and add it to your devotional time.  I had a conversation with a friend last week at coffee and we both talked a little about our roles as moms and as that "full-time" roll ends what is the next step?  What is God calling us to do with our time?  I know in our society we have this mentality of "Retirement" and kicking back for those "golden years."  We think... "I'm going to retire, travel the world, golf... etc, etc."

I'm going to say something now that may totally offend... so get ready for it.

I don't think God wants us to RETIRE.

Retire from a 9-5 job... maybe yes if you don't think that is where God is calling you to be a light.  But retire from doing work... aka. His will and His purposes... absolutely NOT.  I really don't see how that is biblical.   I think those "golden years" can be a fresh start of something bigger than ourselves.   And that's EXCITING!

So getting back to that loaded question above...Here's a few more to add to it:

What does God have for you to do?  

Who does God say you are?  

...and What is God calling you to do?

think about those questions... chat with a friend or a spouse about them.  Email me if you want!  He gave each one of us UNIQUE skills, abilities, talents... GIFTS.  They are GIFTS... and He didn't do that for the heck of it.  There's a REASON you are who you are.  So ask HIM those questions.  In prayer and in His Word you will find those answers.

Hey, I'm still trying to figure those questions out too!  Why is God moving us from a safe, lovely, sunny, So Cal existence to somewhere that wasn't even on our radar 4 months ago!??

Well... probably because He has something UNIQUE and SPECIFIC He is calling us to do.

So figuring out those questions... knowing what UNIQUE purpose the Lord has for YOU... that's important.  No matter what age you are and how far down a path you have gone.  Search out the plan/path He has for you because it's going to be THE. BEST. PLAN. EVER.

Ok, the chat is over... did you just feel like your parents sat you down at the couch to talk!  I kinda feel like that and I'm the one TALKING!  lol

Before I go I want to share something my dear friend Jeanne Oliver posted today!  I think it fits with what I was just talking about because in order for us to find out what our PURPOSE is in life, we need to get outside ourselves.  We are to be the "Hands & Feet" of Jesus and this special project she created for this time of year is just PERFECT for that!

So look at this beautiful Advent Tree:


This Acts of Service Advent Tree is SO sweet and lovely... and what a special idea!  She posted it early enough so you could make it and have it ready to go.  Here's the link to her blog and how to make it:

Acts of Service Advent Tree


Inside each star is an act of service note.  Here's Jeanne's youngest cutie... Ben (aka. slim's an inside joke ;) getting one of the stars.  Jeanne has such awesome kids. Honestly,  I have to say how much we love them and are impressed with how Jeanne and Kelly have raised their children to be such kind and loving people.  I can't help but think that little things like THIS have shaped them.  

So before Christmas comes, let's all ask ourselves where are we headed?  What does it look like to be the hands and feet of Jesus?  What is He calling us to do?  

We have some little things we do around this time of year to bless others, but this Advent Tree is going to make me think about some more ideas on what we could do.

I think I'll have one more muffin in my backyard and think about that... ;)


Have a BLESSED day,


P.S.  Don't forget... THIS Friday REGISTRATION opens for our retreat in Italy with Sheila Atchely next october!  I hope you can join us... it's going to be a week you won't forget!

Oh and that coffee mug... Yes!  I do believe the BEST IS YET TO COME!! xoxo