Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sweet Potato Rolls

One child is napping, the other one is out with Daniel running errands, and I am happy as can be - busy in the kitchen whipping up a double batch of these babies. :)

Sweet Potato Rolls

makes 12 to 18 rolls

1 sweet potato, baked
1 cup milk
1/2 cup white or brown sugar
3-4 cups all-purpose flour (I use half whole wheat and half white flour)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Bake the sweet potato for approximately 45 minutes at 375. Remove the oven and let cool.

Combine the sweet potato, sugar, and milk and stir to make a paste. Mix in 2 cups of the flour, the salt, the yeast, and the spices until thoroughly combined. Add more flour a quarter cup at a time. Mix in after each addition until you have a dough that is tacky but which you can handle with wet hands.

When you hit the proper consistency, remove from the bowl and knead by hand for 5 to 10 minutes. (Or do it all with your KitchenAid mixer like I do.)

Set the dough aside to rise in a covered bowl for 45 minutes to an hour. Divide into a dozen or so pieces, shape, and then again allow to rise until they have roughly doubled in size, another hour or so.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Daisy Aday

My good friend Gillian is selling precious dresses for little girls to raise money for their family. They have just moved several states away to enter into full-time ministry. They have cute jumpers like this one, and peasant-style dresses too. Check out her blog and watch the "Smilebox" video to see all of the fabrics available. I love Madeline's cow jumper!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Our Ethiopian-American Family

So this is what dinner-time sometimes looks like at our kitchen table:

Sloppy joes on injera! And it was AWESOME!

We have a wonderful international market in Nashville that sells injera made at a local Ethiopian restaurant. We try to stop by about once a month or so. Doesn't it look lovely in the injera basket that we bought at a little village while we were in Ethiopia?

Here is a photo of the lady who made it!

The funny thing is, everyone in our family loves injera except for Benjamin. We won't give up, though. We'll keep forcing it on him until he learns to like it. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Then and Now

This was first day that we met Benjamin, five months ago. (He was sitting on my lap and looking at me in this photo.)

Benjamin and mama now.

What a difference a few months makes! The first few days together (really the first couple of months) it was sometimes hard to feel sure that we were doing the right thing for Benjamin. He was sad. His eyes look so unsure and afraid in those first photos. We didn't know him and he didn't know us.

When I look at those old pictures now I can read and interpret the looks and expressions that he was making. But at the time I could not. It is so hard to not know your baby, a baby who has already experienced over nine months of life. I read in a book the other day that adoption is a lot like opening a book in the middle and starting to read. It's hard for everyone to figure out what is going on for a while.

But when I look at the photo above, it fills my heart with joy. Yes, he is really my baby now and I am his mama. He knows me and I know him. He is at home, and he is thriving.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pumpkin Yumminess

I have a husband who loves anything made with pumpkin. And I am a person who loves to bake! So over the years I have tried many different pumpkin-themed recipes for everything from pies to brownie-like bars with cream cheese icing, breads, and even soups. Here are our two favorite pumpkin goodies that I always make this time of year.

Pumpkin Muffins (reasonably healthy)

1 can pumpkin
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 Tbs. oil
1 & 2/3 cup flour (I use one cup whole wheat and 2/3 cup white)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 cup raisins

In a mixing bowl, beat the pumpkin, applesauce, egg, egg whites, and oil. Add sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves and beat again. Add flour and beat just until mixed. Stir in raisins.

We like mini-muffins around here, but if you prefer the full-sized variety or a loaf bread that works fine too.

For mini-muffins, bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Pumpkin Yo Yo's (Nothing healthy about this one but the pumpkin. But Daniel is giddy when he sees that I am about to make these sandwich cookies. They are a once a year treat. :)

Pumpkin Cookies
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
Cream Cheese Filling
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
Beat eggs, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in pumpkin. Add spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat again. Add flour and beat again until smooth.

Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto ungreased cookie sheets and use the back of the spoon to flatten each one slightly. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

To make the frosting/filling: Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar a half cup at a time until frosting is thick, but spreadable.

After cookies have cooled, turn half over, spread a generous amount of the cream cheese filling on each one, and top with a second cookie.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Meet the Mathenys

Philip, Sara, Emily, and Titus Matheny

Although I haven’t seen them in person for about eight years now, this family has a very special place in my heart. The seed for adoption was first planted in my heart by Philip and Sara.

We went to the same college as Philip and Sara, and although we were never the best of friends, we had many common friends and always knew each other. I had a great deal of respect for them back then just because of what I knew about them from others.

Then Sara and I were paired together to do a project in a Bible class (we went to a small Christian college). We were told to research and present a ministry that we were passionate about and would like to be involved in in the future. Sara suggested that we do our presentation on foster care. She and Philip had spent the previous summer living and working with a family who cared for many foster children, and they were interested in doing the same someday down the road when they were married. It wasn’t something that I had ever really considered before, but I wanted to be agreeable so I said OK.

As I researched foster care , studied what the scriptures said about caring for the fatherless, and interviewed a few people who had served as foster parents the idea of caring for children who needed parents stuck with me. Over time I became convinced that Daniel and I would probably become foster parents someday when our children were older. Gradually that dream changed and God led us in the direction of adoption.

Anyway, this blog post isn’t supposed to be about me. My point is, that I am so very excited and honored to be partnering with the Matheny family this month. They are a precious, godly family, and they are adopting from the West African country of Burkina Faso.

For the months of November and December 100% of the proceeds for all Go.Seek.Love. shirts and note cards will benefit the Matheneys’ adoption.

Here’s what they have to say about their family:

We are Philip and Sara Matheny. God planted the seed of adoption in our lives through a foster-adopt family during the summer of 2001. When we married the following year, we knew that adoption would be a part of our family. A couple of times we tried to pursue it and each time He said, “Wait.” After we were blessed with the births of Emily and Titus, we began to believe adoption as something we do “someday” in the distant future.

In 2009, we began to realize that God was planning to bring our next child into our home through adoption. We chose to pursue adoption from Burkina Faso because our extended family is already in love with the country. Though we have not yet been there ourselves, twelve members of the Matheny family have lived in or traveled to Burkina. Our family and friends join us in excitement for bringing Little Matheny home! Emily started a change jar last year and collects all the money she finds (and even gifts she is given) to help bring her little brother home. Titus prays daily that his little brother will come home soon.

Throughout the adoption process, God has been guiding us to “Listen. Trust. Obey.” He taught us to live simply and has provided abundantly. He has given us a passion for Himself and for families and we are thankful for the opportunities He gives us to love others as He has loved us. You can follow our journey as we bring our son home from Burkina Faso at

And by the way, their awesome photos were taken by Sara Darling, another mom in the process of adopting from Ethiopia!