Saturday, October 27, 2012

Honey Wheat Pretzel Fingers with Pumpkin Guts Butter

Just in time for Halloween, my son entered his first 4H Food Show this morning, which was themed "Healthy Holidays" with a Halloween treat and I wanted to share his recipes!  The pumpkin butter is delicious!!!

Honey Wheat Pretzel Fingers

1 1/3 cups warm water
¼ cup + 1 Tbs honey
2 ¼ teaspoons rapid rising yeast (or 1 envelope)
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup baking soda
8-10 cups water (10 cups for wider pot)
1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon water
Sea Salt (Coarse or Fine, depending on your taste) for topping pretzels

Heat oven to 450degrees. 
Mix the water, salt, yeast and honey in a mixing bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes.  Next, add butter then flour and  mix with an electric mixer using a dough hook until dough pulls away from edges of the bowl and forms a soft lump.  Spray a second bowl with oil or cooking spray and place dough in the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for 55 minutes. 

In a large pot, mix the baking soda into the 8-10 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Mix the egg yolk and tablespoon of water in a small bowl also.  Once the timer goes off from the dough rising, place your dough on a lightly oiled surface, cut it into 16-20 pieces and roll them to the length and width you desire.  Drop two or three pretzels at a time into the boiling water for 30 seconds each, pull them out carefully and lay them on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush on a light coat of the egg mixture then sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. 
Pumpkin Guts Butter

2 sticks of butter, slightly chilled but softened
2/3 c honey
2 Tbs powdered sugar
5 1/2 Tbs canned pumpkin

Mix the butter, honey and powdered sugar on high with electric beaters, then stir in the pumpkin till mixed well.  Store in refrigerator to keep fresh but sit out for about 30 minutes to soften before serving.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hot Buttons - Book Review & Gift Card Giveaway!
I have a teen, I've been a teen.  But having one is very different from being one!  I am now the one responsible for teaching him right from wrong, for teaching him to make healthy and appropriate choices.  I can't do it for him, although I do try to no avail.  I also don't have all the answers and he knows that.  Thankfully I do have a son who isn't afraid to ask his parents anything.  However...the 18 month old, I foresee as being a bit more troublesome ;-)  So...these books arrived at a perfect time for me!

The Hot Buttons books by Nicole O'Dell are very parent-friendly.  By this I mean...not very time consuming to read giving you more time to put her advice into practice, which is what you want to do as soon as you begin each book!  I know what's out there, tempting all of us, especially kids, but even I have been eerily surprised by how young children are now exposed to so many dangerous things in our world.  The internet has opened up our world, but it has also opened up an easier path for evil.  A path we have to teach our children to avoid.  

My favorite thing about Nicole's books and her writing is that she doesn't say "keep you children hidden from the world" or "if you don't tell them about the dangers, they will avoid them."  My husband and I have never believed that.  Yes, we believe that you need to keep some things from them until they are old enough to understand, but that's younger these days then many realize.  As they grow, they need to be aware of the dangers out there and they need to be aware of your beliefs on issues such as drugs, dating, homosexuality, pornography, social media, etc....  They need to be equipped to handle them, to be confident in themselves and their own beliefs and have the courage to say NO!  With a reason...not just because they were told it was wrong.

Nicole gives you scenarios to walk through with your kids, very practical scenarios that could happen to your child whether they are public, private or homeschooled.  Even if you think they are safe going to church events most of the time, think twice and read these books!.  Prepare yourself and teach your chidlren.  Don't just tell them to avoid things, they need to know why and how.  Don't just scare them, they need the truth so they will truly WANT to avoid the temptations out there.  

I definitely encourage you parents and even grandparents, aunts and uncles out there to read through these short books, you will not be disappointed.

About the Book:
Nicole O'Dell helps address the Hot Buttons in teens' lives before the issues become problems 
From dating to drugs, modesty to purity, morals to popularity, teens face all sorts of tough issues. How teens respond to these hot-button issues can have lasting effects on who they want to be and who they actually become. What if parents can help their teens prepare for these hot buttons-before the issues become a problem?
The uniquely packaged Hot Buttons Series is an accessible, quick-reference resource that parents can use to equip their children to make the right decisions, even in the face of peer pressure and outside influences. More than just another how-to manual, Hot Button Dating Edition offers practical real-life situations that parents can read and discuss with their preteens. Topics include: physical activity, missionary dating, and violence/abuse in dating relationships.
Author, mom, and broadcaster, Nicole O'Dell provides short scenarios followed by three or four responses that a teen might choose in that particular situation. Parents are then encouraged to help their children explore the issue, ask questions, and discuss the options, so when a similar situation comes up in real life, the teens are already prepared to respond.

Hot Buttons Dating Edition offers practical real-life situations that parents can read and discuss with their preteens. Topics include: physical activity, missionary dating, and violence/abuse in dating relationships.
Hot Buttons Internet Edition helps parents prepare their teens for online challenges they may face. Topics discussed include: internet activity, file sharing, social networking, and internet predators.
Hot Buttons Drug Edition braves the scary world of substance abuse, equipping parents with facts, warning signs, and real-world scenarios on: alcohol; Marijuana and other drugs; inhalants; and prescription drugs.
Hot Buttons Sexuality Edition offers the facts about teen sexuality, backed by statistics; specifics for how to talk frankly about sex with your kids, discussion about the growth of homosexuality and bisexuality among teens; and compassionate advice for guiding your teen to reclaim purity.
Meet Nicole:
Youth-culture expert, Nicole O'Dell is the host of Choose NOW Radio: Parent Talk and Teen Talk and the founder of Choose NOW Ministries, dedicated to guiding teens through tough issues and helping parents encourage good decisions.
On air, O'Dell covers peer pressure, dating, purity, drugs, alcohol, modesty, popularity, and anything else that comes up along the way. Nicole writes and speaks to preteens, teenagers, and parents about how to prepare for life's tough choices.

As an author, O'Dell writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her popular YA fiction includes the Diamond Estate Series and the Scenarios for Girls interactive books that feature alternate endings, allowing young girls to decide the outcome for the main character. Her nonfiction for teens includes Girl Talk, which she wrote with her two daughters based on their popular advice column.
While her YA resources encourage and equip teens, Nicole also works to bridge the communication gap between teens and their parents. The Hot Buttons series helps parents discuss tough issues with their tweens and teens before the issues pop up in real life. Watch for future Hot Buttons books on subjects like bullying, image, prejudice, friendships, politics, and more.
O'Dell, resides in Paxton, IL, with her husband and six children-the youngest of whom are toddler triplets.
Find out more about Nicole at

Visit the Facebook link below and get ready to win $100 Gift Card!!!!
Kregel Live Webcast event
Blog Tour Schedule
Here is a link for the whole blog tour schedule!
If you have been enticed by my review, I encourage you to check out some others :-)
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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Review & Giveaway: Trouble With Cowboys

Ah, there is just something about a cowboy book that just draws you in...or maybe that's me?  It's funny because in my younger days, I actually attempted to become a horse riding lasted about a month, just not in my nature!  However, I enjoy reading books where the cowboy gets his girl, where life seems a little more simple.

The Trouble with Cowboys is a sweet story about Dylan and Annie.  Annie is a horse trainer, columnist and provider for her sister and nephew.  Dylan is the ladies' man around town, or so Annie believes.  His horse is losing his sight and nothing seems to be working but he knows Annie could help and he is willing to do whatever it takes to get her to do so.   When her horse column is dropped from the local magazine, she is asked to start a column giving out advice on love.  Unfortunately, she doesn't have a lot of experience in the love department but she needs the job and Dylan owes her.

This story was a quick, fun read.  I enjoyed the characters.  I loved how head strong Annie was and I could feel how much she cared for her sister and nephew but at the same time would become so frustrated.  It drove me crazy that she couldn't see Dylan for who he really was at first.  And the twist that comes later with her sister...didn't see that one coming!

I truly enjoyed reading this book and I loved getting lost in an easy romance.  I really appreciated that Denise didn't stick to just the romance between Annie and Dylan, she added a few side stories at the same time with the sister and other characters.  She also added quite a bit of humor making it a light but true feeling story.  I think the book was very well written and definitely worth picking up to read!  This is one of those feel good books that at the same time, gets you a bit emotionally involved, causing you to want another book about the same characters. 

About the Book: 

Only one pair of boots—and the cowboy wearing them—can get Annie out of the mess she’s in.

Annie Wilkerson is Moose Creek’s premiere horse trainer and equine columnist for Montana Living. Money is tight as she tries to put her kid-sister through college and provide for her young nephew. When Annie’s column is cancelled, she’s given first shot at a new lovelorn column—and she can’t afford to turn it down. Only problem is . . . Annie’s never been in love.

Always resourceful, she reluctantly strikes a deal with the town’s smooth-talking ladies’ man Dylan Taylor: She’ll work with his ailing horse, Braveheart, if he’ll help her answer the reader letters.

Working closely with Dylan is harder than Annie imagined, and she quickly realizes she may have misjudged him. But her unwavering conviction that cowboys are nothing but trouble has kept her heart safe for years. And she can’t risk getting hurt now.
The more Annie tries to control things, the more they fall apart. Her feelings are spinning out of control, and her sister’s antics are making life increasingly more difficult. Annie knows she needs to turn the reins over to God, but surrender has never come easily.

When Dylan reveals his feelings for her, Annie doesn’t know what to trust—her head or her heart. The trouble with this cowboy is that he might just be exactly what she needs.

Meet Denise:

Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she’s been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

Find out more about Denise at

To celebrate the release of The Trouble with Cowboys Denise is hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook. She'll connect with readers and give away some amazing prizes - including a Kindle Fire! 
Save the Date for October 11th!

Grab your copy of Denise Hunter’s latest book and join her for an Author Chat Party on October 11th at 8:00 PM EST (that’s 7:00 Central, 6:00 MST, & 5:00 PST)! Haven’t read The Trouble with Cowboys yet? That’s okay, don’t let that stop you from coming to the party! (You may win a copy!)

During the evening she’ll be sharing the story behind the book, posting discussion questions, testing your trivia skills, and of course, there will be plenty of chatting and fun giveaways – books, gift certificates and – a Kindle Fire! She’ll also be giving you a sneak peek of her next book too!

RSVP today and then come back on the 11th … and bring your friends!

Blog Tour Schedule
Here is a link for the whole blog tour schedule!  If you have been enticed by my review, I encourage you to check out some others :-)

Disclosure : I received this book free from Bethany House Books through Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review, the opinions expressed above are my own.

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