Friday, September 8, 2017

Our Family is GROWING!

SO when I said there was a lot of new beginnings in August, this is what was cooking in The Cozy Little Kitchen .....

Our family is growing, by adoption!!!!

(We're pretty thrilled.... just look at baby girl's face.)


And yes, there will be dark chocolate dipped potato chip cravings and ugly cries of joy have already started flowing!  I will labor and their may be pain, but it will look different than a natural birth story.  

Up to this point though, I've not felt lighter in years!  It may be partially to adrenaline, but I also know that's what the peace of God that passes all understanding feels like.  We are trusting God to provide the funding we need, the wisdom we need, the patience we need, the rest we need, and our children the security they need as we move forward.  We're putting one foot in front of the other with our eyes set on Him as he say's, "GO". 

Adoption is a leap of faith in many ways, but I believe wholeheartedly that's part of the miracle!   

God has set deep inside our heart that He has called us to build our family though adoption.  It is His plan A for our family's life!  Heath and I couldn't be more giddy-excited, overwhelmed, and a little scared as we begin this process again.  We know just enough to be both thrilled and anxious so please, we ask you pray for us as we have a number of decisions to make and as we trust the Lord to work on our behalf on all the decisions that are out of out of our control.  Your prayers are so appreciated!

There will be more to come as I'll try to keep you updated, so I hope you'll join us as we begin the journey to our 3rd child through a domestic newborn adoption!  

"He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children.  Praise the LORD!"
Psalm 113: 9

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved."
Ephesians 1:5-6

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths."
Proverbs. 3:5-6

"Whoever receives one such child in my name, receives me."
Matthew 18:5

"Jesus said, 'Have you believed because you have not seen me?  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'  "
John 20:29

Friday, September 1, 2017

Blackberry Farms Blackberry-Oat Crumble Bars

Happy September friends!

Today is a very rainy and a cooler day outside as "hurricane Harvey" gently sweeps through our area.  Rain and a bit of wind is absolutely nothing to whine about, especially with so many people hurting deeply from the very same storm in Texas.  By the time a hurricane gets to KY of course it's just usually just a rainy day or two, but my heart is breaking for the people who are suffering from so much loss right now or just to survive at all.  

I've gathered some supplies to send with a local ministry called Healing Projects who is making the drive down in a few days to deliver lots of essentials that our community has collected.  I know love has gone into buying and putting this collection drive together, and I hope each life it touches will feel that love even though we can't change their devastation.  

Lord, surround those who are hurting and scared in your arms.  Bind up the wounded hearts, heal their bodies, and meet their needs, as only You do the very best.  That they will see restoration and redemption come out of their heart ache!  Thank you for those risking so much to help in rescue parties and for those donating money or resources. May any effort on our part only reflect Jesus.  In Jesus name I pray!  Amen.

Mom surprised me this week with a package and this beautiful devotional in the mail, Devotions From the Kitchen Table!  It's perfectly timely since I'm just a couple weeks from finishing Devotions from the Front Porch.  The basis of all these scripture based devotionals are in a kitchen setting, which will be perfect in the cozy months of fall and winter!

I love different devotionals, and so to be given a new one is a special treat!  I look forward to starting this with a hot cup of coffee in the mornings. My life doesn't always lend itself to sitting and snuggling with coffee and a devotional, I don't want to paint a perfectly picturesque morning.  I do make an effort to get up before the rest of the house does to read or pray in the quiet, but some mornings need to start really early and it's a to-go coffee kind of morning.  Those days or I will open the Bible and my devotional or journal later in the day when there's time for my mind to settle for a minute, but I try to create space whenever I can.  At the ages my kids are now is much easier than when they were toddlers... those were my survival days!  Rolling with the season of life I'm in is what I'm learning to do, and while planning is essential in some things in life, learning to not be beat up by u-turns is just as important. Got it? Good! Now lets get to the delicious stuff.

You know what really gets me excited, that I haven't shared in a while?  Baking!  

I have a new recipe for you!!

Meet my new friend, blackberry-oat crumble bars!

Blackberry. Oat. Crumble. Bars.

You're welcome!

This is a new recipe for me, and I'm so glad I found it.  Right away I knew it would be yummy!  These blackberries happened to be from a patch down the road we picked from back in July. I froze most of them so I have locally grown berries now on the first of September to enjoy.

This particular recipe comes from the famed Blackberry Farms in Walland, TN.  It's a luxury type place to stay at in the middle of nowhere--so I've heard-- just south of The Smoky Mountains.  They are known for award winning cuisine that is unpretentious and recipes that derive from that area of the country but done in a fresh way. There was a stunning spread written up in Southern Living magazine's July issue about them, and it showcased their recipes.  This beautiful blackberry-oat crumble bar recipe looked delicious as I was reading through all the divine recipes.  I knew I would make it soon.  

They said this is one of the desserts they're known for at Blackberry Farms, but they have used this base recipe and replaced blackberries with many other fruits. Whatever is in season.  I imagined it being delicious with cherries, blueberries, peaches, or apples.  Apples would be perfectly fall in there!  To add fall flare I did sprinkle a bit of cinnamon to the topping, but I'm sure it's amazing without it, too. 

These smell divine as they bake, which is always a fun thing I look forward to when baking desserts--that cozy scent wafting through your home!

Light your candle, and get your coffee with one of these bars while watching your favorite show with the hubs, or take a pan to your next family reunion. Either way, enjoy!

Blackberry-Oat Crumble Bars
Blackberry Farms
Serves 24

Note: I halved this recipe and used a 9x13 pan instead of a large sheet pan. I baked it for 30 minutes.


6 cups regular rolled oats
2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups unsalted butter, melted, more for pan (Yes, it's a lot of butter!  This is a treat for a reason.)
1 tsp. kosher salt (Use whatever salt you have, but kosher gives it a nice bite.)
1 tsp. baking soda


9 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (3 lemons)
1/4 cup cornstarch

1. Prepare the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Stir together oats, brown sugar, flour, butter, salt and baking soda.  Remove 3 cups of the oat mixture, and set aside/  Press remaining oat mixture in an even layer on an aluminum foil-lined and buttered 12x17 in rimmed baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

You guys, until literally just now I totally missed this baking step of the crust!!  I over looked it on accident.  So just know if you don't have time for that step or forget the bars will taste amazing, but might be a bit more crumbly.

2. Prepare the filling.  Stir together blackberries, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until syrup thickens and is bubbly, about 7-8 minutes.  This alone would be a dreamy topping for pancakes!  Pour over the prepared crust and crumble the reserved 3 cups topping mixture over the filling.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes. Cool completely --about 2 hours--and cut into 24 pieces.