From My Carolina Home

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Apple Cake Donuts

Other than pumpkin, it is apples that have the taste of autumn.  So, here are apple donuts on a pumpkin plate.  These apple cake donuts are lightly spiced with cinnamon, and have a fresh apple flavor in a really moist donut, perfect for a weekend treat. I have been trying to get this recipe right ever since the Apple Festival. My first attempt was a disaster, the second was OK, but not great. Now, I think I finally have the perfect recipe.

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Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

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Add eggs and oil, stir gently only until combined.

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Add apples, stir to distribute evenly.  A bit more than the 1-1/4 cup is OK.   Batter will be very thick and sticky.

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Load 1/2 of batter into a piping bag, cut off the end. Don’t use any tips as the apple chunks won’t go through. You will be tempted to skip this step but trust me, it is worth the 30 seconds it takes to put the batter in a bag. If you don’t have a pastry bag (I use disposables) use a zip top bag. Trying to get this sticky, thick batter into those little wells is next to impossible with spoons.

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Prepare two donut pans by spraying with no-stick spray.  Pipe batter into six donut wells.

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Repeat with remaining batter and second donut pan.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 15-16 minutes, only until top springs back when lightly touched and donuts are lightly browned.

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Allow to cool for a couple of minutes…

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then remove from pans and put on wire racks to cool.

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Yum! These are outstanding served right out of the oven. You can sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like. Or a combination of powdered sugar and cinnamon. Or drizzle with a little glaze made of powdered sugar and milk with a dash of vanilla. DH likes his plain and warmed up in the microwave.

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Apple Cake Donuts

1-1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/4 cup diced fresh apples (about 3 gala size apples)

Spray two donut pans with non-stick spray and set aside.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine first six dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs and oil, stir gently only until combined. Add apples, stir to distribute evenly. Batter will be very thick and sticky. Load 1/2 of batter into a piping bag, cut off the end. Pipe into six donut wells. Repeat with remaining batter and another donut pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-16 minutes, only until top springs back when lightly touched and donuts are lightly browned. Do not over-bake. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then remove from pans and put on wire racks to cool.  Dust with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or drizzle with glaze if you like.

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Fall Veranda

Autumn is my favorite time of year, with the temperature getting cooler, all the color in the trees, and pumpkins.  There is just something about a pumpkin that makes me smile.  I’d love to cover our porch with chrysanthemums, but that might get a little pricy with the size of our porch.   So, I gathered the orange flowers I have and put them with a pumpkin at the front door.

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Yes, that is the same double hibiscus bargain plant I showed you before.  Those blooms only last one day, and it is still going.  I put the yellow torenia with a salmon color geranium on the other side.

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Yes, you see it right, our front door is a sliding glass door. Most of the front of the house is glass. All the better to see the view.  It needed a little more fall color, so I made an autumn wreath to hang up.  It was pretty simple.

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Just use seven sprays of fall leaves, then fill in with nine sprays of artificial pine cones with acorns, nuts, and greenery.

Fall wreath close

Add a ribbon with a big bow at the bottom in a fall print.

Fall wreath full

The Veranda is long, extending the entire length of the house, and I sprinkle flowers here and there along it.  Sometimes I sit at the table at the far end with my laptop and enjoy the view while I read my favorite blogs.  Sometimes I just take a novel and sit in the rocking chairs.  Sitting out here with a hot cup of coffee in the mornings is just heavenly.

Fall Porch

It is lovely to sit in the rocking chairs on a cool afternoon, and watch the colors change in the valley over to the next ridge. Right now it is all green, but a couple of weeks from now it will change to glorious reds, golds, oranges, and browns.

Valley 2

Inside, I put a little spray of fall leaves on the kitchen windowsill, along with two little candle tins with autumn themes.

fall decor window

There are more pumpkins inside, all my fall collection is out with maple leaf ceramic plates and pumpkin bowls, fall themed candles and lots of quilts. I’ll show you more of the inside later.

I am linking this post up with a link party at Chateau Chic. It is all on Fall Front Porches, enjoy the views!


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Sewing Chatelaine

This chatelaine is so easy to make with grosgrain ribbon, a couple of rings, a bit of stitch witchery and an afternoon of fun sewing. I took a little longer with mine because I like to embellish things.  I actually made this a long time ago, but now I have a blog to share it.  It is wonderful to wear at sewing gatherings and quilting classes.

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There is space to display pins, along with some nifty ways to keep your tools at hand.

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It serves as a memory reminder just by looking at the dates on the show pins.

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You’ll need five metal rings, some scraps of fabric, one-inch wide grosgrain ribbon 44-inches long in your favorite color, 3/4-inch wide grosgrain ribbon in a backing color 44-inches long, Stitch Witchery ribbon web 44-inches long, thread, and embellishments.

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Take your one-inch wide green grosgrain ribbon and your 3/4 inch black grosgrain ribbon, and bond them together using a ribbon of Stitch Witchery. Top stitch down both sides on the back to anchor the back ribbon in the center of the front ribbon.

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Take two of the rings, place the lower ring over the upper ring offset creating three spaces. Weave the ribbon under the top, over the top of the second ring, under the bottom of the first ring, and over the bottom of the second ring. Make sense? Weaving the rings together as shown in the picture, place in a comfortable position on the ribbon. Try the ribbon on and see where it is comfortable to have your seam ripper hanging and put the rings there on each side. For me, the best place was about 4 inches below the top of my shoulder.  Anchor the rings in place by sewing a ribbon rose at the top of the rings. Now is the time to be sure you like the total length, it may be a little long after you add the bottom pocket and needle keeper, so make adjustments now.

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For the two bottom sections, I used upholstery weight fabric, but you could use quilting cotton stabilized with a stabilizer or quilted. Start by embroidering the pocket triangle however you like. I used my embroidery machine, but a hand stitched design would be nice.  You could so a little patchwork as well, whatever strikes your fancy.  For the triangular one, cut two elongated diamond shapes and two pocket triangles. Mine are 8 inches top to bottom and 5 inches at the widest point. The pocket triangle is 5 inches across the top and 5 inches long in a equilateral triangle. Sew, turn and press the back, and then do the same for the pocket. Top stitch the pieces together along the two sides of the equal triangle creating a pocket. Add a ribbon with a button on top for stability, long enough to thread through the handles of a set of small scissors and tie a bow. Fold the top point through a metal ring and sew down.

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For the oval side, cut four ovals, embellishing one. Sew one set of two right sides together, turn and press. On the other, sew keeping the top open to turn it, right sides out. When you have turned it, insert one end of the ribbon into the opening and top stitch, closing the seam and anchoring the ribbon. Align one on top of the other and top stitch down the left side to create a ‘book’ to keep your pins and needles. Add a snap closure.

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I forgot to put the ribbon inside the oval, so I top-stitched it inside the needle book and added a button to hide the joining point.  Add a snap to keep it closed.

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Fold the other end of the ribbon through the metal ring and stitch down.

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Add a brass stiletto to one ring set and a seam ripper to the other in the center with jump rings using the middle part of the ring set.

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Now go dig out all those show pins, guild pins, club pins, and just cute pins and fill up the ribbon.

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Add pins and needles to the needle keeper. Slide a small pair of scissors into the pocket and tie them through the handles with the ribbon over the pocket.

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Voila! A neat chatelaine that is uniquely yours, no matter how many you see made. Make them for your friends too – inexpensive, and uses up scraps nicely.


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Autumn Mason Jar

Aren’t Mason jars the neatest things?  I don’t know why I am so drawn to them, maybe because they remind me of a simpler time.  My grandmother made the best jams, and always used those jars.  I found these lovelies in a thrift store, and had to get them.  They say Golden Harvest on the side with an embossed cornucopia.

jar 1

Now, here’s a fun fact. See these red tops? Can you guess where I got them?

jar lids

They are the lids to peanut butter jars. I found out quite by accident that they fit the Mason jars exactly. So each one gets a leaf to cover up the peanut butter logo.

I found this seasonal ribbon at a local craft store. It is wire edged and see-thorough. I cut a piece long enough to circle the jar with a bit extra to fold under. I started the project by hot gluing the ribbon down on one end to the jar, leaving the words Golden Harvest visible.

jar ribbon start

Then fold over the other edge to make a clean finish and glue in place.

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I had gathered some acorns out of the yard, and I had the silk leaves ready to go.

Jar acorns

I hot-glued two or three leaves over the seam on the ribbon, then hot-glued three acorns on top of the leaves.

jar finished

I filled the jars with Apple-Cinnamon potpourri to give as little Happy Fall gifts.

jar single

All the colors work well together. All the recipient has to do is open the jar and put it out for the gentle scent to welcome autumn.  They could also have candles in them, or soup mix, or cookie mix, the possibilities are endless!

Jars basket 2

I think I’ll use this basket to deliver them.

Jars basket 1

Welcome Autumn!!

Linking up with My Paper Craze Creative Spark

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Fresh Strawberry Bread

With the harvest season in full swing, and summer winding down, the strawberries are abundant. I wanted to preserve this last taste of summer in a breakfast bread, but the only recipes I could find used frozen strawberries. I wanted to use the fresh ones, so I had to develop my own recipe. This one came out right the first time, not something that happens often!

Fresh Strawberry Bread | From My Carolina Home

Fresh Strawberry Bread | From My Carolina Home

As usual, the amount of cinnamon is geared to DH’s preference, but you could reduce it to one teaspoon for just a hint of cinnamon flavor if that is more to your taste. Don’t be afraid of the amount of oil, it isn’t any different than using a cup of shortening or butter.

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Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside.

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Prepare strawberries by removing stems and core…

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then cutting into bite size pieces.

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Combine eggs, milk, vanilla and oil in a bowl beating slightly to break up eggs. Add sugar and mix well.
Add strawberries.

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Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

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Stir just until blended.

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Pour into two prepared loaf size baking dishes.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes, or until done.  Don’t rely on a toothpick test, you’ll overbake them.  Just bake until the centers are firm.

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Fresh Strawberry Bread | From My Carolina Home

Let the loaves cool in their baking dishes for 10-15 minutes, then remove and set on a rack to cool.   Yum! Serve with a little butter, or just slice and serve warm with nothing else on it.

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Fresh Strawberry Bread | From My Carolina Home

Fresh Strawberry Bread

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
16 oz fresh strawberries

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl and set aside. Prepare strawberries by removing stems and core, then cutting into bite size pieces.   Combine eggs, milk, vanilla and oil in a large bowl beating slightly to break up eggs. Add sugar and mix well. Add strawberries. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients.   Stir just until blended. Pour into two prepared loaf size baking dishes. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes, or until done.

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Fresh Strawberry Bread | From My Carolina Home

Want to do a great dessert with this bread? Layer thin slices with whipped cream and more fresh strawberries for a twist on the usual strawberry shortcake!

Linking up with these great foodie parties, wonderful linkups on the sidebar, and Crazy Mom Quilts

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September Hike

Saturday was a gorgeous day here in the mountains, temperature in the low 70s and clear.  A nice change from the overcast days we have had lately with afternoon rain.  We decided it was a perfect day to hike to some of our local waterfalls.  We drove over to Dupont Forest, our favorite place to hike, and picked the Triple Falls  trail.  We haven’t been up there in a couple of years.

September 20 hike -1

It is an intermediate trail because it has plenty of elevation change.  Luckily it goes up to the falls, so the last part of the hike coming back to the car is downhill.

September 20 hike - trail 2

There were a fair number of people out, but many times the trail was all our own.

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We stopped along the stream a couple of times both going up and coming down.

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We hiked up to Triple Falls, which is named for the three distinct waterfalls all on the same mountainside.  You can see two here, the third is at the bottom flowing to the left behind the trees.  We were high on the next ridge looking to the falls, and the people below will give you an idea of the scale.  These falls are high and lovely.  The roar of the water can be heard from quite a distance.

September 20 hike - Triple Falls

DH walked down to the very bottom to get these photos.

September 20 hike -triple falls bottom

September 20 hike -lower triple falls

September 20 hike triple falls lookg up

We weren’t too tired when we got to Triple Falls, so we decided to keep hiking. Going up we could get one more view between the trees.

September 20 hike -triple falls 2

We made it up to High Falls.  We went there earlier this year from the other side where the covered bridge sits over the river.

September 20 hike -high falls 2

Even the rocks are pretty with a sunny day.

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September 20 hike -downstream

We have a couple of weeks to go before our color season begins, but I did see this little section of a tree  starting to show a bit of red.

September 20 hike - a bit of color

Everything is so lush and green, lots of rain this summer. The stream on the left is quiet at this spot.

September 20 hike -creek trail

Yes, the downhill is easier going back, LOL!

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I hope you enjoyed the views!


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Block of the Month September 2014

This month the LQS picked Wild Waves from Quilter’s Cache.  This is a pretty simple block as all of the parts can be chain-stitched each step of the way.

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The colors chosen by the quilt shop are a really pretty blue/green variable, a darker blue watermark, and the standard grey that has been the background on all the blocks.

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Once again, I do not like the instructions given, and have used another technique to sew the elements of the block.

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Start by cutting eight squares 3-7/8 inch square.

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Cut these in half on the diagonal.  Don’t these look pretty!  I want to stop and make them into flying geese.  Ah, but we move on with the block.

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Cut a strip of blue and a strip of grey,  4-1/2 inch’s wide, then cross cut your squares.  I stacked my blue and grey to go faster.  ( In the link, it says to mark lines and start sewing here, but the sewing line is so convoluted so I have changed it to a chain piecing technique.)  I like to put a piece of painters tape along my measurement line to make cutting go faster.

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Stack the grey squares on top of the blue squares and cut each set on the diagonal twice so you have four quarter-square triangles.

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All the QSTs fit together in the same way, so all you need to do is take one of the stacked QSTs, and begin sewing a scant quarter inch seam on the side that is pointed up with the flat across the bottom.  Sew all of them on this side and you’ll have it done perfectly.

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Chain piece to save time. Note that I used a leader on this group, believe me it will make it easier to start a chain of those little points.

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Keep going with more triangle sets.

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Press to the blue side.

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Now, again the units are all sewn the same way.  Take the QST units and sew the long edge to the variable blue HST.
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Chain piece here too.

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Press to the HST, and square up to 3-1/2 inches.

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Lay out the design.  Although this is a simple block to make, the position of the colors can make a difference with that blue and green variable color, so lay it out and play with it a bit until you are happy with the color layout.

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Slightly different placement yields this –

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Then this –

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Sew the units in rows.  Press toward the variable color HST.  This time I went in vertical rows as the pattern suggested.

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Voila!  Done.

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If you missed any of the previous Blocks of the Month, you can still catch up, just click on the Block of the Month Category on the right sidebar.  We have three more to go, and will work on putting them together in January.  You have time to catch up!

If you missed August, click August 2014 Block of the Month.

Happy Quilting!

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