Everlasting Love

201When my parents came out to visit a couple of months back, in honor of their 25th wedding anniversary, I snapped a few pictures of them together. It’s not often (actually, it never happens) that my parents take photos together just the two of them. Their love for their family has always been first and foremost, so it’s never been at the top of their priority list to take a moment to focus on themselves and the love that they have shared for 25 amazing years of marriage. I wanted to celebrate their beauty, their youth, their love and commitment, and the joy and laughter they have together by trying to capture it as best I could (since I am not even close to being a photographer) and give them a chance to see themselves as I see them. These are just a few of my favorites.133159145167162178182My parents have been such a blessing and an incredible example to me as two godly people joined in a godly marriage. They often, in so many ways, have exemplified faithfulness and trust, passion and compassion, laughter and joy, and the true meaning of love through their every day lives. I had a very clear image of the qualities I was looking for in a husband long before I found him because of them. I couldn’t be more proud and in awe of them as they turn this major milestone in their lives together, and with such stride! I thank God so much that he made them my parents, I would not be where I am today without them and without the love they have for each other.107061Happy 25th Anniversary, Mom and Dad. Thank you for being the best parents in the world, I am so glad God blessed you both with each other.

“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.” – Ruth 1:16-17

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Pumpkin Beer Cupcakes Recipe

IMG_20130920_055027In honor of tradition, I made a really fun dessert for Brendan’s birthday again this year. Last year, I made him Bacon Chocolate Chip cookies. (Check out the recipe, here!) So, this year I decided to continue with the bacon theme, but throw a few other favorites of his in the mix. If you had Brendan make a list of his top 5 things to eat or drink bacon, pumpkin, cheese, and beer would probably be on that list. So, I put them all together in one little cupcake and they were pretty tasty, if I do say so myself! Here’s how to make these  Pumpkin Beer Cupcakes with Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Bacon!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

For the cupcakes:

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 cup pumpkin puree

2/3 cup pumpkin ale

4 tbsp butter (1/2 stick)

2 eggs

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

For the frosting:

6oz cream cheese,  room temperature

1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted

1 tbsp salted butter

1 tbsp cinnamon

3 tbsp maple syrup

For the candied bacon:

3-5 slices of bacon

2 Tbsp brown sugar

Start by placing the bacon slices on a cold baking sheet, sprinkle with brown sugar evenly, and place in cold oven. Turn oven on to 350 degrees and check back in 15 minutes. You want the bacon to be crispy, but not charred, so remove when they’re the perfect, sizzling crispness and cool. When bacon is cooled, chop into small pieces to sprinkle on top of the frosting at the end.

Now for the cupcakes. The oven is already preheated to 350 from the bacon, so all you need to prep is putting the cupcake liners in the tin. Then, in a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt, set aside. In a non stick frying pan, melt butter over low heat until slightly browned. In a mixing bowl, combine browned butter with granulated and brown sugars, whisk together until combined. Add eggs, pumpkin and beer to the butter sugar mixture and fold together with a spatula. Then slowly fold in the dry ingredients. Using a tablespoon, spoon batter into cupcake tins evenly and don’t over-fill! Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean, then cool.

Meanwhile, you can prepare your frosting by beating together cream cheese, cinnamon, maple syrup and butter until well combined.  Slowly beat in powdered sugar until desired sweetness and consistency.

Once cupcakes are cooled, frost and top with candied bacon bits, and enjoy! I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!IMG_20130920_034459

“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19