MOUTH-WATERING PEPPERMINT BROWNIES

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We started a Thanksgiving tradition last year that we carried on this year too, hosting a brunch for the friends who are like family. Here at our farmhouse (pictures and a tour coming in the new year, I promise!), the day was filled with so much joy and laughter and fellowship and all the things we prayed this farmhouse would foster… doing life together as a community and loving on people as Jesus would.

For Thanksgiving, I was determined to make some things from scratch this year.  “I’m going to make my first turkey!” I boldly told my husband in the weeks leading up… then we saw Fresh Market was having a special deal on a pre-cooked turkey and side trimmings. It just seemed too easy, so we caved and bought that for our evening meal hosting family. Then a few weeks ago, as I was reading Joanna Gaines’ new magazine filled with all kinds of festive recipes, I boldly told my husband again, “Since I’m not going to make my own turkey, I’m going to make an apple pie from scratch!”  “Like, make the crust and all?” he questioned.  “Yes, absolutely, from scratch.” IMG_3844Then the reality of trying to juggle that with a busy bee 7-month old, I caved and let my Aunt bring the homemade pies.  But I was still determined to make SOMETHING from scratch.

So a few nights before Thanksgiving, I was flipping through the latest Essential Oils magazine by Young Living,
and found this yummy Peppermint Brownies recipe.  “Brownies… like from scratch?  Not from a box?  Yes, I can manage that!” And the night before Thanksgiving, I put baby girl to sleep, and into the kitchen I went.

And not to fluff my own feathers, but I was quite proud that ONE thing in my kitchen was going to be made from scratch for the tummy’s of my next day guests.  It was also fun to experiment with using my new essential oils in baking, not just rubbing it on or diffusing.  I was intrigued to try that out, and after how awesome these brownies turned out, I’m excited now moving forward to try using oils more in cooking.

Here’s the recipe!  I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!  My Thanksgiving guests gobbled them up! (And if you are free tomorrow night at 8pm, I would love for you to join me in a FB class I’m hosting called “The 12 Oils Of Christmas!RSVP here!)

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PEPPERMINT FUDGE BROWNIES

Gooey fudge brownies are a fall favorite, but adding a touch of peppermint oil to the batch provides a cool, fresh taste to this decadent dessert.

  • 12 OUNCES SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE, CHOPPED
  • 3/4 BUTTER
  • 1 1/4 CUPS SUGAR
  • 1 TBSP VANILLA
  • 4 LARGE EGGS
  • 4 DROPS PEPPERMINT VITALITY OIL
  • 1 TSP SALT
  • 1 CUPE ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
  • 1 CUP MILK CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHIPS
  • A FEW CANDY CANES, CRUSHED

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease  13×9-inch baking dish and flour lightly.

Melt the chopped chocolate and butter in a bowl and stir until smooth.  Let cool for a about 10 minutes.

Add sugar, vanilla, eggs and four drops of Peppermint Vitality, and stir thoroughly.

Slowly stir in the salt and flour until combined.

Stir in chocolate chips and pour into pan.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Let cool and top with crushed candy canes.

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THE CARPENTER FAMILY

Sometimes you meet someone, and you feel “Where have they been my whole life?” That’s how I felt about this new mom Rana from our first chats.  I saw her adoption story circulating around Facebook, and thought it was fun that our daughter’s were born within months apart and shared almost the same name, and were both the greatest answer to our prayers.

On National Adoption Day, I had the honor of taking family photos of this beautiful new family. What a joy it was to meet this little miracle, Sarah Faith, and celebrate God’s faithfulness by capturing their smiles and joy for this holiday season!

Here are some of the favorites below!

SARAH & PARKER ARE ENGAGED!

Sarah & Parker are the perfect example that love at first sight does exist, even as a kid! This gorgeous couple has been dating since they were 12 years old, which started one day on a trampoline. Blushing and giggling in a way only little girls do, Sarah’s friend, Bailey, paused and said to her “Sarah, you need to meet my brother…” Sarah just smiled, “Really?…okay.” Then back to goofing around they went, truly thinking nothing of it. The day finally came that Sarah met Parker. “I was as giddy as a girl could get,” Sarah said. “Butterflies filled my stomach as my outgoing self quickly became shy. A short time later, Parker asked if I would be his girlfriend. After running to the side of the trampoline where I was jumping, he got his answer as I flipped and blew a bubble in his face, YES!”

Over the years as they have grown up, distance couldn’t even keep them apart the times they lived in different states and tried to date other people. “Going in and out of different relationships, Parker was all I could ever think about,” Sarah said. “Despite my efforts, no matter how hard I tried, I became aware that my heart has always & will always belong to Parker.”

Now they are grown up and are getting married, which started with Parker dropping to his knee on a Charleston beach. When they arrived at the beach spot, shells were laid out in the shape of a heart as he asked the big question. “In my favorite city, at my favorite place, my favorite man asked me to be his wife,” Sarah said.

And when asked what Parker loves most about Sarah, he replied, “I love how kind and how fierce she can be. She’s a giver and a lover. She’s the most beautiful girl in this world. She makes me laugh and she can make me cry. I love everything about her.” And Sarah loves about Parker that “he teaches me so much and makes me want to be the best me that I can be, and I love him for that.”

For their engagement session, we traveled to Savannah and Beaufort to document their session at some pretty incredible and unique locations, Wormsloe Plantation and the Sheldon Church Ruins. I truly felt like I was documenting a fairy tale love story, and I just know these two are absolutely going to live happily ever after!

Here’s some of the favorites from their engagement session!