• October 30, 2013

    Cheesecake and Pumpkin Cupcakes



    Happy Halloween!  My gift to you on this sugary-sweet holiday of greed and gore is more sugar!  And pumpkin.  And more sugar.

    Really, though, you should thank me.  These are made of pumpkin.  Pumpkin is a vegetable.  These cupcakes are vegetables.

    Now that we’re on the same page and fully justified… go make these!

    Cheesecake and Pumpkin Cupcakes

    By Erin Published: October 30, 2013

        Happy Halloween!  My gift to you on this sugary-sweet holiday of greed and gore is more sugar!  And pumpkin.  And more …



      1. BatterPumpkin Cake: In a bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, 2 eggs, sugar, oil, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix the contents of both bowls together until smooth.
      2. Cream-Cheese-FillingCream Cheese Filling: Combine the package of cream cheese and powdered sugar until mixed well and not lumpy. Then, beat in 1 egg white and ½ teaspoon vanilla.
      3. Cupcake-TinNow, put liners in a muffin tin and layer the muffin cups starting with pumpkin batter, then cream cheese mixture, and topping it off with the pumpkin batter.
      4. CupcakesBake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. When done, let cool before frosting.
      5. While the cupcakes bake, you can work on the frosting. Keep the bowl you used for the cream cheese mixture handy, because you’re going to use the same ingredients to make some great cream cheese frosting.
      6. You’ll need: One 8 oz package cream cheese, softened 1 cup powdered sugar 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
      7. Toss it all in the bowl and mix well. When it’s smooth, you will be able to smooth it over the cakes or pipe it on if you’re in to that. Cool in the refrigerator until the cupcakes are ready to go.



      1. Let your cream cheese get to room temperature before mixing.  If it’s too cold, it won’t smooth at all.
      2. As tempting as it is, don’t fill the cupcake liners too full.  It’s difficult to make them all the same, but the more consistent you are, the better.
      3. Similar to pro-tip number two, don’t overdo the cream cheese filling.  It will bubble out the top or prevent your cupcakes from holding together.


      Original recipe found here: http://www.silvanaskitchen.com/gluten-free-cheesecake-filled-pumpkin-cupcakes/

    • October 27, 2013

      Autumn Beauty



      Welcome to my obligatory white-girl-loves-fall blog post!

      I say that because I am well aware that pretty much everything I have to say today is going to be a cliché and I am totally ok with that.  I love fall.  If I could live in October for the rest of my life, I probably would.



      Some people mourn the end of summer and see the foliage changing as the weather gets colder and colder only to think about how good things end and death isn’t all that far off.  I argue that, while summer is ending, there are so many good things to look forward to and appreciate about fall.

      September and October roll around and it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your summer labor.  Fresh veggies from the garden and farmers market, soups and stew, and lovely hot drinks make fall the most delicious and relaxing season.

      Pumpkins and pumpkin flavors are everywhere you turn.  Pumpkin bread, pies, and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Lattes make their appearances and tempt me on a daily basis.



      The leaves become more and more beautiful and mornings become more and more crisp.  Even my morning commute becomes more enjoyable because there is so much more to delight my eyes and make me feel awake.  I get to turn the heater on in my car and just enjoy the warm air mingling with the cool of the morning.



      With cooler weather comes sweaters, scarves, and boots!  A change in wardrobe can make me feel so fresh and new.  Dressing for fall is so much fun!



      And maybe one of my very, very favorite things about fall is that I get to start baking and cooking again!  The oven makes our house too hot in the summer, so by the time fall rolls around I am SO ready to start making delicious treats and meals again.  I’m going to go ahead and guess this is my husband’s favorite part too… ha!



    • October 16, 2013

      Pumpkin Spice Chai Thumbprint Cookies


      You may have noticed the silence around here last week… My best friend’s dog ran off last Monday and my hubby and I have been spending every available minute with them searching for their pup, posting flyers all over town, and babysitting their kids while they searched.  The good news is that they found him today!  He is doing fine and we are all so relieved to have him back safe and sound!

      To celebrate, I made cookies!  I have an incredible sweet tooth and October marks the beginning of the best time of year to indulge in sweet tooth satisfying snacks and treats.

      In an effort to resist fully participating in the Paleo diet, I have for you today the best cookies I’ve ever made.  That’s not saying much, really, because I usually burn cookies or make them so crumbly it’s impossible to get them up off the cookie sheet in one piece…  But, really, these are the best cookies you will ever eat.  And apparently anyone can make them.


      Adapted with minor adjustments from the recipe found here: http://passthesushi.com/chai-pumpkin-spice-thumbprints/

      Pumpkin Spice Chai Thumbprint Cookies

      By Erin Published: October 16, 2013

        You may have noticed the silence around here last week… My best friend’s dog ran off last Monday and my hubby and I have been …



        1. IngredientsGather your ingredients and combine the cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg together; set aside.
        2. MixerCream the butter and sugar together with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add the chai concentrate, egg, and vanilla, mix well. Next, add the flour, baking soda, salt and 1/2 tsp. of the chai spice mixture you prepared earlier.
        3. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
        4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
        5. DoughRoll the cookie dough into 1 inch round balls and line them up on the baking sheets, leaving about an inch around all sides of the ball of dough.
        6. KissesBake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, unwrap enough Kisses for your cookies.
        7. CookiesWhen cookies are done, immediately place Kisses in the center of each cookie and sprinkle with a little of the leftover spice mixture. Let the cookies cool completely before picking them up as the Kisses will sometimes fall through the middle, leaving you with a chai cookie doughnut.

        Pro Tips:

        The cooler the dough is, the better it will roll into balls for you.  As it warms up, the dough becomes more and more sticky.

        When you place the Kisses, be careful not to move them around too much until the cookies are totally cooled.  The dough is hot and chocolate melts so… it can get messy if you fiddle with it too much.

      • October 2, 2013

        Top Five: Etsy Jewelry

        You know what is super fun?

        Window shopping! 

        You know what is super fun when it’s dreary and raining and you want to stay at home in your pajamas?

        Online shopping!

        Today is brought to you by rainy days and Etsy jewelry designers:

        Honey Bee Locket Necklace


        What I love about this necklace by the shop MD Sparks is that it adds just the right amount of color to make it really pop!  The subtle steampunk design would make it great to wear to work without being over the top!  She has a ton of other really great designs too, so if steampunk isn’t really your thing, her shop is still worth checking out.


        Turquoise and Antique Bronze Necklace: Wire Birds Nest, Birdcage, Bird Charm, Turquoise Eggs, Turquoise Beads with Toggle Clasp


        Similar to the necklace from MD Sparks, this design by RheasRenditions has a subtle steampunk feel that isn’t overwhelming.  Usually, I can’t handle things being out of symmetry, but somehow this has just the right balance to make me feel ok about it all.  Also, I love turquoise and the little eggs are so cute!


        Mod Flower Pendant necklace fall jewelry floral boho delicate jewelry wood pendant eco friendly jewelry wood jewelry


        I love, love, love this necklace by starlightwoods!  The pendant is made of wood that she collects on hikes with her kids.  Sanded, painted, and sealed in resin, it’s simple, feminine, and woodsy!


        BLOSSOMING - Eco-friendly Glass Photo Necklace


        EcoHandemadeStudio has some really fun designs for their recycled glass pendants; Mostly flowers and birds, but for the geek in your life, they also have some great superhero cufflinks!  You can also swap out the color of ribbon cord, but I think this green so lovely!



        The last necklace I have to share today is this brilliant red fox by TheElfinForest.  The bright red pops so nicely in front of the script in the background.  I just want to touch this one because it looks so smooth and shiny!