Tag Archives: pumpkin

hello autumn

Happy first weekend of fall! In case you missed it, yesterday we celebrated the autumn solstice with record heat in St. Louis.

Because nothing says autumn like leaves just giving up and falling because they are too dry to hold on any longer.

hello_autumn

But there’s hope for your weekend, still. Here are a few ways to make the most out of the new season even if summer won’t loosen it’s death grip just yet:

Step 1: Crank down your thermostat to 65.

Step 2: Wrap up in your giant blanket scarf and watch College GameDay.

Step 3: Boots still look cute with sleeveless dresses. Just don’t forget deodorant.

Step 4: Be thankful there isn’t a pumpkin shortage because both you and your dog are going through 2+ cans a week.

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Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Streusel Topping (Makes 18)

  • 1 C unsweetened canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil
  • 2 C peeled and chopped apples (Pink Lady or Honeycrisp)
  • 2 1/2 C flour (I used half whole wheat, half all-purpose)
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1 TBL pumpkin pie spice mix (cloves, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Streusel Topping (because streussel makes everything better)

  • 2 TBL flour
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 TBL oats
  • 2 tsp butter

pumpkin_apple_2

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk sugar, flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice mix, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, blend pumpkin, oil and eggs together.

Add dry ingredients into wet and mix until just combined. Add apples.

Scoop into prepared muffin tins and fill about 2/3 of the way.  Top with 1 tsp streusel topping per muffin.

Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

pumpkin apple muffins, recipes, breakfast, brunch, baking, fall, streusel topping, apple, pumpkin

I make these nearly every year on repeat. They are a great excuse for a mini carb-load anytime of day and they freeze well if you’re afraid you might eat them all in the first few days.

Not that Matt and I would know what that’s like or anything.

pumpkin apple muffins, recipes, breakfast, brunch, baking, fall, streusel topping, apple, pumpkin

Happy fall!

greater swiss mountain dog, finn, swissy, gsmd,

Of these things, I’m fairly certain

There comes a point in a thirty-something’s life in which the random things she’s heard, learned, experienced, seen, tasted and smelled over the first third of her life finally start to stick with her. After all, you rarely hear a twenty-something referred to as ‘set in his or her ways.’ No, this art takes years to perfect. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and call up your grandparents for a lesson. Don’t text them. Don’t email them. Pick up the phone and call them. Heck, by now your parents should be as set as a Ronco Showtime Rotisserie Platinum so you might as well ask them while you’re at it.

What was I getting at again?

Oh yes. Life lessons.

Up until this point, you’ve let these observations float in and out of your life without taking any ownership of them. Sure, you’re brand loyal to a degree, but you’re a millennial for goodness sake and you better believe that you are going to be flexible and adapt to the ever-changing world around you, right? Kind of like the way you’ve shifted every time Apple launches a new iOS or Facebook changes their newsfeed.

And then you turn thirty. And all of a sudden the phrases you use to utter in your 20s like pregaming or late night bars are replaced with let’s just have everyone over for a dinner party or do I have to put on real clothes or can I go in this? 

So today I present you a list of things I’m fairly certain of:

  • That I will never get all of my personal identification documents to have the same last name again. Ever. This weekend I nearly had to provide a retinal scan at The Gap to pay with a (new chip-encrypted) card that still listed me as Murphy because it sat in my wallet next to a drivers license that lists me as Zalewski. Meanwhile, my handsome yet mute in these types of situations husband waits patiently as I toss two debit cards, two credit cards and a blood donor card at our friendly cashier to prove I’m not a spy.

  Oh you have a Costco card? That will work just fine.

  • That there’s no way our dog proves my hypothesis about animals taking after their owners. Nope not our guy. So different, he and I.

  

  • That a landscape that includes pumpkins and palm trees will always be weird, but never having to wear socks will always be awesome.

  • That heckling is an art form maybe moms are just too sweet for it.

  • That if pumpkin obsession is a real addiction affecting basic girls everywhere, you can crown me pumpkin princess of autumnville. I actually felt a nervous swell when I realized I was down to my last can of pumpkin this weekend for a french toast recipe. And when my audible gasp was met with a side eye from Matt, I yelled, ‘there’s a shortage, you know!’ 

So I’ve got that going for me.

And because nearly everything I’m certain of this time of year relates to pumpkins, I’ll leave you with a recipe for pumpkin french toast sure to satisfy your cravings. That is, if you can get your hands on the limited supply!

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Pumpkin French Toast (recipe adapted from Cooking Classy)

  • 3/4 C almond milk (I didn’t have regular milk but by all means use it if you have it)
  • 1/2 C pure pumpkin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 TBL brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 6-8 slices multigrain bread (or challah or texas toast)
  • Butter (for griddle)

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Heat a cast iron skillet to medium heat. In a large bowl, whisk almond milk, pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and spices together. Set aside.

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Prepare skillet with butter. Dip bread into pumpkin mixture until saturated. Cook on both sides until browned, repeating butter before each slice.

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Serve with maple syrup or honey and dust with powdered sugar.

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Enjoy!

A Perfect Fall Day

Today was just about as close as you can get to a perfect fall day. And believe me I’m just as surprised as you that it happened this early in October and this close to the Gulf of Mexico. But it did. And I’m perfectly OK with that.

Normally on a day like today, I would head out to a pumpkin patch with the sole purpose of stocking up on gourds, drinking cider and eating donuts until my glucose tolerance increased enough for the upcoming holiday. But since I’ve been warned that any pumpkins I purchase will likely melt before Halloween, Finn and I settled for a trip to the dog beach instead. Because nothing says fall like sun, sand and saltwater.

If you’re already sick of PSLs, puffer vests and pumpkin pics, let me take you on a day-trip with us to the dog beach. You can go ahead and stop reading now if you are over my alliteration or averse to a million dog photos.

Cat people beware.

I had planned on taking Finn to the dog beach this week as a reward for adjusting fairly well to me going back to work, but when we woke up to temps in the low 60s this morning, I wasn’t sure anyone else would be at the beach for him to play with. I tried to come up with something else to wear him out but neither he nor his cow were having any of it.

finn, greater swiss mountain dog, swissy, puppy, dog,

 

So off we went but not before Finn showed off how much control he has when he realizes he is in fact going for a ride in the car.

It’s not a very long ride to the dog beach but all that excitement about riding in the car usually wears Finn out for the actual riding part. After all, you never know what you’re in for once you get to your final destination so you might as well arrive rested.

finn, greater swiss mountain dog, swissy, puppy, dog,

Turns out everyone else was taking advantage of the great weather and the beach was actually busier than usual. Never very cognizant of his own size, Finn managed to find the only dogs on the beach bigger than him. Cocoa the Saint Bernard and Willow the soon-to-be 200 pound mastiff seemed like as good a pack as any to join.

finn, greater swiss mountain dog, swissy, puppy, dog, saint bernard, mastiff, brohard dog beach, venice, beach,

 

There was a lot of gossiping going on.

And quite a few selfies.

finn, greater swiss mountain dog, swissy, puppy, dog, brohard dog beach, paw park, florida, gulf coast, dog beach

get one with my ears blowing in the wind mom.

When we got tired of running around, we took a few more selfies.

finn, greater swiss mountain dog, swissy, puppy, dog, brohard dog peach, paw park, florida, gulf coast, dog beach

And how can we forget that moment when Finn thought he was posing for a picture and it was really a video. Awkward!

I still have to figure out another way to spike my glucose over the next few weeks but I’m glad that we can keep trips to the beach in rotation well into the fall.

Have a great week and please keep the pumpkin patch pictures coming!

 

 

 

It’s coming up pumpkins

I ponder life’s questions frequently throughout my day. At the gym. Walking the dog. In the shower. But there are some questions that no matter how much I think about, I just can’t seem to figure them out. I talked about some of them last week but here are just a few more:

Why is it that?

I can hold my breath for nearly the entire length of a swimming pool but as soon as I put my face under the shower head to rinse it off I feel like I’m drowning? 

That although I’ve been in this body for 30 years now, I still have a difficult time judging the distance it needs to clear door frames, kitchen islands and coffee tables. 

Every girl I know is utterly and completely obsessed with everything fall. Pumpkin, pumpkins, pumpkin spiced lattes, selfies on hayrack rides going to pick out pumpkins. You get the drift. But don’t fret ladies, I’m right there with ya. 

And to show my support of the female obsession that is pumpkin, I made a batch of my mom’s pumpkin apple muffins this weekend.

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I made them a day after I attempted a healthier pumpkin muffin recipe and threw the entire batch in the trash.

When it comes to baking, always trust the recipes your mom gives you. End of story.

pumpkin apple muffins, recipes, breakfast, brunch, baking, fall, streusel topping, apple, pumpkin

Pumpkin Apple Muffins with Streusel Topping (makes 18 muffins)

  • 1 C unsweetened canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil (I used melted coconut oil but add a little extra if you are swapping)
  • 2 C peeled and chopped apples
  • 2 1/2 C flour (I used half whole wheat, half all-purpose)
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1 TBL pumpkin pie spice mix (cloves, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

pumpkin apple muffins, recipes, breakfast, brunch, baking, fall, streusel topping, apple, pumpkin

Streusel Topping

  • 2 TBL flour
  • 1/4 C brown sugar
  • 1 TBL oats
  • 2 tsp butter

pumpkin apple muffins, recipes, breakfast, brunch, baking, fall, streusel topping, apple, pumpkin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk sugar, flour, baking soda, spice mix, soda and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, blend pumpkin, oil and eggs together.

Add dry ingredients into wet and mix until just combined. Add apples.

Scoop into prepared muffin tins and fill about 2/3 of the way.  Top with 1 tsp streusel topping per muffin.

Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

pumpkin apple muffins, recipes, breakfast, brunch, baking, fall, streusel topping, apple, pumpkin

 

 

 

Spooky Pumpkin Toffee Cookies

Pumpkin season is in full swing folks. And while I’m not exactly down with the PSL craze, I do love to put pumpkin into just about everything else from October through oh let’s just say February. If I’m baking you something during this time frame, it’s likely to include pumpkin. Sorry I’m not sorry.

I made this batch of pumpkin cookies for my girlfriend’s birthday last week. I knew she liked pumpkin and I figured she liked toffee but after I posted the picture on Instagram, my assumptions were confirmed.

pumpkin toffee chocolate chip cookies instagram simply social blog

Birthday baking. #Nailedit.

These cookies originally started out as an adaptation of this recipe from trusted recipe blog, Two Peas and their Pod, but like my other attempts at any cookie with pumpkin, they rose up like fluffy little clouds in a summer sky. Ah summer, wish you were here. Seriously though. Warm up Chicago!

As I watched these cookies bake, I noticed them fluffing up like crazy. Maybe it was because I didn’t quite have enough toffee to weigh them down (I ran out at 1/2 cup and added spooky chocolate chips to make up for it) or that pumpkin cookies and I just won’t have the same crispy and flat relationship that my other cookies and I have together, but they looked nothing like the original recipe.

It was at that point that I decided to scrap the salted caramel glaze and serve these gems on their own. They might be cuffins in terms of shape and fluff quotient, but they were tasty cuffins. So tasty that I made another batch for work again this week. And just like the movie they were Gone in 60 Seconds. Ok 60 minutes but close enough.

spooky pumpkin toffee chocolate chip cookies simply social blog

Pumpkin Toffee Cookies with Spooky Chocolate Chips

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground all-spice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C unsalted butter
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C canned pumpkin (I use Libby’s 100% pumpkin)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C Heath Toffee Bits (I used 1/2 C heath bits and 1 C spooky chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, powder, spices and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer, blend butter and sugar until creamy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla, mixing between each ingredient. Once combined, slowly add dry ingredients to wet. Add in your choice of toffee or chocolate chips.

This makes a very sticky dough, so I suggest using a cookie scoop and spraying it with non-stick spray every 3 or 4 scoops. Trust me, you will be less inclined to throw the cookie dough at your counter or fridge because it just won’t release from the scoop.

These cooked up well (fluffy and soft) on my silpat and in a jelly roll pan. I don’t know why but I love my jelly roll pan for cookies. It’s just my thang. 

Bake for 15 minutes or until edges slightly brown. Note: these cookies won’t get crispy so they may look soft but are done after about 15 minutes.

Let cool in pan and then on wire rack.

Let your dog photobomb them again like he does every other baked good you make. Kid loves pumpkin, too!

pumpkin toffee chocolate chip cookies, simply social blog, swiss mountain dog photobomb

Looks like it’s going to be a perfect weekend for baking something with pumpkin. Everybody’s doing it.

Have a great day.