Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

Just the other day, I realized that Thanksgiving is a few short weeks away. I feel like I was forking out the pumpkin cans way too early last week, and burning fall candles in the 100 degree weather fairly recently. How am I already planning out things to cook for Thanksgiving?

I’m also Christmas shopping like crazy, just so I can avoid the mall once Black Friday hits. I used to thrive on Black Friday shopping, but I think I prefer the rush of online shopping more anyway. :-) Cyber Monday rocks (even though I’m sure the UPS guy doesn’t agree with me on this one…).

We’re totally in holiday season, and I love it. Halloween…Thanksgiving….Christmas….New Years! It’s a great time of the year!

For Halloween, my work had a pot-luck type of party, and they held a pumpkin baking contest. Of course I had to try…even my coworkers were asking me from day 1 what I was bringing. I guess they know that I keep Libby’s (pumpkin) in business this time of the year with the treats that I bring to the office. :-)

I decided to finally try my hand at a cheesecake cake. I saw this idea on Erin’s blog a few years ago, and always thought that I should make it happen. I just never did, because I was intimidated. Two desserts in one? (Yeesh!) However, it’s totally manageable to do. While it seemed daunting, I broke it up into two days (which is explained in the directions). Basically, day one = cheesecake making/freezing and day two = cake making/assembling. I followed Erin’s tips, and it came out perfectly!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Buttercream

So, y’all. If you have a couple of days to make this, oh man….it doesn’t even have to be pumpkin. Just make a cheesecake cake. It’s amazing!

Oh, and if you’re wondering how the contest went, I won! However, it was definitely a close contest! The judges were split between all of the delicious desserts…my coworkers are SO talented in the kitchen. :-)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cake

Recipes:

Directions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray, and line the bottom of the springform pan with a 9-inch piece of parchment paper.
  2. Pour filling into the springform pan, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set and measures 140 to 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 50 to 60 minutes.
  3. Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove the ring of the springform pan (not the bottom yet), and wrap it in two layers of plastic wrap. Then wrap the plastic-wrapped cheesecake in heavy duty foil. Freeze the cheesecake overnight.
  4. The next evening, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two round cake pans with parchment paper, and split the cupcake/cake batter amongst the two pans. Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
  5. To assemble the cheesecake cake, take the cheesecake out of the freezer to thaw for about 10 minutes. Remove the bottom of the springform pan from the cheesecake (the parchment paper in the bottom of the pan should help with this step). Level the pumpkin cake layers, and if necessary, level the cheesecake as well. Assemble the cake with one layer of cake, the cheesecake layer on top of the cake and then the remaining layer of cake on top of the cheesecake layer. You won’t need frosting between the layers. If you only had 8-inch round cake pans (like me) and a 9-inch springform pan (like me), you’ll need to carefully shave the cheesecake edges to the edge of the 8-inch cake layers.
  6. Ice the cheesecake cake with the spiced cream cheese frosting, and if you’d like, add sprinkles! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Espresso Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Espresso Cream Cheese Muffins

Just the other day, my husband and I were at Costco, and I was super tempted to purchase these trees for our mantel when the holiday season is here. I’m always a little eager to decorate for the holidays (if it were up to me, I’d have everything up in mid-November), but I held back from purchasing them.

Out here, it still feels summer-ish. We had a quick cool blast of weather this past weekend, which was a sweet relief. I took most of the day to weed the gardens, combat dodge wasp nests (OMG, the wasps this year), add new pine straw and add pretty new annuals for the upcoming seasons. It was nice to be out there, and for once, not really feel the effects of being outside until the next day (yeah, my legs were sore for two days after all of that..). However, once Monday hit, we were back to ridiculously humid days and highs in the mid to upper 80s. I rebelled with pumpkin spice coffee, but no dice. Still humid and gross outside. :-\

Oh, and we also decorated for Halloween. I totally forgot just how many decorations we purchased after Halloween last year haha! Pulling all of the Christmas decorations from the attic is going to be a surprise for sure, because I know we ransacked stores once things got to be 75% off last January.

Even though it’s practically summer outside, I’m still cracking open cans of pumpkin. In fact, one of my husband’s coworkers was sweet enough to bring him pumpkin puree, since they get a lot of what I bake in the kitchen. I sent him to work with a batch of pumpkin snickerdoodles and half of these muffins (I need to bring something for my coworkers, too!)

This is a twist of the popular Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins that are typically seen in a certain coffee shop during the fall, and while the twist is subtle, oh man…it MAKES these muffins! Instead of filling with a plain, sweetened cream cheese, I decided to add in some espresso powder (since I’m ALL about the pumpkin spice coffee lately) with a little bit of cinnamon as well. The dozen muffins that I brought to work didn’t even make it to the break room table! (If my coworkers see me with an aluminum tin, they know some baked goodness is hiding underneath the foil.) While these muffins do take a few steps more than normal muffins (due to the layering of the batter/cream cheese/batter/streusel topping), it’s definitely worth it.

Pumpkin Espresso Cream Cheese Muffins
Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, originally from Bakespace

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp. espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the muffins:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

For the streusel topping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tbsp. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • Optional: roasted pumpkin seeds

Directions:

  1. To make the filling, mix the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, espresso powder and cinnamon together in a medium-sized bowl, until the ingredients are well-mixed and the mixture is smooth. Place a large piece of plastic wrap on the counter, and transfer the mixture to the plastic wrap. Shape the mixture into a 1 1/2 inch diameter log, and then wrap the cream cheese mixture tightly with the plastic wrap. Then, wrap the plastic wrap with foil, and place the cream cheese mixture in the freezer, for at least 2 hours (making sure the log is at least slightly firm before using for the muffins).
  2. Once the filling is ready, make the muffins. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two muffin pans by lining them with cupcake/muffin liners and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. Whisk the dry mixture well.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix the wet ingredients on medium-low speed, until well-mixed. Turn the mixer on low speed, and add in the dry ingredients, mixing everything together until just incorporated. Set aside.
  4. To make the topping, add the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small-sized bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients well. Add in the butter cubes, and using a pastry blender or two forks, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. (Keep this mixture in the fridge if you aren’t immediately baking the muffins.)
  5. Assemble the muffins by filling each liner with about 1-2 tbsp. of muffin batter, making sure to just cover the bottom of the muffin liner. Take the cream cheese log out of the freezer, and slice it into 24 equal slices. Place a slice of the espresso cream cheese mixture into each liner, on top of the just placed muffin batter. Divide the rest of the muffin batter among the muffin liners (until about 2/3 of the way full), being sure to completely cover the cream cheese slices. Lastly, sprinkle the streusel mixture (as well as the pumpkin seeds, if you wish) over each of the muffins.
  6. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes, and then transfer the muffins to a wire rack to allow to completely cool. Note: DO NOT consume these muffins until they are completely cool, because the cream cheese will be ridiculously hot on the inside after baking. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Confetti Soft & Chewy Bars

Pumpkin Confetti Soft & Chewy Bars

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I went to an LSU football game. It was my first game in Tiger Stadium since I graduated from there (years ago), and my alma mater has changed so much. The campus is the same size, but they seem to be tearing down buildings and building new ones left and right. When we were walking around, I had moments of nostalgia. Part of me misses the college days…the super late night study sessions with friends, random on-call nights (yeah, I was a party pooping RA) and of course, the LSU student section at football games.

Our seats were super high up, which totally made my knees buckle under me since I have a terrible fear of heights. I needed a good 10-15 minutes to get used to our seats, but once the game started, I had no problem jumping up during big plays and looking over the ledge to see the crowd below…haha! I also teared up like a wuss when the LSU Tiger Band played the alma mater during pregame, mostly because I still have regrets about quitting marching band after a year and heck, I just miss the college days! I mean, I love being an adult and all, but there will always be a piece of me that misses those wonderful college days. :-)

Speaking of nostalgia, anything involving funfetti mix makes me think of my childhood. My mom made funfetti cookies and cupcakes all the time in our house! In fact, for my bachelorette, there was a fresh batch of funfetti cupcakes just waiting for me and my friends in the hotel room. While cakes from scratch are wonderful, there will always be a place in my heart (and stomach) for funfetti. I thought that I should combine pumpkin with funfetti, because everyone in my life knows how pumpkin obsessed I am. The moisture in the pumpkin helps them to come out so soft and chewy, and these bars are then topped with a pumpkin spice/sugar mixture that adds a little crunch to them. It’s a great, simple recipe to bake up this fall. :-)

Pumpkin Confetti Soft & Chewy Bars
Source: an original

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (divided)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions:

  1. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9×13 inch cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, pumpkin puree, eggs and 1 tsp. of the pumpkin pie spice together for about a minute, until no lumps in the cake mix remain.
  3. Evenly spread the dough with your hands in the 9×13 inch cake pan (it’s helpful to dip your hands in a bowl of warm water to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands). In a small bowl, mix the granulated sugar and remaining 1 tsp. of pumpkin spice together. Sprinkle the pumpkin pie spiced sugar over the bar dough, and bake the bars for 15-18 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.
  4. Allow the bars to fully cool in the pan, slice into bars and serve.

Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carton Smart for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

triplechocolatepumpkinpie

With the holidays just days away, I'm starting to make my to-do lists and finalize the menu for the big Christmas dinner. We're hosting my husband's family this year, which is about 20 people, so the menu is getting a bit crazy. Thankfully, we have some family members willing to help out, and bring some dishes, but you guys know me…I'm all about the desserts! :-)
 
When it comes to the holidays, I always enjoy a good homemade pumpkin pie, and this year, I wanted to try something different since chocolate & pumpkin are a match made in heaven: triple chocolate pumpkin pie.
 
Yup…that's pie with bittersweet chocolate spread on top of a graham cracker crust, along with chocolate in the pumpkin pie batter, topped with a milk chocolate drizzle. If that doesn't scream holiday decadence, I don't know what does!
 

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I was recently sent a package of products from Pacific Foods, and was asked to use one of their products to make a holiday dish. I chose the organic pumpkin puree to make this pie.
 
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They also sent me a container of organic cranberry sauce and chicken stock.
 
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One of the great things Pacific Foods has is their packaging. Their products are packed in Tetra Pak cartons, which is great for many reasons…the main one to me being that there are no preservatives. For example, the cranberry sauce ingredients are organic cranberries, organic cane sugar and water. That's it!
 
Here's more information about Tetra Pack packaging on the graphic below:
 
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Based on the information above, how do you think you can be #CartonSmart this holiday season? You can also learn more by checking out their Carton Smart page (link below), as well as their social media sites:
 
triplechocolatepumpkinpie2
Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Pie
Source: Martha Stewart

Ingredients:

For the crust:

 
  • 2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 oz. bittersweet (61%) chocolate, finely chopped

For the filling:

  • 6 oz. semisweet (55%) chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 15 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 12 oz. can evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. coarse salt
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves

For the drizzle:

  • 1 oz. milk chocolate, melted

Directions:

  1. To make the crust, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugars, salt and cinnamon. Evenly press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a deep 9 1/2 inch pie dish. Bake the crust until firm and fragrant, for about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Remove the pie dish from the oven and immediately sprinkle the bittersweet chocolate pieces over the bottom of the crust. Return the pie dish to the oven for about 1 minute, until the chocolate is melted. Using a spatula, spread the chocolate in a thin layer on the bottom and up the sides of the crust. Allow the crust to cool on a wire rack and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  3. While the crust is cooling, make the pie filling. In a large microwave safe bowl, melt the semisweet chocolate and butter together in 30 second increments on 50% power, stirring well between each cycle, until the chocolate is smooth and melted.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, brown sugar, eggs, cornstarch, vanilla, salt and spices together until everything is well-mixed. While whisking the chocolate, slowly add in 1/3 of the pumpkin puree mixture to the chocolate mixture. Once that's mixed well, add in the rest of the pumpkin puree mixture and whisk until everyhing is well incorporated.
  5. Place the pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet and pour the pumpkin/chocolate mixture into the crust. You may have some extra filling (you could bake this in ramekins for mini servings…it will take less time to bake, though), so only fill the pie dish until you have about 1/4 inch of space left at the top (for rising).
  6. Bake the pie until the center is set, but still wobbly, for about 55-60 minutes. Allow the pie to cool in the pie dish on a wire rack, and then refrigerate the pie until chilled (at least 8 hours or overnight). Before serving the pie, drizzle the milk chocolate over the top. Enjoy!

Disclosure: I was compensated by SocialSpark to write this post, and was sent product samples from Pacific Foods at no cost to me. All opinions are 100% my own.

 

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Pumpkin Bread Pudding

pumpkinbreadpudding

Could the weather be more perfect lately? I can’t get enough of it. My day job is a standard desk job, and usually I’ll stay inside as much as possible, since it’s so gross and humid outside. However, lately…I take my breaks outdoors and walk or just relax on a bench and take in this perfect weather. It reminds me a lot of when I went to San Diego for a work conference…it was in the middle of July, yet, it felt like fall out there. Amazing!

I made this bread pudding since I took a bread baking class that I won in a local trivia contest on Twitter. After taking the class, I had 3 full baguettes at our house. When life gives you stale bread, you make bread pudding, right? And when life gives you stale bread in the fall, you make PUMPKIN bread pudding. Completely logical.

The most tedious part was cubing all of the bread, but after that, it was simple to throw together. Since I was bringing this to coworkers, I steered clear of the normal rum sauces (even though it’s cooked, I just don’t chance it) and made a pumpkin spice sauce to give the dessert an even bigger boost. This was SO good, and seeing that a double batch of this left the office well before lunch-time hit, I think quite a few people agreed with me. :-)

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Pumpkin Spice Sauce
Source: bread pudding adapted from Smitten Kitchen, sauce adapted from Land O’ Lakes

Ingredients:

For the bread pudding:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter

For the sauce:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, egg yolk, salt and pumpkin pie spice until well-combined.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. While preheating the oven, add the butter to the bottom of an 8″ square baking dish, and place it in the oven, allowing it to melt.
  3. When the butter has melted, take the dish out of the oven, and carefully toss (using tongs, since of course, the dish & butter will be very hot) the bread cubes in the butter, coating all of the bread well. Spread the bread cubes evenly over the baking dish. Give your bread pudding mixture one last stir, and then pour the mixture evenly over the bread cubes, ensuring that all of the bread pieces are evenly coated. Bake the bread pudding until the custard is set, about 25-30 minutes.
  4. To make the sauce, add the butter, sugar, brown sugar, cream and pumpkin pie spice to a saucepan. Cook the sauce over medium heat for 5-8 minutes, making sure to stir ever so often. The mixture should thicken a bit and come to a full boil. Once that happens, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Allow the sauce to cool until warm.
  5. To serve, pour warm sauce over warm bread pudding. It’s also great served with fresh whipped cream or ice cream. You can store leftover bread pudding and sauce in the fridge, and microwave until both are warm again.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

pumpkinsnickerdoodle

Hey, did you guys know that it’s 68 days til Christmas? Yeah…I know, right? I found myself in a bit of a panic when I realized that I really haven’t started shopping yet, and that’s SO not like me. I usually have a closet full of gifts to wrap before Halloween even gets here. It’s just how I am. I’m the type of person who prefers to have a tree full of presents when the tree is ready to go up. I’m sure that makes me weird or something, considering most of my family is the exact opposite. I don’t know how my mom does it, but on Christmas Eve, she usually has a gift-wrapping fest and gets it all done. Me? I’m wrapping the evening of Thanksgiving. :-)

I tend to really get into the holidays. For me, I go for the “Merry, Not Scary” side of Halloween, thus the reason for the Halloween Pacman inflatable. No headless horseman/creepy skeletal/fiery inflatables here…I usually tend to veer towards pumpkins. I should clarify to say happy pumpkins….and Casper. I also get into the Halloween snacks. Is it just me or are Halloween Oreos for some reason 10x more addictive than regular oreos? Now, since the scientists have said that oreos are as addictive as cocaine. I guess that makes sense…I totally can’t have just 1 serving of oreos lol! Honestly, I probably could seriously sit down and eat half of a bag. :-P

Another cookie that’s pretty addictive are these pumpkin snickerdoodles. I seriously ate 3-4 of these right out of the oven. They’re slightly crunchy on the outside (from the coating) and perfectly chewy on the inside. The flavor is wonderful…even my pumpkin hating husband loved these!

By the way, this weekend I’ll make the quick drive to New Orleans for PMA Fresh Summit! I’ll be tweeting and Instagramming like crazy, so feel free to follow me on Twitter & on Instagram :-).

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Source: Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the coating:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • dash of ground allspice

Directions:

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugars, and beat them on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula, and then mix in the pumpkin puree. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until incorporated into the batter. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula again, and then with the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix until just mixed. Cover the bowl and chill the dough for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheets by lining them with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. In a small bowl, add sugar and spices for the cookie coating and mix well. Scoop the dough with a cookie scoop and roll it into a ball. Place the ball in the coating mixture, and roll to completely coat the dough. Place on the cookie sheet and repeat with the cookie dough, leaving 2-3 inches space between each cookie dough ball. Gently press the cookies down with your hands to flatten the dough slightly.
  3. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are just set and baked all the way through. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, and then transfer them to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling. Repeat with the rest of the dough, until all of the cookies are done. Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

Pumpkin, Apple, Cranberry Baked Oatmeal

Life is such a roller coaster. A couple of months ago, lightning hit our house and turned so much of our lives upside down. Then, we had some really terrible news in our family that just made me question how much worse things can get. (Don’t do that, by the way.) It was tough not to cry at random times, which was so embarrassing when it happened at work (especially since I work with guys, which was probably super uncomfortable for them…ahh, tech field). I tried to use the allergy excuse, but they knew what was going on. Things were just broken….our house, our hearts…I really had no idea when good things would happen again, but that was the only thing that kept me going. Good things had to come for us. Soon.

Now, we’re painting new sheet rock in our house. The house that we could have completely lost, but we didn’t. As tedious as painting is, I appreciate that we have walls to paint. We pulled out Halloween decorations, which were right next to where the fire started. I can’t look at the attic the same way again, but taking out these goofy decorations make me realize that we’re very lucky right now. We’re doing normal things again, like planting fall flowers, cutting grass that is still growing like a weed and loading dishes in the dishwasher. While those tasks aren’t really super fun, I take a step back and think that I didn’t have to replace those plates that I’m rinsing out, I didn’t have to walk through a house full of water/smoke/fire damage and just think about everything we lost. I’ve had those nightmares lately….multiple times, and waking up in my bed makes me smile and count my blessings.

We’re so lucky. I’m so lucky that I can blog about this baked oatmeal. I’m sitting in our living room, blogging, staring at my sofa full of clean clothes that I’ve yet to fold, and watching my dog attempt to steal a sock from the pile to rip to shreds. I’m so lucky.

Now, this baked oatmeal is simply fall. When it was baking in our kitchen, it just smelled amazing. Pumpkin, apples, cranberry, cinnamon….it’s a perfect fall breakfast. This is one of those dishes that make you want to curl up in a blanket, sip on a cup of coffee and just embrace the season.

Pumpkin Apple Cranberry Baked Oatmeal
Source: adapted from My Kitchen Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 medium apple, cored and cubed

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper or spray the inside with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and dried cranberries, and stir everything until combined. In another bowl, add the milk, pumpkin, melted butter, egg and vanilla, and whisk the mixture well.
  3. Add the wet mixture, as well as the chopped apples, to the dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the baking pan, and spread the mixture evenly in the pan. Bake the oatmeal for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden and the liquid is absorbed.

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bundt Cake

cinnswirlbundt

I think the baking bug has hit me. I’m all about baking lately. We had a slight “cold” front this past weekend that made me think that the Fall weather is almost here. It made me run to Home Depot and immediately purchase mums, as well as prep the gardens for pretty cool weather annuals. It’s been hard to hold back on adding a bunch of color to the garden, but horticulturist momma told me I need to wait until the beginning of October. ::sigh:: (I think I may buy annuals this weekend…don’t read this blog, Mom! October is close enough, right?) :-P

Right after I finished the gardens (and scrubbed all the dirt off, of course), I had an itch to bake something pumpkin-y. I immediately went online, and found this recipe for pumpkin bundt cake. I thought…eh, I’ve done pumpkin bundt cake before…I need to add something else to it. Then, I thought to add in a simple cinnamon swirl (because who doesn’t like a little extra spice in their pumpkin baked goodies?), as well as a pumpkin spice glaze instead of the buttermilk one this original recipe calls for. Let’s just say our kitchen smelled like heaven. Delicious, spicy, weather needs to cool down any minute now — heaven. ::hint HINT Louisiana!::

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Bundt Cake
Source: adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • pinch of allspice
  • pinch of clove
  • 3 tbsp. milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and put an oven rack in the middle position. Prepare your bundt pan by spraying the inside generously with baking spray or butter/flouring the inside (being sure to get every nook and cranny).
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 tsp. cinnamon, allspice and salt in a medium sized bowl. In another bowl (or the measuring cup you have the buttermilk in), whisk the pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla extract together.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar for about 3-5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down with a spatula, add in the eggs, and beat the mixture for one minute. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add 1/4 of the flour mixture, then 1/3 of the pumpkin mixture, repeating until all is used up (making sure to begin and end with the flour mixture), mixing everything until the batter is just smooth.
  4. In a separate small bowl, mix the 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and the 1 tbsp. of cinnamon.
  5. Spoon half of the batter into the pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Then, liberally sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the batter already in the pan. Then, spoon the other half of the batter on top of the cinnamon sugar, and spread the top evenly with a spatula.
  6. Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tested inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Place the cake pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack, allowing it to cool for 10 more minutes.
  7. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. Place the confectioners sugar and spices in a large bowl, and whisk together until well-mixed. Add in the milk, and whisk until the glaze is smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake, and then allow the cake to finish cooling completely.

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Recipes of 2012

Man, what a year it has been! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season with their friends and family. :-)

Most years, I feel like time has flown by, but for some reason, it feels like last January was truly a year ago. So many great things have happened to us this year (as well as some really crappy events).  

Some highlights and not so highlights:

  • It was our first full year in our new house, which has been such a blessing. It’s just awesome to finally have friendly neighbors, who don’t throw their trash in our backyard or play loud music at 2am (side-eye to the neighbors at the old house).
  • My husband and I have both decided to live healthier. Between us, we’ve lost over 150 lbs. this year. (I’m sure my husband is rolling his eyes at me sharing this, but seriously..I’m gonna brag here!) That’s just amazing to me. I’m so proud of us.
  • Another weight loss highlight. I fit into a clothes size that I haven’t been able to wear since 10th grade. That was 12 years ago. OMG!
  • A not so highlight. Hurricane Isaac…don’t want to go into too much detail with that one, but yeah, hurricanes suck. Oh, and for the record, labradors don’t care if the winds are 50 mph outside. If there’s rain/water, it’s playtime! (ugh)
  • I think I’m making some good progress on my 101 Goals in 1001 Days list.

And of course, it’s been another fun year blogging. I really appreciate all of y’all taking the time to read my tiny corner of the Internet. Thank you for your sweet comments, emails and tweets. In January, it’s gonna be this blog’s 5th anniversary, and I’m just amazed by all of the friends I’ve made and people I’ve “met”  through this blog. You guys are the best!

Just to round up the year, I wanted to share with y’all your top 10 most read posts from 2012.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies w/ Salted Caramel Buttercream

10. Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel Buttercream – These whoopie pies were made for a work fundraiser, and they were a huge success. Great pumpkin/spicy flavor, and the salted caramel buttercream just makes them super indulgent. Pumpkin + caramel is a wonderful combination!

Red Velvet Bundt Cake

9. Red Velvet Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting – I love anything red velvet. This bundt cake is a fun change from a regular cake, and it was pretty easy to throw together and bake!

Baked Oatmeal

8. Baked Oatmeal – My breakfast has been forever changed by this. This oatmeal is not soggy at all (which I hate about cooked oats), and it’s very sweet with the addition of bananas.

Peanut Butter Cookies

7. Peanut Butter Cookies – Just simple, classic peanut butter cookies. :-) Very good!

Candy Corn Oreo Truffles

6. Candy Corn Oreo Truffles – Oreo truffles are insanely good, and it was fun to make these with seasonal flavors. Always a favorite when I bring these truffles to work!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

5. Fresh Strawberry Pie – I’m SO glad strawberry season is back. I need to make this pie again…it’s not rich at all, and since it involves no cooking (except for the crust), it tastes so fresh!

Snickers Cupcakes

4. Snickers Cupcakes – Oh, I totally need to make these again. If you love Snickers, you will LOVE these!

Homemade Strawberry Lemonade

3. Homemade Strawberry Lemonade – Meyer lemon season + strawberry season? Um…guess I need to make this too and ASAP!

Red Velvet Swirl Brownies

2. Red Velvet Swirl Brownies – These were just delicious, and so pretty too! Perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Feta

1. Spinach, Strawberry, Pecan and Feta Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette – This is a huge favorite of y’alls. I think Pinterest made this a popular one, and it is VERY easy to throw together! This is a salad you want to make for your next party…it’s an awesome combination!

Thanks so much for reading this blog, and I hope everyone has a Happy New Year! Time to get used to writing/typing “2013”. :-)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bundt

This time of the year is just crazy. Sunday’s weather was well into the 80s and then Monday evening, the low was in the 30s. We had a party to go to on Saturday that I bought a sweater dress for, and of course, it was 70s/80s outside. I still wore the dress, but it was a little odd wearing a sweater dress with tights and boots, considering mosquitoes were biting like crazy outside. Thankfully, we’re in for a freeze warning, so that should get rid of the darn bugs. :-)

Since it finally feels like December again, it definitely feels more natural to bake up a storm. This past weekend was the big holiday bake-palooza, and after baking up dozens of cookies, I just feel like I should be baking something every day. This cake is one of those things…I love baking bundt cake. They’re so pretty right out of the pan, which makes decorating them super easy. You can easily decorate bundt cakes with a thinned icing type of glaze or sifted powdered sugar. I’m loving the powdered sugar topping lately, since it looks like a layer of snow. So festive, right?

This cake is a recipe that I had bookmarked for a while (story of my life), and I thought it sounded interesting…pumpkin with oatmeal in a cake. I decided to add mini chocolate chips to give it a little boost, and it came out amazing. I had some doubts since this batter was SUPER thick, but the cake came out beautifully.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
Source: adapted from Erin’s Food Files, originally on Dine and Dish

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar

  • 1 cup quick cooking oatmeal

  • 1/4 cup boiling water

  • 1 cup butter, softened

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup canned pumpkin

  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

  • pinch of cloves

  • 2 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 2 cups mini chocolate chips

  • powdered sugar

 Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. To prep the bundt pan, either spray it with non-stick baking spray (they usually include flour in them) or just butter/flour the pan.
  2. Place the oatmeal in a small bowl, pour in the boiling water over the oatmeal and stir the mixture together. Allow the oatmeal/water mixture to stand for 10 minutes.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and sugar and beat the mixture for about 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs in one at a time, and mix until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Add the pumpkin, oatmeal/water mixture and vanilla to the wet mixture, mixing on low until everything is well mixed.
  5. With the mixer still on low, add the flour one cup at a time, and then add the spices, baking soda and salt to the mixture. Mix everything until it’s well incorporated.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the bundt cake pan, and bake the cake for 60 minutes, or until a cake tested inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cake in the bundt pan for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!