Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel Muffins

Somehow it’s less than a week until Thanksgiving and I’ve only made 2 successful pumpkin recipes! Yikes. I’m sad for the severe lack of pumpkin in my life. Sigh.

If you’re looking for a pumpkin muffin recipe to try, this one is it! Full of pumpkin, cream cheese and streusel-y goodness, it should be at the top of your “to try” recipes this Fall.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Streusel Muffins (recipe from Warm Vanilla Sugar)

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c confectioner’s sugar
3 c flour
1 tbsp + 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
2 c sugar
2 c pumpkin puree
1 1/4 c vegetable oil

For the topping:
1 c packed brown sugar
1 c flour
1/2 c rolled oats
2 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp butter, melted

  1. To prepare the filling, combine the softened cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar in a medium bowl and mix until blended and smooth.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape it into a log. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log and transfer it to the freezer. Freeze for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease or line your muffin tin.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and baking soda.
  5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and vegetable oil until well blended.
  6. Add flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  7. To make the topping, combine the brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix with a fork until combined. Set aside.
  8. Fill each muffin with about 2 tbsp of the pumpkin batter.
  9. Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place 1 slice into each muffin cup.
  10. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups. Make sure the cream cheese is covered completely.
  11. Sprinkle the streusel on top of each muffin.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.
  13. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before serving.

See that? Easy. As. Pie.

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Round-Up: Fall Favorites

fall favorites1. I love love LOVE my Fitbit Flex!

2. Taking One a Day women’s gummies makes it so easy to get your vitamins every day! Finally vitamins you can take without a meal.

3. Bath & Body Works Leaves 3-wick candle is one of my favorite Fall scents! I love BBW candles because they actually make the whole room smell AND they’re only $12 when you catch a sale.

4. Bath & Body Works Tahiti Island Dream White Sand body scrub smells SO. GOOD.

5. Tall Guy got me this Mac Viva Glam VI Lipglass for my birthday and I am OBSESSED! I guess it’s hard to get this shade nowadays- Tall Guy didn’t end up finding it until we were in a random makeup store in Myrtle Beach!

6. Playing bocce at the Fieldhouse has been the best thing to happen to my Fall! “Deboccery” doesn’t even begin to cover it. (PS: Winter registration is now open for those of you who want to join in on the fun!)

7. Bareminerals Velvet Vanilla Eyeshadow is my go-to under-eye brightener.

8. This bag (Michael Kors Jet Set Tote in Luggage) is my baby. Isn’t it preeeeetty?!

What are your favorite Fall goodies? Let me know in the comments!

Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

I was super busy last week, but refused to miss my chance to use the Halloween sprinkles that I bought at Target! I made these cupcakes to bring into work on Halloween and they were a huge hit. This is a simple recipe, but you can do a lot with it if you have some food dye and fun cupcake decorations!

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Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe originally from The Gold Lining Girl)

1 c milk
2 tsp white vinegar
3/4 c butter, room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
1/4 c cocoa
3/4 tsp baking soda

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 3/4 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Fill muffin cups with liners.
2. In a small bowl, combine milk and vinegar. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs. Beat until well combined. Mix in vanilla.
5. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa and baking soda.
6. Add dry ingredients to wet, alternately with the milk mixture.
7. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
8. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a few cupcakes comes out clean.
9. Cool completely.

For the frosting:
1. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar. Beat until fluffy.
2. Mix in vanilla.
3. When cupcakes are cooled, frost and decorate as desired.

These came out great!  The cupcakes were moist and the cream cheese frosting was a good compliment to the sweetness of the cake. They were the perfect Halloween treat!

2013: A Year in Pictures

Disclaimer: I hate New Years. Don’t get me wrong, I love the spirit that the New Year brings and thinking about resolutions, but I hate the hype surrounding everyone’s New Years Eve plans. It’s right up there with birthdays and Valentine’s Day- everyone wants to have the perfect day/night and do something SO SUPER FUN that you’re almost always disappointed that things usually end up being so-so.

Now that that’s out of the way, I wanted to take this opportunity to look back on all of the adventures I had this past year!

I had some good times this past year. What’s your favorite memory of 2013?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! x

Pumpkin Cream Pie

The second pie I made for Thanksgiving was a spin on a classic. I love pumpkin everything, as you know, but I’m honestly not the biggest fan of pumpkin pie. Yeah, I’ll have a slice if it’s offered, but I could really take it or leave it. Enter: the pumpkin cream pie. This recipe is light and delicious, and gives you pumpkin pie without the pumpkin pie, if you know what I mean. I’ve made this for the past 2 Thanksgivings and I think I’ll just make it a tradition to do it every year- it’s that good.

3 pies

There’s the pumpkin cream pie at the bottom of the picture!

Pumpkin Cream Pie (recipe originally by the Pioneer Woman)
Note: I was using a regular-sized foil pie pan and ended up having enough of both the crust and filling to make 2 whole pies. (I left about an inch of crust showing on each pie so that there would be a good amount of filling for each.) If you only want to make 1 pie, I recommend using a glass pie plate or  an aluminum pie tin, as they seem to be bigger than the foil kinds. Or you could try a deep dish foil pie pan.

Crust
1 package graham crackers
1 1/2 handfuls of gingersnaps *I used the ones from Trader Joe’s
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 stick butter, melted

Note: The original recipe does not use gingersnaps in the crust. If you want to make a plain graham cracker crust, use 1 1/2 packages of graham crackers and omit the gingersnaps.

Filling
1 3 oz. box vanilla pudding (cook and serve kind)
1 c half and half1/2 c heavy cream
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
2 tbsps whiskey (optional)
1/2 c + 3 tbsps pumpkin puree
1/2 c (additional) heavy cream
2 tbsps brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 300°.
2. Grind graham crackers and gingersnaps in a food processor. Add powdered sugar and melted butter and process until totally combined. I used a food processor for the first part, but then used an electric mixer to combine all ingredients, as my food processor is really tiny!
3. Press mixture into the bottom and sides of a pie pan until even and firm. Repeat for second pie pan, if necessary.
4. Bake crust(s) for 8 to 10 minutes, or until warm and “set.” Remove from oven and let cool completely.
5. In a medium saucepan, mix pudding mix with the half and half and cream. Add spices. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thick.
6. Remove from heat and stir in whiskey and pumpkin.
7. Cove the pot and set it aside to cool. When it’s cool enough, put the pot in the fridge to cool completely. Start step 8 when you remove the cooled mixture from the fridge.
8. In a mixing bowl, beat 1/2 c heavy cream with brown sugar until very light and fluffy.
9. Fold in pumpkin cream mixture until combined.
10. Pour filling into cooled crust.
11. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight.
Serving suggestion: When ready to serve, sprinkle with leftover graham cracker and/or gingersnap crumbs.

This is one of my favorite pie recipes, and it’s so easy to make! Plus, I made it ahead of time, so it was one less thing I had to think about on the big day. Win-win!

Bourbon Apple Oatmeal Crumble Pie

This was one of the two pie recipes I made for Thanksgiving. I’d never made an apple pie before and I was really happy with the way it turned out! There’s something that seems so daunting about pie crust, so I half chose this recipe because it didn’t call for traditional crust on the top. The oatmeal cookie crumble was so easy to make and kind of made this a cross between an apple pie and an apple crisp. It was delicious!

Bourbon Apple Oatmeal Crumble Pie (recipe originally from How Sweet It Is)

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My pie right before it went in the oven!

Crust *Note: This recipe makes 3 pie crusts. I used a store bought crust to save time.
4 c sifter flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 c ice cold water
1 1/2 c (3 sticks) cold butter, cut into pieces

Filling
6 large apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 1/2 tbsps flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c bourbon
1/2 c apple cider
1/2 c loosely packed brown sugar
3 tbsps butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Oatmeal Crumble Topping
1 1/2 c oats *I used Quaker Instant Oats
3/4 c loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 c flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsps butter, room temperature

For the crust: *Note: You can make the crust ahead of time.
1. Add the flour and sugar to a food processor and pulse until just combined.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, vinegar and water.
3. Add the butter pieces into the food processor and pulse until small course crumbles remain.
4. Sprinkle the water/egg mixture over the flour and pulse again until the dough comes together.
5. Remove the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap.
6. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
7. Separate the dough into 3 sections.

For the pie:
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Add the apples to a large bowl and toss them with the flour and cinnamon.
3. In a small saucepan, combine the bourbon, cider, butter and vanilla extract. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, until slightly thickened. I had my mixture over high heat and it came to a boil very quickly and actually bubbled over and caught on fire for a second (!), so make sure you heat it on medium heat and watch it carefully. The mixture did not thicken up that much at all. 
4. Pour bourbon mixture over the apples and toss.
5. Roll the pie crust out into a 12-inch circle (if using a 9-inch pie plate). Fold it in half to pick it up and gently place it in the plate, unfolding as you go. Trim any excess off of the edges. You can use a fork to press the edges or scallop them. I had a lot of leftover apple mixture, so next time I might try using a deep dish pie plate. 
6. Add the apples to the crust.
7. Combine the oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.
8. Add the butter and use your hands to combine it in the oat mixture. Make sure the butter is fully incorporated and the mixture is thoroughly combined.
9. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over the apples.
10. Bake the pie for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust and crumble are golden brown and the pie is thoroughly heated through. Put foil around the edges of the crust if at any time you’re concerned about them browning too much. I didn’t use foil and my crust was fine.
11. You can serve the pie immediately or let it cool for an hour if you want prettier slices.
Serving suggestion: Serve your pie with whipped cream or french vanilla ice cream!

Apple pie a la mode!

I served mine with ice cream!

A Thanksgiving Success

My first time hosting Thanksgiving was a success! It was a lot of work, but I’m really happy with the way everything turned out! My boyfriend and I were absolutely exhausted the next day, but it was totally worth it. See for yourself below!

A HUGE thanks to my friend Abe El, who took a good majority of the pictures in the gallery! You can check out more of his work here.

Broke Girls Give Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Here’s hoping your beer is cold, turkey is juicy and football is on your TV! x

Broke Girls Go Out

Although it seems far away, Thanksgiving will be here before we know it. While the food portion of the holiday seems to be what everyone focuses on (and, I mean, duh), it’s equally important to remember to take a step back and think about all the things you have to be thankful for. And since I think it’s never too early to think about those things, I’ll give you my list right now.

I’M THANKFUL FOR…

… my family. I’m thankful that I have a great relationship with both of my parents. Sure, we’ve had our… differences… over the years, but at the end of the day, I know they will always be there for me. I’m thankful that we talk often enough that I know what’s going on with them, but don’t talk so much that I get sick of them calling. I’m thankful that my dad calls me…

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Send Help… And Video Cameras

“Get out of here! I’m making this!”

*He adds spices to spinach that’s being sauteed* “Fine! I’m just helping you out!”

“Well don’t, I’ve got it! Get out of here!” *I hip check him out of the kitchen* “… What do mushrooms look like when they’re done?”

“You said you didn’t want my help!”

… That was the scene two days ago when my boyfriend and I cooked dinner together. I promise, we actually do like each other… To be fair, the dinner dish was his idea, but I was trying to cook it… And we do NOT have the same cooking styles, so the 2 of us trying to use all 4 burners at the same time was not going super smoothly… Although I’m sure my roommate got a kick out of the whole thing!

Fast forward to tomorrow, when we’ll be making an entire Thanksgiving feast together. Something tells me it’s either going to work really well, or be a huge disaster. Call MTV, I have a reality show in the making…

Cheap and Easy Thanksgiving Dishes

Only 1 WEEK until Thanksgiving! My shopping is (mostly) done, my schedule is made and I’m in total planner mode over here (can you tell?). This will be my first holiday hosting (!), so here’s hoping everything goes as planned!

Broke Girls Go Out

Instead of going home, I’ll be making my own Thanksgiving feast this year. I’m an avid baker and a pretty decent cook, so I’m really excited to be making the meal, but I will admit that the idea of being in charge of the main event for such a big holiday is a bit daunting. Luckily, most Thanksgiving dishes aren’t all that complicated, and buying most of the ingredients won’t break the bank, either!

My Thanksgiving Menu

Apps

bread

Cranberry BreadMy mom’s recipe. Better the second day, as she notes, so it’s a perfect make-ahead recipe! You will most likely have all the ingredients on hand except the cranberries (and maybe the orange juice, if you’re not a juice drinker like I am). Don’t worry if you’ve never made a loaf of bread before, this recipe is fairly fool proof as long as you don’t forget about it…

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