glazed pumpkin doughnut muffinsI’ve been slowly working my way through the recipes on my Fall Pinterest board. Last Saturday Erik and I made an awesome homemade breakfast that consisted of biscuits and gravy and these pumpkin doughnut muffins. Donut or doughnut? Whatever.

Erik actually made 90% of these doughnut muffins while I wore Juliet in the Becco. She ran over with her hands up and asked “momma doing??” and wanted to be held to observe us baking. Measuring flour while holding a toddler is not so easy so I read the directions to Erik while he did most of the work.

I’d look over every once and a while and noticed him haphazardly measuring the spices and I felt compelled to reminded him that baking is a science and I’d appreciate it if he measured exactly. He really loved that.

These muffins were a big hit. We had my sister and her husband Drew over for breakfast and they both complimented all the food. Juliet ate two. She licked the glaze off first.

Glazed pumpkin doughnut muffins (recipe via Tidy Mom via Martha Stewart)

Ingredients 
3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups pure pumpkin puree (from a 15-ounce can – save extra for glaze)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs

For the Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon half & half (or milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons pure pumpkin puree
1/4 heaping teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 standard muffin cups with cupcake papers (or butter and flour if not using liners).

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.


In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vanilla and pumpkin puree.


In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add pumpkin mixture, then flour mixture and beat to combine.


Spoon 1/3 cup batter into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full, and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove pan to a cooling rack and allow muffins to cool for about 10 minutes.


Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by placing powdered sugar in a medium bowl, slowly whisk in milk and vanilla until there are no lumps. Continue to whisk while adding pumpkin puree, spice and melted butter until smooth.


Place a layer of wax or parchment paper under the cooling rack. Dip the muffin crowns into the glaze, place the muffins back onto the cooling rack and allow the glaze to harden. Dip a second time, if desired.


A couple notes, I made the glaze hurriedly and didn’t whisk the powdered sugar with the milk enough for the clumps to disappear. So the glaze doesn’t look perfect and sort of lumpy. Also, I thought these muffins were more like muffins than doughnuts. I think the cake-like texture is supposed to resemble a doughnut but it’s a bit of a stretch, if you ask me. Regardless, these are great and totally perfect for a fall weekend breakfast.¬†

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Two weekends ago my girlfriends Emily, Shannon, Natasha and I went to Emily’s cabin for a much needed mini-getaway. Short trips away are really important to me to recharge, take time for myself, spend time with girlfriends, etc. I try to plan these and take them without any lingering feelings of mom guilt for being away. Juliet gets to spend the weekend with her daddy and the two of them have a great time. It helps with the mom-phase she’s been going through to get one-on-one time with Erik and he really loves it too. Win win all around. Mom guilt, be gone. I don’t have time for you.

The blog was quiet last week with the exception of Juliet’s 19 month update. I wasn’t feeling the greatest all week and in fact, I went to sleep about three of the evenings at 7:30, the same time Juliet went to bed. I was exhausted and getting 11 hours of sleep those nights barely helped. I was recovering from a whirlwind of the week before at work. Things were crazy and I was prepping for a huge client presentation. I worked late from home a bunch that week, worked late at the office, and was up almost every morning working. The presentation went alright but I can’t tell you how happy and relieved I was that it was over and what a welcomed getaway this girl’s weekend was.
We arrived at Emily’s cabin around 8pm on Friday and immediately opened a bottle of wine. Thank goodness for wine. We drank plenty of it (and vodka and beer, etc).

Emily was in charge of dinner the first evening and she made a really delicious meal that included this pasta with peas, shrimp and buttermilk-herb dressing as well as roasted kale. I made brunch on Saturday morning (after sleeping in until 8am, woo hoo!!!) and served herbed blue cheese quiche and breakfast potatoes. Then we hit up a local flea market. I’ve never been to a flea market so it was pretty cool, but a little too chilly outside to spend much time there. I really wanted to buy a cast iron pan (I know, I don’t have one, what???) but I didn’t see anything there, unfortunately.

We spent the rest of the day lounging in the cabin in comfy clothes, drinking booze (including mango margaritas I made with my new Blendtec, you better believe that thing came with me on the trip). I follow the mango margarita recipe pretty closely but I don’t include the sugar, mangos are sweet and these margaritas don’t need it. PS, it is so nice having a blender that pulverizes ice with no questions asked. I’ve never ever had a blender that could do that, and in about 30 seconds, damn what a beautiful thing.

Emily brought a huge variety of nail polish so we could do manicures and pedicures. It’s not a girls’ weekend without, right?
Shannon made an amazing dinner Saturday evening that included roasted cauliflower and mushroom quinoa salad with balsamic vinaigrette and braised coconut spinach with chickpeas and lemon.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that my girlfriend’s are major foodies. We had really awesome, gourmet food all weekend long. We did have one food fail and that was a roasted beet humus. It was way too earthy and just no good. You can’t win them all.  Sunday morning was really lovely. The weather was crisp but sunny and we had our coffee on the dock. It was peaceful and we just sat out there for a while and talked and marveled at the beauty of the quiet lake that looked like glass.

I made pineapple banana and kale smoothies in the Blendtec for Sunday morning breakfast. Emily said “that blender is FU&%^%iING magic” and Natasha thought the smoothie tasted like ice cream. That’s how smooth and delicious it was.

Do you guys know about self-timer apps for your phone? I just found out about them. I love having a self-timer to take selfies of Juliet and I and for capturing everyone in a group. I use the basic app called TimerCam (it’s free).
The colors were vibrant the weekend we were there. The trees covered the road in explosive yellows and oranges as we drove home Sunday mid-day.

What an awesome weekend. I’ve also traveled to San Francisco/Sonoma and Las Vegas with these gals. Getaways with these gals are always a great time and I’m always sad to see it end. Until next time…

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I am so behind on Juliet’s monthly updates! I realized today that I better post her 19 month photo because she turns 20 months on Wednesday. Whoa. I really want to do these updates until she turns 2. It won’t be long, which is unreal!

Snapping these photos was difficult. Like all toddlers, Juliet is so curious, she slid off the chair and came over to me to check out each photo as I took it. Then she would giggle and climb back up on the chair for a couple more tries. When I say “cheese Juliet!” she’ll give a totally awkward smile and yell “cheeeeeese!!!!”.

Most of Juliet’s milestones as of late have been around her language and speaking skills. She regularly puts multiple words together and I think it won’t be too long before she’s using fuller sentences. Erik thinks its funny to teach her things to say like “no way momma”. She’ll also say things like “momma come” or “no momma do”. Ok, not perfect grammar but she’ll get there! Sometimes she’ll say certain words (the other day we were doing numbers and she pointed to seven and said “seven”) and I can’t believe how her cute her little voice sounds saying those words for the first time.

Her balance has gotten much better in the past month and now she runs, or at least walks really fast. She still stumbles now and then but overall she pretty sturdy.

Juliet has gotten a few more teeth and the last round that came in did bother her a bit. We made sure to lay low those days and give her lots of extra cuddles and encouraged more sleep.

Juliet gets more affectionate each day. She loves to hug and get kisses. She doesn’t give kisses but rather leans her head in anytime you say “kissie?”.

She is getting to the age where she is interacting and playing more with other children. It’s awesome to see Juliet and her cousin Chloe playing together.

Bedtimes are still a struggle and we are still laying down with Juliet in our bed until she falls asleep and then we transfer her to the crib. She sleeps through the night most nights but we really need to get to the point where we can lay her down in her crib to fall asleep. Every once in a while my brother and his fiance Katie will babysit at night and she’ll go down to sleep just fine for them in her crib. Interesting.

Just like everyone says, each month just gets better and better. Juliet is a sweet, even-tempered little gal and it’s hard not to be happy being around her. When I have a difficult day at work, I’ll open a photo of her and feel instantly better.

Momma loves you so much, Juliet.

And something cool that I’ve realized lately? I can really tell how much she loves me too.

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Amid a flurry of pumpkin milk shakes, pumpkin scones and other yummy fall eats I am the first to admit that roasted cauliflower seems a bit boring in comparison. However, I literally told Erik as I was eating this for lunch the other day that it was as good as french fries. And if you’ve been a reader of my blog for a while you know I’m not fooling around with a statement like that.

Roasted cauliflower is freaking delicious. I don’t know why I don’t make it more often. From now on I will be.

Roasted cauliflower

Ingredients

One head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of onion powder
Salt and pepper

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the cauliflower on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic powder and onion powder and toss to coat everything evenly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the cauliflower begins to turn slightly brown on top.

Did I mention I am back on Weight Watchers after two glorious years of not being on it? Please send fruit and other point free food items to help me to get through this. It’s only been a week and a half and it has been going alright. Having a new Blendtec blender (amazing, I will have a full review on it within the next couple weeks) has helped as I’ve been drinking a lot of smoothies. I’ve also been filling up on lots of fruits and veggies (like this cauliflower) and making healthy meals. We’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck.

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I’ve been wanting to make Juliet homemade animal crackers ever since we went to a BBQ last month and she tried them for the first time. Juliet ate about 99 of them. Seriously. 99. Maybe 100? I wasn’t too thrilled about her filling up on animal crackers but she loved them and she was happy. Needless to say she didn’t eat much for dinner. Not that there is really anything wrong with store-bought animal crackers, but if I can make snacks homemade I prefer to. I enjoy baking and usually when I give recipes like this a try I’m pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. Homemade animal crackers (recipe via Weelicous)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice or mace
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
  • 1 large egg

  • Preparation
  1. 1. Place the first 6 ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine.
  2. 2. Add the butter and pulse to combine.
  3. 3. Add the vanilla extract and egg and pulse until the dough forms into a ball.
  4. 4. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. 5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. 6. Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut out animal shapes.
  7. 7. Place cut outs on a Silpat or parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. 8. Bake for 15 minutes.
  9. 9. Cool and serve.

Here are the mini animal cookie cutters I bought on Amazon. They worked great. 

A couple notes about the recipe. When I made the dough in the food processor, it never formed into a ball like the directions say. Instead I checked the consistency it seemed a tad dry so I added a couple tablespoons of milk. Then I formed the dough into a ball by hand. After I removed the dough from the fridge it seemed a bit sticky so I added flour and rolled it out. 

Juliet LOVES these animal crackers. Even more than the store-bought. She keeps asking for more and would eat them all day long if I let her. This recipe makes a huge batch, probably at least 4-6 dozen.

For other homemade toddler snacks check out these recipes:

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After our friends and I feasted on chili, corn bread and queso dip last Sunday we were all craving something sweet. I hadn’t planned anything for dessert but luckily I knew I had ice cream. Someone mentioned pumpkin ice cream and I quickly brainstormed, then did a google search and found an extremely easy recipe for this pumpkin vanilla shake.

I had all the ingredients and the recipe was extremely easy, we had dessert in about 5 minutes.
Having canned pumpkin on-hand is awesome. Besides using it in my recent pumpkin baked goods (cookies and scones) I’ve also added it to Annie’s organic mac n cheese for Juliet (she loved it) and most recently in this delicious shake.

I quadrupled the below recipe since there were four of us in need of dessert. Truthfully I could have eaten the whole batch myself. Yum.

Pumpkin vanilla shake (recipe via Real Simple)

Ingredients (makes 1 shake)

1 cup vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
1 Tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice (optional)

Preparation

Blend together all the ingredients until smooth.

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