Tag Archives: pumpkin

P’unkin Snickerdoodles

This past weekend our OC friends came for a quick 24 hour visit.

As always, Richelle comes with a baked good in mind that never disappoints. This time it was Pumpkin Snickerdoodles. Yes, you read that correctly.

Without further ado…

Here’s what you need:

1 cup butter, room temp

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

3  cups flour

1 cup pumpkin puree {I like Libby’s}

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 tsp. baking soda

Dash of salt

To roll cookies in:

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

{Mix all three and place into a shallow bowl}

Here’s what you do:

Cream together butter, sugar and eggs. Add in cream of tartar, baking soda, flour, pumpkin and salt. Mix until blended. **Important** Dough will be sticky! Cover and chill in ‘fridge for at least an hour before you attempt to roll them.

Preheat oven to 400*.

Roll into approximate golf ball size balls {I like to use this} and coat in cinnamon/sugar/pumpkin pie spice mixture. Place onto silicone mat or parchment paper {foil is fine, too}. Bake for 9 minutes, turn oven off and leave in for 3 more minutes. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.

Makes approximately 3 dozen.

Trust me. You NEED to make these.

The thing I absolutely love about snickerdoodles is the thin crispy crust baked on from the cinnamon sugar mixture and the soft inside ~ add in a Fall twist with the pumpkin and the pumpkin pie spice and you’ve gone to snickerdoodle heaven.

Thanks again for sharing, Richelle!

And how cute is this owl bandana? Wally World for a buck. For real.

So, go and bake up some of these for your neighbors, teachers, co-workers and wrap them up in one of these cute bandanas.

Don’t forget to save some to go with your morning coffee…

Enjoy and Happy Tuesday!

Coffee Monday

This weekend I took the time to rethink the homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte and, based on this recipe, I think I found the method and ingredients that work for me.

I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!

The first time I attempted this, I used 1 cup of coconut almond milk for the pumpkin mixture. I LOVE this stuff, but for some reason my coffee wasn’t creamy enough…I make our coffee strong and like it on the lighter brown side once I add my creamer. With the coconut almond milk in the pumpkin mixture, it was still way too dark and I didn’t particularly care for the flavor. {I will continue to use the coconut almond milk in my smoothies and on cereal/oatmeal, however, just not in my coffee}

: Perfected {in my opinion} DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte :

1 cup whole or 2% milk {I used whole since that’s all we had on hand}

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

Couple dashes of pumpkin pie spice

Mix until blended and heat slightly in the microwave. Add 1 tbsp brown sugar to the bottom of a mug and fill with freshly brewed coffee. Top with half the warmed pumpkin milk mixture and add whip cream and cinnamon for a special treat!

Makes 2 servings.

This won’t be something that I do every morning, but is a nice addition to a slow-moving autumn weekend morning.


Annnnnd, since we are not quite experiencing the Fall temps here in So Cal yet, here is an easy iced version for an afternoon pick-me-up and a great way to use leftover coffee.

{just place your extra coffee from the morning in the fridge so it’s nice and cold when you need it}

: Pumpkin Hazelnut Iced Coffee :

Heaping tbsp pumpkin puree

Splash milk

Splash hazelnut creamer

Leftover cold coffee from your fridge

Lots of ice

Whisk pumpkin, milk and creamer together in a small mug or bowl. It may seem a little thick, but will be fine once you add the coffee and ice. Fill tall glass with ice, pour in pumpkin hazelnut creamer and then fill with iced coffee to the top of the glass. Stir well and sweeten, if needed. I just used the whipped cream as my sweetener! Don’t forget to add a little sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon to your whipped cream.

It is Monday, so turn it around and make a hot or iced version of this Fall fave.



Thanksgiving Through A Straw ~ Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

This is a Public Service Announcement.

You NEED to make this smoothie. Like I mentioned before, I’ve had this thing pinned for over a year and am just now getting around to making it.

{kicking myself}

Get out your blender and fill it with the following:

2 cups crushed ice/ice cubes

1/2 cup milk of choice {I used coconut almond milk}

1/2 cup yogurt of choice {I used FAGE fat-free Greek yogurt}

1 frozen {or not} banana

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

Drizzle of honey

A couple shakes of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon

Optional add-in: 1 sheet regular or cinnamon graham cracker for a thicker milkshake consistency!

{recipe adapted from here}

Blend ’til smooth, pour into a glass, add a spray of whipped cream, a dusting of cinnamon along with a straw and ENJOY!

Makes a great breakfast on-the-go or afternoon snack.

All the flavors of Fall, yet perfect to sip until our cooler weather arrives. {which better be soon}

Happy Friday, y’all!

Pumpkin Spice And Everything Nice

The official start of Fall is just a couple days away. Yay!

I’ve had this pumpkin pie smoothie pinned for about a year now and look forward to blending one up tomorrow morning…

1/2 banana (peeled, frozen, diced)

1/3 cup pumpkin puree (Libby’s)

1/3 cup FF plain Greek yogurt

1/2-3/4 cup vanilla almond milk

few shakes of pumpkin spice (Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice)

 pinch of cloves

1tsp vanilla

2 cups crushed ice



Have you had your first Pumpkin Spice Latte yet?

I made this PSL knock-off and it’s obviously not the same as the one at the place with the big green circle, but it wasn’t bad. I used coconut almond milk and some brown sugar to sweeten it up a bit. I must admit, a whipped cream cloud and some festive fall sprinkles would take it up a notch, but it was fun to try and a good way to use up your pumpkin puree if you have any leftover from another recipe.



I love to spruce up our mantel with the seasons and Fall makes it easy to bring nature inside as decor.

I found a branch with weird pods/seeds of some sort on a hike last week and stuck it in with some manzanita branches that I already had on-hand for some height above our fireplace…

Pinecones in a simple glass vase would make a nice focal point, as well.

Grab several autumn hued paint chips from your local home improvement store, a leaf stencil and some twine to create a garland/bunting ~ use a hole punch and put two holes in each leaf to hang.


I love candles year round, but there’s something about a candle flickering on a cool, dark-by-5 o’clock early fall evening.

Check out these super cheap, super fragrant candles from Wal-mart ~ the Vanilla Cream, Cinnamon Roll and Apple Spice are perfect for harvest season.

{1-wick candle, under 2 bucks & 3-wick candle, only 5 bucks}


That’s just the tip of the iceberg as to what I have planned for my most favorite season…come back for the next few months for more recipes and sweet treat ideas.

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Off The Cuff

I feel terrible that I have been neglecting this here blog…

I now have 6 free hours, five days a week and I can’t sit down to write a post or do any post-worthy projects!

So, I am just going to throw some thoughts and stuff out there with what we’ve been up to over the past week ~ just off the cuff.


I can’t stop volunteering…first soccer coach, then yearbook layout, then assistant for PTA gala dinner, co-class momming it for Elliott’s room and picture taker/historian for Holden’s class! No wonder I don’t have time to blog.


Loving these…

{ginger is almost up there with my love for coconut and reminds me so much of Fall}


Fall NEEDS to hurry up and get here so I can make these…

Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookie Bars



I think I’m turning Japanese. I am in LOVE with the bento box!

After posting this, I was inspired to make lunches more fun {for both me and the kids!} so I set out to find some inexpensive bento boxes. First stop was TJ Maxx and I found these…

$5.99 and BPA Free! Win. Win.

Here are a few of the lunches I’ve packed…

{homemade Uncrustable, trail mix, fishes in a cute cupcake liner and fruit snack for dessert}

{Uncrustable, string cheese, leftover mac n cheese and fruit snack for dessert}

{bean & cheese burrito with salsa dipper, raisins, dried snap peas and granola bar for morning snack}

It has been so fun to pick little bits of this and that to fill their boxes with. If I send them to school with little finger foods, I am OK with that since a lot of times Holden will have a sandwich or some mac n cheese and fruit when he gets home. From what I understand, they don’t have a lot of time to eat, so quick little snacks and mini bites are perfect.

From time to time I will post some new bento ideas on my Instagram feed ~ please follow me {@aaspiras} if you, too, are at a loss for how to mix up your kiddos’ lunches! I can say that, for right now, I am excited to fill these two boxes every evening/morning and I hope it keeps up…we still have a long year ahead of us.

This afternoon I baked some mini banana muffins that I will throw in the freezer and stick in their lunches from time to time. Elliott has requested pumpkin muffins so I will certainly throw those into the rotation, too!


Today is my mama’s birthday! We took her to Legoland over Labor Day weekend…

The happiest of birthdays to you, Mom!


And while we were having lunch at Legoland, Jay was checking FB and noticed that his cousin from Nor Cal was there too, so he sent her a note and we met up with them ~ hadn’t seen them in 4 years!

{Holden & Elliott with Cara & Zach}

So so great to see you, Gia, Danny and kids! XO


Tonight we’re trying out a new healthy take on Italian sausage with peppers and onions…can’t wait. Under 300 calories! They look de-lish and I will be sure and share the recipe.


Hope you had a nice & relaxing or fun & hectic Labor Day Weekend!

Back to the grind…..

Fitting It All In

I’ve heard nothing but, “Man, the holidays are going by so fast!” and “Can’t believe Christmas is only 2 weeks away!” lately.

So far all my planning ahead has helped a little, but I am still scrambling, stressing and scurrying, however at the same time, trying to enjoy the season. Fortunately all events that are near and dear to us fell on different days so we’re able to attend everything, but it does make for one crazy month.

I wanted to have our neighbor friends over for a simple, little dinner to celebrate Jay’s birthday and the only option was to do it on Friday. Since I was in the midst of getting the Christmas cards out and afternoon dance class last Friday, I needed to have a menu that I could make ahead of time and be ready for entertaining when we got home close to 7:oopm.

I chose to do something in the crock pot so that could be simmering all afternoon and make a dessert ahead of time that was fancy enough for guests, but easy!

I took my chances with two new recipes and they both worked like charms.

Crock Pot Beef Stroganoff

{I followed the recipe, but used more like 3 pounds stew meat and added one small carton fresh mushrooms to the mix ~ a must for beef stroganoff as far as I’m concerned and served over [No Yolks] egg noddles}

Pumpkin Creme Brûlée

{Used low fat evaporated milk and the 4 eggs not the egg substitute}

The most difficult part about this recipe is the water bath and not splashing it into the ramekins! Please don’t be afraid of creme brûlée if you love it…you can make it at home easily. We have a kitchen torch to do the brûlée, but if you don’t, there are broiler instructions at the bottom of the recipe.

I decided to make up a {Wintery White Wine Sangria} which was just two bottles Chardonnay, 1 liter ginger ale, 1/2 cup triple sec, some orange slices and some fresh cranberries.

{I threw the ingredients into this glass canister in the morning and let the flavors marry all day in the ‘fridge. The cranberries floated in the glasses and looked very festive!}

If you’re doing some entertaining this holiday and have a busy schedule as well {who doesn’t?} this is the perfect type of menu that will leave you able to sit and visit with your guests and not be slaving over a hot stove or pulling things out of the oven as they arrive. All I had to do was boil some water for the noodles after the guests arrived and we sipped sangria & Blue Moons and visited until the noodles were ready. See, I was so busy mingling that I was too busy to snap a photo of the stroganoff so I have nothing to show for it other than echoing praises from all who consumed it. The meat was super tender {I cooked on low for about 8 hours…added the cream cheese in at about hour six. Next time I may substitute sour cream for the cream cheese, but it was excellent this way}.


So, keep it simple and don’t stress. Put your crock pot to work, bake up a dessert ahead of time and have pre-mixed drinks ready to go at your next get-together.


Stop What You’re Doing

…and make this.

Pumpkin Pie Dip

Delicious with ginger snaps, sliced grannies and cinnamon graham sticks {these are Ralphs brand} but would equally yummy with orange segments or Nilla wafers!

It makes A LOT so it’s great for a big crowd…we had some leftover from a dinner last night and I made up a little {dessert for two} plate to finish off the weekend.

Whatever you do, don’t situate it next to the crudite platter…someone mistook it for hummus and plunged their celery stick into it. No bueno.

You simply must make this…I used neufchâtel {light} cream cheese and reduced fat sour cream to make it a little guilt-free and you could not tell.

So, so yum.


Get a good night’s sleep ~ tomorrow is a BIG day!

Nighty night.

Pun’kin Patch Wrap-up

We can check “Pumpkin Patch” off the Fall to-do list.

This year was much cooler than last, but it was still pushing HOT yesterday!

Gramma spoiled the kiddos and let them get their face painted AND ride the ponies.

We ran into all sorts of friends there, too…busy day at the patch!

Just need to add some spooky spider webs to the front porch and then I’ll share our pumpkin display.

Thanks again, Gramma!

A “No Butter Involved” Recipe From Paula Deen!

Yes, Boys & Girls, you’re reading that correctly…a recipe from Miss Paula that doesn’t start off and end with a stick of butter!

I saw this Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle on a show of hers a few years ago and it has held a place in my heart since I laid eyes on it. I’ve threatened to make it every year since, but never have…

until now!

I decided to do single servings in martini glasses instead of a trifle bowl. I also used common sense and halved the recipe!

This really is fairly lowfat in Paula Deen terms.

I used half whole milk and half lowfat in the pudding. I splurged and got the regular Cool-Whip, but the light would be just fine. I’m not sure if “pumpkin pie filling” is the same as a can of straight up Libby’s pumpkin, but that’s what I used. It was plenty sweet with the added brown sugar and vanilla pudding.

Next time I wold love to make this for a larger crowd in my gorgeous trifle bowl from our wedding, but the individual servings were fun, too.

This recipe is Rascal approved!