pumpkin spice apple crisp

So last week, I made this pumpkin spice apple crisp.

I made it because I had three mushy apples and a jar of Trader Joe’s pumpkin butter to use up.

pumpkin butter

And oh my goodness… I’m so grateful for those mushy apples. Because this dessert is AMAZING!

This pumpkin spice apple crisp would be perfect to bring to a holiday gathering. It is a delightful combination of apples and pumpkin, two flavors that are bursting with holiday joy.

This crisp tastes like apple pie, only it is loads simpler to make! All you need are four ingredients {well, five, if you top your slice with whipped cream, which you certainly should!} And you don’t need to tell anyone, but for a dessert it’s even relatively healthy, thanks to all those apples and a relatively small amount of butter and sugar.

pumpkin spice apple crisp

{adapted slightly from this recipe}

– 3 large apples {I used fuji and jazz because that’s what we had going mushy in our fridge}
– 3/4 cup pumpkin butter
– 8 oz pumpkin quick bread mix {most packages are double this amount, so I used half of the mix for the crisp and then made pumpkin muffins with the remaining half of the mix… another alternative would be doubling this recipe and using the whole package of pumpkin bread mix}
– 3 tbsp butter
– whipped cream for serving {optional}

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Peel, core, and dice your apples and put into a bowl.

apples diced

3. Toss apple pieces with the pumpkin butter until they are coated. Pour into a shallow class dish or pie pan.

pumpkin butter apples

4. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix with your hands into the pumpkin bread mix until well-combined. This should create a crumbly topping. {Note: your fingers will be messy!}

5. Pour the topping over the apple mixture and spread it into an even layer.

topping prebake

6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until topping is golden brown and your house smells aaaamazing.

pumpkin spice apple crisp

7. Enjoy warm with whipped cream on top… or pumpkin ice cream! Yum, just thought of that, it would be delicious. Now I need to make this again so I can eat it with pumpkin ice cream 🙂

apple crisp slice

My Grandpap, an extreme lover of apple pie, told me that this was one of the best apple desserts he has ever eaten! We certainly gobbled this up in our household. Hope you do, too!

if you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy:
incredibly easy pumpkin spice cookies
apple cake with crumb topping and brown sugar glaze
gluten-free apple pie bites
chocolate pumpkin spice kiss cookies
pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream-cheese frosting

oven-roasted pumpkin seeds

Happy Tuesday! As promised in an earlier post, I have a quick & easy recipe to share with you today: oven-roasted pumpkin seeds. If you are someone like me who does not like to waste anything, this is a great way to get the most bang for your buck out of your carved Halloween pumpkins!

carved pumpkins

After you’ve scooped out all those slimy pumpkin guts, why not roast up the pumpkin seeds for a healthy and delicious snack or salad-topper? Pumpkin seeds are a terrific source of zinc, vitamin e, and a wealth of antioxidants!

oven-roasted pumpkin seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

2. Rinse the seeds clean of all pumpkin goop.

cleaning seeds

3. Dry the seeds on a paper towel.

4. In a small bowl, stir 2 tbsp butter or coconut oil with the seeds until they are well-greased.

5. Spread out the seeds in one layer on the baking sheet. {We had enough pumpkin seeds to do two separate batches.}

seeds to bake

6. Season however your heart desires! We did one sweet batch {pumpkin pie spice + cinnamon} and one savory batch {garlic salt + ground pepper.}

7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until seeds begin to turn golden brown at edges. Be careful not to overcook the seeds, because they burn quickly! Roasting pumpkin seeds reminded me a lot of cooking popcorn, where things can go from delicious –> disastrous in a very short time frame.

roasted pumpkin seeds

ENJOY! 🙂

july foodie pen-pals reveal

Today is reveal day for July Foodie Pen-Pals! {If you’re interested in participating in Foodie Pen-Pals yourself, you can learn more and sign up at The Lean Green Bean. It’s a super fun way to “meet” other bloggers and try fun new foods.}

{Because of the Foodie Pen Pal Reveal date, my next “Mt. Whitney Wednesday” post will be up a day late — check back for it tomorrow!}

foodie pp july

Caitie J. put together such a great package for me! Here’s a description of the items, clockwise from bottom left:

  •  Caribou Coffee Mint Verbana tea: caffeine-free — so perfect for before bed!
  • Caribou Coffee Cinnamon Spice tea: Caitie calls this the “BEST. TEA. EVER!” and I have to agree, it is pretty darn good! I liked steeping it in milk for an extra rich breakfast treat.
  • Merci fancy chocolates: these were AMAZING! Caitie wrote in her note, “I came across these at a store in London & was excited to find them at my European foods store near my house. I just love them!” Not only is there a variety of delicious chocolate combinations, I also thought the little wrappers were adorable. 🙂
  • Biscoff cookie butter: the perfect creamy topping for toast, apples, crackers, pretzels … this stuff is addicting!
  • Twinings Classics Black Tea Variety Blend: I have been sampling these black teas for breakfast every morning and I think the Lady Grey and Irish Breakfast teas are my favorites!

Thank you so much, Caitie, for being such a wonderful foodie pen-pal! You can read my previous Foodie Pen-Pal posts below:
June Foodie Pen-Pal reveal
April Foodie Pen-Pal reveal
March Foodie Pen-Pal reveal

Happy day, friends! What foods are you loving lately?

guest post: banana monkey bread muffins

Today I’m excited to share a guest post from my foodie pen-pal Becca, blogger at BeeSweetSurrender. She always features amazingly delicious recipes, and I asked her if she would mind sharing a guest post recipe with us. Here is her drool-worthy recipe for banana monkey bread muffins! {You can see the original post on her blog here.}

IMG_3219

banana monkey bread muffins

for the dough:
– 3 cups flour
– 3 tbsp sugar
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 package Red Star Active Dry Yeast
– 1/2 cup water
– 1/4 cup whole milk
– 2 and 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
– 1 large egg
– 2 ripe bananas

cinnamon-sugar topping:
– 1/2 cup butter, melted
– 1 cup sugar
– 1  1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon (you can also use less if you aren’t that big on cinnamon)

vanilla glaze:
– 1 cup powdered sugar
– 2 tbsp milk
– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl place 2 and 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, salt and yeast and mix together.

2. In the microwave melt together the water, milk and butter until the butter is melted and it is too hot to touch. Add this to the flour mixture and stir together. Add the egg and mix well. Lastly add the bananas– it will create a very wet dough. This is when you’ll need to add more flour, I needed the full 1/2 cup of flour. Your dough will be ready when it springs back from your touch and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It will be slightly wet which is ok, but you don’t want it to be too sticky!

3. Flour a clean surface and turn out the dough, kneading well for a few minutes. Add flour by tablespoons if it is still too sticky. Lightly butter (or use a non-stick spray) a bowl and place the dough in, let rest for 10-20 minutes. Place cupcake liners into your cupcake tin.

4. In a medium sized bowl mix together the sugar and cinnamon. In another bowl melt the butter completely. Taking the dough, roll it into small balls, about 1/2- 1 inch in diameter. Dip the ball into your bowl of butter and then transfer it to the bowl with cinnamon sugar, and roll it around (we all like sugar right?!) so it’s well coated. Place 3-5 in each liner until the dough is all used up. I purposefully made only 12 but depending on how large you would like your muffins you could make 12-18. Set aside for 30-45 minutes to let the dough rise a bit more.

5. Preheat the oven while the muffins are rising to 400. Bake for 20-23 minutes and let cool. While they are cooling make the icing. Remove the muffins from the tins and pour the icing generously on each and… Enjoy!

banana monkey bread muffins

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe with us, Becca!

Check out Becca’s blog at http://beesweetsurrender.wordpress.com/

MPM-Spring

This post is also linked up to Menu-Plan Monday!

baked cinnamon french toast

Do you have stale bread to use up? This recipe for baked cinnamon French toast is a winner! As soon as I saw this drool-worthy recipe on The Pioneer Woman’s blog, I knew I had to make it.

The recipe would be perfect for a weekend brunch, and it’s so easy you could make it on a weekday, too! Here’s my recipe, slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman’s original version:

baked cinnamon french toast

  • 1 loaf slightly stale sourdough or French bread
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

for the topping:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 stick cold butter
  • fresh fruit {optional}

1. Grease a 9 x 13-inch glass baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.

torn bread

2. Beat eggs. Add the milk, cream, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp cinnamon, and vanilla.

3. Pour the egg mixture evenly over bread. Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.

with egg

4. In a separate bowl, make the topping: mix flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon, and salt.

5. Cut butter into small pieces.

6. Stir the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles fine pebbles. If you are baking the casserole in the morning, keep the topping in a plastic bag or container in the fridge until ready to bake.

7. When you’re ready to bake the casserole: preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

8. Remove casserole from the fridge and sprinkle flour crumb mixture over the top. {If you’re using fruit, sprinkle on before the crumb mixture. Next time, I’m going to try using apples. I think strawberries would be delicious, too!}

9. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture. Bake 1 hour or more for a firmer, less liquid texture.

french toast

10. Scoop out individual portions with a large spoon. Top with more fruit if desired and drizzle with maple syrup.

Enjoy! Store any leftovers covered in the fridge and microwave to reheat. I enjoyed this dish for a decadent breakfast three days in a row. 🙂

How do you add little moments of luxury to your weekday routine?

homemade chocolate-covered popcorn

I read in a magazine recently that popcorn contains more antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables! Adding to that, one cup of popcorn {the healthy, air-popped variety, that is} has less than 50 calories! Hello, my new favorite snack. I also love popcorn because it is so versatile – you can add seasonings to make it salty, cheesy, spicy, or sweet.

Or … kick it up a step further and add some chocolate to the mix! {I know, I know, this definitely crashes-and-burns the whole “under 50 calories” thing … but the way I see it, chocolate-covered popcorn is pretty healthy on the dessert scale!} I made mine with dark chocolate to take advantage of even more antioxidant power.

chocolate popcorn

Before making this dish, I had never even attempted to melt chocolate before. I do not have a double-broiler so I just used my microwave. I was worried it would be difficult or time-consuming, but it was incredibly easy. I am already looking forward to livening up my next movie night in with Mike by whipping up another batch of this addicting treat!

homemade chocolate-covered popcorn

– 1 package popcorn of choice {I like to use a healthy, whole-grain version with no added butter or salt}
– 1/2 cup chocolate chips
– 2 tsp butter
– salt, cinnamon, or other spices to taste

1. Pop popcorn according to package directions. Dump into a big bowl and pick out any unpopped kernels. Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon.

2. Melt chocolate and butter over a double-burner or in a microwave-safe bowl. {Melting times vary based on the power of your microwave, but I’d recommend using a series of shorter time increments and stirring more often so as not to burn the chocolate by cooking too long!}

3. Pour melted chocolate onto the popcorn.

popcorn

4. Using a spoon {or your hands!} mix popcorn and chocolate together, breaking apart any large clumps of chocolate, until the popcorn is evenly coated.

chocolate covered popcorn

5. Allow to cool, then store in an airtight container.

I gifted a batch of this popcorn to a coworker using a homemade “upcycled” gift container. I’ll share more about making homemade gift containers in my post tomorrow, so stay tuned! 🙂

upcycled gift containers

Have a wonderful day!

Till soon,
Dallas

chocolate-chip pumpkin pancakes

I can’t believe how fast the weekend has flown by! As the saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun,” and I’ve been having a super-fun time with my incredible brother in town. {Time also flies when you’re taking a timed test with only 240 minutes to answer 230 obscure literature and poetry questions … but in a different way.} <–SO glad to be done with the GRE test! 🙂

This weekend we’ve given Greg a tour of West Lafayette, including:

  • our favorite restaurants {Nine Irish Brothers! Lafayette Brewing Co!}
  • an epic evening of pinball at Main Street Amusements {Greg is a pinball wizard}
  • a really imaginative and gripping play called “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart” presented by the National Theatre of Scotland through Purdue Convocations
  • many episodes of New Girl {I guess this isn’t limited to West Lafayette, but it’s been a fun part of the weekend!}
  • a tour of Purdue’s campus and a walk across the bridge from West Lafayette into Lafayette
  • laughing so hard tears have streamed down my face
  • fresh-baked cookies from Insomnia Cookies, an adorable late-night cookie shop close to Purdue’s campus
  • and a basketball game this afternoon, where Purdue soundly defeated Hofstra {boiler UP!}

Greg is coming with me tomorrow to school, where he’s giving a presentation on social entrepreneurship to my classes. {He’s the founder of a nonprofit organization called Give Running — learn more about it here!} I’m so excited to show him off to my students.

For the finale of pumpkin week, I have a delicious lazy Sunday morning recipe to share with you: pumpkin chocolate-chip pancakes!

pumpkin chocolate-chip pancakes

– 1 tsp butter
– 1 cup pancake mix
– 3/4 cup water
– 1/4 cup pumpkin
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– handful of chocolate chips

1. Stir together pancake mix, water, pumpkin, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract. Let batter rest for a couple minutes.

2. Heat skillet to medium-low and grease with a little butter.

3. Drop 1/4 cup batter into pan and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Cook until batter starts to bubble in the middle, then flip over and cook about 3-4 minutes on the other side.

Serve warm and melty, with syrup if desired!

Hope your weekend was wonderful! Thanks for joining in with me on this week of pumpkin recipes — I had so much fun!

Here’s a recap if you missed anything:

pumpkin spice oatmeal
pumpkin oatmeal cookies
savory pumpkin and kale stew
pumpkin pasta
perfect pumpkin pie

Goodnight!
-Dallas

marvelous monday: pumpkin week!

Happy Monday, everyone! How was your weekend? I had one of my favorite types of weekend: cozy at home, laid-back, while also productive. {Or, as my brother calls it, “tcb-time: taking care of business!”} I am taking the GRE Subject Exam in literature next weekend and spent a good chunk of time studying for the test using a study guide I got from the Princeton Review, which is amazingly helpful and has actually been cracking me up quite a bit with the authors’ witty jabs and digs at the test. {Mike probably thinks I am going crazy from too much studying when he looks over and sees me giggling over my test book.} If you or someone you know is studying for the GRE or a GRE Subject Exam, I’d highly recommend their study guides!

Another reason I am feeling so jazzed this morning: my brother is coming to visit on Thursday! He’s staying for a long weekend and I am SO excited to see him. He is one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met and has been my best friend since he was born and I was two and a half years old. 🙂 I feel really blessed that we are so close and that he still wants to spend time with his big sister. I am going to be on pins-and-needles driving to the airport after class on Thursday afternoon!

Greg and me at his college graduation this past May. I’m so proud of him!

As we transition from October into November, I had a realization: Halloween might be over, but I am *SO* not done with pumpkin yet! I feel like I haven’t even begun to take advantage of this marvelous squash in my autumn cooking. So, this week on the blog, I bring to you Pumpkin Week! Every day I’ll post a new pumpkin recipe, spanning all meals of the day. I’m hoping this week will motivate me to try all these pumpkin recipes I’ve stored up {like this amazing list from Two Peas & Their Pod} and might also inspire you to try some new recipes yourself!

Today we start with breakfast. I was inspired by Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers to work some pumpkin goodness into my morning batch of oats. It was easy and delicious — like having a healthy version of pumpkin pie to start the day off right! Plus, I love oatmeal on cold winter days. It warms my belly and just gets me into a happy mood.

pumpkin spice oatmeal

– 1/2 cup oats
– 1/3 cup milk {I like vanilla rice milk, but soy milk, almond milk, or just plain old dairy milk would all work}
– 1/4 cup pumpkin
– 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
– 1 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl and stir together. Microwave for 2-3 minutes {depending on your microwave’s power} until desired consistency. I like my oatmeal pretty thick; my mom loves hers watery. It’s a preference thing!

Enjoy warm. Add more cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice as desired. YUM!

What are some of your favorite pumpkin recipes? I’m looking forward to sharing more with you tomorrow. Hope you have a marvelous day!

-Dallas 🙂

marvelous monday & happy october! baked cinnamon-sugar donut holes

There has been a briskness in the air lately that feels just. so. autumn! It’s lovely. It makes me want to curl up under a cozy blanket with a cup of tea and a good book. {If you’re looking for a good book, I’ve been devouring Elizabeth Berg’s novels lately … I fell in love with her novels Durable Goods and Joy School back in high school, and she is an author I can always return to and feel like, YES, she gets it — this is why I want to be a writer, this is what I want my books to do for people! I nearly always have at least one good, full-hearted cry while reading her books, and I always feel sad to finish them because I don’t want to leave her characters. I’m reading Open House right now and it is wonderful!}

But, yes, back to autumn … I was thrilled when Maria at Two Peas & Their Pod put together this fantastic list of 50 pumpkin recipes! I found myself checking off every one: yes, I want to make that; ooh, that looks delicious; yes, that one, too! Like a kid in a toy store a week before Christmas: I want them all! 🙂

One of the recipes that immediately caught my attention was baked donut-holes. I’m always looking for a way to health-i-fy things. Hmmm, homemade baked donut holes? Why not give it a whirl?

I am SO glad I did! They are pretty much mini-muffins, but roll them in cinnamon-sugar and they do taste like donut holes. These are pumpkiny, cinnamon-sugary, and perfect for autumn. Make them for breakfast and eat them warm from the oven with a big glass of milk!

baked cinnamon-sugar donut holes

ingredients:

For the Donuts:
1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned plain pumpkin {not pumpkin pie filling}
1/2 cup skim milk

For the Coating:
4 tsp unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin tin with baking spray and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. In a separate, large bowl whisk together oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

3. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. While the muffins bake, melt butter in one bowl and combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in another bowl.

6. Remove muffins from oven and cool for 2 minutes. Dip each muffin in melted butter, then roll in cinnamon sugar to coat. Serve muffins warm or at room temperature.

{This recipe is adapted from The Craving Chronicles.}

YUM. And easy! And {for a donut} relatively healthy, too! Hard to beat that. 🙂

Happy autumn!
-Dallas

—————————

Time spent: about 30 minutes
Cost: about $5

peach streusel muffins

Happy weekend everyone! Hope you are out doing something relaxing, lovely and joyful. It is a gorgeous sunny crisp fall day here in West Lafayette, and I am soaking it in! My plans for the day include lunch at Panera, doing some work there, and then going for a nice walk down by the river. I’m making orange chicken with veggies in the crock-pot for dinner tonight … I’ll let you know how it turns out!

You may remember a few weeks ago I found a recipe on the blog Stacey Snacks for peach streusel muffins … at the time I didn’t have any peaches so I adapted it to make blueberry streusel muffins. They turned out great! However, I was eager to try it with peaches as the original recipe called for, and I finally did.

The results were incredible! These just might be my favorite muffins ever. Stacey was right about the combination of the peaches and the streusel topping … heavenly!

I was a little intimidated first by the streusel topping, but believe me it is super easy to make. These muffins are also a healthy breakfast or snack {or even tasty enough for a healthy dessert!} because they are packed with peaches and use applesauce and protein-packed Greek yogurt in place of oil.

peach streusel muffins

for the topping:
– 1/3 cup uncooked oatmeal
– 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
– 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

for the muffin batter:
– 2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1/2 cup sugar {or 1/4 cup stevia/truvia}
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 3 eggs
– 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
– 1 cup Greek yogurt
– 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
– 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
– 2 ripe peaches, cut into chunks {I like mine with the skin on for extra nutrients, but you could certainly peel them if you prefer}

1. For the topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir in the butter, and mix until well blended. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients, from flour to salt, and set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, butter, yogurt and vanilla.

5. Add the egg mixture to the dry mixture. Stir until just moist and blended, being careful not to overmix.

6. Fold in the peaches.

7. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan until the batter comes to the top of the paper liner or pan. Sprinkle with the brown sugar streusel topping, and lightly press the topping into the muffin batter.

8. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until tops are golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Have a scrumptious weekend!

❤ Dallas

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-Time spent: about 1 hour {including bake time}
-Cost: less than $5

You might also enjoy these previous posts:
blueberry/blackberry/raspberry muffins
good morning sunshine muffins
coconut zucchini muffins