oatmeal jam bars

I went home to visit my parents for Easter, before heading to L.A. for a writers conference. The timing worked out great because I got to spend a couple extra days with my family before making the short drive to Los Angeles. As always, it was a relaxing time in my hometown… going out for breakfast with Dad, running errands with Mom, watching a few good movies, reading a ton, and catching up on some playtime with Mr. Mur-dog! I also got in some quality baking time, as I always love to do when I am on vacation. Baking is so relaxing and nourishing for me!

Ready to do some baking in my Easter outfit!

Ready to do some baking in my Easter outfit!

One of my favorite things to do is when I’m at my parents’ house is to rifle through their pantry for ingredients that need to be used up, and then find a way to plug these into a recipe. This visit, I made a batch of my beloved three-ingredient cookies, substituting granola for the oats. I also made some lemon bars for Gramps, who joined us for Easter dinner. Then I noticed that Mom had a soon-to-be-expiring jar of jam to use up, along with a ton of oats. So after some online searching, I tweaked a recipe I found to make some healthy oat jam bars using the ingredients at hand. I loved these for dessert… and they are still healthy enough to eat for breakfast, too! I also think these would be a great road trip snack or a healthy snack for kiddos. {You don’t need to tell your kids how healthy these are!} ūüėČ

In my own healthy living journey, I have been trying to eat fewer packaged and processed foods and to make more foods on my own. One thing I love about making my own food is that I know exactly what goes into it… and, in turn, exactly what is going into my belly. Also, baking takes way less time than I would have thought before I started doing it routinely. I typically like to bake on the weekends and enjoy treats most of the week! Baked-from-scratch goodness just feels fancier to me than store-bought treats. Many baked goods can easily be frozen for later, too, and then heated up in the microwave or toaster oven when you’re ready to eat ’em!

Another good thing about making your own snacks and breakfast foods and desserts, rather than buying them from the store? You save a lot of packaging waste, which really adds up over time in our landfills! AND you save money. It’s a win-win!

healthy easy oatmeal jam bars

{This recipe was adapted from this one by Diana at My Humble Kitchen.}

  • 1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat white flour
  • 1 & 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil¬†or butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup¬†agave
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup jam {I used raspberry}
  • 1 cup fresh berries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a small glass baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, 1 cup of the oats, salt, cinnamon and baking soda.
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the coconut oil or butter.
  4. Stir the melted coconut oil or butter, the honey, and the agave together. Add to the dry mixture.
  5. Transfer about 2/3 of the dough to the prepared baking pan. Pack the mixture down firmly.
  6. With a spoon, spread the jam evenly over the dough.
  7. Sprinkle the fresh berries throughout the jam layer.
  8. Top the berry-jam layer with the remaining 1/3 of the dough.
  9. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of oats over the top, being careful to cover any bare areas where the jam is peeking through.
  10. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown. {Be careful not to over-bake — these burn easily!}

Note: Allow to cool completely before cutting.

oatmeal jam bars

Hope you enjoy! These make a wonderful breakfast, healthy dessert, or after-school snack!

if you liked this recipe you might also enjoy:
raspberry brown-butter bars
vegan healthier toffee bars
quinoa breakfast bars via The Lean Green Bean
homemade no-bake granola bars via PB Fingers

why I love meal-planning

Hello, lovely people! It is currently Sunday afternoon and it is raining, for which I am very grateful. {Even though the rain sometimes causes ant invasions in our apartment… stay away, ants!} We can use all the rain we can get. Also, there is something that feels especially cozy to me about rainy weekend days. I just want to listen to Jack Johnson and maybe some old school Maroon 5… Sunday Morning, anyone?

I forgot to mention earlier that last Sunday, I went to a baby shower for my cousin Sharon, who is due with a baby boy in June. So exciting! It was actually the first baby shower I have ever attended, and I thought the hosts were so thoughtful and creative with the way they put the event together. We decorated burp cloths with fun designs, played a game where the goal was not to say the word baby {I totally failed, haha!} and showered Sharon with adorable baby gifts, including some of the cutest onesies I have ever seen. Congrats, Sharon & Matt!

Typically Sundays are when I plan out the week ahead; I like to get a handle on things so I feel like I begin the week with a bang! Allyn and I talk about our schedules for the week and if we have any special events coming up on the calendar. Something else I like to do on Sundays is to jot down a quick dinner menu plan for the week using this handy-dandy whiteboard magnet calendar I picked up in the dollar-bin area at Target.

meal whiteboard

I never used to really do meal-planning, but I am a full-fledged convert now. I have been surprised at 1) how little time it takes and 2) what a big difference it makes¬†in how prepared and productive I feel. Spending fifteen or twenty minutes looking through recipes and planning out dinners for the week saves me a LOT¬†of time and mental space, because then¬†I don’t really need to think about dinner at all for the rest of the week… I just follow what’s on the whiteboard, and we’re good to go!

Here are some things that have been helpful for me when it comes to meal-planning:

  • I look in our cupboards and fridge and see if there is anything that needs to be used up. For example, when Allyn and I make pasta for just the two of us, we usually only¬†use half a jar of sauce. So I usually like to make some sort of pasta dish two weeks in a row to use up the rest of the pasta sauce. Other examples could be veggies, greens, or little leftover bits from our Blue Apron meals¬†like seasonings or half a head of garlic. For some reason, it makes me ridiculously happy to use up leftover ingredients. Embrace the little things!
  • Putting special dinners on our meal plan calendar, like going to a restaurant in the city with friends or celebrating someone’s birthday, lets us look forward to these events all week long and makes them even more special. As Gretchen Rubin writes about, according to her research on happiness, anticipation plays a huge factor in enjoyment.¬†
  • Meal-planning gets me to actually try out new recipes that I tear out from magazines or dog-ear in my cookbooks. If left to my own devices, figuring out what to have for dinner the day of, I tend to fall back on my same tried-and-true recipes: vegetable soup, pasta with tomato sauce, chili and corn muffins, enchiladas with black beans. I love all of these recipes, and they are great to have in my arsenal as staples, but it is so easy to fall into a “cooking rut.” I¬†get tired of always eating the same thing, yet never know what else to make. But with meal-planning, I look through my recipe folder and specifically decide in advance what I am going to cook on which days. {I think the key for me is in advance!} Every week, I cook one or two new-to-us recipes. It helps that Allyn is pretty much game to eat whatever I put in front of him, so even my less-successful cooking attempts have been sweetly consumed¬†in our house. ūüôā
  • Planning our meals also makes grocery shopping much simpler and much less wasteful. Allyn and I use the app Wunderlist to add items to our shared grocery list whenever we run out of something. When deciding on recipes to make, I immediately¬†add to Wunderlist all the ingredients needed to make everything on our meal plan for the week; this ensures that I don’t forget that one crucial ingredient like lime juice or tumeric that I may not have in the pantry already. I’ve learned that trying out new recipes means branching out of your comfort zone, and sometimes venturing into new aisles of the grocery store you don’t usually visit! Plus,¬†nothing derails my cooking juju more than realizing I forgot to get something on the recipe’s list of ingredients, and need to run out to the store. #letsjustorderpizzainstead
  • Meal-planning helps us prevent food waste, which isn’t just good for our wallets — it’s good for the planet. I was staggered to learn that throwing away a pound of chicken wastes 519 gallons of water! Ruth Mathews of the Water Footprint Network explains that when you throw away food, you are not just throwing away that food item, you are also throwing away all of the resources that went into producing that food item. Furthermore, tossing food into the trash means it will end up in a landfill, producing greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. If meal-planning helps you eat everything in your fridge before it goes bad, you could be saving thousands of gallons of water every week — not to mention saving extra dollars in your wallet, too!
  • Something else I do that has become a little joke between me and Allyn is that if I am going to be gone for whatever reason and there are leftovers in the fridge I want Allyn to eat up, I write him out a little menu as a reminder. I purposely try to make the leftovers sound as fancy, gourmet and appealing as possible. For the parents out there, this might be an easy way to make leftovers more fun for picky-eating children!

allyn menu

In short, meal-planning makes cooking much simpler, less stressful, and more enjoyable for me. Now… I’m off to plan this week’s meals! ūüôā Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Questions for the day:

  • Do you plan out your meals every week?
  • What helps¬†you cut down on food waste?
  • Any fun recipes to share?

my halloween weekend recap!

Hi, friends! Can you believe it is already November? I have some travel recaps coming your way soon, but first I wanted to share my Halloween with you guys because it was a great one!

allyn allyson me and pumpkins

On Friday, Allyn cooked us a delicious dinner of salmon & veggies, and then we carved pumpkins! You may remember Harold and Maude from our trip to the pumpkin patch at Half Moon Bay in early October. I was so relieved they lasted so long without growing moldy, and were in great shape for us to carve the day before Halloween. Yay!

harold and maude

We used stencils to make a gremlin {Allyn} and a mummy {me}… I thought they turned out pretty great!

mummy and gremlin

On Saturday, Allyn had a work event during the day and I had a meeting for church and some errands to run. In the afternoon, I assembled the last of my costume by making a wreath out of fake flowers I bought on sale at Michaels {apparently these flowers are part of their autumn line, which is now on super sale because that store is alllll about the holidays currently!} I had never made a flower crown before, but I used this tutorial and once I got the hang of it, the crown came together pretty easily. Here are the steps I did:

how to make a simple flower crown 

  1. Wrap floral wire around your head to measure the fit. Make sure you don’t make it *too* tight because you will be adding flowers, so it will get a little thicker. I used two strands of floral wire to make it a little sturdier.
  2. Snip the flowers you would like to use and arrange them on your crown in a pattern. Important note: make sure you leave enough stem on the flowers. I would recommend a couple inches, to make sure you are able to attach them securely to the wire.
  3. Use floral tape to tightly wrap around the stem of the first flower, continuing for a few inches down the wire of the crown to really stabilize the attachment. To me, this step was the key. At first, I did not use nearly enough floral tape and my flowers kept falling off. When I started using more floral tape and continuing down a couple inches past the flower’s stem, the entire crown felt much more secure.
  4. Continue until you make your way around the entire crown. Ta da! Your very own flower crown {that can double as a wreath if you hang it on the door, as I plan to do next autumn!}

forest gump and jenny

Can you tell who Allyn and I dressed up as for Halloween? Forest Gump and Jenny!

We met up with Allyn’s sweet sister Allyson and her friend Henry, who both dressed as Pirates, and drove into San Francisco for dinner and a Halloween show! Dinner was¬†Chipotle because they were having a special deal where anyone who dressed up in costume got any menu item for just $3! I went with the vegetarian burrito bowl. SO GOOD.

Halloween chipotle

Then we drove to Fort Mason by the marina to go to the BATS Improv Halloween Musical Show! I just happened to come across info about this annual show when I did an Internet search last month for fun Bay Area Halloween events. It ended up being an absolutely wonderful way to spend Halloween night! The cast were very talented and quite hilarious. They made up an entire two-act musical show on the spot based on the audience’s suggestion of a title: “Infection!”

improv halloween comedy show

Allyn’s eyes are closed because Forest Gump is tired from all that running…

All in all, it was a truly fantastic Halloween!

On Sunday, there was an incredibly moving All Souls Service at my church. I have been missing Celine a lot lately, and the beautiful service and words of joy in the midst of grief were exactly what I needed on this day. I lit a candle for Celine and walked down the aisle to place it on the communal altar. I felt understood and lifted up by the supportive members of my church community, and for that I am very grateful.

I miss Celine every day, but every day I also smile thinking of a memory we shared, or simply remembering her genuine laughter.

candle for Celine

Later on Sunday afternoon, Allyn and I took BART into San Francisco¬†to see the production of one of my all-time favorite musicals, “Once”! You guys, I adore this show. It makes me feel connected to the world around me and it reminds me why I love creating art: to give hope to others and celebrate the beauty of ordinary life.

once play sf

“Once” is an adaptation of the independent movie that came out a few years ago and won the Academy Award for Best Song. I love the movie, the songs, the storyline, and the musical does not disappoint! This was actually my third time seeing this show: I saw it originally on Broadway in New York City, and then a couple summers ago with my parents in Los Angeles. It was really special to be able to share the experience with Allyn this time!

before seeing once

Aaaaand, that’s a wrap! This week so far has been busy getting caught up after my travels to visit Holly in Cleveland and Greg in NYC. Hoping to pop back in soon with a recap of my trip! Until then, hope you are having a lovely week and adapting to the time change. I am slooooowly getting used to it getting dark so early. As one of my adorable tutoring kids said when I arrived at 5:30 yesterday for our lesson: “Miss Dallas, why are you here at midnight?!?” Haha. It IS strange for the sky to be dark as midnight at 5:30 p.m. but I am trying to embrace the winter for all the gifts it brings. I do love this time of year! What about you?

easy, throw-together, can’t-fail fruit cobbler

Sometimes my grandparents like to shop at Costco.

Which is great! I love Costco! The only problem: there are only three of us in the house. None of us are teenage boys with roaring appetites. And my Grandma likes to buy fruit at Costco.

Which means we sometimes often have a whole bunch of fruit ripening all at once.

So I devised this fruit cobbler recipe out of necessity. I really hate throwing away/wasting food, but a girl can only stir so many strawberries into her morning oatmeal. So one day I chopped up a bunch of strawberries that were on the verge of going bad, added some squishy blueberries and a sad, mealy apple, and topped the whole thing with some stale, also-bought-at-Costco oatmeal cookies that I crushed up with a rolling pin.

I slid the whole thing into the oven and crossed my fingers that when I pulled it out half an hour later, the concoction would have magically transformed into deliciousness.

Well, guess what? IT DID.

costco fruit cobbler

This disappeared from the pan in record time and is a new favorite dessert of my cousin Bianca. {Don’t tell her how easy it is to make… she thinks I’m a superhero every time I bring her some!}

Since then, I’ve made this recipe with a variety of different fruit and topping combinations, and it comes out delectable every single time. So I wanted to share it with you! If you’re looking for an easy, can’t-fail way to use up some past-its-prime fruit — or if you’re just looking for an easy, delicious dessert to make for your family or bring to a party — this is a wonderful recipe!

And {shhhh}… it’s actually healthy! There is no extra sugar added into this dish, unless you use crumbled cookies as the topping — most of the sweetness comes from the baked fruit!

cant fail fruit cobbler

ingredients:
– fruit: strawberries, apples, pears, grapes… whatever is in your fridge! blueberries and raspberries work well, too!
– if you are using less-juicy fruit such as apples or pears, add a little fruit juice {apple, cranberry, orange, whatever you have on hand!}
– topping: stale cookies {I’ve used oatmeal raisin, sugar, even animal crackers} OR granola OR mix up rolled oats with cold butter
– spices to taste {I like cinnamon!}

directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Get out a glass pie pan or a shallow glass dish and set aside.

2. Slice up the fruit until relatively small, even chunks. Mix together. If you are using drier fruit, add about 1/4 cup of fruit juice.

3. Pour the fruit mixture into the glass pan.

fruit in pan

4. Make your topping. If you’re using stale cookies, place them inside a plastic Ziplock baggie and crush them with a rolling pin until they are crumbled. To make¬†a homemade topping, use your fingers to crumble a few small pieces of cold butter through about 1 cup of rolled oats. Add spices to taste, and a bit of brown sugar if you would like. I’m also a fan of sprinkling the cobbler with granola, like I did here:

fruit cobbler with granola topping

5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown on top. It will make your kitchen smell delicious!

fruit cobbler

I like to eat this fruit cobbler on its own, or serve it warm topped with iced cream, or stir it into yogurt! Hope you enjoy!

healthy greek-inspired chicken burgers {with feta!}

My mom has been a brave, bold¬†kitchen dynamo lately! She’s been trying out new recipes and then sharing her successes with me. Thanks, Mama! Then I get to share my faves with you guys!

A couple weeks ago, I shared¬†a recipe for¬†easy, colorful roasted veggies. Today, I’m sharing another recent winner: healthy, easy, greek-inspired chicken burgers.

These come together quickly, and I actually LIKE having leftovers because these burgers heat up great the next day. I also like them crumbled over a fresh tossed salad. The feta cheese and spices really kick these burgers up a notch!

greek chicken burgers

  • 1 lb lean ground chicken breast {uncooked}
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

For toppings:

  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • chopped lettuce
  • sliced cheese
  • sliced avocado
  • hamburger buns or rolls, if desired

1. In a bowl, combine the ground chicken with the feta, garlic powder, and oregano. Mom recommends just using your hands to mix!
greek burgers uncooked

2. Divide mixture into four balls and press them into patties.

3. Heat a pan on the stove {or your grill/broiler.} Grill the patties until golden brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes per side.

greek burgers grilling

4. Serve topped with red bell peppers, lettuce, cheese, onion — whatever your favorite toppings are! I like eating¬†mine without a bun, topped with avocado, onion, and red bell pepper. Yum!

greek burgers openfaced

if you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy:

easy, colorful roasted veggies + potatoes

As we soak up these final end-of-summer days before the autumn sets in, I have found myself wanting to spend as much time as possible outside. Taking long walks, sipping tea out on the back porch, watching the sunset, breathing in the fresh air. I particularly love those late afternoons/early evenings, when dusk sets in and the light has a magical hazy quality that seems especially magical in this transitional period between seasons.

During late autumn and wintertime, I love to cozy up in my kitchen baking or cooking. But right now, I’m in the mood¬†for easy,¬†throw-together meals that are still healthy and nutritious.

Enter these roasted veggies + potatoes.

This recipe comes from my mama and could not be simpler. All you have to do is chop, toss, and bake. I love how customizable it is based on whatever your favorite veggies are, or what’s in season. Plus, it looks beautiful — definitely a dish you could make for company or for a potluck and feel proud about. I think I’m gonna cook up a batch for myself tonight!

roasted veggies

easy, colorful roasted veggies + potatoes

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • garlic powder
  • 1 small bag of little red potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1/2 red onion
  • any other veggies of your choosing!

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Chop all the veggies and potatoes into relatively equal-sized pieces.

chopped veggies

3. Pour them into a large Ziplock bag and add olive oil.

olive oil in bag

4. Zip closed and shake well until all the goodies are lightly coated with olive oil.

coating veggies in oil

5. Spread the veggies and potatoes into an even layer onto a baking tray. Sprinkle generously with garlic powder {and/or other seasonings of your choosing.}

roasted veggies on tray

6. Roast veggies for 40-45 minutes. I recommend turning the veggies over with a spatula halfway through for even cooking.

7. When the potatoes are tender, everything is done! Remove from the oven and serve warm. Top with cheese if desired.

roasted veggies meal

if you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
oven roasted pumpkin seeds
springtime veggie pasta bake
easy sausage, veggie and potato bake

healthy chicken and bell peppers with goat cheese

Hi, everyone! Happy Thursday! Hope your week is thrumming along nicely. ūüôā

A little while ago,¬†I promised you this recipe that my mom made for dinner one night during our family reunion in Pittsburgh. Not only is it easy, healthy, and delicious, I love this recipe because it is full of flavor and easily customizable.¬†Don’t like goat cheese? Substitute feta or parmesan, or leave out the cheese altogether. Mom served it over orzo pasta; I like it best over quinoa. Whatever suits your fancy! This also makes great leftovers and heats up well. Hope you enjoy!

chicken and peppers

chicken & bell peppers with goat cheese

– 2 large chicken breasts, or a package of chicken tenders
– 1/2 cup flour
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 bell peppers; I like the combination of orange and yellow
– 1 small onion
– 1 can diced tomatoes
– 1 small can tomato sauce
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– fresh basil, to taste
– goat cheese {or feta or parmesan, if you prefer}
– salt and pepper, to taste
– pasta or quinoa, for serving

1. Slice the bell peppers and onion into chunks and set aside.

2. Cut the chicken into small pieces. Pour the flour into a pie pan or shallow dish so it is an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. With your fingers, roll the pieces of chicken in the flour until they are evenly coated.

3. Pour the olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, pour in the chicken and saute until cooked through. The flour will create a nice golden-brown crispiness. Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

4. In the same olive oil, saute the bell peppers and onion for about 10 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the onion is translucent.

5. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, minced garlic, and chicken. Cover and simmer on low.

6. Finely chop the basil. Just before serving, add the basil and goat cheese, to your taste.

7. Serve by itself, or over pasta, rice or quinoa.

Cheers! {We enjoyed this for Mother’s Day dinner, pictured below!}

mothers day

super-simple graham cracker caramel pecan cookies

Hello, friends! I’m popping by with a quick, easy-peasy recipe for you today! I saw this recipe on the back of my¬†box of¬†Safeway graham crackers, and it looked intriguing so I decided to try it out.

It turned out delicious and was so simple to make, with only four ingredients! Plus everything comes together in a flash because you only need to bake the cookies for 10 minutes. My Grandpap said, “I don’t know what these cookies are called, but they are so good it’s sinful!” ūüôā Hope you enjoy!

sinful graham cracker pecan cookies

sinful graham-cracker caramel pecan cookies

– 1 sleeve graham crackers {about 9 large rectangular crackers}
– 1/3 cup butter
– 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
– 1 cup chopped pecans

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

2. Place graham crackers close together in a single layer on top of the aluminum foil.

graham crackers

3. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and stir together until butter and sugar are well-combined. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 4 minutes, stirring continuously.

4. Pour brown-sugar mixture over the graham crackers and spread evenly across the crackers with a spatula or wooden spoon.

5. Scatter pecan pieces on top of the caramelized sugar.

graham crackers prebake

6. Bake for 10 minutes.

graham crackers after baking

7. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting them in half to make square cookies.

graham cracker cookies

And that’s it!

What are some of your favorite quick, simple recipes?

if you enjoyed this recipe, you might also like:
3-ingredient banana cookies
peanut butter breakfast cookies
ridiculously easy pumpkin spice cookies

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 ūüôā

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

chocolate pumpkin-spice kiss cookies

I have a simple, delicious recipe to share with you today! These cookies are easy to make, come together in a flash, and would be the perfect holiday treat for a party or get-together. I brought them to a BBQ this past weekend and they were a big hit!

I got the idea for these cookies¬†when I came across these babies at Walgreens after getting my flu shot:¬†pumpkin spice Hershey’s kisses!

pumpkin spice hershey kisses

I was intrigued and they were on sale, so I scooped them up! When I got home, I started brainstorming what I could bake with them, and I thought about the cookies my mom makes during the holiday season using chocolate Hershey’s kisses. I thought I could make a similar cookie — except with pumpkin spice kisses, I decided I wanted a chocolate cookie base.

Rummaging around in my pantry, I found this.

chocolate cake mix

So I decided to make chocolate cake-mix cookies {similar to the funfetti cookies I made for Grandpap’s birthday two years ago.} I love cake-mix cookies because they are dense, soft and chewy. Yum!

I was able to whip these cookies up in about half an hour, and they turned out great! If you don’t have Hershey’s kisses, I think just making the chocolate cookies would also be a hit. Add in some peanut-butter chips and you’ve really got it made! ūüôā

chocolate kiss cookies

chocolate pumpkin kiss cookies

– 1 box chocolate cake mix {I used triple-chocolate fudge; I bet devil’s food would be good, too!}
– 1/3 cup vegetable oil
– 2 eggs
– 1 cup chocolate chips
– pumpkin spice Hershey’s kisses

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine cake mix, oil, eggs and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Dough will be stiff and sticky.

3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes, to allow dough to become easier to handle.

4. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. {Note: these cookies EXPAND quite a bit! My first batch, I made the dough balls much too big. Just a tablespoonful is enough, I promise!}

5. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cookies are set.

6. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

7. While cookies are still warm, gently press a pumpkin spice kiss into the center of each one.

chocolate kiss cookies

You can easily adapt these cookies based upon your favorite Hershey’s kiss. I think using a peppermint kiss or white-chocolate kiss would be divine!

If you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy:
aunt elaine’s peanut butter blossoms
pumpkin spice cake mix cookies
eggnog cookies with buttercream frosting