EZ Pumpkin Muffins

Hi Friends 🙂
 
Happy Friday! Jason picked up our pumpkins to carve on Saturday:

It is pretty cold outside (30 degrees at night!) so we get to keep them by the dining table for now 🙂

Last week I wrote about my passive aggressive coworker, and I wanted to give you all an update on how that’s going. I’ve had to work with him on a few things and you know what? He’s been civil and dare I say KIND? I’ve been making an effort to ask him more questions and try to get to know him, and to be honest it seems as though he’s been doing the same. I have no idea what really changed, but it seems to be changing for the better. Although we will probably never be best friends, we can at least respect each other at work and have a decent working relationship. Woohoo!
 
Speaking of work, I made these babies for everyone:

Yum.
 
Easy Pumpkin Muffins – and yes they are super easy because it uses this:

I found this recipe a while ago on the Weight Watchers message board – by no means am I claiming these as “healthy” – the yellow cake mix doesn’t have the best nutrition 🙂

1 yellow cake mix, boxed
1 15oz can of pumpkin
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup cinnamon chips — you could use chocolate chips instead

Mix all of this together and bake according to the cake mix box (as muffins or a cake). The batter seems kind of thick for muffins, but they turn out really fluffy. I was able to get 24 muffins out of the dough.

Need more pumpkin desserts?
 
Pumpkin Banana Bread
Pumpkin Pie Cookies
Vegan Pumpkin Blondies

Pumpkin Peanut Pudding
 
1. Do you have a Pumpkin dessert to share? Provide a link if you like!
 
2. What is your favorite scary movie? Last night Jason and I watched the second half of The Strangers – that movie creeps me out! I think I find it so scary because it “could” happen?

3. What are your plans for the weekend?

Enjoy your day!

~Holly

Pumpkin Apple Stuffed French Toast

Hi Friends 🙂

Happy Friday!!!

Another flower shot:

They are blooming so beautifully!

Breakfast was glorious this morning. I’ve been eating oatmeal or eggs for breakfast for weeks, so I think I made the perfect substitute:

(can you see the layer of apple in there?)

Pumpkin Apple Stuffed French Toast

Ingredients:

4 slices of bread

1 large apple, cored, peeled and thinly sliced

2 eggs

1 cup almond milk

½ cup pumpkin

Vanilla, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to taste (I just used a dash and sprinkle of each)

Sprinkle of sugar (1 tbsp worth?)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat a baking dish with non-stick spray (or butter) and place 2 pieces of bread in the dish. Depending on what bread you use and what dish you have, yours could look completely different from mine. I cut the bread to fill up the dish more. Place sliced apples on top of the bread.

Mix together remaining ingredients and pour half of the mixture over the bread/apples.

I poured enough to cover the bottom layer. Place the last 2 slices of bread on top and cover with the rest of the egg/milk mixture. Use a spatula or spoon to squish the bread and get it all saturated with that pumpkin goodness.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 10-15.

Yum. I am not exaggerating when I say this tasted like pumpkin pie! And the apples provided such a lovely soft layer in the middle.

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I took your advice yesterday and returned those condiments. I’m sure down the road I would “need” them, but for now, I’d rather have my money back. 🙂

And yes that is a $10 bill, the biggest reason I wanted to return those items. What can I say, I’m a cheapass. I felt awkward returning food, but the clerk was super nice and acted like this happens all the time! (and like I mentioned yesterday, it was 3 bottled condiments, all sealed up and never used)

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What are your plans for the weekend? Tomorrow night Jason and I are babysitting our niece – I’m sure she’ll cry the whole time for Mommy and Daddy (Jason’s brother). She usually does that!

Are you a spender or a saver? I am definitely a saver and Jason is a total spender — it keeps us balanced I think. I like to shop for deals, and if something isn’t “perfect” for me (doesn’t fit quite right, not on sale, etc) I don’t get it. We just spent months (and we aren’t even done yet!) going through the stuff in our house and getting rid of stuff. We sure don’t need more unless we FOR SURE want it!

Have you checked out the Great Blogger Pumpkin Carving Contest?

Check out Lisa’s Giveaway for a CSN gift card and Kate’s Giveaway for a Macy’s gift card 🙂

Enjoy your Friday!

Holly

Oatmeal Baked Apples

Hi Friends 🙂

I’m so glad that many of you will participate in Carly’s Great Blogging Pumpkin Carving Contest 2010! It should be a fun time and I can’t wait to see all of the entries 🙂

Jason and I started watching The Book of Eli last night — I could only last an hour because I had blogs to read needed to get to bed!

It was very strange — most movies that are set in the future are not my favorites — they are too confusing! I can’t even think of any examples — I must have blocked them all out! We’ll watch the rest of Eli tonight and I hope it gets more interesting.

Check out these adorable apples I picked up a few days ago. I love how lopsided they are. How sweet!

There are millions of Apple Crisp/Baked Apple recipes out there. Almost all of them include some amount of flour, sugar and butter. I wanted to make it a little different and it turned out pretty well!

Oatmeal Baked Apples

4 apples, cored and sliced thin

1/4 cup flour (I used ground oats)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup applesauce (or less to make it more crumbly)

1 generous sprinkle of cinnamon

1 tsp maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat pie pan with non stick spray. Core and slice apples; lay them in the pie pan:

Sprinkle apples with cinnamon and toss to lightly coat. Mix flour, brown sugar, oats, maple syrup and applesauce. Top apples with flour mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes until apples are tender. If you like lots of “crisp” topping — double the mixture I made (or use 2 apples instead of 4) — I wanted more apples than topping. Crazy, I know.

This made a lovely addition to breakfast — I had a small Pumpkin Pie Monster along with my apples.

A great way to start the day 🙂

What did you have for breakfast today?

How do you keep your schedule straight? Are you a list maker or a calendar keeper? As crazy as it sounds, I actually have a really good memory and can keep track of dates and upcoming events pretty accurately. But I also write a million lists a day. How about you?

🙂

Holly

Pumpkin Schmumpkin

Hi Friends 🙂

Look at the lovely Fall flowers Jason brought home for me:

What a nice guy. I think I’ll keep him 🙂

Fall is by far my favorite time of year. I love the cool, crisp air, the need for sweaters and jackets, and the return of my favorite shows. But I also love the seasonal soaps at B&B Works:

The pumpkin decorations and Fall scented candles:

Halloween décor:

And of course PUMPKIN in all forms:

Pumpkin Beer:

Pumpkin Banana Bread:

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Blondies: (and sorry I just love that bat!!!)

Pumpkin Tofu:

Pumpkin Pie Cookies:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothies:

But what else can you do with a pumpkin? CARVE it of course 🙂 Carly over at Swim, Run, Om is holding the Great Blogging Pumpkin Carving Contest 2010. Please check out Carly’s post for rules!

I am one of the judges, along with Carly and Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point.

Here are some pumpkins I have carved (ok not really, but check them out anyway!)

Ok maybe I could pull off the last one 🙂

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1. What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

2. Do you like to carve pumpkins? Will you participate in the Carving Contest?

Have a good one!

Holly

Deja Vu

Hi Friends 🙂

What a surprise: the weekend went waaaaaay too fast. It feels good to get back into the work routine, but at the same time, I sure wish I could sleep in every morning!

First up, here is the epic eats of the day:

Gina’s Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili. (Yes I had chili the day before too — it is the perfect fall food!)

And some sweets for my sweetie:

Katie’s Pumpkin Pie Cookies. These were great! Tasted like cinnamon pumpkin muffin tops. And yes I made pumpkin blondies not too long ago – deja vu 🙂

So I mentioned a few days ago that I was thinking about training for Grandmas Marathon again next spring, but to be honest I have changed my mind every day since then. So I’ll keep thinking about it and trying to figure out if I should just go for it. I know I have time to think, but I like to make decisions and stick with it! Thanks for all the nice thoughts though, I appreciate the encouragement!

I have been working out with this dvd:

20 lbs in 30 days? I don’t think so Jillian — even if you are TV’s toughest trainer (right, Katie?!?) 🙂 Jillian is tough — My shoulders burn after doing this workout and I love that it isn’t a dancey-aerobics type dvd. Sometimes its fun to dance around my living room, but getting down to business with pushups and squats is more fun, dontcha think? 🙂

Jason and I have decided to go to VEGAS in November — now we have to decide where to stay and what to do! Any suggestions? For now we have no set budget amount…

1. What was the best part of your weekend?

2. Have you seen any good movies lately? All I have been watching is Hoarders episodes On Demand. I can’t stop watching that show!

3. What is your favorite breakfast? I have been eating oatmeal or eggs/toast every morning for weeks now — any suggestions for something different or new?

Have a great Monday!

Holly

Blondies Have More Fun

Hi Friends 🙂

I decided to take yesterday off — I got up early to write a post but decided to go back to bed instead. I think taking breaks every once in a while is definitely something I will keep on doing!

Jason and I spent the day running errands, (finally) selling our chairs on Craigslist:

And the family who picked up the chairs is going to come back and buy our old washer/dryer — I couldn’t be happier! In 1 week our garage will be clear and my car will be able to fit in our garage! Woohoo!

For dinner I made HEAB’s Almond Butter Chili again — this is a super easy recipe and it tastes so delicious. I served it over the rest of our spaghetti squash:

See the spaghetti squash under there? 🙂

And the dessert was wonderful as well:

Allie’s Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Blondies. I made them to share with Jason’s mom — who leaves for Italy this evening! She, along with Jason’s Grandma and his Aunt, will be in Italy for the next 13 days. I’m not bitter at all for not being invited 🙂

But back to the Blondies: holy cow these are rich and moist — and they are super pumpkiny without being overly sweet. Thanks Allie!

Lots to do today: grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry (ugh), reading, church, breakfast, lunch, dinner, you know, the regular stuff 🙂

Enjoy your Sunday! ~Holly

Questions:

1. What are your plans for today?

2. If you could take a trip ANYWHERE, where would you choose? Why?

Bones & Bread

Hi Friends 🙂

I’m glad you were all intrigued by the Pumpkin Tofu – be sure to check out Averie’s recipe page for more interesting Tofu creations.

I am STILL SORE from Sunday’s race. I have been taking baths at night, foam rolling and stretching daily. Each day I feel a little bit better, but the pain still persists! I hope to get back into exercise this weekend. This week I’ve been taking walks but that is about it.

First, lets talk BONES:

I finished the book a few weeks ago and I finally got around to watching the movie. There are *SPOILERS* so beware if you plan on watching the film or reading the book. Scroll down to “Bread” to avoid the spoilers.

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I found both the book and movie very depressing. And, the best part of the book (when Susie enters Ruth’s body and she and Ray make love) – wasn’t in the movie! I didn’t like how the movie showed that scene. It was very disappointing to be honest. I thought they had perfectly cast Mr. Harvey (what a creep!) but I imagined Ray to look different than he did in the movie. I did enjoy most of the characters, and I loved “getting to know” Susie. I just wish it had moved a little quicker. Ok maybe there weren’t real spoilers there, but I’d hate to ruin part of the book/movie for anyone.

**

BREAD:

HEAB posted a recipe for Chocolate Rice Bread that sounded to easy to be true. Regardless of how easy it seemed to be, I still messed it up! This is how it looked after I tried to cut a piece (and after it had cooled for almost an hour!)

I thought I followed the directions, but something went very wrong here! Heather I still love your recipes and I’ll have to try this again!

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More BONES:

My sister Leah gave this cabinet to me over 10 years ago – it moved to college with me, back home and to my current house. It is time to say goodbye. A friend is going to give him a new home. Sorry, this isn’t a giveaway 🙂

Have you ever seen a more terrifying piece of furniture???

**

Questions:

1. Have you ever seen a movie that is better than the book? I sure hope no one writes Twilight on here – the books are waaaay better than those movies.

2. What book are you currently reading? What do you think of it so far? I am reading Love & Respect and I am enjoying reading more about relationships and communication. I need some ideas for what to read next.

3. How do you take care of muscle soreness? Generally for me, foam rolling and rest takes care of it. A little soreness is no big deal, but I can barely make it up the steps without saying “ow, ow, ow!”

It’s almost Friday!

Holly

Respectful Blueberry Muffins

Hi Friends 🙂

I hope you’re having a wonderful day because I am!

It is the last day of September today. It went fast, huh? Tomorrow I plan on giving you all the final update on my September goals, but I do have to confess that I didn’t quite make one of them.

“#4. Read at least 2 non fiction books.”

Well, I finished one book (The Dance of Fear) but I will not be able to finish Love & Respect by the end of the day. Well, I could, but I don’t want to rush myself because I can already tell that I need to take my time and really absorb this book.

The author explains the “secret” to a better marriage. He found it in the Bible in Ephesians 5:33: “Each one of you also must LOVE his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must RESPECT her husband.” He explains that yes, wives need to also love their husbands and husbands need to respect their wives, but the emphasis is on wives respecting their husbands and husbands loving their wives because, according to the author, those are our primary needs.

The first few chapters of the book detail different scenarios and situations between couples — and when reading them I laughed a lot. Arguments sound so silly when you aren’t in them, right?  One story was about a couple who were celebrating their 10 year anniversary. The husband was out shopping for a card and found “the perfect one” — it has the right picture on it, the right message, everything. He comes home, writes a little message on the inside and gives it to his wife that evening. She opens it and makes a face. The husband is waiting for her to say something nice, or to start tearing up. Nothing. Instead, the wife asks “why did you get me a birthday card?” and immediately makes accusations that the husband FORGOT their anniversary. Long story short, the wife ends up being disrespectful to the husband and the husband responds by being unloving. The author refers to this situation as The Crazy Cycle:

Communication is the key to stopping the Crazy Cycle — and knowing what your partner needs. Even in arguements, you can be respectful and loving.

I’ve only begun to dig into this book but I like it so far. Learning about people, relationships and different personalities is really interesting to me! Plus, when I read marriage/relationship books I have the urge to make stuff for Jason, whether it is a card or a baked good 🙂 I try to show him that I appreciate him and all that he does!

Respectful Blueberry Muffins

I used the recipe I love which is *here*. They are dairy free and taste so delicious. I’ve made these with all sorts of flours, so feel free to experiment. Also, I’ve made these with different berries or with nuts instead of fruit.

*And because of the comments yesterday I’ve decided to give Glee a chance…Hulu here I come…*

Questions:

1. What kind of phone do you have? What do you like about it? Right now I have a Blackberry Curve — I love it because of the big screen, the “real” keyboard and the email access. Plus it takes pretty good pictures for a phone! I got my first cell phone at age 23 which was a basic flip phone, then I got a Razr — how cool, right? Then I upgraded to the Blackberry and I don’t think I could ever go back.

2. What has been the best relationship advice you have been given? The best advice I have been given is to choose your battles wisely and to compromise when you can. Obviously if there are big issues and you need to stand your ground, do so. But, if its not that big of a deal, give a little. For example: I am a saver and Jason is a spender. For a while I would freak out about anything he bought — even when he bought me flowers!!! Hello!?!?!?! Now, I have toned it down and although I still prefer to save, I don’t mind as much when we spend extra money. I’m letting go of my inner control freak gradually 🙂

3. Favorite muffin? I love blueberry or banana nut the best. But anything chocolate is ok too 🙂

Enjoy your day!

Holly

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Hi Friends 🙂

TGIF!!!

Let’s just get to the good stuff, hmm?

I was at work yesterday just thinking about something to bake. I like to bring in something homebaked on Fridays to work and I also like to send something with Jason as well. To be honest I don’t know if Jason actually shares any of the treats or if he just keeps them to himself. 🙂 Either way, it doesn’t matter, because I cannot have treats like this at home:

Too dangerous!

I found the recipe here and I substituted a few things, so here is what I ended up using:

Pumpkin Banana Bread

1 mashed banana
1 cup Libby’s pumpkin
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg + 2 whites
1 cup oat flour
1 cup spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a loaf pan with non-stick spray (or butter). Combine wet ingredients in one bowl, combine dry ingredients in another, and then mix together. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. (I also sprinkled 2-3 tbsp of pecan pieces on top before baking)

I’ll pack up half for me to bring to work and half for Jason to bring to work. And no, there isn’t any chicken in this recipe either 🙂

I wouldn’t call this recipe “mine” by any means, I only substituted a few things. But, when do you call a recipe “your own”? Do you have to change a certain number of ingredients? Or do you have to completely wing it to call it your own?

I forgot to mention yesterday that I received a very special package in the mail:

MACAROONS! Thank you Megan! They are so adorable:

Questions:

1. Any fun plans for the weekend? We have more Craigslist buyers coming on Saturday to pick stuff up, but other that we have no real plans (yes!!!). Hopefully we will go out to dinner on Friday or Saturday night and maybe go see a movie. Any suggestions?

2. What was your favorite animal as a child? Is it still your favorite animal? When I was younger I really liked pigs, cows, walruses and frogs. I don’t really know why. But I have quite a few pig stuffed animals (that I still have) and here is one of my favorite things:

I named him Mr. Dump years and years ago – and I still have him! I think I bought him at a garage sale. He may have only cost 50 cents but I don’t think I could ever get rid of him.

***Check out Katie’s giveaway: VEGGIE ICE CREAM!***

Enjoy your Friday!

Holly

Dino-mite Banana Muffins

Hi Friends 🙂

 Ok, so, I had big plans for this long weekend, including cleaning out the garage, exercising every day, tidying up the house, reading books, etc. Well, lets just say I haven’t gotten much done due to this:

Ever since Jason and I upgraded our basic cable I have been watching way too much tv. I used to mostly watch Bravo shows like:

Well, lets face it, I watch any of the Real Housewives shows. Except I can’t get into the newest DC episodes. I just don’t like any of the wives!

Now I have HGTV, Lifetime, A & E, TLC and a bazillion other channels. The time I used to spend reading? Now its tv time. So needless to say, I haven’t gotten much done this weekend. But I have been relaxing and feeling less stressed. I figure my mental sanity is more important than household tasks, so I guess I am ok with my choices 🙂

I was quite productive in the kitchen though. I made Averie’s Vegan Banana Nut Muffins a few days ago and I read Eat Move Love yesterday and saw a wonderful recipe for Banana Nut Butter Muffins. Jen your recipe looked lovely, but I decided to make my standby banana nut muffins. But your post definitely inspired me to bake! This recipe comes from Cook Right For Your Type. I change it up a little, but I basically follow that recipe. I had to make the muffins because of these:

Dinosaur muffin liners! They were so adorable! I topped some of the muffins with chocolate chips. The muffins turned out DINO-mite 🙂

Oh these are so delicious! Jason will have to take these to work on Tuesday, I can’t be trusted with them 🙂

 Tina is having a blog bake sale next week, check out the details here.

Alyssa is hosting a giveaway on her blog: Artisana goodies!

Averie is hosting a giveaway on her blog: Kroeger Herb Supplements!

Lindsey is hosting a giveaway for Barney Butter on her blog!

And be sure to check out Tina’s 30 DRSL if you haven’t already.

Question: On the weekends (or whatever days you have off from work or school) what do you like to do? Be productive with tasks or be lazy and relax? Or do you do a bit of both?

Have a great day!

Holly

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