Sunday, October 12, 2014

Maple Glazed Bananas over (Trader Joe's) Pumpkin Spice Waffles

This yummy fall breakfast is so simple and quick - you could make this on a weekday, or weekend!
I love making pancakes on the weekends, but when Trader Joe's 'pumpkin everything' season comes around, I find gems like these frozen pumpkin spice waffles! They look just like Eggo waffles, but slightly more healthful, and full of pumpkiny spiced flavors! I love fall. (Even if our weather here is still more like summer).

Serves 2

2 ripe bananas
1/4 cup real maple syrup
coconut oil spray (or anything to slightly grease the pan)
waffles (or pancakes, or french toast!) of choice. Preferably with pumpkin puree and/or pumpkin pie spices added.

Slice your bananas on an angle, to get a good, long surface area on each slice.
Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat.
Spray a bit of cooking spray in the pan, to help the gooey bananas come out of the pan a bit easier at the end.
Pour maple syrup into pan, and lay banana slices in one flat layer in the pan on the syrup.
Let it bubble and reduce, until it turns into almost a sticky caramel glaze on the bananas.

You can swirl the pan around a bit, to coat bananas, but don't stir, or try and flip them, as they will fall apart.
Once reduced as much as possible, without burning, use a spatula to pour bananas over the top of your pumpkin spice waffles.
You can butter the waffles, if desired, or spread them with coconut oil, before you top with the bananas.

These would be even more decadent with a huge pile bit of whipped cream on top!

Yum! Warm, fall-festive breakfast! So delicious. and super easy.
Win. win.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

This Pumpkin Pie Cupcake recipe has been floating around Pinterest for awhile now, and it actually comes from my favorite couponing site: The Krazy Coupon Lady!

These cupcakes are an exact cross between pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie.  It is so cool!
It only uses one batter, but the outside bakes into a dense pumpkin bread texture, while the center stays soft and jiggly, just like pumpkin pie!
I topped these with a whipped cream, and actually used a really cool trick I found to "stabilize" the whipped cream so it lasts, like frosting, for a couple days without melting and deflating. You know, like the whipped cream topping you see on cakes in bakeries??  The trick calls for an ingredient that I don't actually love normally, gelatin, but it works so well for these, I'll allow it ;)

These are super easy to make, yet very impressive, which is perfect for around the holidays!


1 15 oz can of pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

Adapted from: The Krazy Coupon Lady

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a muffin tin with cooking spray.
Mix together the pumpkin, both sugars, eggs, vanilla extract and milk in a medium bowl.  Add in the flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder and baking soda, and stir until combined.

Fill each muffin cup with 1/3 cup of the mixture. They will be pretty full as these don’t rise much.

Bake for 20 min.

Then, let cool for 20 minutes.  Remove cupcakes from pan and then chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before frosting.

See??! Isn't it cool how it is pumpkin pie in the middle?!!  But then, has a more dense, sturdy shell to hold it all together?  So neat! 

For the Stabilized Whipped Cream:


1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
2 Tbsp cold water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Adapted from:  Food Pusher
Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl to soften.
Pour 2 Tbsp of the cream into a small pan and bring to a simmer on the stove.  Pour over gelatin, stirring until dissolved.
Refrigerate for about 10-15min until it turns the consistency of unbeaten egg white. Then, whisk until smooth. Set aside.
Whip remaining cream in a large bowl just until soft peaks form, then whip in the powdered sugar, until mixed well. 
Whip in the smoothed gelatin mixture now, stopping to scrape bowl sides a couple times.
Continue to whip just until stiff peaks start to form.

Ta da!
Stabilized Whipped Cream.

Scoop whipped cream into a piping bag (or just spoon on top instead) and pipe on top of chilled or room temperature cupcakes.  Top with a light sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

My little trick:  Put piping bag down into a tall drinking glass, and fold top of bag over the glass sides.  This makes it much easier to scoop whipped cream (or frosting) into the piping bag!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Honey Balsamic Figs with Brie Appetizer

Guys! I am so obsessed with figs this summer! Why have I never bought fresh figs before?! Yum.
They go so well with a cheese plate, and this simple and delicious appetizer falls right in line.

Seriously, this is so easy. Four ingredients and a couple minutes under the broiler (toaster oven broiler, ideally, so as not to heat up the whole house in the summer), and you are on your way to snacking and entertaining heaven!


Several fresh figs
Wedge of Brie cheese
Balsamic Glaze (From Trader Joe's in the salad dressing aisle)** 

Slice off the top stem, and the very bottom end of the figs. Cut in half, from top to bottom, and then cut halves in half again, if the figs are large.

Slice brie into bite size pieces.  I like to remove the white rind (always!) - either way is fine.

OK, get ready. This is the hard part! ;)
Place figs on small baking sheet. top each fig half with a slice of brie. (did you follow that?!)
Broil until cheese is warm and melty, but not a melted, disastrous mess.

Remove from oven, and drizzle with honey and balsamic glaze.

Ta da! Impressive, yummy appetizer or snack. Done in like 5 minutes!

**You can use balsamic vinegar for a less sweet flavor, or if you don't have the glaze. I just like the thickness of the glaze, because it looks prettier, too, drizzled on top. You can make your own glaze by reducing balsamic vinegar and apple juice in a small saucepan, as well.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hulling Strawberries - the easy way!

Ever seen this trick on Pinterest before?

I FINALLY remembered to try it. Oh man. It's a good one! And it's infomercial tagline totally lives up to its claim.
"Are you tired of cutting off the top third of your strawberries just to remove the stem?!"
...Why yes, I am.
"Next time, just use a drinking straw! It pushes the core and green stem up and out, leaving the rest of the whole fruit in tact!"
...Yep. Accurate.
Just keep a few plastic drinking straws around in your knife/kitchen tool drawer and never waste part of a strawberry again!

It does take a touch of finesse and elbow grease to aim exactly for the bottom middle of the berry, and then push to detatch the stem from the berry top.
But, it is super easy, and doesn't take any longer than carefully cutting off the stem with a knife.
Total win!
Try it!!

Especially with perfect farmer's market strawberries! Yum.

A perfect strawberry! No waste! Definitely a good trick to keep around.

Linked up With:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Stone Fruit Caprese with Avocado

I love the idea and flavors of a caprese salad, but I have never liked tomatoes. So sad, I know.
BUT! I love making it with cucumbers, or in this case, stone fruit, like some amazing, juicy, pretty farmer's market yellow plums and pluots!
Plus, I add avocado and balsamic for good measure.

Trader Joe's finally suckered me in to buying the whole basil plant today. They always look so pretty out front, but today they were on sale for $2, and the packet of basil I was going to buy inside in the produce aisle was $2 or more anyway! So I went for it. Here's to hoping I can keep it alive.

For the caprese salad:

Slice a plum (or peach!), some fresh mozzarella cheese, and half of an avocado.
Layer all three on a platter, layering in basil leaves as you go.
Sprinkle with a pinch sea salt and drizzle with either balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze.

Yum. The perfect summer meal!
So refreshing and bright.
I am savoring the last few weeks of summer before I dive face first into apple and pumpkin spice everything in the fall!

Apple Cobbler Cheesecake with Snickerdoodle Cookie Crust
Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes! (with vegan option!)

Linked up With:
A Pinch of Joy
Lemon Tree Dwelling - Saturday Night Fever

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Palm Springs!

I love me some Palm Springs!
Such a fun, local getaway for a weekend trip!

A couple weeks ago some girlfriends and I headed out to the desert to celebrate our good friend Rebecca and throw her a proper Bachelorette Party!

We were ready for some fun in the sun!

...what we didn't anticipate was...this.

A serious storm on the drive there.  Like, a, going 30mph on the freeway, storm. Yikes.
Not quite the 120 degree pool days we were expecting.

But, it did clear up long enough to get in some pool time, and it actually was nice that it wasn't so hot.

We stayed at the Riviera Hotel this time, and it was great!

I was obsessed with this real grass wall! Sooo cool!

We finished off the night dancing at The Hard Rock that just opened out there.

Such a fun weekend with my friends!!

Check out my Palm Springs posts from last year below:

Palm Springs 1

Palm Springs 2