41/52: Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes

I am so excited to share my first autumn recipe with you all! I am welcoming autumn with open arms this year. I am so excited for fall flavors and colorful leaves. And my puppy’s first birthday! Yes – I’m that puppy parent… I am pretty sure you will be seeing a “birthday” post in the very near future. His birthday is October 22! Speaking of my little ball of hair, he was just oh so cute yesterday. I was photographing my cupcakes for this blog entry and my little dude was just being so cute, I couldn’t resist a mini photo shoot. He is such a good sport – he totally poses for me. 🙂

And then, once I was uploading the pictures, I couldn’t help but make a super cute collage with the photos, and then I couldn’t help setting it as my desktop.

See?! I told you. I am totally that puppy parent. Haha. On to the cupcakes!

I have been chomping at the bit to make my first fall recipe. But, life has been crazy and there hasn’t been much time for baking. The other night I didn’t really have any homework that was due the next day and my husband was craving something home-baked. My first thought?! These cupcakes. Oh my gosh. I made these last year and posted them on the blog I was working on at that time. And actually, as I think about it, this was the very first recipe I made in my Kitchenaid standup mixer. They were absolutely amazing last year and equally as amazing this year. I will *NEVER* search for another pumpkin cupcake recipe for as long as I live, that is how good this recipe is! And so simple! Love, love, love. Moist, slightly spicy and pumpkin-ey… perfection!

The only change I made was to the frosting, it was too thin and I wanted it just slightly sweeter.

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
ÂĽ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
ÂĽ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs

For the frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3
½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixture on low-speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, mixing just until incorporated.

Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans and let cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.

Source and Recipe: Annie’s Eats, originally Williams Sonoma, Frosting slightly adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Seriously… try these. If I could figure out how to duplicate this recipe for any cupcake flavor I would do it, that is how moist and delicious these are! Plus, look at how cute they are. I love opening my fridge and seeing these cuties.

34/52: Friday and cool gadgets.

Happy Friday all!

Thank goodness it is Friday…

Haha. Sorry. I had to go there. It’s an inside joke between one of my girlfriends and I! Happy Friday girl!  Anyway…The beginning of this week seemed long and the last two days have flown by! Of course, the two days I have free to get things done. The beginning of this week was great. I spent the first three days of this week with my mentor teacher. We started getting our classroom together for next week and organizing things for the kiddos. I am so blessed, she is such a wonderful, up-beat teacher. I just know this is going to be a great year! Everything started sinking in when she would talk about different options for set-ups and teaching units… she started referring to the classroom as ‘ours’ or saying, ‘when we do this’, ‘when you take the classroom over in the spring’… seriously, so cool. Fun, fun. I can’t wait until Thursday to meet our kiddos!

I am working up some super awesome posts for you guys, but I want to make sure they are perfected… so I will start posting them next week most likely. Some really cool ideas. I can’t wait!

Yesterday and this morning I have been online searching here and there for a yummy dessert recipe. We are going to a friend’s house for dinner tomorrow evening and I of course wanted to bring a yummy dessert! I wanted to bring something full of summer inspiration. However, for some reason the ‘in season’ fruits always slip my mind! I think the seasons blend together more or less for me. I never know when its rhubarb season, strawberry season, etc. I seem to always miss those transitions. Maybe it’s because I always had an abundance of both rhubarb, strawberries and other goodies like special apples and berries from either my grandparent’s house or our own field when I was growing up. So I decided to do some research! And of course, I had a little helper…

Yeah. You try telling him he isn’t an itty bitty puppy and really can’t fit on my lap anymore. He was such the helper, kept trying to attack the keyboard. LOL. On Monday he turned 10 months. Man, I can’t believe he is this big! When we first met Mr. Winston, he fit into the palm of our hand. Literally… he was only 2 weeks old!

“Hi! This was taken on my 10 month birthday. I’m so super cute!”…Awh, happy 10 months little dude! {Seriously… I feel so sorry for my future children… I’m overly annoying with my dog and I don’t imagine it will be any better with my future kids… sorry future children!}

Anyway… after much searching I found a super yummy looking recipe. I am anxious to make it and share it with you all, but you will just have to wait! I’ll be sure to give y’all a review of what everyone thinks of it tomorrow night. 🙂 While I was searching I found a really neat resource I wanted to share with you guys. It’s a search box to help you locate ‘in season’ produce! I think this will be really helpful for me in the winter. I always wonder what is the cheapest ‘in season’ fruit, etc. And since I never quite know, I always plan menus with items that aren’t in season and therefore way over priced. Since I was so excited about this, I wanted to share it with you! Hopefully it will help everyone cut costs a little on their grocery bills!

Check out… Seasonal Cornucopia! This gem will show you produce that is in season for the Pacific Northwest.

I also found a really cool gadget I wanted to post on here, but it is not compatible with WordPress blogs. So be sure to check this Seasonal Foods Google gadget out too! This gadget is really cool because you can select any state within the US and they will list all in season foods!

In other news… I need some help. Our first wedding anniversary is almost here! Less than a month. We have reserved a sweet little suite {haha} over on Orcas Island for the weekend of our anniversary. But I want to make it as special as possible. I already have ordered a replica of the top-tier of our wedding cake… hello moist chocolate cake with Valhalla espresso buttercream! And I think I am going to put together a play list of our wedding day songs for the drive up to the ferry. Does anyone else have fun first wedding anniversary ideas? I would love to hear them! I am lacking a little creativity in this department. Seriously… post your ideas people! 🙂

Well, I hope everyone has a great weekend. And if you don’t have anything planned, come hang out with us at IPA Fest on Saturday!

Ciao!

27/52: Get rich quick. {Saturday giggles}

This week I bring to you a short and sweet blog post, just because this little guy is cracking me up today. First, why is our dog so smart? Winston is a smart little cookie. He knows all the right ways to trick us into getting our attention. Mr. Center of Attention is one of his many nicknames! Second, along the same lines, he is so innovative. Oh yeah, that’s right. We are about to be rich folks. With the help of Winston, we have come up with a new, high-tech, doggie drying system. I always dread the end of the bath: working quickly to get him semi-towel tried and then having to tackle, and try to brush him and get him dry. But we will no longer struggle. Man! Thank goodness we found a solution, I’m not sure how much longer we could have put up with the hassle. 🙂

Enjoy the video… I hope it brings you some giggles. Believe me, it was is {this is his usual routine} much funnier in person. Happy Saturday, I hope everyone is enjoying the beautiful sunshine! {And sorry for the background noise – I’m just taking in some awesome Lifetime movies!!}