Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin baked goods can only be a sign of one thing- fall. Fall is my absolute favorite season. Cold mornings, the smell of the crisp air, leaves changing, Halloween, getting to cuddle up in a nice warm blanket, apple cider, and of course PUMPKIN EVERYTHING. I am very picky about my pumpkin products. I do not like pumpkin pie. I’m not a big fan of pumpkin spice lattes. But I love the smell of a good pumpkin candle burning… and select baked goods.

My sister and I tried out a variation of this recipe last year. I think this year they taste a thousand percent better. Sorry, Alli! These creamy and fluffy cupcakes with their ooey gooey cream cheese frosting are to die for, and I think I might eat them all myself tonight. I like to overstuff my cupcake liners so my goodies puff up nice and big when they’re cooked. Unfortunately, that means I get less yummy cupcakes. This recipe only made 18 cupcakes for me, but I think it was supposed to yield 24. This is defiantly a recipe to double up!

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Kraft Recipes

You’ll need:
– 1 box spice cake mix
– 1 cup sour cream
– 1 15 oz. can pumpkin
– ¼ cup vegetable oil
– 3 eggs
– 1 package cream cheese, softened
– ¼ cup butter, softened
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 1 16 oz. bag of powdered sugar
– 1 ½ tablespoon cinnamon

You will (for cupcakes):
– Heat oven to 350 degrees
– Beat together cake mix, sour cream, pumpkin, vegetable oil, and eggs
– Spoon into paper lined cups
– Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean
– Cool completely before frosting

You will (for frosting):
– Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a bowl with mixer until blended
– Gradually beat in the sugar
– Blend in the cinnamon
– Spread over the cooled cupcakes

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I love piping my frosting on my cupcakes, but this frosting is totally not the kind you pipe. My disappointment with my inability to fancily frost my cupcakes aside- these bad boys are a success! They satisfy my need for pumpkin flavored things without being TOO pumpkin-y. If you or a family member is weary about pumpkin flavoring and is picky about tastes and textures, try these out! There is a great balance of flavor that makes them perfect for anyone and everyone!

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Taco Bake (Hassle-free walking tacos!)

Brandon and I just got back from our belated honeymoon in Philly. It was fantastic! I will be posting a blog about it and all the fun we had. We are still in the woes of post-vacation. Work is dragging and we’re overall grump-butts to everyone. I’m also going through husband withdraw. It was a treat getting to spend 6 whole days with him! We’ve been back at work for 3 days now, and they’ve been miserable. And somehow, the laundry fairy didn’t stop by the house when we were away, and I have an unnatural amount of clothes to clean.

I first heard of this recipe when my mother-in-law texted me some pictures of it. Cruel! It looked so tasty I almost drove two hours to steal it from her. I jotted it down in a book so I’d remember to try it… but like most things go, I completely forgot about it. When I was on Pintrest the other day, I spotted it again! I was quick to put it on my actual grocery list so I wouldn’t forget.

This is a quick, tasty, and easy meal! If you’re cooking for more than 3 people, or you like having leftovers, I would suggest doubling the recipe. This bake is PERFECT for work events and family outings because it is a hassle free, non-messy walking taco. Try it out!

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Taco Bake

You’ll need:
1 lb. ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning
2/3 cup water (for seasoning)
1 bag chili cheese corn chips
1 can cheddar cheese soup
½ cup milk (for soup)
1 bag shredded mozzarella
Toppings as desired

You will:
Brown beef, drain, and add the seasoning and water
Pour enough corn chips to cover the bottom of a pan (I used a 9×9 pan)
Top with taco meat
Combine soup and milk in saucepan and heat until smooth
Top taco meat with cheese sauce
Add a thick layer of mozzarella cheese to the top of the mixture
Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes, or until top layer of cheese is melted
Serve over lettuce with desired toppings

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I didn’t serve this with any toppings, but I wish I would have. It completely slipped my mind at the store. Still, this was delicious even sans sour cream and lettuce and all the extras!

Trust me when I say it is a delicious and hassle free walking taco. The bottom chips get a little soggy, so I added a few chips to my bowl after it was done cooking to give me an extra crunch. If soggy chips completely freak you out, I’d suggest doing a very light layer of chips in the bottom of the pan and then loading up your bowl after it’s done with fresh crispy chips!

Paper Haul!

As soon as Brandon and I started dating, I started scrapbooking. Something inside me was like, “Document these moments in a cute little book with adorable paper!” I started out with a Smashbook. We filled one and started another, which is half full. But- here’s my dilemma- I decided to do an actual 12×12 scrapbook for the wedding. Now I’m left with all sorts of questions. Do I put our honeymoon in the wedding scrapbook or the Smashbook? Do I just not finish the Smashbook since I’ve discovered the amazing-ness that is a full sized book? WHAT DO I DO? 

Until I figure out those hard hitting questions, I’ll leave you all with some of my paper haul from JoAnn Fabric’s Labor Day Sale. 6 sheets for something like 96 cents. I had to take advantage of that since normally they run from 59-1.00 depending on where you are.

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Our wedding scrapbook is full of whimsical and rustic paper. We’re still waiting to get our pictures back, so I got a few sheets that could work for that in case I run out. Mostly I got these for our honeymoon pages. Thus the start of my wedding scrapbook/new scrapbook/Smashbook dilemma. I feel like this paper is too cute for me not to use it ASAP. 

I hope all my fellow crafters out there snatched up some good deals over Labor Day! 

Chicken & Cheese Casserole

I told you something good was cooking in the oven! I couldn’t wait to share the recipe with everyone. This casserole is quick, easy, and delicious. I loved it and my hubs loves it, so its a no-brainer to keep this recipe in my big red book. So what is it exactly that I’m raving over? Chicken and cheese! In a casserole! Together! Need I say more? 

 

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Chicken & Cheese Casserole 

You’ll need:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 large can of cream of mushroom soup
3 cups elbow noodles, cooked
1 bag cheddar cheese
2 cups milk

You will:
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees
• In a large casserole dish or pan, combine all ingredients, mixing well
• Cover and bake for 35-45 minutes
• Remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes

 

I adapted this recipe from a weight watchers recipe I saw online somewhere. Brandon told me it needs bacon and ranch, so the next time I make it, I plan on tweaking it a little bit more. We’ll see how that turns out! 

Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops

I used to hate pork. When I was younger it always seemed plain and chewy, which are two of the worst adjectives you can use when describing how meat tastes. Then I met Brandon’s family, and his mom made some delicious chops that have had me hooked on pork since. I love taking risks and experimenting with pork because flavor just seems to be drawn to the meat. That’s why when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it (and I have some delicious cajun seasoning in the cabinet that I’ve been dying to use again). 

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Sweet and Spicy Pork Chops

6 pork chops, thin and boneless
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning (use less if you dont like a lot of heat)

DIRECTIONS:  Combine all of the ingredients in a large ziplock bag. Shake to mix and coat pork chops. Place bag in the refrigerator and marinate for 2-3 hours.

Heat an indoor grill pan or skillet to medium heat. Drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of pan. (about 1 tablespoon)  Place 3 pork chops at a time onto the pan and cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until completely cooked.

Set cooked chops on a plate and tent with foil to keep warm while you cook the remaining pork chops.

 

When I tasted this, it gave me more of an Asian feel than Cajun. I even used the correct amount of seasoning. I’m not complaining- it was delicious, but I have it classified under Chinese takeout in my mind instead of spicy Cajun chops! This is one of the tastiest recipes I’ve had in a while. I was half tempted to eat Brandon’s (as I make dinner at 9pm or later, and this particular night he didn’t get off  until waaayyy later). Being the good wife I am, though, I waited patiently for him to get home and try his. 

In other news, I’ve been trying to post this for about a week and my blog kept messing it up. Don’t worry, I haven’t made a decision to stop posting! In fact, dinner is in the oven right now, so be expecting a new post soon!