Tag Archives: pumpkin

Pumpkin Banana Breakfast Cookies

Whether we’re out searching for our ideal partner, building relationships with friends, or already happily settled in a 50-year marriage, it’s no surprise that we spend the better of our lives seeking affirmation from the people around us. On a recent trip to Seattle, we gave ourselves plenty of “nothing” time–time to really back away from our busy day-to-day lives and think about what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, where our lives our headed. Every night at the hotel, Richard would look over and grin when he saw me just sitting on the bed and hugging my pillow, thinking.

He called it pondering time, and (apart from the donuts, and the reunions with friends, and okay maybe the pizza) it was probably the part of the day I looked forward to most.

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Between blogging and baking and schoolwork and teaching and working, I hardly give myself much down time to think any more, so it quickly became apparent that I had a lot of catching up to do. For starters, I had no idea I had so many thoughts about friends and life relationships to sort out–and visiting all these new places and seeing so many old faces gave me plenty to think about.

One way I like to gauge my development is to periodically play a game we called Three Attributes. You start by listing the top three traits you looked for in an S.O., and each one is supposed to reveal something about not only your ideal mate, but yourself as well. If you’re interested in playing, I’ll give you the breakdown so you can try it for yourself before I do the big spoilers:

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So you start by picking your top three traits for a significant other–this can be either your ideal potential one or the one you already have.… Read more

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Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Cookies, Healthy

{No-Churn} Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

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‘Tis the season to be jolly!

‘Tis the season for being good commercial consumers, voracious listeners of 24/7 holiday music, and hopeless romantics who watch ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas movie marathons while indulging in a giant bowl of homemade pumpkin spice ice cream.

I’m as crazy about the holiday season as the next person. Yes, mass commercialism sucks balls, but unless you’re absolutely determined to be cynical about hot chocolate and fuzzy feelings and hot chocolate and great holiday classics such as Elf or How the Grinch Stole Christmas–and let’s face it, who can be cynical about any of these things?–the holidays rock. Period.

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One of my absolute favorite part of the holidays–apart from the food and the movies and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” playing on repeat–is that we get a chance to make up all the things we forgot to do during the other 11 months of the year. This includes small things like gift-giving and thoughtfulness, but it also includes big things like donating clothes to the needy and volunteering at the local soup kitchen. Christmas may have evolved into a corporate sham: but just as “nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent,” the companies have found it impossible to suck the holiday spirit completely dry of its moral prerogative, too.

We all know that one person who gives selflessly and un-self-consciously all year long. Back in college, I had a friend who always stopped for the homeless on the streets. Sometimes he would step out of his way to buy a bag of donuts or a box of takeout and offer that instead of cash, since you don’t need to worry about what someone will do with pre-bought food. He never flinched from a dirty outstretched hand or shied away from a plea for spare change, the way I sometimes do.… Read more

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Filed under Frozen Desserts

Pumpkin Pie Layer Cheesecake Bars for #SundaySupper

There’s something I’m determined to have before autumn hits this city a la Godzilla…

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A WHOLE WEEK OF UNINTERRUPTED SUMMER.

Of course, posting my first pumpkin recipe of the year implies, by tacit contract, that I acknowledge the arrival of fall. Don’t be deceived. It is not fall until I say it is….or until I stop eating double-scoop chocolate-dipped waffle cones of cookie dough / caramel swirl ice cream by the pound from Disneyland.

So basically, summer here will last ferrreverrrr.

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Since we aren’t visited by that weird quarterly occurrence some regions of the world know as “seasons,” there’s really not much to say for autumn, except that it’s kind of cute how some people actually consult a calendar before deciding what kind of “seasonal” treats to make.

Again, not in my vocab.

Around here, the running desserts philosophy is: if it rocks, make it. And then devour it. Lather, rinse, REPEAT to vaguely revolting extremes.

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So even though I’m technically celebrating squash/autumn season with the fantastic #SundaySupper crew today, the Gods of the Paradoxical Realm I occupy have reassured me that it’s still summer, somehow, somewhere. So lucky me, and now lucky you–we can have our squash, and eat it too!

No matter what bizarre climate zone you inhabit, these aseasonal pumpkin pie layer cheesecake bars will be a total hit. I brought them to a friend’s place during our trashy Bachelor in Paradise viewing party (um, but let’s not talk about that) and they got gobbled up, right next to some delicious Rocky Road Brownies that I’m going to be sharing with y’all next week.

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The breakdown, as the pictorial walkthrough demonstrates, is dangerous and fantastically delicious. The vegan shortbread crust is my absolute favorite crunchy shortbread recipe to date, and without any butter, it manages to top all.… Read more

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Filed under Bars, Cheesecakes, Healthy

Frosty Pumpkin Streusel Magic Bars

It’s spring! You know what that means…

lovin’ the sunshine

lovin’ the flirty sundresses

lovin’ the beaches

lovin’ life

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loving the gifs!

How could you NOT love that creamy, squishy sweet pumpkin magic bar layer there?

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Yes, I’m sure all of you who have seen my latest batch of posts know that I have recently become obsessed with gifsWhether or not this will turn out to be an occupational hazard to my health remains to be seen.

Are they all lovely gifs? Certainly not. I’m a gif-fing amateur (is giffing a word? What good is being in an English doctoral program if you can’t make up your own words? Giffing is a word)–I use *cringe* online software because for some reason or other Windows Movie Maker does not work on my computer. I cannot figure out for the holy life of me why. (Any ideas, techie folks!)

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So back to my point–these gifs are not Da Vincis. In artistic merit, they’re not Picassos or Monets or even Stephanie Meyers–nope, they’re definitely better than that.  Sorry, Team Mayers folks. It must be said.

As my dearest friend Clark Gable says about this very subject (or maybe it was a different one–I get mixed up when it’s this time of the school year), “Frankly m’dear–I don’t give a damn.

Because I drool over them anyway. This may or may not have physically happened to me in the middle of, erm, lecture last week when I was staring at them. It’s okay, nobody noticed.

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There were many reasons for my choosing to go total gif-scapade (invented word number two–I’m on a roll! er, a stale one), but the biggest one was when I made the world’s fudgiest brownies and wondered how in holy heck I could convince you all of it.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bars

Pumpkin Pound Cake Truffles with Gingerbread Cookie Crumbs

I love the holiday season for many, many reasons. I’m sure you do, too.

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Holding a very special place at the top of this list is the fact that, as soon as Thanksgiving ends, I get to cram my Santa elf-ear hat on my head, flip on the Christmas song station, and belt out the following line without the slightest trace of irony whatsoever:

“Your soul is an appalling dump heap, overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots.”

Except “knots” sounds more like “naaaaAAAAAaaaahhhwtzzz,” and Thurl Ravenscroft sounds about a bajillion times better singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” than I do.

Seriously–if I had to choose one person to narrate my life, it would be him. Have you heard the man sing?

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Perhaps on my less-fond holiday season list (if such a thing exists–which it really can’t) is the end-of-the-term rush to get things typed, stapled, and shipped off into the wild unknown of academia’s bureaucratic abysses. I was told that we won’t be getting our students’ evaluations back until as late as 8th week of next year.

It’s a wonder I’m not more of a Grinch myself.

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On the contrary, however–I’ve been embracing this holiday season as if it were a friggin’ human-sized Pooh Bear.

Last night, my friends and I went to the candlelight procession at Disneyland. It was hosted by none other than Dick Van Dyke, sir Bert from Mary Poppins! Better yet, it was the grand man’s birthday: the best part of the night was when he stepped up to the podium at the front of town square, and suddenly a hum starting from the middle of this humongous crowd begins to grow. And suddenly, we’re all singing “Happy Birthday to Diiiiiick,” and, well–if that’s not a magical, holiday-filled moment, I really don’t know what is.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Brownies & Chocolates

LWOM: Pumpkin Pasties (for a Very Harry Party)

I attended my very first Harry Potter party last night. Ever.

The following edition of Lit, Wit, and an Oven Mitt is brought to you by Pumpkin Pasties, paragon pastry of the Hogwarts Express.

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“For heaven’s sake, Harry, what are you doing?”

Harry ignored her and reached around her for a greenish-blue bottle on the counter, keeping his wand fixed steadily on the cauldron simmering beside him.

“Give it a rest already, Hermione,” Ron said, unwrapping a Chocoball that had appeared from some deep recesses of his robe pocket. “You’ve been at him ever since we came down here. Can’t you just let him be?”

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“That’s because in the first place, we’re not supposed to be down here,” Hermione hissed, “and more importantly–“

Ron snorted. “You-Know-Who’s waiting upstairs looking for us and you’re worried about getting caught in the school kitchen? And here I was thinking you were supposed to be the clever one of us three…”

“More importantly,” she repeated, stamping her foot on the ground with such force that Ron actually dropped his Chocoball, “Volde–oh, for goodness’ sake, Ron, don’t eat that–Voldemort is waiting for us, and you’re sitting here tinkering around with a cauldron?”

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“Yeah, I am, Hermione,” Harry said through gritted teeth, “I’m making pumpkin pasties, all right?”

“You–you’re–you’re not–what do you think you’re going to do with those at a time like this, chuck them at Voldemort and his Death Eaters?

Harry muttered something about “photos” and “the more pastries, the better.”

“Well, he duff haf a pointh–oopth,” Ron said, spraying bits of chocolate onto Harry’s sweater as he reached for a tray of treacle tarts that had been abandoned on the counter of the empty kitchen. “Sorry, ‘arry.”

Hermione whirled on him. “He has what?”

From behind them, a small explosion sent a flash of bright orange whizzing out of the cauldron.… Read more

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Owl Pumpkin Cupcakes with Choco-Orange Frosting

I treated myself two nights ago (i.e. Halloween, night of the dead, sugar-induced-accidents evening) to an indulging, sinful, completely guilty treat.

Sleep. Lots and lots of it.

That’s right—my haunting, harrowing, happy, hooligan-ing Halloween…ended at about 10 PM. I just turned off the lights, pulled on my PJ’s, and hopped into bed. No candy for you, children. This night is mine.

So are these owl cupcakes. Mine, mine, mine. Okay, maybe one yours. But mostly mine.

Aren’t they absolutely adorable? And I promise they won’t regurgitate their dinner in your living room.

Wallflour Power: I just watched “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” today. I’m so excited to review my (partial) namesake in my next post! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this inspiring quote–“We accept the love we think we deserve.” <3 You deserve a lot. Embrace it!

These cupcakes have been circulating the blog-o-sphere since owls roamed the earth (give or take a few…millennia), and I couldn’t wait for a good excuse to make them. So I strolled on over to my calendar. I can always count on my calendar to have something awesome lined up. If it says “August 15,” I can just say, “Oh look–tomorrow’s the smack middle of August. Guess we’re gonna really need CUPCAKES.”

This time, my excuse was a little bit more warranted.

Excuse, meet Halloween. Halloween, Excuse. Pleasure. Let’s sidle over to the oven while we chat, shall we?

After throwing on a hastily-compiled, years-used Hogwarts student costume yesterday, I pulled out my authentic wand from Ollivander’s (you know, the really genuine one sitting in tropical Florida) and zapped up a batch of these owl-order cupcakes.

Technically speaking, conjuring food out of thin air is not allowed under the five principle exceptions to Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration. But I didn’t just completely give away the caliber of geekiness at which I am operating there.… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Cakes & Cupcakes

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

“Meltdown” seems to be the word of the week over in these parts.

As a consequence, I’ve chosen to melt down one of my favorite desserts and turn it into a completely acceptable breakfast liquid substitute. This smoothie found inspiration in Erica‘s recipe of the same, but you’ll find that the ingredients are about as similar as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Oscar Wilde.

If you can’t tell, I’m doing a lot of thinking about Oscar Wilde at the moment. I’m doing archival research at the premier Wilde institute possibly the world round and am, in fact, currently demonstrating my unconditional commitment to the process by writing this post in the archival tombs. Again.

Wallflour Power: A great idea for combating the meltdown syndrome is by starting with small reminders about great things that have recently happened to you. Every night before I go to bed, I write a post-it with something that made me smile during the day. When I have a bad day, I take a few minutes to look at my wall-ful of colorful post-its, and it never fails to bring a spark of inspiration back into my life!

More importantly, though, I’m teaching, and the bulk of this current week’s meltdown comes in the form of not having done any of my own work this week…although this may have had more to do with the fact that I went to an epic family banquet all day on Saturday, and spent my entire Sunday at Disneyland rather than with dear Wilde.

I am, undoubtedly, one of the hardest workers within a two-centimeter radius of myself.

I justify my dalliance with the consolation that I really, really needed this break. After spending nearly 40 hours poring over two classes’ papers last week, and after skipping every single one of my extracurricular activities trying to phrase my comments on near-fail papers as constructively (and kindly) as possible, I came charging into this week nose-to-ground first.… Read more

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Filed under Breakfast & Brunch, Smoothies

Pumpkin Spiced Granola

Do you all know what it means to feel hurt by someone you thought you could trust?

It feels a little bit like you’re sinking, a little bit like you’re falling, and a little bit like somebody’s tied you up by the extremities and thrown you into the water, all at the same time.

This isn’t an angry post, or a vengeful post, or a gossip-y post. This post is just a little…disappointed.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way about anything. The last time was in eighth grade when a guy I’d wanted to get in touch with because we used to be good friends hung up on me when I told him who was calling.

Something happened a while back that I didn’t think I’d have to deal with again. Past life, meet present life. I won’t go into the details, but believe you me–the feeling stinks. It’s times like these that I stop laughing at the cartoons of grown men crying for their mommies, and I curl up and cry for my mommy, too. There’s nothing like a phone call to that ever-loving maternal source to keep you feeling, well, worth something.

Cinnamon helps, too. Cinnamon always helps. I think it’s something about the warmth and feeling of nostalgic autumn days that it lends the kitchen when you’re around it.

Accomplishing things helps, too. I swam the 1.5k today in open water for the first time, then proceeded to get KO’d by food coma via some epic dim sum afterwards. Swimmers’ stomachs. Gotta love ‘em.

Flour Power: No matter how alone or down you feel, remember that the moment passes–but true friends are forever! Go look for a new activity or meet some new people in areas unrelated to your main interests; this will keep your identities from all blurring together, and prevent you from storing too many of your self-esteem eggs in one basket.
Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Breakfast & Brunch, Healthy, Snacks

Pumpkin Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Ever feel like you’re being pulled apart by the seams from all the stress?

You know…the stress that always seems to converge on the very spot on which you happen to be standing at any given moment? That stress?

I feel that way all the time. Fortunately, this bread does, too. And I always say that there’s nothing better than food that understands exactly what you’re going through.

With the minutes ticking down to the first day of the school term, I can already feel the jitters creeping up all around me, as if someone’s broken into a museum of entomology and set loose all the live specimens.

I didn’t want to bog down this (truly wonderful!) post with my pre-term anxiety, but I’ll get to this amazing recipe in a second. Pinkies! But there are some major changes going on this autumn that make it different from the rest.

First off, I’m going to be teaching this year! Scary, right? Anybody who has ever been a teacher, thought of becoming a teacher, known a teacher, or had a teacher (all right, do we have everyone on board now?) knows at least something of how nerve-wracking it must feel to get up in front of an entire classroom for the first time.

Sure, I’ve been a teacher and workshop instructor before. This past summer, I taught enrichment high school writing and media classes that totally sucked up my life and threw my soul back bright and shiny new–that lesson planning does some major buffing on your self-esteem! I had a total blast, and I know I will be fine as soon as I set foot into the classroom and actually get this teaching gig on the road.

But.

Until then.

Did I mention that the kids (I say “kids”–I mean “people who are probably an average of 1-3 years younger than me; in many cases, they may be older) are all college-age?… Read more

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Filed under Baked Goods and Desserts, Bread