Flavors of Fall…Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s a new season. A perfect opportunity to do something new… something bold…something beautiful!

Hello, sweet friends…

I hope you had a beautiful week. As you can tell from the photo, I have been enjoying my walks.

In this photo the sun was so bright you can really see how quickly the leaves are changing colors…

One of my favorite things about fall is all the pumpkin recipes. Here is a recent favorite of mine.

These pumpkin spice cupcakes are easy to whip up and can be topped off with a variety of frostings. I’ve included a delicious cream cheese frosting recipe which I used.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cheese Cake Frosting


For the pumpkin cupcakes:

1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour 

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup  pumpkin puree 

1/2 cup  canola or vegetable oil

1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar , packed

1/4 cup  granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cream cheese frosting:

1 (8-ounce) package brick-style cream cheese , softened

1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


To make the pumpkin cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12 count muffin pan with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla until fully combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Evenly divide the batter between all 12 cupcake liners and smooth out the tops of each one.

Bake at 350°F for 17-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully remove the cupcakes from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the cream cheese frosting:

Using a handheld mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth.

Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.

Frost the cooled cupcakes as desired.


Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, What’s Cooking? | 2 Comments

Anastasia’s First Road Trip…(re-told by Joe)

I have lived with several zen masters, all of them cats.
-Elkhart Tolle

Well, hello friends this is Joe…

Today I’m sharing Marcia’s & Anastasia’s first road trip.

Anastasia came to us from a shelter In Roseburg, Oregon. Her only trip before that was coming home from the shelter when Marcia brought her back home, and she was just a frightened kitten in a very, very cute carrying case. In fact our vet told us that it was the cutest carrying case he’d ever seen!

As she has grown…matured & become less frightened we decided it was time for Anastasia’s first road trip. We were planning a trip to Eugene…a regular place for us to go and so in anticipation of that we decided we would try various ways to accommodate Anastasia on her road trip. We knew that we could put her in the carrying case but we had suspicions that probably wouldn’t work entirely… so I went to the car and pretty much cleared out everything. I pulled down the seats and created a little play area for her. Between Anastasia‘s litter box, play toys, and very, very cute carrying case she basically took over the car.

We started off for our trip and she immediately began scratching on the carrying case. We tried to reinforce her with positive reinforcement prompting, but it didn’t really work…in fact getting a little ahead of the story…we tried several times and every time she was able to escape, even though we thought it was pretty tightly connected. Anyway, she got out…we would hold her for a while, she would start roaming around and then crawl around in back.

She got on Marcia while she was driving while Marcia was driving not Anastasia…although she probably could drive too. Again we would try several times to get her back in her case, but she always managed to get out. We had to keep reminding ourselves that this was her first trip & she was still very young. With a lot of cooing and petting her Anastasia finally settled down on Marcia’s lap by the time we got into Eugene. The next situation was…what were we going to do once we got her into the room? (Little did we know that we had a huge challenge ahead of us) We had booked a pet friendly room at the Holiday Express in Springfield, where we had stayed before & have a VIP account. We didn’t give it a second thought because we had always brought our pets to this room. With my mask on I checked us in and got the keys to the room, went back to the car and gave a set to Marcia. With Anastasia in her arms Marcia took off to go into the hotel.

Shortly afterwards as I was getting the luggage, who comes out of the door with little Anastasia but Marcia and said “I’m sorry but cats are not allowed” with shock on my face and with dismay, I’m thinking Oh my gosh I had already paid for the room with my credit card. We were very disappointed and fortunately the hotel allowed us to cancel without charge. However, we had a huge problem because at that time that’s when all the evacuees from the fires were looking for rooms in Eugene. Sure enough we realized shortly afterwards there was not going to be any rooms available AND any cat friendly rooms. I had gone to the Best Western where we had stayed many times before and cats were not allowed there. We were told this by everyone in no uncertain terms. I called several others and got pretty much the same answer, except one lady said to me that perhaps the Quality Inn might allow cats. Immediately I got on the phone and called the Quality Inn and a very nice attendant Carlos said to me “you are in luck sir, we have absolutely one room left, it is cat friendly and I will book you in” With a huge sigh of relief we got in our car and we drove over to the Quality Inn, which was not that far from the Holiday Inn Express where we were in Springfield.

And, so we felt like we were refugees, looking for a place, wandering around with no place to stay…and we finally landed in the Quality Inn…grateful & happy. So, then we courted in all of our things and Marcia wanted to head out to do her shopping because Eugene is a shopping mecca for Marcia. They have all her favorite shops Target, Hobby Lobby, Nordstrom Rack, Trader Joe’s etc…that other side of her…that shopping side of her gets unleashed so she’s happy. In the meantime there I am with little Anastasia, and as her want she was looking for a safe place in the room & I couldn’t find her. I was beginning to get afraid that she escaped out of the door…but no she had found a teeny tiny spot behind the bed that was not apparent…and she needed to decompress. Anastasia stayed there until Marcia came home. It went well after that…
now for me to decompress

Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, In Joe’s Words | 3 Comments

Simple Joys for October…Pumpkins!!!

The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let things go…

Hello, sweet friends…

It’s been an unbelievable several months in our world…

and even though I’m not certain about what this Fall will look like…

I do know that family, home and pumpkins will be at the heart of everything.

That being said this past week Joe and I planned an outing to a pumpkin farm…

It was a beautiful day…

During this time of so many restrictions…

it’s a real treat to experience the outdoors…

seeing all the pumpkins on the vine…

and deciding on a few that were just right…

What’s Cooking?

I’m pretty sure I could incorporate pumpkin into all my cooking this month. I’ve already prepared several yummy desserts and this recipe for pumpkin waffles is perfect for fall. They are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I must admit that it was fun using my new mini pumpkin waffle maker too!



2 cups of all-pupose flour

3 tablespoons of firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

1 1/2 cups of milk

1 cup of canned 100% pure pumpkin

1 egg yolk plus 3 egg whites

4 tablespoons of melted cooled butter

2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar


In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 3 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.

Combine milk, pumpkin, butter, egg yolk and vinegar in a small bowl and stir to combine.

Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Gently fold in egg whites.

Use batter immediately in waffle maker.

Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, What’s Cooking? | 2 Comments

A Rekindled Love…& Pumpkin Crumb Cakes

Our truest life is when we are dreams awake.
Henry David Thoreau

Hello, sweet friends…Happy October!

I started sewing when I was in junior high…

My first class project was a simple A-line skirt…

I continued tinkering for a few years…

it wasn’t until my first year teaching that I wore what I made…

that was my “official” beginning…

the year was 1981…

I continued sewing for about 10 years and then stopped.

Fast forward to 2020, the pandemic and nesting at home, that I had the desire to return to sewing.

I didn’t know how much I missed my sewing until I walked into a fabric store experiencing the old yet familiar scent of all the fabric…intoxicating

I purchased a new sewing machine and began sewing once again. Learning how to use my new machine was a humbling experience…

however, as in any worthwhile relationship…

love…patience…and determination are winning ingredients for success.

and speaking of ingredients…

What’s Cooking?

I want to give a shout out to my niece Jamie for sharing this week’s recipe from Sallysbakingaddiction.com. These pumpkin crumb cakes are absolutely delicious! My husband Joe really enjoyed them too…and that’s always the real test of excellence. *I did not have pumpkin pie spice on hand so I made my own by mixing 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg & 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves for 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.



1 and 3/4 cups  all-purpose flour 

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/2 cup  granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1 and 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 cup milk,, at room temperature

Crumb Topping

3/4 cup all-purpose flour 

1/4 cup  granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*

6 Tablespoons  unsalted butter, melted

Maple Icing (optional)

1 and 1/2 cups  confectioners’ sugar

2 Tablespoons  pure maple syrup

2 Tablespoons  milk


Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners. This recipe makes 15 muffins, so prepare a second muffin pan in the same manner. Set aside.

Make the muffins: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together until combined. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs and milk together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, then fold everything together gently just until combined and no flour pockets remain.

Spoon the batter into liners, filling them almost full.

Make the crumb topping: Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice together until combined.

Using a fork, lightly mix in the melted butter until crumbs form. Don’t over-mix. Spoon crumbs evenly on top of the batter and gently press them down into the batter so they’re snug

Bake for 5 minutes at 425 then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Bake for an additional 16-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 21-22 minutes, give or take. Allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pan as you make the icing. *For mini muffins, bake for 11-13 minutes at 350°F the entire time.

Make the icing: Whisk all of the icing ingredients together until combined and smooth. Drizzle over muffins and serve warm. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, What’s Cooking? | 7 Comments

September…Autumn…and Apple Pie

Autumn arose and my soul bloomed

-Angie Wetland-Crosby

Hello, sweet friends…


Autumn is a beautiful time of year…my summer garden is in transition

It’s a time to enjoy what God has given us…the seasons

A celebration of the changing of the leaves…

to celebrate the harvest…gratitude

Autumn is a time to reflect…

to find balance in our lives…

perhaps more than ever Autumn is a time of looking forward to what’s just around the corner…

The trees are changing…

and so are we…

We are not the same people we were a year ago…

May you enjoy this wonderful season….celebrating it’s sounds…sights…and scents in full abundance.

speaking of scents…

What’s Cooking?

This Apple Pie is a treasure of a recipe & the perfect dessert to welcome the Fall. The filling was adapted slightly from the famous Grandma Ople apple pie. The method for this filling is surprising but it will win you over. It’s well worth the extra 5 minutes and you’ll never want canned apple pie filling again.

Apple Pie


*1 pie crust (recipe below)

2 1/4 lbs Granny Smith Apples peeled, cored  6-7 apples (7 cups thinly sliced)

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

8 Tbsp unsalted butter

3 Tbsp  all purpose flour

1/4 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg + 1 Tbsp water, for egg wash


*Make the pie crust recipe and chill per instructions while preparing the filling. Preheat oven to 425˚F.

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in 3 Tbsp flour then simmer for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in 1/4 cup water, 1 cup sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue simmering 3 minutes, whisking frequently then remove from heat.

Peel, remove cores and thinly slice 7 cups of apples and place them in a large bowl. Sprinkle the top with 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon and toss to combine. Pour the sauce over the apples and stir to coat the apple slices.

Sprinkle your work surface with flour and roll out bottom pie crust to a 12″ diameter circle. Wrap it around your rolling pin to transfer it to the 9” pie plate. Add apple mixture, mounding slightly in the center and being careful not to get the filling on the edges which would make it difficult to seal.

Roll second crust into an 11″ round and cut into 10 even thickness strips using a pizza cutter Arrange strips in a woven lattice pattern over the top (see video tutorial). Beat together 1 egg and 1 Tbsp water and brush the top with egg mixture. 

Bake at 425˚F for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350˚F and continue baking another 45 minutes or until apples are soft and filling is bubbling through the vents. Rest at room temp 1 hour before serving.

*Pie Crust

It doesn’t get any easier than this and you probably already have everything you need to make homemade pie dough: Flour, sugar, salt, butter and water. The butter should be chilled straight out of the fridge so you don’t have to plan ahead to make pie dough.


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more to dust, measured correctly

1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 lb COLD unsalted butter(2 sticks) diced into 1/4″ pieces

6 Tbsp ice water (6 to 7 Tbsp)


Place flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.

Add cold diced butter and pulse the mixture until coarse crumbs form with some pea-sized pieces then stop mixing. Mixture should remain dry and powdery. 

Add 6 Tbsp ice water and pulse just until moist clumps or small balls form. Press a piece of dough between your finger tips and if the dough sticks together, you have added enough water. If not, add more water a teaspoon full at a time. Be careful not to add too much water or the dough will be sticky and difficult to roll out.

Transfer dough to a clean work surface, and gather dough together into a ball (it should not be smooth and DO NOT knead the dough). Divide dough in half and flatten to form 2 disks. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour before using in recipes that call for pie crust.

Posted in 2020, A Quarantined Life, Coastal Living, Garden/Tea Time, Together Apart, What’s Cooking? | 5 Comments