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Food & Recipes

Quick and Easy No-Bake Pumpkin Cookies

November 10, 2015

Pumpkin No-Bake CookiesNo-bake cookies, the kind with cocoa and oats and sugar, are a favorite in our house. They’re easy, tasty and store well for quite a while, which is important when your home crew of cookie eaters is small. I remember my mom telling me stories of how her mom would make these cookies, and the idea of continuing on with that tradition makes me smile.

quick-and-easy-no-bake-pumpkin-cookies_01I don’t make no-bake cookies all that often, but when I do they’re always a hit. Now that it’s pumpkin-everything season, I thought it was high time someone made a pumpkin adaptation of this classic no-bake cookie! That someone, I guess, was me because I’m sharing the recipe over at And chances are you already have all the ingredients you need sitting in your pantry. Hop on over for the full recipe and step-by-step instructions: Quick and Easy Pumpkin No-Bake Cookies.



Food & Recipes

Pumpkin Rigatoni with Turkey Bacon

October 23, 2015

PumpkinMac_1I’ve been making some version of this easy pumpkin sauce for more nights than I can count. It’s ultra-easy once you get the hang of making it and goes with pasta as well as roasted veggies. Although my husband’s preference leans strongly toward pasta with turkey bacon, my preference is for spooning it on top of roasted broccoli with a side of toast.

This dish could easily be made a day in advance and tossed in the oven for a quick dinner. Since it’s just me and Joe eating dinner (and feeding small bites to Ainsley now and again) I scaled this dish down a bit from the typical casserole size. We love eating leftovers but not leftovers for an entire week!


Pumpkin Rigatoni with Turkey Bacon
Recipe type: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 to 3 servings
  • 2 cups rigatoni pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chicken stock (or broth)
  • ¼ cup 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Pinch of salt and ground black pepper
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 pieces turkey bacon, crisp-cooked according to package directions and crumbled
  • Additional grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Spray a small baking dish with cooking spray - I used a 6x6-inch dish. Set aside. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain.
  2. In a small saucepan or skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the flour and whisk together until smooth. Continue to cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, until flour is cooked slightly. Whisk in the stock and milk and continue to cook 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken just slightly. Whisk in the Parmesan cheese, pumpkin puree and ricotta cheese. Stir in the basil, thyme, nutmeg, red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add the pasta to the sauce along with ¼ cup of the mozzarella cheese and all but 1 tablespoon of the bacon. Spoon mixture into the prepared dish.
  4. Top the pasta with the remaining ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese, an additional 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese and the remaining crumbled bacon.
  5. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.



Frosted Sugar Cookie Pumpkins

September 16, 2014

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies 1 | Espresso and Cream


It’s not often, but every once in a while I get the urge to bake something cute. I should clarify that “cute food” really isn’t my thing, but sometimes it’s pretty hard to resist the seasonal section at Target and I leave with, say, a pumpkin cookie cutter and fall-colored sprinkles that I didn’t even know I needed. Dang you, Target. Thankfully, the cookie cutter was only $1, meaning you, too, can easily get caught up in the excitement of fall, cute food and all things pumpkin.

Since everyone is posting pumpkin-flavored desserts, I decided to go with something that looked like a pumpkin rather than tasting like one. Although these cookies may look like a lot of work, they really aren’t too much of a pain to make since the decorating is on the simple side. And for a little extra time and effort, it’s worth it for the adorable end result.

This frosting is incredibly easy to work with and very versatile. The key to getting the glassy look on the cookies is to outline with a stiffer frosting, then thin the remaining frosting with a bit more milk so it spreads easily when put in the center of the cookie. The border you piped around the edge will prevent the thinner frosting from dripping out all over the cookies and give you a polished, perfect look. I could easily see this recipe be adapted for other Halloween shapes, like a bat or ghost. The sky’s the limit!

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies | Espresso and Cream

Frosted Sugar Cookie Pumpkins
Recipe adapted slightly from Bon Appetit Dec. 2013.
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • Decorator Frosting
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons milk, plus more for thinning
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • Orange and green food coloring
  1. Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, combine salt, baking powder and flour until well combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth and well combined. Beat in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla or almond extract. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat until just combined.
  3. Place on lightly floured surface and roll to ¼-inch thickness. Cut into pumpkin shape using a pumpkin cookie cutter and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are just lightly golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar, butter and milk until smooth and well combined. Use enough milk to create a frosting that is smooth but firm enough to pipe through a pastry bag.
  5. Place ¼ of the frosting in a small bowl and color with green food coloring. Color remaining frosting in large bowl with orange food color. Place a small amount of the orange and green frostings in pastry bags or zip top bags with the end snipped off. Use orange frosting in pastry bag to pipe a border around the edge of the pumpkin.
  6. Add an additional 1 to 3 tablespoons milk to the remaining icing until it is slightly softer and runs a little more freely. Spoon a small amount of icing into the center of each lined cookie. Tilt the cookies around so icing in center completely fills the outlined cookie.
  7. Repeat process with the green frosting on the stem. Allow cookies to set, about 30 minutes.



Triple Chocolate Pumpkin-Chai Muffins

January 2, 2014


Happy New Year, friends! I think that in order to be accepted in the food blogger universe, I should really be sharing a recipe for salad, or a smoothie, or green juice. But since I can’t stick to the rules, I’m breaking with convention and sharing a recipe for muffins, with lots of chocolate and pumpkin and a little bit of chai.

You see, I got a little carried away with holiday recipe testing but got behind on posting some of the recipes I meant to share before the holidays were over. So instead of saving these recipes for Feburary (after you’ve all ditched your diets and gone back to regular modes of eating) I decided to share them now.


I will, of course, be sharing some recipes that are a little on the lighter side in the next couple weeks. But today is all about muffins. These little beauties are incredibly easy to make and have a ton of flavor thanks to the chai added into the mix. It’s a quick way to add a lot of flavor without much fuss. Enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Chai Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup chai concentrate
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350F. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper baking liners.

In large bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the pumpkin, eggs, oil and chai concentrate. Stir until wet ingredients and dry ingredients are well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin liners. Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Happy Baking!


Vegan Pumpkin Cashew Custard

November 4, 2013

Happy Monday, friends! I hope your week is off to a great start. I’ve got the slightest case of the Mondays today, but this week is going to be super busy on the work front, so I better snap out of it quick. Please excuse me if posting is a little slower over the next couple weeks. If nothing else, I’ll be checking in with more life updates and fewer recipes.

Maybe the reason I’ve got a case of the Mondays has something to do with the fact that our weekend was so busy/fun. We took a trip to NW Iowa to help my mom with a weekend of yard work before the snow falls, which included cleaning gutters, trimming back plants and sorting through boxes of stuff in the basement. I may have also discovered my prom dresses in the basement and had fun trying them all on Friday night.

Other weekend highlights:
-Coffee with Kayla. I’m pretty sure we could have chatted all day if we had the time.
-Tasting Victory Bars for the first time! My cousin is launching a new line of vegan and gluten-free nutrition bars and they are amazing. They’re officially launching in January, so look out for more information. And in the meantime, go like their Facebook Page. (pleeeasseee?!)
-Having coffee with our good friends, Cassie and Heath! Always a breath of fresh air to chat with people who have been friends since high school.

Switching gears a bit, I do have a recipe to share today! I made this Vegan Pumpkin Cashew Custard a few weeks ago when I was looking for something a little healthier to satisfy my sweets craving. Although cashew cream of any sort isn’t exactly low calorie, it certainly is much better than sitting down with a piece of pie or a bowl of ice cream. Plus, I love that cashew cream contains a little more protein than other desserts.

If you’re looking for a little something sweet to end your night, I would highly suggest making a batch for the week and helping yourself to a scoop each night. I’ve been topping mine with a little bit of Greek yogurt for a healthier take on whipped cream, but I could also imagine a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs or a drizzle of chocolate sauce making a nice addition.

Vegan Pumpkin Cashew Custard
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 3 hours and drained
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 packets stevia natural sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  1. Combine all the above ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender (such as a Vitamix) and process or blend 2 to 3 minutes or until nearly smooth.
  2. If you like a little more texture, feel free to process less until you reach your desired consistency. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Spoon into dishes to serve.

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