Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

The weather has cooled off quite a bit up here in the emerald city, but it never feels quite like fall to me until I’ve had my first obligatory pumpkin flavored treat. Every year it’s different, sometimes in a PSL, other times it’s a pie, but this year I chose pumpkin cream cheese muffins.muffins4 muffins1

Those little beauties were the perfect way to kick off fall in the Shaver household, even though they didn’t even last a full 24 hours before being completely devoured. This recipe is so quick and easy, there’s really no reason not to make them, so get baking!muffins3 muffins5

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups raw cane sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup oil of choice (I used olive)

8 ounces whipped cream cheese, room temp
1 cup powdered sugar

Cinnamon sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350 and pray two muffin tins with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Using a spatula, add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.

Using an ice cream scoop or a 1/4 cup measuring cup, evenly distribute the muffin batter (the muffin tins should be filled 3/4 of the way full).

For the filling, mix together the cream cheese and powdered sugar (by hand or with a mixer) until evenly combined. Transfer filling into a plastic piping bag (or a cloth bag with a round tip) and squeeze about 1-2 tablespoons into the muffin batter.

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar onto the top of each muffin and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when poked.

Pairs well with coffee and Hocus Pocus.muffins

Chicken Enchiladas

Growing up in California, Mexican food is a staple in my diet. I could eat Mexican food everyday and be perfectly happy about it, especially enchiladas. There’s just something about the simplicity of them, but the best part, hands down, is definitely the sauce! Oh the sauce, with its subtle spice and bold flavor, I could spoon feed it to myself…maybe with some guac.enchiladasenchiladas1enchiladas3While perusing pinterest, as one does, and combing through recipe after recipe, I came across one of the best enchilada sauce recipes ever. If you take anything at all away from this post, take the sauce! Take it I say!enchiladas7
enchiladas8 enchiladas5

Chicken Enchiladas

2 tablespoons oil of your choice (I used olive)
2 tablespoons flour of your choice (corn flour is great for a gluten free option)
4 tablespoons hot mexican chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 cups chicken stock

8-10 tortillas of your choice (I used flour in the photos, but I prefer/recommend corn!)
1 batch enchilada sauce (above)
Mexican shredded cheese, about 3 cups
1 (15.5 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
1 small yellow or white onion, diced
2 tablespoons oil
1.5 pounds chicken, cooked and shredded
Salt and pepper
Fresh cilantro

Start by making your enchilada sauce: heat oil in a sauce pan over medium/high heat. Add the flour and whisk continuously for 1 minute. Add in the remaining seasonings and whisk again for one more minute. Slowly pour in the chicken stock and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce thickens slightly. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Heat the oil in a sauce pan over medium heat and add the onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes then add the green chiles and salt and pepper. When onions begin to caramelize, add in the shredded chicken and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Assemble the enchiladas by creating an assembly line: tortillas, enchilada sauce, beans, chicken mixture, cheese. Roll up the tortillas and place in a greased 9×13 baking dish. Top the enchiladas with the remaining sauce and cheese, place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Top with fresh cilantro and enjoy!

enchiladas9enchiladas2original recipe here

Butter Chicken

I love Indian food. First, because it is delicious. Second, because I absolutely adore anything and everything to do with India. India is my happy place, I would move there in a heart beat, but I don’t think the ol’ ball-and-chain would like that too much. So, I settle by eating Indian food on the regular at home.butter chicken 6butter chicken 4

Indian food in the US is pretty much nothing like Indian food in India, but it’s still bomb. My love for Indian food has, in the past, prevented me from attempting to make it myself because I didn’t want to ruin it and then have the gross taste of botched curry in my mind forever. But, alas, I have attempted a buttered chicken recipe, and I have to say, it is amazing.butter chicken 1butter chicken 8

Buttered Chicken

2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
Juice from 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup oil (olive or coconut)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons garam masala
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 (8 ounce) can tomatoes, diced or crushed, no salt added
1 (8 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
2 tablespoons butter
Fresh cilantro

Add the first five ingredients to a large ziplock bag or medium size bowl and allow the chicken to marinate while you make the sauce. Alternately, you can marinate chicken overnight in the fridge.

For the sauce, heat the oil on a large sauce pan on medium heat, Add the onions and cook until golden and fragrant, being careful not to burn them. Add the garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the spices and salt and continue to cook, stirring constantly for one more minute.

Add the tomatoes, cook for a few more minutes then add in the coconut milk. You have an option here to use and emulsion blender to create and smooth, creamy sauce. I prefer the chunks, so I left mine as is. Bring to a simmer.

Add in the marinated chicken, cover and bring back to a simmer over medium-low heat. Though it may be tempting, do not increase the heat to speed things up. The low simmer is needed for tender chicken; high heat will cause it to be tough and rubbery. Cook the chicken until it is no longer pink in the middle, about 12 minutes.

When done, remove from heat and stir in the butter. Top with fresh cilantro and enjoy with jasmine rice and naan bread!

original recipe here

butter chicken 2 butter chicken 7butter chicken 5

Baked Apples

It is September and while it may not officially be Fall quite yet, it is apple season! Ahh the tart, but sweet bite of a honey crisp, how I’ve longed for you! Yeah, I know you can buy apples year round, but they definitely taste better when they’re in season.
apple6apple5 apple8

I absolutely love pie, every kind of pie, but especially apple pie. I, however, did not feel like making pie crust, so I settled on baked apples. At least I can pretend they aren’t that bad for you. When you take away the crust, you are left with tender, sweet apples doused in butter and sugar.apple1 apple2 apple11

Baked Apples

4 large apples, any kind are great, I chose gala
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons raw cane sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, cubed and chilled

Preheat your oven to 400.

Peel and chop one of your apples. With the other three apples, slice off the tops and bottoms and remove the core (using an apple corer is ideal, but you can get by with a small spoon or knife).

Add the chopped apple and the first set of butter, sugar and cinnamon to a medium sauce pan. Heat on medium/high heat, stirring frequently, until the apples are tender.

Make a streusel topping with the remaining ingredients. You can do this by using a stand or hand mixer, or you can cut in the butter by hand using two knives until the mixture is crumbly.

Place a small amount of streusel on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the apples on top and add a little more streusel to the inside of each apple. Fill the apples with the cooked apple mixture, allowing it to over flow into the pan. Finish the apples with the remaining streusel topping.

Bake apples for 10-15 minutes, or until they are tender and the filling has caramelized.

Top with vanilla bean ice cream for some extra sugar and enjoy!

apple10 apple9 apple7 apple4

Chocolate Chip & Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Cookies

When I have a sweet tooth, which is always often, I head into my kitchen and begin scrounging for whatever I can possibly find to bake. This week, my refrigerator has been empty, I’m talking pb&j’s for lunch, noodles for dinner. Why, you ask? Because I’m so darn lazy just so busy that I don’t have time to shop. So, in my scrounging, I just so happened to find all of the ingredients for these delicious little cookies (hence the golden raisins and mini chocolate chips). The perfect answer to my ever insistent sweet tooth.cookies5


The best part about these beauties is that they are insanely easy to make. You essentially just throw everything in a bowl and call it a day…oh yeah, and it does involve some baking as well.cookies7 cookies8 cookies9

Chocolate Chip & Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Cookies

1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil (I used olive)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey (or maple syrup)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chocolate chip

Preheat oven to 325 and spray a cookie sheet with non stick spray or line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, vanilla and honey.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and raisins.

Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, arrange the cookie dough evenly across the cookie sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until done. The cookies will look gooey and glossy when finished, so be careful not to over-bake.cookies 1cookies4

Double Chocolate Biscotti

The first time I tried a biscotti, I was probably 6 or 7, and needless to day, I thought it was pretty awful. It hurt my teeth and it’s taste had a slight resemblance to cardboard, there just wasn’t enough sugar for my juvenile taste buds.biscotti3 biscotti2

Now, on the other hand, I love biscotti, but I pretty much love any excuse to eat a cookie for breakfast. The stark contrast of hot, full-bodied coffee and sweet crunchy biscotti is just so satisfying. So what if it’s not a balanced meal, so what if I ate 10 3 with my coffee this morning, who cares, we all die at some point right? Eat the darn biscotti! biscotti4

Double Chocolate Biscotti

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 and line a sheet pan with parchment (or spray with coconut oil cooking spray).

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until evenly combined. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl in between each addition.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter/egg mixture in 3 stages, making sure the dry and wet ingredients are evenly combined each time.

Add the chocolate chips. Eat some of that mouthwatering dough.

Shape the dough roughly into the size of a 12×4 inch log and place of prepared sheet pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let the biscotti cool for 10 minutes. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice the biscotti into 1/2 inch pieces and lay flat on sheet pan. Bake again for 5-10 minutes. Flip biscotti and bake once for for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from oven and let the biscotti cool completely. Grab a big ole cup of joe and enjoy the world’s best morning.

original recipe here!

biscotti5 biscotti1

Mom’s Carrot Cake

Every year on June 1st, my father’s day of birth, my mom would make carrot cake. He really loves carrot cake, which was great because so do I. My moms carrot cake is unlike other, boring, bland carrot cakes that, if you’re lucky, might have a few walnuts. No, her’s is packed full of delicious little surprises at every bite.cc3cc7

Probably the best part about my dad’s yearly carrot cake was the the left overs. I would get up the next morning, hungry for one thing and one thing only. You guessed it: carrot cake. Holy moly, if you though carrot cake was good for dessert, try eating it for breakfast. Superb!cc1 cc2cc5

Mom’s Carrot Cake (kind of)

2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups raw cane sugar
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extracts
1 1/4 cup oil of your choice (I used olive)
3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, canned or fresh

Cream Cheese Icing

16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered cugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup walnut pieces
12 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease three 6 inch cake pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, spices, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and vanilla.

Using a spatula, mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Add in the carrots, raisins, walnuts, coconut and pineapple and mix until all of the fun stuff is distributed evenly, but do not over mix.

Pour the cake batter evenly into each cake pan and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when cake is poked. Let cool completely.

For the Icing, place the cream cheese, butter and vanilla bean paste in the bowl of a stand mixer (or hand mixer) fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium until combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add in the sifted powder sugar and continue to mix. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, by hand mix in the remaining ingredients.

When cake is completely cooled, de-pan and slice each cake in half to get a total of 6 layers. Plop a little bit of icing on the first layer, spread it around and repeat. For the the top cake layer, use the underside of one of the cake layers to get a nice flat top. Ice the cake and viola!

The best part about this recipe, is because of all of the chunky goodness on the icing, no matter how you ice it, it will look great! I finished mine off by covering three quarters of the outside of the cake with left over walnut pieces. Coconut looks great as well.cc6 cc4