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

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.
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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!

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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!

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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

Strawberry Shortcake

When I was a kid, I longed for the hot summer days when my mom would let us buy ice cream. It wasn’t often, but when it happened, there was no happier kid on the block! I guess from an early age I just always knew, I was different: I am in love with food. ss7 ss6

My ice cream preferences would change, depending on setting, practicality (no one wants a drippy ice cream cone) and of course, what my big sister was getting. Even though she used to push me down the stairs in laundry baskets, toppling me to my premature death, I still looked up to her, for whatever reason. I copied her unfortunate taste in anime on everything, and boy did my sister love strawberry shortcake. I don’t mean the delicious, real strawberry shortcake you get at a restaurant, I’m talking the pre-packaged, food color-laden, Good Humor brand crap.ss4 ss5

Don’t get me wrong, everyone loves a little childhood nostalgia now and then, but I think I’ll leave that to saturday morning cartoons and ingest food that I know all of the ingredients to.ss2 ss3

Strawberry Shortcake

2 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup half & half
1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened

4 pounds strawberries
1/2 cup sugar

Remove the ends of the strawberries and quarter them. Place them in a bowl with the sugar, mixing to coat eat strawberry piece in sugary goodness and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Preheat your oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 baking dish.

In the bowl on a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and butter and mix on medium/low speed until the mixture takes on a course, sand-like appearance.

Slowly add the egg and half & half, mix until just combined. The cake comes together very quickly, be careful not to over mix.

Spread the cake mixture out into the greased baking dish and set aside. Using the same bowl and paddle, mix the second amount of flour, sugar and butter together to make the streusel topping. When crumbly and evenly combined, top the cake batter with the streusel.

Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean when poked.

Let the cake cool, top with strawberries and ice cream or whipped cream (or both) and enjoy!ss8 ss1

No Bake Granola Bars

I don’t know about you, but I love sugar. I also love real food. What I love even more, is satisfying my sugar cravings with real food that tastes like it should be bad for me, but it’s not. Spoiler alert: pretty much anything that comes pre-packaged is bad for you, even the “healthy” granola bars at my beloved Trader Joe’s. The problem is all of the unnecessary sugar, preservatives and fillers they throw in, but they taste so good! Alas, I have solved the problem for you.bars2bars5 In an effort to eat something relatively healthy, or at least all natural, I made no bake granola bars. These puppies are packed with so many nuts that they keep your hunger at bay, helping you resist the box of doughnuts in the staff break room. Resist the temptation my friend, resist. Plus, if you’re going to eat doughnuts, at least be a DIYer about it.

My motto is: if you’re going to eat sweets, make them yourself. Jk, I don’t have a motto. But seriously, instead of falling victim to the trap that is corporate America and injecting your body with toxic, made-in-a-factory crap, try whipping it up yourself. Chances are, it will taste better anyway. I know, I know, I’m lazy too and I don’t like to make everything from scratch. Good thing these only take all of 5 minutes to make.bars6FullSizeRender

No Bake Granola Bars

3/4 cup almond butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup honey
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup walnut pieces (raw or toasted)
3/4 cup almond slivers (raw or toasted)
3/4 cup sunflower seeds (raw or toasted)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 cup unsweetened dried blueberries (or dried fruit of your choice)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Throw everything into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or a large mixing bowl) and mix on medium/low speed until everything comes together into a loose ball.

Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Spread out the granola mix evenly on to the sheet pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night, or at least 2 hours.

Remove from fridge and transfer the granola bar slab from the sheet pan to the counter. cut strips out of the slab to your desired size. Individually wrap bars in plastic, or place in parchment lined tupperware with parchment in between each layer. Store in fridge.

Now grab a couple and go for hike!bars1