Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Longest post title ever...but I promise the recipe is amazing

First off though, I wanted to talk a little bit about where we're at the with the Paleo diet, because I've been posting a lot of baked good recipes lately so I felt that it was necessary to post a somewhat of disclaimer. Back in the beginning of the year, we were adhering more strictly to the Paleo lifestyle and saw a lot of positive changes. Now we're at a place where it's more about finding a balance between being healthy and enjoying the things we love. Baking is one of my favorite things to do, especially at this time of year. I've really been enjoying trying out fun fall recipes and I have a feeling this trend will only continue as we get closer to the holidays. However, I have to admit that eating more grains/sugar lately has only reminded me of why we started eating Paleo in the first place. As much as I love sweets, I don't love the way they make me feel--lightheaded, sluggish, and just downright gross. So although we are indulging here and there, we're still trying to do our best to continue to eat healthy as much as possible, while still enjoying our favorite seasonal foods. And it all goes back to one of my main principles when it comes to eating--if you're going to indulge, make sure it's something that's worth it, meaning make sure it's something that you love and that's really delicious. 

*End disclaimer*

So now that we got that out of the way, on to today's recipe! And let me tell you, these cupcakes are definitely worth the effort and the indulgence!

 Super moist pumpkin cupcakes that have a fantastic depth of flavor thanks to the addition of brown butter, topped with sweet cinnamon cream cheese frosting. They're basically fall perfection in cupcake form.

Pumpkin Cupcakes
Recipe Source: My Baking Addiction

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
(I browned the butter when I melted it and I think that made a huge difference!)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.
3. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about halfway. Bake until tops spring back when touched, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating pans once if needed. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe Source: Half Baked-The Cake Blog

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
  1. In bowl of stand mixer beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until well combined.
  2. Gradually add in confectioner’s sugar one cup at a time, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
  3. Add vanilla and cinnamon and mix until combined.
  4. Place icing in piping bag fitted with a large round tip and frost cupcakes. 
*Note: I used this frosting recipe instead of the one from My Baking Addiction because I didn't want it to be too cream cheesey...but this particular recipe, while delicious, doesn't make quite as much frosting and I ran out with two cupcakes left...just FYI!*

These would be perfect for a Halloween party, they're seriously SO good. So even if you don't have anything going on tomorrow, make these anyway and have your own party because everyone knows a batch of cupcakes is reason enough to celebrate! Xoxo

PS: I'm linking up for Tasty Tuesday!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fall Fashion Haul

Happy Monday everyone! 

I hope that you're all having a great start to your week and staying safe if you're on the East Coast. Today I wanted to talk about fall fashion! I thought I'd share a few of the items I've added to my closet this so far this season and ask for your help in finding some that are still on my list! Here's what I've picked up lately:

Chambray Shirt
I finally found the perfect one...at Forever 21 of all places! It's not the exact style pictured above, but it's a little darker and looks more like this one from J.Crew. Unfortunately it looks like it's not available online, but I'd definitely check your local F21 if you're still in the market for one as they had a million different styles when I was there.

 Oversized sweater
Burgundy is definitely the hot color this fall, and nothing is better for a cool autumn day than a big cozy sweater. I got a sweater from Forever 21 that is not the exact style pictured above, but it's extremely similar. It's great for throwing on with skinnies and a scarf or relaxing with leggings at home.

Burgundy Skinnies
The colored jean trend has definitely continued this fall and finding a burgundy pair was at the top of my list. I ended up ordering this pair online (after two Targets I checked at were sold out!) and I've been really pleased with them. They're not quite as purple in person as they look in the picture, however, I think there are only limited sizes left online now.
Black legging pants
Black leggings are a fall staple for me, however, I wanted to find a pair that was more substantial and less like a pair of thick tights. Enter this pair of legging pants. They're the perfect legging/pant hybrid, meaning they're stretchy and fitted enough to wear under dresses/longer tunics, but they're thick enough to wear with a normal shirt that doesn't completely cover your booty! Plus, the price is great, win win!

"Suede" booties
Booties are a fall trend that I was really excited to try out, but I wasn't really ready to seriously invest in. Luckily I stumbled on this pair from Kohl's of all places after reading about them on another blog (love that!) and was able to find them at my local store. They were on sale and there was in-store coupon the day I bought them so they were only $19...gotta love a deal like that! They seem to be pretty decent quality for the price (they're not really suede obviously, but for the price I don't care) and they're perfect to wear with tights and dresses or skinny jeans. Unfortunately it looks like the Taupe color I purchased is sold out online, but they may still have them available in store. 

Brown leather riding boots
I have been looking for the perfect pair of brown riding boots for awhile now, and wasn't sure if I wanted a lighter pair with more hardware/detailing or something more timeless. I decided to go with a darker pair that are a little more simple as I think they'll last me for years to come. I ordered this pair by Lucky Brand from Macy's and they just got delivered last week. The leather seems to be good quality and I love the dark color. They're a great classic riding boot that looks a little bit all-American/Western inspired and I'm really happy with them!

A few things I'm still on the hunt for?

 1. A cute plaid flannel shirt 
(preferably something red for the holidays!)
I wasn't loving the ones I saw at Forever 21/Target, and I've just been struggling to find ones that look classic--I'd love a cute red tartan print or buffalo check!

2. A patterned cardigan
I'd love to find a cute, longer-type cardigan with a great print to wear both open and with a belt this fall on through winter. 

3. Boot socks
I think the look of tall boots with wool socks is so darling, I just can't seem to find the right type of socks! I'd love a chunky gray pair to wear with my black and brown boots.

4. Patterned leggings
I really just want an inexpensive pair of these to wear around the house this winter, I think they're so adorable.

I don't think this style is available anymore :(
5. A military inspired jacket
I am at such a loss to find a cute fall jacket! I would love to find one new to bring on our trip, but I am having a hard time finding something I like because I've found a lot of these type of coats can look sloppy. I want something that is mid-weight, a little bit longer length, and ideally has a belt. I'd love to bring a jacket like this on our trip so time is of the essence. Or if you have a really cute fall jacket you got this year and love and it's not military-inspired, I'd love to hear about that too!

If anyone has suggestions of where I can find any of these things items online (for reasonable prices), please let me know! Thanks in advance :)

Sources for these photos can be found on my fashion inspirations Pinterest board, just FYI!

What about you? What items are you loving this fall? I want to know! 

Have a fabulous week everyone! Xoxo

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Walk in the Woods

 Happy weekend everyone! 

I meant to post this on Friday but never got around to it, so I thought I'd pop in today instead to say hello and share some photos from last weekend.

Last Friday, Cam and I went for a little hike on a section of the Tahoe Rim Trail right by our house. The aspens were at their peak color and we wanted to enjoy the fall beauty before the snowstorm that was in the forecast for this week. It was really relaxing to take a walk in the woods and see the gorgeous leaves. I'm so glad we went because we ended up getting blanketed in snow Monday-Wednesday. Luckily the weather is warming back up a little bit and the snow is all melted off the roads, but many of the leaves are gone now.

Thankfully, I have these photos to remember that golden afternoon.

I feel blessed we get to live in such a beautiful place!

As for this weekend, it's been pretty relaxing which is just what I needed. I was able to try out some new recipes and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you later this week. Today we've got a trip to Target on the agenda and I'm a little overly excited about it. (Getting to Target is more of a treat these days now that we live in Tahoe and the closest one is 45 minutes away!) Hope you're having a wonderful weekend as well! Xoxo

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes

Happy Thursday everyone! 

I completely ran out of time to do a Wanderlust Wednesday post yesterday. I meant to talk about the things we're hoping to do and see in Israel, but we are in the thick of trying to do research and actually book reservations so that's taken precedence over blogging this week. However, I'm hoping to do a post next week with the details about what we'll be doing in Israel, but in the meantime, ANY suggestions would be much appreciated. The issue is that we're getting in to Israel on Thursday morning and we're struggling to figure out what we should do on Shabbat (Saturday) as the buses won't be running and many things will be closed. We're also trying to decide whether or not to rent a car or not; on one hand it would be a much more convenient way to see the northern part of the country, on the other I feel it could be really stressful and way more trouble than it's worth. And the biggest quandary of all, I'm still struggling to figure out what jacket to bring--I don't want to be too hot, but I don't want to be too cold...and what if it rains? Decisions, decisions. 

Anyway, moving on to today's topic--a delicious fall recipe!

Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes...yum!

{Sidenote: This is my third post this week with the word 'apple' in title...ha!} 

I'm also really excited about participating in a new link-up hosted by Katie from Keep Calm & Carry On and Steph from Beautiful Mess. The link-up is called Saw It. Pinned It. Did It. and it's a chance to showcase great ideas from Pinterest that you've actually tried (as opposed to the 9381027 things we've all pinned and will probably never do). I think that this link-up is such a fabulous idea because sometimes Pinterest can be a little overwhelming, so it's helpful to have people share things they've made that are actually worth trying! 

I've been seeing these delicious apple cider donut holes all over Pinterest this fall and had been dying to make them, so last week I decided to finally give it a go! I pinned this recipe to my {inspired eating} board:
{Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes via Feastie}

The donut holes are baked in a mini muffin pan, so really they're more like muffins...but they definitely have the texture of a donut. They're kind of like a donut/muffin hybrid aka perfect for enjoying on a crisp fall morning with a cup of coffee. What really makes these so good is the fact that you brush them with melted butter and roll them in cinnamon sugar...amazing. Here's the recipe, along with some more photos of how mine came out!

Baked Apple Cider Doughnut Holes
Recipe Source: Feastie
makes 36-48 mini muffins or "donut holes"


2 cups flour (I ran out of flour and had to use half whole wheat...they still came out fine, but I'd suggest using normal white flour as I think it would have made them fluffier)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 large egg
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup plain yogurt (I used plain nonfat Greek yogurt)
2 Tbsp canola oil
canola cooking spray
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. 
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg, brown sugar, apple butter, vanilla extract, honey, apple cider, yogurt, and canola oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient mixture and whisk until just incorporated. Don't over-mix - a few lumps are okay. 
  4. Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, fill a 24-hole mini muffin pan with the batter; fill each hole only 3/4 of the way, or you'll end up with huge mini muffins (maxi muffins?). Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes and cool on a wire rack. 
  5. While donut holes are still warm, melt butter in a microwave safe dish. Combine cinnamon and sugar in another dish. Using a pastry brush, very lightly brush a tiny bit of melted butter onto the top of each donut hole, then dip the top of the muffin in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the donut hole in the cinnamon sugar to coat the sides and top. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Alternatively, you can dust the cooled donut holes with powdered sugar; I prefer the texture of the cinnamon sugar, so I went in that direction. You can also omit the butter - the cinnamon sugar sticks nicely to the donut holes.  
{I wouldn't suggest it...the butter makes it!}

 So there you have it, delicious apple cider mini donuts without having to make a trip to the apple orchard! {Although I'd still suggest going to the apple orchard, we had a blast there this weekend!} They're such a perfect fall treat, and I'm so glad I gave them a try. Cam took them into work last week and they got rave reviews!

Once again, {a sarcastic} thank you Pinterest for providing a constant source of temptation for delicious baked goods that I shouldn't be eating! Come link-up with Steph and Katie as I'd love to see what Pinterest has inspired you to make! Have a great day everyone! Xoxo


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