Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

I’ve had a baking obsession lately…  “I need to stop,” I whisper to myself as I find my next delicious recipe:)  I can’t get enough!!  It’s not my fault these fall recipes keep hounding my taste buds. Right?   This recipe was adapted from With Lovely and they were absolutely AWESOME!! If you’re looking for something that screams fall you must try these muffins! TODAY!

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For the cheesecake filling: For the pumpkin muffins: For the crumble topping:
12 oz. cream cheese 1 1/2 c all-purpose   flour 1/4 cup sugar
1   egg 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp   flour 1/2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice 2 1/2 Tbsp flour
1 c   powdered sugar 1 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp   vanilla extract 1/2 tsp salt 2 Tbsp   unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 Tbsp unsalted

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First prepare the Cheesecake filling by combining cream cheese, egg, flour, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and mix with a fork until blended and smooth.  20130929-195408.jpg

Preheat the oven to 350 and line the muffin pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, salt, and baking soda.  20130929-195415.jpgIn the bowl of a stand mixer combine eggs, sugars, pumpkin puree, oil, and butter and mix on medium-low speed until blended.  Add the dry ingredients in three additions, scraping the sides and mixing just until incorporated after each addition.

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In a small bowl, whisk together sugars, flour, and cinnamon.  Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly.  Fill each muffin about 1/2 full with batter.  20130929-195437.jpg

Add a generous dollop of filling on top.  (For full-size muffins I did two layers each of muffin batter and cheesecake filling, alternating.)  Sprinkle with topping.  Bake mini muffins for 14 minutes or full-size muffins for about 24 minutes.

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Simple Chocolate Cake

I made this cake on a whim a few Sundays ago for my sister in law’s mother who just moved here from Seattle. I wanted to make one from scratch instead of using my go to box stuff (even though it’s good too).  But sometimes you just need a fabulous tasting made from scratch chocolate cake.  I’ve got to say, it was a lot easier than I thought and only took a few minutes to prepare the batter. I found this recipe at Allrecipes.com  Once it was completely cooled, I frosted with our favorite chocolate frosting and added a few personal touches (don’t laugh hysterically at my decorating skills) it was PERFECT tasting!  Next time I think  I’ll keep it a bit more simple and add strawberries and whip cream in-between the layers and cool whip on top:)

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What you need:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 cup warm water or coffee

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place oven rack in the center of oven.  Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, two 9 inch cake pans.  Then flour or line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.  In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, water (or coffee), milk, oil, and vanilla extract.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined.  (The batter will be quite thin.)  Evenly divide the batter between the two pans and bake for about 27-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake just comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.  Then remove the cakes from their pans and cool completely on a greased wire rack before frosting.

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Salted Caramel Brownies

Chocolate is certainly at the top of my list of favorite foods.  The only way to make it better is to add a little salted caramel.  Whooo Weeeee!

A few weeks ago, one of my sweet high school girls asked me to make these brownies for our mid-week bible study.  When she told me they had pretzels and caramel, I was in!  They were so delicous.

Here is what you need

1 batch brownie mix

pretzels

caramel sauce

salt

20130908-191941.jpgPreheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Spread half of your brownie mix in the bottom of a well-greased 9X13 pan.

20130908-191950.jpgLay your pretzels evenly over the brownie batter.

20130908-192000.jpgPut the remaining batter on top of the pretzels.  Bake for about 20 minutes.

20130908-192014.jpgPour 1/2 cup of caramel sauce over the top of the brownies while they are still hot.  Sprinkle with salt. Let cool.

20130908-192153.jpgWOW!  Grab a drink because the deliciously rich brownies will tickle your taste buds! 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodle Blondies

I have officially bought my first batch of Halloween candy!  But… I confess right now, it will not make it to Halloween.  In fact, I became so excited about fall,  I couldn’t resist taking the fresh bag of M&M’s and using them to make this fabulous after school treat for my little’s.  The original recipe is from one of my favorite bloggers  Baking Bites  (If you don’t have this site in your favorites you MUST add now:)  Happy Fall Y’all …  Worry less, Smile more!

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What you need:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Pumpkin Spice M&Ms (or chocolate chips)
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar, for topping
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves

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Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil.   In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in salt, egg and vanilla extract until well combined. Add in flour and stir until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Fold in M&Ms. Remember, you are never to old to lick the bowl.20130925-131707.jpg

Spoon dough – it will be thick – into prepared baking dish and smooth it with a spatula into an even layer.

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In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar with the ground cinnamon, ground ginger and ground cloves. Sprinkle dough evenly with sugar and spice mixture.  Bake for about 30-34 minutes, until bars are set and the edges are just very lightly browned. Cool in the pan before slicing.20130925-140539.jpg

 

Buttercream Icing

This is my mom’s famous buttercream Icing.  I remember as a little girl, watching her make and decorate many birthday cakes for our friends and family.  She had such an amazing talent and eye for just about any style of cake (she even made an ET cake when the movie came out).  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family has.  Enjoy!

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2 sticks of butter

2 cups vegetable shortening (preferably Crisco)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon butter flavoring

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 pounds confectioners sugar, sifted

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Combine the butter, Crisco, and salt in a large bowl and beat on low speed for 5 minutes.  Add the vanilla, butter flavor, and almond extract and beat until well blended.  Turn off mixer and add half the confectioners sugar  I highly recommend sifting your confectioners’ sugar before using.  Sifting eliminates those clumps that sometimes form and it blends together better than un-sifted confectioners sugar.  Mix on the slowest speed the mixer has.  Mix in the remaining sugar 1/2 cup at a time, until all the sugar is mixed ‘in.  Turn the mixer up to medium and beat until smooth and creamy.  This should take about 5 minutes.  If icing seems too thick to spread, beat in up to 1 tablespoon milk to loosen it.

Ice Cream Cake

Seriously… I would have 0 problems with eating this cake all day, every day.  It’s that good!!! Considering this was my first attempt at making an ice cream cake, It turned out better than I thought.  With a few YouTube videos and my own final touches, Russell’s birthday cake was a winner.  This is just a basic recipe for ice cream cake.  You can use any flavor of ice cream or cake mix you like.  Russell wanted chocolate cake with cookies and cream ice cream (Bluebell of course!).  Also, If you’re looking for a good frosting to decorate your cake, check out two frugal gals buttercream icing  You won’t go wrong.  Enjoy my friends!

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 What you need:
1 box chocolate cake mix
1/2 gallon ice cream, softened
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Prepare the cake accoding to the package directions, then split the cake batter into two 9″ round cake pans and bake.  Once the two cakes are completely cooled, cover each of them separately with plastic wrap and place them in the freezer overnight (cakes are easier to work with when frozen).  Before you’re ready to assemble the cake, let your carton of ice cream sit out until it’s nice and soft.  Once the ice cream becomes easy to spread,  place the first cake on the bottom and use an ice cream scoop to cover the cake evenly with a ~2″ thick layer of ice cream.  Make sure the ice cream layer is completely even before adding your top layer of cake (you can use warm water to help even the ice-cream layer).  Once you’ve added the top cake layer, you might need to trim the cake and/or ice cream so that the edges match.  Place assembled cake back in the freezer until very firm, then remove from freezer and frost/decorate as desired.

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Trust me…it tastes better than it looks…my decorating is still a work in progress

Creamy Chicken Primavera Bake

One main lesson I’m learning in my frugal adventure… the better I stock my pantry the quicker I can make a delicious and wholesome meal.  I typically try to stock my pantry with a variety of convenient foods and pantry staples that I can grab quickly when I’m planning for the week.  Depending on what’s on sale, I try to purchase more of these staple items to save money. Pasta, rice, marinara, broth, and salad dressing are all must-haves in my pantry.   Basil pesto is also a good item to have.  It’s a simple delicious stir-in for pasta, salads, and sauces.  Check out how to make and freeze your own Basil Pesto for a quick fix in a meal.

This casserole is a tasty one I found in  Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Money Saving Meals recipe book.  It turned out really good and  makes a quick freezer friendly go to meal as well.

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8 ounces rotini pasta

1 bag (16 ounces) frozen Italian-blend vegetables

1 jar (16-ounce) Alfredo sauce

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 pound chicken breast or rotisserie chicken cut into 1 inch pieces

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta for 7 minutes.  Drain and set aside.  Meanwhile, cook and cut chicken into 1 inch pieces.  In a covered, microwave-safe dish, microwave vegetables on high setting for 6 minutes.

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In a large bowl, stir together Alfredo sauce, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt.

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Add pasta, vegetables, chicken and mozzarella cheese, fold to combine.

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Transfer to a 3-quart casserole dish; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

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Cover and bake in a preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until heated through and bubbling.

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