Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins.

One of the best parts about fall is baking with pumpkin. In about late August (when it is still 100 degrees here), I start thinking about pumpkin delights. I have a couple of go-to recipes: pumpkin bread (recipe to follow) and fall harvest bread (with diced apples), but I tried a new one this past weekend and had to share -- pumpkin cream cheese muffins from Annie's Eats.

They are delicious! I love cream cheese/powdered sugar frosting. And I also love crumb topping. These muffins have the best of both worlds -- cream cheese filling and a crumb topping. Genius!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Yield: 24 muffins


For the muffins:

3 cups flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. ground cloves

1 tbsp. and 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

4 eggs

1 ¼ cups vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

2 cups pumpkin puree

For the filling:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

For the streusel topping:

½ cup sugar

¼ cup and 1 tsp. flour

4 tbsp. butter, cubed

1 ½ tsp. cinnamon


To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until smooth. Form into a log on plastic wrap or foil, making sure that the diameter is small enough to fit into the well of a muffin pan. Wrap the log up tightly and freeze until slightly hardened, 1-2 hours.

To make the muffins, combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar and pumpkin puree. Mix until well combined. Add in the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.

To make the streusel topping, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix together with a pastry blender or two forks until crumbly.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two muffin pans with paper liners. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well halfway with batter. Remove the cream cheese log from the freezer and slice into 24 equal slices. Place a slice in each muffin well. Divide the remaining muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups, on top of the cream cheese. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.

[My cream cheese never hardened in the freezer, so instead of slices, I had dollops that I spooned on top of the batter. They turned out fine, so next time I am not even going to worry about trying to freeze the filling. I also added about a teaspoon of vanilla to the batter.]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5 things . . .

5 random things . . .

1. I love the American Cancer Society's Holiday Shopping Card. Details to follow about the goodies we have bought for 20% off. The card certainly doesn't save you money (at least not for me). Rather, it acts more as an enabler.

2. I don't want to have a find a dress for my work's holiday party. I know it is pretty earlier to start thinking about it, but it is always hard to find something that is dressy and cute while still being classy and somewhat conservative. These dresses from Banana Republic are cute, but I think they would be too short.

3. I like this blog:

4. I dislike it when people ask you to be open and honest and then get overly defensive when you do. (and no, I am not referring to any close friends, family, or Justin.)

5. I love these recycled bottle glasses from etsy. How great are these?

Monday, October 26, 2009

San Diego Teaser.

I have been a bad blogger recently. Sorry! I haven't had time to go through all of our pictures from our trip to San Diego and do a full recap, but here are some "teaser" pics in the meantime:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back Home.

Sorry for the lack of posting -- we just got back tonight from our vacation in San Diego. We had a wonderful time visiting friends and family, but are tired and not overly excited about having to go back to work tomorrow. I will be back soon with pictures and highlights from our fabulous vacation!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I love etsy (and frankly, could spend a whole day browsing on the site). I recently bought some necklaces from the seller wiyomu. You have to check out her store. The necklaces I ordered arrived yesterday and are so lovely. These are her pictures of the necklaces, not mine:

(Instead of blue pearls, I went with the ivory.)

Her items would make great gifts and are very reasonably priced. I love that many of the styles are customizable. And the shipping was quick too!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I need help.

I recently received the Boden catalog, and I am pretty sure there was something on almost every page that I can't live without. I've never ordered anything from them before, but may have to take advantage of the 15% off and free shipping both ways.

I am embarrassed to admit that there are even tabs on the bottom too. I was having trouble tearing the pages without ripping something I liked on the opposite side of the page, so I went to the only real estate that was left at the bottom. Now I just have to narrow it down (a lot) . . .

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


We got a new camera that has a special setting just for pets. I am pretty sure Riley knows he should pose when the camera is set in "pet mode."

Speaking of pets, I learned last night on Jeopardy that Calvin Coolidge had a pet raccoon (named Rebecca). Interesting.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chandelier Input Needed.

I need some advice on which chandelier to go with in the dining room. I think part of my problem is that I am not used to the pearson chandelier, so it still looks different/off to me. What do you think?

Here is the chandelier we originally purchased for the dining room:

Here is the new pearson chandelier:

I know I will need to get rid of the lamps on the buffet because it looks to "shady" with the 3 big drum shades in that room. And that is totally fine, I think the lamps will look perfect in our bedroom (with their original white shades). Maybe something like this below without the big lamps. Sorry for the poor lighting (clicking on the picture makes it a little easier to see).

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I heart Pure Design.

I am home from work today because I had to get a sacroiliac joint injection this morning (it is as fun as it sounds). (side vent: Why do they have you get to the hospital at 6:15 a.m, if they don't take you up to pre-op until close to 9:00?)

Any who, being home today has led me to one conclusion: daytime TV is terrible. Even HGTV and Food Network (my go-to channels) didn't have good shows on. Thankfully, I had some shows recorded, and today was a perfect opportunity to lounge around (and nap off the pain and sedation meds) and watch them.

I previously blogged about my obsession with Pure Design here. I was glad to see that a new season started recently. On the episode I watched today, Samantha redid a young couple's living room/kitchen.

How great are the Louis chairs, the ottoman, and the photo wall?

Love the kitchen chandelier and the pillows.

But my favorite part of the room is the trellis wallpaper behind the open shelving. Love it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

ribbon script coat.

I wish I lived someplace where it didn't feel like summer in October. That's mainly because I would buy and wear this coat everyday until Spring.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Breakfast Table Light.

I mentioned some new lighting for our kitchen in this post. The one from ebay arrived today; however, it has to go back because there is exposed wiring. Um, no thanks!

As soon as I saw it out of the box, I was concerned that it was too small. Before we boxed it back up to ship it back, I had Justin hold it up over the table. It confirmed what I was thinking -- it's too small.

I love the look of the light, but think we will go with the 18" pendant instead. Thoughts?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lonny Mag.

Blueprint and Domino magazines may be gone, but there is a new magazine to fill the void -- lonny magazine. When I first heard about it, I immediately went to the website to get a subscription. Then I realized it was online only.

I love the idea of being able to browse online (and not have another magazine stack around the house). My favorite part is being able to hover over certain images and being able to link to the source. I got about half way through before I realized you could do that!

The only downside with it being online is that I can't tear out and save the pages. Saving the images in my "decoration inspiration" folder on my desktop just isn't the same. But, it will be easy to overlook because the magazine has such great pictures and tips.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures, but be sure to look at the whole magazine. You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Quote of the Day.

Justin: "I have an itch on the bottom of my foot, but I can't scratch it because it tickles."

5 things . . .

5 things I am thankful for . . .

1. A vacation to San Diego coming up soon!

2. Firefly sweet tea vodka mixed with lemonade. The drink is delicious, to say the least.

(photo: drinkhacker)

3. That The Hills and The City are back on! Oh Spencer and Olivia, I have missed you guys!

4. Having a hairdresser who I completely trust to do whatever she wants and always loving how it turns out. This time -- darker hair (for fall) and shorter bangs.

5. That I can see Joel McHale one more day per week on his new show Community.

(photo: nbc)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Kitchen Lighting.

I love our kitchen, but I think it could be even better with some new lighting. I am pretty sure the guy before us removed the light fixture above the breakfast room area. (He decided to change the fireplace too.) Neither renovation was a positive, if you ask me.

After several weeks of looking at decorpad, I finally was inspired to get some new lighting for our kitchen. It just so happened that Restoration Hardware is also currently having their annual lighting sale. Here are all of the pictures I saved as inspiration. All photos are from decorpad.

This last picture really sealed the deal for me. If you are really paying attention, you would recognize this kitchen from my dream home:

We decided to go with two 8" clemson pendants for over the island, one 14" pendant for over the table, and one 12" schoolhouse semi-flushmount for over the sink.

I can't wait to get them and see them in our kitchen. We found the 14" clemson pendant on ebay brand new for a great price and it shipped yesterday!