Archive | October 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes

My pumpkin problem continues. I think I’ve had something “pumpkin” flavored every day of October…yikes. I figure I mine as well enjoy it while it’s still in season. I still had a remaining can of pumpkin in my cupboard last week, and I needed wanted to make a batch of something with it! Cupcakes? Cookies? I couldn’t decide…so I combined the two! I’ve had major success with making cookies in cupcake tins. I think the end result looks cuter than just a simple cookie, and it cuts down on washing those darn cookie sheets. It’s a win/win if you ask me! I made mine in orange/black cupcake liners, perfect for Halloween. I gave these to a friend and was told they were demolished in 2.2 seconds. Success! Bet you can’t eat just one….I couldn’t..

P.S. I halved the recipe below and it made 12-13 cupcakes (it probably would’ve made 14 but I ate an excessive amount of dough…oops). The regular recipe would make at least 24 cookie cupcakes. Enjoy!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 cup canned pumpkin puree ( I used Libby’s)
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 cups (12-ounce bag) chocolate chips, not semisweet
Nonstick cooking spray

1) Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray muffin tins.
2) Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin.

After creaming the sugars and butter, add the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin

prettyyy batter

3) In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds.

Flour, etc.

in go the chips!

4) Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons into lined muffin tins and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until they are browned around the edges.

black n orange!

5) Remove from the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes. Take the cookie cupcakes out of the muffin tins and cool them on wire racks (or on a fall placemat!)

cookie cupcakes!

Deliciously moist and the perfect amount of pumpkin flavor…I want to make these again already!

What’s your favorite pumpkin dessert? Please share!


Barley Beef Stew

Barley Beef Stew
Crockpot Sunday=Easy Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday!! I swear, a crockpot meal helps me get through the work week. Plus, as the cold New England weather rolls in, a piping hot, comforting stew sounds enticing, right? I think so. This stew smells great, tastes great, and is chalk-full of protein-filled lean red meat and nutritious vegetables. ( I adapted this from a Cooking Light recipe). Plus, the hardest part about making this meal is chopping the vegetables. In less than 40 minutes, everything was chopped and in the crock-pot…easy for a meal that will last me all week! This is a healthy comfort food at it’s finest. Enjoy!


1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 package mushrooms (whatever kind you prefer, I used white button mushrooms)Cooking spray
2 cups chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced ( I didn’t have any, so I used a tsp of garlic powder!)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ -2 pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon thyme
2 (14-ounce) cans low-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
2 cups cubed peeled white potato (I used 1 cup white, 1 cup sweet potato)
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup barley

1) Spray cooking spray or heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes or until mushrooms begin to brown. Add onion; sauté 10 minutes or until tender and golden brown. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Place in crock-pot. Re-spray pan with cooking spray, and sauté carrots. Add to crockpot.



diced carrots

2) Peel potatoes and then pierce potatoes and cook in microwave 3-5 minutes to soften. Cut into cubes, and place in crock-pot.

3) Place flour in a shallow bowl or plate. Dredge beef in flour, shaking off excess. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add beef mixture; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook 6 minutes, browning on all sides. Add browned beef to crock-pot.

floured beef

browning beef!

4) Add wine, beef broth, thyme, bay leaf, and barley to crock-pot . Stir everything in the crockpot, cover, put heat on high, and cook for 5 to 6 hours or until beef is just tender.

the spice line-upBarley time

I am SO excited to eat this tomorrow night…and the next night, and the next!
What’s your favorite crock-pot meal?

cooking away in the crockpot!

Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread


Help. My pumpkin addiction is out-of-control. First of all, I can’t drink regular iced coffee anymore…it has to be a ‘one-shot-of-pumpkin syrup’ iced coffee. Second, I’ve eaten far too many mello-creme pumpkins this past week. Lastly, I’ve wanted to purchase the pumpkin loaf at Starbucks since the day it came out last month. However, I’ve been holding off for good reason…I’ve been dying to make my own!! So today, I did just that. I finally found canned pumpkin last week in CT (at Super Wal-mart no less), and along with that I picked up dark chocolate chips with the intention of incorporating these goodies into a pumpkin recipe. I debated making pumpkin streusel muffins, but thoughts of that darn pumpkin loaf did me in. So I incorporated my favorite dark chocolate chips and my beloved cinnamon chips into a healthy pumpkin bread recipe.

perfect combinatin of favorites

Now my entire apartment smells like a bakery. Help.


Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread


2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/4 cup canola oil/ ¼ cup applesauce
1/2 cup fat-free vanilla pudding ( I used applesauce, I didn’t have yogurt on hand)
4 large egg whites
2 Tbsp. apple butter (optional, but I love this stuff!)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup cinnamon chips (optional)
Cooking spray


1) Preheat oven to 350°.
2) Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add apple butter if you choose to use it.

first apple butter!

3) Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

flour and spices

4)Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in chocolate chips and cinnamon chips.

whisking awayYUMall ready for baking