Tag Archives: fall

Pear Cobbler with Almond Whipped Cream

Pear Cobbler with Almond Whipped Cream

My mom was a semi-home cook. We’d bake brownies from the box, and make homemade pie filling for our frozen roll-out pie crust. But one thing she always made from scratch was whipped cream. And it spoiled me. You know what they say. Once you have fresh whipped cream… or something like that.

And speaking of whipped cream,  I finally had my first cobbler this summer – slightly late in the game, I know. It was a peach cobbler, to be exact, and it rocked my world. And I’ve been dreaming of it ever since. Problem is, peach season is far from over. So I had to mix things up and substitute what I could get my hands: pears. Naturally I whipped up some homemade whipped cream to smother the cobbler with. Continue reading


Pumpkin Soup Bowls with Paprika Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Soup Bowls

This week I hit the pumpkin mother load during my weekly grocery shopping trip. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin crackers… oi. You name it, I bought it. But my favorite purchase? Four mini  pumpkins to use as bowls for homemade pumpkin soup. 

And talk about total comfort food. This soup hit the spot. I happen to like my soup with a little texture. So the chewy dried cranberries and crunchy homemade roasted pumpkin seeds seasoned with sea salt and paprika are the perfect topping combo. The result is a slightly smokey, slightly sweet hint to the creamy and savory soup. No crackers needed.

Smoked Paprika Roasted Pumpkin SeedsPumpkin Soup in Pumpkin Bowls

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Thanksgiving Dessert Roundup

Have I mentioned that I’m hosting Thanksgiving for the first time? Eek. I spent the weekend grocery shopping, prepping recipes and dusting off old platters. And I’m ready for the in-laws to arrive. All that’s left is cooking the Turkey and doing some baking. I’ve always found that having fresh baked treats is the best way to welcome guests. So without further ado, here’s a list of my favorite fall festive treats for your holiday table and beyond. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting
pumpkin pie pops



White chocolate pumpkin pie pops

I honestly don’t know what came over me.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Pops
It all started with a mad craving for pumpkin pie. Problem was, I didn’t need to make a whole pie for myself. Been there, done that, and it does not turn out well.So I did what any logical person would do.

I made bite-sized pie balls. On sticks.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Pops
And then, because I realized I was feeling crust deprived, I rolled the balls in graham cracker crumbs. And dipped them in melted white chocolate for an extra somethin somethin.

  White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Pops


I even added orange food coloring to a small batch of the white chocolate to be festive, and packaged some of the pops to use as gifts.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Pops

But the real credit goes to my dear hubs. I know he loves me because he eggs on my crazy cravings and even suggested adding whipped cream to my pumpkin-pie-graham-cracker-white-chocolate-snack-attack-mashup.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Bites

So I did it. And… well… I’m just going to say it. He was riiiiight about the whipped cream. These pie pops totally trump traditional pumpkin pie slices.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Pops

1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 bag white chocolate
1 bag lollipop sticks
1 small carton heavy whipping cream

Mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger and cloves. Beat eggs in separate bowl. Stir in pumpkin and sugar spice mixture. Gradually stir in evaporated milk. Pour into baking dish. Preheat oven at 425. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake for 50 minutes (just slightly after cooked). Once cooled, add 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs to baked pumpkin mixture and mix. Using your hands, roll mixture into balls (approximately 1 T of batter each). Roll ball into graham cracker crumbs, coating thoroughly. Stick lollipop stick into center of ball and place on baking sheet lined with wax paper. Pop into the freezer while you melt the white chocolate according to directions on package. Take pops out of freezer and dip bottom of the pops into white chocolate. Place back on wax paper to dry. To serve, whip heavy cream and dollop onto pie pops. Makes approximately 35 pops.


Baked Apple Empanadas

Is there anything better than a super crunchy Fall apple?

Baked Apple Empanadas

Um, yes, there is.

Apple empanadas.

Baked apple empanada

In true confession, I’m a total creature of habit. From french apple tarts to apple butter, I tend to make the same tried-and-true recipes each season.

This Fall, I was determined to spice things up in the kitchen. I think it’s safe to say that I passed the test with these homemade apple empanadas (using this recipe from Global Table Adventure).

Baked apple empanada

If you’re a crust person like me, you are going to want to eat the entire batch of these little handheld treats. They’re like inside out pies, filled with ooey gooey apple pie filling.

Take it from me: these empanadas are delicious warm or cold. Or covered in vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce or… well, you get the idea.

Baked apple empanada with vanilla ice cream and caramel

New Thanksgiving tradition? Just saying.


Sweet + Savory Fig Jam

People often ask me what it was like to grow up in Hawaii.

Grilled Cheese with Fig Jam

What can I say? Warm beaches, tropical fruit stands, and frolicking in the sun. Everyday.

Fig Jam

But I missed out on things, too. Like, shopping for winter coats. Taking family road trips to the Grand Canyon. Learning to ski on snow days.

And… canning.

Fig Jam

Now that I live in warm-beach-less-tropical-fruit-less-generally-sun-less Oregon, I’m making up for lost time.I still haven’t gone on a road trip or learned to ski, but I’ve learned to can, gosh darn it.

I like knowing what’s in my food, and I also enjoy the satisfaction of doing something that gives you payback all year long. Perhaps it’s a control thing. Aaanyway, I make a variety of different jams, butters and pickles over the course of the year.

Sam can make fun of me, but the only complaint I’ve ever heard from him is that I didn’t make enough pickles. 

Fig Jam

In years past, I didn’t have real canning equipment. So I’d have to freeze or refrigerate the jams. However, my in-laws gave me a gift certificate to Sur La Table for my birthday this year, and I practically sprinted to the store to buy a canning set.

Fig Jam

Halleluiah for in-laws! Yup, I said it.

Fig Jam

My first attempt at “real” canning [via the boiling water method] was the Fig Jam recipe that I’ve been eyeing for months in a beautiful canning book called Put em Up. I was pretty impressed with the results. We’ve used the fig jam on just about anything you can imagine  But my favorite combo? Grilled cheese with turkey and fig jam. 

Fig Jam

Has anyone else used a recipe from Put em Up? I’d love to know how it turned out. I’m ready for my next canning extravaganza.

Sweet + Savory Fig Jam

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2 pounds figs, stemmed and quartered
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup bottled lemon juice

Bring the figs and water to a boil in a large nonreactive pot. Reduce the heat and summer for 5 minutes to soften the fruit. Crush using a potato masher.
Add the sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and summer, stirring frequently, until thick and jammy, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside for 5 minutes, stirring to release air bubbles.
Refrigeration method: Ladle into jars. Cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
Canning method: Ladle into jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Release trapped air by stirring mixture with a plastic knife. Center lids on the jars and screw on jar bands. Process for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove canner lid, and let jars rest in the water for 5 minutes. Remove jars and set aside for 24 hours. Check seals, then store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/


Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Today you’re in for a treat.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

A pumpkin treat, to be exact.

In college, I worked part-time at my school’s admissions office. You know those college tour guides who give group tours while walking backwards? Yea. That was me. Anyway, at one of our work parties, a staff member brought these treats to share with our team. I begged her for months for the recipe, and finally, she caved.

I’ve been making this recipe every Fall, ever since.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

I’m always asked to bring this dish to our friends’ annual pumpkin carving party and other miscellaneous Fall get-togethers. Although it’s actually more cake-like, these Pumpkin Bars are aways – ALWAYS – a crowd pleaser. 

There’s something about pumpkin that gets people giddy. I think it has something to do with sweater weather and the looming excitement of the holidays ahead. 

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

In truth, I didn’t love pumpkin-anything (NOT even Pumpkin Spice Lattes) while I lived in Hawaii. But after moving to the mainland and experiencing Summer turn to Fall, I’ve grown to appreciate and really love pumpkin-everything. There’s just something festive about it as the temperature drops, the days shorten and the leaves begin to fall. 

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

I’ve traditionally held this recipe top secret, but I figured there would be no use in not passing along such a great Fall treat. Like the blueberry coffee cake recipe that I recently posted, I promise this will become a well-used recipe in your collection.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting


Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

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4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups pumpkin
3/4 cup butter
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon

3 oz softened cream cheese
6 tbsp softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp milk
3 cups powdered sugar

Cake: Mix all ingredients together, pour into 11×15 pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 325.
Frosting: Beat together in chilled bowl. Frost when cool.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/



Apple Butter 101: How to make it + how to eat it.

I’m a sucker for seasonal recipes. In the spring I get my grill on. In the summer I make jams and pies. And during the fall, I’m all about apples.

{The supplies}

This year, while Sam was away at his bachelor party,  I tackled apple butter for the very first time with the help of some festive Christmas music and one of my besties, Katie.

Katie’s dad is actually a farmer on the Oregon Coast, and we were lucky enough to get about 6 pounds of organic apples from his orchard for our science experiment.

{The prep work is easy – no need to core or peel apples.}
{Just wash and chop.}

After washing and quartering the apples (skin and core left on!), we threw them into saucepans to cook down, with a splash of apple cider vinegar and water.

{Simmering apples}
{First look at mushy apples!}

Once the apples were cooked down, we fed the mushy mixture through my brand new food mill (best bridal shower gift ever).

{Getting ready to use the food mill}
{The food mill in action}

It’s a bit of a labor-intensive process to strain so much apple mush (and yes, apple mush is definitely the only way I could think to describe it), but we powered through it. And boy was it worth it.

{Post food mill action}
Next, we put the now seedless-and-skinless mixture back into the saucepans on low, along with sugar (about a cup per 3 pounds), cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to taste. And then we stirred until our arms ached, for about an hour and a half.

During this time, we chilled a small plate in the freezer. To confirm that the apple butter is thick enough, the trick is to drop a spoonful of the hot concoction onto the chilled plate. Ours stayed in place and didn’t run. Thanks to this plate test (and several taste tests), we knew our apple butter was official.

Now it’s confession time. We were very excited to make apple butter. However, neither Katie nor I had ever actually had apple butter So once the cooking was complete, we had a little testing extravaganza to capture the full apple butter experience.

1.  The Comfort Food: apple butter and fresh biscuit

{The best pre-packaged biscuits. Ever.}
{I can’t convey in writing how delicious these smell}
2.    The Gourmet: bri, turkey and apple butter panini
{Spreading warm apple butter on our panini}
{Warm, gooey panini. Bam!}

3.   The Classic: peanut butter and apple butter sandwich
[Oops, no picture to share here. I believe we ate the sandwich before we could take a picture.]

We were too busy licking our plates to declare a winner, but I can tell you that all three combinations were pretty awesome.

Finally, we packaged the apple butter up in jars. Since neither of us has canning equipment, we couldn’t actually seal the jars, so the apple butter has to be refrigerated. Regardless, we were preeeetty pleased with the results.

{Happy Holidays!}

Easy French Tart

I love seasonal recipes. Perhaps it’s because I grew up on a tropical isle where it was always summer.
Now that I live on the “mainland, ” I look forward to opening my recipe binder every time the seasons change to revisit the tastes I love (Yes. I have a full 3” binder filled with recipes organized by topic. Don’t judge me.). In the Summer I make Blueberry Coffee Cake, Blackberry Limeaid, Rhubarb Custard Pie and jam galore. In the Fall, I have a few, more hearty, dishes that I love: Pumpkin Bars, Seafood Stew and apple everything.
One of my favorite apple recipes is a French Apple Tart recipe I acquired (and have since modified) from Cooking Light. It’s easy, quick – and will wow your dinner guests /significant other/roomie. And believe me, you’ll want to make sure someone’s around so you’re not tempted to devour the whole thing once it’s done.
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 sheet (1/2 package) Pillsbury pie dough
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2  pounds Golden Delicious apples
2  to 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Here’s what to do:
Preheat oven to 425°. Peel, core and thinly slice apples.
Place the sheet of dough on a circular pan (pizza or cake pans work great). Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the sugar mixture over the dough. Arrange the apple slices in a spokelike pattern on top of the dough, working from the outside edge of the dough to the center. Sprinkle the apple slices with the remaining sugar mixture. 
Bake at 425° for 30 minutes.
Just before taking the tart out of the oven, combine the honey and vanilla in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high 40 seconds and then brush the melted honey mixture over the tart. Serve warm. Oh la la!

Fall Favorites

I’m not going to lie, saying goodbye to summer on Thursday was hard. But as we launch into Fall, I’ve put together a list of my favorite things about the season to get myself – and maybe even you – pumped about the months ahead. Here are my Fall faves:
There’s nothing better on those cold Fall or Winter nights than a steaming mug of Sleepy Time Tea (preferably with a dollop of milk and honey!). Maybe it’s psychological– but I always sleep really well when I drink the stuff. 
A good friend introduced me to this annual event several years ago, and I’ve gone religiously every year since. Portland Nursery lines up over fifty apple and pear varieties for taste testing, free to the public. A printed brochure tells you where each variety originated, what the taste is like, and what it’s good for (eating raw, baking, etc.).  Once you get through the tasting and you’ve marked your favorites on the list, you cross you fingers that your starred choices, which often can’t be found in stores, are still available for purchase – and head to the barrels of apples for sale.
Along with the actual tasting, Portland Nursery sets up a mini-farmer’s market complete with fresh apple cider, caramel apples, popcorn, local vendors and more. I always leave the festival with several pounds of my favorite apples for making my favorite applesauce recipe, and of course, for fresh apple pie
3. Galoshes
There’s nothing that bugs me more than getting my pants wet and muddy from walking in the rain (except, perhaps, people with wet and muddy pants and shoes walking through my condo – but that’s a whole other discussion). I think that galoshes are a girl’s best friend when living in a city like Portland. Luckily, there are so many adorable choices to choose from! Presents of Mind on Hawthorne carries some of the cutest selection. I also LOVE this rain boot from Target and this one from Nordstrom.
{Presents of Mind, SE Portland}
In the summer, Sauvie Island is the place to be for berry picking. In fact, it’s one of my all-time favorite places to spend my Saturday mornings during the summer. If you beat the crowds, you get the best crop and can really find a bounty of whatever’s in season. Click here for an example of what I’ve done with my U-pick Sauvie Island Berries.
During the Fall, the crowds continue to flock to Sauvie Island for the annual pumpkin patch and corn maize. In addition to U-pick pumpkins (which are a GREAT deal for pumpkin carving or even Halloween decorating) and the maize (which becomes a haunted maize at night), the area turns into a fall festival with a produce market, activities for kids, hayrides and more. The pumpkin patch is perfect for a date night, family outing, and everything in between.
{Sam & I at the Pumpkin Patch in 2008}


5. Portland Fashion Week
Last but not least, we may not be New York city, but Portland certainly has a style of its own. And no better place to see it than Portland Fashion Week October 6-10. Portland Fashion Week started in 2006 – and you might be surprised to learn that it’s actually the second-longest running fashion week on the West Coast.


I talk about food quite a bit – but I have a slight fashion obsession and love the coverage that Portland Fashion Week generates here in town. I’m continually impressed with the talent this city holds. Now what about you, what are your fall favorites?