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Nana’s Pumpkin & Raisin Muffins

pumpkin raisin muffins

My nana was a lot of wonderful things in her life, but a cook/baker she was not … with the exception of her perfecting precisely three recipes. The first being her Yorkshire pudding (she was born and raised in Yorkshire, so I think you kind of have to know how to make the pudding), the second being her oatmeal raisin cookies, and the third being these pumpkin and raisin muffins. While most of us don’t bust out the pumpkin recipes till September, October or November, Nana would make these all year round. She was famous for them. They’re unbelievably moist, probably because they call for FOUR eggs, and more vegetable oil than I’d care to acknowledge. Totally worth it though.

I see a lot of pumpkin recipes with chocolate incorporated and I’ve always had the hardest time wrapping my head around that concept. It just doesn’t sound right (or good) to me. Baked pumpkin goods, if made with an accompanying feature ingredient, should be made with raisins, NOT chocolate chips…..IMHO. Why? Because that’s how Nana did it and she never steered me wrong. Read More

DIY Ghost Orb

DIY Ghost Orb

Things have been pretty quiet around here and for that we apologize. Steph and I have both had pretty hectic Septembers (are there any other kind??). But this weekend marked the first weekend of October and I was finally in the mood to do some Halloween crafting and decorating. I’ve had the idea for this project in the back of my mind since we did the DIY pool orbs for the 4th of July. The idea of pairing something as simple as a balloon with the re-useable battery operated tea light is so, so simple and seems to lend itself to any kind of holiday or celebration (my wheels are turning for a Christmas-themed balloon orb project!).

I’d actually never tried the cheesecloth ghosts which have been all over Pinterest for years. However, as I pondered ways to incorporate the orb into Halloween, my mind kept coming back to the idea of using starched cheesecloth or fabric to drape over the lit balloon. I actually tried it both ways – with cheesecloth and with a basic white cotton fabric. I’ve pictured it both ways but think I prefer the fabric application best.


DIY Ghost Orb - supplies

1 square of 30″x30″ (or larger) white fabric or cheesecloth

liquid starch (I DIY’d this using this tutorial as I didn’t have the energy to run out to the store AGAIN. It worked perfectly!)

1 white balloon

1 submersible tea light

small pieces of black fabric or black cardstock (for the eyes)


Start by making your liquid starch, if you’re DIY-ing it. Follow the directions here.

Next, rig up a “form” to create your starched ghosts. I used a tall vase with a balloon attached to the top.

DIY Ghost Orb

Soak your cheesecloth or fabric, depending on which material you’re using, in the liquid starch and wring out the excess liquid.

DIY Ghost Orb - starch

Drape the piece of fabric over your ghost form. Allow to set for an hour or two.

DIY Ghost Orb

Once the fabric has set, prepare your orb. Stretch the opening of the balloon and pop in the submersible tea light (have it switched on). See this tutorial for more pictures of this step.  Blow up the balloon and tie it.

Insert the balloon into the fabric ghost. If it falls out with the weight of the tea light, you can secure it with some glue or tape. Ta-da!

DIY Ghost Orb

If you plan on lighting the ghost up multiple times, you’ll want to blow up a new balloon each time (so you can turn the light off when you’re not using the decoration).

This was the cheesecloth version…. didn’t love it…

DIY Ghost Orb - cheesecloth version


Fall Travel Destination: Picton, Ontario


Fall is my favorite time of year to travel, I think. Maybe it’s because most of my favorite travel activities are optimal in the fall – eating local fare, hiking, drives in the country, visiting farms and markets. I’m really not much of a lay out on the beach person. I’m far too restless (anxious??) for that.

I recently came across an awesome blog called Compass + Twine. The blog authors, Sarah and Lindsay, document their travels to amazing places, most of which are pretty accessible. They also travel a ton in New England, which, as I’ve previously mentioned, is one of my favorite areas to travel to. They’ve given me several ideas for new places to try out on our next adventure out there and they do such an amazing job of capturing the vibe of the places they visit.

So, when I recently stumbled across a group of pictures from a past trip to Picton, Ontario in the fall, I thought it would be fun to follow their example and share with you why I so highly recommend the area as a fall destination. Read More

Butternut Squash, Wheat Berry, Cranberry & Goat Cheese Salad

Butternut Squash, Wheat Berry, Cranberry & Goat Cheese Salad (Trader Joe's copycat)

It’s rare that I leave Trader Joe’s without at least one of their Butternut Squash & Wheat Berry salads (in the prepared foods section). It’s my favorite salad there, hands down. Unfortunately for me, the nearest Trader Joe’s is about 25 minutes away, so I don’t get out there as much as I’d like to. Fortunately, the ingredients for this salad are easily found at our local grocery store, less than five minutes down the road. This salad is hearty and healthy and will probably go into our weekly rotation come fall, since all the ingredients will be in season! Read More

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

These Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches are sooo yummy and perfect for a hot summer day. Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is sandwiched between fresh, homemade chocolate chip cookies, then rolled in mini chocolate chips. Tastes like cookies & milk. Say no more.

If you like to bake, you probably have a go-to Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. The beauty of these is that the combinations are endless. This recipe is tried and delicious and highly recommended. But I wouldn’t be offended if you used your own chocolate chip cookie recipe – once you’ve found a good one, it’s hard to stray!

If you have an ice cream maker, you can make your own ice cream (which I’m sure would make these guys even better!); however, I don’t have one so I settled for some store-bought, but good quality ice cream.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

Makes approx. 10 Ice Cream Sandwiches


1 c. Unsalted Butter, softened

1 c. packed Brown Sugar

1 c. White Sugar

2 Large Eggs

2 tsp. Vanilla

3 c. Flour

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Baking Soda

1 1/2 c. Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Mini Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter and both sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla.

In a separate bowl, thoroughly combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Beat into butter and sugar mixture until combined. Add chocolate chips.

On an ungreased pan, drop consistently sized spoonfuls of dough. (Recipe will make 20-24 cookies depending on the size of the drops).

Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Once the cookies have cooled, scoop approx. 1/4 of ice cream onto half of the cookies. Sandwich the top with another cookie. Pour the mini chocolate chips onto a plate or bowl. Roll the edges of the ice cream into the chocolate chips. *Note* you may need to work in batches – make a couple and then put into the freezer – to prevent the cream from melting while you assemble all of the sandwiches.

The sandwiches can be eaten immediately (recommended) or wrapped in wax paper and store in plastic freezer bags.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches