Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

In case you need a reminder, I’m pretty squarely settled in the “if it’s not chocolate, it’s not dessert” camp. For these cookies though, I’ll make an exception. These may for me even usurp Oreos as what my Dad likes to refer to as “coffee dunkers”. 😁 Thick but fluffy and infused with warm fall spices, these cookies are sure to be a hit with the pumpkin lover in your life. Or in my case, any cookie lover 😊 Plan ahead as you have to let the dough refrigerate at least an hour before baking!
For the cookies:
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the coating:
½ cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
Dash of allspice

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to blend and set aside.
With your mixer, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, then add the pumpkin puree.

Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated and no dry streaks remain. Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

Once your dough is chilled, assemble your coating materials. You’ll also need a cup filled with water and a flat-bottomed glass for this step (the bottom of a stemless wine glass works well for this!). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Combine the sugar and spices for the coating in a bowl and mix to blend.

Scoop up about 2.5 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Coat the dough ball in the sugar-spice mixture and place on your cookie sheet, repeating with the remaining dough to fill the sheets. You may have to make several sheets; this recipe can make up to 4 dozen cookies depending on how big you make them.

Dip the bottom of your glass into the water, then the spice mixture, and use it to flatten the dough balls slightly. Recoat the glass in the spice mixture as needed, usually after 3-4 cookies.


Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until just set baked through. Let cool on the cookie sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container and share with the ones you love! 😊 Happy fall baking/eating!

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

Sausage and Butternut Squash Chili

Pinterest wins again! In an attempt to branch out from my usual red chili-green chili-chicken chili trifecta, I researched a few new chili recipes on the ubiquitous site and found this one intriguing. Sausage and… Squash? Ok. Sure. Goat cheese?! Practically a guaranteed yes in my book. Plus, it’s ready in 30 minutes! We know I like quick and simple. It’s even relatively healthy. Mark took one bite of this and said nothing else but “Mmmmm” until the bowl was empty. I thought the hot Italian sausage brought a nice kick this would have otherwise been missing, but perhaps we’ll give it a try with the original recipe’s suggestion of sweet. And fresh sage next time 😉


1 lb Italian sausage (we used hot; recipe called for sweet. Use what you like!)
1 tsp sage
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
12 oz butternut squash, puréed
1 cup chunky chipotle salsa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (personal preference; you can just use water if you don’t have the broth on hand.)
1-1.5 oz goat cheese

In a large saucepan, cook sausage and sage together, breaking sausage up into small pieces. Cook sausage until no longer pink.

Drain excess fat (if any, mine was pretty lean), leaving sausage in the pan. Add the beans, squash purée, salsa, and broth to the pan and stir until completely combined.

Heat over high heat, stirring frequently, until a boil is reached.

Now reduce your heat and let simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or long enough for the chili to thicken. Like this!
Scoop a good portion into a bowl and top with crumbled goat cheese. Mmmm indeed.

Recipe slightly adapted from A Family Feast

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I couldn’t possibly let the month of October pass without a single pumpkin recipe getting posted, so here’s a personal favorite. These muffins are great for breakfast, dinner, a random coffee break snack… Pretty much whenever. Rich but moist spicey, pumpkin cakeyness with the amazing surprise that is cream cheese filling are guaranteed to make these a favorite of yours as well.

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil
For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

To start, make your filling as it will take some time to chill. Combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours. Seriously, give it time or you’ll have a sloppy mess on your hands… I’m just sayin’.

Now to make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. This smells heavenly!
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended.

With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

To make the topping, whisk together the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.

Finally, let’s assemble these bad boys! Fill each muffin well with just enough batter to cover the bottom of the liner.

Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces… This is where that whole waiting-for-the-log-to-solidify thing comes into place. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. * Note mine are not pretty round discs… I was not patient this go-round. Big mistake!

Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. And for real. Wait. The filling will burn the aw-bahjeez outta your mouth if you don’t! You’ve been warned.


Recipe from Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Wine and Garlic Pork Chops

I could have easily called these “Date Night Pork Chops” or “Impress Your Dinner Guests Pork Chops” because done right, these look awful purty on a plate with some nice sides. However, this was a random weeknight and all I could think about were mashed potatoes – and you know what? Still dang good. Juicy, simply seasoned chops and a beef broth/wine reduction pan sauce are a lovely combination here. A nice little way to shake up your standard pork chop recipes, these also take minimal cooking time. What’s not to like?

6 medium-thin pork chops
2 tbsps olive oil
3 tbsps butter, divided
Salt And pepper
1 1/2 cups red wine
1/2 cup beef broth
1 whole bay leaf
1 tsps balsamic vinegar
18 whole peeled garlic cloves

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy skillet over high heat. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chops and brown on each side for about 2 minutes (they do not need to be fully cooked).
Remove the chops from the skillet and set aside.

Reduce the heat to medium-high, then throw in the whole garlic cloves. Ps- these are a dream.

Stir them around and cook them for several minutes, or until they get nice and golden brown.

Pour in the red wine, then add the bay leaf. Stir around and let it reduce, raising the heat need be. Cook the sauce for several minutes, or until it’s nice and reduced and thick. Stir in the beef broth and put the chops back into the sauce.

Use a spoon to scoop some of the sauce over the chops. Allow the chops to cook in the liquid for a few minutes, then pour in the balsamic. Shake the pan to swirl the sauce around a bit, then cook for a couple more minutes until the pork chops are done. Remove the chops from the pan and arrange on plates or a platter. Let the sauce reduce a little more if needed… It should be nice and thick at this point. Stir in the last tablespoon of butter and sprinkle in a little salt and pepper. Pour sauce, garlic and all, over chops and serve immediately.

See? Pretty even with plain ol’ mashed taters. And delicious to boot!

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman
Note: I halved the recipe listed, as it was just our lil family of 3.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Muffins

My FAVORITE season for baking is upon us! While I’ll have plenty of pumpkin recipes to serve up, I wanted to get this lovely apple treat out there before apple season is officially over. I’ll be honest, the whole cinnamon-apple combo is not one of my favorites, but I know plenty of folks who love it. Figured I’d branch out of my chocolate (or in the spirit of the season, pumpkin) zone and try it! So glad that I did. The original recipe says that these muffins have sort of a doughnut flavor to them, and while I’m not sure I agree with that assessment I do think they make a perfect breakfast food. With oats and whole wheat flour in the mix, you can also almost call them healthy… Almost 😉
For the apples:
5 medium apples, peeled and sliced
1½ tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
For the muffins:
1 cup oat flour (or 1 cup oatmeal finely ground)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup milk
½ cup low-fat greek yogurt or sour cream
1 large egg
For the topping:
3 tbsp. melted butter
¼ cup sugar
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg

To start, admire your pretty fall bounty before peeling and coarsest chopping. I used Gala apples for these, but I’m sure anything you have on hand would work.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the apples to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and browned, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line tins with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to blend. Inhale the scent of fall.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine the melted butter, milk, yogurt, and egg. Whisk until well blended. Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and fold together just until incorporated and no dry streaks remain. Fold in the chopped apples.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans filling each about 2/3 of the way full. Bake, rotating halfway through the baking time, until the muffins are lightly browned and just set, about 20 minutes total. Allow to cool in tins for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Now to top these lovelies with even more tasty goodness! Melt the butter in a small bowl. Combine the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl and whisk until evenly combined. Dip the top of a muffin in the melted butter…

then into the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat with a thin layer.
Repeat with the remaining muffins until they all look like this glorious little morsel here.

Makes about 14 muffins

Recipe slightly adapted from Annie’s Eats

Restaurant Review: Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza

Let me apologize in advance for a) the lack of photos in this post, and b) my obvious bias for another local pizza place I’ve previously reviewed. We decided to try Jockamo after a trip to the near East side to Under the Sun. I’ve been curious to check out the Irvington neighborhood for a while, and this provided the perfect opportunity! First of all- Irvington is adorable. I quickly found myself trying to convince Mark to move there when our lease is up 😉 Jockamo is situated in a strip of other local businesses, namely Black Acre Brewing (which I’ve also been eager to check out). Walking in, it looks like your standard pizza joint. It’s fairly large, and we were seated quickly near some other tables with kiddos. I will say, this place has our fave beat in the beer department- Jockamo offers a TON by way of fresh, local brews. They also had a special on bombers of our Chicago favorite, so naturally the Mr. had to order one. I went with a Sun King Oktoberfest. 👍
And now, I’m gonna earn some haters. We started off with an order of breadsticks and a side of their house Parmesan dipping sauce. The sticks were meh… Not very well seasoned, kinda generic. The sauce however was AMAZING, and they give you plenty of it.
The pizza menu was again pretty standard, with a few house specialty pies. We went with the Slaugterhouse 5, because a) who doesn’t love a good Vonnegut reference? And b) it comes with ALL OF THE MEATS. Solid.

It was… Good. But I have to say, for all of the hype, I wasn’t blown away! The crust was fine, the sauce was fine, the toppings were fine. Nothing really stood out. I would definitely choose Jockamo over Bazbeaux, but SoC definitely still stands as our favorite pizza place in Indy. We’ll likely make a return trip to try another of their offerings; Mark was especially intrigued by the Italian beef (of course) and some of the other pizzas and salads look tempting. The pizza was a bit pricy- we got a large so we’d have lunch leftovers and the pie alone is almost $21. For that, the breadsticks, a drink for Jack, and 2 beers, our bill with tip was about $50 (granted the bomber was $12, so we kept that in mind… But still.). Our waiter was definitely a bit frazzled by our hangry toddler but was otherwise fine and helpful with suggestions. Like I said, definitely warrants a return trip, if only because Nuvo readers consistently vote Jockamo among the top 3 in the city. I just hope to taste more to be excited about next time!

Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza is located in the Irvington neighborhood of Indianapolis at 5646 E Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46219.

Colorado Chili Verde

Around here, Sundays during football season mean one thing regarding dinner: chili. Mark suggested a few weeks into this season that we do a chili series- a new recipe for every Sunday of the season. Maybe next year! Anywho, this is a family favorite recipe that I’ve sort of cobbled together and made my own over the years… I’ve asked my aunt and mom for theirs a few times and have lost them, so I just kind of winged it and luckily have had excellent results. Most out here in Indiana have never heard of a green chili, and let me tell you- you ain’t livin’ til you’ve tried it. Smothering burritos (our preferred method) or enchiladas, or just served up by itself in a bowl, this is one recipe you’ll want in your repertoire. And have I mentioned it’s super easy?

1 tbsp olive oil
1-1.5 lbs pork loin/shoulder/whatever cut you want to use, diced
1.5 cups flour
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves (2 tsp) minced garlic
4 large canned diced green chilies
1 can green enchilada sauce
1.5 cups tomatillo salsa
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapeños (or plain if you prefer less spice)
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp oregano
Pinch of cloves (just trust me!)

Place flour in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Begin heating oil in the bottom of a large stockpot/Dutch oven. Dice up your pork into small cubes…
Then coat your pork in the flour mixture.
Add coated pork to the stockpot and cook until browned. Add onion and cook until translucent.

Ok, hard work is done. Now dump all the rest of your ingredients into the pot and give it a good stir…

Clean up the cans all over your counter top 😕

And let that beautiful mess simmer for at least 30 minutes. I usually cook mine for a few hours- a) to really let those spices mingle and get good and hot, and b) we like our chili thicker and more reduced.

Serve as you desire! Add some cheese if you’d like; I don’t think this particular recipe needs it. A little piece of my home out West! Hope you enjoy. 😊

S’more Cupcakes

Is there anything that screams “bonfire” more than a s’more? I’ve made these cupcakes for a camping themed birthday party, and several times just because. 😊 This particular instance was a work Labor Day party… Might as well bring a bit of end-of-summer fun while we’re stuck indoors working. They are a bit time consuming but totally worth it! Buttery graham cracker crust, rich chocolate cake, and sweet marshmallowy meringue frosting… Can’t you just taste the s’mores goodness?

For the graham cracker crust:
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
5 1/3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
For the cake:
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2 sticks plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup sour cream
For the frosting:
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners. In a small mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter; mix well with a fork.
Drop about 1 tablespoon of the graham cracker mixture in the bottom of each cupcake liner and press down to line the bottom (I used the bottom of my tablespoon; you could easily use a small glass or something similar.)
Bake for 5 minutes, then set aside.

Next, combine the cocoa powder and hot water and whisk until smooth. In another medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to blend. Combine the butter and sugar in another medium bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between, until butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until the mixture is cool, about 4-5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Blend in the vanilla and then the cocoa mixture until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing each addition just until incorporated. Fill cupcake liners with batter, each about ¾-full. Bake for about 18 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Set aside to cool.
Ooooh, this frosting. Here we do again 😉 Combine the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar in a bowl set over a pan of a few inches of simmering water. Heat the mixture, whisking frequently, until it reaches 160° F with an instant-read thermometer. Here’s proof that it WILL eventually get there:

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer, and start whisking. Start at low speed and gradually increasing to medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form. Mix in the vanilla until combined. Transfer to a pastry bag and pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

If you really want to up your cupcake game, brown the marshmallow frosting with a kitchen torch, lighter- whatever fire source you have. Additional garnish could include mini graham crackers and chocolate bars if you have them on hand! Really wishing I had a photo of the ones I did for the birthday party now. They looked so cute!

Like I said, a bit more time consuming but the results are perfectly scrumptious! Hope you work up the courage to give ’em a try. 😊

Recipe from Annie’s Eats

BBQ Turkey Meatballs with Cheddar Corn Quinoa

Ever find yourself stuck in a dinner rut? For some reason, when I find myself getting bored with our dinner routines, we end up with a week where at least 3 if the meals are new and untested. This meal came from one of those weeks. We are always looking for ways to incorporate leaner meats into our diet and quinoa is a favorite side around here, so it was destined to be a hit. These meatballs are NO JOKE. Full of flavor and BBQ awesomeness, the toddler even enjoyed these immensely. Healthy, delicious, easy, AND kid-friendly? Sign me up! Mark and I did agree that the dressing could have done without the apple cider vinegar, so we’ll try it without next time.

For the meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 scallion, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dry mustard
3/4 tsp course salt
Pinch of cayenne
2 tsp brown sugar
5 tbsp bbq sauce, divided
For the quinoa:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Course salt
Black pepper
1 can sweet corn
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 scallion, minced
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. I whipped up the dressing first, but of course you don’t have to. In a small bowl, combine your olive oil, crushed red peppers, garlic, and apple cider vinegar.
*Mark and I agreed this would be good without the apple cider vinegar… Maybe even better.
Let’s make some meatballs! Throw 2 tbsp of BBQ sauce and then the rest of the meatball ingredients into a medium bowl.

Mix it all up, then use your hands to give it all a good mushin’. Use a dough scoop or 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop meatballs onto prepared baking sheet.

Now, I got ahead of myself here and coated my meatballs with the remaining 3 tbsp of sauce before baking. The original recipe says to bake the meatballs a bit first, then coat, then bake some more. I think mine turned out pretty well, but you can try it either way you’d like. Soooo, I coated the meatballs and threw ’em in the oven for about 15 minutes.

While those are cooking, make your quinoa. We’re using the broth in place of water to cook the quinoa- which I recommend doing all the time, especially when the quinoa is the side dish. The flavor is just so much nicer! Anywho. Prepare quinoa as package directions state, subbing broth for water. Once your quinoa is cooked, mix in the corn, scallion, cilantro, and cheese…

And add the dressing.

Mix it all together. Serve meatballs over quinoa. Super easy, huh? Enjoy! 😄

Recipe slightly adapted from Pink Parsley

Talbott Street Cocktail

As far as I know, this is an original recipe. I wanted something besides a plain ol’ gin and tonic- my usual warm weather go-to. To be honest, this was a total fluke! I knew I enjoy a splash of lemon in both my g & t’s and my iced passion tea… Why shouldn’t they go together? A little sweet, a little tart, and refreshing to boot. I named it after our colorful, diverse street in the historic Herron-Morton neighborhood of downtown Indianapolis. Don’t wait until next summer to give this delightful adult beverage a try!

1.5 oz gin
3 oz brewed Tazo iced passion tea
3 oz tonic (diet for me) water
Splash of lemon juice

Add ice cubes to high ball glass. Add ingredients. Enjoy 😎