Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Cookies are my favorite go to treat! I will take a cookie over a piece of cake any day! I love all sorts of cookies, but this time of year, my go to cookie is the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I have had sooooooooooo many people tell me how much they love this cookie and have requested I make them on several occasions (Fall or not). Over the past couple years I have made them, I have tweaked this recipe just right to make it even more delicious and allergy friendly for our family! (The original recipe is from Food Network and you can find it here.)

These make about 48 cookies, so it is plenty to share….if you want too. I found these cute boxes at Target.com you could “gift” your baked goods in, if you are attending a holiday party or potluck! I love a simple crafters box, but this is so cute with the little decal to write on! (if you make a purchase through the affiliate link provided, I receive a small percentage back to my blog!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vegan butter ( I have also used Crisco in a pinch. If you don’t have to worry about a dairy allergy, regular butter works as too!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 (12 ounce) bag of dark chocolate chunks, dairy free version
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350•
  2. Beat sugar and butter together, in a mixer, until ingredients are well blended. Add eggs, vanilla and pumpkin puree. Mix until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves together.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients while mixing together in mixer. I typically had 1/4 cup at a time, so that I don’t get dry ingredients all over myself and my kitchen.
  5. Turn mixer off and add your dark chocolate chunks, mix by hand until evenly combined.
  6. Spray nonstick spray on baking sheets, scoop 1 tablespoon size cookies onto baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes.
  7. Cool down on a wire cookie rack, serve with your favorite milk or enjoy by themselves! Watch out, they are addicting!

Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Pumpkin spice makes everything nice! If you are like me and love pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice cakes and cookies, you will LOVE these waffles. If you don’t, just share this with someone who will!

Waffles are one of my favorite breakfast foods, we purchased a waffle iron a couple years ago and I try to use it often. I purchased this one at Target, if you don’t have a waffle iron this is an affordable one to start with. It’s under $20 and does the job to make delicious Belgian waffles, one at a time. Now if your family is larger than 2-3 people you may want to consider a larger waffle iron, like this one I found on Target.com. (The links provided are affiliate links, any purchases made using those links provide a small percentage of income for this blogger.)

Once you have your waffle iron ready to use, make your batter! The batter is simple to mix together and it will make around 8 Belgian waffles. One waffle is very filling for some, so we normally start with one per a person!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce in replace of oil. (If you want to use oil, use vegetable oil 1/2 cup)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup milk (of your choice, I use almond milk)

Optional toppings: 

  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Chocolate Sauce
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • Cinnamon & Sugar
  • Whipped Cream

Directions: 

  1. Turn waffle iron on, I use the hottest setting available.
  2. Combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl. (Flour, sugar, baking powder, spices)
  3. Combine wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well together until everything is combined.
  4. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto hot waffle iron, let it cook through. (Approx 5 minutes per waffle)
  5. Serve immediately, topped with your favorite waffle toppings!

Pumpkin Spice Waffle with Chocolate Chips

Winter Box Spoiler Alert – Fab Fit Fun

I love my subscription to Fab Fit Fun! Every season, I get a new box filled with over $200 worth of goodies for $49.99! (I paid for a year in advance and received a discount of $20 off the whole year and I only paid $179.99 which breaks down to $44.99 a box! More on why I chose a year in advance below ⇓)

The Winter box has been kept quiet up until this week! We received TWO spoiler alerts this week and the items look fabulous! 23117117_147156306016234_5108052852975571988_oI’m so excited for the BB Dakota Poncho, it is perfect for winter here in the Southwest and will be great for those in much colder states to layer. It comes in three colors and if you are a select member (paid for the yearly membership upfront) of Fab Fit Fun you get to choose which color poncho you would like this season along with many other personalization options.

23000225_147156302682901_8567042313276386469_oThe other item that was revealed is a FULL bottle of the award winning Kate Somerville Skincare Exfolikate. Exfoliating during winter is important to keep your skin looking great and glowing. With such harsh weather outside, it takes a toll on our skin and exfoliating with Kate Somerville’s Skincare items will keep your face beautiful and bright all season long, so you look amazing in every holiday photo!

 

Use the code: SANTABABY to save $10 off your Winter Fab Fit Fun box! Use my link here

Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

Fall is here, I’ve been decorating my house slowly and cooking up a storm. It’s still pretty warm here in Southern Arizona, but I want my favorite cold weather comfort food! I love a delicious pot pie, but sometimes I just don’t have the energy to make a pie crust. So I tweaked my usual dairy free pot pie recipe and created this Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie. It is simple, delicious and perfect for a quick meal! If you aren’t dealing with a dairy allergy, you can most certainly use biscuits from the refrigerated aisle at your supermarket to make this even more simple!

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients for Filling: 

  • 2 Chicken Breast
  • 8 Ounces Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 Cup Onion, chopped
  • 1 TBS Garlic, chopped
  • 1 TBS Vegan Butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 TBS Flour
  • 10 Ounce bag of Frozen veggie blend
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Milk (unsweetened)
  • Pepper, Salt to taste

Ingredients for Dairy Free Biscuits: 

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1 TB Sugar
  • 3 TB Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 3/4 cup Almond milk (unsweetened)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 450° to bake your biscuits.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar salt and then cut in the coconut oil ( I use virgin coconut oil, since it resembles shortening). Once combined and resembling crumbs, stir in the unsweetened almondmilk.
  3. I dropped these onto a baking sheet and baked them for 12 minutes or until golden on top.
  4. While the biscuits are baking start your chicken. I diced the two chicken breast in bite sizes and pan seared them with onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Once the chicken is cooked thoroughly (no pink!) about 7 minutes, remove from pan.
  5. Start your roux in the same pan, melt the butter and add the flour in the pan whisking until a paste forms. Add in your almond milk and keep whisking until a nice creamy sauce has formed. Add veggies, chicken stock and the cooked chicken into the same pan and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Serve in a large bowl and top with your homemade biscuit! Enjoy immediately!

 

 

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

My husband LOVES buffalo chicken, spices on everything and flavorful meals. In an effort to eat healthier I whipped this up and he loved it!

It has all the flavor of a hot wing but is made with a vegetable! Seriously! Safe for vegans, vegetarians and those who are trying to watch their calories! These are baked, not fried and packed with flavor!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Head of Cauliflower, florets taken off in bite sizes
  • 1 1/2 Cups flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Almond milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegan Butter
  • 1 Cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • (Optional) Red Pepper Flakes

Utensils: 

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring Cup
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Wire Rack
  • Cookie Sheet that hold wire rack
  • Spoon to mix or use your hands to really get in there!

Directions: 

  1. Preheat Oven to 450 °
  2. Dry off cauliflower and have it ready in bite size pieces
  3. Mix Flour, Almond milk, garlic powder along with salt and pepper to taste. This is where you will add in the optional chili flakes if you want it extra spicy!
  4. Dip cauliflower and really coat it with the batter. It gets a bit messy but you will want to make sure it’s all evening coated.
  5. Put Cauliflower on the wire rack, which should be situated on top of the cookie sheet. (Spraying cooking sheet with oil or nonstick spray is helpful and makes cleanup simple!)
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, turn over and bake for another 10-15 minutes. This ensures they are crispy!
  7. While those are baking, start preparing your sauce. We used Frank’s Red Hot and mixed it with the two tablespoons of vegan butter. You can do this on the stove or in the microwave. You are welcome to add more red pepper flakes to kick it up another notch!
  8. Once the baked cauliflower comes out, dip or drizzle the hot sauce on them. I personally like to dip them to make sure they are evenly coated with the hot sauce. I then place them back on the wire rack they were baking on and bake them an additional 6 minutes.
  9. Serve with your favorite vegan ranch dip or eat them alone!

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

These are perfect for one person or you can make them to share! We love them as an appetizer in our house, when the kids are eating pizza.

 

Looking at my Marriage

I used to think marriage would be easy. You love someone, get along famously and you will live happily ever after.

Reality sets in and I soon realized it takes a lot of work.

I was divorced from my first husband at the age of 25. 25! Most people I know didn’t even get married until they were 25! Which is smart, you typically don’t know your own self until the age of 25. I instill in my oldest daughter, she is to not even THINK about marriage until the age of 25.

Marriages fail for many reasons, while alot of them are because of trust issue, infidelity and lying, others are because people grow apart and nobody wants to work on the marriage. I learned alot about myself during my divorce, alot about my ex husband and his family. While the details of my divorce are not relevant at this point in my life, nor do I feel I need to share them for the sake of our child together, I can tell you it made me stronger, smarter and wiser.

Marriage takes two people, working together, building the life they both want. It’s not one sided, it will NOT work if both partners are not working together.

I married Mr. Right, aka my husband Daniel, in 2014. We had dated long distance for a little over a year, he made the move across the country in 2012 and we moved in with one another and bought our first house by 2013. By 2014, we were hitched on the beach somewhere beautiful and I thought we would be happy, forever and always. We decided to start trying for a baby in Fall of 2015 and we welcomed our beautiful little girl in January 2017.

Man o man, does bringing in a precious little life into this world mix things up.

Everything in our marriage has been wonderful, beautiful and perfect up until a couple weeks ago. I originally wasn’t going to share this, I thought, we will handle this together, quietly and figure it out. Oh but writing is so therapeutic, because being alone with my thoughts most days is so harmful.

Everyday stresses add up and can really take a toll on someone and a marriage. Sometimes we don’t realize this and the bustke of our everyday lives gets away from us and you just get into the same grind, day after day. 

To relax and try to unwind, my husband and I like to enjoy a drink (beer or wine, depending on our mood) once in awhile, and after a few drinks after dinner a few weeks ago, my husband, the jokester that he is, made a few racy comments to my best friend and it went a bit too far. It hurt me, emotionally. 

I kept thinking how could he say that? Why would you say that to her? I couldn’t even imagine saying  that to anyone?! Like seriously dude, after all we’ve been through in 6 years?! 

So, we have took a step back to examine our situation and our marriage. Sure having a new baby in our lives and on one income has been tough on us financially as well as emotionally, but is that the reason for those comments to my best friend?!

We fought in private away from our kids and we had some ugly nasty tears rolling. We argued pretty nasty for people who love each other so much. He is embarrassed for what he said, I’m embarrassed for the whole situation and we’ve done alot of talking about EVERYTHING. Some things were said, that obviously can’t be unsaid and we’re hurtful but we can work on it, right?

When you remove the kid’s, house, bills and jobs, what do you have left in a marriage?

We’ve taken a step back and realized we are literally living and breathing just for these things and have forgotten US. We have since removed all beer & wine from our house and it will not be reappearing anytime soon. No more drinking to numb the pain of our everyday chaotic lives just to deal and keep moving.

Since this occurrence, we realized we haven’t taken the time in the past year to have a date, spend one and one time alone over dinner or even go for a walk with just the two of us. We used to love doing silly things together and being active together. But where did all this US time go?

So what do you do? We looked into marriage counseling and since we couldn’t find anyone near us nor anyone affordable 30 miles away, we decided to take this on by ourselves. We can fail or come out on top of our marriage.

Since failing is not an option to either of us, we are working hard to make our marriage matter again.

Our girls are our top priority, they always will be. However, we are next on that list and then followed by everything else in our lives that matter less.

We have since been on a date alone and plan on going on a date every month and to do something we can do without the kids, be it a movie, just dinner late at night alone and uninterrupted, shopping or some other new adventure we find along the way. I don’t care if it’s not spontaneous, we can be spontaneous in other aspects of our lives like the bedroom. We’ve ditched our phones at the dinner table and in bed, along with while we watch TV together. We have made more of an effort to spend alone time together, chatting and just being.

We are a work in progress for sure and I can only pray we stay strong and continue fighting together for our marriage.

I don’t have the answers to it all, nor do I know anyone who does. Sometimes taking a step back from the current situation is all you need to move forward, in the right direction.

❤ K