Blissfully Delicious

SC Pumpkin Cupcakes 2 Happy Friday everyone. I’m so ready for the weekend, are you? I’m celebrating the weekend by sharing with you my first pumpkin recipe for the season. This is the last week of September, so I think we’re ready for a pumpkin recipe, right? I made my first homemade Salted Caramel Sauce last weekend, and took advantage of it by using it in a frosting to be  paired up  with a new pumpkin cupcake recipe. I made this version of a pumpkin cupcake recipe several years ago and honestly can’t even remember it in detail. I do remember that this brown-butter pumpkin version was pretty fantastic.

SC Pumpkin Cupcakes 3 I have however been eyeing this comparison post here for the past FIVE years, and I had that saved in my mental library to make in the fall. I was pretty excited to finally try the winning cupcake recipe.  With description like: “light, fluffy, not sticky on the top”, I figured that I had to try, after all, those would be descriptions that I would want from my ideal cupcakes. Just like there are two camps of brownies people: “cakey” vs. “fudgy”, I also believe that there are two different cake people: “dense” and “fluffy”. And I’m a “fluffy” kind of cake person all the way. Hands down. No converting me. So don’t even try. This cupcake hit all of the right notes for a perfect fall cupcake: all of the great harvest spices, strong pumpkin flavors, and beautiful tender crumbs from the generous amount of buttermilk. And that frosting… that is an insanely rich and delicious frosting that you just need to try. Have a great weekend everyone!

Salted Caramel Sauce 2 I must be the last person on earth to have made my own homemade salted caramel sauce. What do you think? No? OK. Well maybe the last food blogger then. I love sweet and salty combination – and always have adored that profile flavors together. So my excuse is then: I just haven’t gotten around to making it at home. I made a decision that this was about to change: I had to make this sauce this year, and that finally happened this weekend. Seriously? Wow! Why did it take me so long to make this? It was just a perfection in a jar, and I couldn’t just stop licking off the stirring spoon. The salt really brings all of the caramel flavors and its warm notes to the front.

Salted Caramel Sauce
If you have never made this before – please read all instructions before you proceed, get all of your ingredients ready to go and make sure that you’re not distracted while doing this. Follow all of the steps per the instruction. Making caramel is one of those things that it can go from perfection to a disaster in a matter of few seconds. Once you figure out the hang of making this, it will go pretty quickly, and you’ll want this on everything, like ice-cream, French toast, apple pie, cupcakes, etc. With the way this week has been going, I think the entire batch may be gone by this weekend. Stay tuned for another recipe that I would be sharing later on this week using this new delicious sauce.

Are you ready for a season of flannel shirts, boots, crisp autumn air, gorgeous leaves,  pumpkins, apples, and lots of yummy homemade goods? I totally am! Summer was really great, but I have a soft spot for fall.  To celebrate the first day of fall tomorrow, I thought that I’d start off this week by sharing some of the my past favorite fall recipes that I’m looking forward to make this season!!

Apple Fritters – there is nothing more perfect than these crispy and pillowy treats, full of apple chunks and cinnamon dough cover in sweet glaze. Make sure that you take advantage of this apple season by making these special treats for your family.

bread stuffing

Herbed Bread Stuffing – it’s crazy to think of how easy and yummy this stuffing is, but I only make this once a year. I mean, there is nothing stopping me to make this all-year long. But I don’t usually think about making this stuffing until September hits; and this one is so worth waiting for!

Roast Chicken with Sage and Garlic – while we love roast chickens, I just don’t seem to get my act together to put this together. Not only that it’s such a beautiful and delicious dish, it usually gets me a few meals. I’m looking forward for fall and winter Sundays where I’d get to hopefully make this dish for our Sunday dinner.

Loaded Baked Potato Soup (Slow Cooker) – Fall means that we’re in the brink of winter. Long winter nights mean that we need something hearty slow-cooking like soup. Not only that it warms my soul to smell something like this cooking slowly all day, but it also will warm my tummy. Perfect soup to dip my crusty bread in.

Patty Melt – Mmm…. colder months mean HOT melty sandwiches. Hooray! This one is a favorite one that always shows up on our menu when we want something relatively quick, but still hearty and feel a little special.

And if you’re looking for some pumpkin inspirations, come check out my last year’s pumpkin round up. The Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread above has became my go-to recipe for a quick bread in the autumn. It’s so delicious with the added flavors from olive oil.

And finally, I reached out to some of my fellow Iowa food bloggers, and here are some of their fall favorites that they’re looking forward to make. Go check them out and say hello.

Caramel Apple Crisp  – Stephanie, over at Been There and Baked That, is looking forward to enjoy apples as dessert (ahem, and breakfast!). This is such a perfect and simple recipe to highlight apples.

Apple Butter (Slow-cooker) – Stephanie is a guru when it comes to kitchen time-saving tips, including using slow-cooker. As a fellow busy mom, I always appreciate a good slow-cooker recipe. It comes so handy when you want to use up those apples that you just pick.

Garden Chowder – Jenny, who blogs at In the Kitchen with Jenny, is sharing her favorite veggie soup. Fall is definitely a soup weather, and this chowder uses sweet potatoes, mmm! Doesn’t this look delish?

Homemade Apple Cider  – Jenny is also sharing this fall’s favorite drink. Serve it warm or cold – it will be enjoyed by everyone.

Pumpkin Buttermilk Waffles – Mmm…. there isn’t a better way to start your fall mornings with a stack of these pumpkin waffles. Thank you Jenny!

French Bread Pepperoni Pizza Bites – Kim, over at Two and a Coupon, shares a few of her favorite recipes that she loves to make with her family of four. Fall is a season of lots of family and friends gatherings; these pizza bites will disappear in no times. The next two are also her recipes.

Easy Chili – Do you want to find ways to include your kids in the kitchen? This easy chili recipe is a great place to start, and it’s hearty as well.

Easy Cornbread Cake  – you obviously can’t have chili without corn-bread. Make this one too to go along with your chili, and you’ll have your complete meal.

Chicken Calvados and Apple, Wini from the Bonne Femme Cookbook, is excited to be sharing her fancy French-inspired chicken dish. This impressive dish also only takes 30-minutes to make. What else are you waiting for??

Baked Apple Cream – Jeni, who blogs over at Jeni’s Eats,  is looking forward to make this dish, that looks pretty interesting to me – and reminds me of clafoutis (probably similar concept?). Either way, any recipe with “cream” on the title definitely makes me swoon for an extra spoon.

 Perfect Lard Pastry and Pear Pie – Cristen, whose family raise hogs and blogs at Food and Swine, is looking forward to make this lard-based pie crust fill with pears, another favorite fruit that’s sometimes forgotten in the heaps of apples and pumpkins.

Caramel Apples, mmm… I’m drooling as I am pulling up this recipe. Seriously, anyone who doesn’t eat ONE caramel apple in the fall is totally missing out. What’s the best way to guarantee that you eat more than one? Make them yourself at home! Thanks Cristen for sharing another recipe.

q browniesEvery Friday afternoon, I always wish that I can shut off the rest of the world, and just bake all weekends. No worries about errands, chores, or the ever-laundry baskets that seems to refill itself. Weekends are my best friends; when I get to pretend that I don’t have anywhere else to be other than home. I get to pretend that I’m living a simpler life, no meetings or emails to respond to – and I get to cook and bake what I want, and not have to worry about what menu that I should be cooking to for dinner, lunches to pack, ingredients that may go bad in the frig if I don’t use them up quickly. Yeah, those lemons hiding on the bottom of the produce drawer – I need to find something to use them up so they don’t go bad.
q brownies 2
Weekends are ideally spent baking that special loaf of bread for breakfast, or a new dessert recipe, maybe even layered cakes that I can just spend hours frosting and decorating. But since no layered cakes were baked this year (not even for birthdays), I thought to myself that I would make brownies instead. It’s relatively simple to prepare, and if I’m lucky enough that I get to try a new recipe like this brownie –then it’s like hitting a jackpot of insanely good, fudgy chocolate brownies. I mean, it’s a big deal – to have a reliable recipe that you can count on to deliver “Oh-wow, awesome brownie!” type of raves. After eating this brownie, I knew that I’m now a “fudgy” brownies camp versus the “cakey” camp. And this one, literally hit all of the requirement of what I would call an ideal brownie: very chocolaty, fudgy, full with walnuts, and with an extra special layer of white chocolate. Try it and I wish you a wonderful weekend free of chores and “to-do’s”! :)

phily cheesesteaks 2 I hope you guys had an awesome weekend and are ready for the week. I had a pretty good weekend, completely unstructured and got an opportunity to wind down. Well unstructured for my definition anyways :) We had the big rivals football game this past Saturday (between U of Iowa and the Iowa State), and I took advantage of the facts that most people were probably watching football by hitting the malls :) I was right though, the malls were pretty quiet, and I was successful in avoiding the crowds.  I got to pick up a few new work slacks for me and stocked up on clearanced summer clothes for the kids next year. It was really a win-win for us.

phily cheesesteaksOne of the things that I was able to try making this weekend is these yummy hot sandwiches. Cold weather always makes me think of hot sandwiches and homemade soups; and they’re so wonderful for quick suppers or weekend lunches, when I don’t have a lot of time to cook. I have been wanting to make these for about three years now, and of course, as soon as I made them, I regretted waiting this long to make them. They were so easy, delicious, and pretty quick to prepare. My hubby pointed out that he can easily eat two of these, so while this recipe states that it makes four sandwiches, it may only serve two :) In the future, I may add adding some green peppers and mushrooms so that I’d end up with five sandwiches, and it’s also a great way to incorporate more veggies into our meals.