Make Your Own Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend Recipe

I have several jars of store bought Pumpkin Pie Spice in my pantry, none of which I use.  Can we all agree that the stuff tastes like potpourri?  Not that I'm in the habit of noshing on potpourri, but you know what I mean. Right? Do folks even use potpourri anymore?  I remember it was everywhere when I was a kid, but last week we saw some at a store and my eight year old was thoroughly perplexed by the stuff.  Why would they make a product that looks and smells like snack food, but can't be eaten?  I have to admit, he has a point.

Anyway, I'm always so hopeful when I buy a jar and then I'm systematically let down and end up using my own combination of spices instead.  So this year, rather wasting money on another let down, I decided to whip up my own batch.  And I'm so glad I did because it's delicious! (And not potpourri-ey at all!)  I've been using it in everything from ice cream, to icing, to mug cakes!  This Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe is definitely a keeper.  

The Best Roast Asparagus EVER.

The Best Roast Asparagus EVER.

We had a barbecue this summer and my friend Meaghan brought over asparagus to roast.  It was the most deliciously yummy asparagus I have ever tasted ever in my whole entire life.  And I even ordered asparagus at the stupidly expensive restaurant we went to for our tenth wedding anniversary.  Meaghan's asparagus was better.  The bonus?  It's incredibly easy to make.

This asparagus is divine on its own, or if you want to make it even fancier (maybe trying to impress a boyfriend or the boss), drizzle some hollandaise sauce over it.  But beware, it will probably get you a promotion or proposal, so just be prepared.  It's that awesome.  (Even my eight year old eats it).

Baked Potato Soup - Slow Cooker Style

Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup

September!  Official soup season!  YAY!!!  This Loaded Baked Potato Soup recipe is my most popular recipe to date (although French Dip Crescent Rolls are a very close second!).  It's also my husband's very favorite dish.  Often times I'll throw in some pre-cooked chicken breast at the end to make it a full meal.

Before we get to the recipe, here are answers to the most frequently asked questions:
  • This is the slow cooker I use (and it's a tight fit): Crock Pot 7 Quart Slow Cooker.
  • This is the immersion blender I use and it's probably my favorite kitchen gadget: Cuisinart Immersion Blender.
  • Yes, you can make this on the stove-top.
  • You can use regular or low fat cream cheese, but not fat-free.
  • No, I don't think it's too much garlic.
  • No, I don't think it's too much onion.
  • No, you really don't need to peel the potatoes.
  • Yes, you can freeze this, we always freeze half for another day!
Hope that helps and don't hesitate to shoot me an email if you have other questions or concerns!

Flourless Pumpkin Spice Mug Cake and Setting Up a Coffee Bar!

This Flourless Pumpkin Spice Mug Cake Recipe is sponsored by Lunchbox, all recipes and opinions belong to Mama Loves Food. #WhatsBrewingOnCampus
Flourless Pumpkin Spice Mug Cake Recipe

When I went to college back in the 90's (please pretend you didn't read that), it was the first year my university had outfitted every dorm room with a mini fridge and microwave combo.  We thought it was pretty darn posh (it was!) and made (tried to make) everything imaginable in those tiny little microwave ovens.  I cooked so many foods from cornish game hen, to cake, and of course ramen, popcorn, and coffee in mine. As kids are going back to school and college now, I'm reminded of our silly food experiments and attempts and making those shoe box dorm rooms feel like home.

This Flourless Pumpkin Mug Cake is a delicious and quick treat that takes about 3 minutes from start to finish.  It's dense, silky, and the perfect amount for one.  The only kitchen items needed are a microwave, a mug, and a fork!  I like to top it with some Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Icing, but a dusting of powdered sugar would work just fine too!

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream (No Churn)

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream (No Churn)

What do you do when the calendar says "Back to School Season" but the weather report says "Heat Index of 105 with Tropical Storm brewing" --- you think I kid, but this is really my life. (Yes, it's okay to feel bad for me).  Rather than mourn the fact that boots and sweater weather is months off (if it shows up at all), I did the next best thing and celebrated the season Florida style with a quick No-Churn Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream.

This Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream is so easy to make and tastes like a creamy, light and fluffy pumpkin pie filling in ice cream form.  I topped mine with a few sprinkles and some caramel magic shell and was in Autumn heaven.  Some folks may suggest you simplify this recipe further by using pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice (and I won't come physically stop you), but I'm saying it now, this combination of spices much better.  So, do what you will.  So long as it's my way.  (See what I did there?)

Easy Chicken Nachos and Back to School Shoe Shopping

This is a partnered post written by me on behalf of Stride Rite for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
Copycat Alehouse Chicken Nachos

Two things I love (love, love love!) are cooking and shopping.  If I could spend my days in a haze of creative kitchening and consumerism, I would be a blissfully happy gal.  That said, two things I very (very, very, very!) strongly dislike are cooking and shopping when they're not on my terms.  Exhibit A: my five children whining at me that they're hungry (didn't I just feed them lunch???) and they don't want anything on the menu plan. Exhibit B: my daughter telling me her sneakers no longer fit as we're walking out the door.

I do not enjoy cooking out of obligation when I know the result, however delicious, will be ill received.  Sometimes you just can't please kids.  Amiright?  So, for days when nothing's going according to plan.  When we have to run out at the last minute to shoe the children.  When there are 14 after-school activities planned at 11 different locations.  Those days when I desperately want to throw up my hands in the air and take us all to a (sports) bar for dinner.  I have Easy Chicken Nachos.

These Chicken Nachos are modeled after a local restaurant that is a little bit famous for them.  Or maybe it's just my favorite thing on the menu.  Who can tell?  They're super easy to whip up, and are great fun to eat.  I like to make them piled high in a large skillet (which is how they're served at the restaurant), but you can totally do them in a roasting pan too.  So Monday (of course it was a Monday) after a mad dash to Target for new sneakers, we sat down together and dug into a heaping pan of Chicken Nachos served with fresh Pico de Gallo, Pickled Garlic Jalapenos, and sour cream.  It's basically what every Monday needs.


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