Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

I always get so super pumped when mid-October hits because all of the Halloween movies start coming on! All I want to do is take a few weeks of vacation and hibernate at home on the couch in cozy pajamas eating lots of fall soups and binging on our favorite Halloween movies. Then I realize that I have an almost-two-year old and having Michael Myers on in the background is probably not the best parenting choice I could make. Oh well, we will just have to watch Hocus Pocus on repeat and that’s fine with me too!

We are so excited to take Madeline trick-or-treating this year for the first time. She is going as Minnie Mouse because she has been pretty obsessed lately. The only problem is she hates wearing things on her head so I just know she is going to rip the ears right now. So, really, she will probably just wear a pink polka dot dress. Oh well.

And now that Halloween is rapidly approaching, the parties are also starting and desserts are always a great dish to bring! These pumpkin cheesecake swirl brownies are perfect for Halloween and even into the holiday season. My number one rule for brownies is that they must be fudgy. I’m not a big fan of really cakey brownies and these are truly fudgy and the pumpkin cheesecake topping just pairs perfectly with the rich brownie.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

Lentil Sweet Potato Stew

Lentil Sweet Potato Stew

It’s still pretty warm here in Orange County. I mean, it’s still nothing compared to living in Phoenix, but I’m ready for more consistently cool days! I’ve been digging out my soup pots anyway though and whipped up this delicious lentil and sweet potato stew a couple of weeks ago and was so happy with how it turned out.

Lentil Sweet Potato Stew

This stew is everything you would want from a stew. It’s hearty and comforting and it’s so healthy too! Oh, and did I mention it’s also vegan-friendly? I love the combination of the lentils with tender sweet potatoes and the diced tomatoes. It’s also really simple to make. You just saute onion and garlic and then throw everything into a pot to cook. I only added cumin and salt and pepper, but you could certainly add more spices and herbs such as chili powder or bay leaves if desired to kick the flavors up a bit more!

It also reheats really well. I made a big pot and stored portions in smaller containers in the fridge to take to work with me during the week. I garnished with fresh parsley and I also highly recommend sprinkling some fresh grated parmesan cheese on top!

Lentil Sweet Potato Stew

Monster Sugar Cookie Bars

Monster Sugar Cookie Bars

Hi Friends! I’m sorry I haven’t posted since early last week. We ended up going out of town to the mountains with family and I had zero internet access. I wanted to have recipes scheduled, but my husband and daughter were both sick too so I just fell behind.

I’m hoping these ridiculously adorable monster sugar cookie bars make up for my lack of posting because I mean, look at them! Gah!!!! We are so ready for Halloween in my house. The decorations are up and I’ve got all my fall candles going. These little sugar cookie bars are everything a sugar cookie should be. They are thick and perfectly soft. Then I covered them with a nice thick layer of fluffy buttercream frosting! If you aren’t a big frosting person, you can certainly use less, but I’m loving the frosting to bar ratio in these.

Monster Sugar Cookie Bars

I did a light purple buttercream for my monsters, but you can really use any color you want. If you happen to have one of those grass frosting tips, I would recommend using it for these to make little monster hair! I just can’t get over how yummy and adorable these bars are for Halloween and best of all, they are so easy to make!

Monster Sugar Cookie Bars

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

I know I just posted another breakfast recipe last week, but what can I say? I love breakfast! It’s definitely the most important meal of the day and today I’ve got a breakfast that’s screams fall and it’s not pumpkin! I love all things pumpkin, but I also love apple everything this time of year, maybe sometimes even more than pumpkin things. These apple cinnamon pancakes are basically everything good in life!

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

First we start out with fluffy buttermilk pancakes with cinnamon and then we top a stack with a big scoop of warm, buttery apples. Gah! I’m drooling just thinking about it! My plan at first was to add the apples directly to the batter, which you can certainly do if you want. Then I decided I liked the idea of a big pile of tender apples on top instead so I went with an apple topping. I made the pancakes from scratch, but if you want to take a shortcut, you can certainly use your favorite pancake mix and just add cinnamon to it. This is the perfect breakfast to ring in the new season! This recipe serves 4, but it can easily be doubled to feed a bigger group

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

10-Minute Gnocchi

10-Minute Gnocchi

When it comes to side dishes, I’m of the belief that they should be as simple as possible. But, let’s be honest, sometimes the side dish ends up being the best part of the meal and I’m okay with that too.

This 10-Minute Gnocchi is one of the side dishes. It’s ready in a flash, but it’s so yummy! If you have never tried gnocchi before, it’s basically a pasta-like dumpling made with potatoes! I adore these soft pillows of deliciousness so much and don’t cook with gnocchi nearly enough! Gnocchi can be quite dense and filling though so I kind of prefer eating it as a side dish as opposed to a main dish!

Gnocchi only takes about 2-3 minutes to cook in boiling water. For the sauce, I just threw in a can of crushed tomatoes with some garlic and stirred in a little bit of half and half which added a nice and light bit of creaminess. I also threw in a couple of handfuls of spinach which you can add or leave out if desired. This side dish couldn’t be easier! It can be served with chicken or fish. And really, although I made this as a side dish, I would happily eat this as a really fast dinner too!

10-Minute Gnocchi

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Whenever the fall season rolls around, my oatmeal cravings hit big time. There’s nothing better than waking up on a cool morning and sitting down to a warm and comforting bowl of oatmeal to get the day started. Although I don’t necessarily have anything against the pre-made microwave oatmeal packets, homemade oatmeal is the way to go. It’s so simple to make in under 10 minutes and you can control every ingredient that goes in. Making a pumpkin version has been on my to-do list for quite some time and now and I think this might just be my favorite oatmeal recipe yet!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

This pumpkin pie oatmeal is everything oatmeal should be. It’s comforting, creamy, and really tastes like pumpkin pie in a bowl of healthy oats. You can customize it pretty easily too using whatever milk you prefer and adjusting the spices and sugar. I used coconut almond milk and it was kind of amazing! I have to admit taking these photos was not easy because both Maddie and I couldn’t stop eating it and Maddie doesn’t even normally like oatmeal! Top it with some chopped walnuts or pecans or even some bananas and blueberries and breakfast is served!

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal