Fall Baking Wishlist – Pumpkin Edition

Don’t tell anyone – but fall is NOT my favorite season. I know, I know  — I’m in the minority – most folks I talk to who live in Cleveland or on the East Coast LOVE fall. Sweaters, boots, cooler weather, the works – but to be honest, fall for me just makes me start to think about winter, which I do NOT love, and I really just love spring and summer.

Phew. Not that that confession is off my chest – I do want to share that I LOVE fall baking. And I love everything about pumpkin in the fall! But since we’ve been a little crazy the past few weeks with work, moving, unpacking, etc. up until this weekend, I hadn’t baked in forever. And then I went on a fall baking binge. Pumpkin granola. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Pumpkin scones. Yes, I made them all. And I want to bake more! So to get myself inspired – and to satisfy those of you with the sweet tooth who are tired of my vacation posts and happy the baking posts are back – here’s what’s still on my fall baking wishlist. What’s on yours?

Fall Baking Wishlist – Pumpkin Edition

Pumpkin Biscotti from here

Pumpkin Truffles from here

Pumpkin Cookies that I made last year!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones from here

And while we’re talking about pumpkin scones – what about these that I just made?

Pumpkin scones with Maple Butter Glaze from here

promise they taste better than they look.

promise they taste better than they look.

These super soft white chocolate pumpkin blondies I tried out last year as well.

And this amazing sounding cinnamon pumpkin sheet cake from here

Enjoy! What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe?

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Butter Glaze

Pumpkin season is here! For all you pumpkin haters out there (you know who you are) stop reading this NOW because there is nothing more in this post for you. But if you’re a pumpkin lover, I promise you’ll love this recipe.

B loves scones. He started enjoying them when we went to Ireland and hasn’t turned back since. In fact, on our West Coast trip from a few weeks ago we had quite the adventure each day trying to find him a scone he would enjoy – it was difficult. But we managed 🙂

Anyway, when B wasn’t home, I decided to surprise him with some pumpkin scones. I must warn you – these were a little moister (Yes, I went there) than the typical scone, but they were still pretty awesome. The combination of the pumpkin, fall spices and maple really works well.

I have to admit, I took some elements from this recipe, also from this recipe and then pretty much just used what I had on hand. Which is maybe why there weren’t as dry as your typical scone. Or it could be the pumpkin. I’ll have to find out next time!

pumpkin scones with maple butter glaze {i crashed the web}

Pumpkin Scones with Maple Butter Glaze

Here’s what you need for the scones:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½  cup granulated sugar
  •  1 Tablespoon baking powder
  •  ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •  ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  •  ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  •  6 Tablespoons butter, cold
  •  ½ cup canned pumpkin
  •  1/3 cup buttermilk
  •  1 large egg

Here’s what you need for the glaze:

  • 1½ tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon water, if needed

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger in a large bowl.
  3. Slice the butter into small pieces and use a fork to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Combine until mixture is crumbly and butter is no longer visible.
  4. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin, buttermilk and egg. Fold pumpkin mixture into flour butter mixture and combine.
  5. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into two balls. Push down lightly on the balls and then use a knife to cut the dough into slices (like a pizza). Place slices on prepared baking sheet. Warning – the dough will grow larger!
  6. Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until light brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
  7. After the scones have cooled, drizzle the glaze on top. To make the glaze, melt the butter in a saucepan on low. Add in vanilla and powdered sugar and combine until smooth. Add maple syrup. Add water if glaze is too thick. Drizzle on the scones.
  8. Enjoy!
promise they taste better than they look.

promise they taste better than they look.

An Extended Weekend in L.A.

Seen at a club in LA

Seen at a club in LA

NOTE:  This is the last recap in a series of my West Coast trip adventures. Miss the rest of my West Coast trip summaries? Read more about them here:

After an amazing time in the Bay Area, we were off on another drive down the coast and ready to spend a few days in Los Angeles as we wrapped up our West Coast adventure. We would be staying with B’s friend (and Best Man), Wing, who moved out West just this year thanks to an awesome job opportunity. And we would also be lucky enough to see my friend and roommate from college, Kate, who moved out to LA right after we lived in Boston together.

So, what did we think of our time in LA? Some overall impressions:

  • The city is SUPER spread out. I’d heard that it was but seeing it in person made us realize it even more and also put a slight damper on some of our plans as we weren’t able to accomplish as much as we wanted to in our time there because it took so long to get from one place to another. There are tons of different neighborhoods that you can walk in – but to get to and from places, you really do have to drive.
  • There is SO MUCH TRAFFIC. Again, I’d definitely heard that but as we drove everywhere this really made a difference and also made it hard to get as much done as we wanted to.
  • The city is not really walkable. I love walking everywhere. Every other city we pretty much left our door and walked everywhere to get some sightseeing in. In LA we really had to hop in the car and plan which neighborhood(s) we may be visiting, and drive there. And we didn’t really know how long it would take because of the traffic. (See #1 and #2)
  • The weather is awesome. They were having a “cold front” when we were there, meaning the weather was in the low 80s, upper 70s. AKA perfect weather. It was cool in the morning, meaning it wasn’t bad for our run (we had a 15k planned that I was dreading because I thought it’d be super steamy but it wasn’t too bad – it hit nearly 80 by the end but it wasn’t humid), and then got hot during the day but not sticky. Perfect vacation weather 🙂
  • There’s so much to do. Aside of all the touristy sightseeing stuff that we wanted to do, there’s just so much in general going on, all the time. Comedy shows. Concerts. Great food. Bars. Clubs. And of course – the BEACH! If I lived in LA I would live at the beach, or at least go there as much as possible. And then try to fit in everything else.

Okay, enough blabbering, here are some photos and highlights from our trip.

SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN LA!

SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN LA!

Stopping for In & Out as soon as we get in – B’s first In & Out meal!

B's first In&Out!

B’s first In&Out!

Running around the Hollywood Reservoir – we did our 15K without any problems. We found the reservoir, which had some good views of the downtown and the Hollywood sign and was a 3.3ish mile loop – perfect for us, as we were able to do 3ish loops as Wing walked around once, carrying water for us. Yup, he was our awesome water boy!

post 15k run around the Hollywood Reservoir

post 15k run around the Hollywood Reservoir

Going to the beach!

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People watching at Venice Beach

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Being touristy and taking photos of the Hollywood sign

hollywooooood

hollywooooood

Taking in a Dodgers game! AND they were playing the Giants so I got in TWO Giants games on this trip. Also, we got the all you can eat seats and feasted on the famous Dodger dogs, plus nachos, popcorn and peanuts. I need a detox after this vacation.

Go Giants!

Go Giants!

Coffee at Urth Café (always featured in the show Entourage)

it's a bird! Urth Cafe goodness.

it’s a bird! Urth Cafe goodness.

Brunch from Homegirl Café. I had been wanting to go to this place since seeing the awesome movie G-Dog  at the Cleveland International Film Festival. You must read about them and Homeboy Industries if you don’t know their story. Here’s just a short blurb: Homeboy Industries serves high-risk, formerly gang-involved men and women with a continuum of free services and programs, and operates seven social enterprises that serve as job-training sites. HOW AWESOME IS THAT?

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Catching a BC vs. UCLA game – sadly, we lost – but it was great to see them play (it wasn’t planned!) on our trip, see their huge stadium and of course meet up with Kate

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HUGE stadium – former home of the Olympics in LA!

Kate and me! Former roomies!

Kate and me! Former roomies!

Enjoying Dim Sum for B’s birthday brunch – Wing lives in Chinatown and brought us to an amazing place

Birthday breakfast!

Birthday breakfast!

And then a really good meal, and beers, at My Father’s Office – I definitely recommend if you hit LA

the boys loved their burgers - I loved my butterfish!

the boys loved their burgers – I loved my butterfish!

Seeing some amazingly fun comedians at the Laugh Factory – in just one show we saw a TON of comics! Highlights include Dom Irerra (who we’ve seen before), the super cute Chris D’Elia AND the guy who plays Montez on Workaholics!

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Hanging out with Kate and experiencing some of the Culver City nightlife

Hookah bar!

Hookah bar!

What a great trip! Now, it’s back to real life and back to the grind. Getting back to work after any trip can be stressful, but just knowing and remembering our amazing two week West Coast adventure will hopefully help with the struggle of getting back into things. Here’s to a GREAT weekend!

Some questions for you:

  • Which of the cities I visited have you been to? Which is YOUR favorite?
  • When was the last time you saw your college roommate?
  • Favorite LA restaurant?

San Francisco! (Part Two)

After spending a pretty full day exploring San Francisco, we still had a few more items on our to-do list – including meeting up with one of my best friends, Melgar! Melgar lives just south of downtown and was going to take the train in so that we could spend some time sightseeing with her, and then we would stay with her in her new apartment in Mountain View (she just moved to Cali from the East Coast a few months ago when her fiancé got a job at Apple).  Melgar and I have been friends for 16 years, which is truly weird to think of – AND I’m going to be in her wedding in a few months!!! Anyway, I digress. Our last day in the Bay Area included:

Exploring the Castro

Harvey Milk's Camera Shop

Harvey Milk’s Camera Shop

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Trying to watch a sailing race in America’s Cup

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Enjoying some awesome fish tacos (and an unlimited salsa bar!!) in the Mission

Nom nom shrimp tacos!

Nom nom shrimp tacos!

Ready to eat!

Ready to eat!

LOOK AT ALL THE SALSA!

LOOK AT ALL THE SALSA!

Spending the night at Melgar’s – we enjoyed a home-cooked meal (her fiancé is not only amazing because he works at Apple, but he apparently also is a great cook!)

Sorry, Jon, but Instagram doesn't do this meal justice. IT WAS AMAZING.

Sorry, Jon, but Instagram doesn’t do this meal justice. IT WAS AMAZING.

And then dessert at my new favorite place Cream! Why is it so awesome?, because it combines my two favorite desserts – ice cream AND fresh baked cookies!

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I enjoyed some awesome peanut butter ice cream, in between a chocolate chip cookie AND a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie. OH MY GOODNESS. It is a strong competitor to fro yo for my favorite.

Melgar and me before Cream! (I told you, no sweaty running pics!)

Melgar and me before Cream! (I told you, no sweaty running pics!)

No sweaty pics, but we also got to go on a short run with Melgar before we left for LA. Which was fun  – Melgar likes to sprint so she definitely pushed us on our 3 miler around Mountain View!

After a quick trip, we were on our way down the coast – to L.A.!

Some questions –

  • Have you ever been to San Fran? The Bay Area? What do you like about it? Not like about it? The weather is typically just so-so – as was said on an old episode of 30 Rock “Aww poor baby. Can’t hack it in the big city, gonna move to the Bay Area now and pretend that that was your dream the whole time? Have fun always carrying a light sweater.”  We lucked out – again – and had gorgeous warm weather most of the time in San Fran. The locals were commenting how it was seasonably warm, which I enjoyed, very much!
  • What’s your favorite dessert? Ice cream, cookies and candy. I love baking cake/cupcakes, but would prefer to eat cookies!
  • Do you have friends that live on opposite coasts? Yes. Sadly, it seems that quite a few of my friends moved out west after college (in Boston). But it makes for some great people to visit and vacations to plan!

More vacation recaps from our West Coast Adventure can be found here:

San Francisco!!! (Part One)

B and I spent 3 days in the Bay Area and had a GREAT time. I’d been there before, to visit my roommate Caitlin (who now lives in Denver – remember when I visited her a few months ago?) but never spent too much time sightseeing, so exploring the area with B was awesome. And as we tend to do on vacations, we spent most of our time walking around, running around and exploring the city by foot as much as possible. Here’s what we ended up doing:

We stayed in Union Square, which was perfect. Our hotel even had a free sherry and tea happy hour each night which we took advantage of.

Lunching in Sausalito

Philz coffee- mint mojito latte!

Philz coffee- mint mojito latte!

beautiful Sausalito

beautiful Sausalito

Driving down Lombard Street

Walking / running around Fisherman’s Wharf

Running in Fisherman's Wharf

Running in Fisherman’s Wharf

Alcatraz!

Alcatraz!

Mid-run shot of B in front of Alcatrz

Mid-run shot of B in front of Alcatrz

Seeing the sea lions

Loving the free chocolate sample at Ghirardelli Square – and then enjoying an awesome salted caramel hot cocoa

This is me SUPER excited for my salted caramel hot cocoa.

This is me SUPER excited for my salted caramel hot cocoa.

this free sample was incredible!

this free sample was incredible!

Hiking around the Haight, including up the famous Full House hill/park

On our walk to the Haight - San Fran city hall1

Seen on our walk to the Haight – San Fran city hall!

I dare you not to get the opening theme for Full House in our head

I dare you not to get the opening theme for Full House in our head

Climbing up Coit Tower and catching the incredible views of the city and the Bay

views from around the tower

views from around the tower

The tower!

The tower!

top of the tower!

top of the tower!

Dining in Chinatown!

Running in Chinatown

Running in Chinatown

Awesome five course meal in Chinatown at Kam Luk

Awesome five course meal in Chinatown at Kam Luk

Tasting beers at the 21st Amendment and then watching a Giants Game – and a win in Extra Innings!

wearing orange and black to support my dad's favorite team!

wearing orange and black to support my dad’s favorite team!

people watch Giants games from the water!

people watch Giants games from the water!

And that was just one full day (well 1.5ish days). Yup, we do it big and walked A TON (in addition to our training runs) to see as much as we could around the city. Stay tuned for San Fran, part two!

Next Stop – Napa!

After our early night in Eureka, B and I decided to get up early and run our scheduled 10 miles along the Pacific coast in McKinleyville (where we were staying) before hitting the road to get to Napa. We weren’t scheduled to run until the following day in Napa – but I decided that it’d be much more pleasant running in the chilly McKinleyville weather (it was 50 degrees – and actually a “heat wave” for them!) before our drive, as opposed to running early in Napa before our 10:30 a.m. wine tasting.

We did it! Running along the beach in Arcata/Eureka.

We did it! Running along the beach 

10 miles in McKinleyville was great! We opted for a comfortable pace, just under 10 min/miles and I loved the scenery – some parts along the water, some parts on the road, other parts beach trail – etc. I love variety in my runs 🙂

gorgeous views along the drive - wine country

gorgeous views along the drive – wine country

After our run it was time for the drive to Napa. I won’t go into detail by detail, but Napa was amazing. Incredible. I wish I were there right now! It was a beautiful town, beautiful views, beautiful weather – and, oh yeah, the wine. Some highlights of our trip include:

Dinner and froyo in downtown Napa

2nd froyo of the trip already

2nd froyo of the trip already

An easy run around downtown

B “likes” to take pictures of me mid-run.

An exclusive vintage reserve tour and tasting at the most amazing vineyard, Opus One

Opus One!

Opus One!

Coming up the driveway to the beautiful Opus One

Coming up the driveway to the beautiful Opus One

On the steps of Opus One. Image this as your view every day?!

On the steps of Opus One. Imagine this as your view every day?!

B and the barrels

B and the barrels

Barrels of wine just waiting to be opened!

Barrels of wine just waiting to be opened!

After our tour, we were greeted with this table for our tasting. Beautiful!

After our tour, we were greeted with this table for our tasting. Beautiful!

B and I after our tasting.

B and I after our tasting.

More tastings at Robert Mondavi, Chandon and Silver Oak.

Robert Mondavi

Robert Mondavi

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Silver Oak

Silver Oak

I loved Napa. I was sad to leave, but excited when I realized our vacation was only halfway over – and we still had a few days in San Francisco, a day of visiting my bff who lives in the Bay Area (Mountain View/Palo Alto area), and then a few days in LA!

Another couple's picture!

Another couple’s picture!

Some questions for you (because it’s been a while and I want to hear from you!):

What’s your favorite type of wine? I’m usually a fan of Malbecs. I really don’t like white wine. Red wine all the way. But I LOVE me some bubbly!

Have you ever been to Napa? What’s your favorite winery? Opus One is my new favorite. It is incredible, the tasting was amazing and the tour was breathtaking. One day I hope to make enough money to just buy myself some bottles of their stuff and not blink an eye at the price tag!

Wordless Wednesday: A Few Vacation Photos

Full additional recaps are coming for the rest of my trip, but here are a few photos from our West Coast Adventure for you to enjoy in the meantime. Happy Wednesday!

Look who we found in the Redwoods!

Look who we found in the Redwoods!

Chocolate tasting in Seattle!

Chocolate tasting in Seattle!

The beautiful ocean!

The beautiful ocean!

redwood forest

feeling short

Superfans at BC game in LA!

Superfans at BC game in LA!

Artwork at Homegirl Cafe

Artwork at Homegirl Cafe

Bridges up in Seattle

Bridges up in Seattle

No big deal, just some elk crossing the road

No big deal, just some elk crossing the road

Tomorrow – Napa!