Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes {recipe}


Seriously.. this month has gone by FAST.. and what a busy week it has been (and is going to be).  I head back to Korea this weekend.  I can't wait to see my husband and give him a big hug and smooch.  And I can't wait for him to see how much Clara has grown just in the past month.  :)  Although there is one thing I'm not looking forward to... and that is a 14 hour flight.  Ew.


If you love pumpkin spice latte's.. and cupcakes (who doesn't?!), you'll be sure to love these little lovelies.  I saw this recipe and immediately had to try it out for myself.  The cupcake itself is very moist and delicious.  It has a good pumpkin flavor.. but I substituted instant coffee for the espresso powder, and it didn't seem like it had as much coffee flavor as I would have liked.  So if you decide you want to try this recipe, I would suggest using the espresso powder.  The whipped cream frosting is so light and airy.. just like you would have on top of a latte.  I like the fact that it's not overbearing so you can really taste the flavor of the cupcake.  Also, the drizzle of caramel on top is an absolute MUST.

I do hope you try this recipe out.  :)

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes
from Annie's Eats

  • 2 2/3 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp. espresso powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup coffee or espresso, for brushing

    • 2 1/4 cup heavy cream, chilled
    • 1/4 cup powdered sugar 

      • Ground cinnamon
      • Caramel sauce
      Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  

      In a medium bowl, combine the flour, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.  Stir together and set aside.  In the bowl with an electric mixer, blend together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  With the mixture on low speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, blending until just mixed in.

      Fill the cupcake liners about three-quarters full.  Bake until the cupcakes are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 18-20 minutes.  Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes, then remove the cupcakes from the pans.  While the cupcakes are still warm, brush them two or three times with the coffee or espresso, allowing the first coat to soak in before repeating.  Let cool completely.

      For the frosting, place the heavy cream in the bowl and beat with an electric mixer.  Whip on medium-low speed at first, gradually increasing to high speed.  Blend in the powdered sugar gradually.  Whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to over-beat.  Use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to frost the cooled cupcakes.  Sprinkle with ground cinnamon and drizzle with caramel sauce.  Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

       P.S. - My banana bread recipe was featured for this weeks Tasty Tuesday on For the Love of Blogs.... um, how cool is that?

      A Little Retail Therapy


      I came to the states for a visit to show off our beautiful baby girl to our family and friends... but I also came with a shopping list.  And I think I'm almost shopped-out (is that possible?).  Since a lot of the things I needed/wanted to get I can't find in Korea.. either that, or we have very limited selections.. my list was pretty big.  We usually order a lot of things online, but what fun is that?  Shopping in the actual store is waaay more enjoyable.. so I definitely took advantage of that since it will be 6 more months until I can set foot in an American mall again..

      I found a ton of frames at Goodwill for about $1 or so a piece for all our beautiful family photos and photos of our precious baby girl.  They're in perfect condition.. and I plan on taking a little sandpaper and spray paint to them when I get back home.  :)  Goodwill is one of my favorite places to find picture frames!

      Of course Clara got most of the loot.  But when the baby girl clothes are on sale.. and I have coupons.... and they're just so darn cute.. how can I resist?  I mean, seriously.  Look at that panda hat.  It's so adorable, it's ridiculous.  Nana bought her a few things.. like a little dress for Christmas, and some cute outfits.  And then I bought her a snowsuit and a bunch of warm clothes for the winter.  And a few things for next summer.. I couldn't help myself.. the sales were too good.

      Again... the panda hat.. loving it.. her little noggin needs to grow into it a little bit.. but she seems to love it ;)

      And the of course I picked up a few things for my hubby... as well as myself  :)  You know, necessities.. sweaters, winter clothing, craft supplies for some projects I'm going to work on when I get back..

      And Mama's got a new pair of shoes.. ;)

      I think I'm going for one last shopping trip this weekend before we head back on the 1st.  I need a new winter coat, and some warm winter socks (one of my favorite things about winter.. warm, fuzzy socks!)... and then I think I'll be good for a while.  I just hate ordering clothing online... eck.

      And... one more picture.. because I just can't resist the cuteness. 

      That's perfection right there.  I love how her eyes are so big and bright when she smiles.  :)

      Apple Galette {recipe}


      Apples always make me think of fall (ok, well, so does anything containing pumpkin).  There's so many things you can do with them.. apple cider (mmm), apple bread, apple pie, etc, etc... and of course, an Apple Galette.  I had bought some apples at the Farmer's Market last weekend with this in mind.  And now I'm going to have to find something else apple to make because I bought entirely too many apples.  Maybe I'll make some apple turnovers.  :)

      A Galette is kind of like a Tart.. but a little different in the sense that a Galette is a free-form pastry, and often more rustic looking (and very pretty, I might add).  This recipe is very easy and doesn't take much time to make at all.  And you don't have to do this with apples... you could use blueberries, peaches.. or you could mix blueberries (or even cranberries) in with the apples!  Yum... I think you should try this!!

      Apple Galette
      adapted from Elephantine

      • 1 cup flour
      • 1 tsp. sugar
      • 1/8 tsp. salt
      • 6 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small pieces
      • cold water, roughly 7 tbsp.
      • 1 egg white, for brushing on the dough 

      • 2-3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
      • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
      • 1/4 cup sugar
      • 1 tsp. cinnamon (or more, to your taste)
      •  1/8 tsp. nutmeg

      To make dough, mix together flour, sugar, and salt.  Quickly cut in the butter (make sure it's cold, you don't want it to melt) until the pieces of butter are the size of large peas.  Add chilled water a tablespoon at a time until the dough just holds together.  Gather dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

      Preheat oven to 400°F.  

      After the dough has chilled, roll it out on a floured surface to a 13" circle about 1/8" thick.  Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, or a stone. 

      To make the filling, place apple slices in a bowl with melted butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss to coat. Overlap the apples in a circle 2" from the edge of the dough.  Continue spiraling inward until you've reached the center, then fold over the edges of the dough.  Mix the egg white with a little bit of water and brush over the dough edges, to make them pretty and golden.  :)  Then sprinkle with a little sugar.

      Bake on middle rack of oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.   Rotate the galette every 15 minutes for an evenly baked crust.  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you wish.  Or eat with a cup of coffee in the morning.  :)

      Also, sorry for my lack of posts in the past week.. I've been incredibly busy shopping and spending time with the family ;)

      The Best Banana Bread {recipes}


      What do you do with old bananas?

      Bake, of course! 

      My mom handed me some old bananas and her banana bread recipe and I went at it.  I love these quick bread recipes.. before I came back to the states to visit, I made apple bread... and now I just can't wait to make pumpkin bread.

      I probably could have eaten half the loaf almost as soon as it came out of the oven.. but I figured I should save some for the rest of the family.  ;)

      The Best Banana Bread
      recipe from my Mama
      • 1/2 cup butter
      • 1 cup sugar
      • 2 eggs
      • 1 cup mashed banana (I used 3 brown bananas)
      • 1 1/2 cup flour
      • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
      • 1 tsp. baking soda
      • 1 tsp. salt
      • 1 tsp. vanilla
      • Pinch of cinnamon (optional.. because I just think everything I bake in the fall has to have cinnamon)

      Preheat oven to 350 F.  Cream butter, sugar, and eggs.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to blend (but don't over-do it).  Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top and bake in a greased loaf pan for 50 minutes.

      I don't think it could get any easier.. or yummier (is that a word?).

      A Nice Reminder


      Today I was reminded how beautiful my hometown really is...

      Sometimes I forget when I've been away for too long.  It's good to be back for a month to visit with family and to enjoy all the places I've missed while away.  :)

      We Have a Little Princess..


      .. and she is so darn cute in her new pink tutu!  :)

       My little cousin, Kaydence, was over so we played... dressed up baby girl.. then we headed off to the park.  The weather is absolutely perfect here... in the 70's and not humid at all.. with a nice breeze.  I hope it stays this way all week -- I can't wait to go to the Farmer's Market on Saturday!  :)

      We Survived!


      14 hours on a plane.  Way too long.  But we made it.  :)  Seoul to Detroit, 14 hours.  Layover, 2.5 hours.  Detroit to Moline, 1 hour.  Car ride, 1 hour.  That make an 18.5 hour trip... and our little princess was such a trooper!  She did so well -- even the flight attendants were complimenting on 'what a good baby' she is.  :)  That makes me proud!  Although now she is a little jet-lagged... okay, a lot jet-lagged. 

      It's so good to be back to see everyone, I just wish my husband could have came with.  I finally got to meet my nephew, and see how grown up my niece is since the last time I saw her.  And it was nice to see everyone loving on Clara.. even though she slept almost the whole day.  Poor thing has her days and nights confused now.  ;)

      Clara's pretty happy to see her Nana and Papa..

       It's been fun and busy Labor Day weekend.. just hung around the house and visited with family.  :)  And it's going to be a busy rest of the month because there's lots I want to do..... eat at AMERICAN restaurants (there's nothing better than Texas Roadhouse.. and American Chinese food;), go shopping... Hobby Lobby, Mall, Target, Kohls, Michaels, Jo-Anns, even WalMart.... watch my little brother play football, and show off Clara as much as possible.  ;)