Month: November 2013

Pumpkin Muffins and Thanksgiving Blessings

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all are getting to enjoy some time with family and friends, though I know there are a lot of people who have to work or have family members abroad. If you are in the later category, my thoughts are with you. Military families especially are on my heart right now. Can I just say how incredibly thankful I am for your sacrifice and service? Because I truly am. You are the reason we get to enjoy this holiday and all of the upcoming holidays in peace and freedom. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now, on to the Pumpkin Muffins. I am obsessed with pumpkin-flavored anything and I won’t apologize.

I discovered this recipe a few years ago and it is one of my favorites to make during the Fall. It’s really easy, yet delicious. I would really like to try modifying it to make it gluten-free, but I struggle with how to do that on recipes I already have, so if you have any suggestions on what GF ingredients to substitute in, please share in the comments!

The recipe I use is Paula Dean’s Pumpkin Bars but I make them into muffins using a muffin pan.


Muffin Ingredients:


4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
15-ounce can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Muffin Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin and mix with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.


Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until batter is smooth.


Pour the batter into a greased muffin pan (usually makes about 20 regular-sized muffins).


Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.


Icing Ingredients:


8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing Directions:


Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.


Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined.

Stir in the vanilla and mix again.


Spread on cooled pumpkin muffins and enjoy!


What is one of your favorite pumpkin recipes?

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If you are on Facebook, you’ve probably seen some daily posts from friends about what they are thankful for.  I didn’t participate myself, but it has served as a reminder to me about how blessed I am.  I mean, just the fact that I am sitting with my house, which is has heat and running water, means I am richer than half of the world.  Hard to comprehend sometimes, isn’t it?!

So with that said, here is what I am thankful for:

1. My husband.  He is the most patient, caring, self-less man I know.  I truly cannot imagine going through this journey of life without him.


2. My family.  My family is weird and loud, and we love to eat (I mean c’mon, my dad is full-blooded Greek, what do you expect?!?).  We can also get on each others’ nerves and fuss and fret, but at the end of the day, you will be hard-pressed to find a family as loving and loyal as we are.


The Varnams


The Chopelas side

3. My dog.  If you are a dog person, you just understand this one…


4. My friends.  I have some really amazing friends who I can be completely myself with.

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5.  My job.  There are days where I honestly dread going to work, but I have to remind myself that at least I have one.  There are so many people that have spent months, even years, trying to find jobs, and I am blessed to say I have one.

6. My house.  Sometimes I wish for something bigger, with more closet space and a yard.  But I have to remember that I have a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in, and so many wonderful memories have been made here.

7. The holidays.  I just love this time of year, the reminders of the things that are important, and the time with loved ones.


Pretty much sums up our family

What are you thankful for?

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I’m sorry for that thing I said when I was hungry

This is a great post! I know I have had to apologize on numerous occasions to my husband because of something I said due to just being hungry which made me irritable. A

Fit and Feminist


A couple of weeks ago I found myself embroiled in a bit of an interpersonal snafu.  I was trying to broach a sensitive subject with care and delicacy, hoping that I could not only get my point across but that I could do so in a way that was diplomatic and fair.

The problem is, I tried to do this while I was hungry.  And so instead of being careful and delicate, I struggled to find the right words to convey what I wanted to say, and then finally, I became frustrated and blurted out exactly the wrong words required by the situation.

After I finally got to eat something, I realized what I had done, but it was too late – the damage had been done.  And not only that, but the damage had radiated outward in a domino effect of fuckery, and I found myself spending the next…

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Chilly = Chili

Now that the weather is starting to cool down, one of my favorite things to make is chili (mainly because it is EASY…)

I use my mother-in-law’s recipe, which calls for a lot of beans. You can use whatever kind of beans you like, but I recommend at least 3 different kinds. Also, another thing she uses is Cream of Mushroom soup. I know, seems weird, but it is really good! Anyway, here is a breakdown of the recipe:

1. Brown the meat. Don’t overcook it, but make sure it’s pretty well brown, barely any pink left. DSC_0319


Using the “Mix-N-Chop” utensil from Pampered Chef— it’s my favorite for cooking ground meat!


2. Drain the extra grease from the meat, then put the meat in the crockpot.


Another awesome tool from Pampered Chef (my sis-in-law is a rep for them so I have a lot of PC stuff)


3. Add beans (including juice in the cans) and cream of mushroom soup. I also threw in chili powder and Penzey’s Mural of Flavor seasoning. Stir.



4. Set crockpot on low for 8-10 hours.


5. Add your favorite toppings (cheese, sour cream, etc.) and enjoy!


I forgot to take a pretty picture of the chili scooped into a bowl with toppings, so this picture will have to do!

What is one of your favorite “chilly-weather” recipes? Please share as I am always looking for new ideas!

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