Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Found an attempted a new muffin recipe last night that is out of this world! Now, I'm not one of those girls on the pumpkin spice everything train. To be honest, I hate pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee, etc etc etc. These are the exception though (and my two-ingredient pumpkin bread). These muffins have the perfect pumpkin ratio - not too pumpkiny, but you can taste the spices. Plus the chocolate chips add another flavor, which surprisingly complements the pumpkin and cinnamon wonderfully!

This recipe yields about 30 big muffins - more than I can eat! But they made for the perfect "happy monday" treat to bring into work.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 (16 oz) can pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil (yes, that you read that correctly)
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like to use mini ones)

In a large mixing bowl - beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla, and oil until smooth.

Mix dry ingredients together and mix into pumpkin mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups about 3/4 full (I basically filled them to the top - they came out just fine). Bake at 400 degrees for 16-20 minutes.

Perfect with a big glass of milk - yummy!


Good Eatin'

Today I'm comin' at you with not only one, but TWO fabulous recipes that are so easy and delicious - they could be restaurant worthy. Like a fancy restaurant too.

After the busy weekend spent with Andy's family, I was left scratching my head on Monday afternoon for the too-common question "What should I make for dinner??". Thankfully, my mom signed me up for a year long subscription of the All Recipes magazine, and I came across a Chicken Marsala recipe.

It was ready in about 30 minutes. The only suggestion I would have for the future is to use thinner chicken breasts/cutlets. While this recipe was soo good, it would have been even better if the chicken was slightly thinner so it could soak up more sauce.

Chicken Marsala

2/3 cup dry Marsala wine
1/3 cup cold water
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
2 tablespoon butter
5 oz mushrooms, sliced
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 slices bacon, diced
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Stir together marsala, water, and cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet. Cook mushrooms with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper, stirring occasionally until soft (about 3 to 4 minutes). Transfer to a bowl.

Cook bacon in same skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until fat is rendered but bacon is not yet crisp. Transfer bacon to bowl with mushrooms. Reserve bacon fat in skillet. 

Stir together flour, garlic powder, and remaining salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge chicken breasts in flour mixture, and shake off excess.

Add remaining tablespoon of butter to skillet. Cook chicken, turning over once until no longer pink. Transfer chicken to plate and keep warm.

Stir cornstarch mixture and add to skillet. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking and scraping brown bits. Add chicken and mushrooms and simmer until chicken is heated through.

We served this with steamed green beans and it was the perfect accompaniment!

Okay now the next was completely Andy's idea and honestly it was the best meal I have in a loooooong time. Andy can grill a mean steak, which I don't know if that's a good or bad thing because it leaves me begging for steak at least once a week. 

Everyone should have one meal in mind that is easy, fast, and delicious so that if you have guests in town - you can really wow them. This is the one. There is no doubt about that. No this isn't just a recipe for grilled steaks, the sauce that you make for the top is really the star...and it had me staring at my disappointing sandwich at lunch today wishing for it to be this steak.

Steak with Creamy Whiskey Mushroom Sauce

4 steak cuts of your choice (We used ribeye)
Cooking oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2-3 cups fresh mushrooms
3 tablespoons of whiskey
1 tablespoon of a good quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon of herb of your choice (we used dill)

Rub both sides of steaks with some cooking oil, season with salt and pepper on both sides. Grill or cook steaks however you prefer. We grilled them to medium wellness.

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft and slightly golden. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add mushrooms and saute all together until they are browned and softened. 

Season with salt and pepper. Add whiskey and balsamic vinegar. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes to burn off some of the alcohol. Turn the heat down a bit and add in the cream, and let entire mixture bubble for a few minutes.

Add in herb of choice and taste to adjust salt and pepper. Serve over freshly grilled steaks.

We enjoyed our steaks with roasted asparagus and a side salad. 


What's Up Wednesday?

Hello friends and happy Hump-Day! I've been severely lacking on blogging this past week, and I can completely contribute that to just one crazy, busy week.

But I thought I would check in and let ya'll know what's been going on as of lately.

Last Thursday Andy and myself went to the Blink 182 concert in St. Paul with our friends. The 16 year-old in me was fan girling - hard! We went to drinks and dinner beforehand and then walked over to the Xcel Center. Unfortunately we didn't get tickets at the same time and we didn't get to sit by Chelsea and Michael. But we made the most of it and met back at our hotel afterwards. I think our age is really starting to catch up with us because we were all snoozing away within 30 minutes of getting back.. so much for a night on the town, whoops!

Enjoying an amazing Watermelon Martini

I spent the weekend at home because my brother finally came home from Michigan! It was great seeing him and catching up. He makes me one proud sis! Also he brought home a furry new friend with him. Back when he first moved out there, his friend came across a little kitten in an alleyway. My brother took her in, and now little Allie is a new member of our family!

Little Miss Allie Cat hanging out on the stairs, and trying to avoid Axel :)

I also spent a good part of my weekend addressing envelopes for the engagement party we have coming up. Exciting things are happening, guys!

Emily and I met up with Chelsea for tacos on Monday night at our favorite mexican restaurant (.75 cent tacos on Mondays - what a dream come true!). She sneakily surprised us with boxes asking us to be her maids of honor! In the box came an adorable glass (with our names and "Maid of Honor" etched on it beautifully) and two mini bottles of wine. We are so excited to stand by her on her big day!

Last night Andy and I finally had some time to sit down together and catch up, so we went over to a bar near his house for pre-dinner drinks and cups of chili. It was a perfect treat to go along with this fabulous fall weather!

Guinness Chili and Strawberry Sangria - mmm!

He then cooked a delicious dinner of chicken breasts and a variety of colorful veggies! My kinda dinner :)

Easy-peasy healthy way to end the night!


September Goals

Ah yes, we have reached the most wonderful time of the year. No I'm not talking about Christmas - but beautiful, glorious, colorful FALL. I love everything about this season. I love opening the windows and screen door for a chilly breeze in the evenings while my pumpkin candles are burning. I love baking pumpkin breads and apple pies, and coming home to the yummy smells of a comfort meal that has cooked all day in the Crockpot. I love venturing out to pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and farmers markets while decked out in plaid and cozy blanket scarves. I love celebrating Halloween adn Oktoberfest, and snuggling up with a mug of apple cider.

Did I make fall your favorite season now??

With another month comes another list of ~goals~ that I hope to accomplish. Although August goals didn't get as much attention as they should have - I attribute this to the busy month, I'm hoping I can really buckle down and cross some stuff off of my to-do list.

Make a Doctors Appointment | Just my yearly checkup. But important regardless :)

Haul load to Goodwill | Rolled over from my August goals, and WILL be done this Friday

Send out invitations for Engagement Party | Myself and my friend Emily are throwing our good friends Chelsea and Michael an engagement party in October and invitations need to go out next week... eek!

Print new pictures for frames | They're severely outdated

Visit an apple orchard | Before the apples are no good!!

Find a book | Something I can cozy up with at night, instead of Netflix! Dare I say, I just reread the Harry Potter books? Sounds like a good idea to me!

Buy mums & haybale for porch | Decorating is fun :)

That's all I've got for this month! Have a happy Wednesday, friends!

Weekend in the Wild

Happy Tuesday! Today = back to work, back to schedules, and back to reality! We took advantage of the longer holiday weekend and went camping with some of our close friends. We were lucky and had some beautiful weather - chilly mornings and evenings with some glorious sun and warmth during the day. It was a picture perfect weekend and being back at this desk is rough today.

After work on Friday, Andy and I took off after packing up the car and double triple checking our list to make sure nothing was left behind. Everyone else was already out there so to say we got a late start on the weekend is an understatement - especially after dealing with all the Labor Day weekend traffic around Minneapolis and St. Paul.

But we finally pulled into our campground (a super fun resort in Wisconsin) around 8:30 and finished setting up camp.

We spent the weekend eating lots of typical camping food (brats, burgers, hot dogs, pasta salads, desserts, dips.. wowza!), playing games, sitting around the fire, driving our golfcart around the grounds, and just doing some good ole relaxing.

We had little to no setbacks - except on Saturday night when we were all cozying into our tent we heard some rustling by our coolers. Thinking it was some teens that were up to no good (aka, stealing our drinks out of the coolers) - I unzipped the little window screen while yelling "EXCUSE ME" and was greeted by a big, fluffy, white and black tail digging through our garbage. Yes, it was a SKUNK. Thankfully I was able to zip up the window screen super fast and we didn't make another (loud) peep until it was gone. If that thing would have sprayed us it would have really put a damper on our weekend - haha

Mr. Skunk did return again in the middle of the night and believe me, I slept with one eye open the whole night.

Home sweet tent :)

Our boys' questionable camping outfits...

Making breakfast!

Thanks for a great weekend guys!!

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