Sweet and Salty Pumpkin Seeds

Yesterday was the day of pumpkin carving in my household! It is so fun and brings back many good memories of my childhood. However, Liam was grossed out by the pumpkin! I mean, yes, it is pretty nasty, feels weird and smells but I enjoyed myself. And of course I saved the seeds! Last year I made drunken pumpkin seeds, but this year I wanted something simple, sweet and salty. So, go wash your pumpkin seeds and let’s roast!

What you will need:

1 cup washed pumpkin seeds (I got this from 1 medium pumpkin)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit. Place the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 30 minutes to dry them out.

Once dry, take out seeds and set your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until all the seeds are coated. Put the seeds back on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the seeds are lightly golden brown. Enjoy!

Yum! Such a great snack. And here is our mess from carving…


Have fun!


Blueberry Lemon Bundt Cake

This is one of my favorite flavor combinations! Blueberry and lemon… so good and refreshing. I love this recipe because it’s sweet enough to be a dessert, but you can also serve it for breakfast or brunch. I stole this exact recipe from Martha Stewart, whom I love so dearly. It is super easy and now is the perfect time to make it. So come on…

What you will need:

12 cup bundt pan

For the batter:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon for blueberries and zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 cups fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons lemon zest
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In another large bowl (or bowl of your electric mixer), beat butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of sour cream. Set aside.

In another large bowl, toss blueberries, lemon zest and teaspoon of flour with your hands. Gently fold into batter. Spray the bundt pan with non-stick spray. Spread batter in prepared pan. Note: The batter will be thick. I used a big spoon and scooped it in.

Bake on the bottom rack for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for at least 20 minutes before inverting onto a rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving (optional).


Firework Cupcakes Recipe

The title of this post should really be Yellow Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting. So if you were looking for a cupcake recipe that exploded, cracked or popped, this isn’t the place. If you read my blog, you know that yesterday, July 5th, I went to my brother-in-law’s lake house and brought corn bread muffins. That recipe called for 9 oz (or half a box) of yellow cake mix. With the other half, I decided to make cupcakes with blue frosting and red sparkling sugar. With half a box of cake mix I made 3 cupcakes. They. Were. Huge. So I guess they did literally explode when they baked. You can make whatever size cupcakes you want with this recipe, but I went overboard and it was fun! Try it sometime 😉 Let’s go…

Oh and I’m going to add that this is the perfect recipe for when you don’t need 12 cupcakes. Just use half the box and store the rest for later!

What you will need:

Cupcake/muffin pan lined with paper liners (I used foil ones)

For the cupcakes:

About 9 oz. of yellow cake mix (half a box)
1 egg
1/3 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the frosting: (note: this was enough to cover 3 huge cupcakes)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
Sparkling sugar or sprinkles (optional)
Food coloring (optional)

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until well combined. Pour into prepared pan, half full if you want normal size cupcakes, or almost to the top if you want huge ones like mine. Tip: If making huge cupcakes, fill every other hole so they don’t run into each other when they bake. Bake for 18-20 minutes but check before the time is up if making regular sized cupcakes. Let cool for 5 minutes in pan, then remove and cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

To make the frosting:

In a medium sized bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar, vanilla and milk and beat until combined. If using, add a few drops of food coloring and mix until you get desired color. I used blue.

Pipe or spread frosting onto cooled cupcakes and enjoy!

Mini Sweet Corn Bread Muffins Recipe

I love summer, I love barbecues, I love being outside, I love boats, I love drinking! I get all of those things, plus more, at my brother-in-laws lake house today! Yay! I am bringing these corn bread muffins and lemon squares and sangria. Life. Is. Good. These are the perfect thing to bring to a barbecue because everyone loves them, they are easy to make, and they are a perfect finger food. Just grab and go, no utensils required. Here’s how it is done…

What you will need:

Greased mini muffin tin

1 1/4 cups yellow cake mix (about 9 oz.)
1 package (8.5 ounces) corn bread/muffin mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

To make the batter:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

In a large bowl, sift together the mixes. In a small bowl, stir together the eggs, water, milk and oil. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until moistened. Fill prepared muffin tin about half full. Bake for about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before taking muffins out. Best served warm. Enjoy!

Yield: 24 mini muffins

Cinnamon Crumb Cake (Boxed) Recipe

We had another box of Krusteaz in our pantry, and I wanted something easy to make and sweet to eat. Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake & Muffin Mix by Krusteaz came to my rescue! I decided to make the crumb cake but there’s also a recipe to make muffins on the box. Not much else to add so… here we go!

What you will need:

8 x 8 inch lightly greased square bake pan


1 box of Krusteaz Cinnamon Swirl Crumb Cake & Muffin Mix
2/3 cup of water
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large bowl, stir together the cake mix, egg and water until moistened. The batter will be lumpy.

Spoon a little less than half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spread evenly. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon topping evenly over batter. Tip: I poured out the cinnamon topping into a bowl to make it easier to work with. And, it comes in the box. Easy peasy.

Drop remaining batter in small spoonfuls over cinnamon layer and spread to edge of pan. I used the back of a spoon. The batter is slightly sticky so this process is tricky, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon topping evenly over batter.

Bake for about 40 minutes. I used a glass pan and took it out at 39 minutes. Always check before the full time is up. Let cool on a wire rack at least 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Enjoy with a cup of coffee!

Lemon Bars Recipe

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! It finally feels like summer here in Chicago. Time to get the grills cleaned and beers opened 😉 I wanted to bake something today and I asked my husband what he wanted. His response, “how about something light and summery?” The first thing that popped into my head was lemon bars! I never made homemade lemon bars before, I have always used a box (what?!?). But this recipe is so simple and delicious, so let’s get started…

What you will need:

9 x 13 inch pan lined with foil and then buttered. Tip: I easily halved this recipe since I’m not feeding that many people, and used an 8 x 8 inch pan. But the following recipe is for using a 9 x 13.

For the crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature

For the filling:

4 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon zest from 1 lemon (optional)

To make the crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, powdered sugar and salt. Then, with your hands, mix in the butter until it resembles a crumbly texture. Spread and press this “dough” into your prepared pan, making sure it is even. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Once it is done, let cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.

To make the filling:

In a large bowl, beat eggs with a fork. Add in granulated sugar and flour and mix well. Then, add in lemon juice and mix until everything is incorporated. Pour over the crust. If using, sprinkle lemon zest on top. Bake for another 25 minutes, or until filling is set and cooked through.

Let cool completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, remove from pan and sprinkle with additional powdered sugar. Cut into squares and enjoy! Tip: I like mine right out of the fridge 🙂