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October 2011

The Great Pumpkin Cupcake

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Gracious.

These cupcakes are freaking DE.LI.CIOUS.  I would definitely stay up all night in a pumpkin patch hoping that The Great Pumpkin would bring one of these cupcakes instead of candy on Halloween.  But that's just me.

I LOVE pumpkin, and even though I'm not particularly fond of the weather getting cooler, I love the spices and comfort foods that come with the crisp air, falling leaves, and those cooler temps.  

Pumpkin absolutely, 100%, without-a-doubt, falls into that category.  There's just something about nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves that send my heart all a-flutter.  That and Nathan Fillion.  He is handsome and just plain adorable, and should be cloned and made mine.  

I'm sorry.  Where was I???  Right.  Pumpkin cupcakes. 

Add pumpkin cream cheese icing, and it's all over.  Oh, yes.  PUMPKIN cream cheese icing.

I am slightly ashamed to admit that I ate three of these when they came out of the oven.  Three.  Two went down so fast, I could barely control it.  They didn't even have any icing on them.  The third did.  And it was good.  Really good.  Really REALLY good. And then the baker rested.  

But not until she shared this fanfreakingtastic recipe with all of you.

These are gluten-free and sugar-free, but I'm telling you, you would never know it.  Ever.  Now, I'm not as adept (yet) at making icing sugar-free, so that definitely has sugar in it.  But, these cupcakes are so delicious, you don't even need the icing.  In fact, throw the batter into a loaf pan and you've got yourself some pumpkin bread!  PS - I've done that with this recipe, and it's amazing.  

Anyway.  Without further ado....the recipe:

Gluten-free, Sugar-free Pumpkin Cupcakes


  • 2 cups gluten-free flour (I used Amy's High-Protein Flour Blend, but Bob's Red Mill works just as well) 
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 16-oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix) Note:  save about 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin for the cream cheese icing, if desired

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners.  Mix agave nectar, coconut oil, eggs, and pumpkin in mixer on medium-high speed until blended.  In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients, and gently fold into wet mixture.  Spoon batter into lined muffin cups.  Bake for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before icing.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Icing


  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 8 tablespoons (one stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin you saved from meeting its demise in the cupcake batter

Whip cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Add vanilla extract.  Add pumpkin, blending until incorporated.  In a separate bowl, combine powdered sugar with your favorite fall spices.  I added cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.  You can add all, some, or none of the spices to your icing.  Totally up to you!  Slowly add powdered sugar mixture to cream cheese/butter mixture until just blended.  

Spread this fantabulous whipped icing all over those pumpkin cupcakes and shove one into your mouth.  Eat another one so you can actually taste it and enjoy it.   Then have another.

Don't they look amazing????

Now.  Go forth, and make yourself some so I'm not the only one inhaling pumpkin cupcakes faster than I can blink.


Cardmaking extravaganza!

I had a little bit of fun in my mess of a craft room the other night...I decided to continue making Christmas cards for this year.

I was on a roll, and made quite a few, but I'm only going to share two with you today.  I'm going to wait until they're all sent to post pictures of all the cards I make this season.

If I remember.  

Maybe I should set a reminder on my phone.  

I have to remember to do that, though, too.


My cards :-)

I love that stamp!  It looks so vintage and reminds me of "The Miracle on 34th Street" :-)

I think I'm finally getting the hang of those vellium (sp?) quote thingies.  I think they're fun, but it was tricky trying to get them attached to something without having the glue or photo stickie thingies show through.  I may add a little more to this one, but for now, I plan on leaving it just as it is.

Now...I gotta go clean up the mess I made with all the paper and adornments....


I'm finally able to post these and have them be seasonally appropriate! 

These are from Lizzie Kate and the chart is called "Eek Boo Hiss!" 

I finished "Eek" and "Boo" on 28 count Monster Mash from Picture this Plus.  It's a GREAT Halloween green, and with the bright colors that Linda uses in her pieces, they just pop off the fabric!

Look at the tiny white buttons for eyes!  Love!


More spooky eyes!!  Love it! (That witch isn't all that scary, though, is she?  She kinda looks like the witch from Looney Tunes, the one whose house Bugs ends up at trick-or-treating, and she wants to throw him into a stew...and I think there's one with her and Sylvester....please tell me I'm not the only one who remembers these!! View this photo

Ok now this one might be my favorite.  Reasons?  1) I'm partial to purple, and this has it all over the place, including in the fabric a little.  I chose 28 count Stormy Grey for this, and I love how it turned out.  All of the colors just jump off at you!  2) This is my cat.  I'm serious.  Ok not really, but it sure as heckfire could be!  This is the look my slick black cat gives me as I'm walking through the living room, the dining room, MY bedroom...just about anywhere that she thinks I should be avoiding because she's there.  Pain.  In.  The.  Rear.


This is right before she jumped LITERALLY straight up into the air, landed on all fours, back arched, tail puffed, and instead of scaring ME, scared herself, and ran into the other part of the third floor.

Please ignore the hideous 80's carpet and purple and yellow sponge paint on the walls that hurts my entire face.  I have the previous owners to thank for that shenanigans.


Moving on.

That's pretty much all the Halloweeny I have going on in Philly at the moment.  I have a few things I'll be working on as the days go by and the nights start getting cooler and longer, so keep an eye out for some more Halloween/fall things to pop up around here!

Love and stitches :-)

Just a little fall, y'all.

Good morning!  I know it's a bit dreary out there today in Philly, so I thought I'd give you a little fall-like boost for the morning.

I finished this a bit ago, and love the way it turned out.

This is "Pumpkins Three" by La-D-Da.


The model for this piece was stitched using black, but I thought a more pumpkin-y color was appropriate, so I used DMC 918 for mine.  I then took some oh-so-cute fabric with maple leaves (very fall-like, if you ask me), and created a border.  I added tabs at the top (which unfortunately you can't see in this picture), stitched quilting batting on the inside to make it a little sturdier than with just backing fabric, and made it a little wall hanging!  Ta da!  Cute, right?!


This is one of my favs -- Cricket Collection "Autumn".  I stitched this on 32 count Desert Sand (no idea who the manufacturer is), and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the color scheme for this one!!!  Makes me want to cozy in and make some mulled cider or wine right now!

Enjoy this day, no matter what you do, and be sure to pick up and do something creative!

Another late night.

Thanks to technology issues (read: iPhone update taking way longer than expected), I was up later than I wanted to be, since I have to be up relatively early to head out to a wedding in the morning.

However, it didn't stop me from getting a head start on these...


...and making a big ol' hot mess along the way...

...but who says you have to be neat to craft, anyway?


Peace, love, and tofu.

Fear not, dear followers, I'm not turning into a hippie.  Bohemian skirts and patchouli are definitely not my thing.

I do, however, enjoy switching up where I get my protein from, depending on what mood I'm in.  I mean, let's face it, you can only have so much chicken before you turn into one.  Pork has been my go-to meat lately, but every once in a while, I want something a little lighter.

That's where tofu comes in.  It's pretty much tasteless, and absorbs whatever marinade or sauce or whatever you've got going on for the rest of your dish.

Tonight, after an ever-so-exciting painting session (my foyer is done, as is my stairway, just gotta hit the hallway and I'm done!  Woop woop!), I decided tonight was a tofu night.  So, I opened up my Soy Zone book to see if there were any spectacular recipes in there for me to use.  Ok, spectacular might not be the right word, but you get the picture.  Being gluten-free, I try to use Zone recipes as much as possible, since they're naturally gluten free (no breads or pasta on the Zone Diet!), and I'm also trying to refrain from refined sugars.   I've gotten myself off of cow's milk and replaced it with coconut milk (So Delicious is my favorite brand so far, since they make the best coffee cream alternative to actual cream), so getting away from refined sugar will hopefully be just as easy.

BUT, that's a gluten-free, sugar-free post for a different day.  In the meantime, click on the badge on the right side of my blog to head on over to Simply Sugar and Gluten Free for some fanfreakingtastic recipes by Amy Green.  Love her. 

Back to tonight's dinner....

Here's the end result, and then we'll Tarantino it and come back to all the ingredients:


Tofu & veggie kabobs!  Yum!!

First, the marinade, which I altered slightly from Dr. Sears' recipe in the Soy Zone:

1/3 c olive oil
1 T dried thyme
1 T oregano
2 T garlic powder (I actually used 2 cloves of garlic, since I'm apparently out of garlic powder.  No idea how that happened.)
1 t salt
1 t black pepper 

Now, take your veggies (I used eggplant (low on the glycemic index), red pepper, and red onion), and shove them all into a giant bowl.  Pour the marinade you just made all over the veggies, and stir it all up.  Cover, and place in the fridge for approximately 1-2 hours. 

While that's all having fun in the fridge, take your tofu and press it to get all the water out.  If you don't, it'll take foreverandaday to cook.  Then, take kabob sticks and soak them in water.

When it's time to start cooking, take your griddle/cast iron (thanks again, Ange!)/broiler/whatever you've got out, and get it warm over the stove.  Pour olive oil over it once it's warm, so your veggies & tofu don't stick to the pan.  While the oil is warming, take kabob sticks that have been soaked in water and shove all your ingredients on and start grilling! (This would also be a great recipe for summer cookouts on your grill!)  Cook everything until the veggies are tender, then stick 'em on a plate and enjoy!!

I poured homemade marinara over top when I put it all in a plate, just to add a little something. (I'm part I can't help it...marinara sauce or spaghetti gravy goes on just about everything...)


And there you have it!  A delicious, no-frills, gluten-free dinner.

Stay tuned, because tomorrow I'll be whipping up some gluten-free sweet treats for Halloween.  If I have to paint one more wall this week, I may cry, so I'll definitely be doing something different tomorrow on my day off!

Now I'm off to do some stitching while the night is still young!  Be creative! this is turning out pretty cool...

Hellooooooo everyone!!  Just a snippity snap of a post here in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.  I've been working almost non-stop on "16 Men on a Dead Man's Ship" by Cricket Collection, and, I gotta say, the color changes I made have been turning out super duper so far.

If you click on the link of the name of the graph, you'll see a picture of the stitched sample done for the graph...which includes what is, in my opinion, some of the ickiest fabric ever.  Why, WHY would you do a fanfreakingtastic spooky Halloween graph on pea soup green fabric???  Boggles my mind.  BUT, this also allows me to go, "Ah,  no." and pick my own color :-)  For those of you who've been following my progress with this project, you'll know that I picked one of the coolest colors out there for Halloween:  Haunted by Picture this Plus.  So awesome.  Comes second only to PTP's Echo.  For realz.  (for those of you who may be new to my blog, I have a slight love affair with Picture this Plus and Silkweaver fabrics.  Stay tuned for that never ending soap opera.  Well, until abc cancels it, and deems it only worthy for Internet viewers to ensure the failure and eventual forever cancellation.  I digress........)

Ok.  So.  Here's what you've all been waiting progress!



I changed the fiber for the words -- I used Weeks Dye Works "Beehive" instead of drab grey.   Way, way better.  I mean, it's Halloween!  And it's a ghost ship!  This needs to be spooky and creepy!  Not pea soup and kinda spooky.

Yes, my friends.  This is pretty awesome.  The ghost ship is floating on Weeks Dye Works "Aqua" instead of ick green.  I mean, the sea can be green, as noted by Crayola's color, Sea Green, but theirs is way prettier than the pea soup sea green chosen to go along with the ick green fabric.  

I just realized I've been slamming the designer's choice of fabric and fibers through this whole post!  I obviously think this is a really cool design, HOWEVER, since it's a Halloween piece, I think she could have made just a few slight changes to make this a truly spooky piece.  BUT, since she didn't, that means my right brain was able to jump into action and think of alternatives :-)

I mean, come on.  This is pretty daggone cool :-)

That's all I have for the moment, folks, but don't change that dial, because this week will also bring you house updates (yes, I've been doing some changes around here....check out my post from a few months back about the horrors of previous owners and how to restore the aesthetic appeal of your home), gluten-free eats, and maybe some more cross stitch or sewing awesomeness.

Thanks for checking in, everyone!  I read each and every comment, and cherish every one!  Remember to do something creative today!  :-)