Life Made Sweeter

Pumpkin Oreo Cupcakes with Cinnamon Maple Frosting

 These pumpkin cupcakes are light and moist with a surprise Oreo cookie filling.  They are topped with a fluffy cinnamon maple frosting and are sure to remind you of  everything you love about fall!

Pumpkin Oreo Cupcakes with Maple Cinnamon Frosting from @LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

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Hopefully it should be fixed later today. Thank you.

I told you all we’ve been hanging out at the Halloween section a lot lately right? While the kiddos get to see all the fun decorations, I get to ogle at all the fun candy and cookies.

Like the Halloween and Pumpkin Spice Oreos – have you guys tried the Pumpkin Spice ones? Wow, so so good!

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Since the cookie filling is a bright orange, I thought they would be fun to decorate and use with the pumpkin cupcakes I was making a few weeks ago. I love making festive treats for Halloween but didn’t feel like making anything too scary.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cinnamon Frosting by @LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

Did the spooky cats scare you?  My son thought they were adorable and of course wanted to eat them.  They’re easy to make too, I just used Smarties, some fall sprinkles and different colored chocolate chips I had hanging around.

The cupcakes are moist, flavorful and loaded with pumpkin and warm spices.  They come together easily using only two bowls and no mixer.  The cinnamon maple frosting is fluffy and creamy and makes a tasty combo with the pumpkin cupcakes.

Pumpkin Oreo Cupcakes with Maple Cinnamon Frosting by @LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

 

I love adding a surprise filling in desserts and since I can never decide on just one option,  I stuffed some cupcakes with an entire Halloween Oreo and a few with a scoop of pumpkin butter.  You seriously can’t go wrong either way :)

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cinnamon Frosting @LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

 

Tint the frosting and top them off with a pumpkin candy corn or another Halloween Oreo and you’ve got your favorite fall cupcake!  Everyone will love how tasty and cute they are too!

Pumpkin-Oreo-Cupcakes-with-Maple Cinnamon Frosting---by @LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

Head on over to Mandy’s Recipe Box where I’m sharing the recipe for these Pumpkin Oreo Cupcakes.  Be sure to check out all of Mandy’s tasty recipes while you’re there!

Click HERE for recipe.

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Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware {Giveaway}

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Cooler weather always puts me in the mood for more comfort foods.  One dish meals that you just put in the oven to cook — and then wait for the delicious aromas to fill your house.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pretty dish to serve it up in too?  Great news! You have a chance to win one just in time for the holidays!

Epi-Family and Vegetarian Mamma, along with My Plant Based Family, Table for Seven, What the Fork Food Blog, My Gluten Free Kitchen, Flippin Delicious, I’m a Celiac and Life Made Sweeter have come together to offer this special giveaway.

Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware, 12-by-9-Inch Covered Rectangular Dish in Cherry Color

Simply enter using the Rafflecopter below:

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Giveaway is open to US residents (lower 48) only.
Important things to know:

  • This prize will be shipped to you directly from amazon.
  • This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Rafflecopter or directly to any of the bloggers listed.
  • The winner will be chosen at random by the widget.
  • The winner will be contacted and given 48 hours to respond with their shipping information.
  • If winner does not respond within 48 hours a new winner will be randomly picked.

Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Donuts with Chocolate Ganache {gf}

Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Donuts {gf} @LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

Super soft and moist gluten free baked pumpkin donuts loaded with chocolate chips in every bite.

If you made it through my lengthy Blog Tour post on Monday, you guys definitely deserve a treat. How about some donuts? My family puffy hearts them with all their might.

When we were kids, my uncle had a part-time job as a baker for a coffee shop. Every few days or so he would bring over a couple boxes of freshly made donuts for us to enjoy. We would squeal at all the different choices – my favorites were always the glazed or frosted ones.

It’s still a special treat any time we get to pick up a few donuts for a weekend treat but whenever I make them at home, I usually try to lighten them up a little bit.

That leaves more room for the glaze right? Haha, I know – my priorities don’t make sense – but hey, the glaze was and still is my favorite part.

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I modified my usual baked donut recipe slightly by using gluten free oat flour (I used this one from Bob’s Red Mill but you can grind your own in a food processor) and adding some honey instead of granulated sugar.  You won’t even miss the regular flour in these babies but if you can’t find oat flour or gluten is not a concern, feel free to use all purpose flour instead.

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Baked donuts are really easy to whip up with only 2 bowls to dirty – plus the donut pan. These are packed with pumpkin and pumpkin spices .  The Greek yogurt and melted coconut oil help keep these super soft and moist even after the next day.  I used honey and a little bit of brown sugar.

And if you love chocolate and pumpkin together, these are loaded with chocolate chips in every bite!

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They bake up in about 10 minutes and while they taste amazing on their own, I promise that you will love them even more once you dip them into the chocolate ganache glaze. And don’t forget to toss on some fall sprinkles if you want to make them pretty and festive.

Make a batch of these to enjoy with your coffee or tea and since they’re baked and have oats, that means they make a healthy breakfast too right? At least that’s what I tell myself :)

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Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Donuts with Chocolate Frosting

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 9 donuts

Super soft and moist gluten free baked pumpkin donuts loaded with chocolate chips in every bite. Topped with a chocolate ganache frosting, these donuts make a delightful fall treat!

Ingredients

  • * 1 and 3/4 cup gluten free oat flour or can use all purpose flour if gluten is not a concern (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oat Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled (can use vegetable or canola oil instead)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filing), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I used non-fat), room temperature
  • 1 cup of mini chocolate chips
  • Chocolate Ganache Glaze
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into fine pieces
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon of corn syrup *optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease donut ban with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt together.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar and honey. Beat in the egg. Add the pumpkin puree and greek yogurt,
  4. Pour slowly into the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined, be careful not overmix. It's still okay to see some flour. Fold in the chocolate chips. Add the liquids to the flour mixture stirring with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  5. Transfer batter to pastry bag to fill pans or spoon batter directly into donut pans filling just to the top.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow the baked donuts to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes.
  8. Transfer the donuts to a cooling rack to cool.
  9. While the donuts are cooling, make the chocolate ganache.
  10. Chocolate Ganache
  11. Place chopped chocolate in a heat safe bowl. In a double boiler over medium heat. bring heavy cream to just a boil. Immediately pour over chopped chocolate.
  12. Allow cream to sit for a few seconds and then whisk until completely melted and smooth.
  13. Whisk in corn syrup for a shiny glaze if desired or leave out.
  14. Once ganache is done and donuts are cool, dip the tops of the donuts into the ganache and turn over, back onto the cooling rack. Glaze side up. Allow glaze to harden, or serve right away.
  15. Sprinkle the tops with sprinkles if desired while the glaze is still wet.

Notes

*can sub with all purpose flour if gluten is not a concern (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Oat Flour) *you can also make your own oat flour by grinding oats very finely in your food processor or blender Glazed donuts are best enjoyed on the first day. If donuts are unglazed, store in an airtight container for up to 2 days. They will still remain moist.

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Looking for more pumpkin and chocolate?

Pumpkin Buttercream Filled Macarons with Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Ganache

Triple-Pumpkin-Spiced-Macarons-from-@LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

Nutella Filled Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chai Spice Glaze

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The Writing Process Blog Tour plus Giveaway!

The Writing Process Blog Tour - Life Made Sweeter

Have you guys heard of The Writing Process Blog Tour ? You may have seen it floating around other blogs already. It’s sort of a way to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes of the blog and how I write what I share with you here.

So, if you’re interested, read on and if not, feel free to scroll down to a little giveaway at the bottom of the post :)

A little background…

Back in June, I was first nominated to participate in the tour by Pamela from Brooklyn Farm Girl. Pamela has the most adorable cats and always inspires me with her creative recipes and the gorgeous produce she grows from her rooftop garden in Brooklyn. Have you seen her raining tomatoes??? Just ah-mazing!!!

Kristi from Inspiration Kitchen was the next person to nominate me (and coincidentally who I was actually planning on nominating as well). Not only is she one talented photographer, she has this beautiful gift of being able to make you feel like you’ve been best buds with her for years. Her posts always leave me cracking up no matter what kind of day I’m having :)

I had the privilege to receive another nomination from Sarah of Whole and Heavenly Oven. If her beautiful photography and mouthwatering recipes don’t hook you in – you will definitely fall in love with Sarah’s sweet, lively and energetic personality.

Michele from Two Raspberries very kindly nominated me next. She is super sweet and cheerful and always manages to spread happiness in her posts and comments.

Finally, my dear friend Chastity from My Rays of Sunshine invited me to join in on the fun tour. She writes a gorgeous lifestyle blog that is full of inspiring posts where everyone feels welcome. She always has the most positive and sweet energy.

Thank you so much to all of these amazing ladies for nominating me. I feel terrible that it’s taken me this long to finally write my post, but I really wanted to give it a lot of thought and time before sharing it with everyone.

If you haven’t met these sweet ladies, be sure to stop by their blogs when you have a chance!

1. What am I working on?

Blog

I have a lot of fall recipes that I’ve already photographed and still need to edit and write the posts up for them. I’ve even gotten started on a few Christmas recipes already.  Yikes – I know but it will be here before you know it.

Also, some of you have already noticed that I have been slowly trying to revamp my site. It’s still a work in progress so you may notice a few things off here and there.

Personal time management and life balance

After having our youngest little one, I am still learning how to keep up with balancing all the cooking, baking, clean-up, social media and time that comes along with blogging and being a mom of two as well as a wife to a big kid at heart.

I am working on accepting that it’s okay to have your 3 year old want to steal cookies when you are in the middle of a photo shoot and your 7 month old baby chilling on your lap and trying to press all the buttons on the keyboard while you are editing photos. (Another reason why it’s taken me this long to write this post)

It certainly makes it more challenging but I am learning that not everything has to make sense or have a set order these days :)

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2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

There are so many awesome food blogs out there and I originally started out just sharing what I make for my family and friends.  I make a little bit of everything and usually love adding an Asian or tropical flare to my dishes. Since my husband and I have different food preferences too, you will see a variety of healthy and not-so-healthy recipes. He loves sweets and chocolate so most of the desserts I make here are either eaten by him or friends and family that I share them with.  I am just grateful that I get to share them here with my readers :)

Cinnamon-Apple-Macarons-with-Salted-Caramel-via-@Life-Made-Sweeter Kale Salad with Pineapple Lime Dressing - Life Made Sweeter Soba Noodle Salad with Mango, Edamame, Pineapple & Avocado | Life made Sweeter Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken by Life Made Sweeter Salted Caramel S'mores Brownies - Life Made Sweeter Toasted Coconut Peach Streusel Bars with Dulce de Leche {gf} - Life Made Sweeter {FALL} Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Wasabi Citrus Dressing @lifemadesweeter.jpg Slow Cooker Chicken Lo Mein {Crockpot} - by @LifeMadeSweeter

3. Why do I write what I do?

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen making food for my 3 year old who shares the same big appetite as his dad.  They are both usually hungry so I am constantly whipping up food for them.   Although my parents taught me how to cook at a young age, I usually just made the same round of dishes each week when my husband and I first got married.  I started to dread thinking about what to make for dinner and blogging has helped push me out of my comfort zone to try new dishes. It has become my creative outlet and it’s so rewarding when readers come back to let me know that they have tried and loved my recipes.

One unexpected perk about blogging for me has been the wonderful friendships that I have made. It’s a real community where everyone has been so kind and willing to help and is my absolute favorite part about blogging.

4. How does my writing process work?

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Since I am constantly in the kitchen…..creating recipes and making the dishes are the easiest parts for me.  I always make a big batch and save a portion for taking photos.  I usually try to wait until my 3 year old is occupied or taking a nap before I shoot the photos — otherwise, he always tries to grab the props or the food depending on what it is (cookies are his favorite :) ).  If my 7 month old isn’t napping, she is usually sitting beside me while I take the photos.

So that might explain why you may not see a regular scheduled post from me every week the way I used to last year.  My problem is that I have a ton of recipes with the photos taken but not enough time to write them.  It’s a work in progress and I know that it will change once my kids get older but for now, I have learned that it is okay to take a step back and not always have to rush to get a post up :)

Tour Nominees

To continue this tour, I have the honor of nominating three talented and sweet ladies.

1. I mentioned above that Kristi from Inspiration Kitchen was one of the people I wanted to nominate who also happened to nominate me. Kristi and I both share the same love for spicy foods so I am always drooling over her mouthwatering dishes like this Hot & Spicy Jambalya and Spicy Chicken Lettuc Wraps. Plus, her writing is so inviting and always leaves me laughing so hard. It took me so long to write my tour post that she already has her post out so be sure to stop by and read hers here.

2. Next is Katy from Katy’s Kitchen. Katy is an incredibly sweet and talented blogger who shares recipes using wholesome ingredients. I am always impressed with her dishes because not only are the photographs beautiful, you would never guess that these desserts are healthy like this Chocolate Pistachio Cake or this No-Bake Chocolate Cream Pie.
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3. Finally, Ala from Wallflour Girl. Ala is a grad student that is extremely intelligent, full of smiles and has a huge passion for baking. She shares droolworthy desserts with healthier ingredients like this Healthy Salted Caramel Apple Bars and Raw Chocolate Chip Oat Healthy Bars. She just opened up her own Etsy Shop and is offering a giveaway of a sample box. I can honestly say first hand that her treats taste every bit as amazing as they look. Read below for more details!
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Thanks so much for reading my stop on the tour guys. If you’ve read this far, you definitely deserve something special like a GIVEAWAY!

I mentioned above that Ala from Wallflour Girl just opened up her brand new shop on Etsy.
After years of the grad student grind, she has finally decided to support her blogging efforts by selling her fresh homemade treats delivered right to your doorstep!
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The items featured in the shop for October include:

  • Addicting Caramel Snack Mix: Crunchy clusters of caramel-coated cereal, pretzels, and other bites make this an instant favorite.
  • All-Natural Peanut Butter (Vegan, GF): Most store-bought peanut butters are loaded with preservatives and ingredients you can’t pronounce. WG’s all-natural, vegan-friendly peanut butter is made with fresh peanuts and not much else. Comes in 4 fun varieties: Classic, Honey, Snickerdoodle, and PB & Chocolate.
  • Healthy Granola (available in Vegan Coffee Cookie Butter, Vegan Salted Chocolate Oat Bites, & Honey Almond): Using a recipe that has taken two years to perfect, WG homemade granola has received nothing but rave reviews from breakfasters and healthy snackers alike. Lightly toasted in the oven and made to order for the freshest quality, your 24oz. jar of granola comes in one of three varieties.
  • Soft, Puffy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free option): WG BESTSELLER: These incredible peanut butter cookies taste every ounce as soft, puffy, and peanut-packed as their photographs look! Now available in gluten-free as well!
  • Fudgy Baked Brownies (available in Classic, Chocolate Chunk, and Rocky Road): With a fudgy center, rich chocolatey flavor, and a coveted crackly top, these brownies are among the most requested WG recipes, and Ala’s personal favorite! Perfect for the chocolate lovers in your life–whether that’s a friend, guest, family member, colleague….or YOU!

In order to properly celebrate her grand opening, she is generously giving away a huge sampler box of her baked goodies, some of the most popular items from her blog.
In addition, to thank everyone for supporting her, she’s offering a 10% off all orders until the end of October. Just use the code: THANKSFORREADING at checkout.
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Plus! If you refer friends to her shop, she’ll give you a 20% discount on future purchases.
To enter for a chance to win, complete the Rafflocopter below.
Please note that this giveaway is only for US residents. These baked goods are made fresh so it wouldn’t last if delivered internationally.
Good luck everyone!

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Pumpkin Buttercream Filled Macarons with Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Ganache

Triple-Pumpkin-Spiced-Macarons-from-@LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

These festive pumpkin spiced macarons are packed with fall flavors and make a fun and festive treat for any Thanksgiving or Halloween party!  

It’s always so much fun stopping by the Halloween section at all of the stores this time of year.  My lil guy gets a hoot whenever any of the displays play a spooky sound if a person walks by or when you press one of their buttons.

It reminds me how much fun all of these holidays are for the kiddies.  Especially with all the colorful and cute treats they have these days.

Triple Pumpkin Spiced Macarons with Pumpkin Ganache and Buttercream Frosting - @LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

 

These pumpkin macarons would be a hit for the kids and adults.  They are fun and sophisticated at the same time which makes them perfect for a Thanksgiving or Halloween party for all ages.

Not only do they resemble little mini pumpkins — the cookie shells are also bursting with pumpkin pie spices.

Triple Pumpkin Spiced Macarons with Pumpkin Ganache and Buttercream Frosting via @LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

 

For an extra special surprise, there are also two different types of fillings in these macarons.  A generous dollop of pumpkin spice dark chocolate ganache and a layer of pumpkin buttercream frosting.  It’s triple the pumpkin in every bite!

 

Triple Pumpkin Spiced Macarons with Pumpkin Ganache and Buttercream Frosting from @LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

 

Head on over to Dessert Now, Dinner Later!  where I’m sharing the recipe for these adorable Pumpkin Buttercream Filled Macarons.  Be sure to check out all of Amber’s tasty recipes while you’re there like this Oreo Fudge Brownie Pizza!

Click HERE for recipe.

 

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Nutella Filled Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chai Spice Glaze

Nutella Filled Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chai Spice Glaze by @LifemadeSweeter.jpg

 

Okay guys, it’s October so you’re probably already seeing loads of pumpkin recipes everywhere by now.  Soooo I’m hoping you totally won’t mind that I start bombarding you with the rest of the pumpkin treats I made last month when I shared these cookies :)

I have to admit that I went a little bit over board with all the pumpkin themed recipes I made this year.  That’s because October is the hubs favorite month.  His birthday is in a few weeks and Halloween is one of his favorite holidays!

Every year, he always gets super excited about putting up the decorations and thinking of fun costumes to wear while handing out candy after he takes the kiddies trick-or-treating.  Yup – he is totally one of those people that get dressed up and gets really into the spirit.

Nutella Filled Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chai Spice Glaze via @LifemadeSweeter.jpg

This pumpkin streusel cake would be a great snack for the adults to have with some tea or coffee after a chilly night out of trick-or-treating with the kiddies — or it would be perfect to enjoy if you’re the one in charge of staying home to give out the candy.

It’s tender and packed with loads of pumpkin and warm comforting spices which go perfectly with the surprise Nutella filling.   The best part though?  You will fall in love with the thick double dose of buttery crumb topping.  Because if you’re anything like me, that’s always my favorite part of any streusel cake.

As if this cake didn’t have enough going on already, I drizzled the top with a sweet chai spice glaze that will have your taste buds forgetting how much Halloween candy you are surrounded with.

 

Nutella Filled Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chai Spice Glaze from @LifeMadeSweeter.jpg

 

Nutella Filled Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chai Spice Glaze

Serving Size: 9 inch cake

A tender pumpkin streusel cake with a Nutella filling and piled high with cinnamon streusel topping and finished with a chai spiced glaze. This easy fall cake will be perfect with your coffee or tea.

Ingredients

    For the streusel topping
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • Cake
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • **1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • **1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • **1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup of canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat)
  • 1 cup of Nutella
  • 1/4 cup of chopped pecans *optional for topping
  • Chai Spice Glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • *1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • *1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • *2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • *1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk, depending on desired texture
  • 1 tablespoon of butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and spray a 9-inch springform pan or a 9 inch cake pan with baking spray. Set aside.
  2. To make the streusel
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut butterr using two butter knives or your hands into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Set aside in the fridge.
  4. To make the cake batter
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk the pumpkin, oil, brown sugar, vanilla, egg and yogurt together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  7. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan.
  8. In a microwavable bowl, heat Nutella up for twenty seconds. Pour it over the batter.
  9. Spread the remaining batter on top, spreading evenly.
  10. Pour half of the streusel topping evenly on top and gently press down into the batter.
  11. Bake cake for 20 minutes, then pour remaining streusel topping over batter spreading evenly. Add 1/4 cup of chopped pecans if desired. Return cake to oven and continue baking for another 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack and let cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the sides from the pan and slide the cake onto the rack.
  12. To make the glaze
  13. While the cake is cooling, whisk together powdered sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, cloves. Pour in milk, vanilla and melted butter whisking until combined. Drizzle over the top of the cake.
  14. Serve warm or cooled.

Notes

**For the cake - You can use 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice instead

*For the chai glaze - You can use liquied from 1 steeped chai tea bag instead

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Cake adapted from King Arthur

 

Looking for more streusel cakes?

Cinnamon Ginger Coffee Cake with Streusel and Maple Glaze

cinnamon streusel cake.jpg

Lighter Lemon Coconut Streusel Coffee Cake

  Lemon Coconut Streusel Coffee Cake - Life made Sweeter.jpg

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Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Wasabi Citrus Dressing

Quinoa salad with kale, roasted butternut squash, broccoli florets, edamame, pepitas and a wasabi citrus dressing. Serve this fall inspired salad warm or at room temperature.

{FALL} Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Wasabi Citrus Dressing @lifemadesweeter.jpg

With all the sweets I’ve been sharing lately, I thought it would be a nice change to throw in a healthier salad.

On a regular day, you can usually find me swooning over a big bowl of veggies for lunch and dinner. Because that means more room for dessert right? Haha I’m kidding – okay maybe not :)

 

Fall Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Wasabi Lime Dressing by @lifemadesweeter.jpg

 

This salad is pretty easy to toss together especially if you have some leftover quinoa lying around in your fridge. If not, just cook your favorite kind of quinoa according to package instructions which I’ve also included.

Two of my favorite fall veggies are butternut squash and broccoli. I roasted them together to bring out their flavors and then tossed them together with some kale, pumpkin seeds and edamame beans.  If you have dried cranberries,  you can toss a few in to sweeten things up as well.

 

Fall Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Wasabi Lime Dressing - @lifemadesweeter.jpg

 

The simple wasabi lime dressing whisks up in a breeze and adds a kick of spice that is sure to clear up any sinuses. Start off with less wasabi paste if you are senstive to spices but if you like that extra zing, feel free to add more as you go along.  It’s a great way to bring some warmth to this fall salad.  While you’re making the dressing, you can even set aside a few orange slices for garnishing.

Mix up your salad routine and add this fall quinoa salad to your repertoire.  Served warm or at room temperature, it’s a great detox salad after a weekend of indulging in too many pumpkin treats or even a big Thanksgiving dinner.

Fall Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Wasabi Lime Dressing from @lifemadesweeter.jpg

Fall Quinoa Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Wasabi Citrus Dressing

Yield: 4 servings

Quinoa salad with kale, roasted butternut squash, broccoli florets, edamame, pepitas and a wasabi citrus dressing.

Ingredients

    Salad
  • 1 cup butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into 1/4-1/2 cubes
  • Olive oil
  • Salt for seasoning squash
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves shredded chopped
  • 1/2 cup of broccoli florets, rinsed
  • *2 cups cooked quinoa (cook according to package directions or 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa and 1 cup of vegetable broth or 1 cups of water with a pinch of salt)
  • 1/3 cup edamame beans, cooked and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • Wasabi citrus dressing
  • *1 teaspoon of wasabi paste, or to taste
  • Juice of 1 orange - set aside a few orange slices for garnishing if desired
  • 4 teaspoons of rice vinegar or 2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, minced

Instructions

    Cook the quinoa if not using precooked
  1. Rinse the quinoa. Add quinoa and vegetable broth or water with a pinch of salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Set aside.
  2. Cook the butternut squash and broccoli florets
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking pan with aluminium foil.
  4. Toss the diced butternut squash and broccoli florets with a 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Spread out evenly on the lined baking sheet. Roast on the top rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until squash is tender and turning golden brown on top. Remove from oven.
  5. Make the dressing
  6. While the squash is roasting - to serve the salad warm whisk all the wasabi lime dressing ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and allow to come to a low boil. **To serve the salad at room temperature, whisk all the dressing ingredients in a bowl.
  7. Place kale in a large salad bowl. Pour half of the dressing over the kale and allow the dressing to absorb.
  8. Add the hot butternut squash, hot broccoli florets, cooked quinoa and edamame to the salad bowl with kale.
  9. Spoon more dressing over the quinoa and toss together until well coated. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
  10. Divide into separate bowls and serve immediately or allow squash and broccoli to cool to room temperature.

Notes

*Start off with less wasabi paste if you are sensitive to spice and add more as you taste it. * This salad is great for using up leftover quinoa or cook according to package instructions

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Cinnamon Apple Spice Macarons With Salted Caramel

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Fall is officially here and I’m back with another sweet treat.   These fall inspired macarons are sure to have you feeling all warm and cozy.

I don’t get to make macarons that often since they can take quite a bit of planning but I couldn’t resist whipping up a batch to welcome the arrival of fall.

 

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These whimsical goodies are made with all your favorite autumn spices and filled with a layer of salted caramel along with a swirl of cinnamon frosting.  A taste of fall in a decadent macaron form.

 

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I am so excited to be sharing the recipe for these Cinnamon Apple Spice Macarons on  Mandy’s Recipe Box today.

You can find me over on Mandy’s blog once a month as part of her new contributor team.  We are both moms originally from a big city with the same love for food.  She shares many family favorite meals and mouthwatering treats.   Stop by to say hi and check out some of her recipes while you are there!

Find the recipe for Cinnamon Apple Spice Macarons HERE.

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Looking for more fall inspired recipes?  Try these:

 

Apple Pie Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting

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Apple Pie Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Glaze {GF}}

Apple Pie Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel Glaze - Life Made Sweeter

 

Pumpkin Chip Oatmeal Cookies

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Apple Streusel Cream Cheese Mini Bundt Cakes

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You know what they say “about an apple a day”?  Well in my house, we go through a lot more than an apple a day.  My lil guy can easily eat two or three in one sitting so we usually have a ton of apples on hand for snacking and baking.

I can’t think of anything sweeter than the aroma of baked apples and cinnamon filling through your house.  These apple streusel mini bundt cakes were the result of one of these baking sessions.

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They have all the classic flavors of fall in a mini single-serving portion.  Because mini desserts = way cuter and so much more fun to eat.

If you don’t have a mini bundt cake pan – you could always use a muffin tin or even a smaller cake pan.

The cakes come together easily and without having to pull out your mixer.  I used Greek yogurt,  coconut oil and apple sauce to keep them light and tender.

If you’re a cheesecake fan, you’ll love the creamy cheesecake goodness stuffed inside.  It goes so nicely with the buttery and crunchy streusel topping <—–always my favorite part :)

 

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The best part about mini desserts is you can have fun adding all of your own favorite toppings!

I threw on a spoonful of homemade apple pie filling, some salted caramel and a dusting of powdered sugar.

They are the perfect treat to go with your afternoon coffee or tea – one bite and you’ll fall in love!

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Apple Streusel Cream Cheese Mini Bundt Cakes

Yield: 6 mini bundt cakes, 10 muffins or one small 6" cake

These elegant mini apple bundt cakes feature a sweet cream cheese filling and topped with a buttery cinnamon streusel and apple pie filling. With a salted caramel drizzle, they are an ideal fall treat to go with your afternoon tea or coffee.

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 firmly packed brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 medium sized apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • For the cream cheese filling:
  • 4 oz brick-style cream cheese (can use lite), softened
  • 3 Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • For the skillet streusel
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter,
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • For the apple pie filling (or use your favorite premade apple pie filling):
  • 1 medium sized apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • lemon juice from a quarter of a lemon
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp apple pie spice {or substitute with a pinch of each of these spices: nutmeg, ground ginger, ground cloves}
  • Toppings:
  • Apple pie filling, recipe below or store-bought
  • Toasted pecans, walnuts
  • Salted caramel
  • Powdered sugar

Instructions

    For the cream cheese filing:
  1. In a large bowl, add all ingredients and whisk to combine. Alternatively, mix with a hand mixer. Set aside.
  2. For the skillet streusel:
  3. Using a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and apple pie spice. Set aside.
  4. For the cake:
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray your mini bundt pan, muffin tin or cake pan with non-stick baking spray.
  6. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the egg, granulated sugar and brown sugar together until incorporated. Whisk in oil, applesauce, greek yogurt and vanilla extract and mix until fully combined.
  7. Add the flour mixture into the applesauce mixture and stir until evenly combined. Fold in diced apples.
  8. Pour the batter a third full into the prepared wells of the mini bundt pan. Dollop with a large spoonful (about 1-2 Tbs) of cream cheese filling smoothing the top lightly. Top remaining with cake bater and bake for about 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Meanwhile, make the streusel and the apple pie filling.
  9. For the streusel:
  10. In a small saucepan, melt butter on medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in the flour, cinnamon and salt with a fork until small clumps form. Return to medium heat and stir constantly until streusel is cooked to a nice toasty brown. Remove from heat and allow to set and cool.
  11. For the apple pie filling:
  12. In a medium saucepan, place chopped apples, butter, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and apple pie spice together. Cook over medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, until apples are tender. Stir occasionally. Allow mixture to cool.
  13. Assemble cakes:
  14. Top cooled bundt cakes with apple pie filling, streusel topping, salted caramel and a dusting of powdered sugar.
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Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapples and Bell Peppers

Homemade sweet and sour chicken. No need to order take-out with this easy and delicious slow cooker version.

After months of hibernating in the back of my cabinets, I finally pulled our slow cooker out of its hiding place.

It’s easily one of my favorite kitchen appliances but for some reason, I always seem to forget about it once patio season arrives.

I guess it’s because the hubs grills most of our meals during the summer but now that we’re heading into fall, I couldn’t wait to start using it again!

Starting with this easy slow cooker sweet and sour chicken.

 

I used to make a similar dish that was the hubs favorite almost weekly when we first got married.

This one is so much better for you though since there’s no frying involved and we’re also using chicken this time.  It’s lighter and plus you won’t have to stand in front of the hot stove which makes it perfect for those busy week nights or days when you need your hands free to soothe a teething baby ;)

 

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You just whisk together the homemade sweet and sour sauce and pour it over the chicken in the crockpot – then just sit back and let the machine do all the cooking for you!

After a few hours, you throw in your favorite chopped veggies – I used red bell peppers and pineapple chunks this time, then you pour in the sauce and thirty minutes later, you’re ready to  serve this warm over a bowl of cooked rice or quinoa.

Your favorite take-out dish that requires almost zero effort!  

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Homemade sweet and sour chicken. No need to order take-out with this easy delicious slow cooker version.

Ingredients

  • ** 2 pieces of whole chicken breasts (I used bone-in chicken breasts and shredded the chicken after it cooked as I find the chicken is more tender this way) (** if you want a crispier texture on the chicken, use cubed chicken and brown first on the stove top but coat the cubed chicken with 1/4 cup of cornstarch first before frying)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth (I used low sodium)
  • 1/3 cup of tamari or low sodium soy sauce
  • ** 1 teaspoon of dark soy sauce - if you can't find this, feel free to leave it out and add 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar instead.
  • 3 tablespoons of honey (can also use brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ** 3 tablespoons tomato paste (can also use ketchup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • sea salt to taste (optional)
  • crushed chili flakes or sriracha (optional)
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or canned - I used fresh)
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1" pieces
  • Sauce slurry
  • 3 tablespoons of cool water
  • 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch or potato starch (I used potato starch) **use more or less depending on how thick you want the sauce
  • Optional
  • Sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Spray inside of slow cooker with non-stick coating spray.
  2. Place chicken inside the slow cooker.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together chicken broth, soy sauce, dark soy sauce, honey, vinegar, tomato paste, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and black pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and push chicken down making sure chicken is covered with sauce.
  4. Cover slow cooker with lid and cook chicken on low heat for 5-7 hours or high heat for 2-3 hours. (Mine was done after 2.5 hours on high heat.)
  5. Tear or shred chicken with two forks into chunks if you are using whole chicken breasts.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry. Pour in to slow cooker and whisk gently with chicken mixture. Gently fold in pineapple chunks and bell pepper.
  7. Cook mixture on high for an additional 20 minutes until sauce thickens and the pineapples and bell peppers are slightly tender.
  8. Season to taste with salt, chili flakes or sriracha sauce if desired. Remove and plate.
  9. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and green onions if desired
  10. Serve immediately over brown rice or quinoa.

Notes

** I used bone in chicken breasts and left mine whole and shredded the chicken after it cooked as I find the chicken stays juicier and tender this way ** if you want a crispier texture on the chicken, use cubed chicken and brown first on the stove top but coat the cubed chicken with 1/4 cup of cornstarch first and dip each piece into a small bowl of a beaten egg before frying

** if you can't find dark soy sauce, leave it out and add 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar and another 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce or tamari instead. The dark soy sauce adds a touch of caramel sweetness to the dish

** you can use ketchup in place of the tomato paste. Just omit or reduce the apple cider vinegar as it may be too sour.

***Please note that each different slow cooker has various cooking times . These are the cooking times that worked using my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker. Please use my cooking times only as a guide as yours may cook at a higher or lower temperature than mine or consult your manufacturer’s instructions.

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 ***Please note that each different slow cooker has various cooking times . These are the cooking times that worked using my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker. Please use my cooking times only as a guide as yours may cook at a higher or lower temperature than mine or consult your manufacturer’s instructions.

Looking for more take-out favorites?

**For those of you that don’t have a slow cooker, you can still make this dish on your stove top easily.

Check out my Sweet and Sour Pork Dish that doesn’t require a slow cooker.   Just replace the pork with chicken or firm tofu instead.

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Slow cooker / Crockpot Chicken Lo Mein Noodles (a reader favorite that has been pinned over 220,000 times)

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Stir Fried Shanghai Noodles with Ground Pork and Napa Cabbage

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Chicken Chow Mien (Authentic Cantonese Style)

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Chicken Fried Rice Noodles with Black Bean Sauce

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