Devil's Food Cupcakes!

Eyeballing It

Last weekend I was home and my Dad made these delish noodles for dinner. It always fascinates me how my parents cook...I think I've only ever seen them look at a recipe for reference 2 or 3 times in my entire lifetime. Everything is "eyeballed"! That's what my mom said last weekend. When I cook any given cuisine, I eyeball about half the time, depending on how familiar I am with the style of cooking and the recipe itself (I try new recipes a LOT), but I cannot get the hang of doing this to cook Chinese food! I astound myself, because it's the food I grew up on, yet it's what I trust myself least with. There are only a few recipes I can make off hand...a spicy cucumber salad, fried rice...that's all I can think of!

Anyways, here are a few pictures of my dad serving up those eyeballed noodles =)
He usually throws in any random leftovers there are, and some fresh vegetables.

Autumn, my favorite time of year! The season when the heat subsides and windows are left open for the crisp fresh air to circulate through the home. Neither air conditioning nor heat is necessary for comfort. Thanksgiving is close, but Halloween is closer! Seasonal beers start appearing on liquor store shelves. The outside begins smelling like fireplaces, and indoors it smells like cinnamon and nutmeg. Leaves become crunchy and color the ground! Pumpkin picking, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie!


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temp.
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 (9 inch) store bought pie crust
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
2. Add the eggs in one at a time. When everything is mixed, set aside 3/4 cup of the batter.
3. Add in the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice until everything is incorporated.
4. Pour the batter into a 9 inch pie crust. Drop the plain batter by spoonfuls over the top of the pie and swirl using a butter knife to create a marbled effect.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes until the filling is set, then refrigerate for ~4 hours before serving.

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
pinch of salt & pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
loaf of Italian bread

1. Cut your italian bread into 1 inch cubes, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and toast it up in the oven for 5 or 6 minutes at 350 degrees, until it's hot and crunchy.
2. Combine all the seasonings into the olive oil. Usually at this point I consider this appetizer to be ready to serve, but if you have extra special guests, you can heat the oil and seasonings in a small skillet for 3 or 4 minutes on low to really infuse the olive oil with all the different flavors.

You can pour the oil into little ramekins so each person can have their own portion (yay for double dipping!). Enjoy it!

Warm and hearty, spicy and cheesy! I usually have most of this stuff in my pantry and fridge so it's just a matter of throwing everything into a pot and letting it simmer away.

Ingredients For Soup:
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 can small white beans
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes 18.5 oz
1 small can whole corn kernels
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
4 hot Italian sausage links
1 flour tortilla, torn into small pieces
sour cream (topping)
shredded cheddar cheese (topping)

Ingredients For Taco Seasoning:
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
1 tbsp. coriander
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

1. Heat 1 tbsp. of veggie oil in a stock pot and turn the heat on to medium-high.
2. Remove casings from the sausage links and cut into chunks as big or small as you'd like.
3. Add the sausage, onions, and peppers to the pot and let the sausage brown for 4-5 minutes.
4. Stir in the beans, corn, and tomatoes.
5. Throw in all the spices for the Taco Seasoning. Alternatively, you can use a packet of store bought taco seasoning but watch how much you put in because it may be a bit salty.
6. Pour in the chicken broth and water, stir to combine.
7. Turn the heat to low, put the lid on, and let simmer for 45 minutes.
8. Throw in the torn flour tortilla pieces, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
9. Ladle into a bowl and top with a dallop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese.

A healthy home is not a home full of the latest furnishings or decorated by the current hot designer. It's a home that says "Welcome. I am taken care of, can I take care of you?" There's a place to sit, a place to put your jacket or a bag, clean towels and extra toilet paper in the bathroom, and a clean glass to offer a visitor a glass of water. A chair has a table nearby to put down a glass, laundry and cleaning are done regularly, perhaps a light is left on for the inhabitant who comes home when it's already dark. When you start to care about your home, it's a sign you're starting to care about yourself; the health of one begets the health of the other.

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