Pumpkin Blondies with White Chocolate Chips

Hi there! Well fall is in full glory in Connecticut. Our leaves are turning and the weather has been beautiful. We have been busy with visits to Vermont which I hope to share some recommendations and up to Boston. Last weekend I finally had a chance to catch my breath and do some decorating to celebrate the season. The wreath in the picture was a Christmas Tree Shop find which I added a bow with some Michael’s ribbon (on sale now!).

Fall wreath
Some fall cheer at the door

Other touches around the house include pumpkins, mums and some delightful Williams Sonoma fall soap for the powder room (I typically do not like pumpkin spiced scent so the cider option is wonderful). I also found myself in the kitchen making lentil soup and these amazing pumpkin blondies with white chocolate chips.

Pumpkin blondies with white chocolate chips are full of brown butter taste and the pumpkin flavor is not overpowering. You could easily make them with dark chocolate or milk chocolate chips too. I happened to have white chocolate chips on hand and loved how the white chocolate complements the pumpkin flavor. It took me a few tries to get the recipe just right. Needless to say this dessert was gobbled up! I may even try a teaspoon of ground ginger next time to add some depth (but they are delicious as in the recipe below).

Pumpkin Blondies with White Chocolate Chips

The taste of fall in an easy-to-make blondie full of brown-buttery, pumpkin spice flavors with creamy white chocolate chips. Delicious for game day or as dessert or snack anytime.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Bars
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cost $4


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup good quality white chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue to cook, stirring the pan until the butter becomes a golden brown color. Watch it carefully to make sure the bits on the bottom of the pan do not burn. Remove from heat and cool slightly. It will look like the image when it is ready.
    Browned butter
  • In a large bowl combine brown butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and pumpkin. Stir until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, pumpkin spice, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the white chocolate chips. Batter will be on the wet side.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 25 to even 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out without raw batter on it. Oven temperatures can vary so watch carefully after 20 minutes.
  • Cool slightly before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

Fall This and That

Happy Fall! This fall has been busier than ever. This post I will share a few short updates on what I have been cooking, where I have been going and a few fall items I purchased that I am loving. Grab a pumpkin/apple spiced beverage and let’s discuss.

First, with high school gal applying to colleges we have been doing some last minute rounds to see local schools (if you missed our tour of a few southern and PA schools you can read about it here). We made it to the Boston College home game, and boy it was fun. I loved the latest game day look for girls which included some cute tennis skirts (why do I remember us wearing baggie jeans?!). Our team (BC) won so it was a huge celebration and so great to see old friends.

We also headed up to see college girl in Vermont and catch some fall foliage. I had made a mean care package (if I do say so myself) a few weeks ago for a first bout of homesickness. I created the perfect cookie for care packages as it does not crumble. This time I planned to bring one with a fall theme.

With not much time to spare I lucked out with an easy pumpkin oatmeal cookie mix from Trader Joes. Chewy, oatmeal cookies with chocolate chunks and plenty of pumpkin flavor…I did add a few extra chocolate chips. These are another care package win as the cookies hold their shape and flavor. Pick up a mix when at TJs. I am adding some spiced tea and latte easily made with the electric kettle along with a few other goodies.

For some reason this fall I have wanted to buy clothes! Maybe after last year’s imposed home stay and nowhere to go it feels good to get out. I bought this J Crew coat. I love the raspberry color and think it works for both fall and spring. With temps falling in CT, I have been wearing it everywhere.

Anyone else craving sneakers? Stylish sneakers are my go-to shoes as I work from home and am often shuttling between the gym, car pools, dog walks and zoom calls. These New Balance ones caught my eye. Can’t wait until they arrive as they are so comfortable. I like the subtle animal print on the back too.

Next up? I have a bunch of fall recipes on the blog which I will be making for football games, hiking picnics and more. You can make them too:

One bowl pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting

Pumpkin crisp

Apple crisp

What have you been doing to celebrate fall? Mums on the porch? Pumpkins everywhere? Halloween decorating? This is one of my most favorite times of the year, and I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am. Cheers!

Fall Weekend Wrap Up + Apple Crisp

The weather was gorgeous this past weekend, and we did a second round of apple picking at our favorite orchard which made the most delicious apple crisp (recipe below!).

Friday I realized that I had dozens of eggs in the fridge (don’t ask) and decided to make a quiche. Then I realized I did not have prepared crust so did a quick recipe search and found this simple recipe for pie crust. Could not have been easier, was delicious and I used real ingredients like organic flour and butter so am guessing was much healthier too and without the preservatives in refrigerator crust! French guy was impressed although we both agree we need to find a low-cost source of gruyere cheese which is one reason why quiche in France is so delcious (I used sharp cheddar as that is what I had on hand).

We also had our last day at the shore which was bittersweet. Even during the pandemic, it was so great to escape to sail, kayak and hit the beach and socialize safely outside. It has been a silver lining to discover the beatuiful, CT shore and go back to my roots of sailing (and now teaching the girls to sail).

While hiking will be great during the fall, I told Mr. SB that we need a winter escape (am asking for cross country skis for Christmas). Downhill skiing may be challenging as the pandemic continues.

Sunday afternoon I tackled cleaning the basement. I actually organized the spot two years ago, and while it looked terrible in recent days, it only took me about an hour to remove unwanted items and put others away in the labeled spaces I had created years ago. I used my 5 step organization method for a particularly messy part. So nice to go in and not have stuff everywhere! I also realized that end of season or any major event should be an alert. That is the time to empty beach bags, wash towels etc. (anyone ever clean out a kid’s backpack and find 3 month old hummus?…surely not me:).

Now what about that apple crisp?

Apples from apple picking

So all in all a good weekend. The apple crisp was a perfect way to end Sunday dinner. I used a mix of Jonah Gold, Granny Smith, Cortland and Mutsu apples. Typical recipes use far more sugar – while this recipe is plenty sweet I like to taste the apples. The top is a delicious mix of oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. If you love crisps as much as I do, be sure to check out last week’s pumpkin crisp recipe which is also easy, perfect for fall and delicious. Super easy…enjoy!

Apple Crisp

Best Homemade Apple Crisp

Sunday’s bread recipe for warm, homemade apple crisp.  Nothing says home like apple crisp.  Top with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream for the perfect, sweet comfort food.
Print Pin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apple, Dessert, Fall, Fruit dessert
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Cost: $3


  • 8 by 8 pan
  • Peeler
  • Sharp knife


  • 4 cups apples sliced thinly. I leave a little skin on for texture.
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar I use Costco organic
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter cold and cut into smaller tablespoon sized slices
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine the first three ingredients and place in a greased 8×8 baking dish.
    Sliced apples
  • Combine the remaining ingredients. I use kitchen gloves to work the butter into the dry ingredients. Mixture should look crumbly. Spread over the top of the apple mixture.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Apples should be juicy and bubbling but hold their shape. Test with a fork or knife to determine that the apples are tender. Bake for another 5 to 10 minutes if necessary.
    Apple crisp from the oven

Fall Weekend Wrap Up + Pumpkin Crisp

We had beautiful, crisp weather in the New York area this weekend. The weekend was full of cooking autumn dinners and dessert (pumpkin crisp recipe to follow!). I also tackled organizing the bathroom top to bottom so will be sharing that as well. Of course I used my foolproof steps to do so. But let’s talk food.

What did I cook this weekend?

Fridays as always are evenings where my Mr. SB comes in late. Last week was a stressful one (hence my lack of blog posts) so cooking something yummy on Friday was a great stress reliever. I admit – I love pumpkin both in savory and sweet dishes (with the exception of pumpkin pie…not sure why I do not like pumpkin pie!). So I went in search of a savory, pumpkin-based sauce and found a great recipe from Rachel Rae. Rachel is famous for her 30-minute meals and this recipe for pasta with pumpkin sage sauce and sweet Italian sausage was delicious. It also refrigerated well so we had leftovers last night:)

Saturday morning meant looking in the fridge/freezer at leftovers and figuring out what kind of home made soup to make. It turns out the easiest pot roast recipe in the world also makes a fantastic Beef and Barley soup. I promise recipes to come. In the meantime a quick photo.

Beef and barley soup from leftover pot roast.  Delicious and hearty.

Pumpkin Crisp – the perfect fall dessert

So here’s the deal – I love pumpkin bread, pumpkin spice and most pumpkin desserts (except pumpkin pie). A few years back I had pumpkin bars which had this delicious, gingerbread crust and tender filling. It made me think about why not having a pumpkin crisp with those same flavors. Combine all that gingery goodness into a crumbly mixture and layer it on top of the yummy part of pumpkin. It came out delicious. So here is the recipe…enjoy!

Pumpkin Crisp

Pumpkin Crisp

Creamy custard, pumpkin spice goodness topped with a gingerbread crisp. Nothing better on a fall day and a great addition to Thanksgiving too!
Print Pin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Crisp, Dessert, Fall, Pumpkin
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Cost: 4


  • Deep square or rectangle pan.


  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 c sugar
  • 1 5 oz can evaporated milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • tsp of nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or more if you love pumpkin spice!
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c Gingersnap cookie flour made by putting Gingersnap cookies in the food processor
  • 1 c quick oats
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c butter softened
  • ½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Grease a deep square or rectangular pan or a 2-3 qt casserole dish.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the first ingredients through salt, and then pour into the prepared dish.
    Pumpkin custard
  • In a medium bowl, combine the ground up gingersnap cookies, oats, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and powder. Then, use a fork to incorporate the butter into the dry mixture.
  • Bake the custard for 20 minutes. Once you see it start to harden at the edges and set, you can add the crumble topping. If you add the crumble mixture right away it may sink!
  • Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, or until the center of the pumpkin pie filling reaches 175°F. The center will still have a little wiggle, but it won’t be super runny.
    Pumpkin Crisp from the oven
  • Serve with ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce if you so desire.


Pumpkin crisp is best served warm with some ice cream or whipped cream on the side.  

Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas and Tahini Dressing

Hi there! We are enjoying fall around here and have been doing plenty of seasonal cooking. Kale is a hearty fall green that goes so well with many of the stews, soups and other fare you find this time of year. I love kales salad with crispy chickpeas and tahini dressing. Both kale and chickpeas are super healthy too. Kale is full of anti-oxidants.

Fall weekend cooking and eating

Fridays tend to be a late night for my husband so I usually cook in the Instant pot or slow cooker. The girls and I tend to eat earlier, and then when he comes in the meal is still warm. The sauces in these types of recipes make his serving as fresh as if he ate with us.

Kale salad goes well with my regular, Friday night rotations such as slow cooker pot roast, chicken marsala, meatballs or even Indian style chicken curry. This week it was foolproof pot roast (recipe coming soon).

Fall weekend look back

The weekend was full of activity. We had warm temperatures here so were thrilled to enjoy the shore, and even went clamming/oystering (with a license of course!). I finally set up my fall table took out the autumn, pumpkin dishes. I figure if we are still spending so much time at home we may as well make it pretty.

Fall pumpkin centerpiece
Fall pumpkin centerpiece

How do you make Kale Salad with Crispy Chickpeas and Tahini Dressing?

So moving on to my fall salad recipe – first step is to wash the kale and strip out the tough center fibers. Kale is very different than lettuce. It is heartier. As such, you will need to cut it into smaller pieces and ideally let it sit in the dressing for at least twenty minutes to marinate. I use a kitchen shears to cut the kale into smaller ribbons. Then I make the dressing:

1/2 cup of mild olive oil (or I like avocado oil)

Juice from one lemon (or 2 to 3 tablespoons or more if you like it very lemony)

2 tablespoons of tahini

1 teaspoon of sugar (mellows out the lemon)

Salt to taste

Shake in a container to mix, and then pour on your cut up kale leaves. Set aside while you make the crispy chickpeas. Enjoy!

Kale salad with crispy chickpeas and tahini dressing

Roasted Crispy Chickpeas

Crispy, spiced chickpeas are healthy and a delicious snack or topping for salad or anytime you want some crunch and texture.
Print Pin
Course: Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: GF, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 75kcal
Cost: $1.50


  • Sheet pan
  • Standard oven


  • 1 can of chick peas
  • 1 tablespoon of avocado or another oil that can cook at high temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Drain chickpeas
  • Pat with paper towels and let dry. It is important that the chickpeas dry before cooking or else you will steam them when you go to roast them.
  • Toss chickpeas with the oil and cumin powder.
  • Lay evenly on a baking sheet. I like to line my baking sheet with foil to avoid mess.
    Crispy roasted chick peas
  • Put pan in middle of preheated oven and cook for thirty to forty minutes. Shake to turn halfway through cooking.
  • Let cool and chickpeas will continue to crisp.


Serve over salad or as a snack.  Chick peas are best eaten day of preparation.  If refrigerated they may soften.  You can also vary the spices.  Curry powder or smoked paprika are also delicious spices to try.


Calories: 75kcal


Hi there from me and G, my darling dog and best work-at-home buddy!  The temperatures dropped in the New York area, and it is feeling like autumn!  I love fall but have to say, I do not want summer to go especially with the pandemic likely forcing us all inside.  On the bright side, I absolutely love this time year for decorating, cooking and entertaining.   So today I am starting a series of posts on Best Fall 2020 Cooking, Recipes and Decorating.

Apple Crisp Bars with Salted Caramel Drizzle

This weekend was perfect for apple picking, and we picked a bunch.  I decided to adapt my blueberry crumble bar recipe to make a divine apple crisp bar.  I could not stop there though, so I also made some homemade salted caramel to drizzle on top (and of course had to have some French vanilla ice cream on the side).  These apple crisp bars are divine – with their sweet, salty, caramely drizzle, soft apple filling and decadent shortbread crust and topping – as you may have guessed, they did not last one day.  Recipe to come!  

Apple crisp bars with salted caramel drizzle

The easiest Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup

It was not all sweet stuff though.  College girl told me that she loves butternut squash (who knew?), and that she wanted butternut squash soup.  So I made the easiest butternut squash soup ever in the crockpot.  Shh…it also has carrots, onion and other healthy ingredients (she normally hates carrots…picky toddlers can grow up to be picky teens!)

We headed to the shore Sunday and came back on the late side so to have that soup ready was fantastic.  I served the soup along with a green salad and Mr. SB’s famous roast chicken.  His roast chicken always comes out perfectly.  There is something about being French that gives you natural talent for creating a perfect roast chicken…must be genetic!   I also served my roast fingerling potatoes coated with Penzey’s Northwood’s spice which is a favorite.  Will post these recipes soon (except the roast chicken…he won’t disclose his secrets).

More cooking and recipes!

In the blog world, apparently you need to be thinking ahead so I also cooked a test batch of turkey soup with wild rice – also delicious and super cheap to make if you have leftovers (can easily sub chicken for the turkey).   But I will save sharing the recipe until after Thanksgiving when you will be pulling your hair out trying to figure out what to do with all that leftover turkey!

About a year ago, I started this blog and guess what?  My first post was the best-ever pumpkin bread!  Life got in the way (#2020) so I had to put my blog dreams on hold until recently, but am happy to share that recipe.  It is delicious and healthier than the usual you find out on Pinterest.  

Fall online shopping

Lastly, I had to do some fall shopping online (well maybe not “had to”).  As the budget minded girl I am I headed to Target.com and found this awesome long sweater.  It is so cozy.  I decided to buy it in another color too.  I love the yellow, teal and aqua and will pair that one with black and grey. At 5 foot 4, I am an extra small. It does run long but I love the fit (see above pic).

Fall decorating

I finally cleared the deck of dead plants (keeping it real here!) and bought some mums for that space and the front step.  I also dug out my fall wreath.  I found this one that would work well on Amazon but I am re-using one from a season past.  More to come on the decorations.  I just ordered these darling pumpkins from Target.  At $5 each they are a steal, and I love the neutral colors and texture which will work well with my other fall entertaining. Well I promise recipes will be up soon! Check back for more best fall 2020 cooking, recipes and decorating.

How are you preparing for fall 2020?  Any good recipes or tips to share?

Thanks for stopping by!