Sweet Widdle Punkin'



This perfect crown jewel of the Autumn Season turned out BEYOND!! Look, even if you’re not a super-huge cheesecake fan OR if you hate all things pumpkin, I cannot tell you how much you need to try this recipe!! TRUST ME - no matter what - you will love this. You. Will. LOVE THIS……It looks daunting at first, but I promise it’s a cake walk! (No pun intended!!)

1 and 1/3 cups graham crackers crumbs

1/4 cup melted butter

2- 8 oz okgs cream cheese , softened

1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 cup (or one can) pumpkin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp clove

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

The very important part here is to preheat your oven; HOWEVER COMMA, you must preheat it lower than standard ovens start, which is typically at 350. YOU MUST PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 300 FOR THIS RECIPE SO AS TO SLOW COOK HIS BABY TO ITS RIGHTFUL BEAUTY.

Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, including up the sides as much as possible. Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter in the 9x 13-inch pan prepared pan, and press to the bottom evenly. In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, but do not over-blend. Spoon half of the mixture over the crust and carefully spread evenly. Add the pumpkin puree and all spices to the remaining cream cheese mixture and blend until smooth. Carefully spoon over mixture in pan.

Bake 45 minutes minutes or until just set. DO NOT OVERBAKE. Turn off the oven and leave the door barely open to allow the cheesecake to cool slowly, for about 45 minutes or until oven has cooled. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting into desired shapes. They can be cut into bars, but in my case, I use a circular cutter. I whip some heavy whipping cream and freshly-grated nutmeg together and top the pumpkin cheesecake with a dollup. These SCREAM autumn!!!! (The DAUGHTS just informed me that it is actually National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day at the time of this blog post! How ya like them punkins??)




I am learning that catering doesn't always mean a fancy, sophisticated spread.  Sometimes may also be doing a ton of amuse bouche or appetizers, and sometimes the theme could be low-key and understated - and yet still very appreciated!  In this particular case, I made a picnic-style lunch of gorgeous paninis with three kinds of cheese and shaved deli turkey on sprouted-grain bread, hand-crafted veggie-chip blend, baked cornichon, and the most wonderful chocolate chip cookies that were crisp on the outside and just-soft-enough in the middle that they melted in the clients' mouths!  I know, because they said so!!  I have a little trick for uniform cookies so read on in the recipe to see what that little hack is!!


1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 pkg (16 oz) chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in egg. Add vanilla and mix well. slowly add flour mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips. HACK PART ONE:  Spread your mixture onto a prepared baking sheet to meet the edges.   Bake until cookie "cake" is brown, which is approximately 13 minutes.  HACK PART TWO: Take a circular (or whatever shape) cookie-cutter (I used a small round with tiny scalloped edges for this catering job) and immediately cut your shape into the sheet of baked cookie.  DO NOT REMOVE.  Immediately place your cookie sheet in the freezer and leave there for anywhere between fifteen minutes to a half hour.  When you pull out the cookie sheet, carefully remove your cookies and keep the scraps for another recipe or as a treat for later!  I freeze mine and use in cheesecake for Sunday Supper!

NOTES: I use all-organic ingredients but it is not necessary for the flavor in the cookies for this particular recipe.  Also, be on the watch for your husband sneaking his nose into the freezer for the scraps you are saving for later.  I'm not trying to throw anyone in my house under the bus (The Hubster)......I'm just sayin'......




You just don't say no when you're a hustler and trying to get a business off the ground!  That's Life As She Does It!!  This catering job was from the Chamber of Commerce in my area for a hospital ward that was opening up, and their new logo had green with touches of blue - which meant they needed 250 green cupcakes with green frosting.  No problem, right?  I made THE most crumbly, moist, decadent cupcakes you've had this side of Cupcake-Land.  (And there IS a land of cupcakes!!)  But I couldn't make them green in good conscious by adding chemical food coloring.  Some people sincerely don't mind, but I just COULDN'T.  So I used India Tree all-natural food coloring.  It took a couple of batches of mixing and matching to get just the right color green, but The Fam didn't complain when they got the casualties.  Now, I sure couldn't indulge (hence, the envy), but it brought me joy to know I was filling total strangers' tummies with clean yumminess!  


2 sticks butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

3 cups sugar

5 eggs, brought to room temperature

3 cups flour

2 tsps baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup organic whole milk, brought to room temperature

1/2 cup buttermilk, brought room temperature

2 1/2 tsps vanilla extract

India Tree coloring of your choice

Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy. Slowly add sugar one cup at a time, making sure to mix each cup before adding another. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully mix in each egg before adding another.  Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour milk, buttermilk, and vanilla into separate bowl and whisk together. Alternate butter and shortening mixture with milk mixture, starting and finishing with dry ingredients, and stir well. Stir in your food coloring.  Evenly distribute batter into cupcake pans and place pans into oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cupcakes don't jiggle when you move the cupcake pan.  Remove and allow to cool cool completely.  Frost or ice cupcakes as desired.

NOTES: I use all-organic ingredients, including the shortening - yes, they make organic!! - which I find in the all-natural and organic section of the grocery store.  I also make my own buttermilk in a glass measuring cup by adding 1/2 tbs white vinegar to each 1/2 cup milk and letting it sit for 20 minutes.  This recipe makes approximately 24 cupcakes when I use my ice cream scoop and fill each cup 3/4 of the way full.  There were a TON of happy  (green-toothed for those that indulged in a few more than one) smiles at the end of the night!


This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This colorful and tasty Sunday Supper was perfect for the fall transition!  I had some apples and a couple of peaches just about on their last leg, and half a cauliflower head.  So I got some delectable chicken thighs and created an autumnal appetition of chicken thighs with pan au jus, sauteed apples, and au gratin faux-tatoes, and finished it off with a peach upside-down cake!  OhmuhGAH!!  I.  Can't.  EVEN!!


1 pkg chicken thighs

sea salt


6 tbs fresh thyme

extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

Season chicken thighs with sea salt, pepper, and thyme.  In a heavy pan (I use my cast-iron, of course!) sprinkle enough evoo to cover the bottom of the pan and heat on medium-high heat for two minutes.  Add chicken thighs to pan, top-side-down to get a beautiful sear on them.  Cook for two minutes before turning heat to medium.  Cook another six minutes on same side and then turn.  Cook eight minutes on bottom side and remove chicken thighs from pan and let rest.

NOTES:  Remember not to overcrowd your pan or you will not get the brown color you are looking for here.


drippings from chicken thighs

1/2 red onion, diced finely

1 cup broth of your choice (but chicken broth works best here, for obvious reasons)

sea salt 


1 tsp fresh thyme

1 tbs butter

Using the same pan the chicken was cooked in, keep heat on medium and add to the drippings the onion.  Cook for three minutes and add broth, scraping all the meaty bits from the bottom of a pan with a wooden spoon.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste, and then add thyme.  Bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly, and remove from heat.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Serve over chicken thighs


6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into about 1/2-inch chunks

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

4 tbs butter

1/2 tsp ground clove

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pepper

In a pan on medium heat, add apples to evoo and butter and cook for two minutes.  Add seasoning and cook an addition five minutes.  Serve with chicken thighs and pan au jus.  And then wipe your eyes, because this WILL make you cry a little.  It's THAT GOOD.


1/2 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized chunks

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

sea salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1 tbs mustard powder

1 tbs garlic powder

Combine all ingredients into a prepared baking dish and mix well.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Serve alongside chicken-thighs-over-apples.  

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.


I got this AMAHZ recipe HERE

NOTES:  You're welcome.  ;-)



Tapas Totales!

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

To sum it up, this was a night of tapas and home-made margaritas that would make you slap yo' mammasita!  A couple of friends came over and I made gambas al ajillo (shrimp and garlic sauce), empanadas with crema-paprika sauce, chorizo-tortilla pizzas, baked pappas (fingerling potatoes), and a little concoction I put together that we will call Frito Masa Dulce (fried sweet dough).  I wanted it to be a play on sopapillas, but more Spanish-style and doughnut-y.  So I took our go-to home-made pizza dough recipe, sweetened it up and then fried it, and sprinkled good ole powdered sugar on top!  And that is the recipe I am sharing with you today.  De nada. 


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 pkg fast-rising yeast

2 tbs sugar

 1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp apple pie seasoning

1 tbs extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

2 tbs honey

1 cup warm water

canola oil

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add wet ingredients and water and stir with a fork until combined.  Cover with a damp paper towel and let rise for an hour.  In a heavy pot (I use my cast iron Dutch oven,  of course!), heat 1 and 1/2 inches of canola oil on medium-high heat.  Using a little extra flour so the dough doesn't stick to your hands, use fingers to flatten out the dough to about 9x12 on a counter sprinkled with a little flour.  Use a cookie cutter to cut into 12 equal-sized pieces.  Gently drop one piece at a time into the oil, and fry for about one minute on each side, until golden brown.  Take out with a slotted spoon or spatula and let drain on paper towel.  Once they are all done, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

NOTES:  Drizzle with honey or maple syrup if you want to raise the bar of delicioso even higher!!  

American Pie

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This was a dessert from a Sunday Night Supper, which I decided was going to be American.  It came after a beautiful chicken and rice dinner, with a side of green beans and yeasty pull-apart rolls, and was actually perfect for our transition into the fall weather.  We had Schmooly-Wooly & The Daughts over, and they LOVED IT!


2 pie crusts (home made or store bought - your choice)

6 green apples, cored, peeled, and sliced

1/4 cup sugar

1 tbs cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 stick butter, cut into thin slices

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Put one of your pie crusts into your pie plate, and then add the rest of the ingredients, stirring all of them together so that butter is distributed evenly among mixture and spices are mixed well and covering apples.  Place second pie crust on top and seal edges with a fork to decorate and close up tight at the same time.  Slice three cuts into the top of the pie crust, with the two on the sides, being shorter than the one in the middle.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Top with some ice cream and get ready for yummy tones coming from the people eating it!!

NOTES: For summer, you can omit the cloves, but the flavor of them is perfect for fall. I used home made buttery crust that's super-easy, but most people prefer the ease of the store-bought.  I used organic dairy-free soy vanilla ice cream on top while it was warm so it got all melty.  Okay......it wasn't exactly Blue Bell, but it was delicious!!

Fudgy Wudgy

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

This image is © 2015 by Life As She Does It. Please link back or credit if any content or images are used.

It should be known by you (if it isn't already) that I am not the greatest baker.  The reason is this: SCIENCE.  I am a Creative.  I need to throw ingredients into a recipe willy-nilly when I think the flavor profile will match, or if I get a wild hair to try something new.  But with baking, it has to be an exact science.  And that annoys me.  BUT!  It sure tastes good!  And I've really been trying to get better at it.  The Hubster doesn't get many carbs or treats during the week so Sunday Suppers are very important because I try to include both as a sort of reward meal for his discipline.  So I took the easy cheesecake recipe I've always used and paired it with an idea I saw on a recipe board for fudge-filled cheesecake.  It worked PERFECTLY, and I didn't have to think too hard!  From willy-nilly to fudgy-wudgy!!


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon vanilla, divided
2/3 cup chopped or crushed pistachios
4 pkgs cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 full pkg semi-sweet chocolate morsels

Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy; add the 1/3 cup sugar, beating until mixed well. Gradually add the flour, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and pistachios. Press into the bottom and about one-inch up the side of a nine-inch spring-form pan.  Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes or until golden (but not too golden!). Cool on a wire rack.

Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy; gradually adding 1 1/2 cups sugar, beating well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated. gently stir in remaining vanilla.

Pour half of the batter into the crust. Sprinkle with chocolate morsels to within about a quarter-inch from the edge. Carefully [our in the rest of your batter, gently spreading over chocolate morsels, if necessary. Place the cheesecake on a baking sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until set. Cool on a wire rack for an hour, then refrigerate.

NOTES:  I use as many organic ingredients as possible for this recipe, including the chocolate morsels, but it IS dessert, so that is only going to make it clean and definitely NOT take away any calories or fat, which would take away the FUN of having dessert, anyway!  Also, if you are allergic to nuts, I recommend a graham cracker crust instead of the pistachios, but the pistachios is HEAVEN. I made my own whipped cream and slathered it on top, and then finely grated an organic chocolate bar for the garnish.  The moans and groans every time a mouthful was eaten tells me that was the right thing to do.