Potluck Pumpkin Pie Bites

Every year my work hosts a potluck luncheon in November.  I love a good potluck, so this is right up my alley.

My first year I made pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and handmade chocolate leaves for garnish.  Last year I made a pumpkin trifle with layers of spice cake, pumpkin pudding, toffee pieces, and whipped cream. 

In keeping with the pumpkin tradition, for this year my mind immediately went to the Pumpkin Pie Bites I saw on Bakerella’s site last fall. 

Beyond cute, and autumn in your mouth.

There were some other very tasty desserts, too.  Homemade submissions included Ulla’s artisan bread, Laura’s pumpkin bars, Sam’s carrot cake, Chuck’s raspberry blondies, and Marilyn’s frosted brownies.

And in particular, Matt knocked my socks off with his homemade filled donuts – in raspberry or prune.  They were actually a Polish pastry called “paczki”, but Matt was kind enough to just let us call them “donuts”.

After filling my plate with Sarah’s lasagna, Holli’s baked beans, Jenn’s macaroni and cheese, Sam’s lo mein, and Tracy’s sweet potatoes with apples…I still had room for a selection of these.  Now you know why I went into an immediate food coma yesterday.


Do you have a potluck staple?  Do you have a potluck enemy?  Mine is pretty much anything with mayo.  Mayo and I are not friends.

Click for the full recipe!

9 For Thanksgiving

I would gladly shop for my kitchen instead of myself any day of the week.  When I go to a department store I make a beeline for the home section.  I don’t dream about a wedding dress, I dream about centerpieces and favors. 

These things caught my eye recently.  I purchased one of them.  Can you guess which?  There may be a prize in it for you if you are right!


  1. Fall Icon Cakelet Pan – Williams-Sonoma, $36.00
  2. 3 Piece Fall Cookie Cutters – Crate & Barrel, $2.95
  3. Acorn Mini Cutting Board/Server, Set of 2 – Amazon, $34.00
  4. Leaf Napkin Rings – Crate & Barrel, $1.95/each
  5. Classic Red 12-cup Bundt – Target, $12.39
  6. Maple Leaf Napkins, Set of 4 – Lissy Madden on Etsy, $15.00
  7. Fall Glass Tile Magnet Set – PoptartsBoutique on Etsy, $7.00
  8. Vera Neumann Brushed Leaves Tablecloth – Macy’s, $22.99
  9. Pyrex Mixing Bowl Set – BeeJayKay on Etsy, $32.00

Have a great weekend, everyone.

And a very happy Bonfire Night to my GB friends!

Keene Pumpkin Festival

Every year for the past 7 years I have put the Keene Pumpkin Festival in New Hampshire on my list of “Fall Things To Do” – but every year I missed it.  Pathetic.

This year (the 20th anniversary of the KPF) I knew I needed to man up, so I marked the day on the calendar well in advance.  My little sister Melanie is in her second year at Keene State, and the opportunity to visit her while also checking out the festival was too good to pass up.  Especially when I learned she needed help re-stocking her candy jar.  I have fond memories of my own candy jar in college.

Actually, it was a candy drawer.

Because I don’t have a car, I took the bus from Boston to Concord Saturday morning, and was picked up by my Dad, Vicki, and Lindsay.  We stopped in for a visit with Nana in Hopkinton, and then it was off to Keene!

The foliage was in glorious full swing…

and the downtown area was chock full of thousands of carved pumpkins.

Some were unusual…

and some were sweet (aw, she said yes!).

Pumpkin hats and crazy costumes were also plentiful.

Yes, I went in the kitchen store and it was heaven.

I also saw the amazing sight of a woman hoisting a dog into a stroller.  A stroller that already contained a child.

Finally Linds, Melanie and I reached the giant tower of pumpkins!

And nearby I found some hot, homemade apple turnovers courtesy of the Animaterra Women’s Chorus…a perfect treat for a chilly day.

Lindsay was on a mission to find a caramel apple…and was very excited to find one.  This picture of her cracks me up.  What a goofball!

At last it was time to light the pumpkins. 

5, 4, 3, 2….

Can you spot the proposal?

In the end there were nearly 23 thousand lit pumpkins!

I had a great day with my family in the most beautiful part of the country during the most beautiful season.  I cannot believe sometimes that Melanie is in college, since I look at her and see the toddler that couldn’t say my name right…but I am so proud of her! 

Have you carved your Halloween pumpkin yet this year?  I waited until the last second last year and had a very sad dud of a pumpkin, so I am thinking I will try to get to mine this weekend.

One hand scooping out the pumpkin guts, one hand in the bowl of candy corn.  Sounds like a plan!

Apricot Scones

My mom and I share a love for scones.  Knowing this, she gave me the Nordic Ware Scone Pan for my birthday last month, and I have been just waiting for the chance to use it.  That ended up being this weekend, and because I knew I would be seeing my mom, I made apricot scones…her current favorite.

I also got to use my (ahem) new KitchenAid 7-cup Food Processor.  It was on sale at Target last week and I just gave in.  I have no regrets, just better pie and pastry dough.

Turkish apricots, cut and ready.

Cold butter, ready to pulse.

Circle of dough.

Brushed and generously sugared.

Delicious, warm…done!

Leftover dough leaves.

I also made a few “munchkin” scones with dough scraps, but I ate them all.  Remarkably fast.

They were very good.

I’d share the recipe, but when my mom gave me the pan she also gave me a scone mix from a local fruit farm, so that’s where the dry ingredients came from.  Next time there will be no shortcuts!

I did some thirfting today and picked up some cookbooks…surprise surprise.  One that I wanted to buy, but didn’t because I knew it would almost be as useless as a microwave cookbook was this one (I know I need a better camera phone):

Unless it’s 100% cocktails, the point of a blender cookbook is lost on me.

Did you cook anything special this weekend?

Fall Collection

Pumpkin spice cupcakes, cream cheese frosting, with handmade chocolate leaves for garnish.  One of my favorite cupcake projects from last year.

Vintage Pyrex Autumn Harvest Mixing Bowl Set from BlueHouseVintage on Etsy.  I don’t need any more bowls.  I can only look. 

From my vintage Mom Magazine collection.  I guess women in the 60’s loved olive-green and the feeling of a whole lotta linoleum under their feet.

From the same collection, a 1964 goldenrod textured coat.  I want this, but I also want the matching gloves, and maybe even the hat.

John Derian for Target Feathers Serving Tray.  For under $15 I can easily talk myself into this.

A Dozen Eggs  Fall Foliage cookie collection.  Their cookies are charming and delicious.  Of course, I am also partial to those acorns.

New Hampshire Plyboo Cutting Board from AHeirloom on Etsy.  It’s not Massachusetts, but NH is my birth state.  Cutting boards hold warm, crusty loaves of bread…preferably next to hot pots of soup.

Nothing smells or tastes like fall like pumpkin.  One-Pie canning company is based in West Paris, Maine, and they are so amazing they don’t even have a website.  I couldn’t find any information on them at all on the internet other than their address and phone number.  What year is this?  Despite being unable to report on their history, this makes me love One-Pie more than ever.  I bet the photo of that pie on the label was taken before WWII. 

It also looks like there is another shortage of canned pumpkin this year, so stock up when you see it!

I have an unusual concoction cooling in my kitchen right now, and Fluff Fest is this weekend, so I promise there will be some on-point entries coming up.

Happy first day of Fall!