Tag Archives: fall

Pumpkin Spiced Milk

Pumpkin Spiced Milk is a fall twist on my popular Spiced Milk recipe. Full of fall goodness, pumpkin, cinnamon, maple, and nutmeg sweeten the milk to create your new favorite coffee creamer.


2 cups milk
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger
kitchen string*

Make the Spice Pouch:

Place 2 – 4”x4” squares of fine mesh cheesecloth together (or 1 coffee filter) and set on the counter.

Place cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger in the middle of the cheesecloth. Stir gently to combine the spices.

Gather all sides of the cheesecloth together, forming a little pouch.

Wrap a few inches of kitchen string around the cheesecloth, staying just at the top of where the spices are.

Tie string tightly and double knot so the spices can’t escape.

Set your spice pouch aside. 

Pile of spices on 2 layers of cheese cloth.
The completed spice pouch.

Make the milk:

Place milk, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Warm the mixture, stirring occasionally, until syrup has dissolved and milk is hot but not bubbling or boiling. 

Whisk in pumpkin puree.

Remove milk from heat and add spice pouch to the hot milk mixture.

Gently push it down into the milk until the spices inside the pouch have been submerged.

(The top of the cheesecloth/coffee filter will stick up from the milk. That’s ok, just make sure those spices are below the surface.) 

Add the spice pouch to the pumpkin milk.
Spice pouch infusing the milk.

Let steep for 1-2 hours while the milk cools. 

Remove spice pouch from cooled milk. Gently squeeze to remove liquid from the cheesecloth/coffee filter and spices. Dispose of spice pouch.

Store milk in the refrigerator. 

Notes on Pumpkin Spiced Milk

  • If you don’t have kitchen string on hand, use some white thread or unflavored dental floss to tie the spice pouch together. 
  • A coffee filter can be substituted for the cheesecloth, just make sure to bundle it carefully so it doesn’t rip when bundling.

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More Flavored Milk for your Coffee

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Pumpkin Spiced Milk pouring into a cup of coffee

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using these links, I make a small commission at no cost to you.

Easy Apple Recipes

Some people love pumpkin recipes in the fall, but for me it’s all about APPLE recipes! Whether in a cocktail, as the star of the show, or in a side dish, apples are a delicious way to elevate your favorite recipes. These easy apple recipes will having you celebrating this juicy fall fruit.

Apple Cider Sangria

Made with white wine, this crisp apple cider sangria has all the tastes of fall. It’s perfect for your next get together or just to have on hand in the fridge.


1 – 750ml bottle of dry white wine (Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc) 
½ cup apple brandy (I like Long Road)
1 ½ cups apple cider
1 oz lemon juice (about ½ a lemon)
5 dashes aromatic bitters 
12 oz ginger beer
Apple slices for garnish

Combine wine, brandy, cider, lemon juice, and bitters in a large pitcher. 

Add apple slices and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

To serve:

Fill a glass with ice.

Add sangria to glass, filling ¾ full.

Top with a splash of ginger beer. 


Tips for Apple Cider Sangria

  • Rim your glasses with cinnamon and sugar. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a shallow dish. Dip the rim in water or run a wedge of lemon over the rim. Run the rim gently through the cinnamon sugar mixture and set aside until ready to serve.
  • If you can’t find apple brandy, substitute regular brandy.
  • Red and green grapes also make for pretty garnish. Add them in with and/or in place of the apple slices.

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Snack Pairing

Slow Cooker Savory Spiced Nuts

Tart and crisp apple sangria pairs deliciously with these Slow Cooker Savory Spiced Nuts

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Apple Cider Sangria

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I make a small commission at no cost to you.

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

A fall take on my popular baked oatmeal recipe! Pumpkin baked oatmeal is a delicious, healthy breakfast option that’s packed with warm spices and pumpkin flavor. It’s freezer friendly and ideal for busy mornings.

Makes 14-16 muffins

3 cups old fashioned oats
⅓ cup ground flaxseed or flaxseed meal
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
¼ cup maple syrup
1 cup pumpkin puree  
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup almond butter
¼ cup raisins or mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl combine oats, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs together with maple syrup, oil, pumpkin, milk, and vanilla until combined.

Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix well.

Stir in almond butter and chocolate chips. Mix well, making sure peanut butter is incorporated into the batter.

Line a muffin pan with baking cups or thoroughly spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Divide the oatmeal mixture among muffins cups, filling each cup to the top. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are slightly brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.


Tips on Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

  • This recipe is SUPER freezer friendly! Cool the muffins to room temperature, put them in a zip top bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or microwave in 10 second intervals until thawed.
  • Peanut butter can be substituted for the almond butter if you don’t have almond butter on hand.
  • You can use any dried fruit you’d like instead of the raisins or mini chocolate chips. Dried cranberries or chopped, dried apples are delicious in this recipe.

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Drink Pairing

Golden Milk

Full of honey, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, a mug of warm Golden Milk goes perfectly with Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal.

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Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

Recipe: Spiced Apple Cocktail

This refreshing spiced apple cocktail is full of cozy fall spices. It’s the perfect sip on an autumn day.

Makes 1 cocktail.

1.5 oz apple vodka
1 oz apple liqueur (I used Du Nord)
0.75 oz brown sugar simple syrup 
0.25 oz lemon juice 
1 oz ginger ale

Combine everything except the ginger ale in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. 

Shake well and strain into a glass filled with ice. 

Top with ginger ale. 

Enjoy your Spiced Apple Cocktail! 

Spiced Apple Cocktail

Apple Orchard Cocktail

Skipping the traditional fall spices, apple vodka and elderflower liqueur keep this Apple Orchard Cocktail fresh and slightly floral.

Makes 1 cocktail. 

2 oz apple vodka
1 oz ginger syrup (recipe below)
0.5 oz apple brandy (I use Long Road)
0.25 oz elderflower liqueur
0.25 oz fresh lemon juice
2 dashes aromatic bitters 

Combine everything in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. 

Shake up and strain into a glass.

Garnish with an apple slice, if desired.


Ginger Syrup

¼ cup sugar
½ cup water
1 inch piece of fresh ginger

Heat the water to boiling. Add sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. 

Peel and slice the ginger. 

Add to the hot water and sugar mixture. 

Allow to cool to room temperature. 

Cover and place in the refrigerator until chilled. 

Tips on Apple Orchard Cocktail

  • The longer you leave the ginger in the syrup, the stronger the flavor. If possible, make the syrup a day or two ahead of making cocktails to allow the ginger more time to infuse the syrup. 
  • Fresh lemon juice tastes best, but you can use bottled juice in this recipe if that’s what you have on hand.

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Snack Pairing

Bacon Wrapped Dates

This crisp cocktail pairs deliciously with creamy, salty bacon wrapped dates.

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Apple Orchard Cocktail

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links, I make a small commission.

Happiness is a Field of Sunflowers

Is there anything more cheerful than a field of sunflowers?

As kiddo and I slog through the frustration that is virtual school during a pandemic, taking the opportunity to wander through a giant field of sunflowers was a very welcome distraction. So much so, that we decided to go two weeks in a row.

It was amazing to see the change in the blooms just seven days later. On our first trip to walk through the sunflowers, about half of the flowers were open and we saw zero honeybees. But on week two, almost all of the sunflowers had bloomed and there were multiple bees on most of the blossoms. The farm we visited allows you to take a sunflower home with you, so we now have a little slice of sunshine on our kitchen table. 🙂

All photos taken in the field of sunflowers at Ed Dunneback and Girls Farm. Visitors are welcome to walk through the field each year for a small fee.

Want more sunflowers?
>Check out the photos from my sunflower visit in 2019

Trick or Treating with a Tree

The making of my daughter’s tree costume.

“Momma, I want to be a tree for Halloween.” 

My then three year old made this declaration early in September. And since kids can change their minds 101 times a week, I really didn’t think it would stick. 

But it did. 

And then it grew. 

“I’m going to be a tree with yellow leaves for Halloween,” my daughter announced to her teacher, who in turn asked me if I was aware of kiddo’s costume plans. 

“The tree part, yes. But the yellow leaves are new,” I told her. 

Quote from Ava Dellaira: "On Halloween you get to become anything you want to be."

We were into October at this point, so I started googling. Etsy… Amazon… someone had to have a tree costume. But unless she wanted to be a Christmas tree, there was no pre-made tree-with-yellow-leaves costume to be ordered. 

Which means I’d have to make it. 



OK, think. 

I don’t have the talent to make an amazing paper mache tree. And we were in the midst of potty training, which means the ability to get in/out of the costume fast was super important. Plus she’d be walking around a neighborhood and climbing porch steps for trick or treating. And playing games in her costume at the fall school carnival. 

Ugh. Why on earth does she want to be a tree with yellow leaves?!?

Inspiration came in the form of a giant box. 

What if the tree trunk was made from cardboard, and worn sandwich-board style? 

YES. That. Could. Work.

I measured my daughter, cut apart the biggest box in our garage, sketched a bare tree design on it, and got cutting. 

It worked! But it looked… well, like someone with limited drawing skills tried to cut a tree shape out of cardboard. 


Shopping for a Tree Costume

Off to the craft store for supplies. But what, exactly… Paint? Nope, I’m not talented enough to paint anything resembling tree bark. And what about the leaves? And how exactly am I holding the front and back together? 

I don’t know how long I wandered around the craft store, but I discovered that: 

  • Scrapbook paper comes in wood grain patterns handy for mimicking tree bark.
  • Giant strings of faux fall leaf garland are 75% off when it’s mid-October.  
  • Felt can be found in a variety of pre-cut sizes and colors.
  • Velcro comes with sticky backing already on it. 

I left the store with a bag stuffed full of tree-making materials and the good luck wishes of an incredulous sales associate who couldn’t believe that this was my three year old’s Halloween costume desire.

Getting Crafty…

For the next several nights, I took over the dining room table. I glued and cut and glued and cut. 

Tree costume starting to take shape.

I found out that the cardboard branches I made weren’t strong enough to hold lots of fabric leaves and a TON of hot glue.

Another trip to the craft store and I had what looked like giant, wooden tongue-depressors to fortify the branches and keep them from flopping over. 

I made shoulder straps out of the felt.

Tree costume - minus leaves

Then, I added some felt side pieces to keep the tree from sliding off of her and attached them to the tree trunk with velcro so that we could easily pop her out of her costume for the inevitable bathroom dash. 

Next I added more and more yellow leaves. The garland I had found even had some glittery, gold leaves on it – much to my daughter’s delight – so those went on too. And what came together was pretty great. 

Completed tree costume!

Halloween Fun

She played the school’s fall carnival games in her costume. 

And getting it on and off was a breeze. 

Halloween was a gorgeous, warm fall night in Michigan. 

(Thank god, because the one thing that never occurred to me in all of this was that snow or rain could destroy a cardboard costume in minutes.)

And trick or treating was a success.

This year she wants to be a ghost. 

Fantastic! Let’s google ghost costumes and see what we can order up. 

“No, Momma. I want you to make my costume again.” 

Back to the craft store I go. 

Recipe: Caramel Apple Cocktail

A little caramel, a little tart, and a lot of apple. This easy Caramel Apple Cocktail hits all the right fall notes. 

Makes 1 cocktail.

3 oz apple cider
1.5 oz caramel vodka
1 oz apple brandy (I like the one from Long Road Distillers
0.25 oz pure maple syrup
0.25 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp sugar

For the glass:

Combine cinnamon and sugar in a shallow dish.

Wet the rim of your glass using a little lemon juice.

Gently roll the wet portion of the glass into the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Set aside. 

For the cocktail: 

Combine remaining ingredients in a shaker filled with ice.

Shake and strain into your prepared glass filled with ice.

Enjoy your Caramel Apple Cocktail! 

Caramel Apple Cocktail

A November Snow

There’s something so magical about the first snow of fall. Love living where all four seasons are so dramatically and distinctly different.

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