Posted by: Lauren | November 26, 2010

a random mix of fall

Hi guys! Grateful for a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family with a recap to share, however, I’ve been wanting to share a few things first. I know I’m always talking about how behind I am on this blog, but it’s true! I still have some stuff from September and October that I wanted to share. So here goes…

So excited for Steve and Sara (my brother and his wife) because…

IMG_4773 copy

🙂 🙂 They will be having a boy in February! (We’ve known for a very long time!) 🙂 I was able to take some photos for them back in October. Isn’t Sara gorgeous?!


We’ve already celebrated with one baby shower in Michigan (post to come) and will be having one for her in January. So fun!


Also thankful for sweet friends, Kim and Brett and the birth of their adorable baby girl, Halle!


She is soooo precious!

Onto less important things…

This is one of my favorite, most satisfying salads ever. I start with a huge pile of organic spinach (we love the giant tubs at Costco for $3.99). Then topped with chopped mini sweet peppers (again, big bag from Costco), feta cheese, hard boiled egg, roasted beets, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and EVOO.

To make the beets, wrap in aluminum foil (don’t need to peel), and roast in 425 degree oven for 1 hour. Then the skin peels off so easily.

Perfect hard boiled eggs? Go here. Like she recommends, I add a little salt and vinegar to the water to help prevent cracking and easier peeling. I like to make around 6 eggs to have some on hand for a few days and I’ll chop ‘em into salads or smash up with some salt, pepper, and mustard.

Nothing brilliant or revolutionary, but just thought I would share more of the healthy, easy things I enjoy. I get asked about that sometimes, and love talking about this sort of thing with people, so I’m going to try and do more sharing. 🙂IMG_4530

Stuffed Peppers with Kath’s kale chips. She has an awesome video of how to make these!


Joe and I both enjoyed the kale chips-they really do get super crunchy and crisp, and with some sea salt sprinkled on top before roasting, they could definitely satisfy a salty/crunchy craving!

Here is something else I’m working on: right after I make something, put the recipe in a Word doc so that I don’t forget it! Sometimes I chicken scratch on a piece of paper, but I want to be better about sharing recipes-for you and for me to remember how to make something we enjoyed!

All that to say, I don’t remember how I made these stuffed peppers exactly. Here’s what I’m pretty sure of:

Easy Stuffed Peppers (at least an idea of a recipe)

1. Saute chopped peppers, onions, garlic and organic ground beef until the meat is cooked and veggies are tender. Then add jarred tomato sauce and cooked brown rice.

2. Meanwhile, microwave 4 bell peppers for about 2 minutes in a glass baking dish.

3. Scoop filling into bell peppers and bake in 350 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes. Top with cheese if you’d like.


Speaking of healthy…hah!….I made homemade German Chocolate Cake on my mom’s birthday in September. She told us that she always requested that for her birthday and my Grandma would make it for her! Katie and I didn’t know that and she suggested I make that for Mom—my sister is always soooo thoughtful!


I still consider this to be a good treat, because I used simple, fairly wholesome ingredients. No boxed mix, no canned evaporated milk, and I didn’t even use German chocolate which has icky ingredients! After I researched some substitutions for those things, this is what I came up with:

German Chocolate Substitution SOURCE

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 tsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. softened butter

Substitute the above amounts for every 2 ounces of German chocolate that is called for in a recipe. Mix all together until smooth.

Evaporated Milk Substitution: Half and half! I just replaced 3/4 cup evaporated milk with half and half and it worked great!

German Chocolate Cake recipe found here

I obviously made the above changes and switched the serving size from 24 to 12, and made this cake in two 9 inch cake pans, sprayed with oil, then lined with parchment paper.





Ok, I’m sure some may be getting sick of pumpkin, but I have to share all the delicious pumpkin recipes from this fall. Also, I don’t get sick of pumpkin, I mean, is that really possible? Soon I’ll be up to date with Christmas goodies!


Pumpkin Smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana
  • Big scoop of pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • Shakes of cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice
  • Stevia or honey if you’d like it more sweet!



These Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies are amazing (my sister says they are her favorite cookies). They are chewy and not cake-like, as some pumpkin cookies can be. You will love them!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies my sister-in-law, Sara, found this recipe online, and I can’t find it! I know she replaced the shortening with butter, and I’ve seen similar recipes on All that to say, I am NOT the creator of this recipe, I wish!

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips (about 2 cups)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl (flour through nutmeg) and set aside.

2. Using a mixer, cream together butter and sugar.

3. Slowly add in one egg, pumpkin, and vanilla extract.

4. Slowly add dry mix.

5. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to sit for a minute before transferring to a rack to cool completely before storing.


^See the difference in those cookies?^The ones on the right were from the bottom of the bowl with more butter! Whoops! They all tasted amazing though! I’ve made these for several different parties and people LOVE them.

This Butternut Squash Black Bean Chili in Pumpkin Bowls was so flavorful, healthy and such a fun way to eat! The only change I made was to add some frozen corn kernels to the chili which was awesome. Emily is an amazing vegetarian chef!


It was fun scraping my spoon against the pumpkin bowl and getting bites of soft, creamy pumpkin with the chili. I got these “pie” pumpkins at Caputo’s for $.19/lb.


Pumpkin Pie Brownie “Cupcakes” Angela is a seriously talented vegan baker, and I think I’ve said on here several times before, everything I’ve made from her site has been so delicious. These “cupcakes” are one of my favorite desserts ever.




The first time I made these my cousin Liz came to town!! We love seeing her and are so excited for he wedding in July!


Halloween. Oh dear. Is our niece, Madelyn, not the cutest lion you have EVER seen?!





Tomorrow Joe and I will be decorating the Christmas tree and putting up our lights! I can’t wait. I think homemade peppermint hot chocolate will need to be made.

Out with the fall decor…


You guys, I can’t tell you how thankful I am for not just the blessings God has poured out on me, but most of all, because I personally know the God who blesses me. I can’t tell you how messed up I’d be, and how hopeless my life would be, if it weren’t for Jesus Christ and the fact that He opened my eyes to see my need for Him, and the full life and perfect eternity in Heaven He offers us. I wrestle with so much stuff, you have no idea. To have the peace and joy that comes from trusting in Christ, trusting in my Creator, the one who forgives me whenever I ask Him, who is always faithful, who wipes away my fears and my pains and my hang-ups, who leads me to grow and stretch and gives me the strength to do so, to know a God who is always in control and has conquered death and sin….for all of that, for who He IS, I am so thankful.

“Always be joyful. Keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18





  1. Very nice article, thanks…
    I like your site n design
    Bornova Dekorasyon | Haber, Spor, Ekonomi, Gündem

  2. Amen, Lauren!!!! You shared so many wonderful things…..I kept thinking….Ooooo I have to respond about that and that and that and that! Most importantly, the part about the love of Jesus Christ and the promise of eternity. It warms my heart to think about all of it! Okay, YES, that is THE CUTEST LITTLE LION I have ever seen and what’s even cuter is Joe holding her little hand and walking with her. What a sweet hubby you have. What a unique little costume and what a doll baby! Yes, Sara is absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to meet a little “Vito”……just sayin’….
    Okay, those TIIIIIINY pumpkins and that yummy food inside look fabulous. All of your pumpkin inspired foods look scrumptious too. I sooooo remember all of your mom’s b-days with the German Chocolate Cake and Gma would be so proud to see those pictures. Everyone looks so great! Okay, I”m excited you have two posts so I must respond to that one too. I’m so thankful for you, my sweet Lauren. The light of Christ surely shines through you.

    • Oh Sharon, I looooove your comments!! Just come over here already!! Geesh! We decorated today and it’s so stinkin cozy. I want you and Ri Ri here stat! How about New Year’s Eve?! You can do fondue with your friends too. 🙂 Love you so much!

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