Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

Fall is finally coming to Southern California! The mornings are cool, the nights chilly, and I am in the mood to bake!


This morning (after going outside to enjoy this marvelous sunrise) I  began looking through my meager pantry (I need to go grocery shopping!) I came across a can of pumpkin.  I immediately jumped online to find a healthy pumpkin muffin recipe. Thanks to Hungry Healthy Girl‘s fabulous blog, I came across the perfect recipe.  I am also including her link so you can check out this yummy recipe first hand. Find it at:

http://www.hungryhealthygirl.com/2013/10/24/baked-pumpkin-oatmeal-muffins/.  She has some great stuff so head over to her blog and check it out.



2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I did not have any so left this out)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 egg or 2 egg whites

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (honey works too-this is what I used)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (any milk will work)

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, cranberries, or any dried fruit(or whatever you like (I did not add anything extra-nothing on hand-got to get shopping!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray. In a large bowl, stir together oats, baking powder, seasonings and salt.


In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin, 1 egg (or 2 egg whites), maple syrup (or honey), vanilla extract, milk and optional add-ins.


Add pumpkin mixture to the oats and stir..


Allow the mixture to set and thicken for about 3-5 minutes before filling muffin pan.


Fill muffin pan almost completely full with oatmeal mixture. Muffins will not rise. Bake for 30-35 minutes and until the center of each oatmeal muffin is set. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.


If you don’t allow these to cool before taking them out of the muffin pan, they will fall apart. I used a knife around the sides to make removal easier.  Store in a covered container in the fridge for about a week.


Great texture and very moist. These were very tasty but  I would prefer them a bit sweeter.I think chocolate chips might have added just the perfect touch of sweetness! Definitely a keeper in my recipe box.  Thanks again Hungry Healthy Girl!

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Rachael Ray’s Banana Oatmeal Squares

The other evening I was looking for a reasonably healthy snack. Lets be honest-I had a sweet tooth! I was exploring the web for a recipe that was quick and that I could make with the ingredients I had on hand. This tasty dish caught my eye.

Rachael Ray’s Banana Oatmeal Squares

1 1/2 cups oatmeal (instant or rolled oats both work well)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used white four)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 large ripe banana, mashed

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

1 cup milk (I used almond milk)

(I added about  2 tbs  honey for extra sweetness based on the reviews I read)

Optional: nuts, raisins, cranberries, etc. (I used cranberries)


Since  had a smallish banana, I added about 1/4 cup applesauce too.


Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Grease an 8-inch x 8-inch cake pan (I had a round pan)

Dump all of the ingredients into a large bowl and stir until well combined.


Add optional cranberries


Pour the mixture into a prepared cake pan.


 Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting into squares. The squares can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Makes 6-8 squares.



The reviews on this recipe were overall good. I thought it was delicious when it was hot out of the oven.  I would not make this again unless we were gong to finish it within a day or so (preferably the same day). It was not what you would call light and fluffy but had a heavier texture. I thought it had great flavor and was perfect with a cup of hot tea in the evening or a healthy breakfast treat. Definitely worth a try and super easy to make.

Thanks Rachael Ray!


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Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

A few months ago I posted a wonderful recipe on a skinnier version of fettuccine alfredo. I tried it again last night with a twist on this yummy dish by making chicken fettuccine alfredo. This chicken alfredo sauce will take about 20 minutes or so (depending if you use cooked or uncooked chicken). It will serve about 4 people. In this recipe I used about 2/3 of a box of angel hair pasta (which was what I had on hand).  Add a salad and you will have a complete and delicious meal.



  • 1 box of fettuccine or your favorite pasta
  • 1 cup of non fat milk.  You could use whatever milk you have
  • 1 tbs -3 tbs olive oil
  • approx. 1 cup of chicken broth (or a bullion cube will also work)
  • about 3 tbs of flour
  • garlic
  • shredded chicken (either cooked or uncooked). I used about 1 cup of cooked chicken.
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Shredded jack or mozzarella cheese for the topping (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put water on to cook pasta. You will want to time this so they will be ready about the same time. Saute garlic and chicken in olive oil until chicken is thoroughly cooked. You can also use cooked chicken and simply warm with garlic. (I think next time I will add mushrooms too!)


Move chicken to side of pan and add flour to remaining oil in pan. Add a little more olive oil if you need to. Cook flour mixture for a few minutes. Since this is an alfredo sauce we are not looking to brown mixture.


Slowly add chicken broth. Mix to remove lumps. Slowly add milk. Continue to cook over medium high heat, stirring until smooth. Add more milk if needed


You can also begin to mix in chicken. Watch closely and stir often.


Mixture may seem thin. You want it on the thinner side. The parmesan cheese will cause it to thicken .  It will also thicken upon standing.


Add parmesan cheese. It only takes a moment to melt so make sure your pasta is about ready. I then mixed the alfredo with the pasta before serving. You could also pour the alfredo sauce over cooked pasta.

Sprinkle with (optional) jack or mozzarella cheese, season to taste and serve.



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My sewing machine saga-conclusion

This past weekend I met with some close friends that I had not seen in a while. They have followed my blog and asked about the outcome of my sewing machine saga. I guess I left a few people curious  about what was happening.

Well, things went from  bad to worse. I received my beautiful Laura Ashley Limited Edition Brother sewing machine and I was in sewing heaven!

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I sewed for two entire weeks before the motor conked out. Once again I was without a sewing machine! I frantically called Brother only to be placed on hold and routed through several people before I found out I was speaking with the wrong department. By the time I was able to reach the correct department the office was closed.  Needless to say this was a Friday afternoon. In complete desperation, I contacted an authorized dealer in a nearby town . They suggested I bring it into the shop for a look see.

Saturday morning Thommmee and I took another road trip with this new machine and made the 20 minute drive to the sewing machine center.


They listened to the burned out motor for just a few minutes before suggesting that I should get a refund if possible. Although I had read many excellent reviews on this machine, I must have received a lemon.

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I had purchased my machine from Amazon so checked their return policy and yea…I could return it within a 30 day period.

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I came home, printed a shipping label and impatiently waited for Monday morning so I could send it back. Now don’t get me wrong. It was an absolutely lovely machine with many wonderful features but back it must go. About that time I decided I would purchase locally (at Moore’s,  the shop that had assisted me) so that if I had any further questions or problems I would be able to return it or have it repaired with less hassle. Another bonus is that they offer free sewing classes on my machine and the use of attachments which some have remained a mystery to me.


I knew that I would not feel right about spending more money until I got my refund. I was discouraged to think I would again be without a sewing machine for an extended period of time.  Monday morning rolled around and I headed to UPS. They took it,  handed me a receipt, and home I went home  to sulk.

Surprise to me, within 2 hours I received a notification from Amazon that since my machine was in transit they would begin processing my refund! I was shocked (and thrilled). I had not idea that in this age of technology that simply a computerized tracking of my return could be handled so quickly. Where have I been???

Within 3 days our refund was complete. About a week after I received  conformation that Amazon had received the machine and would begin processing my refund. Huh? I already had my refund!  Oh well, either way I was happy, Thommmee was happy and I was now in  the market for a new machine. As it would happen there was a craft and sewing fair being help at the nearby LA County  Fairgrounds.  Often the dealers and vendors have specials at these fairs so Thommmee and  I headed over bright and early on the first day of the event.

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We made a beeline to the Moore’s Sewing Machine Center booth and began looking at machines. It did not take me long to zero in on a Brother Project Runway Limited Edition (that was slightly over my budget).


Thommmee took a look at the machine, at me, and the nice machine and ….said we’ll take it!! He then asked them to hold the machine so we could wander around the fair. What a great morning! We shopped the vendors, I looked my little heart our, and even purchased a few items here and there.  After a few hours we picked up the machine and headed home. I couldn’t wait to get started.

Well, I have had my head down just sewing along for the past few weeks…


…until last weekend when  I looked up long enough to get together with my friends  for our annual reunion.


(another story for another day)

I realized I have been so engrossed with my sewing I have not been dusting,  cleaning, or blogging !!

If it sounds like I am a walking advertisement for some the products and services I received, I guess it is only fair to give credit where credit is due!

Lastly, let me say, I love my new machine. If you are in the market for a new sewing machine this is a great choice! I am very happy. Until next time…..back to sewing now!

My sewing machine saga continued

Thommmee bought me a beautiful vintage sewing machine this week.


I have recently been obsessed with sewing machines while I try to decide what I am going to do about my machine. These old machines are quite something. I remember my mom had something very similar.

When researching this machine, I found that there is a wealth of information about these classics on the internet. There is a large blog community, a Facebook page, and multiple websites to help you date, clean, repair, fix, use, collect, and anything else you can think of on these old machines.  Although it does not seem most of them are worth a great deal of money, I feel fairly confident that Thommmee’s $20 was well spent.

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While I can appreciate the beauty of this machine, I don’t plan to keep it.  First, my machine does not seem to have a long future before her. After taking her to the sewing machine center, I found out that it will cost $169 to repair. I only paid $149 for her new (well, refurbished) 4 1/2 years ago. They were able to get her running again while in the store, but she still conks out after a while.  I have to baby her along so I know her days are numbered.


Secondly, I have a rather small sewing room (at least I have a room so I am very grateful for that)! I just do not have enough space to justify keeping it.  While at the store I  discovered I really need three machines to make the type of projects I am interested creating!  I need my basic sewing machine…

…one for embroidery…


…and a serger .


  I actually came away feeling like I stepped into a new world of possibilities.  I am a bit embarrassed to admit that some of technology was new to me. Yes, I have been sewing for many years,  have been to quilting shows and craft fairs but did not spend much time looking at these fancy machines. I guess I thought they were a bit beyond me for some reason. I had no idea what could be done with these fabulous machines! I immediately came home and added each of these machines to my wish list.  The salesperson was very informative. She helped by showing me which machines would work best for my needs.

I first must take care of my immediate problem. That, of course, is my  workhorse sewing machine…the one that will do the majority of the work and day-to-day stitching.

Sooooooo…after many hours of research I made a decision.

This is the sewing machine I finally decided upon.

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Now all I have to do is be patient  until it is delivered!!

Sew On!

Tomorrow I  must make a decision regarding my good friend.

My sewing machine.


I have worked this machine hard.


I have stitched, zig zagged, zipped, and zapped and now it needs a good tune up…..


or maybe it is time to be replaced.


I called a local service center and tomorrow I am taking this trusty machine in for a look-see. She says there is a good trade-in credit given if I decide to buy a new machine…

Time to upgrade?

…or possibly it may just need some adjustments.


Either way, I  feel a bit lost as I packed up today…


…in preparation for a short road trip tomorrow.


Maybe they don’t make them like they used to.


Maybe I really want a new fancy machine.

I like bells and whistles.

I like to save money.

Can I made a sensible decision??


One thing is for certain….

I will keep on sewing!

Saying Good-bye to Summer

Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer. The stores have been full of back to school shoppers. Already the pens, pencils, and notebooks are being pushed aside to make room for the Halloween goodies.  Kids all around us have started back to classes with a few stragglers  preparing to resume their studies within the next few weeks.

 For us summer for has meant beach outings,


road trips,

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 playing outdoors,


and swimming pools.


It has been enjoying cool mornings before it gets too hot,


 evening sunsets,


and tomatoes from our garden.


We have had some 100 degree plus temps and higher electric bills-but for us in Southern California, this is just the beginning.  September and October will bring us Santa Anna winds, hotter temperatures, higher fire danger, and more serious drought conditions. It will also extend our summer and allow us to enjoy more of the fun… wpid-2013-10-27-11.50.52.jpg.jpeg

…until we are so tired of the heat we will welcome with open arms the coolness of  a late fall.

The best part of the year is still to come!


November is my favorite month. We will have pleasant days and chilly nights. The winds will have blown all the dust and dirt away.  There will be blue skies.


We will pull up our blankets at night and run around in jeans and a t-shirt during the day.

We will take a rides


and go camping in the desert for Thanksgiving.


Before we know it (dare I say it???)


It will be Christmas!