Pumpkin Spice Zeppoles

Zeppoles. Fried Dough. Beignets. Basically the same, and yet, not the same at all. I just know that I love each and every one, no matter what you call them. I grew up with my mom making us "homemade" donuts that she would fry up from the biscuit cans on weekends. My older brother and I always considered it a treat. Then, when I married my husband, his family makes fried dough frequently. If you have never had savory ones with sea salt, you're missing out. However, for today, these Pumpkin Spice Zeppoles are the perfect fall treat, especially when paired with the butterscotch sauce!

My husband's family makes them a lot and depending on who you talk to, they will call it fried dough or zeppole. Just for kicks, we are going with zeppole today but you can just call it delicious. I've made zeppole from scratch using this recipe before, but for this particular recipe I used can biscuits as I was in a hurry. You can most definitely use the scratch recipe and then just catch up on the last step back here. 

Usually, when you go to a fair or order these at an Italian restaurant they will come served in a brown paper bag. The hot bites of fried dough tossed in the bag with powdered sugar. I wanted to play around with the traditional for the fall season and do a typical cinnamon sugar base with a little pumpkin spice added in. So no, there's no actual pumpkin in this particular recipe but they don't call it autumn spice, they call it pumpkin 


2 biscuit tubes
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spice
1/3 cup butterscotch sauce

In a frying pan, place 2 inches of oil and get to 350 degrees. Cut each biscuit in half and kind of flatten with your fingers. Drop in the oil and cook on each side until golden brown.  Place on a plate covered with paper towels to drain for just a second. In a brown bag (or if they have cooled a bit, a large ziplock bag) place the sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Drop the zeppoles in the bag and shake vigorously for about 1 minute or until all pieces are coated, You can do a few at a time. 

Serve with warm butterscotch sauce or even ice cream. I used butterscotch ice cream sauce and it was the perfect topping. 

* Notes. the sugar/spice ratio can be adjusted to your taste based on if you want more or less spice flavor. I have also done a mix of powdered sugar and the pumpkin spice and that was really good as well. 

I hope you enjoy!

linking up with Freedom Fridays

The Maddie 'Do List

I think that one of the universal searches we go on in life is for the perfect hair stylist. or dresser. I just thought about this, growing up I think I called them hair dressers and now I usually say stylist. I wonder if this is more generational or specific areas, like the south. No matter what you call them, once you find a good one, it's a relationship you want to last. I mean, they are kind of like a therapist too. 

I struggled through a few lame duck stylist and then on a rainy day in 2008, I sat in a chair and found my person.  Our relationship began bc the salon was having a half price hair cut special and I nervously went for it in the hopes the price wouldn't reflect the cut...seven years later I am always grateful hers is the chair they put me in. We discovered rather quickly that we were both from Virginia and a few more minutes in and the world grew even smaller, we were from the same town and half of our friends intersected. 

These are my top 5 looks over the past seven years.

In the years since I first became her client, our relationship has extended to that of very good friends. We have taken beach trips, we have had many late night movie binges while one of the two of us poured our hearts out to each other. 

So, today I wanted to give her a shout out and have a little flashback over all of my styles the past 8 years. This was only half. I never realized just how many styles and colors we have gone through over the years but I love looking back on them. 

If you are in the Raleigh Durham area I implore you to make a trek to Wake Forest and see Elizabeth, you won't be sorry! You can check her facebook out here and her website here

Getting Lost In Vermont

Being in the Green Mountains of Vermont is always akin to being in an enchanted forest for me. Every time I prepare to visit, I refuse to believe I can love this magical place more than my previous visits and each time, I seem to be proven wrong. The moment I arrive in Vermont, my whole body seems to let out one big contented sigh.  Not to mention the best grilled cheese and macaroni you will ever eat. 

I actually love all of Vermont and Queechee Gorge and Woodstock,  both are located a  little more towards the center of the state, are two of my favorite spots, but, if made to choose, I think the Stowe area and Lake Champlain captured the largest piece of my heart. 

These are a few shots I took from our latest trip this past month. Most are from around Smugglers Notch and Stowe, but a few are from a few places along the way. Including the ferry across Lake Champlain to New York and Calvin Cooledge's homestead. Both were lovely. 

This go round we stayed at Smugglers Notch resort and our condo was fantastic with great views of the mountains. There were multiple pools and restaurants and quite a few game rooms. We were very close to Mt. Mansfield, which is the highest peak in Vermont. We were able to head to the top on one of the gondolas and the views are just breathtaking. 

If you ever have the chance to go to Vermont, I cannot implore you to do so enough. I just love this place and my only regret is that I have yet to make it in the fall to take in the foliage, definitely on my bucket list!

Munchkin Profiteroles

This is where I am going to use the word 'recipe' very loosely. I mean, I think it could probably fit more under 'suggestion' Either way, you should make this. It is very simple and very tasty. I love cream puffs and even learned to make them from scratch this summer. Which is pretty much the greatest thing ever, however, when you are running short on time...why not cheat a little. 

You can make so many versions of these. I used the regular glaze this go round with creme brulee ice cream and it was divine. Since then I have done the chocolate ones with caramel ice cream and strawberry ice cream and they have the pumpkin ones out for fall and I found some cinnamon ice cream and the combination of the two was fantastic!

The key to these not falling apart when you cut them is using a serrated bread knife!

I obviously used Dunkin Donuts to grab my munckins, but you can pretty much buy donut holes at any grocery store!

Go get you some, but not too many;) 

linking up with Kate

Bourbon Caramel Cider Cake

Bourbon. Caramel. Cider. Cake. I mean, can I fit any more of my favorite things about fall in one dessert? Doubtful. This bourbon caramel cider cake tastes nothing like a typical cake mix cake, it has hints of everything you love about fall and it is relatively easy to make. I used your typical yellow cake mix, but you could really use any flavor you want. There is actually a caramel cake mix out that I think would be a delicious base. I pretty much followed the directions on the box, just subbing out the liquids and adding a few simple ingredients. 

yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup apple cider
1/4 cup bourbon
1/3 cup melted butter ( or oil)
2 apples sliced 
1/2 cup caramel pieces

In a bowl, mix together the cake mix, eggs, cider, bourbon and butter. Once thoroughly combined, pour into the well greased pan of your choice. I used a large tart pan when I took pictures, but I have used an 8 x 13 also. 

Drop the caramel bits into the cake mix, saving a few. Arrange the apple slices and then place remaining caramel pieces over the apples. Bake as directed, 

I am not the biggest fan of fruit in cakes, I am just not at all. No apple pies, no cherry cobbler...just not my cup of tea. I did find myself enjoying this though. Maybe it's because I used granny smith apples and they still had a slight crunch when i bit into it. I think that this was best when it was still slightly warm and served with a big scoop of ice cream. I may have added caramel sauce over the cake and ice cream on more than one occasion. I'll never tell. 

Enjoying this treat while watching Hocus Pocus is about as good as it is going to get. Maybe you can indulge in a hot toddy while you devour this. Or savor it, the choice is yours;)

Rainy Day Thoughts

A few weeks ago I was able to visit my old neighbor, Theresa. She was my favorite part of our neighborhood and I have missed our many nights of movies and fellowship since she and her family moved to SC. I hadn't been to Greenville in years and kept hearing how much they had done to their downtown. I was over the moon to not only visit her, but check out how downtown Greenville has changed. 

These photos were taken on a slightly windy and rainy night, little did we know that two weeks later the whole state would basically be covered. I loved what they have done, even on the dreary day and nothing but a My Little Pony umbrella to keep me dry. They were abpe to develop the downtown but maintain their charm.

Please keep praying for South Carolina, what I am seeing in my newsfeed is just devastating! The Reedy Creek park area was just so lovely and we had such a fun time traipsing around in the rain and not taking ourselves seriously. As far as I have seen from the coverage, Greenville seems to have missed most of the major storms and damage, but just a few miles away and the road I took to travel on, are basically washed away. 

It's always hard to comprehend how fast destruction can come in and level everything in its wake. 

The Soda Monster

My weight has been an on again/off again struggle for me since I broke my leg in sixth grade and was on crutches for two years. I underwent multiple surgeries and was unable to participate in any sports or healthy activities. So I mainly ate. And ate a little more. I developed eating disorders along the way. I went from extremely thin to rather heavy. There was rarely an in between. This continued for about 15 years. 

On my 29th birthday I was the heaviest I had ever been and then, exactly a year later, I was at my thinnest. I gladly peaced out my twenties and grabbed tight to my thirties. Looking better than ever. I kept it off for a good while until my battle with mental illness took a hold of me again and I was put on a medicine that made me gain 18 lbs in less than a week. A few years later and the weight just climbed back on in a not so slow as much as steady manner. 

This photo was me on my heaviest at 29 and then a little over a year later at my thinnest. It was a 91 lb difference. I went from 237 lbs to 146lbs. 

While I am still 30 lbs thinner than I was on my 29th birthday, I am almost 60 lbs heavier than I was on my 30th. I have no desire to be at my smallest weight, but I definitely want to find the middle ground again. Not for the sake of any one else but myself. I want to love taking pictures with my friends again! I want to enjoy my wardrobe instead of clinching teeth and holding back tears when one less piece fits. 

Ultimately, this is where I would like to get back to, about 25/30 lbs less than now and about 20/25 lbs more than at my thinnest.  I weighed around 170 or so in this photo and I would be fine with that. I was a size 8/10. Now I am back in a 14/16. 

My number one enemy is soda. I am allergic to aspartame and so I can't have diet ( I've always heard it's terrible for you anyways) and therefore, the ones I drink usually carry a whopping 40 grams of sugar in them. It is not the calories that bother me so much as it is the sugar. I really need to cut it out. 

My problem is that it is just so good! I need to get back to loving green tea and homemade lemonade. 

If only I drank coffee instead of ice cream with coffee added or sugar filled creamer with a splash of coffee;) 

What is the one food or drink item that you have trouble with? Any tips to help me quit?

I'd Rather Buy It

This morning I went to a shower for one of my friends that is getting married in the next few weeks. I hadn't seen her in a bit and, sadly, I had missed her bachelorette weekend. I was anxious to catch up with her and partake in a little bit of pre wedding hoopla. The shower was held at a sweet crepe restaurant and it was fun and it involved mimosas, ergo...Hi brunch. It was nice to mingle and get to know her friends leading up to her big day, the more ladies I know to shake my booty with at the reception, the merrier. 

Since it was held at a restaurant the need to decorate was minimal, but the touches that were added were tasteful and elegant. I soon realized the girl throwing the shower had made them and I was even more impressed. She went to the dollar store and some gold paint and a few embellishments later, they looked like she had purchased them for quite a few dollars somewhere. 

And this is where we get to me. I am an excellent cook. I can whip up an original cocktail and bless it with a whimsy name. I can also instagram delicious looking food like a boss.  This is right around the point my talents end. Unless you count being able to figure out a percentage based sale off the top of my head in about two seconds flat. I am the opposite of the pinterest crafty girl. I try. I do. I have even had fun with some of my failures. I've just accepted that they will usually end up looking like a massacre happened and instead of saving money I usually spend ten times the amount by making it myself and who knows how much time I waste on it. I would just rather buy what I need. 

I figured out awhile ago that this is all ok.  My best friend decorates her house the way of Restoration Hardware. Another friend puts outfits together that would make In Style magazine green with envy. I used to be slightly envious and then I figured out we each have our talents and we each have our inadequacies. We often are too busy wishing we could do something better that we never notice what our friends admire about us.  

Now if only I could get my husband to grasp that a clean house lies more on my inadequate list;)

Falling For Autumn

I have mentioned more than once how much I love Autumn. It is, by a landslide, my favorite season. It is still rather warm in North Carolina all through fall (well, usually...today the high is in the 50s and that rarely happens until November/December!) there are so many festivals, the colors here are so bold and bright. The aromas that fill the air with bonfires and bbq's. Football is back in full swing. My mind embraces fall in a way it doesn't any other season. It is almost as if life breathes a little deeper into me and my psyche. 

With that said, these are a few of my favorite scenes that I am looking forward to from the next few months. Memories that I love to look back on and ones I look forward to in the upcoming weeks.  Each of these pictures were taken in either southern Virginia or here in North Carolina. Most are local to the Raleigh or Durham area, some are in the Carolina mountains and well, the maple bourbon cannolis are from my kitchen. You can, of course, find the recipe on my food blog.

linking up with Amanda and September Farm

Oh Happy Day

This first day of October has already bought me such joy. I woke up this morning to texts, phone calls and pictures of my newest nephew! I am so excited, but I will admit that the rain is making me nervous that I may not be able to get home to Virginia to see him this weekend.

This makes nephew number four and my heart is so full. I also have two nieces and being able to spend time with them and shower them with love is the best. Even better is that I get to give them back and sleep when I want to and wake up whenever I please;)  This is how you get through an infertility journey, you look at the bright side!

I am so thankful that all of our prayers were answered for a smooth delivery and healthy baby, some of you may remember when his sister Evie was born last year in January. She was airlifted after birth to the University of Virginia and spent almost 3 months in the NICU for lung problems. She is perfectly healthy and sassy now and I can't wait to see how she interacts with her new little brother. I am hoping that Henry has red hair like his sister. I mean, a red head named Henry? I almost can't take it!

Happy October, everyone. This is already my favorite month and now I have even more reason to love it!

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