A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family
A Little of This & That… Renovating, Decorating, DIY Projects & Family

If You Have Some Extra Time…

Good Eats: Flower & Bumblebee Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing | PepperDesignBlog.com

Above is a fall take on these iced flower cookies (except with black sprinkles in the center – which I love!). This past week we’ve been squeezing in work during off hours on a small studio rental that we are hurriedly getting ready for a new tenant, which means a little rest and family time might be in order around this casa for the weekend (including a date with our favorite pumpkin patch). Hope you enjoy your weekend, too!

If you have some extra time:

5 ways to encourage creative ideas.

How to (properly) roll cuffs via Jenna Lyons.

An awesome fall button down (to practice said cuff rolling) – this one, too.

5 questions to ask yourself when decluttering.

A fall cardigan (love this in black).

A cheeky vase I’d like for my desk :).

The challenges and thought process behind designing a book cover (from a designer that has thought up over 600 of our favorites).

12 words that even smart people get wrong (for the grammarist in each of us). ‘Affect’ and ‘effect’ still makes me pause and think… for a while.

Growing up my step mom wore these types of dresses all of the time. I’m surprised and a little happy that they’re back.

A happy place to do laundry and an awesome nursery ceiling.

A few of these comments hit home for me, especially in these last couple of months of a ‘surprisingly expecting’ pregnancy (but a happy one at that). I thought Sarah Ridenour did a nice job of summing up what harmless, off-handed comments most moms with 2+ probably don’t want to hear…

A heel I’d love to wear, a lipstick color I’d like to try, a sweater cape I’m digging, an artist I am appreciating (make that two).

How to learn self-control (turns out it’s a trait that can be honed, just ask the children – who are now in their 50s – who participated in the psychological ‘marshmallow test’). I’m trying the test out on Liv ;) and the habit-forming suggestions on me!

Ignoring the above, I’m breaking the meal norm and making this super-comfort food tonight :-).

PS if you’re in the San Diego area, here’s more on Summer’s Past Farms, that pumpkin patch we love! 

Best Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

You guys. You must try this recipe. I probably say that about every recipe that I post here, but sometimes I come across something so delicious that it is worth sharing with big, enthusiastically waving arms, jumping jacks and a happy grin (just to, you know, get it some more attention).

You know I’m a big fan of making sweet breads (they’re maybe the world’s best comfort food to me) and I was so over-the-moon happy with how this particular batch turned out. I’ve played with many a bread recipe in the past but this one is a slightly modified version of all of those – it is moist and flavorful with just the right amount of cinnamon. It’s not over powering in a too-much-pumpkin sort of way, it’s topped with a crystalized sugar crust and the chocolate chips make it the perfect dessert or afternoon snack (though we’ve been enjoying for breakfast, too!).

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

I have been waiting so patiently for grocery stores to stock their canned pumpkin! Who knew it was so seasonal?

Mmmmm pumpkin bread is everything fall should be and so much more (sort of like when the fall line-up at Starbucks arrives – then you know that the season change is official).

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

2 ½ c flour
1 t salt
2 t baking soda
1 ½ t cinnamon
½ t nutmeg
3 c + 1/4 c (for topping) sugar
4 eggs
1 c vegetable oil
1 large can (30oz) of pumpkin
2 c chocolate chips (optional)

The simple steps: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two loaf pans (or about 3 12-count muffin pans) by lightly dusting flour all the way up the edges.

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

Blend together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg, set aside. In a large glass bowl (or mixer), beat eggs and add 3 c sugar. Mix in vegetable oil and pumpkin.

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

Scoop dry ingredient mixture into wet ingredients one cup at a time and mix well. There will be A LOT of batter so a large glass bowl is easiest :-). I’m sharing the big batch version of this recipe because I’ve never understood small batch recipes – if you’re going to make something delicious and tasty, best to make at least a couple of loaves for sharing! (or midnight snacking)

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

We love chocolate chips in this house and add them to everything. The more the merrier. Feel free to omit if you’re making a morning bread or are not a fan though (walnuts or pecans might make a fun addition instead). Or how about chocolate and nuts??

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

Pour batter into loaf pans or muffin trays. Hint: I love the idea of adding a crystalized sugar topping so I’m a big fan of generously sprinkling sugar as a final step onto almost any sweet bread batter. I also add just a few more chocolate chips to the very top of the loaf so that the chocolatey gooey-ness is visible when they come out of the oven.

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

Granular sugar is awesome, white sugar works well enough for that crust. Bake for 45-60 minutes (I choose to underbake just about everything but that’s a personal preference) and pulled this guy out early when a toothpick test revealed a moist and almost cooked center.

Can you see the crystalized sugar on top? It’s what’s making much of this loaf lighter in color. So delicious.

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

Mini loaves would make a really yummy gift for the neighbors (wrapped up in wax paper and tied with baker’s twine for extra points), and muffins a fun snack for school.

What makes this bread so delicious to me is the consistency. It’s not at all dry like traditional pumpkin breads (at least the kind you might buy at a coffee shop or pre made in a bakery) and reminds me more of a cross between a carrot cake and a banana bread density-wise. But of course with that amazing pumpkin taste.

Best Pumpkin Bread (with chocolate chips) Recipe | PepperDesignBlog.com

Happy baking! Do you have any sweet bread tricks that you’ve discovered? When I’m trying to make a ‘healthier’ bread (like these farmer’s market muffins) I cut down on the sugar a bit and add extra veggies. When I’m going for YUM I double the sugar and add extra chocolate :).

Baking is second on the list of favorite mommy-and-me activities (first is our craft afternoons), I can’t think of a better way to spend an hour than with Liv and me in aprons (and T tasting everything) while covered in flour!

More good eats (including two yummy fall recipes: maple oat bars and apple pie pops) and a baby shower with a pumpkin ‘up, up & away’ themed cake at its center. I often refer to dessert breads as ‘sweet breads’, but don’t worry, I’m not talking about those sweet breads! I ordered them at a restaurant once by accident… Lesson learned.

Wardrobe Style Board: Welcome, Fall

Wardrobe Style Board: Fall Finds | Transitioning Seasons | Plaid, Leather, Sweaters & Boots | PepperDesignBlog.com

heather white sweater | plaid scarfclassic fox sunnies
 the hunter leather tote (favorite) | zane booties

A wonderful thing is happening over here in the Southwest – the weather has dropped down out of the high 80’s and is migrating to somewhere around the low 70’s. Chilly evenings or overcast mornings mean one thing: we can start to incorporate pieces of fall into our wardrobe and that’s exciting. Sweaters might still involve skirts and boots, dresses, but somewhere there is room for plaid, leather, boots and chunky knits. Welcome, fall :-).

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