Pumpkin Spice Latte Brownies + Oktoberfest 2017

In the beginning of September there is all this hype for pumpkin spice everything. I’m someone who likes to spread out my pumpkin spice love so I’m not burnt out by Thanksgiving. Because I’m basic, just not thaaaaattt basic. I wanted to make Pumpkin Spice Latte Brownies for my birthday back in September, but then went with mermaid funnfetti cupcakes instead. So, then I thought, why not make them for Oktoberfest! Not super German, I know, but perfect for a fall party.

BTW, the mermaid cupcakes were boxed Funfetti mix and swirled blue and green frosting topped with sprinkles.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Brownies

These are so quick and easy! And it uses a boxed brownie mix too!!

P.S. to make your own Pumpkin Spice click here

Pumpkin Spice Latte Brownies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24
  • 1 box brownie mix
  • ⅔ cup pumpkin
  • ¼ cup pumpkin spice flavored coffee
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin spice
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees F and spray 9x13 pan with coconut oil
  2. Combine pumpkin, coffee, brownie mix and eggs, mix well.
  3. Pour mixture into pan and bake 28-31 minutes.
  4. note: if you don't have pumpkin spice flavored coffee, use an extra tsp of pumpkin spice with regular coffee.
  5. note 2: basically follow the box directions, just substitute pumpkin for oil and coffee for water.


Oktoberfest 2017

This years Oktoberfest featured our Pumpkin Beer and Red Ale, along with brats, sauerkraut, caramelized onion, red cabbage and apple salad, Kase-spatzle, an array of mustards, pretzel cheese bites, apple cider punch, pumpkin wine keg, pumpkin spice latte brownies, stout chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, fruit tray, veggie tray, cheese plate, and a make your own pretzel necklace station. We had about 18 people show up this year, slightly less than last year. We did pretty good with the food this year, but still have quite a bit of beer left.

Featured here the beverage table, with the apple cider punch, beverage tub that later had growlers of of our wheat beer and the pumpkin wine keg. The pumpkin wine keg was made with a craft pumpkin from Michaels and BOTA boxed wine (red and white). Cut the top like a traditional pumpkin, and cut two holes for the dispensers. Just trace the dispensers and carefully use a sharp knife or drill out.

Recipe for stout chocolate cake here. I also made them for the Mustache & Beer Bash back in May.

Notice those amazing tire seats! DIY here.

Last year I made a rustic Biergarten sign that now sits in the new bar area of the family room. I found this other sign at a local party store for our outdoor decorating.

DIY sun sail project here.

I found this awesome Chafing Buffet set on amazon that worked really well for keeping the food warm outside and we can use it for many other events in the future.

Zucchini Bread

Happy September 1st! I’m starting to want fall weather (and rain!), but sadly I think its a ways off here in Southern California. At least I can make it smell like fall in the house?? I had to bake this bread this morning because I had a few zucchinis that needed to be used. Zucchini makes me think of late summer/early fall  because they grow fantastically in the Pacific Northwest and this is the time of year the you find the massive squashes in your garden that you neglected all summer long. The good news is if you have this situation, you just bust our our food processor and grate it all and freeze it for winter!

If I had to pick a vegetable to eat for the rest of my life it would be zucchini. Because you can do so much with it! Zoodles (zucchini noodles made with a spiral slicer), zucchini pizza crust, grilled or roasted, an so on. Just take a look at my Pinterest board for dinner inspiration, its mostly zucchini recipes.

The zucchini recipe I’m sharing today is one from my Great-aunt Ernestine (Aunt Ernie). She passed away earlier this year so I thought as a way to pay tribute to her I’d share her zucchini bread recipe. I called her the “how-do lady” when I was a kid because she always seemed so proper to me. Probably because she had been a teacher. She was an avid scrabble player and participated in water aerobics well into her 80’s. She was a very active woman. I hope to be half as active as her when I’m that age.

So without further ado, here is her really easy and quick zucchini bread recipe!

Zucchini BreadDSC_0084

Grease your pans or line a muffin pan. DSC_0085

Gather your ingredients.DSC_0089

Grate the zucchini. I’m old school, I use a cheese grater. If you’re fancy enough to own a food processor, go for it. DSC_0090

Mix your wet ingredients (looks tasty right?)DSC_0091

Divide your batter into two. If you have two bread pans you can make two loaves, however I have just the one pan so I poured the other half of the batter into muffins. Also, if you choose to go the muffin route, it doesn’t take the full hour to bake the muffins, just 25 minutes will do. DSC_0092

Perfect grab and go snack sized muffins!DSC_0093

I may have needed to sample one…DSC_0096


Zucchini Bread
Recipe type: Bread
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 loaves
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C. oil (or substitute apple sauce)
  • 2 C. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Canilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 C. grated zucchini
  • 3 C. flour
  • 1¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • dash of cinnamon
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350* and grease pans
  2. In a large bowl mix eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, salt and zucchini.
  3. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  4. Combine dry mixture with wet mixture.
  5. Pour into pans and bake for one hour.
  6. Note: I don't have two bread pans so I substituted the second pan for muffin pan, makes 12 muffins and 1 loaf of bread. Bake the muffins for only 25 minutes instead of the full hour.


Greek pasta salad

We frequently like to do Greek food here. It’s perfect for summer, nice and refreshing. However, I was getting tired of doing regular Greek salad or gyros. So I thought why not make a Greek pasta salad!

Dinner for two

This time around I forgot to add the garbanzo beans, but they are great in the salad. I didn’t have a sweet onion on hand so I couldn’t add that and I really don’t like Kalamata olives. But if those additions are more your speed feel free to add them!

I also used Barilla veggie pasta. If you haven’t tried it yet its pretty tasty. This one has carrots and tomato in it, a nice change up from regular pasta and adds some color. There is also spaghetti, linguini, elbow macaroni… It doesn’t cost much more than regular pasta either. If I’m not using the veggies pasta, I’m using the whole wheat pasta.




Greek pasta salad
  • Veggie Pasta
  • Garbanzo beans
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • Sweet Onion
  • Bell Pepper
  • Feta
  • Lemon Juice
  • Olive oil
  • Olives
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package. Let cool.
  2. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans.
  3. dice the cucumber, tomato, onion, pepper.
  4. Combine beans, pasta and veggies.
  5. drizzle olive oil and lemon juice and stir.
  6. top with feta and olives.


Dog Popsicles

Today is Gizmo’s second birthday!! Or at least as close as we can guess that its his birthday, we adopted him when he was 10 weeks old from Operation Paws For Homes and they didn’t give us an actual birthday. We celebrated with Pupsicles, or Dog Popsicles. I made two different flavors, banana peanut butter and pumpkin yogurt. I’m pretty sure he likes the peanut butter flavor better. Gizmo frequently gets Kong’s filled with peanut butter that we store in the freezer. I like the pumpkin treats for his skin, which can be sensitive at times. When his skin acts up I’ll add a spoonful of pumpkin to his food. I don’t think he’s as much of a fan, Gizmo usually looks at me like “what is this?” when I give it to him.

I mixed together a (frozen) banana and some peanut butter (not exact portions or anything) for the peanut butter and banana flavored treats.


And for the pumpkin treats, half a can of pumpkin and 4 oz of Greek yogurt. Make sure its pumpkin pure and not pumpkin pie filling.


I used some fun shaped silicon ice trays. Tip: fill a zip lock bag with the treat mixture and cut the end to pipe it into the molds.



I let Gizmo lick the bowls when I was done.



I froze them for a couple of days, and popped them out of the molds and into a container for easy access later.



I let him have the large frozen Han Solo for his birthday treat.





I think it was a hit, and now we have some frozen treats to tolerate this heat wave. It’s been in the 100’s with humidity.

Mango Mojito

Its almost summer! So, I thought I would share one of my favorite summer drinks. Is so nice and refreshing. You don’t have to do the rum, but I prefer it with.

I’ve been trying to prefect a Mango Mojito that a restaurant in the Seattle area called Cactus serves. They’re a sort of southwestern- Mexican fusion restaurant, their Indian fry bread is amazing! And of course so are their Mango Mojoto’s. I think I finally got the recipe down!

Come get a milkshake at the (2)


Gather all of your ingredients and equipment needed.




Muddle the mint a bit in the glasses.


Mix the mango juice, lime juice, rum and some of the mint in a shaker. Of course the rum is always optional if you prefer to forgo the buzz.


Top off the glass with sparkling water (or Sprite/ 7up if you want it sweeter).


5.0 from 1 reviews
Mango Mojito
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 2 drinks
  • ¾ cup mango juice
  • Juice from ½ lime
  • 2-3 shots of white rum
  • handfull of mint
  • ~6 oz sparkling flavored water
  • ice
  1. In a beverage shaker, mix half the mint, the mango juice, juice from ½ a lime, 2-3 shots of rum (3 for stronger, 2 for less strong).
  2. Shake it good.
  3. In two glasses divide the rest of the mint and fill each half full with ice.
  4. Divide mango/lime/rum between the two glasses.
  5. Top off the glasses with the sparking flavored water (or if you prefer sweeter, Sprite/7up).
  6. Add a straw to stir and you're all set to sip!



What are some of your favorite summer drinks. I’m thinking since we’re in the “South” I’ll have to try a Mint Julep at some point, although the Kentucky derby has long since past.