Tag Archives: trader joe’s

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pecan Kitty Cupcakes


You know what I love about food blogging? I love that it’s 3:30pm and today I feel like writing about food–and I can do that. This is one big thing I’m grateful for. Now that we’ve gotten my gratitude out of the way, let’s get to the cupcake!

The other night we were having guests for dinner. And instead of trying to make everything from scratch I dressed up a Trader Joe’s baking mix and made it into a playful and decadent Halloween pumpkin cupcake.

I loved putting these little creatures on top of my cupcake, largely because it’s creative. I LOVE to make things with my hands. If cupcakes were better for you I would do this every day.¬† The little guy below was my inspiration for my Halloween cupcake.

Making these ugly little Halloween creatures made me really happy. For 20 minutes as I fumble with toothpicks and candy, I am 12 again. Play is something we all need in our lives. None of us is one dimensional. This is my multi-dimensional self debuting.

My scary Kitty cupcakes–Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pecan yummy-ness. This is the keeper of the kittens, Mr. Pumpkin Persimmon [I realize this probably seems very childish, but I don’t care].

image source

  • 1 box trader joe’s pumpkin cake mix
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped in a bag
  • pam or olive oil spray
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil (or canola oil)
  • 1 cup water
  • chocolate frosting (any brand will due)
  • gum drops (I used black and red)
  • black licorice (sliced in half)
  • toothpicks

Directions for pumpkin cupcakes

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a big bowl mix cake mix, eggs, oil, pecans, and water. Mix til the dough doesn’t have any bumps in it. Spray muffin pan with your pam spray. Pour an equal amount of your mix into the cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes at 400. Continue to check oven after minute 14 or so as all ovens bake differently. Don’t want to burn the cupcakes!

2. Take the cupcakes out of the oven. The cupcakes should slide out easily. Allow cupcakes to sit and cool. Set aside and take out candies. Stick one toothpick down two black gumdrops. Break one gumdrop in half for the head. Break up the black licorice and stick the licorice with toothpicks for ears, arms and tail.

3. Once cupcakes have cooled, dress with your chocolate frosting and stick your figurines on top.

Now all you need is some quiet time to enjoy this treat. On the other hand, enjoy with some friends so you don’t eat them all yourself. Remember to have fun and play.


Salmon Jalapeno Hand Roll


Because I’m a girl who enjoys food–good food–I’m on an evolving journey to capture my favorite flavors in my own kitchen.

I’m always trying to make healthier renditions of flavor profiles I love.

That being said, I adore sushi (who doesn’t?) and one of my favorite rolls is a salmon avocado hand roll with a slice of jalapeno for a kick. I love handrolls because they are fun to eat, like a sandwich, and the provide texture because you get more seaweed (and more crunch). Also the salmon adds that bagels-and-lox type feel, but a little farther East.

I have reinvented my own version of the salmon avocado jalapeno handroll. It’s deliciously addicting, super flavorful and might make your pores feel hot! Here are the two sheets of seaweed, sort of like two halves of a small finger sandwich.

This seaweed product is so new, I couldn’t find an image of it online for a screen shot. Love this new find..!

This delightful Japanese inspired snack has only five ingredients:

1. Wasabi Roasted Seaweed (Trader Joe’s)
2. Smoked Salmon
3. Jalapeno
4. Light Cream Cheese
5. Avocado

The directions are very simple. Slice the salmon very thin and add one small layer. Add about 1/2 tablespoon light cream cheese, avocado and a sliver of Jalapeno. Be careful on the jalapeno as a little goes a long way–they are hot! Cover first layer with a second layer of seaweed.

This is my boyfriend Jacob, the taste tester in my kitchen. He will probably laugh when he sees this picture (let’s hope so).


Blake’s Food Shopping List


I essentially cook with the same foods throughout the week changing flavors and textures. I love Trader Joe’s and I usually do a variation/rotation of meals using the following core ingredients:


Smoked Salmon
Chicken Breasts
Very lean ground turkey
Steak or bison


Whole wheat spaghetti
Polenta (cooked)
Long Grain Rice
Potatoes (either yam fries or Peruvian potatoes–purple)
Whole Wheat Wraps


Persian Cucumbers
Sweet Vidalia Onions
Green Onions
Bell Peppers
Lettuce (Herb Mix and Butter Lettuce from Trader Joe’s)
Lentils (already cooked – Trader Joe’s)
Beets (already cooked¬† – Trader Joe’s)


Italian Parsley

When I’m feeling lazy:

Eggs (perhaps paired with some cheese and veggies for a Fritatta)
Gyoza Chicken Potstickers (Trader Joe’s Frozen Section)

What is your routine for meal-time during the week?