and I'm happy.

I tend to get cranky with the changing of the seasons. Happens every dang time.

As much as I'd love to be the all-season girl who easily rolls with the changes, it turns out I'm actually the girl who spends big bucks on two bags of mini gourds and a wonky ghost pumpkin.

And boots.
But that's a given.

As luck would have it, just as that tweedy, golden-hued, nubby, brisk-aired itch blew through the back screen door, Howard arrived.


(everyone keeps calling him a hobo. we're working on it.)

I love him.

Let me just say, once more for the record, I don't get you "Fall is my favorite season" people with your chunky knits and your leaf frolics. I don't get football or candy corn. I don't really like apple cider. (Is that a real Fall thing? Because I feel like it might be and I do not really like it. Unless it's served with donuts. I like donuts. or chocolate. or caramel. (Now I'm just being silly).)

The main problem is that Fall robs me of my beloved Summer. It makes me angry cold. It makes me wear socks and flannel pajama pants to a bed fitted with fleece~y sheets, and then I'm velcroed in. I can't move. Sleeping gets kinda awkward.

But the real problem is, I live in Mayberry RFD now. And you cannot imagine how beautiful this little town can be in October. Even when it's raining, and the sky looks like soggy cardboard, all I see is gold.

Maybe my love for Fall is deeper than I even knew.

All I know is, you're a looker, Fall.

and how cool is it that you thought ahead to make different kinds of leaves turn different colors for your visit? You must have known how happy tie-dyed leaves covering everything would make some of us.

I don't get it all, but I do get that much.

It'll have to be enough.

In your honor, I'm kicking it. I'm going to go with the flow, even though Kohl's has Christmas decorations out, and I think about summer on the hour, I'm here for you.

I present a list of all I could love about you. pumpkin anything! soups and stews (chili and corn bread). cable knit cardigans. crunchy leaves. boots. filtered sunshine. cozy striped socks (and argyle!). caramel apples. horror movies. Fall spices~cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. scarves (a serious weakness). English tea w/milk. hikes. duvets. corduroy. oatmeal breakfasts. oh, and have your skies always been so blue?

 So today, here I am, with my festive fall foliage, my beef stew and my Frye boots. I'm standing in crunchy leaves, without a coat, sunshine overhead.

And I'm happy.

just sayin' 

 {Pumpkin Spice Muffin with Cream Cheese Filling}
I make this muffin one of two ways: with streusel or without streusel.  Pictured is a "non-streusel",  obviously, they are amazing either way. 

Yields: 20-24 muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin pans.

Muffin batter:
1 Spice Cake Mix
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Allspice
1/4 tsp. Cloves
1/4 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
A few dashes of Ginger
2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
2 eggs
1tsp. Vanilla extract
1 15oz. can of pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1. Combine cake mix and spices.
2. Combine all wet ingredients.
3. Combine wet and dry and mix very well.

 Cream Cheese Filling:
1 -8oz. Package of cream cheese, softened
A few dashes of allspice
¼ tsp. Vanilla extract
1 tbsp. Sugar

1. Stir cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
2. Add vanilla, sugar and allspice.
3. Mix well.

 Streusel topping (optional):
½ c. flour
½ c. brown sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
dash of Salt
¼ c. walnuts
1 stick of cold butter

 1. Cut butter into chunks.
2. Combine butter and dry ingredients in food processor and pulse until well combined and crumbs are about pea-sized or smaller.
3. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Assembling the muffins:
*Try to do this as quickly as possible...the faster the better! You don't want flat muffins.

1. Place enough batter in each muffin cup to cover the bottom. Do this's easy to go overboard and not have enough to cover the filling.
2. Make a little well in the center of the batter with the back of a teaspoon.
3. Put a rounded teaspoon of cream cheese filling in each well.
4. Cover each glob of filling with more muffin batter.
5. Lightly smooth the tops of the batter to cover the cream cheese.
6. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over all of the muffins. If you like them really “streuselly”, use it all, if not, you'll have some for another recipe!
7. Bake at 350 for about 18-20 minutes. (When you check these, just check around the edge since the middle will obviously be gooey!)
8. Remove from pan to a wire rack after about 2-3 minutes of cooling.



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