Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Pepita Streusel

Here’s the deal, I am not super fancy. Nope, in fact, far from it. I despise dressing up and wearing makeup, but adore having a fresh face and wearing my workout/yoga gear all day. Yes, I am one of those women. In essence, I like being comfortable because when I’m comfortable, I feel like myself. Lucky for me I have a husband who also appreciates my casual approach to life! 🙂 Why do I bother telling you this? Well, because unlike my personal style/lifestyle, I actually like for my food to have flair with a hint of fancy.

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A Spin on a Mexican Favorite: Chicken Posole

I don’t know how my love affair of Mexican food began. It sure wasn’t inspired by anything I ate while growing up. I’m from the Midwest, so that’s part of my excuse. But, really, when I was younger (dating myself here), the closest I could get to Mexican food was a certain fast food chain (hello, chalupa) and a certain fast-casual food chain (hola, unlimited chips and salsa!). It’s a wonder, then, how I came to love Mexican food so much. 

But I do love it and it has changed my life in the best, most positive way possible. How can a cuisine do that you ask? Simply, by educating me about food. I read so many great recipes featuring Mexican cooking and Mexican chefs, and I learned two important lessons. The first lesson I learned was the necessity of properly using spices to season food. The second lesson I learned was the importance of layering flavor, an indispensable tool used to build a recipe so that dishes go from ok to awesome. Those two lessons are the inspiration for how I make many of my dishes, including this Chicken Posole.

It’s not just another stew, it’s something that honors those lessons of properly using spices and building flavor. It’s brimming with everything from cumin to green chiles to the super delicious and texturally-pleasing hominy. This Chicken Posole is a tribute to honestly good food. It can fill any hungry or “hangry” belly and bring a smile to any face.



Whew, did I get your attention? Good, that was on purpose. I want you to read this part because these are tips for success, including a few reasons why I did what I did with this recipe. Read on…

  • Buy the skin-on, bone-in chicken. Trust me! The skin helps add depth of flavor in two ways. First, when you sear it, you’ll get some yummy browned bits that stick to the pan, that’s called fond, and it’s good stuff. Second, you’ll cook the chicken with the skin-on, which will give your stew a really nice, enhanced chicken broth taste. (Don’t worry, you’ll take the skin off and bones off before you eat it!)
  • Back to that chicken, don’t even think about touching it or peeking at it while you’re searing it. You’ll just rip the skin right off and you’ll be mad and cry. I want you to be happy.
  • I add flour here, why? Because I want a stew that’s thick and by adding this flour and cooking it with the fat, I accomplish that. No whimpy stew broth for me!

And here, the montage of pictures honoring this Chicken Posole














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Chicken Posole

  • Author: Sara Haas


A big pot of warmth, this stew is hearty and loaded with flavor. Perfect for tailgates or potlucks or a delicious family dinner.


  • 1 tablespoon vegeatable oil
  • 2 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 3/4 pound)
  • 2 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pound)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (25-ounce) can hominy, drained
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season the chicken with salt then arrange, skin-side down in the pot. Cook about 6-7 minutes, until skin is golden brown. Move to a plate.
  2. Add the onion and carrots to the pot and cook until softened, about 6-7 minutes. Add the chili powder and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the flour and cook and stir for 1 more minute. Add the chicken broth, stirring to scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. Bring mixture to a simmer then add the chicken, pressing it into the liquid to fully submerge it. Reduce the heat to medium-low, simmer uncovered, until chicken is cooked (has reached an internal temperature of 165’F), about 25 minutes. Check occasionally during cooking to ensure that chicken is still submerged. Add water, 1/2 cup at a time to keep chicken in the cooking liquid.
  3. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let it cool 5 minutes. (At this point you can also skim the surface of the soup to remove any scum or excess oil/fat.)
  4. Carefully remove and discard skin. Using a fork, remove the meat from the bones. Discard bones. Roughly chop the chicken and add it back to the pot along with the drained beans, hominy and chiles. Cook an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in lime juice and cilantro and serve.


  • This recipe makes about 9 cups of stew, this allows for a generous 1 1/2 cup portion for 6 people.


  • Serving Size: 6
  • Calories: 346
  • Sugar: 2
  • Sodium: 557
  • Fat: 9
  • Saturated Fat: 2
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 38
  • Protein: 28
  • Cholesterol: 77

Cranberry Pumpkin Granola Bars

Here’s the deal, my family loves granola bars. I’m sure you can relate. I mean, is there really a more perfect snack? Well, of course there is, but this one is just so handy, which makes it the “perfect” snack in my eyes. Here’s the problem though, crappy granola bars are everywhere! Even worse, really good granola bars are expensive! Ugh!

What’s a mom, wife, daughter, friend to do? Why, make my own and share the recipe with YOU, my faithful followers! 🙂

Yes, I want you to have the option of making  your own bars because you know, just as much as I do, that granola bars rock. So take that money you were going to spend on the crappy or expensive bars and use it to buy the ingredients to make these perfect little Cranberry Pumpkin Granola Bars. 

Need more reasons to love these? Thought so!

  1. They freeze well. Yes they do! So make a double batch and keep some in the freezer so you’re never without. Just cut them before freezing them, then stuff them into a re-sealable freezer bag. Give them a little room and lay them flat in the freezer. Once partially frozen, you can rearrange them and they won’t stick.
  2. They taste good and your kids will eat them. This means no more fights about other junk they want to eat. They will like them and beg you for more. Which, in my world, is sooo much nicer than hearing them beg for pink cupcakes!
  3. Your kids (or hey, even someone else’s) can help you make these! Woo hoo! Who doesn’t need an extra set of hands in the kitchen? And listen, getting kids into the kitchen is one of the best things we can do as parents or care givers!
  4. They make great gifts. Oh indeed and what about hostess gifts? Yes, that too! I mean, wouldn’t you want these wrapped up and given to you? I’ll take them over a candle any day!

Enjoy, my friends!

And here are the pretty pictures:

Check out how I made these beautiful Cranberry Pumpkin Granola Bars!













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Cranberry Pumpkin Granola Bars

  • Author: Sara Haas


A Fall spin on the classic granola bar. This one is also gluten and nut free!


  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup prunes, very finely chopped (or pulsed find in a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, very finely chopped (or pulsed find in a food processor)


  1. Preheat the oven to 300’F. Line a 9×9-inch pan with parchment paper. (Using two overlapping strips works well here for removing the bars from the pan after baking.)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the oats and pumpkin seeds.
  3. Heat a small pot or pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once the butter has melted, stir in the pumpkin pie spice and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the pumpkin puree and cook 1 more minute. Stir in the maple syrup, salt, prunes and cranberries. Remove from heat and pour over the oat mixture.
  4. Pour the oat mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly across the bottom. Using a piece of foil, wax paper or parchment paper, cover the granola bars and push down evenly on the top to compress the mixture. The firmer the bar, the better it will hold together after it’s cooked. Remove foil, wax paper or parchment and place in the oven.
  5. Cook bars for 15 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and set on a rack to cool. Once cooled, transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill at least 2 hours. Using the parchment paper, remove the bars from the pan and cut into individual bars. (Why chill them? This helps them firm up, which makes cutting them easier!)


  • Cut bars can be kept in the refrigerator about 5 days and up to 2 months in the freezer.
  • To keep this one GF, just be sure to use gluten-free oats.
  • Cut the pan 5×3 to get 15 bars


  • Serving Size: 15
  • Calories: 127
  • Sugar: 5
  • Sodium: 41
  • Fat: 4
  • Saturated Fat: 1
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 22
  • Protein: 3
  • Cholesterol: 2

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