Pumpkin cookies with penuche frosting

Easy drop pumpkin cookies

Many moons ago, my sister Mary made these pumpkin cookies with brown sugar frosting. They became one of her specialties for a few years. Mary is a great baker. She got into baking before me, and now that she lives up north, I miss her baking.

These stuck in my memory and I was inspired to make them, as I have been wanting to share more seasonal recipes on my blog and just to make more seasonal recipes for fun myself. I’m not one to go out and buy all the pumpkin things in the fall, but these cookies are certainly an exception. They’re making me rethink my aversion to all things pumpkin spice.

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Grape blueberry milk

Have you ever heard of a grape smoothie? I don’t think I had until last December. Maggie got a food truck toy for Christmas last year and it came with three toy smoothies that are labeled as banana, strawberry and grape. I have wondered time and time again who was on the team that came up with this toy and why they didn’t have a blueberry or mango smoothie instead.

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Individual meat loaves

Individual meat loaves dinner

This recipe for individual meat loaves is made with ground beef, egg, oats, onion and spices. The sweet and slightly tangy sauce is made with ketchup, mustard and brown sugar.

My mom used to make this when I was growing up and it was always one of my favorite meals. Serve it with mashed potatoes, broccoli or green beans, and fresh fruit for a delicious dinner.

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Modern Notebook’s fall 2020 goals

Fall leaves on grass

Even though fall doesn’t feel too different than summer here in Southern California, I’m still excited to welcome it in. I’m hoping for cooler weather by November and a chance to splash in some rain puddles, or at least kick my shoes through some colorful leaves.

I hope this list of fall goals gets you thinking about some ways to bring little moments of joy into life this season.

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8 dinners to eat in this heat (no oven!)

 Steak salad with cucumbers and tomatoes

A lot of days this summer, we have some kind of tacos for dinner. Well, actually that’s all year. We don’t have a grill and don’t plan on getting one for our small patio, so we rely heavily on the stovetop and try to avoid turning on the oven, especially on weeks when the temperature rarely drops below 75.

There’s nothing wrong with having tacos often, but I enjoy a bit more variety so I don’t get bored of not only eating the same thing all the time, but making the same thing. So, I thought I would share some tried and true recipes that are refreshing and delicious, perfect for summer.

Keep reading for 8 summer dinners that don’t require you to turn on your oven.

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Banana coffee cake

Banana Coffee Cake

First posted on August 31, 2016. Updated on August 12, 2020.

Last weekend, I had company over and took that as a good reason to try out a new recipe. I wanted to make a coffee cake because it’s delicious and perfect for a relaxing brunch.

(If you’re reading this and thinking, you had company over? During this Covid thing? Well, my mom did visit briefly, but that’s not what I was talking about. This was originally posted in 2016. That was pre-pandemic, and pre-baby. I think this was the second and last year I went to FYF, a music festival in Los Angeles. We had Paul’s sister and her boyfriend staying over since we lived closer to it than them. Or maybe it was the year they went and I didn’t feel like it. Any way, back to the recipe.)

I like reading recipes and then combining them to get the outcome I’m looking for, and this banana coffee cake creation is a direct result of that. It’s made from combining three different recipes on three different websites to get exactly what I was picturing in my head when I started searching for recipes.

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