How To Play Your Way To Live the Life of Your Dreams by Making Doughnuts

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Mary Poppins in Sky living your dreamsIn every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and “snap” the job’s a game. And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake, a lark, a spree it’s very clear to see.

I love Mary Poppins.

Her style, her way with children and the message of the importance of playing are why she and this movie serve as one of my dream list pool of mentors.

There is much to be done out here in and around our little house in the vineyard. Chickens and a bunny to be fed, watered and cared for.  Eggs from our beautiful ameraucana hens, to be collected.  And as of Monday two kitties we adopted into our family need to be loved and cared for and played with.

Four of the eggs I collected today went into this delicious recipe, I have been perfecting for baked chai tea spiced pumpkin doughnuts.

My children helped frost and decorate the tasty treats and we took them in to the crew on the crush pad at the winery.

We’re around the half way point I would say for vintage 2011.  With approximately 700 tons of fruit in, pressed or to tank of fermenter, depending on whether it’s white or red varietal.

Everyone has been working very hard, long days for more than a week now, and I love to show up with baskets full of  treats whenever I feel like it.  I think it’s really fun and I know my husband is proud as a peacock when he catches me in the act.

With my little son and daughter in the mini-van, we tootled off to the big, little city of Salem to have some more fun.

Popping in for some home school supplies and swinging by the feed store were definitely on our list of things to do, but so was spending Mr.” I’m not six anymore”s, birthday money on a toy of his choice, from the place of his choice.

Before that adventure, though, we enjoyed a giggly, delicious lunch at a sandwich shop.  Birthday boy was a hit with the other diners as he was in his Halloween costume in his getup as, “The Count” from Sesame Street, complete with black velvet cape and shiny red rain boots.

With all of our supplies tucked in and everyone buckled and excited, we sang our way and counted how many leaves would touch our car as we drove the long beautiful road that follows the Willamette River back to our home.

Any return trip, concludes with a tumbling out of the mini-van, jumping onto the gate while I open it and riding it to its lock post.  I pull the vehicle through and we ride the gate shut. Then, it’s a run as fast as we can down the ever so long driveway, with a stop at the tire swing before we unload our “loot”.

Boy in leavesMy son was the first to skibble out to the back garden, where he set to the raking of leaves under the walnut tree with his new “toy” of a bright green kid-sized rake, which was what he spent his birthday bucks on.

He got about three great and crunchy leaps into the pile before it was dinner time.

With my children, “scrubbed and tubbed and adequately fed”, I got into my own footie pajamas and joined my boy up in his bunk for story time.

After kisses and cuddles and more big laughs, I climbed down and noticed my cheeks were actually aching from the smiles and laughs of this chore-filled day.

Before I snuggled under my down comforter, I finished the dishes and put away three more loads of laundry.  I made sure the beans were ground and coffe maker set for a good morning.  I wrote a love note to my husband and set it on top of a plate of food that I made for him.  It’s waiting in the ‘fridge, hoping he would make it home to enjoy before midnight.

Whether he makes it here earlier or later, though, I know he will delight in our nice, cozy environment.   I put my whole heart into the care and keeping of this gift of  a grape life and home that my wine-making husband has provided for our family.

Best of all, I always have a blast doing it.


Chai Tea Pumpkin Spice Baked Doughnuts & Pumpkin-Orange Cream Cheese Icing

Chai Tea Pumpkin Spice Baked Doughnuts & Pumpkin-Orange Cream Cheese Icing:

by Shellie Croft on Friday, October 28, 2011 at 5:29pm

Doughnut Ingredients:

Dry goods-

2C AP flour, I always use Bob’s Red Mill

1/2C packed brown sugar, light or dark, I like dark

1 1/2t baking powder

1 1/2t combination of your favorite fall spices, I play with cloves, mace, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, whatever you like:)

1/2t salt

1/4t baking soda

Combine these dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and use a whisk or fork to incorporate very well.

Wet stuff-

1/2C pumpkin puree, yep it’s from my garden, I like it that way:)  You certainly can use canned

2 eggs, also from my garden…I hope you can get yours from a country neighbor or at least cage free:)

1/4C whole milk with 2 chai tea bags, cold steeping while you get all of the other ingredients together

1/4C unslated, softened butter or shortening or margarine.

Combine these ingredients and add them to the dry goods.  Mix in your mixer or with a hand held until it’s all good to go.


Preheat your oven to 375*

Pull your eggs and milk out to come closer to room temp.

Put the two tea bags in the 1/4 C milk as early as you can think.  I knew I wanted to make these today because I had loads of icing left over from my little son’s birthday cake, so I put the chai tea into the milk, covered it and let steep overnight:)  Any amount of chai, in my opinion is delish, so if it’s only 10 min., it’s worth it.

Let’s talk about piping now. I have a pastry piping bag I got it in my Christmas stocking two years ago and I love it, but if you don’t you can easily make your own out of a 1 gallon Ziplock bag with a good sized “snip” out of the bottom corner or if you are trying to avoid BPA’s, you can use parchment or wax paper to make a pastry cone.  Snip a good sized tip in this case too.

Either grease your baking sheets or use a Silpat liner on the baking sheet,  load your bag, squeeze some doughnut shapes down, give ’em a little room and bake to the smell and touch.  They should be gloriously yummy and define the smells of the season in aromas AND slightly push back to the touch.  Since these are baked their texture seems more like a scone, than fried dough does.  All in all the first batch was 15 minutes and the rest were around 12, for me.

The Icing:

8 ounces of softened cream cheese

1/4C pumpkin puree

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1T carrot-orange juice, or just orange juice or any complimentary flavors of juice, (this time I used Trader Joe’s  Dynamo Blend)

1t orange zest

1/2t really good vanilla

4C sifted powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients in order, take it slowly when introducing the sugar, cause it can get really messy, but you already know that.

Let those doughnuts cool completely before you ice them or it’ll slide right off, most importantly enjoy!  If you have children in your life, than you are very blessed, and they will have bunches of fun making these with you.

  • Lynn Fincher

    This looks so yummy!! I have to try it. I am starting to become addicted to your stories. ~Lynn

    • Lynn,

      Thanks a bunch! I hope you really do try them, the crew at the winery loved them and my kiddies did too:)

      I loved baking them and the health-o-meter zoomed way up because of the non-frying…

      I am over-the-moon to have you addicted to my lil’ stories! WOWEEE, what a compliment!

      I’m out to the garden to collect the last of the herbs and onions to stuff under the skin of my practice Thanksgiving turkey, ooooh and maybe bake some cookies too, as the walnuts out front are looking (and tasting) yummy.

      See ya on Sunday!


  • Heather Montgomery, Product Launch Dreams

    Great recipe… and Cath is right. We must try this in my “test kitchen”!

    My baking season has officially begun and we must be on the same wavelength since my new carrot cake recipe has a cream cheese frosting to die for. That’s what I get for discovering the new local spice shop…

    Thanks for the great reminder of what my son’s Halloween prep used to be like! We did enjoy a viewing of “Young Frankenstein” together – always hilarious!

    – Heather

    • Hey there baking buddie:)

      I LOVE it that you have a baking season!!! It’s one of my passions, and the only time I don’t do it is when the temps go over 85 here in WV.

      I moved my bread maker out to the back deck this summer, just so I could make my favs!

      Today it’s chocolate zucchini mini loaves, as I harvested the last of them from my garden just prior to our frost…

      Hugs to ya!


  • I now think that there is a reason we met …. readers …just watch…

  • I think Heather should make these in her test kitchen …lol.

    Is there a gluten-free, sugar-free version?

    My son is 16 going on 50 now so we don’t share these kinds of moments anymore. It’s all I can do to get him to acknowledge that Halloween is actually happening. We are in those teenage years but I get that this is preparation for next year when he gets ready to leave for college.

    He’d love those donuts though…


    • Hey Cath,

      My wonderful Mom-in-law really loves sweets, in fact, we nicknamed her grammameats-n-sweets, because that’s what she loves to eat.

      She is a teeny tiny little thing and about two years ago, she started having incredible gastro intestinal issues, dropping from a soaking wet 104, to 82 lbs.

      We all freaked! So, with tons of diet experiements and with her doctor’s guidance and efforts, what has finally helped her is a gluten free diet.

      I made it my personal mission to find a way to bake for her. I found and bake for her from the cookbook called “Babycakes”, it has been wonderful. It’s also a super highly rated bakery in NY. I saw the owner compete in a show I love called “Cupcake Wars”, on the Food Network.