I’m finally semi-settled into my new home in Portland.  It’s so incredibly different here, and every day is an adventure.  There’s so much I’m learning and getting used to, but I’m totally smitten with this place.  The brilliant colors of fall, the ocean (you can’t go practically anywhere without seeing water), the charm, the history, seagulls everywhere, friendly, laid-back people (Maine can seriously give Southern hospitality a run for its money), farmers markets, lots of local food, cool artsy spots, the gelato (oh my gosh, the gelato), so many coffee shops, lighthouses, the rocky coast, hardwood floors (for a girl from Florida, this is a huge deal), crazy weather (it changes on a dime, and I’ve never seen such a ridiculous amount of fog – this is due to the city being surrounded by so much water) aaaaand I could go on and on.  I basically feel like the luckiest person right now.

I’m always learning what’s popular up here – what’s super New England-y or what the “Maine” things are.  Doughnuts are a big deal.  I always knew Dunkin’ Donuts originated in New England, but not until I moved here did I realize the extent of it.  They’re pretty much everywhere, and the ones from Dunkin’ are bigger and way tastier than any Dunkin’ doughnut I’ve had down south.  So for my inaugural post in Maine, doughnuts seem incredibly appropriate.  Especially of the pumpkin variety.  Classic autumn.  Classic New England.

Baked Pumpkin Doughnut Holes (original recipe here)

Makes 24 doughnut holes

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the cinnamon sugar topping:

  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a mini muffin pan or coat with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, baking powder and salt.

In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, milk, brown sugar, canola oil, egg and vanilla.

Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist.

Scoop the batter evenly into the muffin tray.

Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

To make the cinnamon sugar, combine cinnamon and sugar.

When the muffins are done, cool for 2 minutes and dip each muffin into the melted butter and then into the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Let cool on a wire rack. (Or in my case, a pizza pan.)

Moist, spicy pumpkin doughnuts with Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice coffee on a chilly autumn morning = the most comforting morning ever.

See my hardwood floors!

Here are some of the highlights from my first few weeks in Maine:

At the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire.  My best friend Lindsay and I pretty much burst into tears when we saw each other.

Lindsay and AJ took me to get lobster that night for dinner.  It was the best.  Only when the reward is eating lobster is salt water running down your arms an acceptable scenario.

Eating ridiculously delicious gelato and playing Bananagrams with some lovely ladies in the Old Port district.

Walking along the Eastern Promenade with my friend Michele and my first pumpkin spice latte.  This place seriously has some of the most spectacular sights.  There are always boats docked there, and sometimes you’ll see sailboats and crew teams.  Islands are a short distance away where you can see some awesome fall foliage and charming, New England-y houses.

Now I’m not completely naive…I know that the winter is serious here, and it’s coming soon (dun dun dun).  But I’ve got my down jacket and my Bean Boots (another Maine thing) so hopefully those will help.  I’m sure I will chronicle my crazy winter stories here in the months to come!