I have decided to keep riding the pumpkin wave as long as things keep disappearing from my fridge and countertops.
This weekend, I needed to make a dessert for small group and remembered this delish recipe for Pumpkin Squares. I decided to make it one and a half times so I could bring it to work too. It only took about a day for it all to vanish.
A couple people even said that they don’t like pumpkin pie, but really liked these. My guess is that the butter makes it better than pumpkin pie.
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1 can (2 cups) pumpkin pie mix
2/3 cup milk
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
First layer: Combine cake mix (remove 1 cup for the top layer), 1 egg, 1/2 cup melted butter in a medium bowl. Press into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan.
Second layer: Mix together pumpkin pie mix, 2 eggs and 2/3 cup milk. Pour over first layer.
Topping: Mix 1 cup cake mix, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in 1/4 cup butter. Sprinkle crumb topping over 2nd layer. Bake for 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool, cut into squares, serve with Cool Whip.
Earlier this week, I watched as Ryan and Bryan made dinner. They wouldn’t let me help at all and it was such a treat!
They used this recipe to make Chicken Marsala. I let them know that this can be a once a week thing if they are willing!
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Essence- they didn’t use this
2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in halves and pounded thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups sliced mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake)
3/4 cup Marsala
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped chives, for garnish
In a shallow bowl or plate combine the flour and Essence and stir to combine thoroughly. Quickly dredge the chicken breast halves in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter to the pan and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown around the edges and have given off their liquid. Add the Marsala wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Lower the heat to medium and return the chicken breasts to the pan and continue to cook until they are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately.
My coworkers and I are giddy about pumpkin. Yesterday we had at least a 15 minute conversation about the possibility of a “PUMPKIN Day” at work. By the end of the day, we figured it probably wasn’t a reality.
I woke up this morning excited about Fall Break starting tomorrow and decided a pumpkin treat was going to make our day a little brighter. I tried a new recipe for pumpkin bundt cake that I already had all the ingredients for.
- 2-1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves; add to egg mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition.
- Transfer to a greased 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Remove pan and cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Yield: 12-16 servings.
You really can’t go wrong with pumpkin.
Do you have any favorite pumpkin treats?
Last night, we had another run/soup night. This time Bryan and Faith cooked while Ryan, Loren and I ran. It was great to have a hot meal on the table when we got home.
White Chicken Chili
2 cloves minced garlic
2-3 chicken breasts or 1 whole rotisserie chicken
2 cans northern beans
2 cans corn
2 cartons chicken stock
1 block pepper jack cheese
Saute the diced onion and garlic in olive oil and butter in the pot. Add the chicken and cook (or throw in the rotisserie chicken). Add the beans and corn, then the chicken stock along with spices. Let everything simmer for at least 15 minutes. Grate the cheese into the pot right before serving. Add a little cheese and sour cream on top.
Faith said it took an hour to get it just right and figure out what was missing. It ended up being a bay leaf and more chili powder. Tweak until its perfect! Yum.
As word of our group runs has caught on, we have had a few others ask to join us. On Sunday, there were six for our run. The weather was great and the sun started to set right when we got home. Since we were all together and it was dinner time, we decided to cook and eat dinner together. We made a dash for the grocery and grabbed enough ingredients to triple this delish chili recipe:
Hearty Weight Watcher Chili
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 teaspoon garlic powder (I use minced garlic)
2 can chili beans in sauce (15 oz.)
1 can water
1 can low fat Cream of Mushroom soup
2 cans diced tomatoes (14.5 oz.) Make on rotel if you want your chili extra spicy. (I used all rotel.)
1 small diced onion
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 cans black beans (15 oz.)
Saute beef, garlic and onions until brown. Drain. Drain and rinse the black beans. Add remaining ingredients. Cook at medium temperature until bubbling, stirring occasionally. Simmer at a low temperature for 15 minutes.
It is a simple recipe that everyone wants to get seconds of.
The dinner theme for our small group last night was to grill everything. Usually we do more traditional themes like taco night, but it seemed like a great way to celebrate the end of the summer. People brought chicken, beef, pork, fruits and veggies on kabobs. I filled jalapenos with cream cheese inside and wrapped it in bacon for an appetizer.
A few of us were throwing out ideas for dessert a few days prior and I remembered this recipe for Grilled Peaches with a Sea Salt Bourbon Caramel and since we are Kentucky natives, I have renamed it Bluegrass Peach Sundaes. Ashley picked up the peaches from an orchard in town so they were really fresh and local. I highly recommend this recipe. It was tasty and super easy!
Do you have a favorite grill recipe?
A few Saturdays ago, Ashley Witt, Sarah and I hosted a shower for Ashley Combs. We decided to do an Around the Clock theme which made planning really fun.
The invitation that Ashley designed was inspired by Amanda Jane Jones’ Around the Clock Invite. You can download it here for free. We decided to put it all on one invite and write in everyone’s time.I love the vintage seed packet look and I was really happy to hear that they were made into stamps. I had my eye on them for a while and was so excited to get to use them on something cutesy. We put the invites in vellum envelopes so the color came through on the back. Some many of my favorite things all tied into one.
For the menu, we planned around the times of the day. We found lots of new recipes and each one was a hit! Check out the links for the recipes.
So for breakfast we had fruit and delish Blueberry Lemon Scones.
For lunch we made Cucumber and Lemon Dill Sandwiches and Hot Ham Sandwiches.
Dinner was so tasty. We made Mini Fish Tacos and Peach Caprese Salad Skewers with a Balsamic Reduction.
For dessert, we had Strawberry Cupcakes. We also had the normal shower beverages like coffee and tea, but we also wanted to do something out of the box. I failed to take a photo of the Grapefruit Lemonade, but it was really beautiful and pretty good.
Some of my favorite touches were the Bloom Letter and Tassel. It was a fun way to bring in some color.
The girls and I had such a great time hosting. It got a little hectic about ten minutes before the shower when people started coming in and I still had curlers in my hair, but overall it was a success! We also had lots of leftovers.
The hostesses with the bride-to-be:
I love celebrating the beginning of a new season with sweet friends! We are excited about your wedding Ash!
Ryan and I ran to a wedding right after the shower and then to a friend’s art show. It was a fun weekend of celebration.
Pickle was a nickname my mom gave me as a kid. I don’t think it is related to my love for pickles, just a happy coincidence.
I had some cucumbers in the fridge this weekend gifted from the McCullum garden. It was a perfect opportunity to try this recipe. These pickles are better than great. I love the spicy sweet combo. You can eat them just an hour after making them and a canner isn’t necessary. I also added some garlic cloves for some more punch.
Try them out and give me your feedback!
There is something about a rainy day that evokes reflection. And I realize I have neglected this space again. So here is a lot that doesn’t mesh….
I am wrapping up a big project at work that I am really excited about. One of the last things on the list was to go to the top of Pearce Ford Tower (a 27 story dorm) to take a photo.
The Upholstery for Beginners Class was very interesting. I realized that I am even a step below beginner. This is an interesting trade with so many tools. Each piece is different and you have to be really patient.
Although Ryan and I have always had similar interests, we differ in a big way when it comes to celebrities. Most days I can’t remember which guy is Brad Pitt and which is Tom Cruise. Ryan is pro. He knows every movie an actor has ever been in, who they were/are married to and what they are working on at the current time. One thing I have started to get into with him is award shows. We have created a new tradition for the Grammy’s and then continued it for the Oscar’s: Breakfast for dinner. This little mini-stack was so delish.
For Valentie’s Day, my grandmother, Pidgeon, mailed us some old photos. I love this one of me and Pops.
Last week, we got great news that our house appraised for even more than we were hoping for!! We will be able to refinance and save a huge amount over time! Yipee!! Now we can relax and enjoy all the progress we have made. I plan on doing a whole post on the porch when spring decides to come to BG to stay, but here is a look and the amazing work of Matt and Ryan. We had no idea how terrible it was structurally because it was all pretty well hidden, but this thing was not in good shape. Now it is well supported and so beautiful! The guys even kept the panels between the posts! I love the character this little porch adds to our house. And I am really loving the new color scheme. The front door color was trial and error, but I love the finished product!
Last weekend, we celebrated Ryan’s 25th birthday. This photo from Halloween 2008 cracks me up. We were just friends at the time and I remember making a big deal about how silly he looked. We also got to celebrate Ryan’s birthday with my family in Nashville. It was a last minute plan and only about a 4 hour visit, but we loved it! My fam was there to cheer on the ECS Eagles in the State Championship so we went with them to the game and then to a quick dinner before heading back to BG for cake with our friends.
I am headed to NYC this weekend for a College Media Convention. I also get to squeeze in a visit with Holmes, my aunt and a few friends.