Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cake

And here is the second installement of sweet pumpkin treats.  I still have more pumpkin puree left, so I'll keep experimenting until we get tired of it! 

This cake is really good, but the best part of it is the icing.  I'm not kidding when I say it is the BEST icing I've ever had.  It's not sickeningly sweet like a lot of icings and it is only two ingredients!  It can't get any easier than that.

What You’ll Need:

For batter:
  • 1 box spice cake
  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • ½ cup water
For icing:
  • 1 packet of dry Jello Cheesecake Mix
  • 1 Tub Cool Whip
What You Do:

Mix Jello cheesecake into a tub of cool whip and let sit over night.

Mix box of spice cake with pumpkin puree and ½ cup of water.

Pour into 9x13 cake pan and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

After cake has cooled, ice with cool whip mixture.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Rockin with the rhythm...

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bookworm in the Making

I really do have the best family in the world.  Aunt Susie surprised me with a big bag of books for Monkey the other day. And when I say big, I mean BIG.  It ripped wide open when I picked it up!   

Most of the books are by Richard Hefter and are part of the Strawberry Library of First Learning.  I regret to say that I had never heard of them.  They really are good books though.  Each one has a strawberry somewhere on the cover identifying it as part of the series.

They are so colorful and bright and full of pictures, Monkey loves looking at them.  And the best part is each one teaches something different.  You have the alphabet...


These probably aren't very politically correct these days, but I like it!

I doubt these are even in print anymore, but if you can find them at a garage sale or an old library book sale, I'd recommend them!

Monkey's favorite so far though isn't a Strawberry book.  It's this one:

It's smaller than the rest and she has taken to bringing it with her for car rides.  Just her size.

Thanks Aunt Susie, your the best!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Breaking Down Barriers, One _____ at a Time

I spent most of the morning yesterday with a very interesting group of men from China.  They were all from maize research institutes and academia and came to America to learn about our farming practices.  China is about 30 years behind us in farming techniques and they were eager to learn all they could about how we do things.  At times it was hard to understand what they were saying, as I'm sure it was hard for them to understand me.  The language barrier would prove to be quite difficult, but with the help of a translator and a lot of patience, it ended up being a great experience to talk with them.

One nice gentleman even gifted me with this:

Can you guess what it is?  I suppose if you can read Chinese you probably don't have to guess.  But since I can't and have no clue what the front of the box says I was at a loss at first for what it was. 

A bookmark!  How cool is that?  I wonder if he reads my blog and knew how much I would enjoy such a neat gift...

Yeah, I doubt it.  I'm guessing it's just an easy gift to travel with.  Either way, I love it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Blondies

Here is one of the new pumpkin dessert recipes I've recently tried.  I used fresh pumkin puree instead of the canned kind and at first it was a little too moist.  Overnight it sat up nicely though and I must admit, it's pretty darn delicious. 

What You'll Need:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Grease a 9x13 pan.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

In an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until well mixed.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.  Mix in the pumpkin puree.  With the mixer on LOW, add the dry ingredients.  Fold in the chips and pecans.

Spread the batter in prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. 

Cool and serve.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I don't know what it is about this photo, but I am 100% in love with it.  Could be because the subject is so loveable, I suppose.

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

If you had to choose between sweet and savory, which would you choose? 

I would pick savory 99% of the time.  That's why when I make recipes using fresh pumpkin I always save the seeds and roast them up.  They are a perfect little snack and with three ingredients, they couldn't be any easier to make.

What You'll Need:

Fresh pumpkin seeds, rinsed with cold water
Sea Salt

What You Do:

Generously drizzle a baking sheet with EVOO.  Place the seeds in a single layer on the sheet, stirring to coat. 

Generously sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Stir half-way through.

And that's it, let cool and snack away! 

**Expect some sweet pumpkin recipes coming... I've been trying out some new things!

Monday, October 18, 2010

What a Beautiful Mess

Five months ago I turned 30.  I don't feel 30, but according to my Mom I was most definately born in 1980.  I still find it hard to believe, but I suppose she would remember it. 

If you can rewind back to May and remember the cake my sister got for the surprise birthday party.... remember how awesome it was? 

Well guess what?  It made it onto the Cake Wrecks website as one of the Wreckies of the Month!  I'm sure the baker would be very proud.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin Farms

We went to two different pumpkin farms over the weekend.  One was pretty lame to be honest, but hey, it was free, can't really complain about free!  The other one, the kids had a lot of fun at, but let me tell ya... it was WAY too busy for this mama.  Too many bratty kids and rude parents running around for my taste.  Next time we'll make sure to go first thing in the morning when hopefully it's not as busy.

The big jumping pillow was by far the favorite play item of the weekend.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I got my prize from Blog-o-"Holl"ic's giveaway yesterday!  Isn't it cute? 

For more Wordless Wednesday, click here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Apologies and a Contest

I'm sorry. 

I had a lack of content last week and I apologize for that.  I'm also giving a fore warning that I'll have minimal posts again this week and maybe even next week.  I'm on overload right now at work and don't have the time or brain power to put into this here blog.  Again my apologies.  I truly do want to fill you in the happenings around my house, I just can't right now. 

Moving onto the contest part... my darling friend Bridget over at Imaginate Photography is taking part in a breast cancer awareness "Inspire Me" contest.  There are some pretty cool things in the gift basket that you could win, go check it out! 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

1.  It's volleyball night.  We are back to playing indoors again and while I miss the sand, with the weather being as chilly as it has been at night, I'm glad we are inside.

2.  I won a blog giveaway, and it's so cool!  The last time I won something was probably back in 6th grade when I won the "Sponsor Wheel" on the local AM station.  I was one stoked kid.  Thanks to Hollie at Blog-o-"Holl"ic and Jill at Lime Tree Gifts for the sweet keychain.  I can't wait to get it!

3.  We have a reception on Saturday for some friends that got married in the Bahamas the same weekend as my sister-in-law's wedding.  They are so cool they even made it on Good Morning America! 

4. Pretty excited to eat leftovers from last night.  Does anyone else get excited for leftovers?  I'm having brat burgers and grilled mac n cheese.  YUM!

5. A friend joined the local roller derby team, the McLean County MissFits, and I'll admit it... I'm jeolous.  I don't have time for both volleyball and roller derby, but I really wish I could do both.  I will have to make it to watch her kick some tail at least once or twice. 

6. Monkey had her 18 month checkup on Monday, even though she won't actually be 18 months until the end of the month.  Anyway, she's in the 95th percantile for height.  Which means she's taller than 95% of the kids her age.  I was not surprised when the doc told me this, it's hard to find pants that are long enough for her!  Poor thing is destined to be like me.  She'll never be able to dry her jeans... ever.

7. I've been reading the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and only have 40 pages left in the final installement.  Good books, would definately recommend.  Any suggestions on what I should read next?

8. After the incident of JC busting out the bedroom window we decided it was finally time to replace all the windows and doors in the house.  We've had one estimate so far... yikes!  Who would've thought windows could be so pricey?

9.  Last Friday, I went over to my parents to visit after work.  I ended up chasing a herd of cattle through a few fields before getting them back into the pasture RIGHT at dark.  It was a workout, but it kind of made me miss living at home and doing that sort of stuff on a regular basis.

10. We have Dish Network and we love FX shows: Rescue Me, Sons of Anarchy, Justified, etc.  Apparently Dish Network and FX are having a lovers quarrel because when we tuned in Tuesday night to watch SOA, we no longer get FX!  I was quite disturbed, still am actually.  They need to resolve their spat ASAP.

11. I dreamed last night that we won the lottery.  Wishful thinking or a glimpse into the future?  Oh please, tell me I have fortune telling capabilities!  

12. Monkey and Hank have been getting along so great.  For a puppy, he's very gentle with her and she adores him.  One of their favorite games is playing fetch.

13.  Oh, and have I mentioned how much that kid makes me smile?  Like, really smile.  I think I'm going to keep her.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Seriously, the cutest little Wrangler bum I've ever seen!

For more Wordless Wednesdays, click here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Purse of Hope

I spent Saturday morning running a 5K for the Purse of Hope charity.  My old bones are still a little bit sore, but we had a great time and it was for a good cause.  Here is a video from the race and if you would like to learn more about Purse of Hope, check out their website and facebook page.

Friday, October 1, 2010


This recipe came from my Oklahoma transplant friend.  I only made a few edits to suit our liking.  Thanks Annie, it was delicious! 

What You Need: 

  • 1 lb ground beef

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes 
  • 1 bag instant rice
  • 1 can red enchilada sauce
  • Salsa
  • Colby Jack Shredded cheese 
  • 10” flour tortillas
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • Sliced jalapenos (optional)
  • Beans (optional)
What You Do:
Prepare rice according to box instructions.

Chop onion and garlic. 

Brown hamburger and add onion and garlic.

Add rotel, 1/3 of the can of enchilada sauce, and a handful or two of cheese.  If you choose to add beans, now is the time.  I refrain.  Ick.

After cheese is melted, fill tortillas with meat mixture and top with rice.  Roll and lay into a 9x13” baking dish.

Cover top of enchiladas with cheese and top off with remainder of enchilada sauce. Spoon some salsa over top. Lay a few sliced jalapenos over the top of each roll.

Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.  Top with scallions and serve with sour cream and lettuce on the side.