Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category

Photo credit:  Jim McQuire:  Pumpkins in Snow

I was looking for a new recipe for dessert this Thanksgiving.
I came across this one, which I have tweaked a bit.
It is like those “Dump Cakes” of the 1970’s.  I have the one in the oven right now.   Wish you could smell it baking

Pumpkin Dump Cake

1 29 ounce can Libby’s canned pumpkin
1 box yellow cake mix, any brand
1 cup melted butter

Prepare the pumpkin according to label instructions, using only one can of evaporated milk.  I also used only 1 cup sugar as the cake mix is very sweet.  Pour the pumpkin mixture into a greased 13 x 9 pan.  I recommend using Baker’s Joy or similar product.  Sprinkle the dry cake mix evenly over the top of the pumpkin mixture, then carefully drizzle the melted butter over the cake mix.

You can sprinkle with 1 cup chopped nuts if you wish, but our extended family is crazy enough already.

Bake at 325 for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.  When completely cooled top servings with real whipped cream.  Refrigerate any leftovers….what leftovers?

When I serve this, I will warm it up slightly, I think it is better slightly warmed.



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This is one of those recipes that you find on the back of the box of sugar. 
I have a fabulous cook book that I bought 20 years ago called:
Best Recipes From the backs of Boxes, Bottles, Cans and Jars.  by Cecil Dyer 1989

Since it is nearly Thanksgiving in the States, I thought it was time for another great recipe with pecans. 
I’m the only one who likes pecans in my family so I’m glad these freeze well. 

1 cup packed C & H Pure Cane Golden Brown Sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees

Grease 8 x 8 x 2 inch baking dish.  In medium bowl, beat sugar and shortening until fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt; stir into mixture.  Stir in nuts.  Spread batter in baking dish.  Bake 25 minutes.  Cut into 2×1 inch bars. Makes 2 1/2 dozen.  Make a fresh pot of coffee – I’ll be right over!

Thanks to Family Fun Magazine for the photo and C & H Pure cane sugar for the recipe.

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        The dishes are washed, the turkey is digesting, the L-tryptophan is rising in my blood stream….I will be nodding off shortly.  What I really should do is grab my sister-in-laws, and take a brisk walk, before coming back to indulge in Round Two….PIE! 

     We’ve drawn names for Christmas Day’s gift exchange….we’ve taken my ‘tongue in cheek’ survey that I make up every year so that family members  have hints and ideas for the gift exchange.  E.g. “do you prefer thongs or bikinis?”  In some cases, it’s a picture no one wants to see! 

     But the quiz really doesn’t matter for me this year, since my in-laws will be receiving heritage scrapbook albums from our family.  The photos I am including go back 5 generations.  I think that I will win MAJOR daughter-in-law points with those….as if I am worried. 

     I have always liked giving more personalized gifts.  When my husband was sick, the boys and I would bake, giving cookies and special treats for Christmas gifts.  We would also make fun crafts to give as gifts. 

     When they were very young we made the applesauce/cinnamon ornaments to give as gifts.  I am sorry that I don’t remember the recipe at the moment.  We didn’t use cookie cutters; we cut out the boys’ handprints.  It was very cute. 

     This ornament is a fun craft that you can do yourself or with your children.  This idea is not new, but the kids love it.  I think it is a good reason for making a mess in my kitchen since someone else hosted dinner this year.

     It must have been about 15 years ago that I first tried this craft at a mom’s group gathering.  At Michael’s craft store they sell clear glass tree ornaments.  There may not be a Michael’s in your neighborhood or corner of the world, but there is the Internet!  These clear glass ornaments come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  3-4 sizes of round ones, some flat on one side and even small heart shaped ornaments.  Sometimes these are on sale for as little as $1.99 for 4-6 ornaments. 

     You need a few bottles of Delta Ceramcoat acrylic paint, also easy to find.  There is no end to the colors available.  These can be priced as low as $.99 cents a bottle.  You can pick two colors that coordinate with your home, jeweled tones, e.g. ruby, emerald, sapphire, and diamond, or even your favorite football team’s colors.  I like to add a complimenting metallic or opaque color. 

     Now you have your two ingredients.  Cover your work space with newspapers, have plenty of paper towels handy,  just in case.  I like to wipe the ornaments off before beginning.  You are going to remove the metal topper of the ornament and set it aside.  Check the lip of the glass ornament for rough edges, you will want to avoid a “Christmas Crafts Emergency Room visit” if at all possible… trust me.  Assemble the two to three colors of paint that you want to use.  

     Squeeze a small stripe of paint inside the ball, apply a strip of the same color one the opposite side.  The stripes of paint will meet inside at the bottom of the ball.  Apply the other color in the same manner.  You can apply the metallic color in between the two colors you have chosen.  Once the paint has been applied, you can begin slowly turning the ornaments to make the paint move.  It will start swirling inside the ball.  If the paint is not moving, you can add more paint, you really can’t make a mistake.

      My sons and I, would talk while we made the ornaments.  Sometimes we’d have lunch or some hot cocoa while we waiting for the paint to start swirling inside.  Sometimes we would get impatient…. That’s where the paper towels come in.  We securely cover the top of the ornament with a piece of paper towel and then we SHAKE!  We have gotten some fabulous results doing this.   

     I would like to tell you that we get equally great results waiting and slowly letting the paint swirl as we slowly turn the ornament…or setting the ornament back in the container, turning every 10 minutes or so.  But….we’ve never had the patience!

     One year I was actually thinking ahead, and bought several boxes of the heart shaped ornaments.  The boys gave these to teachers and grandparents for Valentine’s Day.  Hope you enjoy this craft idea.  The best part about it, is spending time with your children.

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    “Today is Thanksgiving!”  Written and illustrated by P. K. Hallinan.  This is a sweet poem for children as well as adults.  His illustrations remind me of Precious Moments figurines. 

     Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!

     Today is Thanksgiving, and an icicle breeze nips at your window and whips up the leaves. 

Ah, what a morning!  The cold autumn haze brings visions of Pilgrims and Indians. . . and maize!

So wrap in a blanket and don your warm socks and pretend you’re descending an old Plymouth rock.

And with football in tow, downstairs you go.

Already the kitchen’s beginning to swell with all the aromas you know oh-so-well!

The scent of potatoes rides lightly on air.  The fragrance of turkey encircles your hair. 

And the pie’s slowly baking – it’s apple, you’re guessing – while celery stalks boil to help make the dressing. 

And you gladly pitch in, rolling dough nice and thin.

Then it’s off to the den, where the TV is tuned to a colorful parade full of floats and balloons! 

And you watch for awhile, but soon it’s all done, so you roll out the door for a stroll in the sun. 

And the chilly air tweeks your nose and your cheeks.

Now here come your friends racing onto the scene!  They’re ready for football in their jerseys and jeans!

So you quickly choose sides and mark off the goals, using jackets and earmuffs and telephone poles. 

Then with one mighty kick the game starts to click. 

And oh, what a game!  So many trick plays!  You sneak to the mailbox, then streak the wrong way! 

But then a long pass over driveway and grass is caught near the earmuffs – a touchdown at last! 

And everyone sighs as you end in a tie.

Later, back home you quickly get dressed and shine like a diamond to impress all your guests.

And here they are now!  It’s the whole family clan!  Why, it’s dear Auntie Pansy and big Uncle Stan!

And everyone’s bearing some food for the sharing. 

Soon there are roomfuls of nephews and nieces.  The cat’s on the table – the dog’s got the sneezes. 

And Uncle Tobias is asleep in the chair, while Petey the parakeet creeps in his hair. 

And the whole house resounds with hilarious sounds. 

The time has arrived for the meal to begin, so you dash to you chair with a flair and a grin.

And the hot giblet gravy brings loud “oohs” and “ahhs,” but the sight of the turkey draws a round of applause. 

Then all heads are lowered as you join in a prayer, giving thanks for your blessings and the gifts witing there.

And with grace at an end, you whisper, “Amen.”

The meal is a wonder, a cranberry dream.  There’s a crisp garden salad and fruit in whipped cream. 

And the portions keep coming – the rolls and the yams – till your tummy’s so full it’s too crammed to expand. 

But you let out a sign and make room for pie. 

The evening soon fades into games and charades, and the clan drifts away like a tired parade. 

Then, alas, it’s all over, the laughter and fun, for now Auntie Patsy has hugged everyone.

So you head up to bed, then stand in your room gazing out of the window at the gold harvest moon.

And the last thing you do is smile and say. . .

“Thank you for Thanksgiving!  What a wonderful day!” 


      My pies and cheesecakes are finished…the pecan pie…..the plain stuffing, (none of that fancy stuffing for my boys), the Jell – O salad actually cooperated this year…the cranberry sauce, the olives, the pickles…hopefully, this year Auntie Pansy will remember the rolls that everyone loves…my boys alone can eat a dozen.

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This recipe has been in my family for three generations.  My boys make the fourth.  Years ago my great-aunt found the recipe in an old cookbook.  It has always been one of my favorites because unlike some pecan pies that are too sweet, this is just perfect.

Pie crust has never been one of my specialties, so I would recommend using your favorite pie crust recipe, (gasp) a store bought brand, or try the one that Jan shared at planetjan@wordpress.com.  Just click on the tag that says Food and you’ll find it.

Pecan Pie

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup pure cane sugar

3/4 cup Karo white corn syrup

1/4 cup maple syrup or 2 tablespoons honey

3 eggs, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla

2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With a mixer, cream butter.  Add the sugar slowly.  Cream until light and fluffy.  Slowly stir in syrups.  Add eggs, vanilla and 1 cup nuts.  Use a wire whisk for this portion of the mixing.  At this point you will find your self checking the recipe again, because you will think that you have forgotten an ingredient.  Don’t worry, the batter is supposed to look like that.  Pour into a deep dish 9 inch pie shell.  Use a cookie sheet underneath the pie.  Top with the remaining cup of nuts.  If you are feeling a bit OCD you can arrange them in a pattern, otherwise just pour them on.

Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Enjoy.  This is great with a dollop of real whipped cream.  I haven’t tried adding chocolate chips as in a Toll House Pie, but maybe this Thanksgiving I will.

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