Posts Tagged ‘Fall’

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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    “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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  71PGYYS2GNLDuring one of those long summers filled with trips to the library, picnics on the floor, afternoons in the park, MOPS outings…..loved those trips to the fire stations….the handsome firemen…..hmmm…..ooops…..pardon me!  Back to my point, we found another treasure at the library in the form of a picture book during one of those summers. 

Fall Is Not Easy, written and illustrated by Marty Kelley, is a charming book for young children as well as elementary school students.  Sam loved this book.  This was a book that we checked out the maximum allowed…three times, then I ordered it through Borders Book store. 

Fall Is Not Easy was a favorite read aloud of mine during story time for Kinder through sixth graders.  This picture book talks about seasons, but focuses on the fall.  I found that there were not many ‘Fall’ books in elementary school libraries; I would often bring my own books to school.  It seems like there is always a “budget crisis” and spending money on books for children is a low priority for “administration.” 

Sam loved the simple, but colorful illustrations in the book.  Every child who has ever sat in a circle in front of me has laughed at the ‘story of the tree that doesn’t quite know what color to turn, come those cool days of fall.’  It is a quick read, but very interactive for kids of all ages.  I once read this to a small group of children with very special needs.  They loved it!

There are two more fun fall books for children that we’ve found over the years that I want to share with you.  I think they are unique and fabulous because of their illustration styles. 


The first book is called It’s Fall! written by Linda Glaser, the cut-paper illustrations by Susan Swan.  It was the was the three dimensional cut-paper artwork that really grabbed my attention.  Being a scrapbooker, I was fascinated by her designs.  The illustrator layered hand painted papers.  When she hand painted the paper, she was able to give the effect of depth and dimension, not to mention the gorgeous colors of autumn. 

Paper layering is a scrapbooking technique that I have used several times on my pages, but not with the fabulous results that the illustrator had here.  She featured Canadian geese, Monarch butterflies, and squirrels, all fabulously detailed with layered paper.  My favorites were the tiny nesting owls.


The author and illustrator have also teamed up to produce books for the other three seasons.  I plan to purchase them just for the amazing illustrations alone. 







The third book I want to mention is Dappled Apples written by Jan Carr and illustrated by Dorothy Donohue.  Along with the rhyming text, there are intricate illustrations created by using handmade paper, that was cut, layered and crumpled.  This technique gives the pages texture and dimension.  The first double page spread of the book are trees with leaves in vibrant autumn colors.  I can’t wait to try and duplicate this on a double page scrapbook spread in an album I am working on.  As with Glaser & Swan, Carr and Donohue have also produced “Splish, Splash, Spring” that incorporates the same unique style of illustration.


 Even though we are drawing to a close on our elementary school days….that doesn’t stop me from enjoying picture books.  The next time you are in a book store, walk around the children’s section.  I guarantee you that you will find several books to take home.  Treat the child in your life with a new book.

Update Fall 2009

Our elementary days are over, yet that has not decreased my love of children’s picture books.  Just today, I had a lovely comment from the illustrator of It’s Fall, (along with Spring, Summer and Winter too) on my blog.  I hope you will click on comments and stop read her kind words.  Be sure you check out Susan Swan’s website, either listed below or on my Blog Honor Roll to the right. 


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    I had taken a mental health day this week….you know the feeling.  After picking my youngest son up from grade school, we stopped at McDonald’s.  He’s playing the Monopoly Game Promotion.  He is convinced that we are going to get the million dollars.  We have more Foot Locker coupons right now, than we have feet in the family. 

     He was sitting in the back seat as I handed him the bag.  He said, “You know Mom, I just have a feeling that I am going to get Park Place or Boardwalk.”  He peeled off the game pieces and the radio was drowned out by his ‘Whooop!’  He actually got Park Place!  Now he is convinced that some other family, somewhere in America has “Boardwalk.”  He is positive that they will want to spilt the prize money and share the million with us.  “You know Mom, $500,000.00 would buy lots of games and an XBox.”  Personally, I am thinking about the price of higher education…..

     We get home and I collapse on the couch.  Martha Stewart is on.  I haven’t watched Martha since Sam was a baby.  I was a stay-at-home Mom, trying to make ends meet, when I vividly remember watching Martha put together beautiful fall swags of orange and brown, made from things in her garden…..My garden was filled with things from Lil’ Tike’s & Toys R’ Us.  While Martha made the beautiful arrangement that went a top her barn door…..the barn……where she was having Thanksgiving dinner…..I was wrapping silk and plastic leaves from Michael’s around a grapevine wreath. 

     This week, Martha was celebrating fall, and she was baking an east coast treat….I had never hear of what she was making.  Sam was watching with me, before he started his homework.  He was snuggled up at my side.  At a break, he looked at me and said, “You know, Mom”…..(are you seeing a theme?) “Mom, do you cook anymore?”  Okay, I’d been had.  With only three to cook for now, sometimes my favorite thing for dinner is reservations.  “Yes Sam, I still cook, I made a meatloaf last night.”  “No, I mean with the mixer like Martha Stewart” he said.  I said, “Yes honey, I bake, just not so much anymore.” 

     Can you say guilt?  Specifically, that fine line between Italian and Jewish guilt…they are close you know.  Since that comment, I’ve baked Snickerdoodles, I’ve made Toll House Chocolate Chip cookies from scratch….not from that handy, mammoth size tub you can get at Costco.  I’ve roasted a chicken, with red potatoes and vegetables, with the other I made a chicken noodle soup that would have made my girlfriend’s “Bubbee” proud….”Oye, such a nice girl…too bad she’s not Jewish”……The pot of spaghetti sauce, from scratch…..is simmering on the stove…..where is that garlic bread?

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