Friday, October 22, 2010

It's Time for Pumpkin Cake

Some foods are just seasonal and for me, pumpkin cake is one of those foods. I love it, but don't ever think of fixing it except in autumn. I made one last night, let it cool overnight and frosted it this morning with a cream cheese frosting. I had to sample it of course (just to make sure everything was right - LOL). It was just as good as it was last time I made it (last fall!) Elizabeth is on fall break this week and stopped by for a visit this afternoon and I sent some home for her and Jordan to share. This recipe was given to me years ago by my good friend Linda Nelson in Longview and it is still the one I rely on for a pumpkin cake that turns out right every time. Linda makes it in a 15 x 10 inch sheet cake pan and calls it "Pumpkin Bars". I just bake mine 15 minutes longer and use a smaller pan. Either way, it is delicious.

Pumpkin Cake

2 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Cooking Oil
2 C. Canned Pumpkin
4 Beaten Eggs
2 C. Bisquick
2 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 C. Raisins

Beat together the sugar, oil, pumpkin and eggs for one minute. Add Bisquick and cinnamon. Mix well. Stir in raisins. Pour into greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Bake about 40 minutes at 350 F. Frost when cool with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3 Oz. Cream Cheese
2 C. Powdered Sugar
1/3 C. Butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 or 2 Tbl. Milk

Mix cream cheese, vanilla, butter and sugar together until smooth, adding as much milk as necessary to make it smooth. Beat for 2 or 3 minutes until fluffy. Frost cake when cake has cooled completely.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Autumn is Soup Time!

Something about the cool crisp autumn air makes me want to make a big pot of soup (or chili or stew)! I made a pot of Tuscan Soup for lunch today and it was SO good I thought I should share this recipe. This is really a combination of several recipes that I have found over the years and I just combined the best of them and added a touch or two of my own and enjoyed the fruits of my labor. This is a really fast soup, not one of those that must simmer all day to be tasty. Thirty minutes or less and it's done! Makes 8 servings. (I halved this recipe for the two of us and it worked great.)

Tuscan Soup

1 Lb. Hot Sausage (Breakfast Type)*
1/2 Tsp. Fennel Seed*
2 Large Potatoes, Sliced in 1/2 Inch Slices Then Diced
1 Large Onion Diced
1/2 Cup Real Bacon Bits (Like Hormel Bacon Bits) or Fry Your Own to Make 1/2 Cup
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced (I use Roasted Garlic Cloves from the Deli if I Have Them)
1 Cup Canned Kale Greens, Chopped
1 Quart Chicken Broth Approximately (or Two Cans)
1 Quart Water
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Cook sausage in same pot you will use for soup. Drain off grease, leaving sausuage in pan. Add onions, potatoes, garlic, fennel seed, chicken broth and water. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add bacon bits and kale. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn heat to low and add cream. Heat through and serve, being careful not to boil as cream will curdle.

*If you prefer, Sweet or Hot Italian Sausage can be used, eliminating the fennel seed. If using Sweet Italian Sausage, add 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes.