Friday, October 19, 2012

Pumpkin Crumble Cake

Another recipe! I swear, this isn't a food blog. I just love to eat and share recipes that family members and friends always request. This is certainly one of those. When my friend Julie made this two years ago at a Halloween party I was incredibly impressed by this recipe. And Each time I make it, someone requests the recipe.

I've seen several versions of this around. They all vary slightly by how many layers (this has three), milk vs. evaporated milk vs. sweetened condensed milk, the combination of spices and the amount of pumpkin puree. I stick to this one because it seems cheaper/easier since it calls for regular milk yet it's still rich and filling.

Pumpkin Crumble Cake
Yield: 24 servings

Ingredients--by layers: 
Layer 1:
1 box white or yellow cake mix, 1 cup separated
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
Layer 2: 
2 cups canned pumpkin puree (not the kind with spices added), or 2/3 of 29 oz can
3 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 pinch nutmeg
Layer 3: 
1 cup reserved cake mix
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup nuts, pecans or walnuts, chopped
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cold

  1. 1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 glass dish. 
  2.  Mix Layer 1 ingredients, (be sure to reserve 1 cup cake mix) and press down covering bottom of 9x13 pan. 
  3. Combine ingredients in Layer 2 in a large bowl. Mix with a spoon or wisk. Pour over Layer 1.
  4. Combine ingredients in Layer 3 except butter. Cut the butter into mixture with pastry blender (or criss-cross two forks). Sprinkle this crumble mixture over top of Layer 2.
  5. Bake for 35-50 minutes or until browned and no longer giggly in middle (do not over or  under bake). 
  6. It can be served warm or left to cool for at least 2 hours. I prefer to eat it at room temperature or chilled. Serve with whipped cream.

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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Loaded Cheesy Potato Soup

Tired of your regular potato soup recipe? Kick it up a notch by adding cheese, an abundance of vegetables  and flavor with touches of chicken, bacon and garlic.

Loaded Cheesy Potato Soup
Yield: 6 servings

6 Tbs butter with a dab of olive oil
1/2 C carrots, sliced
1/2 C celery, sliced
1/2 large bell pepper, red, orange or yellow
1 C onion, chopped (about 1/2 large onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 large cooked potatoes, chopped into 1" cubes
1/2 C flour
2 1/4 C milk
2 C chicken broth, or one can
1/2 tsp thyme, dried
1/2 tsp basil, dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
8 oz cheddar, shredded
4-8 slices bacon, chopped or crumbled

1. Steam chopped potatoes until barely soft when pricked with a fork.
2. Melt butter and oil in large saucepan.
3. Add celery, carrot, onion and potatoes. Saute for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
4. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
5. Stir in flour to form a roux.
6. Gradually stir in milk and broth. Bring to a boil.
7. Add thyme and basil, salt and pepper to taste.
8. Reduce heat, simmer for 15-20 minutes.
9. Once thickened, add cheese and stir until melted.
10. Garnish with bacon.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Onesie Baby Shower

I was able to co-host a baby shower for my sister-in-law. It was nice to be able to share the load for this party! It was so much to plan!! I think it came together nicely and most importantly, the mom-to-be was happy the whole night.

The main activity, other than eating, was to make onesies. And although I didn't get a photo of it, the other gals planned a fun game. They put baby food in a diaper and we had to smell (and in my case, taste) the diapers and guess which flavor they were. I've played it with candy bars smeared in the diaper. Both are fun ways to play the game.

The theme for this shower was in color and that was about it. She is having a boy so I tried to keep it masculine yet cute and festive for the mom too. The colors were aqua, orange, brown and grass green. I found a lot of inspiration on Pinterest and kept this at a budget.

Do you recognize the changing table from this party

 Diaper cake made by my sister-in-law. The diapers even matched the color theme!

Baby advice written on onesie shaped cardstock (I used my silhouette to cut all of them for this party). 

I found these letters at Michael's on clearance for 50 cents a piece! I spray painted them to match. Now she can take them home and display them in the nursery. Can you tell the "A" is a bit wonky? It started out as an "R". There weren't any "A's" left so I cut it down. My cutting skills are never exact. Or my pattern skills....I should have painted the "O" blue and the other "N" green. Oops. 

 These 8" lanterns were a great price! Only $.90 each plus shipping from this store.  Tons of colors and sizes. And fast shipping. So fun!

Costco's Jalapeno Artichoke dip and pita chips. Yum!

My mother-in-laws famous mint brownies. 

Oreo truffles.  Recipe here. Or, in my case, oreo blobs. I am NOT a cake decorator cake ball person. But I enjoy eating them! 

Ready to Pop snack. Recipe here. 

Bubble bath punch. Or in this case, Ocean punch. Another SIL created this yummy drink.  The toys are from Toys r' us. The recipe and idea for the punch are here. 

Cucumber and orange water. 

Heidi and her sisters, mom and grandmother!

Heidi & friend Melanie (She's a talented photographer, check out her site)

Making onesies. There are a ton of tutorials online (I used some of these on my Pin board). Basically, I gathered up my fabric scraps, used heat n' bond iron-on sewable adhesive. My other talented sister-in-law drew, free handed, 20 baby shapes including cars, caterpillars, airplanes and more.  We traced those out onto the heat n bond, ironed it to fabirc, cute that out and then ironed it onto the onesie! We made 4 of each age, from ages 3-6 months up to 24 months. The lucky mom walked away with a loot of baby clothes! And each one is personal and made by her friends!

 Party favor. My mother-in-law also made onesie shaped sugar cookies. Something very similar to these. I am so mad at myself for forgetting to take a photo. They took a long time to make but they were so adorable. They are inside these goodie bags. 

Price breakdown: $146.50 total, divided 
Ouch! That seems like a lot altogether. It includes all handmade food items and items like paper straws and lanterns that I will use again. Fortunately, other family members helped foot the bill. The onesie activity took up just over one third of the cost but it was my baby gift to her as well. I am ball-parking on some of these because I did not actually purchase them as it was a group effort.

Onesies (on sale from Babies 'r us): $40
Favor bags: (clothes pins & kraft bags from Target $1 aisle, paper free): $6
Cookies-- homemade, plus clear bags: $4
Paper lanterns (Paper Lantern Store): $15
Oreo Truffles:  $3.50
Carrots/Celery: $2
Jalepeno Dip/Chips (Costco):  $12
Diaper cake: $10
Punch w/toys: $10
Paper straws (Zurchers): $10
Cheese crackers: $2
Popcorn: $5
Paper goods: $12
Other craft items (yarn, basket, giant clothespins) (Michael's): $10
Diaper game (diapers & baby food): $5
Heidi! For letting me use her camera!

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