Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Pumpkin Lust Cake

I make the Pumpkin Dump Cake every year for our Thanksgiving dinner; it is heavily requested by my family. Last year, I wanted to try something new.  I caught sight of an amazing looking layer dessert on Facebook or Pinterest in October.  I couldn't find it again on my boards or my wall, but the name stuck with me; I turned to Google.

I found a few pictures and captions explaining the dessert. A few days before Thanksgiving I set out to find the ingredients...I could not find the pumpkin spice instant jello.  I know it exists because I've bought it before...so I improvised.  I added canned pumpkin to vanilla pudding in small amounts until I hit a good flavor.

Everyone who tasted the dessert loved it!  It was quite refreshing compared to the richer pumpkin dump cake.


  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 8 oz whipped topping, divided
  • 2 small Jello instant vanilla pudding 
  • 1/2 cup pure pumpkin (this gave a light pumpkin taste, you may want to add more)
  • 1 T pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • pinch of nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Mix butter, pecans, sugar, and flour.  Press into 9 x 13 baking dish.  Bake 10-15 minutes.  Cool completely.
  2. Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and 1 1/2 cup cool whip until smooth.  Spread over cooled crust.
  3. Mix pudding with milk.  Add pumpkin and spice and continue to whisk.  Set in fridge 5-10 minutes to set.  Spread over cream cheese layer.
  4. Top with remaining whipped topping.  Sprinkle with nutmeg to garnish. Refrigerate.

Difficulty: Medium; there are steps and cooling time to deal with
Time: 60 minutes
Source: adapted from a few recipes I found on pinterst

Monday, November 2, 2015

Quinoa Salad with Butternut Squash

I am getting a bit sad that we will shortly be receiving our last of the produce from our CSA.  I have really loved the fresh fruits and veggies and the adventure that has come with figuring out what I will make next and how to use some of the ingredients that I am not so familiar with (like the fennel that came in a recent bag).  Generally speaking, the later bags of the season are filled with a variety of wonderful squashes, and I am always seeking that one special recipe that uses them.  I think I have found that recipe for butternut squash.

My family is a big fan of dried cranberries (hence, the Costco-sized bag) and we are all growing more and more fond of the nutrition powerhouse quinoa.  This recipe is a great side dish, full of fall flavor, and one that would make a perfect addition to a Thanksgiving table . I found that I loved it even more as leftovers, after the flavors all had a chance to meld together.

  • 1 butternut squash
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, for seasoning squash
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup pepitas (these are actually the insides of pumpkin seeds; I got mine in the nuts and seeds section of our grocery store)

For the Citrus Honey Dressing:
  • Juice of 3 large oranges (I used about 1 cup of no sugar added OJ)
  • Zest of 1 large orange
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. To prepare the squash: chop off the ends and poke holes in the skin with a fork.  Microwave it for 3-4 minutes.  After letting it cool, peel the skin off with a vegetable peeler.  Cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place butternut squash on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss until squash is well coated. Season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for 30 minutes, turning once, until tender.
  3. While the butternut squash is roasting, cook the quinoa. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let cool quinoa cool to room temperature.
  4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, butternut squash, dried cranberries, and pepitas. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, zest, olive oil, and honey. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle over quinoa salad. Toss until ingredients are well dressed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Difficulty: Medium - only because of the squash prep
Time: about 40 minutes, but not all of that is active (the squash takes a while to roast)
Source: Adapted from www.twopeasandtheirpod.com