Pumpkin Bars Recipe

Another fantastic recipe passed to me by my mother. Everyone loves pumpkin bars, especially when frosted with cream cheese frosting!

Pumpkin Bars
4 eggs
1 c oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh pumpkin – or 15oz can pumpkin
2 cups flour
1tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Mix eggs, oil, sugar, and pumpkin in large bowl, beat well. Add rest of ingredients and pour into greased and floured 12×18 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before frosting – cream cheese is best!

Pumpkin Pie Cake Recipe

A delicious recipe passed to me by my mother. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Cake

Mix together:
2 3/4 cup fresh pumpkin
12oz can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Pour into ungreased 9×13 pan. Mix 1 cup chopped nuts with 1 yellow cake mix. Melt 1 cup oleo and mix in cake/nut mixture. Crumble over top. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Top with cool whip when cool.

Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

This is day three of our pumpkin recipe week! Check back as all week we’ll be featuring pumpkin recipes using fresh pumpkin (no canned pumpkin in our house!)

Be sure to get our directions for cooking your own fresh pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

2 c Bisquick
2 Tbs Brown Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 Eggs
1 (120z) can Evaporated Milk
1/2 c Pumpkin
2 Tbs Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Mix together Bisquick, brown sugar, and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix togethr eggs, milk, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla. Use hand mixer to make sure you get a smooth blend.Stir in dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto a lightly greased hot griddle (or pan, if you need to). Turn when bubbles form on top of pancake.

One of our yummy favorite breakfast meals, that doesn’t take as much time as you think. Makes a whole lot of pancakes (about a dozen or more, depending on the size), so be sure to invite some friends over to help you out if need be!

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

This is another one of our personal favorite recipes. Every year after the pumpkin is gutted for whatever reason (either from our pie pumpkins we’re using for baking, or a full size pumpkin we’ve used for carving), we use the seeds as a tasty snack!

Roasting pumpkin seeds is pretty easy. Here’s what you’ll need:

– Large baking sheet (like the ones you’d use for cookies)
– Butter flavored cooking spray or melted butter
– Seasoning (we use garlic salt, but you can use regular salt)

Start with clean, dry seeds. You don’t want any strings or left over guts sticking to your seeds. Spray down your cookie sheet with your butter flavored cooking spray.  I highly recommend this over melted butter, since it’s way easier to control. Place a layer of seeds across your baking sheet, and spray again.

If your using melted butter, drop your seeds into the butter so they get a nice coating, and then lay your seeds out in one layer across the sheet.

After your seeds have a nice coating of butter and are laid out on the baking sheet, you’ll want to season them. This is where it gets fun, and you can do a bit of experimenting. We use garlic salt because we LOVE garlic flavor, but you can use regular salt or any other spices you want to get different flavors.

Easy, right? Roasted pumpkin seeds make excellent snacks, and if you’re already carving pumpkins or cooking fresh pumpkin, this is a wonderful use for your leftover seeds!


Fresh Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This awesome pumpkin pie recipe kicks off our week of pumpkin recipes using fresh pumpkin! For details on how to cook your pumpkin, see this post. While you can use a full sized pumpkin, we highly recommend a pie pumpkin since they’re much easier to cook.

You will be absolutely amazed at the difference between using fresh pumpkin verses canned pumpkin in a pie. The taste is amazing, and you’ll never find a better pie from a store!

Fresh Pumpkin Pie Recipe

3 cups cooked pumpkin
4 eggs beaten
1 1/4 white sugar
1/2 cut brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice (or nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon cloves
12oz can evaporated milk
2 pastry shells (we use graham cracker crust)

Mix together with a hand blender until creamy and smooth. Pour into pastry shells and bake in a 400* F oven until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (approx 45 mins).


How to Cook Fresh Pumpkin

Cooking Pie PumpkinDuring the month of October there are tons of recipes floating around Pinterest for all things pumpkin. So you went to the pumpkin patch with the kids, picked out a pie pumpkin with the promise of making treats. Now that you are home and ready to try out all those pumpkin recipes, you are left with one important question…. How do I cook a pumpkin?

It really isn’t as difficult as it seems. All you need is:

Large baking dish/pan (we use a 11 x 14 glass casserole dish)
Pie pumpkin (NOT a carving pumpkin – pie pumpkins are much smaller)

Continue reading

A Random Monday Afternoon Outing

The other day I felt the walls closing in on me. School work was done for the week, with a slight start on next week’s assignment. TV was blaring with some random cartoon, and I couldn’t get the kids away from it. Plus, to top it all off, I was hungry.

We’ve been lucky to have some absolutely beautiful weather the last few weeks.  But with it being October, I know it won’t last for long before the snow forces us to hibernate for the winter. I decided it was a must we get outside and enjoy it.

So we grabbed a pizza from our local gas station (sounds odd, but they really do have excellent pizza), and headed to my favorite park. I go there often to think, and gather inspiration for creative writing. It’s one of those quiet, out-of-the-way parks in the middle of nowhere, though not short on things to see. There’s a few hiking trails, playground areas, shelters, a pond, and several breathtaking views. Like a perfect blend of public park and wilderness, stuffed into one.

I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a fall afternoon.🙂

Need Recipes by Ingredient?

Here’s another little gem of a site I found on Stumble a few weeks back. It’s a recipe search engine so to speak, but set up where you can put in 1 to 5 ingredients, or the recipe name itself. Talk about a simple way to find a recipe! Google couldn’t have done it better.

I popped in a few ingredients and came up with several thousand recipes, broken down by type (appetizer, main dish, etc). So you know the database is HUGE and worth a serious look.

Check out Ideas 4 Recipe – I have it bookmarked now!

Meal Planning Tips for Stay At Home Moms

Just because we’re home all day doesn’t mean we aren’t short on time. We all need help from time to time scheduling our days out so everything gets done. Planning a meal is no exception.

Here’s some quick tips to help you manage supper time a little better:

– If you can get into the habit, try planning for supper the night before. While it’s alright to thaw meat in the sink, it’s best if thawed in the fridge. Planning the night ahead also gives you time to make slow-cooker meals.

– If you absolutely can’t plan the night before, make lunch time your dinner planning time. If you are like me, your freezer is usually stocked with meat or other “need to be thawed before cooking” items. Pull those items out of the fridge and put in the sink, so they’ll be ready to cook later.

– Plan to start supper after school. Usually kids get out of school around 3-3:30. By the time you get them home, search bags for important notes, and discuss the day quickly it will be time to cook. I try my hardest to only find recipes that take an hour or less. So if I start at 4pm, dinner is done by 5 or 5:30pm at the latest.

– Learn to use your crockpot on the busy days. Sports and other after school activities can have you running from 3pm until bedtime. If you’ve only got a small window to eat, cooking for an hour might not be an option. I’m not in love with my crockpot, but I’ve adjusted. Try your hardest to avoid fast foods!

Got the meat and can’t decide what to add with it? Pick up some Ideas for Meals at Idea Queen. Recipes are broken down by main ingredient, so it’s very easy to add or subtract additional ingredients.


Fun Halloween Costume Ideas

As you should know by now, Halloween is our favorite time of year around here. We start getting ready when the first hint of fall comes around, and start thinking of costume ideas WAY ahead of time. Mostly because we make our own, or put together something from pieces you see at the store. It’s been quite a few years since we’ve bought a “regular” costume off the rack.

Here’s a run down of this year’s costumes and some from Halloweens past. Enjoy!

Boy – Demon
We spotted a red demon mask at a hardware store, and a pitchfork to go along with it. He wants a red rubber suit, but just in case we can’t find one of those (haha, I know we wont, at least not in mom’s price range!), a red shirt and black pants will do just fine. Simple I admit, but fun.Total cost was around $10 for the strictly costume part of it. The additional clothes are something he’ll be wearing again, which is a major bonus.

Girl – Dead Cheerleader
I am so in love with her ideas for costumes. This year she decided to be a dead cheerleader, which I think is just AWESOME. So far we’ve got a black long sleeve shirt and black skirt, along with pink and black stripped tights I bought on clearance right after Halloween last year for a whole $2.  I’m on the lookout for a V-neck tank top or something that will make it look a little more like a cheerleader outfit. We’ll be painting her face white with black under her eyes to give that dead look, and dying her pig tails pink. Oh, and I managed to snag some black pom-poms off ebay for $5.  So the total for the costume-only part will be under $10.

Boy – Ninja
This was a simple one to put together. Black sweatshirt, black pants, black stocking hat. We also painted his face black so it looked like a mask with the hat. We found some cheap ninja supplies (sword, stars, etc) for about $5 I believe it was.

Girl – Punk Rock Star
We had a close call last year with her first idea being “Hanna Montana”. Yuck. I’m alright with her being a fan, just not as a costume. Where’s the “wow” in that? We talked it over though, and she ended up being a punk rocker. Black skirt (yup, same one as for this year!), pink and black stripped tights (they didn’t make it after halloween, unfortunately), and adorable rocker looking shirt. The shirt was the most expensive and around $12, which is more than I usually spend on regular clothing. However, it WAS part of her costume, AND she still wears it even now. We spray painted her hair pink and put it up in lots of pony tails all over, then did black eye liner and black lipstick. If she would have been about 6 or 7 years older, I so would have approved of this style. She was ADORABLE. We loved the pink hair so much, we let her dye her hair pink often with the temporary dye!

Boy – Garfield (pictured)
This costume was so much fun to do, and SO cheap. We found a orange over sized shirt (on sale no less) that we sprayed the stripes on with black hair spray. The tail we made, and mask too with foam sheets, paint, and glue. Strap a pillow on and he was good to go! (See how we made the Garfield Costume here)

Girl – Dead Bride
One of my absolute favorites by far, but we’ll see how dead cheerleader works out this year! This was also an original idea of her’s, of which I’m quite proud of her for. We made a dress out of some cheap fabric (on sale at Walmart for 75 cents a yard – I got 2 yards), and used fake cob webs as her “vale”. White face paint with dark circles under her eyes, and black lips. She added an extra touch and put fake blood around her mouth and eyes. I told you she was a cool kid … haha!

The girl will be turning 8 in a little over a week, so she’s got a lot of fun years and ideas ahead of her…I can’t wait to see what she continues to come up with next year! The boy too, for that matter.😉

These ideas should at least get you started, so have fun!