Sunday, December 2, 2007

Pumpkins and Brides

Day Two of Knitting Contrisstmas, and a Sunday! Maybe a little holiday baking? Something easy, delicious and fast leaving you plenty of time to knit as well as to have a little something to fuel you while you work on those holiday projects!

Mom’s Pumpkin Bars

How can you quibble over something pumpkiny for the holidays? Yummy, easy to make and fast to disappear, give ‘em a try! I hate to admit it but they are really great for breakfast! Holiday calories don’t count………….. right?

  • 1 15 ounce can of pumpkin
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • ½ tsp. ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the eggs with the canned pumpkin with a wire whisk. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients and add to the pumpkin mixture. You can use an electric mixer if you like but a wire whisk and some elbow grease works great! Pour this into a jelly roll pan, a flat pan like a cookie sheet about 15 inches long that has short sides. I spray it lightly with Pam just because but parchment paper works very well too. Bake it for about 25 to 30 minutes and remove from the oven to a wire rack. Allow to cool before frosting.

For the frosting

  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 tbs. butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs. half and half
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans (I toast mine a bit to bring out the flavor and make them crunchy)

Toast the pecans in a 350 degree oven for about 7 to 10 minutes, don’t let them burn. They are done when they begin to smell nutty, don’t let them over brown! With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and the butter together until they are light and fluffy. Run the powdered sugar through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Beat well.

Add the vanilla and the half and half and combine. Adjust the consistency of the frosting if needed by adding a bit more half and half if the mixture is too thick and a bit more powdered sugar if it is too runny. Fold in the pecans so they don't get chopped up too finely.

Frost and enjoy!


I drink tea for the most part, always decaf and always flavored in some way or another. However, I do love Starbucks (or fivebucks as it's known around here) for the occasional holiday splurge. Decaf? No way! No whip? Absolutely not, bring on that whipped cream barista! My absolute favorite is Pumpkin Spice Latte, which of course is only available for a short period each fall always ending long before Thanksgiving arrives. I was thrilled coming through the airport in Phoenix to discover that they still had a bottle of pumpkin syrup and they were able to make me one, venti of course. I've had to come up with my own recipe to make pumpkinny goodness, and as a tea. While I drink pumpkin spice lattes in season, I do love my creation for pumpkin spice tea-- it's pretty good as well as decaf, sugar free and a real treat! Easy peasy!

Pumpkin Spice Tea

  • 1 bag of Stash Tea, decaf Chai Spice
  • 1/2 tsp. of good quality vanilla
  • 1 tbs. of Splenda (or the sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice

Pour enough boiling water over a tea bag in your mug of choice and let steep 4-5 minutes. Remove the bag and add the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice and stir. Yummy!

Yesterday was for bride wrangling, it was an absolutely gorgeous wedding although the weather started off just nasty cold. Katie's dress was one of the most incredible dresses I have ever seen and because I work a wedding every weekend as the creative director of a photography studio, I see a LOT of wedding dresses. It was strapless in a very, very pale ecru satin with fabulous back detailing and a long train. The bodice and train was encrusted with the most amazing beadwork, very intricate with different sized beads in gold, silver and something sort of in between. The veil even made the woman from Neiman Marcus who arrived to dress Katie rave on and on. It was miles of fine tulle with a heavy scalloped border of the same incredible beading. Amazing! The day was magical and the bride was beautiful. I tucked my hat in progress into my knitting bag and although I got only about a row knit on it, my lovely bride of the day was sweet enough to pose with it. When the images come across my desk, I'll share it -- as always!

Tomorrow on Day Three of Knitting Contrisstmas I'm sharing the pattern for my popular DPN Cases! It is always a sought after gift to receive and fun and easy to make. See you then! I'm going to finish the holiday decorating and clean the dirty house that I came home from Phoenix to. I'll put a pan of Pumpkin Bars into the oven and sit back with a cup of tea and a bar and finish the hat on my needles. Slowly but surely little gifts are being stacked up in the sewing room. For those of you who knit BIG things for gifts, I salute you (and would love to know what they are)!

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