Monday, October 24, 2011

Another pumpkin NONpie dessert.

Would you like another pumpkin dessert recipe that is NOT pie?  I thought you might!  For tonight's yummy Monday, I'm giving you this delicious and super easy Pumpkin Bars recipe.  I say "I'm" giving it to you because I'm the one posting it, but to set the record completely straight, Paula Deen gave it to me.  And when I say "gave it to me" I mean "put it on the internet" - so really, she gave it to all of us.  I have yet to go wrong with Paula - unlike some OTHER famous shmamous cook types, so I don't feel ill nudging you in her direction.  It's ok to be friends.  Especially when that friendship yields this:

Now, of course this friendship comes with a lot of calories, sugar and some fat.  Paula loves her fat.  BUT, really, in some instances, it's worth it.

Pumpkin Bars

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 15-ounce can pumpkin
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda


  • 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13 by 10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.  To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.

This is easier than the other recipe and requires less ingredients.  I like the other one better, I think, but honestly, they are really two different types of desserts, so it depends on what mood you're in, I guess.

My pumpkin bars really turned out a lot more like a pumpkin CAKE.  So I think next time I'll put mine in a bar pan, not a 9x13.  Or, I'll just leave it in the 9x13 and call it a cake instead of bars.  Whatever.

mr complimented me on it.  That's news, guys.

You see?  Liking pumpkin pie really is optional.  It's not blasphemous at all to say you hate it.
There are perfectly acceptable alternatives.

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!

Pillow Pumpkin - With Alisa

You guys.  I'm excited about this one.  It's a first ever.  First time here, first time anywhere.  My sister is guest blogging!  (It's her first guest post).  I've talked about her before... she's a high school art and photography teacher.  On the side, she's a sewer extraordinaire and a crafty chick to boot.  She's got a blog, DoodleDaisy, and she also runs Shop Bugaboo with me - several reproductions of her amazing watercolors are in the shop at a ridiculously discounted price.  ANYWAY... she's got a fun and fast idea for you today!

My wonderful and super talented lil' sis asked me to stop by and share something pumpkin related this week for “Pumpkinspiration” and I was happy to oblige.  BUT, given the state of my life right now it’s break neck pace I had certain criteria my pumpkin project had to meet.  First I didn’t have time to go out and find materials.  Second, I didn’t want to spend any money on said materials.  Third, it had to take me one sitting, because, of course, I don’t have time for much more than that, not to mention patience (I don’t have much of that either).  So I chose a throw pillow.
Here it is:

Sort of cute.  I actually like it.  And very easy.
First I looked through my stash and found the fabric I wanted to use.  I also had fiber fill so I spent zero dollars on my project.
Here’s the fabric I picked out:

I cut my orange fabric into strips of different widths.  I cut a rectangle out of the green fabric, as well as three strips.
I sewed my orange strips together length wise, placing right sides together and stitching a quick seam.
I did this with all of them.  I pressed my seams and turned my “pieced” fabric over.  Nice.

Then I cut two large squares from my gray knit fabric.  I drew a pumpkin shape, including stem, out on one of the large knit squares with a fabric marker.

 Then I pinned my orange fabric, right side up against the back of my knit where the pumpkin was drawn out, and the green rectangle, right side up against the back of my knit where the stem was drawn out.

I sewed a quick running stitch just on the outer edge of my drawing.  I removed pins and used a scissors to cut my gray knit pumpkin and stem out to reveal the cute orange and green fabric underneath.  It’s a reverse appliqué.

I gathered my three green strips and sewed them on below my pumpkin to look like vines. 

I pinned my two gray knit squares, right sides together and sewed around the perimeter.  I left a small opening, turned my pillow right side out, stuffed it, and sewed it together by hand.  
There you have it!  Easy.  Fast.  And kind of cute.  And zero dollars spent.  Happiness all round.  Today when she saw it, my daughter asked me if it was hers or mommy’s.  Smile.   

I hope to someday grow up to be at least a little like my sister.  Enough said.  Check out DoodleDaisy!

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sleep tight...

I've really got no excuse, but man, am I tired.  One possible explanation is that today was our annual children's program at church - when all the kids in our church sing songs and present a scripted talk about what they've learned in their Sunday school class throughout the year.  It's kind of a big deal, and I've mentioned before I am part of a three-woman team in charge of all these kids - I happen to be the part of the three woman team who writes the program and puts it all together... so there's been a certain amount of stress around here lately.  And a certain amount of late nights writing, re-writing, printing, copying, arranging seats, labeling, putting folders together... blah, blah... you get the idea.  In any case, I can breath a sigh of relief that it's over now.  Until next October.  And I am definitely going to bed early.  That said, here's some photos!  Go over to Ramblings and Photos to see more!  Not pumpkin related, because, well, I'm just not that creative, but the pumpkin insanity continues tomorrow!

Would you believe that I have no photos of words at all - even in my archives?  None.  So I opted for this one... because this kid?  He's wordy all right.  He's got plenty of words for all occasions.  Here he is looking particularly contemplative.

Apple pickin' time!  That's a tiny Skinny Mini under the apple trees.

Oh, did I mention I have a thing for sunsets lately?  There's something about all those colors... 

Little mini likes to FLY in those swings - you can't push her high enough or fast enough!  And she just laughs and laughs...

Always Look on the Bright Side
 What does this have to do with the prompt?  Really, I don't know for sure, but I thought of this song.  And that song relates to looking on the bright side - or more specifically, how we can BE the bright side for someone else.  And isn't that exactly what a lighthouse is?  

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pumpkin's Past

Here's my favorite pumpkin post from last year, in case you weren't around then.  I got podge happy and couldn't stop.

(First of all, I apologize for the awful color in most of the photos below.  I was doing this project by the light of the half moon, and I didn’t have energy to edit them all...)
When I was younger, I loved scooping out all the pumpkin guts and squishing them around.  I always got really excited to begin sculpting my masterpiece.  BUT pumpkin is not the easiest medium to work with and I was inevitably disappointed with the resulting final product.  As I got older, I also became more and more afraid of chopping a finger off, because that’s just something I would do...
So we started painting pumpkins, which I think is a great alternative that even our littlest littles can enjoy.
Lately, though, I’ve seen some mod podged pumpkins floating around, all different kinds, from fabric covered, to leopard print, to scrappy, and they are all very cool.  All these mod podged pumpkins got my wheels turning.
(I don’t want to presume that this is an “original” take on the mod podged pumpkin, but I haven’t seen any that look like this finished product, which is why I’m adding my podged pumpkins to the growing list out there in blogland)
For podged pumpkins, you’ll need:
patterned tissue paper with a white background
mod podge
sponge brush
ribbon/string/tape measure
oh yes... and pumpkins.
Start by “measuring” your pumpkin, from stem to bottom.  Take your ribbon (or string or tape measure) and run it along the pumpkin, then cut it off at the bottom of the pumpkin.
Leave your tissue paper folded in several layers.  (I unfolded mine once),
and lay out your length of ribbon on your tissue paper.  Cut the tissue paper straight across here.
Then cut a “leaf” shape out of the tissue paper, going the length of the paper (so they are the same length as the ribbon you cut).
Do this with a contrasting pattern, as well.

Now, podge a section of your pumpkin, 

lay down a leaf of tissue paper and press it flat with your fingers.  You want to make sure to really smooth it down - the white background should look kind of translucent as you push it against the pumpkin.

Do this with the contrasting pattern, making sure the edges of the tissue paper meet.

Keep doing this around the pumpkin, alternating patterns.
If you have excess tissue paper by the stem, 
just push it down flat with your finger.
No one will even notice it when it’s done.
Now, the best part.  You can make some curly tissue paper vines to really make them cute.
 Cut some skinny strips of tissue paper.  
Podge it.
Twist it.
Wind it.
Let it dry.
Uncurl it very carefully.  Cute right??  
Put a blop (technical term) of mod podge on the pumpkin by the stem.  Press and hold the vine in place for a few seconds.  When it dries it will be nice and stuck.
You can do them with all one pattern too.
And here are some fancy damask pumpkins.  
My goal was to make it look like the design is stamped or painted on, hence using tissue paper with a white background which turns translucent with the mod podge.  When I first had the idea, I thought I’d like the bright colors of the pink and green pattern the best - I thought it fit my personality better.  But now that they’re done?  I’m totally in love with the black damask.  I think it’s Halloween, but kind of fancy pants, you know? 
And my love affair with mod podge remains intact.

You may also be interested in this pumpkin related post - which is a super easy pumpkin-y craft you can do with your kiddos:

Completely unrelated to pumpkins, but totally related to Halloween, you might enjoy these posts as well:

And because I'm not ready to end the pumpkin awesomeness just yet, there will be more pumpkin goodness into next week!  Yea!

*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!
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