Friday, October 23, 2015


Those of you who follow this blog know that I make the dessert each month for the Alzheimer's Idaho (local grassroots organization) support group dinner. Tonight they are having pumpkin spice cakes with cream cheese filling and very orange frosting.
I had decided to make one big pumpkin cake for the dessert tonight and then I had a text from my dear friend Nancy Gemar telling me she had just purchased this little 6 cup bundt pan. I so loved the idea of making little cakes and also loved the handles because that is one thing that makes a regular size bundt pan a problem - getting it in and out of the oven.  So I ordered - thank you Nancy.  LOVE this little pan - I think I will be making some of my grandmother's fruit cake (one that we actually eat) in this little pan. So....with the addition of this pan I decided to make a pumpkin "patch" instead of one big cake.
Some simple cake ingredients - by using a mix this is an easier cake to make. Note the eggs in warm water - I forgot to take them out in time to let them get to room temp (always do this when using eggs in baking).
The recipe calls for sifting the cake mix so I just sat the sifter inside my mixing bowl - no mess that way. If you don't own a sifter you can use a strainer.

I always use either Pam for baking or Baker's Joy on my bundt pans - no worry about the cake coming out with these products.
One batch of this mix will make either one large cake or one small bundt cake and 6 little ones.  In order to make the pumpkins you will need to do the recipe twice. I put the cooked cakes on Reynolds Wrap non-stick.  They still stuck a little but came off easily.
Once cooled put the cream cheese filling on the bottom of one of the cakes and then top with another cake to get the pumpkin look.
Pour the frosting over the cakes.....
I used a pipe cleaner for the stem - on the larger cake I wound it around a big Sharpie and for the smaller ones wound it around a pencil.
After pouring the frosting on the cakes I topped them with orange sugar crystals and then added the stems, placed on a fall tray and poured some candy corn around the pumpkins.

I am going to deliver the cakes with some caramel butter pecan ice cream - sounds like dessert to me!

Pumpkin Spice Cake Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350°

For one regular bundt cake or one small & six tiny

1 Duncan Hines yellow cake mix (not butter)
1 3/4 cups pumpkin (not pie mix)*
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup superfine sugar (preferred)


Spray your pans with either Pam for Baking or Baking Joy, set aside.  Sift the cake mix, mix the spices together with the soda and the sugar and add to the cake mix.  Once all sifted add the eggs and mix, then add the pumpkin until it is all mixed and smooth.

If you are making pumpkins you will need to do this twice.

Bake one bundt pan for 55-60 mins
For the six bundt pan, 18-20 minutes 
For the baby bundt (six cup), 26-30 mins.

When cooled turn out onto the foil.

* a 29oz can of pumpkin is the exact amount needed for two batches.

Cream cheese filling that goes between the cakes:

8ozs cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup superfine sugar (preferred)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Mix together all ingredients and mix until light and fluffy.  Use to "glue" your pumpkins together.


4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons milk or cream
food coloring - either orange or mix together yellow and red

Sift the powdered sugar into a large glass bowl, add the milk or cream and the food coloring, stir to completely mix. Put into the microwave for 20-30 seconds, stir again and pour over your pumpkins.  Top with orange sugar crystals and add the pipe cleaner stems.


Baby bundt pan (six cup),Nordic Ware Platinum Collection Original 6-Cup Bundt Pan
Mini bundt pan,Wilton Excelle Elite 6-Cup Mini Fluted Pan
Orange sprinkles,Wilton Orange Sugar Sparkles

Thank you for stopping by.



Monday, October 12, 2015


We recently spent a week in the Midwest visiting our oldest son and his family.  Many years ago I read an article in Victoria magazine and they were simply gushing about this store in the great little American town, Atchison, Kansas (BTW, birthplace of Amelia Earhart).  I immediately called my dear DIL and we made plans to visit the next time I was in the Midwest.  We did and have returned many times.
I am always in full anticipation when entering this store because you never know what treasures you will find.  I was expecting to find the store in full fall bloom but to my surprise it was already Christmas at Nell Hills. A real winter wonderland - I was fortunate to be in the store the day after Christmas last year and yes she does have 50% off all the Christmas items but get there early for the good stuff.  Having said that my dear DIL and I arrived in the afternoon and we managed to find many wonderful things at a bargain price.
It was still fall and Halloween upstairs.  The upstairs is more devoted to kitchen items and all sorts of accessories. Loved these white dishes and I don't think I have ever met a tureen that I did not like!
Oh so cute Halloween wreath - there was no method to my photo taking madness I just moseyed around the store snapping pictures.
Lovely items for Thanksgiving.
See what I mean? Something for everybody, so many things to look at and take in - this is definitely not the place to rush  -  you need to take your time.  I'm sure I still miss things.
 Don't you love him?  No room for this guy in my suitcase!
All sorts of lovely things, note the price tag on the cute cupboard, it's not just display it's for sale too!
I just walked from room to room snapping photos as i strolled....
You need to look up, down, front and sideways or you are apt to miss something.
My beautiful DIL Lindy, we treasure our times at Nell Hills.
I loved the metal reindeer and all the things that matched...
The sideboard was full too...
Loved the window frame mirror - too big for the suitcase!
Oh BTW, they do ship of course.
Lots inside - takes time to take it all in and you leaving knowing that you must have missed a lot - best reason ever to return.
I loved these bells - they came in different sizes and I think would be wonderful as they have them on a garland or would look lovely on a wreath.
Really cute wreath on wood...etc.
Beautiful mirror, table and stand...
I oh so loved this look - the beautiful mantelpiece, the faux rabbit trophy, all the woodsy things..
So many beautifully decorated trees - so inspiring.
Love the wooden snowman and the wreath on the ceiling.
Speaking of this fun or what?
So many beautiful things.  The owner Mary Carol Garrity is this adorable woman (we have met her in the shop several times over the years) who has this shop and one in Kansas City. She lived in Atchison until recently (she opened her home for different occasions and it was so beautiful) she now has a lake house.  Here is a link to her blog with photos of the lake house Link.

She has authored several books on decorating and design and I will put a link below for these books.


Amazon, Mary Carol's books, Mary Carol's books 

Thank you for stopping by.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


This one is just too easy.  You will need a gallon milk jug, some ribbon, LED lights or candles, see-through labels, a little hot glue and graphics of your choice.

Cut the plastic ring off the top (it remains after the seal on the cap is broken)

Remove the milk label

Cut a hole in the back large enough to get the LED light inside (scissors works)

Print out the Day of the Dead graphic on a clear label

Cut closely around the graphic

Adhere to the front of the milk jug

Cut a length of ribbon and tie around the top and then add more ribbon and tie for the bow.
Put a dot of hot glue on the back of the ribbon so that it will stay on the jug.

Insert the LED light into the back of the jug – the ones I have are good for 120 hours

Just starting to get dark.....

 A little darker....

Almost there.....

Halloween dark!


Labels, Staples
Milk Jugs, those sweet girls at Coffee Studio saved these for me!
LED lights, Dollar Tree, two lights for $1 and they last for 120 hours
Ribbon, Hobby Lobby
Graphics - Online or there are several Etsy sellers who have Day of the Dead graphics for sale

NOTE:  Remember, if you purchase graphics and they are in sheet form you can always bring them into Windows Microsoft Paint program and cut them out so you are only printing out one image. If you have a draw program the images I used were approximately 6"x5" and so in landscape I could get (2) on one sheet.  If you do not use a draw program and have to bring the graphic into something like Microsoft Word you will only be able to get one on a sheet.

Thank you for stopping by.