Sunday, September 28, 2014

For the Love of All Things Pumpkin!

How was YOUR summer?

Ours was fantastic! Wow, we were in so many places this summer, and just enjoyed being together as a family... it was great! My only regret is that we didn't make it to the drive-in, and that's a summer tradition.. but I'd say my kids definitely enjoyed all that summer offered them. They had a camp-out sleepover with a friend, complete with a fire and smores. Then Caleb had soccer camp at the community center for a week while Tyler was in Kingston for cadet training. Caleb had fun, but we were all miserable without Tyler... we missed him so much. It was great to meet him up there... I have to say, Kingston is an awesome city, with tons of history and what a view on the shoreline!

We went on from Kingston to Ottawa to visit with family and spent time on a one-of-a-kind, amazing houseboat, and went through the Rideau Canal, camped overnight and spent some unforgettable time with family. We really didn't want to come home after that, but duty calls, right?

Tyler spent his Wednesday evenings on the water in Hamilton Harbour, sailing with his fellow cadets, loving every second of it. Then came August, and we were pumped to meet family in our most favourite place in the world, Algonquin Park. My parents made the long drive from the top of Lake Superior and it was awesome to catch up with them. We drove a couple of hours one day to see my uncle and my grandmother, and that was so nice, I haven't seen them in years. It really hurt to say goodbye to my parents on the last day. No matter how hard I tried to be strong, the tears came anyway. :(

The last week of August was spent getting all of our camping gear cleaned and organized for next year, and teaching Tyler more about the public transit system. We feel it's important for him to be able to get around on his own, just like we did when we were his age, and not depend on people for rides. I showed him how to use the online maps and find his routes, and how to use the schedule to plan for his arrival time. We spent one of the last days on vacation down at the Harbour, picnicking and walking around, really milking the last little bit of summer :)

Then it was all wrapped up with a family BBQ, we had my cousins come out and spend the night and we had so much food and so much fun. An unforgettable summer!

My friends and family know I hate fall... really.. I'm a summer girl and love the heat, and fall is just a reminder that a bitter cold winter is coming, and I DREAD winter. Ugh.

BUT! I love fall BAKING! The cooler temps make it easier for me to turn on the oven and bake some delicious treats! My husband walked in the door nearly every night last week, drooling immediately after taking a whiff! I made pumpkin pie (not my favourite fall dessert, but there's more to this story in a minute), pumpkin cookies, pumpkin spice coffee syrup for PSLs, vanilla coffee syrup, in and around all the dinners I wanted to try out from Pinterest! Ever see the picture of the Pizzadillas (like quesadillas but with pizza stuff instead!)? Yep.. made those! YUM! I think they were the highlight of our week. Oh, and the Meatball Sub soup was to die for. One serving and we were so full!

But, let's talk cake for a minute... since this IS a cake blog!

These cupcakes were vanilla with a nautical theme (came across some really cool ideas for Tyler's next birthday cake!)...

The toppers were simple, to keep the cost down for the client, but definitely made an impression :)

Next on the docket is a recipe I saw in Walmart's Live Better magazine, the Pumpkin Pie Cake. I am cheap.. I admit it and I am not ashamed. The recipe calls for a ready-made pumpkin pie, and I don't buy ready-made pies, at least, not since I've learned how to make them properly, and even then, never pumpkin. So baking the pumpkin pie took up one evening, because it had to cool, and the rest of the recipe had a lot more steps.

So, evening number two, I mixed up the chocolate cake batter, got my ten-inch cake pan ready, and smeared some batter on the bottom. Now, I made my pie with a graham cracker crust because I figured it would stand up better with all the handling required, and I didn't think a flaky pastry crust would do the job. I placed the pie on the layer of batter and spread the rest of the batter on top and all around the sides. I baked it for the required 1 1/2 hours, and it needed two hours to cool. My husband was impatient to try it, but not as impatient as I was trying to do the chocolate ganache.

I didn't wait long enough for the chocolate to melt, and I didn't wait for the mixture to cool and thicken a bit, so it was too runny, and made a HUGE mess, running off the cake plate. Thank goodness I had the forethought to put some waxed paper under it.

All of the effort was well-worth the wait, because this cake-pie was delish! My husband claims it is restaurant quality, dense and rich, but more so the next night, when I drizzled the plate with chocolate sauce first!

It was very good... I urge you to try it out!

And, lastly, I'll finish off with this amazing recipe for dinner... using a bundt pan and pizza dough.

This was from Pinterest, and it requires two batches of pizza dough, cut into chunks and placed in a greased bundt pan. Put mozzarella cheese and all your favourite pizza toppings on top (no sauce!) and bake at 350*F for 40 minutes... broil for the last couple of minutes to make the top golden and crispy.

Invert it onto a cookie sheet and cut into slices. Pull apart and dip chunks into warm pizza sauce. This meal feeds a LOT of people!

And there you have it! I have some interesting cakes on the horizon, so I hope you'll come back and check them out! In the meantime, bake something apple or pumpkin, and enjoy the borrowed days of summer we're lucky to be seeing, and as always, stay sweet! =)