Saturday, November 13, 2010

So many choices... not enough time

In my last post I mentioned the MOPS meeting I went to and how we always have some yummy there to eat. This month it was our groups turn to bring the treats. Oh the decisions I had to make! If you know Ma Bacon, you know I LOVE to bake. (In fact Mr. Bacon likes to cook too, we've invented some delicious dishes over the past years.) And if you happen to drop by unannounced at our house, I'll have something fresh out of the oven for you.

When I was told it was our month to bring treats, my mind started to wander. It was a hard decision. There was no way I could just run to the store and buy some over priced cookies in a box. I was thinking of bringing these pumpkin cookies I posted here since they are perfect for fall, and I've been craving them with my coffee again. I decided to break out my cook book binder where I keep all my favorite recipes and take a look though it. Humm... chocolate ganache tarts? Peanut butter filled chocolate cupcakes? Homemade fudge? Mini cheesecakes? Oh the choices! I finally decided on making some mini pumpkin cakes with cream cheese frosting, another fall favorite recipe I love. Best thing about these besides the taste? I already had all the ingredients on hand.

Pumpkin cake:

1 spice cake box mix
1 small box (4 serving size) instant vanilla pudding
3 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup water
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix with electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, then med/high for 2 minutes until everything is combined well. Place them in mini muffin pan lined with mini muffin papers. Bake according to the spice cake box directions.

Since there are no directions for mini muffins on the box usually, I started with 15 minutes for a time. Check them from there. They should spring back when touched on the top and the tooth pick inserted to the middle should be clean when poked in.

Again I love versatile recipes. Normally I make this cake in a bundt pan (you know those fancy round pans with a hole in the middle). Before I found this recipe the only think I made in my bundt pan was dust bunnies! It was nice to finally have a use for it. Don't have a bundt pan with dust bunnies in it? No problem, remember I don't want you to have to go buy anything fancy or that you'll never have another use for. You can bake this in just a 9x13 pan, round pans, normal cupcake pans, a round pyrex bowl... what ever you have around the house is just fine.

The original recipe came with a cool whip topping that is very good.

1- 16oz cool whip thawed
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Mix all together and serve on top of slice of pumpkin cake. Delicious! Add a scoop of butter pecan ice cream on the side and it's amazing! But for my meeting I wanted a topping that was a bit thicker, so I went with a cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese frosting:
1 - 8oz package cream cheese SOFTENED!
1/4 cup butter softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar

Mix all together with electric mixer. I actually had to add about 1/2 cup more powdered sugar to my recipe because I wanted to be able to pipe out the frosting. Not only was it fun, it was super fast to frost all 4 dozen of these mini cakes. If you've ever thought you'd like try to pipe out frosting, go for it. I was very intimidated by it at first thinking it would be hard and it's actually very easy. It's a great way to make dazzling desserts that friends think you've worked hours on! The hardest part of it all is getting the frosting in the bag. Once again this Mama could have used an extra set of hands for it! A note on this frosting, it will set up nice and firm in the fridge too (which is where it needs to be store if there are any leftovers!) If you are piping it on and you find it a bit too soft, put it in the fridge for a little bit.

I loved how these turned out with this frosting. Mr. Bacon couldn't agree more, he snatched up a few before I left! He was happy there were left overs of these too. He took them in for a class he was teaching and they got great reviews there as well. If you're looking for a wonderful dessert for the upcoming Thanksgiving dinner, this would be a great alternative to that pumpkin pie everyone else will bring.

Now you know I couldn't just bring one thing with me to help feed so many wonderful mommies, and the next thing was no debate. Since I first started making these donut muffins I've taken them to a lot of places for people to try and everyone loves them. I knew I wanted to share them with my friends as well.

So pumpkin cakes... check. Donut muffins... check. What else to bring. I was contemplating bringing yet another baked goodie, but thought perhaps we shouldn't fill ourselves up just on sweet treats so I pulled another favorite recipe out of my falling apart binder. Really I'll have to take a picture of it for you all, I really should get a new one. But that would cost more money, I'm sure Mr. Bacon has some duct tape around somewhere!

If you've ever been in a situation that you needed to bring a dish but lost at what to bring, this is a great choice. Few ingredients, simple to make and tastes great!

Italian Pasta Salad:
4 cups uncooked tri-color rotini pasta (the corkscrew type, and no they don't have to be tricolor)
1 - 6oz can black olives
1 cup pepperoni (about 3/4 of a 6oz package)
1/2 bottle (1 cup) Italian dressing

Cook noodles according to package and drain. Slice olives and cut pepperoni in fourths. Place everything in large bowl and mix all together until it's coated well with the dressing. Yet another recipe you can change for what's on hand or to your taste. Feel free to add more or less dressing. My sister makes this salad with fresh chopped veggies and mini corn on the cob!

Well the salad must have been a hit at my meeting because I brought home less than half of it. I turned it into lunch the next day for little boy Bacon and myself by adding some cooked chicken to it and a bit more dressing. It was wonderful!

It was a great evening of being out with other mommies. When I got home I received another exciting bit of news too, I won a cookbook in a giveaway from the blog here. I'm really excited since it is a frugal cookbook. I'm hoping to find some great meal ideas in it. One of my favorite things to do with my down time (yea, who am I kidding with 4 kids I don't have down time!) is enter online giveaways. Since Easter I've won 6 giveaways for all sorts of items! It's a lot of fun when you win and takes little time to do it. Some of the things I've won went for presents so that helped out my holiday budget too! If you want to join in on the fun check out the links on the left side in blogs that I love.


  1. Oh my gosh!! That pumpkin cake looks wonderful. I wish I could eat sugar but..... I can't so I just surf around looking at all the good treats I am missing.

    I am a new follower.

  2. Sorry to hear you can't have the sugar Terry, but I have lots of other great recipes and tips here too! :) Hopefully you'll find something yummy, and thanks for following.

  3. I don't comment much, but I just wanted to say that I love your blog! It's such an inspiration, thank you so much for putting so much time, effort, and thought into it.

  4. Your blog is wonderful and we eat a lot of pasta salad for it is so easy and economical. We like chopped pickles, cheese cubes, chopped tomatoes, and our favorite is using flaked, leftover grilled salmon. I kinda put whatever is in the fridge in and it grows and grows. Makes good leftovers.