Monday, October 10, 2011

Falling for Fall...

 I think a picture is worth a thousand words and a taste is worth a thousand and one.  So take a look at this pic and then go make this cake...dude, NOW!

Luscious Four -Layer Pumpkin Cake
adapted from

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup oil or applesauce
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, divided
1 (8oz) brick light cream cheese
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
3 cups thawed whipped cream
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • Heat oven to 350.  Grease 2 (9 inch) round pans.  Beat cake mix, 1 cup of pumpkin, milk, oil, (or applesauce) and 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice.  Mix until well blended and pour into prepared cake pans.
  • Bake 26-28 minutes or until knife comes out clean.  Cool cakes completely on wire racks.
  • Beat cream cheese.  Add powdered sugar, remaining pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and vanilla.  Mix well and then gently fold in whipped cream.
  • Cut each cake layer in half with a serrated knife. Stack on serving plate, spreading cream cheese mixture between each layer.  (Do not frost top layer.)
  • Drizzle cake with caramel sauce just before serving and then sprinkle with nuts.
I promise there will be RAVE reviews!  Eat well this Fall my friends!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Ahhh...warming ya inside and out.  This spicy butternut squash soup was the perfect way to warm up my parents, who are visiting our wet cold WA from the dry heat of AZ.  The bold, spicy flavors are balanced with the creamy coconut milk and sweetness of the apple.  You will finish your bowl filling full, satisfied and most importantly warm and toasty!

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

2 T. olive oil
1 cup diced onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1/4 cup minced fresh peeled ginger
4 bay leaves
1/2 T crushed red pepper flakes
1 large butternut squash (about 2 1/2 lbs), peeled, seeded and cut into chunks.
1/2 cup apple, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. curry powder
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 T. sugar
1 15 oz. can coconut milk
5 spicy chicken sausage, casings removed and then chopped (I use the ones you can find at Costco)
Freshly chopped cilantro
Extra coconut milk to drizzle...mmmm.

  • Heat oil in large stock pot over meduim heat. Add onion and cook about 2 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger, and continue to stir, cooking for about 3 more minutes.  Add bay leaves and red peppers.  Stir in squash, apple, curry powder and salt, cook for 10 minutes.
  • Raise heat to medium high and add chicken stock.  Cover and bring to boil.  Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring and mashing every 5 minutes.  Add sugar and cook another 5 minutes.  Add coconut milk and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Remove bay leaves (don't need anyone choking on those babies!)  Using an immersion blender, or in batches using a regular blender, puree until smooth.
  • Reheat soup and add sausage.  Season with more salt if necessary, drizzle with extra coconut milk and garnish with cilantro.
  • Eat well and stay warm my friends!