Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

My sister and I both love the pumpkin pancakes that show up on IHOP's menu in the fall. She spent the night with us last night and I wanted to do something special for breakfast this morning. I found the perfect recipe for pumpkin pancakes over at  For the Love of Cooking . The pancakes  are light, fluffy and taste wonderful topped with a bit of whipped cream. I did add 1/3 cup of sugar and about a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to add a little more flavor.

And it makes sense to eat breakfast at home instead of going out.  After tax and tip, we would have spent close to $30 for breakfast for three. Instead we had a great breakfast at home, avoided going out in the cold and saved a lot of money. Perfect!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cranberry Coconut Squares

One of my favorite things about fall is cooking with cranberries and pumpkin. That's why I was excited when I came across this recipe for Cranberry Coconut Squares. Basically a lemon bar with a cranberry and coconut topping, they are the perfect combination of tart and sweet. My mom and I enjoyed them for breakfast.  If they are a little too tart for you, a dusting of powdered sugar adds a little more sweetness.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Haunted House Birthday Cake

My favorite girl turned 10 years old yesterday. Where does the time go? It seems like yesterday that Mike and I were celebrating our one year anniversary and had to hurry to the hospital to wait for our niece to be born. I know, what an amazing anniversary gift. Ally is the most special girl I know and I'm fortunate that we have such a close relationship. She's got the biggest heart you could imagine - I tell Amy all the time that she's an "old soul". I'm not exactly sure what I mean when I say that, but it just fits. And in her, I have my own mini-me. She's just like me in so many ways - her love of all things spooky, the gleam of mischief in her eyes...I could go on and on.

But I won't. I'm too anxious to show off her birthday cake. She wanted a haunted house theme and I think I pulled it off pretty well here. The look on her face when she saw it actually brought tears to my eyes.

For the cake I used an 11x15 pan with two boxes of cake mix. After covering the entire cake with a milk chocolate frosting, I got to work on the decorating. Here's how I did it...

Grass - coconut with green food coloring
Walkway - candy corn path filled with Halloween sprinkles
Graveyard - PF Milano cookies with a pretzel fence
Pumpkin Patch - candy corn pumpkins
Ghosts - Peep Ghosts
Jack-O-Lanterns - Candy from the baking aisle
Haunted House - a perfect find from the greeting card aisle

For the pumpkin patch in front of the cake, I spread a bit of leftover frosting to make the "grass" stick and added a few pumpkins. For the pumpkins lying down, I cut the candies in half.

Mike and I had so much fun doing the decorating after Landon went to sleep last night and the cake was a huge hit today. Give this idea a try for Halloween, adding your own special touches. You'll be surprised at how well it turns out.