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Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin cookies 013

I don’t know how I missed this… but I recently came across a recipe for the most moist, delicious, pumpkin cookies. The best part?

Two ingredients.

That’s right – just two ingredients!

If you can open a box of cake mix and a can of pumpkin, you can make these!

I added a drizzle of cream cheese frosting and some toffee bits sprinkles and that was a delectable decision.

Tantalize your taste buds and make these easy cookies today!

Ingredients

Ingredients

 

Mix a can of pumpkin with a spice cake mix.

Mix a can of pumpkin with a spice cake mix.

Blend until thoroughly mixed.

Blend until thoroughly mixed.

Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment (or foil when you run out of parchment.)

Drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment (or foil when you run out of parchment.)

Bake at 350 for about ten minutes, until cookies are just set. You don't want to overcook them.

Bake at 350 for about ten minutes, until cookies are just set. You don’t want to overcook them.

Some of the cookies, I topped with a pumpkin marshmallow just before they were done. Yum!

Some of the cookies, I topped with a pumpkin marshmallow just before they were done. Yum!

Remove from oven and let cool, then drizzle with cream cheese frosting (nuke frosting in microwave for 10-12 seconds to reach a pourable stage.)

Remove from oven and let cool, then drizzle with cream cheese frosting (nuke frosting in microwave for 10-12 seconds to reach a pourable stage.)

Top with toffee bits, sprinkles, cinnamon, candied nuts or whatever tickles your fancy.

Top with toffee bits, sprinkles, cinnamon, candied nuts or whatever tickles your fancy.

Pumpkin Cookies

1 box of spice cake mix

1 small can of pumpkin pie filling

1 cup cream cheese frosting

toppings (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cake mix and pumpkin until thoroughly blended.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment and drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the cookie sheet.

Bake about ten minutes, until the cookies are just set but not yet starting to brown.

Remove from oven and let cool.

Warm cream cheese frosting in the microwave for about 12 seconds, until thin enough to pour.

Drizzle over cookies.

Top with toffee bits, cinnamon, sprinkles or candied nuts.

Enjoy!

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

She Who Loves Pumpkin Treats

Lamb Gyro platedConfession is good for the soul, right?
I must confess that I’m a huge fan of Lamb Gyros. I should further admit my love for these developed from a food booth at the rodeo. I’d never eaten one until a few years ago.
My life shall never, ever be the same.
There’s something about the tender meat, zingy Tzatziki sauce, fresh tomatoes, and tangy Feta cheese encased in soft Pita bread that makes my knees wobble while my mouth waters.
Devastated when the food vendor wasn’t at this year’s rodeo (yes, I only get these amazing treats once a year), I decided to make my own.
The hardest part was locating some lamb. Three grocery stores later, I happened upon a manager’s half-price special or I probably wouldn’t have purchased the meat because it ran a little (okay, astronomically) on the high side.
Regardless of how or where I purchased the lamb, the gyros turned out so, so good. I almost had to beat Captain Cavedweller off so I could have half of the leftovers.

Here’s how we made them:

Gyro ingredients

Gyro ingredients

Cucumber sauce - make and set aside in the fridge while they meat cooks. You can also make it the previous night. Just cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Cucumber sauce – make and set aside in the fridge while they meat cooks. You can also make it the previous night. Just cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

There are any number of traditional methods for cooking the meat. I stir-fried mine in a wok.

There are any number of traditional methods for cooking the meat. I stir-fried mine in a wok.

It didn't take long for the meat to brown or the delicious scent to cause us to anxiously begin assembling the gyros.

It didn’t take long for the meat to brown or the delicious scent to cause us to anxiously begin assembling the gyros.

Toast your Pita bread - just until it's warm.

Toast your Pita bread – just until it’s warm.

Then layer on all the delicious toppings and be thrilled you know how to make this at home instead of waiting to find the next vendor booth at a public event.

Then layer on all the delicious toppings and be thrilled you know how to make this at home instead of waiting to find the next vendor booth at a public event.

Lamb Gyro with Tzatziki Sauce

1 lb. of lamb, cooked and sliced into small pieces

1 tomato, sliced  into bite-sized chunks

1/2 cup Feta cheese

1/4 cup Kalamata olives, sliced

Pita Bread

Tzatziki Sauce:

1 cucumber, peeled and coarsely shredded

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup plain yogurt

2 tbsp. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. dill weed

In a medium bowl, sprinkle salt over cucumber and mix well. Let stand five minutes. Drain. Stir in remaining dressing ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

(Please ignore the fact I show sour cream in the ingredient photo because I forgot to get plain yogurt and had to make a little substitution. Ditto on the balsamic vinegar instead of white vinegar. Follow the recipe and you’ll be fine!)

You can use whatever type of lamb you like (or can find). I ended up with a package of lamb chops and cut all the meat off the bones into thin slices. I then put the lamb in a resealable bag with about 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. seasoning. I let the meat marinate overnight. I dumped the contents of the bag into a heated wok and stirred the meat around on medium-heat until it was nicely browned (and filled the house with a mouth-watering aroma).

While the meat cooks, chop your tomatoes and slice the olives then set aside.

Warm the pita bread in the oven for just a minute or two until it’s warm and soft and wonderful.

Layer on the meat, followed by the sauce, tomatoes, olives and cheese.

She Who Could Eat This Once a Week

Makes five Gyros.

A Gift For You

rosesToday is one of my favorite days.

It just happens to be the birthday of Captain Cavedweller’s father-in-law’s daughter.

;)

Today is a day I freely eat all the chocolate I want, enjoy the beautiful roses CC has given me, and take a day to relax and just enjoy the incredibly blessed life I’ve been given.

Since I know I’ll have some presents to open later, I want to give a present to you all, too!

Love at the 20-Yard Line

You can download a FREE copy of Love at the 20-Yard Line on Smashwords in your preferred format.

I’m including a coupon code below that is only good today – so make sure you download it right away.

And please let your friends and family know they can download it to!

Thank you all for being so wonderful, supportive, and encouraging. Big hugs to you and many, many thanks!

To get a free copy of the book here’s the directions:

Just go to the Love at the 20-Yard Line page on Smashwords.

Add to your shopping cart.

Enter this code at checkout: TV33T

Download it in your preferred format and enjoy!

Happy Reading!

Gingerbread

Gingerbread plated

The story I’m currently working on features a hero who loves gingerbread. Since I always include a recipe at the back of my books, I thought it would  be fun to include one for gingerbread.

Only I don’t have a good recipe for gingerbread cake. I have one for cookies and bars, but not cake.

So after drooling over dozens of options, I gave this one a try. It was a very good decision. Moist and flavorful, it filled the house with the most fabulous spicy scent while it baked.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Start by creaming the egg and brown sugar together.

Start by creaming the butter and brown sugar together.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside. Mix the rest of the liquid ingredients into the batter.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside. Mix the rest of the liquid ingredients into the batter.

Mix the dry ingredients into the batter, one cup at a time.

Mix the dry ingredients into the batter, one cup at a time.

gingerbread batter

When well blended, pour into greased pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.

When baked, you can top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, caramel sauce, whipping cream, or cream cheese frosting.

When baked, you can top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, caramel sauce, whipping cream, or cream cheese frosting.

I went with cream cheese frosting. I warmed it in the microwave for about 12 seconds until it was pourable.

I went with cream cheese frosting. I warmed it in the microwave for about 12 seconds until it was pourable.

Slice and savor the explosion of spicy bliss on your tongue!

Slice and savor the explosion of spicy bliss on your tongue!

Gingerbread

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1 egg

3/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup applesauce

2 1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup hot water

Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour two loaf pans, two round cake pans or a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a large bowl, cream together brown sugar and butter.  Beat in egg, molasses, and applesauce.  Spray your measuring cup with a shot of non-stick spray before you pour in the molasses. It will slide right out of it without leaving a big sticky mess behind.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.

Add dry ingredients to batter 1 cup at a time. When it is well-blended, add the cup of hot water and stir to incorporate.

If you are using loaf pans, bake for about 50 minutes. If using cake pans, baking time will decrease to around 20-30 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached.

Top with frosting, sprinkle with powdered sugar, drizzle with caramel sauce or dollop on whipped cream. You can finish it however you like!

She Who Loves the Spicy Scent of Fall Baking

Despite my wishes otherwise, fall has arrived.

That means I’ll soon be craving pumpkin this and caramel apple that.

If you love the fall season (like I normally do), check out Savvy Autumn Entertaining. It’s full of autumn recipes, decorating ideas and party tips!

Anyway, if you are looking for some fun fall recipes, entertaining tips and party ideas, I invite you to download Savvy Autumn Entertaining.

Autumn Cover

It’s free!

You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or you can download a PDF version from my writing website.

Cheesy Good Salad

I’ve shared this recipe before, but I made this again the other day and it was so yummy, I thought I’d share it again!

I must issue a warning that today’s salad might not be the most healthy you could choose -but the tastiness more than makes up for it!

Sticking with the Patriotic Theme, this salad is a fun pop of color for your 4th of July table and it comes together quickly!

Place cheese on salad and enjoy if you haven’t devoured the cheese before it makes it to the salad. Even Captain Cavedweller, who does not like cheese, ate more than his share (including some of mine).

Fried Mozzarella Salad

Sliced Mozzarella Cheese

Flour

Egg (beaten)

Panko Crumbs

Parmesan Cheese (shredded)

Salt

Spinach

Raspberries

Blueberries

Raspberry Vinaigrette

Prepare spinach and berries and set aside.

Put flour in one bowl, beaten egg in a second and the panko crumbs mixed with the Parmesan cheese and salt in a third. Make sure the bowls are wide enough your cheese slices will sit flat inside.

Heat oil in a deep fat fryer or cast iron skillet. You want it to be good and hot.

Drench cheese slices through flour, egg and panko mix. When they are all finished, start frying. It will take just a few seconds to brown each side. The smell will begin to weaken your knees. Should you give in to temptation and take a bite, you may never get the cheese onto the salad.

Drizzle dressing over spinach and berries then top with a slice or two of the cheese.

Enjoy!

grade schoolToday is Captain Cavedweller’s birthday.

Hooray!

There will be cake at our house later today (carrot, of course – his favorite) and maybe a present or two.

engagedBack when I first met this guy 21 years ago, I was so goofy in love with him, I didn’t give more than a random thought to the future. I just knew I wanted it to be with him.

Captain Cavedweller has put up with a lot from me over the years.

A lot.

Back in the days when I was a newspaper reporter, I used to drag him along to all sorts of events and interviews. Once, he ended up being the only male at a fashion show. (I still get reminded of that from time to time!) Thanks to me, he’s been nearly attacked by a cougar, gotten up close and personal with an ostrich, and lost in the hills in the middle of nowhere while attempting to locate a sheepherder. Those were fun times (not so much)!

wheat boy 1More frequently than you’d think, he gets coerced into being part of a prop in a photo. Like standing in a wheat field.

my valentineOr holding a heart (although I think he knows he’s always got mine in his hands).

I guess the point of my rambling is that CC has always been willing to help me, support me, encourage me and love me without hesitation or conditions. He’s got a huge, caring heart and is one of the most honest, upright, kindest people I know. (And I’m not biased in the least).

He’s the kind of person you can count on when the skies are blue, but also when life’s storms hit with full force. In the past year, I’ve been reminded time and again what a blessing he is to me and how blessed I am to have him in my life.

No matter what’s going on in my life, just being with him makes everything better, brighter, and definitely a lot more fun.

July PhotoHappy, Happy Birthday, Captain Cavedweller!

<3 Love you! <3

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