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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I'm back with so many things to be thankful for this year...

So goodness gracious, it has been way too long since I have sat down and took the time to write about my cooking.  (I almost stopped that sentence at "sat down"...)  Life has been crazy, to say the least these past five months.  After the birth of my second daughter, Nora, I got wrapped up in caring for her, getting my 4 year old off to preschool, buying our first house, and moving.  I wouldn't wish that kind of stress on my worst enemy!!  Needless to say, Thanksgiving is this Thursday and I am thankful for so many things this past year.

Many of my friends have been posting daily something they are thankful for...I am not that dedicated, but would like to share a few of mine for the past year:

1. The healthy pregnancy, delivery, and birth of our second beautiful daughter, Nora.
2. A home, that may have many issues for us to tackle, but a comfortable one (that will get even more comfortable with new carpet next week!!) that provides a roof over our heads
3. A smart, energetic, funny, and sweet 4 year old who keeps me on my toes and is the best big sister Nora could have asked for and more!
4. A husband who has a good job and works hard on our new house even after a long day of work in the office.
5. My Lord and Savior, who has gotten me through and given me peace after 6 months or so of dealing with major life issues and post-partum struggles.  Without him, my life would be empty and meaningless.  He is my rock to lean on, my quiet place, my hope, and my salvation.

Now on to the food!!  I found this recipe about 2 years ago when my husband and I wandered into a Williams-Sonoma store.  If you have never been in a Williams-Sonoma, you will find great cooking tools, linens, gadgets, and gizmos!  I love that store, but feel they are a bit pricey.  But the day we walked in, they had a cooking lesson going on and were making these delicious Pecan Pumpkin Dessert Squares.  The catch?  You had to purchase and use their Pecan Pumpkin Butter that cost $18.  "Piffle!!", I said quietly to myself. (I hope.)  When I got home, I looked up pumpkin butter recipes online, found one that I liked, and whipped up my own recipe.  So technically this recipe is from Williams Sonoma, but I have adapted it so you can make it at home for a much better price!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, and whether you been daily sharing what you are thankful for this month or just spending a little extra time this week, be sure to enjoy all of your blessings, big and small!

Pecan Pumpkin Dessert Squares

1 package yellow cake mix, divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs
1 recipe pumpkin butter (recipe below)
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
2 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp. cinnamon

Make the pumpkin butter and set aside to cool:

Pumpkin Butter
1- 15oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Combine ingredients in a large saucepan, stir well.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15-30 minutes until thick.

Preheat oven to 350.  Set aside 1 cup of cake mix for later use.

Combine remaining cake mix, melted butter, and one egg.  Mix well and press mixture into the bottom of a 9 X 13" pan.

In another bowl, combine the pumpkin butter, chopped pecans, two eggs, and milk.  Mix well and evenly pour mixture over cake layer in pan.

Stir the remaining 1 cup of cake mix, flour, sugar, softened butter, and cinnamon together until crumbly.  Sprinkle over the top of the pumpkin layer in pan.

Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool slightly before cutting to serve.

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