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Pumpkin Spice Ring with Cinnamon Glaze

Fall means pumpkins and apples.  To me, at least.  We had a family barbeque to go to, and I didn't want to show up empty handed.  I decided a quick dessert would be my best option, as I tend to wait til the last minute for everything.  Not long after scouring the internet for ideas, I came up with this.  It was a huge hit.  I think every person there complimented me.  Can't complain about that!

1 (18.25 oz) box angel food cake mix
1 c canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Combine pumpkin and spices.  Mix well and set aside.

Mix cake as directed on box.  Fold in pumpkin.  Pour in ungreased tube pan (I used my Pampered Chef stoneware bundt pan).  Bake at 350 til lightly browned, using the box directions as a guide.  Remove from oven, cool completely before applying the glaze.

4 oz Neufchatal cheese (or any cream cheese)
2 Tbsp 2% milk (original recipe called for cream)
1 c confectioners sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 c raisins

Using a mixer, blend together cheese, vanilla, and milk until light and fluffy.  Stir in the spices and sugar.  Drizzle over cooled cake.  Sprinkle with raisins.

Rox's Rockin' Chili

My mom is an amazing cook.  I learned about 95% of what I know about cooking from her, and it has become our shared hobby.  She's even published her own cookbook.  Her chili has been a family favorite since my childhood.  When I struck out on my own, she made me a little cookbook of her basic recipes and thankfully this little nugget was one of them.  We had this tonight for dinner, and everyone left the table full and happy.

Mom tends to make enough food to feed the county, so I have scaled this down to feed my family of little eaters.  Once the kids get bigger, I imagine I'll be using her full recipe.  But until then, this works for us.

1 (20 oz) can kidney beans
2 (28 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 lb lean hamburger (frozen)
1 onion, chopped
2 cans mushrooms
3 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1/4 tsp sugar
Note:  do not use any garlic as it will taste too much like spaghetti sauce

In a large pot, bring the hamburger and about 2 an inch of water to a boil.  Keep scraping the hamburger off the frozen bulk as it cooks.  When the hamburger is all broken up, reduce the heat to medium-high.  Do not drain the water off of the hamburger!  Add the onion.  Cook until onions are soft.  Add the tomato sauce, kidney beans (plus their liquid), mushrooms and spices.  Turn burner to low and simmer for at least 2 hours.

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

Birthdays are a big deal in my family.  My mother's birthday was the other day, and yesterday we had a picnic at one of the local state parks.  It was a beautiful day for a picnic!  As the baker in the family, I felt it was my duty to make some rocking birthday dessert, and as we were doing a picnic I wanted to take something picnicky.  Enter Caramel Apple Cupcakes.

Once in a while I have to break out of my usual mold and use a prepackaged mix.  When it comes to cooking and baking, I like to make as much as I can using "real" ingredients.  But when I found this, I knew I had an easy winner on my hands. 

What we do to the poor person with a birthday

1 package (18 1/4 oz) spice cake mix
2 c chopped and peeled tart apples
20 caramels
3 Tbsp milk
1 c finely chopped pecans, toasted

Prepare cake batter according to package directions.  Fold in apples.  Fill paper lined muffin cups three-fourths full.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

In a saucepan, cook the caramels and milk over low heat until smooth.  Spread over cupcakes.  Sprinkle with pecans.

Obviously I did not have the pecans, but I included them in the recipe because they would be so good.

Zucchini Cornbread Casserole

It has been over A MONTH since I've added a recipe.  Shame on me and slap my hand.  This little thing called life hasn't allowed me much time for what has become my favorite hobby.  Hopefully with school starting, things will settle down around here and I can get back to it.

I found this on  As usual, I modified it to suit our tastes.  Even my pickiest eater liked it.  It smelled awesome while baking!

4 c shredded zucchini
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 (8.5 oz) package Jiffy cornbread mix
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
garlic powder
onion powder
Beer Can Chicken BBQ seasoning (or any other BBQ seasoning you have)
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini, onion, eggs, Jiffy, and spices.

Stir in half of the cheese.  Spread into the dish, top with the remaining cheese.  Bake for 60 minutes or until golden brown.