We've been busy around here, fully embracing Autumn. We had a week long-rainy patch, which to be honest, I thought was going to be the norm right up until next Spring. But the rain has stopped, and it has been nothing but sunshine since. Perfect fall days, sunny, crisp, leaves gently falling from the trees, and for my neighbors, tree branches falling from the trees right onto their roof.
I live in an old neighborhood, surrounded by 50 - 100 ft trees. During October and November, the wind picks up, and we usually have a few trees that lose large branches, and some trees that come right up out of the ground. Unfortunately for my neighbors, who just moved in 3 months ago, a giant branch fell and landed right on their roof. The tree branch must have been 20 feet tall and the size of a small tree. Luckily, no one was hurt, except for maybe some feelings. Since the incident, we've hired someone to trim up all of our large trees, because the last thing I need is a tree falling on our house. I have enough to deal with trying to potty train a toddler.
Besides the weather, rain, trees falling, potty training, and Halloween costume planning, not a whole lot is new around here. I keep telling myself that we are boring at the moment, and then I keep having to remind myself that we have a toddler and life is anything from dull at the moment. We're not eating at the best restaurants or traveling around the world, but we are frequenting all the local parks, and we eat sushi at least once a week, so that's something, right?
We're actually in the planning stage right now for a few things. We have finished our kitchen remodel, which I promise I will share with you guys soon. Once I can figure out a rug decision and decide if I am going to repaint the kitchen walls, I will finish agonizing over details, which leads me to our new project. We are renovating the two upstairs bathrooms. I told Brent that there is no way that we will be DIY this project, so we are in the process of interviewing contractors, which is a process in itself. We are also planning a trip in the new year to Hawaii!! Lots of planning. Lots of late nights spent on the computer researching appropriate things to do with a toddler in Hawaii and faucet and bathroom vanities. It's been enjoyable.
We are so busy these days; I am honestly finding it difficult to prepare meals on time before 430 pm when Sebastian starts to get hangry and demanding cookies and ice cream. We've been relying on a lot of comfort foods, i.e., take-out. I've become utterly obsessed with TJ's cauliflower pizza crust and the Mahi Mahi burgers, which we've often been enjoying. I froze a bunch of soup at the end of the summer, and with a nice loaf of bread, it's the perfect quick and easy dinner. We're really into stews and casseroles, which will probably last up until December, and then I'll be utterly sick of winter foods, and back to craving summer foods - fresh fruits, salads, and ice cream. But what would the month of October be without a whole lot of pumpkin-themed foods?
I am a sucker for anything cake or cupcake. And especially a cake with cream cheese frosting. I wanted to make a pretty easy cake, something that required minimal effort, and this cake is that. It took me probably 5 minutes to pull together. I baked it in a 9 x 9 " baking pan. No layers to frost. A simple snacking cake, with cream cheese icing of course. This cake is incredible. It's probably one of the best cakes I've had in a while. I had to give away a few slices to friends so that I wouldn't eat it all. It's incredibly flavorful and moist - the perfect amount of spices, with a slightly tangy frosting.
PUMPKIN SPICE CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
makes 1 - 9 x 9" cake
prep time: 15 minutes
cooking time: 40 minutes
15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp salt
2 - 8oz pkg cream cheese, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Grease a 9 x 9" baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, oil, eggs, and sugar with a whisk.
In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine with a whisk.
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely before icing.
In a large bowl, add the cream cheese, vanilla, and icing sugar. Beat until the icing it is light and smooth. Spread the cream cheese icing over the cake. Serve.
Can be kept in a tight fitting container for 4 days.