Tag Archive | mem

Simple Pumpkin-Spice Date cake

Hello and happy Veteran’s Day, friends!
Thank you to all who protect our country. We are truly blessed.

How was your weekend? I knew my weekend would be great when a lunch  with my boss on Friday concluded with homemade apple pie and chocolate-decadence cake. How could it not be a great weekend when you start it off with those two things??!
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After that epic lunch on Friday, the wonderful weekend continued thanks to family-time and birthday celebrating. My twin sister, her fiancé, and the puppies were home for the weekend to celebrate my Mom’s birthday a few days early, and we had a blast.  Plus, having today off from class is pretty great, too.
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These puppies melt my heart.
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Anyway, I’ve been doing a bit more baking lately, and whether it’s because I’m using the oven to get warmer or it’s just the cold weather inspiring me to bake, any excuse works for me!  I’ve  meaning to share this  recipe for months, and since I baked it just last week for my little Mem’s birthday, I had the perfect opportunity to take some photos in order to do just that!  This recipe is an oldie, but seriously a goodie. It originates from my Grammie’s recipe box and it’s from many years ago (just check out how old this recipe card looks!), but since the first time I tasted it, I loved it.  My Grammie was the sweetest little thing, but she sure knew how to make a mean dessert. This Pumpkin Spice Date Cake is definitely one of her best.
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I don’t know about you, but one of my most favorite things about fall is the abundance of pumpkin-foods sold everywhere. Candies, coffees, baked goods; you name it, I love it. However, buying these pumpkin treats in stores and coffee shops isn’t always the most waist-line friendly option, which is why I love this recipe.  I get my pumpkin-dessert fix, but as a healthier option. This cake has zero oil, zero eggs, and zero butter, and a cool-whip-inspired frosting makes it an even smarter choice.  Plus, it’s super simple to make and bake in no time.  You’ll use a boxed spice cake mix as your base, to which you’ll add pumpkin, skim milk, baking soda, walnuts, and dates. Then voila, make your cool-whip frosting and you’re done.  My Mem has always declared this as her favorite cake and for a non-dessert person like her, that says a lot!

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Two Layer Pumpkin-Spice Date Cake
Recipe from my Grammie Rowden

Ingredients for cake:
1 box 2-layer size spice cake mix
1 cup milk (I used skim)
1 cup canned pumpkin (Not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dates

For frosting:
2 cups cool whip ( I used Lite, but regular or fat-free would be fine too!)
1 TBSP. molasses
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 Celsius). Spray two round cake pans or one 13x9x2 cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2) Combine cake mix and baking soda, then add milk and pumpkin.
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3) Blend at low-speed with electric mixer until moistened. Then beat at medium speed for two minutes.
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4) Fold in nuts and dates. (BEWARE, the dough is extremely delicious!)
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5) Pour mixture into greased pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 25- 30 minutes. Once baked, set layers  aside to cool.
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6) Once cooled, remove the cake from the pans, and set the first layer in the container that you plan on storing the cake. Now you are ready to frost!
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7) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, gently stir molasses and nutmeg into cool-whip topping. IMG_5094IMG_5096
8) Spread cool whip mixture onto first cake layer, covering it completely. Then place the second cake layer on top of the first, covering this layer completely as well. (Now you have frosting sandwiched in-between the layers, even better!)

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9) Refrigerate immediately and enjoy asap! (Don’t forget to add candles for a birthday cake!)
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If you’re looking for a healthier pumpkin treat, I think this will fit the bill! Mem’s face lit up when she saw the cake and as she ate it, too. Cake at 10 a.m.? Hey, you are only 87 once. I would do this all day everyday for her <3
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Cake + hugs + laughs + love…highlight of my month right there.

What’s your favorite pumpkin dessert?
Mine has to be this spice cake, or pumpkin chocolate-chip bread…it’s a close call!
I’m also obsessed with candy-corn pumpkins, but technically I’m not sure if that counts.

What did you eat this weekend? Any good desserts? Please share!

P.S. Happiest birthday today to my second-Dad, Brad! xoxo
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When the little things become the big things

Hello hello! How has it been a over week since I last posted? Seriously, where does the time go? One will never know, and I for one can not believe that this past weekend marked one month that I’ve been back from Australia. I wouldn’t exactly say I feel “settled-in” due to the fact that I’ve barely been home between working and classes, but I will say that since I’ve been back, I’ve realized that it’s little things that are making the biggest differences in my day-to-day life and helping me adjust into life at home again.  You know, little things like a compliment from a stranger, a pat-on-the-back from your boss, or a good grade on an exam. I used to think I needed monetary things to lift my spirits, like buying a new suit or the latest handbag, but now it’s just the opposite. Thank you, home, for bringing me back to reality and to my roots.
Some of the little things helping me lately have been:

-Random acts of kindness:
Can I just say that my Mom rules?  I don’t know how she does it, but somehow, someway, she spreads kindness everyday and truly makes me feel special. 
Things like: Saving me homemade macaroni cheese in the fridge(Meredith label, might-I-add):
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And leaving me the best coupon ever in my purse. $.99 cent iced coffee? Seriously this made my week.
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-Out-of-the-blue motivation
I happened to see this license plate on my way to class the other day (‘enjoy life’ shortened). I wasn’t in the best mind-frame to begin with since I was on my way to take a Chemistry exam followed by two hours of lab (I was actually VERY grumpy), so seeing this instantly helped me snap-out of it.
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-A girls night out
I haven’t been able to leave the state of Maine since I’ve been back, and I can’t describe how much I miss my girlfriends. So this past Friday, I bit the bullet, went to work super-early to get my Friday jobs accomplished by 1:00 pm, and hopped on a 3:00 bus to Boston to spend the evening with my Boston besties. There is nothing a little bit of girl time can’t cure, that’s for sure. Love you girls!
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-A refreshing workout
Sometimes, a good run is just what the doctor ordered. I ran with a windbreaker on for the first time in over a year last week and I smiled the ENTIRE 4 miles. That crisp, cool, fall air was just what I needed.
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-A visit with a loved one
My Mem is one of the most important parts of my life.I’m so grateful I’m back so that I can spend time with her, hold her hand, visit, and hug her again. It was the best hour of my week.
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-Personalized notes
Since I was a little girl I have always loved receiving mail and writing mail. I think it’s the honesty and personal touch of handwritten notes that’s so special, and whenever I receive them I literally get teary. (I know Brittany likes handwritten notes! I am totally checking out that website, by the way!)   This week, I received two special cards in the mail and I was so touched. Thank you Michelle and Sue xoxo.
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-Flowers just because
I am truly blessed to work for people that are like a second family to me. Last night, they handed me this beautiful bouquet from their garden and I was so touched!

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Even though I may not have won the megabucks, gone on a shopping spree or bought the newest Apple product, all of these little things have meant so much more to me than those things would, and they are truly the big things helping me smile today.

What is helping you smile today?

Anyone else love coupons as much as me?

Who else is loving fall running weather?

Mother’s Day (and birthday!) wishes

Hey there! I hope you’re having  a fantastic weekend. It’s already Mother’s Day here in Australia, so I’d like to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful Mom’s out there.  You have the hardest jobs in the world, and are all truly an inspiration to me.  Since I can’t physically be with all of the special Mother’s I know today, I ‘m sending you all my love in this post!

A Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful Mom…
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My beautiful Nana…
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My beautiful Mem…
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Brandon’s beautiful Mom Sue…
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My beautiful Grammie who is looking down on us…
All of my Aunts, cousins, friends, and the other lovely Mom’s I know…
…and to my beautiful sister, the best doggy-mommy I know!

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Besides just Mother’s Day, today also marks my Dad’s birthday. He and my Mom are celebrating in Boston all weekend and I wish I could be there more than anything. You don’t look a day over 40 Dad : –) Love you!

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(Fun fact: My Dad is a twin too! They are both over 6’6 and even though they are turning 67 today (!!!), they are still best friends. Twins run in our family and it’s the best!)

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Hope you have a special rest of your weekend!

How are you celebrating Mother’s Day?
Do twins run in your family? Please share!