Pumpkin Dump Cake

Because, if I’m going to gain weight over the holidays, I’m taking you all down with me. Only addicts drink eat alone, so they say.

Pumpkin Dump Cake


  • 1- 15 ounce can pumpkin
  • 1- 12 ounce can evaporated milk (I did not have, so I subbed powdered buttermilk and 10oz. water — worked fine)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger*
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • —-
  • 1- 18.25 ounce yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans (didn’t use)
  • 3/4 cup or 1-1/2 sticks butter, melted (you KNOW I used this – heck yeah)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 9×13 pan. Completely combine 1st set of ingredients. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle with cake mix. Gently pat down with spoon. Sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 50 minutes. Cool and cut in squares.
* Or use 4 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie Spice or Mixed Spice
I’m sharing the fact that I made this, but it is not my recipe. It is all over the internet, though and I don’t know how we’ve never met, Dump Cake and I.
I’m also sharing the fact that you can’t judge a recipe properly if you’re a pig that dives into it very quickly after removing it from the oven (my kids and I did this, yes we did). Right away I was not terribly impressed. Too sweet, pumpkiny and just not very good. I chalked it up to it being an easy recipe.
And then I tried it again the next day. Can you say entirely different opinion? Momma’s taking this badboy to Thanksgiving. If I had to tweak it at all, I’d say don’t be afraid to pack in the cake mix nice and firm. But that’s about it. OK, not really. I had another thought – chocolate cake mix. That sounds super-dee-duper good, but who knows it might just be one of those things that sounds better on paper. If you try it, lemme know. That is, if I don’t try it first. Just remember, this is a good make-ahead cake.
Doesn’t look to special out of the oven, does it? More like a potato casserole or something. Hey kids, want some potato casserole? (Snicker)

Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup

One of the areas where we spend too much money is food. It is difficult feeding 4 growing boys (not to mention parents, too) with crazy schedules healthy, nutritious meals when you’re on a financial (and time) budget. Too many meals we’ve resorted to ordering out or throwing in pizzas simply because I was too worn out / worn thin to be able to whip up a satisfying meal. I’m not saying that the occasional pizza and salad is a terrible thing, but the times where I’ve looked back on my checkbook and saw that I spent $70 on two spur-of-the-moment dinners back-to-back? Yikes. Shudder. Embarrassing.

Because of that, one of my biggest goals is to intentionally put more thought into our dinner and meals. Not saying that I can avoid eating out (see yesterday), or that we won’t pick up or order in. But we need to do it with less frequency if we are going to climb out of debt. My lack of planning has not been helpful. I, personally, need to be more mindful of my time and the commitments I take on. It feels a bit selfish, but I think it is important for me to do. Discipline.

Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been spending more time planning and organizing what we will have for dinners and lunches. The internet is a wonderful tool when it comes to looking for cheap, healthy meals, crockpot recipes, tips and articles on frugal living. I have collected an array of recipes to try, and today I made this: Weeknight Chicken Noodle Soup. The recipe is simple, calling for ingredients that are easy enough to get your hands on and probably already have (save the rotisserie chicken).

I had to pick up the celery, but had a HUGE bag of carrots from Costco, some broth, and egg noodles just waiting to be used. I followed the recipe pretty closely, making the following changes:

– did not saute the vegetables

– used 1 carton of broth, plus some of my bullion and water

– added about 1c. chopped onion

– did not use the cornstarch at the end

– added about 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (I like a little kick to mine)

It was quick and delicious. I’ve made chicken soup a million times before, and have even with a rotisserie chickens (either plucking the meat off, or using leftover chicken for stock), but have not done it this way, throwing the entire chicken in the pot to heat. It streamlines the process, softening up the chicken, making it easier to pull of the bone while heating it, too, and flavoring the pot with the skin. It’s funny how you can make something using the same ingredients you’ve used before, but by shifting the process a little bit, come up with a new method. I’m glad I did, and will definitely be using this again. It took me very little time to whip up a nice, warm pot for lunch.

We ate this with some crusty bread and Amish butter. Mmm.

Homemade Boyardee

Today I voted.  Frank and I went to the polls together.  There weren’t any lines.  It surprised me that they don’t check your ID.  My goodness, it’s more difficult to check out a book at the library than it was to walk in and vote.  I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing.

Even if politics as a whole leaves a sour taste in my mouth, it always feels good to be part of the process.

It will be nice to not be inundated with horrific political ads, for a while.

Tomorrow is my regular day off.  Work has been extra busy, and I was asked to come in for more hours, so I don’t know how much I’ll be able to get done tomorrow, but my hope was to get some meal-planning done, get some bills paid, balance the checkbook, clean.  Tonight was kind of a hodgepodge-lodge for dinner.  I had a bowl of noodles, Frank had a Hot Pocket and pizza.  The boys ate some homemade Boyardee-ish, finished off the pizza.

Homemade Boyardee-ish

This recipe tastes similar to the store-bought noodles with sauce, but is much cheaper.

1 pound box of pasta (macaroni, shells, etc.), boiled and drained
1 can of Campbell’s tomato soup
4 slices of processed cheese

Boil and drain the noodles; return to saucepan. Add can of soup and heat on med-low. Add slices of cheese, one at a time, and stir until melted. Remove from heat and enjoy!


Today I embark on a month-long journey of daily posting. Quite a feat for someone who posts sporadically, dusting off cobwebs from my WordPress Dashboard every now and then.

National Blog Posting Month

But I can try.

Today I am recovering from yesterday’s dosing of over-indulgence. It was a fun time had by all, but when Halloween falls on a day before school, we’re a little less than perky the next morning. Surprisingly the middle-schoolers were up and out the door on time. They have the earliest start to the day (not including Frank). They trusted me enough to stay home with their candy, too, silly children. Actually, it was quite safe with me. As my newly dropped pant size becomes snugger on me, I am sharply reminded that candy thievery is not within my best interest. Unfortunately, fatigue often launches me to a nearly insatiable urge to munch continuously. Thank goodness I had some Lean Cuisines on hand. I allowed myself 3 small candies, and that was it.

And then I allowed myself to scarf down the remainder of my Ben & Jerry’s Oatmeal Cookie Crunch. I guess it is OK if I can get myself under control. Starting tomorrow.

In continuing a more responsible way of meal-planning and preparing, tonight’s dinner:

2 bags of Trader Joe’s (Trader Mings) Orange Chicken prepared with 1 bag of frozen stir-fry veggies t0 stretch the servings a bit further and add a bit of veggieness to the meal. The entire family really likes this chicken. I serve it with a side of long grain, white rice. Pretty decent, if you figure I can feed 6 people dinner for less than $10.