Saturday, November 21, 2015

Morning Baking

This morning is this month's meeting of MO' Haven, the writing group that was created after the three of us each attended the Haven Writing Retreat created by Laura Munson in Montana. Maria is hosting lunch so we can build in extra time to hear about her Haven II experience, where all the attendees are focused on writing a book. I have only known these women since summer, but already they are cherished friends and unbelievable creative supports.

I volunteered to bring pumpkin dessert for today's lunch and also tomorrow's harvest dinner at church. So after lounging in bed listening to the wind blow and the rain fall, I got up and made my way to the kitchen.

This recipe stirs nostaglia in me every time I bake it. My preschool friend's mom, Lynn, gave the recipe to my mom, and it was a staple of our autumn menus. Lynn died when I was in college. Her home was welcoming and fun to visit. I miss her, and so each time I make this dessert, I feel like I am honoring her and the friendship she extended to me and my family so long ago.

Making this recipe several times a season was one of the entres into shedding my negative feelings in the kitchen. I became proficient at making it, and I received compliments when I brought it to work potlucks or other occasions. Those compliments boosted my confidence, and I began sharing the recipe, which made me feel like a bona fide competent in the kitchen.

I smiled this morning as I made two at once. I've come a long way in this kitchen journey of mine. Preparing two recipes would have overloaded my inexperienced circuits just a few years ago, and now? I marvel at the joy, peace, and satisfaction I get as I whip up this dessert. 

If you're looking for something new to try this Thanksgiving, I'm offering the recipe here in time to add the ingredients to your shopping list.

Lynn's Pumpkin Dessert

1 pkg yellow cake mix (reserve 1 C. for topping) (generic brands without pudding are best, but very hard to find)
1 egg
Mix cake mix and egg and pat into 9 x 13 pan.

2 eggs
2/3 C. PET evaporated milk
1 16 oz. Can of pumpkin
¾ C. sugar
1 tsp vanilla and cinnamon
½ tsp salt and ginger
Beat eggs slightly, add evaporated milk and remaining ingredients.
Mix until smooth. Pour over crust.

1 C. Reserved cake mix
¼ C. Butter
½ C. Sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup pecans (I just lay halved pecans in rows of three)
Cut together and sprinkle over filling. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Do the toothpick test to make sure the center is baked.

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