Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cakes by Paula Dean

This was absolutely amazing – may make it a new Thanksgiving staple!

1 package (18.25 oz) yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 T butter, melted

1 package cream cheese, softened
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
8 T butter, melted
1 16 oz box powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 (175C).
Combine cake mix, eggs and butter.  Pat the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 13×9 in baking dish.

To make filling:  in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth.  Add eggs, vanilla and butter and beat together.  Add powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and mix well.  Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40-50 mi .  Make sure not to overtake as the center should be a little gooey.

Serve with whipped creme.


Thanksgiving in Florida

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite American traditions – as a self-proclaimed food aficionado and general lover of eating there is not much better than a holiday which revolves around these things! Since I’ve been outside of the States for more than six years and living away from home for another six, I’ve only spent a handful of Thanksgivings with my actual family, as tradition dictates, but have enjoyed a number of “Friendsgiving” productions that have been quite successful! Last year’s was particularly nice – with a number of people congregating at the Italian and my apartment in London. This year, however, I was lucky enough to fly back to the US to spend the holiday with my family – in Florida!

Sarasota, Florida was a nice meeting place this year for our family that is spread out amongst a number of cities. My aunt lives in Sarasota, and this fact paired with the sunshine and the beach made it a very attractive Thanksgiving destination location! My mom, sister and brother and I all stayed in a rented apartment one block from the beach and with a nice big dining table. We spent Thursday morning cooking our favorite Thanksgiving dishes. All the classics were there, and we also had a really nice green bean dish with Teriyaki sauce as a veggie side. My mom calls them “Fancy Green Beans”. J I’ll include this recipe as it was something new on our Thanksgiving table and it was very delicious!

Overall it was a wonderful Thanksgiving and we even got to end the holiday with a walk on the beach – a bit of a departure from our usual family get-togethers in Colorado where there is more snow than sand!


Fancy Green Beans

  •  2 slices crisp cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
  • ½ cup whole cashews
  • ½ cup red bell pepper (julienne)
  • ½ cup thin onion wedges (purple or white onion)
  • 1 ½ lbs fresh green beans
  • 2 T Teriyaki sauce
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 T melted butter
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 2 T olive oil

Combine together the Teriyaki sauce, honey, and melted butter and put aside.

In large pot boil water, add 1 T lemon juice and 1 ½ lbs fresh green beans. Cook 3-4 minutes.

Drain beans and plunge in ice water to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.

Saute the red pepper and onion in 2 T olive oil, then simmer for 5 minutes.

Combine everything together. Can refrigerate and microwave before serving.

IMG_0464.JPGOur antipasti of cured meats, olives, and cheese.

IMG_0468.JPGThanksgiving cocktails! Sparkling wine, white wine, pomegranate juice, orange juice, and fruits.

IMG_0484.JPGSweet potatos with pecans and brown sugar.

IMG_0490.JPGThe main event – Turkey!!!!!

IMG_0487.JPGStuffing – yum yum

IMG_0488.JPGCranberry sauce

IMG_0492.JPGOur Thanksgiving table

IMG_0502.JPGAnd my Thanksgiving plate! So good.






Screen shot 2013-12-01 at 11.23.13 AM

Thanksgiving this year was a culinary hurricane – we had so much food there wasn’t enough counter space to display it all! We had a really fun, large turnout of 15 people, which was a rather tight fit for our 1-bedroom flat, and everyone brought something to contribute to the meal. I spent almost all day cooking the turkey, gravy, stuffing, and salads with a group of friends, while the Italian took care of the mashed potatoes for his very first ever thanksgiving. All in all we enjoyed the following foods:

  • Thanksgiving Amaretto Sour cocktail
  • A root veggie salad with orange and yellow carrots, beetroot, celeriac, kohlrabi, and turnip
  • Salad with pomegranates, butternut squash and goat cheese
  • Bread ring roll with hard boiled eggs, cheese, basil, sundried tomatoes, and parma ham
  • Other cheeses, olives, and focaccia bread
  • Apple walnut stuffing
  • Cranberry-raspberry sauce
  • Homemade gravy
  • Mashed potatoes
  • 6.2 kg Turkey
  • Green bean casserole
  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Apple pie
  • Hazelnut torte


The 6.2kg bird!


Breads, salads, and cranberry sauce


Bread Ring Roll and Apple Walnut Stuffing


Root salad with orange and yellow carrots, beetroot, celeriac, kohlrabi, and turnip.


Salad with pan-fried butternut squash, pomegranates, and goats cheese


Desserts: pumpkin pie, apple pie, and hazelnut torte


Cutting into the dessertsImage

My holiday favorite (and my homemade contribution to this year’s Thanksgiving feast) – Pumpkin Pie!




Pie cutting


More pie cutting




Me and Loki, who enjoyed her first Thanksgiving turkey