One of the things that made this weekend extra special is that my two lovely sisters and my niece and her friend joined us for the weekend. They drove in from Michigan and we had a little over 24 hours to fit in some girl time in addition to enjoying our Thanksgiving dinner.
So on Saturday afternoon after they arrived, we went to St. Jacobs for a bit of shopping. The weather was perfect with the exception of a little wind. The sun was shining and really only a sweater was needed to keep us warm. The fall decorations and the delightful little shops made for a perfect afternoon.
We started out with the best of intentions to act mature, but that quickly went by the wayside. Especially when we saw these great blingy, cat-eye sunglasses! And I don't even want to talk about the variety of hats we had to try on!
Then it was home for dinner, some food prep for our Thanksgiving meal the next day and a quiet evening. Sunday morning came early and began with Mass, a most appropriate way to pause and reflect on the many blessings in our lives. When we returned home, the delicious smell of turkey greeted us but we still had a few hours before dinner. So out came the Scrabble board. We are huge Scrabble fans (with some taking the game more seriously than others!) and we were happy to squeeze in a game.
We couldn't convince the guys to join in, so it was just the five girls.
Can you believe these tiles I had? I refused to throw them back in for new ones and I actually ended up winning the game :)
Then came the dinner. The highlight of our day. There is something about breaking bread together that brings such a sense of intimacy. A gathering of loved ones, sharing a meal, giving thanks... it makes my heart overflow.
Little candles and shortbread pumpkin-shaped cookies greeted each family member.
And everything was delicious!
And I made Pumpkin Layer Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing! Can you say, "Died and gone to heaven?"
My sweet friend, Janice, shared her recipe with me and it was incredibly good. She made hers with Maple Frosting, which I would like to try sometime, but I will say the Cinnamon Cream Cheese icing was amazing!
Here is the recipe if you would like to give it a try~
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup oil
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
In a large bowl mix both sugars, oil, eggs, and pumpkin well. Add remaining ingredients and stir well. Pour into 2 round cake pans and bake at 350º for 25 - 30 minutes. (I did not have cloves, so I substituted 1/2 teaspoon allspice and it was perfect.) Let cool and then remove cake from pans and frost.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
4-1/2 to 5 cups powdered sugar
In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla and cinnamon and beat until combined. Add powdered sugar and beat until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Place one cake layer, upside down onto cake plate. Add a generous layer of frosting. Place second cake layer on top, right side up. Spread remaining frosting on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts if desired. Chill until ready to serve. Take out of refrigerator about 1 hour before serving to let frosting soften slightly.
This cake can also be baked in a 9 x 13-inch pan. Half of the frosting recipe would be plenty for a 9 x 13 cake. Enjoy!