Monday, November 4, 2013

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

In the weeks preceding Halloween, I asked Matthew what costume he would like to wear. He responded quickly and without hesitation: "I want to be a dinosaur, Mommy. A T-REX!"

Ok, easy enough. I was sure there would be a couple of dinosaur costumes at the discount clothing store nearby. I took Matthew shopping there a couple days later and much to my chagrin, there was not a single dinosaur costume in his size. I tried to see if he perhaps wanted to dress up as a fireman, Buzz Lightyear, or even Curious George since those costumes were readily available but he was adamant. He wanted to be a dinosaur. And by the end of our trip he had determined that Baby Emma should dress up as a "baby stegosaurus." However, we had already purchased an Eeyore costume for Emma, so that detail of Matthew's dinosaur vision was not happening.

Our little Eeyore. She was a little too good at acting all depressed and glum.

Matthew normally "pets" Baby Emma's head the exact same way he pets Riley.
I like how Emma is returning the gesture and patting his head in this picture!
While shopping for a pair of pants for Emma at a different store a couple days later, I spied what appeared to be a costume decorated with a reptilian-like pattern. Could it be the elusive dinosaur costume we had been seeking?

I pulled it out and Matthew squealed with delight: "A DINOSAUR! THANK YOU MOMMY!" He immediately tried it on and it fit perfectly. Matthew was in 7th heaven, prancing around and showing off his sharp claws and cute spiky tail. But something was not right.

Matthew didn't seem to notice...but a little pair of orange wings on his shoulders gave it away. Matthew was in fact dressed as a dragon...not a dinosaur.

I decided to just go with it and payed a whopping $3.00 for the costume and brought it home to show Paul. Matthew proudly dressed up in his outfit and came running into the room: "ROAR! I is the dinosaur! I a T-REX!" Paul took one look at him and remarked: "I think you're a dragon." I immediately punched him on the shoulder: "No he's not. He's a T-Rex (granted, an anatomically unusual one with wings). Let him be a T-Rex!"

We attended the Halloween event held every year at our local zoo. The kids get to dress up in costumes and then go trick-or-treating around the zoo while enjoying seeing the animals and all the Halloween decorations lit up at night. Our little "dinosaur" was the happiest little tyke, for this was an event he had been looking forward to since the last Zoo Boo. He was so proud of his dinosaur costume. Even though everyone else said he was a dragon.

Someone is so very excited to go trick-or-treating at the zoo!

The most highly anticipated train ride of the year. Lucky Paul was the chosen parent to accompany our
T-Rex on this spooky ride. Baby Emma and Mom enjoyed the warmth of the gift shop.

Baby Emma hates her Eeyore outfit. The little hood drives her crazy. She kept getting mad at
me for not letting her pull it off while we were outdoors - but it was so cold!

Halloween night came and we carved out our Jack-O-Lanterns before heading out for trick-or-treating. Matthew wanted to carve a cat face in the pumpkin this year. He was actually quite a bit of help with the carving process, especially when it came to scooping out the seeds. He was so meticulous - not a single seed was left inside that pumpkin!

Baby Emma seemed like she wanted to get in on the pumpkin carving action!

But when we brought her closer, she became a bit nervous. She was almost a little frightened of that pumpkin.

The master carver at work. Real men carve pumpkins shirtless. Notice Baby Emma has retreated to her
chair in the background. It's safer back there. Plus there are Cheerios.

"I doing it Mommy! I getting the seeds! We eat the pumpkin? It's very good? We like eat Pumpkin?"
Less chit-chat and more carving Matthew.

The final product all lit up! A vampire kitty!

Halloween was a monsoon this year. It rained all day long. Even with an umbrella, there was no avoiding getting drenched since there were some strong 30-mph wind gusts kicking up every couple minutes. However, the nasty weather did not stop us from enjoying some trick-or-treating. Matthew had been looking forward to going out begging for candy for weeks. A little rain certainly was not going to stop him. I actually think he actually was more excited about the prospect of stomping in puddles than the candy he was about to collect! We got him all suited up in his "dinosaur" costume and Spider-man rain boots and then headed out the door.

To each house we went, Matthew met neighbors who fawned over his costume: "Oh what a cute little dragon you are!"

Matthew was quite dismayed that nobody seemed to recognize him dressed up as the king of the dinosaurs: "NO! I a T-Rex! ROAR!" He was more than a little put out that he had to explain his outfit to each person. However, I'm pretty sure he got double the candy just for roaring at everyone. He came back with quite the spread. Too much for a little guy to eat. I have to figure out some creative ways to get rid of it. Or save it for his Christmas stocking (shhhh....).

We enjoyed hot bowls of Chicken Tortilla Soup, Cornbread, and Salsa/Chips after returning home from trick-or-treating. We were all absolutely drenched so the warm soup tasted so great! Of course, our Halloween festivities would be incomplete without a delicious pumpkin dessert to top off the evening.

It is a Halloween tradition in my family to make an Upside-Down Pumpkin Pie. It is my Dad's favorite dessert and everyone else in the family thinks it's the bomb so it makes an appearance more than once each year and definitely at dinner on Halloween night. I still crave this dessert from time to time. In fact, it was something my Mom made for me when I brought Emma home from the hospital because I had been craving it during the last few weeks of pregnancy. However, much to my chagrin, Paul is not a big fan of the dessert. I do not know if it is the fact that it includes walnuts, the texture, etc. but he has never really enjoyed it as much as I. So, for Halloween dessert, I decided to test out another similar pumpkin recipe that is just as easy and convenient as my Mom's Upside-Down Pumpkin Pie.

Enter this Paula Deen recipe. It comes together in minutes and can be made way ahead of time. Perfect for a busy holiday gathering! And it is absolutely delicious - kind of a cross between a pumpkin pie and a pumpkin cheesecake. Paul loved it - although he once again claimed it would be a perfect breakfast staple. He's slightly crazy...but I do indulge his insanity. Guess what he has been eating for breakfast the past couple of days?

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
from Paula Deen via Food Network

For the Cake:
1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

For the Filling:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (16 ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking pan.

Combine the cake mix, egg, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until well blended. Pat the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

Wipe out the mixing bowl and then add the cream cheese and pumpkin. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter, and beat together until well combined. Add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40-50 minutes. Make sure not to overbake as the center should be a little gooey. I actually let mine go the full 50 minutes and it was still quite jiggly in the middle, but set up beautifully once cool.

Let cool to room temperature or chill in the fridge. Serve with freshly whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon!

**This post is linking up with all the other lovely bloggers for What's Cookin' Wednesday over at Buns in My Oven!**


  1. Emma makes an adorable Eeyore!! Love babies in costumes. I blame Shannon for this since she gave us Luke's monkey costume. =)

  2. Darling kid pictures! I can't pass up a gooey butter cake! Thanks for linking up to What's Cookin' Wednesday!