It’s been beautiful here lately. One of my favorite things about the East Coast is the seasons, especially autumn. Western Nebraska has a beauty all of its own, but that doesn’t include many trees. The few deciduous trees that do grow there generally have their leaves frozen off by early cold weather. Friday was a perfect example of the extreme fluctuations that the area receives; it was only October 5th and they already had several inches of snow on the ground. What’s even crazier, only 2 days prior it was 83 degrees. This doesn’t allow the vegetation, nor residents for that matter, much time to adjust.
Taking in the Local Flora and Fauna
Wanting to take full advantage of my first full autumn in New Jersey, I set out for a long walk on our nature trail with our 6-week-old daughter. Thankfully, she is like me and loves being outside. It was one of those rare mornings that you learn to cherish. The weather was calm but cool, little areas of fog highlighted the sun streaming in between the trees, and we could literally sit and watch the leaves falling. Perfection.
One of the oddities of this area that I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to is all the wildlife. I would have never dreamt that in New Jersey we would see more wild animals than in the rural Midwest. Out here everything is so close together they don’t have anywhere else to go, and since hunting is not prevalent they don’t seem to have a fear of humans. Which is nice when observing them from a short distance, but not great when deer jump out on the roads of highly-traveled residential and business areas, or a black bear decides to make friends with your neighbor’s dog. During our walk, we came right up on an entire herd of deer only about 20 feet in front of us on the trail. They leisurely grazed and took their time making their way across. It was a nice ending to our gorgeous morning walk, one of those peaceful, quiet times when you feel content and closer to God. I wish every morning could be like this.
Warming Up with Dessert
As promised in the title, to round out our little celebration of the autumn season, I also whipped up a pumpkin dessert. With a newborn to care for, extra time and two free hands are not things readily available to me at this point. So more than ever, I’m looking for quick and easy solutions when cooking and baking. A long time ago my mother-in-law had told me about the easiest and very delicious dessert that the gals at work had been making: angel food cake mix and pie filling. And yes, those are the only 2 ingredients. Gaining interest and popularity, I now see this idea often posted on sites such as Pinterest.
My husband was actually the one who suggested using pumpkin pie filling. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out since all of the other fillings contain more liquid. I figured I could always add milk or water to get the consistency needed. Searching online, however, I came across the blog When the Dinner Bell Rings. They have a post showing numerous ways to incorporate angel food cake mix to create all kinds of desserts, and for our pumpkin version, you just add 1 cup of water.
Simply mix together the box of angel food cake mix, the can of pumpkin pie filling, and 1 cup of water. I also added some cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove to spice it up a little.
Pour the batter into a 9×13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; and that’s it, honestly. With a little whipped topping, this is a super quick dessert to help get your pumpkin fix this fall season.