Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Recipes for Pumpkin Spice everything are all over the place this time of year, so I’m jumping in! This Pumpkin Spice Creamer is just the ticket. Maybe it’s that the weather gets cooler and we’re looking for a nice, warm, tasty drink to warm us up. Maybe it’s that this time of year when the sun has that golden glow and goes down earlier, we’re looking for ways to be more cozy. Maybe it’s that we just love fall and spice and we’re willing to try to get it into every food or drink we can. I don’t know what it is about the pumpkin pie spice thing, but I’ll take it. It really is the flavor of fall. It’s delicious. I’m sorry that I don’t remember where I found this recipe, but I did find it somewhere on the internet.

Pumpkin Spice Creamer

1 cup instant non-dairy coffee creamer

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup dry powdered milk

3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cardamom

2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix together (I used a food processor to better mix in the vanilla) and store in airtight container.


This recipe really has very few ingredients to make something so tasty.


I don’t drink that much coffee and it makes a kind of big batch so I cut it in half.


The creamer makes your coffee so spicy and creamy.


Your afternoon coffee will make you feel so cozy, you won’t believe it!


It tastes like fall. Spicy, cozy, warm and just a little bit sweet. Just what we need this time of year!



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Pumpkin Raisin Bread

It’s October, and in my book, that means pumpkin bread. I have made the same kind of pumpkin bread for over 30 years. I wrote down a recipe that I heard Joyce Lamont give on WCCO radio when we lived in Alexandria. We had just had our first baby and I was home with her and only an old black and white TV with no cable, so I listened to a lot of radio. After writing down that recipe for pumpkin bread, I have made countless loaves over the years, never thinking that there may be a recipe of Grandma’s I should have tried. After seeing my Moist Pumpkin Bread post last fall, my aunt sent me this Pumpkin Raisin Bread recipe of Grandma’s. She doesn’t have the one written in Grandma’s handwriting anymore, so I’ll just type it out as she sent it.

Pumpkin Raisin Bread

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup oil (I used canola)

2 eggs

1 cup pumpkin (I used some I had frozen)

1 3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/3 cup water

1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)

1/2 cup raisins (I had this all finished except for the raisins when I realized that I was OUT of raisins!!! Grandma would never have run out of raisins! Ha! So I punted and found some chopped dates in my cupboard!)

Beat together the sugar, oil, and eggs.

Stir in pumpkin and set aside.

Sift together the dry ingredients, then add to the pumpkin mixture.

Add water, nuts, and raisins, mixing well.

Turn into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Double the recipe and bake in 3 pans – that will use all of 1 can of pumpkin.


I used frozen pumpkin that I had left from last year, so I didn’t have quite enough to do a double batch, but I did have enough to get a couple of smaller loaves to give away.


Wow – what a beautiful loaf!


I don’t know why it got this kind of ridge around the loaf, but it sure didn’t hurt the taste any.


The dates were just fine in this pumpkin bread. It’s a delicious bread – this is the time of year for it! Make it now and get it into the freezer for all of your October and November get-togethers!





Pumpkin Pie – the Chiffon Kind

This recipe is named Pumpkin Pie, but I added the chiffon thing. It’s from this day forward going to be known as Pumpkin Pie – the Chiffon Kind so I know what to do with it. This recipe was a bit of a challenge. It’s a list of ingredients, but not much in the way of instructions. I did see that on the back of the card, there was a recipe for a graham cracker crust, so at least I knew to do that. When it came to the filling, that was a little trickier. I noticed that it asked for gelatin. Hmm. Gelatin isn’t something that usually goes in the oven. So I went online and found this exact recipe on This pie goes in the refrigerator, not the oven. If I would have put it into the oven, I would have had a mess! And so it goes with these recipes! 🙂

Pumpkin Pie and Crust

Pumpkin Pie and Crust 2

This makes a big pie. I had enough filling to put into glasses and use for dessert.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Pie

For crust:

18 (whole big graham crackers are actually counted as 2 crackers) graham crackers

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix together, press into pie pan, and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Cool completely.

For filling:

Mix together:

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar


1 1/4 cups cooked or canned pumpkin

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon each of salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Cook in double boiler until thick.

Stir into hot mixture:

1 envelope of unflavored gelatin dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water.


3 egg whites to medium peaks.

Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and beat to stiff peaks.

Fold filling mixture into egg whites.

Pour filling into crust and chill in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Top with whipped cream.


I love graham cracker crusts!


In my makeshift double boiler, the pumpkin part looks just like a regular pumpkin pie.


I whipped the egg whites before heating the pumpkin so they’re ready to go in.


Mix the egg whites into the pumpkin part and that’s it!


It made more than I needed for the pie.


I poured it into glasses and we had them for dessert that night!


Top the whipped cream with a few graham cracker crumbs – just to make it pretty.

011 (2)

This is a different kind of pumpkin pie, but still sooooo delicious. And did I mention that  you can make this the day before? Love that!




Pumpkin Pie Dessert

I came across this photo of Grandma in a costume and I just had to share it!!! How cute is this?

grandma costume

She must have been in a school play. I just love the roses on the garland, and the rolled socks! Those cheeks! Those dimples! That headband! There is another photo of her on the same page of the photo album and it says 1926. I think she looks a little younger in this one, maybe 10-12 years old.

Today’s recipe is so typically a Grandma recipe. It’s so easy and so good! There isn’t have an official name on the card, and at first I couldn’t decide if it was bars, cake, or dessert. I think I’ve decided that it should be a dessert. Pumpkin Pie Dessert is very easy and you can even do the day before you need it.

Pumpkin Pie Dessert

Pumpkin Pie Dessert 2

Again – so easy, so fast, so good.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Pie Dessert

For the crust, mix together:

1 yellow cake mix (reserve 1 cup of mix for the topping)

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg

Pat into 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

For the filling, mix together:

3 cups pumpkin

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 eggs, beaten

2/3 cup milk

Pour over crust.

For topping, mix together until crumbly:

1 cup reserved cake mix

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup butter

Sprinkle over top of filling.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.


It doesn’t look like a lot of crust, but it does cover the bottom of the pan. I found that using a small metal offset spatula helped spread it better.


The filling looks just like pumpkin pie filling.


It turns golden and delicious after baking.


This really is an easy one.


Here is what it looked like right after baking.


This is what it looked like the next day. The layers of topping, filling, and crust are more pronounced and the whole thing firmed up. I would always make it a day ahead.


This is great for any occasion that calls for pumpkin pie. Anything you can do a day ahead is ok with me! Don’t forget the whipped cream!




Autumn Gold Pumpkin Cake

I really love November because I really love the change of seasons. We really notice the change here in Minnesota when this month hits. My oldest daughter was born on November 5 and I remember that the year she was born, I went into the hospital and it was all golden October with its fall colors and when we came home from the hospital, it was drab November with its bare trees and muted colors. She was our flash of color in November THAT year! 🙂 The first week of November seems to be the changeover every year. It also seems to be about the time of our first snow flakes and it’s been rare when there hasn’t been some on my daughter’s birthday. November is also THE month for pumpkin. On my last post we learned how to freeze pumpkin for using in pies, cakes, and muffins, and even though we’re not using any of that pumpkin today (but you could), we’re going to get a start on our pumpkin recipes. Grandma’s recipe today is Autumn Gold Pumpkin Cake and it’s again – one of my new favorites. So good.

Autumn Gold Pumpkin Cake

This cake is really tasty and so easy to do.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Autumn Gold Pumpkin Cake

Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes:

1 box of Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Butter Recipe Golden Cake Mix (she said her sister used a yellow cake mix and so did I)

3 eggs

1 cup water

1 cup solid pack pumpkin

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Stir in:

1 cup walnuts, chopped

The card says to put the batter into 2 greased and floured 8″ cake pans, but I used a 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

For Frosting:

Mix together:

1 can (16 oz.) Duncan Hines Vanilla Frosting

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Garnish with:

1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts


I don’t think I really need to show you how beautifully thick the batter is, but I will anyway.


You can see the flecks of pumpkin and spices in the batter.


It’s a little easier to see the spices after baking.


I don’t think it shows up, but you can see the cinnamon in the frosting. I didn’t think that little bit of cinnamon would make such a huge difference, but it makes the frosting taste more homemade and less store-bought.


I’m not a huge fan of nuts in cake, so I left them out. I did put nuts on top, but I used toasted pecans instead of walnuts.


Adding these few ingredients make this cake special and tasty, yet still so easy to do!


This cake truly is one of my new favorites, just right for this pumpkin-crazy time of year!





Freezing Pumpkin

I’d like to think that once Grandma’s family had a freezer, they did things like freezing pumpkins and garden vegetables. I don’t think they had a freezer at the time that this photo was taken!

action pic of Johnson kids

It’s a bit blurry, but I LOVE IT!!! These were the days of having to sit still when the photo was taken. You can tell that these kids were in constant motion! I THINK Grandma is the little blur in the bottom left. They probably did a lot of canning to preserve their garden harvest. I’ve never even thought of canning pumpkin, since we have the convenience of the freezer. I don’t remember stories of them eventually being able to freeze things, but she must have known how to do it. The year we grew so many pumpkins in Grandma and Grandpa’s farm garden, my mom wanted to try to make a pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin and I’m sure Grandma helped her figure out how. There were so many pumpkins, we had to find a way to preserve them, so we figured out how to Freeze Pumpkin. Like many of these recipes, it’s pretty easy to do – it just takes some time.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Freezing Pumpkin

Pick a pumpkin that you want to freeze for pie making at a later time.


It’s hard to cut up this gorgeous pumpkin!


This pumpkin is about the right size for one pie.


I split it in half and scoop out the “guts” and seeds. Make sure you keep the seeds for roasting! Check out my post for making Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds.


Cut into pieces and roast in a 400 degree oven for 40-60 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.


Scrape flesh off of rind and put into food processor.


I was able to fit all of the pumpkin into the processor at once. Give it a whir until the pumpkin is as smooth as you want it.


I usually fill the freezer bags with 2 cups so it’s enough for one pie. There’s always some that stays in the bag, so I add 1/4 cup extra to be sure you have enough pumpkin in the end. You can also take the pumpkin out of the bag before it’s thawed so that none stays in the bag, but I seem to forget to do that, and then I end up short.


When the freezer bags are full, I freeze them flat so they take up less room in the freezer. That’s it. Not hard at all, it just takes a little time. I’ll be making a pie with this pumpkin in a couple of weeks. You’ll love the fresh pumpkin in your pie when you try this!



Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

When cleaning out a pumpkin for roasting and freezing or carving, one of the most important things to do (according to my family) is to keep the seeds and roast them. They make a great snack and are one of the most traditional parts of Halloween for us. I’ve been making these Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds for at least 15 years. I saw them in a Martha Stewart Living Magazine, tried them, and there was no looking back. My kids LOVE these and they are another treat we all make every year. This has been one of my son’s favorite Halloween treats since he was this old.


He was Captain Hook the year this photo was taken. These were the days when whether or not his mustache was on, was most important to him. Now he has his own mustache (and beard) without the makeup! He still can’t wait for these seeds every Halloween.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

Dry seeds in 250 degree oven for 1 hour.

Mix together:

3 Tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

Dash of cayenne pepper, or to taste.

Saute dried seeds in 1 1/2 Tablespoons peanut oil (I usually sauté until they start to pop).

Add 2 Tablespoons sugar and mix well.

Remove with slotted spoon and put into spice mixture.

Mix thoroughly.



Start with a beautiful pumpkin. I used this one for freezing, not a jack-o-lantern. We’ll make a pie with it later!


Scoop out the seeds and save them for roasting.


You can see the before and after roasting here. I don’t rinse the seeds because I like the more pumpkin-y flavor leaving them the way they are. The seeds are also good roasted with just a little olive oil and salt. Delicious.


Mix up the spices before starting so you’re ready to go!


Sauteing the seeds in the peanut oil and sugar makes them a little caramel-y.


Make sure to mix the seeds well into the spice mixture.


Each seed is coated in spicy, sugary goodness. You can also use this mixture and recipe for making spiced nuts.


This pumpkin didn’t make a very big batch since it was a small pie pumpkin, but carving jack-o-lanterns (the big ones that we do) gives you more seeds to work with.


These Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds are a great alternative to roasting them plain. They make a great snack and your little trick-or-treaters will love them!






Pumpkin Cake

We grew pumpkins in the big garden on Grandma and Grandpa’s farm. Technically, I suppose, it wasn’t in the garden, it was in a field. This is a photo of me and my sister and our cousin with some of the pumpkins (which seem to be beautifully shaped ones).

Pumpkin Cake

We are sitting on a hay rack and you can even see one of Grandpa’s cows in the background! So cute! We had so many pumpkins one year, that we took them to our house and sold a bunch of them. We also had enough that same year to cook them to freeze and use all winter. From time to time, ever since that fall, I will buy pumpkins, bake them, and freeze the pumpkin flesh for using at a later time. I use the pumpkin in recipes instead of butter or oil (especially good in brownie recipes) and then, of course, for the usual pumpkin recipes for pies, cakes, muffins, and bread. There are a lot of pumpkin pie recipes in Grandma’s file, but not a lot of pumpkin cakes. This recipe for Pumpkin Cake is so good, you’ll want to make it all year round – not just this time of year.

Pumpkin Cake


Pumpkin Cake 2

Pumpkin Cake Frosting

Pumpkin Cake Frosting 2

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Cake

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon allspice

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup cooking oil (I used canola oil)

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 cup pumpkin

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.

Cream together oil and sugar.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each.

Add dry ingredients alternately with pumpkin, to creamed mixture.

Grease and flour three 9″ cake pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

For a bundt pan about 50 minutes.

For cupcakes about 20 minutes.

I made cupcakes with this batch and got 24.

I’m going to try to make a layer cake at a later time, but for today I used the cream cheese icing recipe on the bottom of the card.

Cream Cheese Icing

Mix together until smooth:

1 8 ounce package of cream cheese

1 box (3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 cup butter

Spread or pipe on top of cake or cupcakes.


I mixed the dry ingredients first and then the wet. Getting everything step ready separately and ready to go makes it easier to add the ingredients alternately in the end.


The cupcakes did rise a bit when baked . . .


. . . making the perfect platform for the icing!


I had to add the pumpkin decoration on top.


Any pan you bake it in, this recipe is delicious, and again, one of my new favorites! Try this one today and it will be your new favorite, too!


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie

This recipe is one more easy pumpkin pie to add to your arsenal this holiday season.

It’s called Pumpkin Pie on the recipe card, but I’ve renamed it Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie.

It uses a graham cracker crust, and instead of baking the whole pie, I just had to bake the crust.

Pumpkin Pie

I love pumpkin pie so having another type to choose from sounds great to me!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie

Mix together:

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened

1 Tablespoon of white sugar

1 Tablespoon milk or half-n-half

Stir in 1 1/2 cup non-dairy whipped topping, thawed.

Put this mixture into a baked graham cracker crust. Find a recipe for the crust here.

Then beat together:

2 packages of vanilla instant pudding

1 cup milk or half-n-half

Mix with:

1 16 ounce can of pumpkin

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Put this mixture on top of cream cheese mixture in graham cracker crust and chill for at least one hour.


This is the graham cracker crust.

You can also use a “storebought” one if you really need to.

There’s really no need to.


This is the cream cheese layer.


Next is the pumpkin/vanilla pudding layer.


The end product is very quick if you need something “last minute”.

AND it’s delicious!


Pumpkin Crunch Dessert

Today’s recipe is one that you can use for Thanksgiving week.

Or any week.

Pumpkin Crunch Dessert is a pumpkin pie/cake hybrid that’s an easy and quick addition to your holiday dessert repertoire.

Gotta hand it to Grandma – she picked some great, easy recipes for her collection.

Pumpkin Crunch Dessert

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Crunch Dessert

1 16 ounce can of pumpkin

1 12 ounce can of evaporated milk

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 box of cake mix (I used white)

1 cup melted butter

1 cup  chopped walnuts or pecans (I used pecans)

Combine pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, salt, and spices.

Put in 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Sprinkle dry cake mix over this.

Drizzle melted butter over the top of the cake mix.

Sprinkle nuts on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. It took mine about 10 extra minutes.


This really is an easy one!


Here is the batter before baking.


I didn’t know whether to use a spoon to get it out of the pan or a spatula.

The spatula worked just great.


This would be a good one to feed a crowd.

The crunchy topping is great with the pumpkin pie like filling.

So good.


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