Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Pumpkin Pancakes

I just can’t seem to get enough pumpkin! The recipe for today is a Martha Stewart recipe that you can find here. I have to say, we did make Pumpkin Pancakes a few years ago and we made them so much that we had to take a break. Our daughters come for dinner every Sunday and when I made these, everyone agreed that they’re absolutely delicious. Where have these been and why haven’t we had these for so long? They were the ones who told me that we needed to take a break! Well, our break-up with the pumpkin pancakes is over. We’re back together. For good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Pancakes

Whisk together:

1 1/4 cups flour

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

pinch of ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix in another bowl:

1 egg

6 Tablespoons pumpkin puree

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup milk

Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.

Heat a buttered skillet over medium heat.

Pour in about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake.

Cook 3 minutes per side.

Serve with butter and maple syrup.


Mix the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls.


Fold them together and you’re ready to fry the pancakes.


I used the griddle that has been in our family for years. A little butter on the griddle (no – it’s NOT smoking, just steaming) and then put on the pancake batter.


The best thing to serve with pumpkin pancakes – bacon. It’s necessary, really.


A pat of butter on top and then for the real maple syrup. These pancakes are so good, you just have to make them part of your next breakfast or brunch. They’re easy to make and are amazingly tasty. Taking a break was hard. I’m so glad we’re getting back together with this old favorite.


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Healthy Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Muffins – Sort Of

After the 6th day of the worst head cold known to man, making a permanent indentation on my couch, and pinning an incredible number of great ideas on Pinterest, I was going stir-crazy and it was time to get off the couch and make something. If that something happens to be good for me and is a great accompaniment to my daily gallon of tea or other warm beverage for my throat, all the better.

Have you noticed that people are obsessed with the pumpkin spice thing? I decided to try a recipe of my own. Well, using one that I already have, of course. A very good one. I reinvented the Oatmeal Muffin recipe of Grandma’s (one of my all-time favorites) using some of the huge stash of frozen pumpkin puree that I still have in my freezer. I just added pumpkin instead of butter in the muffins, and added the obligatory pumpkin pie spice. These Healthy Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Muffins didn’t turn out too bad, if I do say so myself. Oh yeah, and I’m calling them healthy, sort of, because of the lack of butter. There’s still plenty of sugar and sour cream in these. That’s why they’re only sort of healthy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Muffins

2 cups oatmeal (plus extra for the top of the muffins)

2 cups sour cream

2/3 cup pumpkin puree

4 eggs

2 cups light brown sugar, packed

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Combine oats and sour cream.

Stir in pumpkin, egg, and brown sugar until well mixed.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.

Stir into oat mixture just until blended.

You can add 1/2 to 1 cup raisins to these – for a little added healthiness.

Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.


The pumpkin puree is a great substitute for butter. You really can’t tell the difference.


I like to add the raisins, but you don’t have to.


I don’t know why I had these gigantic cupcake papers, but they worked just fine. When I filled them, I used a 1/4 cup measure. A sprinkle of oats on top and they’re ready for the oven.


They’re delicious and smell amazing!


You can see by the color that they’ve got pumpkin and spice in them. The oats add a little extra crunch on top.


Yes – these muffins are really good and go well with tea or any other warm beverage you like. I have to say they turned out pretty well – they’re really good and really tasty. Make a batch of these and join in the pumpkin spice trend!








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Pumpkin Cheese Ball

Today a northwest wind is howling through our trees, bringing cooler temperatures and a few snow flurries. The time has come for our beloved change of seasons here in Minnesota. I absolutely love the change and I don’t think I could ever live where there would be none. We’ve been spoiled with an amazing fall – beautiful blue skies and warmer than normal temperatures – but I’m pretty sure it’s over. The change from fall to winter is when we get to enjoy the fruits of our summer labor. It’s time to get cozy, sit by the fire, enjoy the upcoming holidays, and be with friends and family. I have made today’s recipe many times over the years. It’s a little bit different from the Cheese Ball that I’ve posted about in the past. This Pumpkin Cheese Ball is really delicious.

Pumpkin Cheese Ball

This is a great appetizer or snack for your thanksgiving gatherings!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Cheese Ball


8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup solid pack pumpkin

Mix until well blended.

Stir in:

1 package (2.5 ounce) smoked, sliced beef, chopped

2 cups (8 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1 Tablespoon onion, chopped

Form into large ball.

Score sides to resemble pumpkin.

Cut a piece of celery for the stem.


Don’t forget to soften the cream cheese when mixing it with the pumpkin or it will get lumpy.


I love these ingredients – just a bit different.


Blend it all together.


It’s got that beautiful pumpkin color, too!


I like to put it onto a piece of plastic wrap, then make it a ball and put it into the frig to chill. It holds its shape better when chilled.


I cut a piece of celery for the stem and used a piece of cilantro for a leaf (parsley would work for a leaf, too). Don’t forget to score the lines to make it look more like a pumpkin.


Serve this with crackers or a sliced baguette. It’s delicious, and great to have made up and ready to have any time over the holiday weekend. Make one, then sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor!



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No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie

Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin. Pumpkin is synonymous with this time of year. There are just so many great things to do with it. I’ve posted a few recipes over the years. I’ve done Pumpkin Pie – the Chiffon Kind, Pumpkin Pie Dessert, Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie , and Autumn Gold Pumpkin Cake. I’ve done Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds, Freezing Pumpkin, and Knit Pumpkins. I haven’t even done just your basic Pumpkin Pie yet. Here is another great fast and easy recipe for one more kind of pumpkin pie. This No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie is a great pie to do last-minute.

No Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie

No Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie 2

I love how easy this one is!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie

Beat together for 1-2 minutes:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 stick butter, softened

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Blend in:

1 can pumpkin

Pour into 9″ graham cracker crust (I’m not going judge you if you use a store-bought one and not make your own. Not much anyway.)

Chill 6 hours or overnight.


Here is the recipe for a graham cracker crust that I used.


The filling is so smooth and luscious.


I wanted to use my pretty milk glass pie plate, so, as usual, I had some graham crumbs and filling leftover. I put crumbs in the bottom of the glasses and made 3 desserts for dinner that night.


Topped with some whipped cream and more crumbs – delicious dessert!


It’s a soft pie and the cream cheese gives it a bit of a tangy taste.


Any of the pumpkin recipes mentioned at the top of this post would be great additions to your Thanksgiving table, but this is also a great recipe. I love that you can make it VERY easily the night before (you could even stretch it to two days before your gathering). Done. Ready to go. You’re going to love this one and so will your guests!





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Pumpkin Bars

This recipe is absolutely phenomenal. It’s another one that I’ve had for years and years. I have no idea where it came from because I have it just written down in my recipe book, but it’s makes the BEST Pumpkin Bars I’ve ever had. I wouldn’t be surprised if it originally came from Grandma. When we’d go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house this time of year, we never had dinner without lighting a candle in the middle of the dining room table, and I was thrilled when I was the lucky one who got to light it. I always thought that it was just a thing that Grandma did, you know, one of her special entertaining traits – lighting candles. After the trip I took to Sweden and Norway with my mom, sister, and godmother two years ago, I think now that it may be a cultural thing. Everywhere we went in Sweden and Norway, there were candles everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE! Not just on the dining tables, but all along the way TO the dining room, in the hotel lobbies, in the lounge areas, even in the front windows of the hotels. There were even candles so close to where you walked, I wondered if anyone ever knocked them over. It seemed like a fire hazard. But I liked it. I love candles, and this time of year especially. It’s like a light in the darkness of the long winter ahead. Of course, you have to be careful with candle flames and the matches used to light them. When I was little, I had a wonderful babysitter who taught me to always hold the blown out match under running water so it wouldn’t start the garbage on fire! I also love some of the new battery operated flameless candles they’ve come out with now – they’re so realistic. There’s a lot less worrying about the fire hazard thing. Regardless, I love candles and their warm glow against the long and seemingly never-ending winter darkness to come.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Bars

Mix and set aside:

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda


1 cup oil (I used canola)

4 eggs

1 can pumpkin

2 cups sugar

Add flour mixture, mix well.

Bake on a jelly roll pan (15″ x 10″) at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.


8 ounces cream cheese

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Add 1/2 to 1 cup powdered sugar (I used 1 cup) and beat until of spreading consistency.


I don’t use my  beat up old baking sheets for bars very often. The batter just fits!


It rose just enough without overflowing!


Is there anything better than cream cheese frosting? I think not.


My family thinks these are more like a cake than bars. They think bars are meant to be picked up and held when eaten. I didn’t have a problem eating these with my hand, but they thought it was easier to eat with a fork.


You have to try this recipe!!! I can’t stress that enough! It’s so good, so easy, so appropriate for this month! Add it to your Thanksgiving dessert table! It’s a keeper!




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!


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