With Halloween just around the corner, this weekend was the perfect time to partake in some last-minute Halloween activities. Tony, Livi, and I piled into the car with our good friends, Phil, Marianne, and Michael, and headed to the Big Orange Pumpkin Farm in Celina, Texas.
Our $7 admission earned us a hot dog each (as a non-meat-eater, mine was shared by the boys), some food for the animals in the petting area, and a hay ride. We made the most of our money, stopping to visit the longhorn (Frankie, as Michael christened him)…
Checking out the surly goats…
And piling in for a fun hay ride around the farm.
We even found time to pose with some decorated hay bales…
And host an impromptu (and purely for comic relief) wedding ceremony in front of what we dubbed The Haunted Chapel.
Next up was picking out pumpkins for our last Halloween-hurrah – pumpkin carving. Tony and I picked out a design from a carving book, while Livi dug up Franken-pumpkin from her very own imagination. Here they are, camped out in front of our DIY tombstones.
I also attempted to recreate a Martha Stewart pumpkin design, although my materials fell a little short of the Grand Dame’s.
We also enjoyed some pumpkin bread with cream cheese icing. Although my sweet-treat standards aren’t terribly high, this recipe elicited requests for second helpings from our more discerning dinner guests. So, if you happen to love pumpkin and cream cheese, here’s the recipe for this yummy fall dessert. And since it’s technically a bread, you can also add it to your plate at breakfast time.
Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese Icing
As an ex-vegan, I’ve also included vegan alternatives in parenthesis.
Ingredients – Bread
1 3/4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup vegetable oil – try applesauce to reduce the fat!
3 eggs (substitute Ener-G egg replacer)
1/3 cup buttermilk (substitute soy, almond or rice milk with 1/3 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar)
2 tsp. cinammon
1 tsp. vanilla
Ingredients – Super Cream Cheese-y Icing
8 oz reduced fat cream cheese at room temperature (substitute Tofutti)
2/3 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat your oven to 325 F.
- Mix flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
- Mix pumpkin, oil, and buttermilk in a smaller bowl.
- Combine the pumpkin mixture with the dry ingredients in the large bowl. Add eggs and stir again.
- Pour into a greased 9 x 5 bread pan.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until tester inserted in the middle comes out clea
- Allow your bread to cool, and then use a hand-held mixer to combine the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla.
- Apply liberally to the top of the bread. If you wanted to make this even cream cheese-ier, you could mix a double-batch of icing, slice your bread in half long-ways, and add icing to the middle AND the top. Yum.
Livi came up with the idea of decorating the top with a pumpkin patch, so she and I cut out some pumpkins and affixed them to toothpicks with Scotch tape. She even crafted this tiny scarecrow to keep an eye on the goods. He must not have done a very good job being scary, though, because this pumpkin bread is officially gone.
Did you enjoy any fall activities this weekend?
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