Thanksgiving Weekend (Pumpkin Roll)

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Roll KyneWynn

Being with my family was the absolute best part of my Thanksgiving weekend.  And we were only missing nine of us; Oklahoma and California are too far way from Utah for my liking, when it comes to holiday gatherings, but those of us who were there enjoyed spending time together.  We played the games (Quelf and The Game of Mao and much laughter ensued), visited, and ate until we were stuffed. Witnessed a proposal; hooray for my daughter! I am so excited for her.  And of course we ate pumpkin everything for dessert.  Today I am sharing my Pumpkin Roll recipe that I’ve been making for over twenty years. My son claims it is not Thanksgiving without the pumpkin roll, and always wants one for Christmas too. So with a recommendation like that, you may want to try it out yourself. What was the best part of your Thanksgiving weekend?

Pumpkin Roll 

(Makes two rolls)


5 eggs

1 1/2 c. sugar

1 1/3 c. canned pumpkin

1/4 c. lemon juice

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

3 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or a combination of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice to equal 3 tsp. proportions found here)

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

a pinch of salt

3/4 c. walnuts or pecans finely chopped

powdered sugar for dusting


1 – 3 c. powdered sugar

3   8oz pkgs cream cheese

2 tbsp butter softened

2 tsp. vanilla



1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Grease two 15 x 10x 1 inch baking pans and line with parchment paper. Grease and flour the paper.

2. Chop the nuts until they are fine.  Divide in half and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high for five minutes. Then gradually add sugar, pumpkin, and lemon juice. Add flour, spices, salt, and baking soda. Mix well. Spread HALF of batter evenly in pan.  Sprinkle half of the chopped nuts on top (reserving the other half for the second roll.)

Repeat in second pan with other half of batter and chopped or wait until the first roll is done and use the same pan for the second roll, make sure the pan has cooled down before you use it again.

4. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Loosen edges with a spatula if necessary and immediately turn out onto a linen towel that has been dusted with powdered sugar. Peel off parchment paper and roll cake up in the towel, starting at the short end. Cool.

5. To make the filling: Mix powdered sugar, softened butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth.

6. Carefully unroll the cake. Spread the filling over cake to within 1 inch of the edges.  Roll up again. Cover and chill until serving. Dust with additional powdered sugar if desired. Cut in thin slices to serve.

This dessert can be frozen if desired.  Simply wrap in aluminum foil, making sure the roll is completely covered, and freeze.




Marcela’s Mexican Chicken Soup


Marcela's Soup
Bottom: 1- Being silly, 2- Me, Marcela, her mother, 3-American Abuela

Marcela is my adopted Mexican daughter — okay, so I didn’t actually adopt her because she was already an adult when she came to live at my house.  But, I have adopted her as my own.  She is my true middle child, and you can read that story here: Marcela’s Story (when I actually get it posted, which I am hoping to do over the weekend);  in any case, she is a daughter of my heart, and I am her baby’s American abuela (grandma).

This is a recipe Marcela’s friend taught us, and then Marcela and I made it together several times, and it is ever so good!  I took pictures of the labels so I can get the right ingredients when I go to the store without her, if I have to.  We have so much fun laughing and talking when we get together to make this. Love that girl so much!

Soup Broth 

6 large fully ripened red tomatoes

1/2 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, diced

1/2 pkg Chile Ancho Entero (Whole Ancho Chili), dried- remove and discard the seeds before cooking; the seeds create the hotness factor, so if you want super spicy soup, leave some of the seeds in — I’m a gringo, so I remove them.

(I took pictures of the labels too, so I can find the right stuff in the Mexican food section of my local grocery store.)

Soup Fixins (1)

Simmer together until tender. Blend until smooth (You may have to do this in two batches.) Strain through a colander to take out big chunks of pulp, use a wooden spoon to mash it down and get the juice out.  Discard pulp.  Return the now strained broth to the stove at a low simmer. Wisk in 2-3 tablespoons of Caldo de Tomate and a little water if the broth seems too thick. Add salt and pepper to taste.  The broth should look as pictured above.

This makes a fairly large batch of broth.  At this point it is ready to serve, or it be refrigerated and reheated for serving later, or it can be frozen if desired. Also, if it’s too spicy for your palate, add a little more water to dilute it, and maybe another spoonful of Caldo de Tomate so you don’t lose flavor.


Cooked chicken (I use a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts  cooked in the microwave for about ten – 12 minutes on high, then cut into chunks with a pair of scissors), or even buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store and pull the meat off of it.

Pre-packaged tostadas

Queso Fresco (cheese), crumbled

Avocado (cut into cubes)

To Serve

Break a tostada or two into your soup bowl, add chicken, Queso, and avocado  Pour hot broth over the top. Stir a bit, enjoy. Repeat until you are full.

Mexican Chicken Soup Toppings

Fiesta Chicken w/ Spanish Rice


I have a confession to make. I rarely cook with actual recipes unless I am baking. The recipes I’ve included in this blog, if they are not attributed to somebody else, are recipes I’ve played around with until I like the result,  or I’ve just made them up, and if my kids liked it, I kept making it, or they are dishes my mother, mother-in-law, or grandmas taught me to cook. I don’t remember my Mom using recipes much either, or perhaps she just keeps them in her head the way I do.

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Catalina Chicken – A Crock Pot Meal

Easy Catalina Chicken Recipe

This super easy recipe creates a mouth watering aroma, and is so easy to make. Serve over rice, add a green salad, and you have a quick easy meal.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen)

1 c. Catalina salad dressing

1 can “whole berry” cranberry sauce

1 pkg Lipton Onion soup (the powder)

Mix salad dressing, cranberry sauce and soup mix in the bottom of crock pot. Place chicken breasts on top. Put the lid on and cook on low heat for seven hours. When cooking time is finished, shred chicken into sauce. Serve over cooked rice or pasta.

Yield: About 8 cups

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Settling into her new kitchen.
Settling into her new kitchen.

Just a year ago, I made a quick trip to Southeastern Idaho (where I grew up) to visit family, and to help my mother-in-law, Nanette, who is more a second mother to me than any sort of in-law (or out-law for that matter), to help her get settled into her new home. I am so delighted that she has the opportunity to live nearby her daughters and that it is easier for them to spend time together.  I just wish I was able to join them more often.  

On that visit, my sister-in-law brought over a pot of this amazing cauliflower soup. I was in love.  I took some home, all the way to Utah; and it was just as good warmed up.  I made it again recently, and it is just the thing for the chilly November days we are experiencing.  The soup warms me twice, first with fond memories of Nanette, and secondly as I enjoy a bowlful.  I think I will make more tonight!

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes   Cook Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 5 – 6


1 head of cauliflower, stem removed and florets chopped into small pieces

2 – 3 carrots peeled and diced (about 1 cup)

2 stalks of celery, diced (about 1 cup)

1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 ⅓ cups)

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup butter (½ cube)

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

3 cups chicken broth

1 bay leaf

1 ½ cups milk*

½ cup heavy cream*

For Serving:

4 – 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 green onions, minced

*May substitute 2 cups half and half or 2 cups whole milk for milk/cream. .


Melt butter in large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add chopped cauliflower, carrots, celery, and onion; season lightly with salt and pepper.  Saute until veggies are slightly tender, about six minutes stirring frequently.  Add flour and garlic and cook mixture, stirring constantly, two minutes.  While stirring slowly add chicken broth, then add bay leaf and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer (medium low), cover pot with lid and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 10 – 15 minutes.  Stir in milk and cream and cook until heated through. Remove bay leaf and discard.

Dish into serving bowls, top with crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese, and minced green onions.  Add crusty bread, crackers, or cornbread for a hearty meal.

Original Recipe