I’d never heard of pumpkin frosting, but knew some cook had already thought of it and found several recipes. I really liked the one I’m sharing with you today. Be sure the butter is at warm room temperature. There’ll be butter lumps in the icing if it isn’t smooth. I used it on a gussied up spice cake mix. It would also be good on just plain yellow cake.

Frozen artichokes are not easily found. I used well drained, canned, quartered artichokes and found it didn’t hurt the flavor, and the texture was mostly unharmed as well. Season and salt the chips sparingly until you find the flavor level you prefer. I had a can of olive oil pan spray already. It worked very well.

There was a restaurant in Knoxville years ago that served a sandwich with dressed baby greens instead of the usual lettuce leaf. Don’t remember the restaurant name, the kind of sandwich nor the bread. I do remember the greens! I’ve copied it as best I remember and it is ever more delicious. You can make any changes in the vegetable mixture you like and I know you will love it. I enjoyed mine with balsamic vinaigrette.

Pumpkin Frosting

1 cup butter, at room temperature

5 cups powdered sugar

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 fat teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

With a mixer, whip butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, beat until smooth. Add pumpkin, vanilla and spice, beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cake. Refrigerate.

Gussied Up Pumpkin Spice Cake

1 (15.25 ounce) spice cake mix

3 more ounces of spice or yellow or white cake mix

Most any flavor will do.

1 (3.4 ounce) French vanilla Jello instant pudding mix

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup oil

1/2 cup half and half

3 large eggs

1 fat teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch sheet cake pan with Bakers Joy. Line pan with waxed paper. Spray the paper lightly.

In a large bowl, beat all the cake ingredients on low speed until blended. Raise mixer speed to medium and beat two minutes. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake about 35 minutes. Check after 30 minutes. Turn out on a wire rack. Frost when cool. Refrigerate.

Pita Chips

1 pita bread for each guest

For the chips:

2 teaspoons chili powder (hot or mild)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush each pita lightly with oil. Whisk together chili powder and cumin. Sprinkle over pitas. Sprinkle with salt. Bake about ten minutes or until crisp and golden. Cut into eight chips each.

Artichoke Dip

5 strips of bacon, cooked crisp, well drained and coarsely chopped. Set aside. Reserve drippings.

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves grated or finely minced garlic

1 (8 ounce) bag frozen artichokes, thawed

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

16 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

In the bacon drippings, cook onion, garlic and artichokes until the onion is translucent and artichokes are beginning to brown. Put cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise and lemon juice in the food processor. Whiz til barely blended. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until combined but still chunky. Stir in bacon. Transfer to a baking dish that has been buttered or sprayed with Pam. Bake until warmed through, about ten minutes. Do not allow to boil! Serve with pita chips.

Pita bread pocket sandwiches

One pita bread for each guest

Italian dressing, your favorite vinaigrette or creamy dressing

Baby greens

Torn kale leaves

Sliced mushrooms

Sugar snap peas, finely sliced

Onions, thinly sliced

Shredded carrots

Chopped tomato

Julienned zucchini, cucumber and summer squash

In a large bowl, toss salad ingredients, except the tomatoes, with the dressing. Cut pita bread in half. Gently open the pockets. Stuff with the salad. Top with tomatoes. Enjoy! Add shredded rotisserie chicken or any other vegetable if desired.

Miss Olivia Sipe is the owner of Miss Olivia’s Table in Maryville.

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