Sunday, October 27, 2013

Luscious Pumpkin Cake

Every fall I like to try a new pumpkin recipe and this one was a big hit with my family.
 Although this delicious cake looks very time is not.  It is light and airy and has a mild pumpkin flavor and the filling is almost like a mousse. I may or may not have had some for breakfast.
The recipe called for caramel topping drizzled over the top but in my opinion it's sweet enough without it. Also, I'm not a spice lover so I use cinnamon in my recipe. If you want it spicier add some nutmeg, cloves or pumpkin pie spice to it.
Luscious Pumpkin Cake
1 (18.25 ounce) yellow cake mix
1 (14 ounce) can pumpkin, divided
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla divided
1 package cream cheese (8 ounce)
1 cup powdered sugar
3 cups Cool Whip whipped topping
reserved pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla from above
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans (I used sugared pecans)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round baking pans. Beat cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, oil, eggs, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.
  2. Bake 28 to 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely.
  3.  Beat cream cheese in small bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar, remaining pumpkin, cinnamon and vanilla; mix well. Gently stir in Cool Whip.
  4. Cut each cake layer horizontally in half with serrated knife; stack on serving plate, spreading cream cheese filling between layers reserving approximately 1 cup for the top. Sprinkle with nuts.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers.  printablerecipe

Linking to: Chicken Chick ; Mix it up Monday; Fluster Buster; Craftberry Bush; Homeacre Harvest Hop

Friday, October 25, 2013

Icefields Parkway

Leaving Lake Louise behind we entered the Icefields Parkway continuing north toward the Columbia Icefields and Jasper.
In this post, still on day eight, I'll focus on a few of the lakes we stopped at and some of the vistas along the parkway, and on day nine I'll feature the glaciers and a few waterfalls.
Considered to be one of the most scenic highways in the world the Icefields Parkway did not disappoint. It offers everything from glaciers,  rushing waterfalls, emerald lakes, and snow-capped mountain peaks.
For 143 miles from Lake Louise to Jasper the parkway winds along the shoulder of the Great Divide and passes by the spectacular mountains of the Eastern Main Ranges of the Canadian Rockies.
Bow Lake is the largest lake on the Icefields Parkway and is the headwaters of the Bow River that flows through Banff.
 One of the most dramatic observations of the Rocky Mountain lakes is the difference in color between them. Some are green, some blue, and many shades in between.
 Num-Ti-Jah Lodge can be seen across the beautiful Bow Lake.
Crowfoot Glacier
Peyto Lake and Mount Patterson
Peyto Lake (pea-toe) is so beautiful it's hard to believe it's real. It's like walking into a landscape painting, only in the painting there are not a hundred tourists all jostling for the perfect spot to get their photo.
 From our vantage point the lake looked more like foam than a body of water. Truly incredible!
Peyto Lake has an interesting shape. It looks like the head of a sitting wolf.
Meltwater from the Peyto Glacier flowing into Peyto Lake.

Cirrus Mountain and a sweeping view from the Big Bend Overlook.

 A waterfall cascades down the mountainside at Big Bend. I don't recall seeing a name for the falls so I'll call them the Big Bend Waterfall......I'm so imaginative.
  Saskatchewan Crossing area where the three rivers of the Saskatchewan, Mistaya and Howse meet to form the North Saskatchewan River which eventually drains into Lake Winnipeg.
I was disappointed in the lack of wildlife sightings in Canada but we finally saw one huge elk beside the road.
We stayed at the Lobstick Lodge in the beautiful alpine town of Jasper.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 8 continued ......Lake Louise

Lake Louise
After leaving Sulphur Mountain we drove 35 miles northwest to our next stop, Lake Louise.
This mountain resort in the Banff National Park is a popular destination for hiking, canoeing, and skiing.
Also known as "Jewel of the Rockies" or as the Stoney Indian people called it "Lake of the Little Fishes", this is one of the most picturesque places on the planet and I'm sure anyone who's ever been there would agree.
 It is one of the most photographed lakes in the world and for a reason. 
The sparkling emerald colored lake is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and the Victoria Glacier.
The emerald color of the lake comes from rock flour carried into the lake by meltwaters from six glaciers that overlook the lake.
Mount Lefroy is to the left of Victoria and Mount Aberdeen is the peak just visible to the right of Lefroy.
On the other side of Victoria we have Mount Whyte, in the middle is Big Beehive, and Mount Niblock just to the right and behind Beehive.
The beautiful scenery surrounding Lake Louise was in itself enough to make it worth the trip.
Stunning, really is the best word to describe it.
Click here for a live view of Lake Louise. You might have to hit your refresh button to get the latest picture.

Fairview Mountain
Canoeist out on the lake.

The Chateau Lake Louise Hotel is located on the eastern shore of the lake. Rooms at this luxury resort hotel start at $350 per night.....slightly over my budget!
The surrounding gardens were just beautiful as well and very well maintained.
My sister and brother-in-law in the Chateaus garden.
I really would like to know what it takes to get a basket of flowers to bloom like this?
As we were leaving I spotted this young couple sitting along a stream and just had to capture the moment.  That is the face of pure joy.
Just minutes from Lake Louise we stopped at the Deer Lodge for lunch.
It seemed like everywhere we went in Canada they had absolutely beautiful delphinium flowers blooming. I have never had success growing them and decided our winters are too cold. But after seeing how they bloom in Canada's short summer maybe it's not cold enough in Ohio or perhaps our summers are too hot.  Whatever it is I sure wish I knew what it takes to grow them.
Does anyone know what these pink flowers are? They remind me of coneflowers but the center looks more like a daisy. I think they are so pretty and would love to know what they are.
Lupines blooming at the Deer Lodge.
I'll have one more post on day eight.

Monday, October 7, 2013

West Trip.....Day 8 Sulphur Mountain

My sisters and I at the hotel in Banff, Alberta.
This hotel had a beautiful courtyard completely surrounded by guest rooms......but no air conditioning! And it was like 80+ degrees:(  What's up with that?

This is day 8 of our trip and we have been on the road for a week.
  I have been looking forward to the Canadian Rockies more than any other place we've been to and finally we are here.
I'm going to do a few posts of locations instead of days. It's just too hard to pick out a few photos of each place and cram them all into one post.
Our first stop was the gondola ride to the summit of Sulphur Mountain. In just eight minutes you are on top of Sulfur Mountain at an elevation of 7,486 above sea level.
 Sulphur Mountain is named for the sulphuric hot springs found on it's lower slopes.
 For the more adventurous there is a 3.5 mile trail you can hike up.
The summit visitor center has two restaurants, a gift shop, and multiple observation decks. The true summit of Sulphur Mountain is the tall peak to the right of the center.
There are breathtaking panoramic views of Banff and the Bow Valley, and many of the areas mountain peaks can be seen from the observation decks.
 The tall mountain to the left is Cascade Mountain and the short mountain is Tunnel Mountain. Tunnel Mountain is nearly encircled by the town of Banff and there is no tunnel in the mountain.
 The lake in the distance is  Lake Minnewanka and the river flowing through Banff is Bow River.
 Various trails offer scenic mountain views in every direction. The day we were there was cloudy and hazy but still amazing.
Pilot Mountain 
 The Sundance Range

Sulphur Mountain and Sanson's peak are joined by a wooden boardwalk.
A National Historic Site, this stone cabin built in 1903 was the first meteorological observatory in this area. Norman Sanson observed the weather from Sansons Peak for 30 years and made over 1000 trips up to the peak during his capacity of park meteorologist.
A look through the window you can see it's interior is still complete with rustic furnishings. are a lot cuter here than at home.
The famous Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. In the upper left corner the Bow River Falls are visible.
Mount Rundle
Next.....Lake Louise