Happy Thanksgving And A Recipe To Share!

From the desk (and kitchen) of author Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy…….



As Thanksgiving Day approaches here in the USA, I’m thinking family, friends, and feasting.  Although the infamous Black Friday sales are starting early – I’ve seen advertising for some special prices this weekend – and a few stores plan to host their sales beginning on Thanksgiving Day, I’m a traditionalist.  I look forward to roasting my turkey, to making all the favorite dishes handed down over many years, and some quiet downtime with my near and dear.

Pumpkin pie is probably second to turkey as a must-have dish on Thanksgiving Day and it’s one of my favorites.  But many years ago, my grandmother came across a recipe for Pumpkin Pie Cake and it’s become popular in our family circle.  It’s very simple and easy to make plus it tastes scrumptious.  It’s kind of like pumpkin pie without the work and fuss.  I thought I’d share my recipe today – we like it so much, I sometimes make it during the rest of the year too.

Here goes:


Pumpkin Pie Cake



3 beaten eggs

1 can evaporated condensed milk

½ teaspoon salt

2 standard size cans (14-16 ounces) pumpkin

1 cup sugar (or you can use Splenda)

2-3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 box yellow or white cake mix

2 sticks melted butter or margarine


Hold cake mix and melted butter but mix all other ingredients until blended and smooth.  Pour into an ungreased 13 x 9 cake pan.  Sprinkle the dry cake mix over the pumpkin mixture, covering it all and then drizzle with melted butter.

Bake in a 350 degree (F) oven for 45-60 minutes until a knife inserted in it comes out clean

Serve with your favorite whipped topping.


Several of my novels include at least a mention of Thanksgiving including Comanche Forever, Devlin’s Grace, Love Shadows, and Kinfolk.  Here’s a little excerpt from Kinfolk about a very Ozarks kind of Thanksgiving…..


Dawn was a faint light in the eastern sky and the wind was damn cold but Ben climbed the hill behind the farmhouse with his .22 rifle. On the ridge, he heard the squirrels in the treetops and a few nutshells fell almost at his feet. He stamped the ground to stay warm and stifled a cough so he wouldn’t spook the tree rats. As soon as there was enough light to see, he fired and dropped a squirrel. In quick succession, he dropped three more and carried them home. He skinned and gutted the squirrels. After a change of clothing, he walked through the pastures to the back door.

Her back faced him and he watched as Katy slid a roaster into the oven. As she washed her hands, he entered without sound and when she turned around, she jumped. Even after a few months of apparent safety, she startled easy, always anticipating some henchman from Hu Sing to appear when she least expected it.

“Good morning, Katy. Look what I brought you.”

He held out the squirrels, now enclosed in a plastic bag.

“Have you been hunting already this morning?” she asked and he nodded. “I’ll cook them with dinner. Should I put them to soak in salt water?”

He hadn’t expected her to know that. “Yeah, I always do. I haven’t been squirrel hunting in years.”

His leg bothered him just enough that he’d had little enthusiasm for tromping through the cold woods carrying a gun. Without asking, he poured coffee and sat down at the table.

“Let me know if I get in your way.”

“You won’t. Are you hungry?”

His stomach was empty but he wanted to starve for the big feast. “I might eat a little something but I don’t want much.”

“Have a muffin.”

A blue Willow Ware plate on the table held muffins so he took one. He broke pieces off as he drank coffee and watched her work. Katy moved with an easy grace, a balance, and dexterity that he liked. She chopped onions and celery, and then stirred them in melted butter before pouring them into a pan of crumbs. Her long fingers tossed the white bread chunks and hunks of cornbread with the vegetables before pouring broth over the mixture. He liked the way her nose wrinkled as she sniffed the steaming mass and he smelled the sage leaves she crumbled, the first thing he had been able to smell all morning.

“Is that the dressing?”

She nodded.

“It looks good already.”

Her smile rewarded him and he sat without speaking as she cooked. He smoked two Camels but the smoke irritated his throat. A dry cough racked his chest and he swallowed the rest of his coffee to ease it. Mucous clogged his nose and he groped in his pocket for a tissue. If she noticed, she didn’t mention it and he was glad. He hated being sick and he did not want a cold to ruin the days they had together.

By twelve thirty, dinner was ready and she asked him to carve the bird. Inexperienced, he did the best he could and managed to de-bone most of the meat. He didn’t think he liked roast turkey but to his surprise the meat was tender and delicious. He ate two plates of turkey, dressing, gravy, peas, and hot rolls. As promised, she fried the squirrels and he ate a piece in memory of his childhood.

“Are you ready for pumpkin pie?” she asked, as he pushed his plate away.

He groaned, hands on his belly. “Later. I couldn’t eat any more now or I’ll bust.”

Instead of dessert, he helped her clear the table. He put the remaining squirrel into a container and cut the pie, placing a large piece in another dish. Without invitation, he picked up a towel and dried as she washed. When the kitchen was clean, he slipped into his coat and picked up the two containers.


“Get your coat. We’re going to Bentonville.”

“We are?”

“Yes. I want to take this squirrel to Pop and give him a piece of pie. He won’t give a flip about having turkey but he would miss the squirrel.”


If you’d like to read more, here are the details, links, cover and blurb for Kinfolk:


contemporary romantic suspense
Publisher: Champagne Books
Publication Date: July 4, 2011
ISBN: 9781926996332
Format: eBook
Price $5.99

Now also in paperback $14.95

When Katherine Vaughn flees California, she returns home to her native Arkansas, a place she barely remembers. As she settles in at the family farm with her aunt, she finds herself growing closer to her late cousin's husband, Ben Hatfield. Ben is a lot more than the country bumpkin she first takes him to be and when the men who threatened her follow her to Arkansas he will rely on his skills as a former Navy SEAL to protect her.
As their feelings toward one another grow, so does the danger and in the end, it’s anyone’s guess what will happen or if anyone will be safe.

Katherine’s life is in jeopardy as she wonders if there is any hope left in her heart.
Kinfolk is a novel about the power of love and the strength of family ties

Purchase Links:


Happy Thanksgiving!


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