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Plants of Interest for Winter - Conifers

Lodgepole Pine 'Chief Joseph' ( Pinus contorta var. latifolia ). Michael made the column and I just love it. Winter approaches (that's right - it isn't here officially until the 21st) but weather-wise, it has been very winter-ish. The temperature has barely been above 40 for the past several weeks and we got an early snow yesterday. I like it as long as I can be inside, comfy and cozy. I prefer the cloudy days as sunny ones make me feel guilty if I'm sitting at the computer and gazing out on a sunny landscape. I feel like I should be doing something out there .  I've filled our garden with many conifers and evergreen plants for winter interest. They add so much. The pathway along the front of the house. My window is to the right so this is the view I have but from another angle.  The White Pine ( Pinus strobus 'Fastigiata') has grown so tall but the width remains narrow which is good. I do trim along the sides when it starts to get unruly which is rare.

Pumpkin Roll - A Tradition At Our House

This post is a blast from the past - 2009 actually - the Pumpkin Roll, a dessert I always make at Thanksgiving. In addition, there is Pecan Pie (my mother always made pecan pie at every holiday) and I also made a Chocolate Pumpkin Cake this year. 

Happy Thanksgiving!


Pumpkin Roll

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup finely chopped pecans


1 cup powdered sugar
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 TB. butter, softened
1/2 tsp. vanilla

First, beat the eggs at high speed for about 5 minutes. Gradually add the sugar.


The egg and sugar mixture should be lighter in color and look like this -


Stir in the pumpkin and lemon juice. Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt together and FOLD it into the mixture. Spread the mixture into a greased 15 x 10 x 1 pan. Lining the bottom of the pan with a piece of wax paper will make it easier to remove from the pan later!


Now sprinkle the pecans over the top -


Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes. (Always have your oven pre-heated in advance). While the cake is baking, spread a towel out and sprinkle it with powdered sugar. The towel I'm using here is really too large - a smaller one will work. Don't use a terry-cloth towel.  

When the cake is done, turn it out immediately on the towel. This is the trickiest part for me. It is difficult to flip the pan over and powdered sugar usually flies everywhere when it hits the towel. The method that works best for me is to lean the pan up on the longer side and quickly flip it forward. Whatever works best for you - I'll leave that dilemma up to you. Now, carefully remove the wax paper.


Fold the excess of the towel over the narrow end over the cake.


This is the part that scares people but trust me, it is not that hard. Slowly begin to roll the towel with the cake inside it.  Place it on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely, usually at least an hour or more. When the towel is totally cool to the touch, it will be ready for the next step.


While you are waiting on the cake roll to cool, you can mix the filling. In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and butter (it should be at room temperature) and add the vanilla and powdered sugar. Mix thoroughly.  When the cake roll has cooled. slowly unroll it and spread the cream cheese filling  over it. 

 Roll the cake up again, this time without the towel!


I've learned that it is sometimes easier to just push it with the towel rolled up behind it.


You are done! Wrap the cake roll with plastic wrap and chill or freeze. It should be refrigerated before serving and the taste is even better after a day or more.


Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I love your ingredients still life.

  2. How pretty! I would have like to seen it plated. We may give this a try.

  3. That looks delish! In Sweden we call them rulltårtor, but I've never made one with pumpkin before. Will have to try this out - thanks, Phillip, and hope you and Michael had a nice Thanksgiving!


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