Speaking of whooshing ideas, I have already changed the Thanksgiving dinner menu. I'm going with oyster stuffing. With two kinds of bread, some sausage, corn kernels, red bell pepper and some other stuff. Leeks instead of ordinary onions. Stuffing should have interesting stuff in it and this one certainly will. Fishy stuff, piggy stuff, veggie stuff, herby stuff and you get the idea And I can prepare it in advance. Working with recipes that can be prepared in advance is the most important strategy for Thanksgiving dinner.
Back to the dessert - I once got verschicknert on pumpkin gooey butter cake. True story. This was Thanksgiving 2003, and for the first time since 2000, we were home for the holiday. It was also almost 6 months since my gastric bypass surgery and I was 80 or 90 pounds down. Those six months had been full of new eating adventures - discovering what I could and couldn't eat; rediscovering coffee; learning that dumping is not just something that happens at Jersey landfills. I am not going to lie, there were rough times. I do not recommend this surgery to anyone, because not everyone is mentally or physically ready for it. Some people get terribly sick or die. Some get divorced. And others gain their weight back, all of it. Would I go for the surgery again? Absolutely. But that's me.
Anyway, I made the pumpkin gooey butter cake as one of many desserts. I had not been eating sweets for 6 months - really had no interest in them - but this was a brand new recipe for me, and it was creamy almost like a cheesecake, so I sliced a wafer-thin piece from the edge, just to taste. Nirvana. I tasted a few more times. I stopped when I developed the sugar-fueled, completely irrational belief that I was going to wake up the next morning having gained back all of those 90 pounds. Shortly thereafter, I felt like I was going to toss my cookie bars. My head started to spin, I felt queasy, and ended up having to lie down on the couch for a good half hour.
It's called dumping, a super-hypoglycemic reaction to sweets experienced by us posties (post-surgical gastric bypass folks) in the early stages of recovery. I still have it happen occasionally, and recently gave up even the smallest amount of ice cream for good, because it just isn't worth feeling like I had drunk two strong Cosmos while on a cruise ship caught in a hurricane.
I haven't baked the pumpkin gooey butter cakes since then, and I surely will not take a chance and taste them at the holiday luncheon, but that's no reason my coworkers shouldn't enjoy something really really delicious.
This is my version of the pumpkin bars. I switched, cut, and added some ingredients for a slightly more complex combination of flavors and texture. More festive for the holiday.
1 (18 1/4 oz) package spice cake mix
1 stick butter, melted