Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin season is by far one of my most favorite. I love it all. Pumpkin Latte’s, pumpkin candles and of course pumpkin baking!

This recipe was found while catching up on reading one of my favorite food blogs…the name of it you ask….I can’t freakin remember! I seriously spend a few hours a week going from blog to blog and sometimes finding new blogs by one’s they’ve linked in their posts. That’s what happened here AND I can’t remember which blog was the one who brought it to my attention…womp, womp.

Anyways, credit from the original poster is obviously most important and so without further adieu…

 

Pumpkin Bread

(adapted from Yammie’s Noshery)

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (organic canned OR the wonderful homemade version here)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (vanilla bean paste is GREAT!)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (or a gluten free flour mix – I made it with both and they were equally wonderful)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 pumpkin pie spice
  • White chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Start by whisking together pumpkin puree, eggs, olive oil and vanilla. Add in brown sugar. Mix well.

Next (and I know this isn’t the proper way but sometimes, I like to do things my way) pile the dry ingredients on top of the wet. This means, flour then salt, baking powder and all those yummy spices. I roughly mixed all the dry while it’s layered on the wet and then combo it all like one happy family.

Last but not least, add in the white chocolate chips. You can absolutely use dark chocolate but white and pumpkin just go so WELL together. Pour into a well oiled loaf dish.

Yammie says back for 45 minutes but I’ve had to leave my loaves in for about 55.

Wait till it’s cooled (or not), spread some butter atop (or not) and ENJOY!

 

Pumpkin Purée 

Each and every year as the holidays approach I start to brainstorm all the wonderful homemade dishes and baked goods I want to conquer. Then reality sets in and I only accomplish a fraction of my list…wah, wah.

Will that whole process is currently in full swing (brainstorming, pinning, making notes, pocketing recipes, etc.) and I decided to check “homemade pumpkin puree” off my list from circa 2011ish.

This has been a whirlwind of a year for us (buying a home, getting married and having busy work schedules) so this activity was a little spur of the moment as we had two pumpkins leftover from Halloween that we never got around to carving 😦

So here’s how it went down (I read a few articles from some of my fave chefs, mainly focusing on the Pioneer Woman’s guidelines).

  • Turn oven on bake to 350 degrees.
  • Disassemble the clean (I scrubbed the outside) pumpkins. Ryan had to do this one as I do not have the muscle to cut apart a rather large pumpkin. He basically cut the pumpkin into medium sized pieces so that they would fit nicely among a few baking dishes.
  • Separate the seeds from the guts (duh….love baked pumpkin seeds).
  • Clean each pumpkin piece thoroughly getting rid of all ooey gooey guts.
  • Place on foiled baking sheets (I was able to fit about 3 pieces of pumpkin on each).
  • Now it’s time to bake them – this is where using regular pumpkins and pie pumpkins is very different. The Pioneer Woman says to bake for 45 minutes but I had to bake these larger pieces for more than double. I think it took almost 2 hours for the pumpkin to become tender.
  • Okay, once the pumpkin is cooked and cooled, now it’s time to remove the skin and cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces so that they fit nicely into the food processor.
  • On to pureeing the pumpkin! I had just gotten a new Cuisinart food processor as a wedding gift that I was super stoked to use and then….it failed me. Just would not turn on. So I pulled out my $30 Walmart one and it worked like a charm.
  • The pureeing didn’t take as long as I expect but you want to make sure you keep processing it until it’s free of pumpkin chunks.
  • I then stored the puree in both plastic Ziploc bags and mason jars (for the portion I was storing in the freezer).

Overall I would say the process was quite time consuming as we were pureeing two rather large pumpkins. If I were to do it again, I would definitely hunt down a few pie pumpkins.

Now for the real test…what did it taste like in a recipe? AMAZING. I just make pumpkin bread this week and it was so delicious.

Recipe for the Dark Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread coming shortly!

What’s Left Behind in 2014

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s hard to be a blogger (especially a food blogger) when you have, well, life movin and grovin at the speed of lightening. If I took the time I spend thinking about all the things I want to blog about and actually baked/cooked, photoed and wrote- this baby would be on fire 🙂

Unfortunately things like my full-time job and family commitments get in the way. I don’t mean this in a bad way because I honestly love what I do and my family means the world to me but there’s this other part of my soul that wishes I could warp into another world where the only things on my priority list would be recipe creations, perfecting my food photography and really enjoying all the wonderful things I read about that other bloggers have find the time to do….Oh and I would be living in a beautiful farm house out in the country far enough away from civilization but close enough that Amazon still delivers 🙂

Since my dream can’t be a reality (for now :)) I just make lists, pin and pocket everything thing I wish I had the time to do. To acknowledge all these things that I may never have time for, I thought I would share them with you! Maybe you have a little more time in your day and they inspire you 🙂

  • Who has time to Spring Clean? Not me!
  • Not that I didn’t have enough time to hashtag, but I do wish I documented the trips/events of 2014 more!
  • I did eat A LOT of quinoa this year, but in the most boring ways – this year maybe I’ll try a few of these ideas 🙂
  • I would have learned how to properly use my fancy camera.
  • I would have done my meat shopping here.
  • I pocketed this article in March – it took me till November to actually visit Eataly. Obviously I forgot all about this guide 😦
  • Didn’t find the time to check out Girl and The Goat’s newest place BUT it’s on the top of my list this year!
  • TOTALLY forgot about this tip…I’m sure my head (and body) would have appreciated it, ha.
  • I’m pretty sure I sent this article to a dozen people saying “see, see people like me really do want to become farmers!!!” There’s still hope folks.
  • Pinned these in 2013, finally bought them on Monday.

All the things I would have made:

And that’s a wrap folks – Happy New Year!

Sunday Scone Day

I’ve had scones on the brain for about two weeks now – I know, the things I fill my head with! Scones can be quite tricky if you ask me. I feel like the butter needs to be just cold enough and there’s this fine line of too sweet or just not sweet enough and often most are too dry. Oh and then there’s the whole world of savory scones…..ahhh, so many decisions.

I have been the most indecisive person lately and doesn’t shock me that would transfer over to my baking. I honestly could not get either one of these scone recipes out of my head so what did I do….I made them both 🙂

I followed each of these recipes pretty much to a tee except for the extras (blueberries / sausage / cheese). The savory one was pure perfection but the sweet one, not.so.much. Maybe it was because I used thawed blueberries but this dough was freakin wet. Like so unmanageable no matter how much additional flour I added. I finally just made do and gentle (oddly) arranged them on the baking sheet. Not my best work but the taste was definitely great!

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Blueberry Scones (adapted from these )

2 cups of Whole Wheat flour
1/2 cups of brown sugar
2 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
8 tablespoons of real butter, frozen so it’s easier to grate
1/2 cups of heavy cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 package of blueberries (you could also use one bag of defrosted blueberries like I did but probably not recommended:))

Oven Preheat: 400 degrees

Okay, to start off you’ll want to whisk together the following – flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Next it’s time to grate the butter – I grated it on a separate plate before tossing in with the flour mixture. I invested in a pastry cutter specifically for this recipe and boy was I glad, it just makes combining the butter and flour mixture a bit easier. Once this mixture becomes coarse and the butter is somewhat combined (no large pieces are noticeable) set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, egg and vanilla. Once that’s combined, drizzle over the flour/butter mixture. Mix together until everything is well combined (no crumbs at the bottom). Fold in the  blueberries.

This is where things got dicey for me – the mixture was just WAY too wet. Like so crazy wet. I continued to add flour until I was able to press the dough into an 8″ ish disc. Unlike the recipe, I cut the disc into 8 triangles and separated them. Reflecting back, I would have kept them together.

Bake for about 20-25 minutes.

Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

ENJOY!

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Sausage and Cheese Scones (adapted from this recipe)

3 1/4 cups of flour (reg or wheat, whichever you prefer)
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
3 tablespoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
Seasoning mixture (mine has garlic powder, seasoning salt, thyme, dry mustard)
5 chicken sausages – sliced and diced. I used the organic brand from Target
1 block of cheese (of course, your choice) sliced and diced
3/4 cups of cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup of buttermilk or heavy cream
melted butter to slather over the top of the scones before baking

Oven Preheat: 425 degrees

To start, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and seasoning mixture. I can’t give an accurate measurement for the seasoning mix as I just guesstimated it but I would compare it to seasoning dinner rolls, it that makes any sense at all (probably not so if you want more guidance, leave me a comment!)

Add in the cold butter to the flour mixture and using the pastry cutter, combined the two until well incorporated. Add in the buttermilk and stir with a large spoon – once the dough starts to come together, add in the diced sausage and cheese.

Roll out dough into a 1″ disc. Using any device you have (I used a stemless wine glass) cut circles out of the dough and place on a well greased cookie sheet (or use these amazing silicon baking liners).

Finally brush with melted butter and bake for about 15 minutes (or until the tops are slightly golden).

I like to serve this with honey butter because well, there’s never too much butter 🙂

Enjoy!

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Look at that cheese – INSANE!

 

 

 

 

Savory Steel Cut Oats

Is it strange that my taste buds change just like the seasons? I swear, during those hot summer days in Chicago, all I want for breakfast is something refreshing and light but as soon as the wind changes, it’s on to warm comfy dishes.

Oatmeal has been one of those dishes that I could take or leave – I loved the smell of it but could never get through an entire bowl. That was until I discovered how good it was with some very simple ingredients, salt / pepper, EVOO and honey – changed my opinion about oatmeal entirely!

There’s many versions of this savory oat dish I’ve tried but the following combo is by far my favorite – I hope you give it a try!


Savory Steel Cut Oats

Steel Cut Oats (I like TJ’s brand)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Good honey (my fave brand is also TJ’s,shocking I know)
Salt / Pepper
Avocado
Crispy Bacon

This is as simple as it’s going to get folks – make oats following the directions on the packaging. Once they’re done, mix in a few swirls of EVOO in addition to salt/pepper to taste.

Slice up 1/2 an avocado and put on top, followed by some of that crispy bacon (crumbled is preferred).

Lastly you’ll want to drizzle the whole thing with honey – It’s fantastic, trust me.

This pic doesn’t do it justice as it was taken on my iPhone so no judging!

Savory Steel Cut Oats 1