Thursday, October 29, 2009

Harvest Loaf

Halloween is just two days away, and I can hardly believe that I have only made one pumpkin dessert. I professed my love for all things pumpkin in that last post, so you would think I’d be baking everyday. (I was a little late on posting that up; I made those bars like the second week of October.) Well, I ran into a little problem. Make that a big problem, a pumpkin shortage problem. I couldn’t find canned pumpkin anywhere. Talk about annoying. I even went to the little stores, and the ones in the not so nice neighborhoods and there was no pumpkin to be found. I mention this to Brian and he immediately gets on the Internet to see if we can order it online. Of course you can, you can find anything online. But we didn’t have to resort to that. This past Monday I had had it. I posted up on my facebook how annoyed I was and I got quite the response from friends telling me where to find it. I ended up calling a few places before I went and my neighborhood Vons had some in stock. Brenda, at Vons, told me to come fast, as it was going quickly. (Side note, as I asked around and researched, apparently there was a bad crop of pumpkins this year, so not as much to can. I was also told grocers were holding off most of the pumpkin until right before Thanksgiving.) I head to Vons, and pay an outrageous $2.50 a can. Total rip off! My mom died when I told her, her discount grocery store, Winco, had it for $1.00! I bought eight cans, and Brian told me he didn’t care what I had to pay!

The recipe I made with my newly obtained canned pumpkin was mini harvest loaves, per Brittany’s request. It’s an oh so tasty pumpkin bread with chocolate chips and a cinnamon nutmeg glaze. It was a “secret recipe” of a family my mom knows, and last year she managed to get the recipe. (So now I’ll post it on the Internet, they’ll love that!) One thing I did differently this year is I used mini chocolate chips instead of the regular ones. I was thinking of my dad who likes the taste of chocolate but doesn’t like how the chips are hard in the soft bread. The beauty of the mini chips is that they melt into the bread and don’t really stay in chip form. He loved it!

Tips for making the loaves: I usually double the recipe because it uses a whole 15 oz. can of pumpkin that way. The doubled recipe will make about six to seven mini loaves. You’re welcome to use a regular loaf pan, but for some reason I have a hard time getting that size to bake right. Also, when I made it I didn’t have any cloves, so I just went with out, I couldn’t tell the difference.

Harvest Loaf Recipe:

Just mix it up!
1 3/4 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 C sugar
1/2 C butter
2 eggs
3/4 C pumpkin
6 oz chocolate chips (or mini cho. chips)

Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes for a small loaf pan. (Makes about 4 mini loaves.)

Spice Glaze:
1/2 C powdered Sugar
dash of cinnamon and nutmeg
1-2 Tbs milk

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Bars

So fall baking is upon us. And baking is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen. It was in August that my husband, Brian, asked me if we could make pumpkin waffles for breakfast. I had to tell him that pumpkin season didn’t start until fall was here. And it was definitely too hot in August to be feeling like pumpkin pancakes. Well, fall has been here for about a month and I’m happy to announce that we finally had our first pumpkin dessert. Brian and I had my sister, Brittany, and her boyfriend, Paul, over for dinner and dessert on Sunday. I mad my moms famous pumpkin bars. It’s actually a recipe that we originally used with bananas for banana bars, but she adapted it for pumpkin. We’re pretty sure it works with just about anything. It’s pretty fool proof. The recipe is very easy to make. We always use a cream cheese frosting with the bars, we’ve found that tastes best. I don’t have a favorite cream cheese frosting recipe, but have definitely graduated from using the stuff from the can! We loved the pumpkin bars so much, or were just so pumpkin deprived, that the four of us finished off at 9 x 13 pan of them in one night!

2 cubes of butter
2/3 Cups sugar
2/3 Cups brown sugar

1 tsp. Vanilla
2 eggs

Add dry:
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Salt
2 Cups flour

Preheat 350, 9x 13 pan (or a little larger) cook 25 minutes.

First Blog Post

My first blog post ever. I’ve wanted to start a blog since the end of the summer, but I teach school, so September is a bit of a crazy month for me. But now it’s October, things have calmed down, and baking season is upon us. I’m starting a blog for a few reasons. First, I got married this summer, and finally have my very own kitchen. Not to hate on the previous apartments with the numerous roommates I’ve lived with, but this is my very own. Well, I do share with my wonderful husband, but he realizes that it’s my domain. Along with my own kitchen, I finally have all the kitchenwares to go in it. I never wanted to spend money on items for the kitchen before because there was never enough cupboard space for it, or roommates would break it, loan it out, or sometimes it would just mysteriously disappear. So thanks to our generous friends and family and their wedding gifts, I’m living out my wildest kitchen fantasies! It really is everything I dreamed of. (I waned to call my blog “my first kitchen” but it was taken, along with about a thousand other names I tried.) But back on track, so now that I have my kitchen I’m so excited about, I have this overwhelming desire to share with everyone what exactly I’m doing in there, what is working for me, what recipes I’m trying, how they are working out, and what I’ve learned as a result. Most importantly, I want to share all of this with my mom, who is reason number two that I’m starting my blog. She lives about six hours away from me, and visits as often as she can. But when we talk it’s about what we’re cooking and how it went, what food network show we caught last night, and when, of course, we’re going to get together again. She is an amazing cook herself, is always whipping up something new and delicious. I owe my love of cooking to her. My sisters say I’m just like her, but I’m not, not yet anyway. I still have quite a few recipes to master before that happens.
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