Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin rules this time of the year. From cooking to decorating, pumpkins find their way into my home. While I enjoy experimenting with new recipes, I do tend to rely on old favorites to get me through the autumn season. And one of my favorite pumpkin recipes is Pumpkin Bread. I’ve been making this recipe for about twenty years and it’s never failed me and it’s incredibly easy. It has the right amount of pumpkin flavor, a good balance of spices that don’t overwhelm and it freezes well (that is if I don’t eat all of it before I get out the plastic wrap).

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Get out your measuring cups and spoons, two bowls and you’re on your way to baking up a moist bread flavored with the best of autumn – pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Combine all the ingredients and you get a bowl of pumpkin goodness.

Divide into three loaf pans. (You can do two large pans if you’d like. Since I gift many loaves I prefer to get the most yield out of each batch.)

Bake and then let cool.

The best part is next. Slice, serve and eat!

One of my little pumpkins hanged out in the family room while I spent the afternoon baking.

After a day of baking nine loaves my house smelled amazing. It was awesome to come inside from out in the chilled autumn air. The greeting of cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin had me smiling and going for a knife. But while I was outside I snapped a couple of pictures.

An autumn afternoon.

Stella (a turkey that just appeared one day in my yard) and her baby.

I hope you enjoy the recipe. Don’t see the recipe? Click here and scroll down.

Debra

KitchenCleanup

Kitchen Snapshots (moments behind the posts)

It was a busy weekend here. Saturday I attend an all day conference at the Westport Library and yesterday I spent the day running errands, chores around the house and did a little cooking. I thought I’d share with you a few photos from my time in the kitchen. Nothing styled. Just a few snapshots of life in my kitchen.

In the month of October it’s all about the pumpkin here.  I can’t get enough of it, cooking, baking and decorating. Pumpkins rule (with a a few mums for good measure).

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Especially in the fall I enjoy having a candle lit while I’m in the kitchen prepping or cleaning up. The choice this month? Pumpkin Latte. That was a total no-brainer.

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On Sunday I made two batches of Pumpkin Chocolate cookie dough, one to freeze for Christmas and one to bake last night. I also made meatballs for dinner.

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After dinner I made a cup of tea and indulged in a slice of pumpkin bread, recipe coming soon, and curled up with a new cookbook I just got. I can’t wait to try a few recipes from the cookbook and share a review here.

Here’s to a tasty week!

Debra

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

I love this time of the year. The days are getting longer, spring is just around the corner and it’s time to make Irish Soda Bread. I love, love, love this bread. Simple, rustic and every bite is a little reminder of my great-grandparents who came over here from Ireland to start a new life here in America. The simplicity of this bread makes it convenient to have on a regular basis but I usually keep it for St. Patrick’s day and maybe a couple more times throughout the year because I cannot stop eating it. Did I say that I love this bread?

Irish Soda Bread

Right before you put the loaf into the oven, you need to cut a cross in the top of the bread. It has been said that by cutting the cross you ward off the devil, or you let the fairies out, or you are blessing the bread. Oh, legend and symbolism. But I think the real reason is to let thickest part of the bread expand as it rises. I admit, when I cut the bread I did tell the pups, Susie & Billy, that I was letting the fairies out. What? It’s a cute story.

Irish Soda Bread

I always make this bread on a pizza stone. I find the crust turns out perfect every time. I love the contrast between the crustiness and the slightly sweet, moist interior. I also love being able to whip several loaves in one day because it’s so easy to make. After I have my loaves cooled, I make my rounds to deliver soda bread to my neighbors and co-workers. When I’m carrying one of these loaves, my neighbors and friends are very happy to see this Irish-American gal. :)

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Nothing is better on a chilly March day than a slice of Soda bread slathered with some Kerrygold butter. And now it’s time to share my family’s recipe.

Soda Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbs baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbs unsalted butter
1 cup raisins
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg

Directions

Preheat over 400 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, combine the first five ingredients and stir to mix well.

Add the butter and combine until the butter is well blended into the dry ingredients.

Stir in the raisins.

In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together then mix into the dough mixture with a spatula.

Turn the dough on on a floured work surface and fold it over (do not knead) several times, shaping into a round loaf. Transfer the loaf to a baking sheet covered with parchment and cut a cross in the top.

Bake 15 minutes on 400 degrees. Then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 15-20 minutes longer, until browned slightly and a toothpick poked into center of loaf emerges clean.

Cool the soda bread on a rack then serve.

Enjoy!

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One Tasty Cookie

What do get when you add pumpkin, spices and dark chocolate chips together? One tasty cookie! Last fall I stumbled upon this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and knew I had to make them for Thanksgiving. Christmas. And recently for a friend’s birthday.

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There are a few things to love about this cookie. First, it’s healthy. Who doesn’t love a guilt-free cookie? Whole-wheat flour, pumpkin (naturally packed with benefits including Vitamin C, Vitamin A and fiber to name a few) and dark chocolate all mixed into one cookie (or two…three). Second, they are light in texture. Third, they don’t trigger a sweet attack. You know, where you eat one and before you realize you’ve cleaned out the whole cookie jar. And one more thing, this recipe is easy to make. Healthy and easy and tasty. What more could you ask from a cookie?

Since this recipe isn’t my own you’ll have to visit The Culinary Institute of America for the recipe.

Lets have one more look at these cookies. :)

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Happy Baking!

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Weekend Bites

This is the Valentine’s Edition of Weekend Bites. I’ve been all over the web and I’ve come across dozens and dozens of Valentine’s Day related posts (and there’s more to come) so I decided to share some of my favorite ones. Believe me, it was hard to narrow the list down. But I did and lets get a move on, because the countdown to Valentine’s Day has begun. Tie your aprons and grab your whisks because this love stuff means serious business in the kitchen.

Allie, over at Baking a Moment, had me at chocolate mousse when I stumbled upon her Strawberry Rose Chocolate Verrines post. Beautiful and elegant this recipe is perfect for Valentine’s Day. I don’t know if my local grocery stores carry rosewater but I will have to look, fingers crossed one of them does.

Meriem, from CulinaryCouture, not only shared an amazing recipe for Valentine’s Day but also shared with us how relentless a food blogger can be when she (he) gets an idea. She shared her initial vision and her recipe testing and then the final result. Which looks pretty darn delicious and beautiful. I can’t wait to make them. I love, love, love cream puffs. Just take a look at her photograph, how could you not want to make these? Check out her post and recipe for Chocolate Filled Cream Puffs with Strawberry Sauce.

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During my blog reading I came across a post that definitely shakes up butter. Andrea, from Dishing Up the Dirt, shared her recipe for Beet Butter. That’s right. Beet Butter. I love beets and this is a very creative idea that I do have to try.

Okay, just reading all of these posts makes me feel like I should hit the treadmill. :) But they all look so worth a little extra time on the treadmill, right?

With so many delicious ideas out there, are you baking or cooking anything special for Valentine’s Day?

Debra