Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pumpkin Bread with Walnut Topping

Paris Tragedy ~

I wrote this post prior to learning of the tragedy in Paris and wanted to briefly preface the post by saying how very saddened I am for the people of France and everywhere in the world these horrific acts of terrorism have occurred.  I wish we lived in a world where we asked ourselves whether our acts added to love, intimacy, beauty or creativity and if they didn't we found another way to express ourselves.  But until then we must all unite and condemn acts by individuals that target the innocent and unsuspecting as there is no ideology or religious rationalization that makes this type of cowardly act justifiable.  God be with those who are suffering and grieving.

Pumpkin Bread with Walnut Topping ~

One of the nicest seasonal treats in the autumn is rich fragrant pumpkin bread.  I love the redolent scent of spices filling the house as it bakes to perfection.  And it's also a healthy snack.  Aside from the sugar of course.  But as snacks go I think you can do worse that pumpkin bread!  In any event, this is a favorite recipe of mine and I wanted to share it before Thanksgiving so you would have a chance to try it this season.  Because soon, very soon, it will be time to turn your thoughts toward decorating for Christmas and baking those Christmas cakes, gingerbread houses, mince pies and other Christmas favorites.    

Pumpkin Bread with Walnut Topping
yield ~ 1 loaf ~


1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup walnut oil (or canola oil or other light flavored oil)
1 whole egg + 1 yoke
8 ounces pumpkin puree (roughly a generous 3/4 cups)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Topping: Between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup finely chopped raw walnuts


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare loaf pan (butter and flour).
2.  Beat together wet ingredients (sugar, oil, egg, pumpkin puree).  Remove bowl from mixer.
3.  Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg).  Using a wooden spoon stir the dry ingredients into wet in two additions.
4.  Pour batter into loaf pan and generously cover top with chopped walnuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until wooden tester comes away clean.  I usually start testing after 1 hour and 5 minutes.
5.  Allow to cool in pan 10 minutes.  Use a knife to loosen bread and turn out onto wire rack to finish cooling.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Of course you don't have to add walnuts on top if you don't wish, it's just as delicious without!

Until next time, be well, love well and be sure to bake something pumpkin-y before the season disappears for another year.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Malton Oolite Scarf and Simcha's Pumpkin Passion

It seems like I look forward to Fall forever and then it flies by in a remarkably short period of time.   And I never have the time to do everything I would like to do.  So instead of getting down on myself for things I would have liked to have done but haven't had the time for, I instead focus on doing just a few Fall activities that I really enjoy.  This year I've been having fun playing with and decorating with all sorts of pumpkins and gourds and they make me smile every day when I see them about my house and garden.  I display them on the first day of October and leave them up through Thanksgiving, which for me is the official end of Fall.  No matter that the calendar may say otherwise. Once Thanksgiving passes, then too Fall is gone like the leaf that falls into the river and floats downstream to disappear from view.  Immediately my thoughts turn to Winter and Christmas which loom large.

But whatever else is happening in my life you can count on the fact that I have also been doing some Fall knitting!  The lovely scarf I'm wearing is knit with yarn from Ysolda's 4th installment of her 2015 Shawl Club.  Note that I say it's knit with the yarn from her club, but not that it is her design.  I must confess that when this kit arrived I was not of the mind set to learn the brioche stitch so I (to my mind) adroitly substituted a pattern that maximized the beautiful colors and lofty yarn to make a fabulous long flowing scarf that I absolutely love wearing.

Because it's the colors and texture that makes this yarn special I did not think the pattern needed to be anything fancy.  And because it's all about the yarn, one of the many things that I have really enjoy about this club is hearing the backstory to the yarns that Ysolda includes with her kits.  In this shipment Ysolda describes the yarn and inspiration as follows:
Spun in Yorkshire from a blend of Lustrous British Longwool Titus was the first yarn from wonderful Leeds wool shop Baa Ram Ewe.  We had it dyed in the mustary gold Ilove so much and Joe from BRE took a third of the batch round to local dyer Victoria of Eden Cottage Yarns.  Inspired by the color combination of flowers over leaf Victoria overdyed the perfect partner for some welcome harvest time sunshine!
And this yarn really does create a fluffy fabulously cozy scarf to wear.  But it's definitely a cold weather scarf because of the alpaca and nature of the wool.

Particulars:  Light in Shadows by Nilija Uimonen; Baa Ram Ewe (Titus) yarn exclusive colorway (Malton Oolite set - Ysolda's 2015 shawl club) in collaboration with Eden Cottage Yarns who over dyed the coordinating color in tangerine; 475 yards combination British wool and UK Alpaca spun in Yorkshire; US 6 needles.  Only slightly modified by using the tangerine color on the border until I ran out and then switch back to the yellow for the final few rows. For previous 2015 Ysolda's shawl club projects see: Stac Shoaigh; Caer Idris; and Cockern Tor.

The MisAdventures of Simcha  ~

Simcha agrees with me that Fall IS the best season and he told me (with body language) that he also loves having pumpkins all over the property.

Although he does have some anxiety about those pumpkin stealing coyotes....

Until next time, be well, love well, and enjoy Fall in whatever fashion suits you best!