Tag Archives: pumpkin

Pumpkin Bread

Autumn is here when I am, and this year has been beautiful! Although here can’t compare to many parts of the world for colors of the leaves, we have had a good sampling of color. We had rains last month and mostly dry weather the last tow weeks which helped the colors come out and stay Today I drove through every-color leaf blowing over my car and the road; it was wonderful . Today is sunny and warm with a breeze, but it has already been cold at times, so it is time for baking, roasting, stews and soups.

With Halloween coming, Fall and Harvest Festivals going and Thanksgiving on its way,(at least here in them U.S.A.; Canada had theirs and the rest of you, bear with us!), pumpkins are on our minds. It seems everyone has pumpkin recipes up. My cousin’s son ate pumpkin pie practically the whole time he was here last Thanksgiving. One blog posted a pumpkin pancake recipe which I may try on him this year. ( I even saw a recipe for Pumpkin Caramels…I have to find time to try those!) In the U.S.,(where pumpkins were originally found), pumpkins are usually eaten as pumpkin pie. I am going to continue with the sweet pumpkin theme and post a recipe for Pumpkin Bread that is a staple at my house. I hope you try it.

For those of you around the world who may not know, Thanksgiving is celebrated in Canada on the second Monday in October and on the third Thursday of November in the U.S. Many people consider the day before through Sunday in the US as the Thanksgiving holiday ‘season’. People of all faiths or no faith celebrate it at least as a day of, well, of food, friends & family!

So now, for a fellow blogger, Lisa, who requested it, and for all of you:

Pumpkin Bread
This can be made in 2 traditional loaf pans, several more in mini loaf pans, in muffin tins, in a 9X9 square pan, or in a bundt/tube pan .Baking times will vary.

¾ cup butter or margarine, softened (6 oz)
2 cups of granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups or 1 lb. \plain cooked pumpkin OR
one 15 oz can of cooked pumpkin,(NOT pumpkin pie mix)

1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger } ground spices
1 ½ tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
OR
Approx. 1 ½ Tbs. pumpkin pie spice

2 cups all-purpose flour (Sifted … If you do not have a sifter, use a mesh sieve to shake the flour into a bowl and then measure it.)

Butter and flour the pans, (or use baking spray). Preheat oven to 325F.
With electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and eggs until light .Add the salt, baking powder and baking soda; mix well; add the spices, mix. Scrape sides and bottom of mixer bowl and continue to mix thoroughly.
Add the sited flour alternately with the pumpkin puree. Mix thoroughly, again, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again.
Put into baking vessels, filling only 2/3 full,(any extra can go into a smaller baking vessel).Push the batter slightly away from the middle; it will tend to ‘hump up’ too much otherwise. Bake until done in the middle,(test the middle with a toothpick or thin knife blade, when it comes out clean, it’s done).Large pans may take 40+ minutes; muffins about 25 min.

This can be served alone, or with a drizzle of

Icing

1 Tbs. meringue powder or dried egg whites
¼ cup water
2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
(it will be thin; if it is too thin, add more sugar)
You can add spices, vanilla extract or brandy to this. You can sprinkle the top with nuts before drizzling the icing , which is especially nice if served as a bundt cake, a loaf or individual cakes.

OR
You can bake it well, and slice the bread to make

Tea Sandwiches

fill with a cream cheese filling:

3 ounces of cream cheese, softened
mix with
1 Tbs. softened butter
1-2 Tbs. confectioner’s sugar

Add: ground nuts, vanilla, any of the spices included in the bread recipe, 1 Tablespoon of pumpkin puree and /or 2 Tbs. ground dates
Mix or match

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Pitfalls and Parties/Savory Bread Rolls

These easy bread rolls can be made with meat and cheese or as vegan- vegetable.They eaten warm or cold.

I know that the thought of hosting puts fear into many people. I may have jumped into telling you what to serve instead of how to serve guests.
When I had dinner parties, showers or receptions, I found that some people were downright intimidated by my offerings. You may have seen a buffet and thought, “I could never do that!” You probably can, but you don’t have to. Hosting can be fun, rewarding and make everyone think you are something, or it can stress you out, make you swear ‘Never again!” and make everyone think you are a witch, (and it wasn’t even a Halloween party.) You can make offerings short and simple, or pull out all the stops. We will approach all of these, and let you decide which is appropriate and when.  It may take me several postings, but I will try to give you tips and hopefully, some confidence.

 

Plan as far ahead as possible and do whatever you can as far ahead as possible. When you find the confidence, it will come easier each time. You will not only know the pitfalls and learn from your mistakes,( you will make mistakes), but you will have things in mind and on hand that you need, whether it be figuring out what to serve to where overnight guest will sleep. We’ll talk about it all upcoming in this blog.

 

You can over-do a good thing.

The first shower I threw was for an expectant mother. I made homemade cake with homemade filling and decorated it with blue and pink flowers. I molded flavored candy in bootie, rattle, baby bottle, (etc.), shapes in pink and blue. I made Madeline cookies dipped in pink and blue icing. I made finger sandwiches, nut cups and tea; I made coffee with all the amenities .I put up pink and blue streamers, made pink and blue sock dollies. I had several games, one of which was a basket filled with small baby items which I had the guests look at for 30 seconds and whoever remembered the most, got a prize; the mom got the items. It was something, I can tell you. But I did several things wrong:

#1. For whatever reason, when I have asked schools or churches to use their facilities, my group has been bumped at the last minute for someone else. Something about me and my plans seem to scream “Expendable”! Try to have your affairs in your home or pay for a site. In the occasion of the baby shower, I was supposed to have use of a school cafeteria. I was bumped for an Irish step-dancing class. As big as a book-lover as I am, I hated  but was desperate enough, to ask to use the school’s library. The library was on the third floor; the stairs leading directly to it were closed so the dancers’ bored-and-waiting siblings would not wander the school. So I had to all the food, decorations, gifts, etc, across the school, up one flight, across again, up another flight, then across the school again. I had to carry the hot coffee and tea from the cafeteria in the same pattern, very carefully and very slowly.

#2.I just plain over-did it.

I did not hear, “Oh, how lovely” or “How nice”. What I heard was, “I can’t believe how much you did”, to the point that a week later at another function I heard, “I kept telling Jim, (Julie, Bob), that I couldn’t believe how much you did”. It looked like I worked hard. Hosting should never look like you worked hard, and I want to see that you work as little as possible when pulling off your parties. I was not a close friend of the mom-to-be; I had taken it upon myself for the group from the school, but it may not have been my place, which may have added to the discomfort level of the others.

Don’t be too eager to please; only host when appropriate.

#3. I presumed on help.

Now, you should have everything under control, I mean, things happen. But if you accept help, make sure it is something that you can do without, or have a back-up plan. A friend of the mom’s volunteered a special punch. I planned on it; she changed the type without telling me.  What she made did not go with the food I had and the guests drank it because it was too warm for the coffee and tea. I felt stressed; it was a problem as the taste combinations were really being off.

AND I failed to be sure that some of those who attended, (whom I had always stayed to help), would/could stay there to help me. So I ended up doing the hallway-stair set-up marathon in reverse, by myself.

 

On the other hand, for years afterward I hosted a Christmas piano recital in my home for several years running, which were always a huge success.

Always be ready with extra food:

My sons were homeschooling at the time and they were studying with the same piano teacher as some of their homeschooled friends. The piano teacher had stopped having Christmas concerts but I decided that the kids needed to gain confidence and show off their skills, so every December we had our own little recital with their friends, the parents and a few adult guests.

I made my batches of Christmas cookies, candies and bread early, and froze either some of the dough or some of the finished goods for Christmas; (I did this up to a week in advance; the candy, maybe earlier.)

The day before the recital, (or the day of, if I held it on a weekday evening instead of a weekend afternoon),

I took the coffee table out, gathered every chair I could find and even a bench, (on which I put a folded quilt), and made several layers of seating in the living room behind the piano. We do not have a large living room; everyone understood when they sat knee-to knee at times.

While people gathered, I had Christmas music playing softly in the background on a CD. And I had small gifts for the performers.

Just before everyone arrived I made tea and coffee and spread them out on my dining table with the goodies for after the recitals. The children did whatever made them comfortable besides playing the piano; some sang, one played the guitar, one read a poem as well.

After one of the afternoon recitals a few of the guests lingered. I could see that the cheese ball and few other non-sweets were gone and the folk looked hungry. Fortunately, I was ready. I knew that I had savory bread roll-ups in my freezer. I pulled them out, warmed them in the microwave them and they were a hit, as expected. These are so handy and good. Make more than one type at a time. Slice, wrap well and freeze. These are great for snacks, late company, late-night movie watching, brunches and are our family’s traditional holiday morning breakfast. They are easy to get ready, are not messy, are a little special and will hold you over while you are waiting to eat a big mid-day meal. Guests will be impressed with the taste, the heartiness and the fact that you have them ready with next to no effort when you need them.

 

Savory Bread Roll-ups

 

If bread making is your thing, make basic dough. If you have a bread machine, pull it out. If not, use frozen bread dough, (thawed, of course).

Roll into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick on a floured surface. Brush with melted butter or margarine. Spread fillings (recipes to follow), to within two inches from all sides. Fold in the short sides; roll up from one long side to another, Pinch ends and press to close. Place on a cookie or baking sheet, which has been brushed with butter or margarine,(or lined with parchment paper); curve bread roll  if necessary. Slice or snip slits through top layer about 3-4 inches apart. Cover with clean kitchen towel , waxed paper or foil; let rise to double in size in a warm spot. Uncover and brush with melted butter or margarine. Bake at 325F for about 45 minutes- 1 hour, or until the bread is thoroughly browned.(Do not cook at a higher temperature; the middle will not bake).

Meat Filling Suggestions:

Chopped roast beef, or shredded roast beef lunch meat with shredded medium–to sharp cheddar cheese; (a little prepared horseradish sauce optional).

Shredded ham with mild cheddar cheese

Shredded turkey (or turkey lunch meat) with pepper jack cheese

Pepperoni or salami with mozzarella or provolone cheese

Cheese Filling Suggestions:

Any cheese, preferably with sautéed onions

Soft cheeses, (cream cheese, Neufchatel, mascarpone) with herbs and or dried vegetables:

[ Italian blend, or basil, parsley and marjoram;

Southwest blend or any favorite chili powder, (chipotle, mesquite, etc), cumin,for example]

Mixed with red or green salsa

Seeded,(poppy, pumpkin, caraway, sesame)

Mixed with red hot sauce

Mixed with sautéed vegetables; onions

Any favorite cheese spread, (pimento cheese, onion dip, avocado)

 

Vegetable Filling Suggestions:

Sautéed or caramelized onions

Hummus,( regular or vegetable, or mixed with seeds)

Sautéed vegetable combinations, (mix & match): onions, tomatoes, peppers, artichoke hearts, asparagus

Dehydrated vegetable flakes, (available often mixed in supermarkets or separate, (tomatoes, peppers), usually in specialty markets

Drained, mashed white beans (canned or homemade) with onions or garlic; chives, parsley, white pepper; dehydrated vegetables

Experiment and enjoy!

Note: Sometime after I posted this Fae, of “Fae’s Twist and Tango” posted a lovely alternative: use puff pastry instead of bread dough.Fae ‘s post with her version of fillings can be seen  here: Fae’s Savory Braided Puff Pastry.

If you have not visited Fae’s blog, please do!She not only has lovely recipes, but  photos and fascinating  stories from her many travels.

Thank you for letting me share this, Fae!

And please join me and fellow writers on a shared blog: “Four Foxes, One Hound” here, on WordPress.Four Foxes, One Hound