Friday, November 29, 2013

Pumpkin Bread!

A happy (post) Thanksgiving to everyone! Hope this year there is much to be thankful for.
I have to admit Thanksgiving never gave me much meaning when I was younger, it was always just another day but it was nice because we'd always get the day off from school/work/whatever. My family were never big on the idea of Thanksgiving and being only the 4 of us each year, things can get a little bland. As I got older though, I can understand the meaning behind the holiday a bit more. Its about being grateful with everything we have, a day of reflection.

Now forgive me because I'm about to start a rant that might stir a few hairs. I love the concept of Thanksgiving but then we go and completely contradict ourselves with a  stupid thing called Black Friday that traditionally follows right after where people turn into animals and fight over the best things to buy. Really? Do we need any more things?! Here we have a day where we give thanks for everything that we are given, then we all turn around and basically say "I'm thankful, but not quite, so let me just buy some more." I'm sorry if you happen to be one of those faithful Black Friday shoppers but I think its just terrible (my opinion and no one has to agree). I love to shop as much as the next girl, but its just too much.


Instead of celebrating with loved ones and taking a nice day(s) off to reflect, rest, relax, etc, people are lining up outside in the cold to buy (fight for) more things ... how poorly does that reflect on us? I think if it wasn't for recent years though, I wouldn't mind Black Friday as much. I understand the marketing concept behind it but wow, thanks for showing us that making money/buying new things is more important than anything else. In the past, everyone got Thanksgiving day off, everyone, if you went outside, you'd probably hear a pin drop. Nowadays, stores are opening as early as 6pm on Thanksgiving (so those unfortunately employees have to work on their supposed day off) and call it an early bird special for Black Friday... really?! There should be a law where no one is allowed to go shopping until 8am on Friday and no one is allowed line up outside of stores until 6am of Friday morning. Period. 

I would probably be less annoyed if Black Friday was on a different day than right after Thanksgiving, I guess contradicting concepts drive me a little bit crazy. What can I say, I believe people should do as they say and say as they do and Thanksgiving/Black Fridays are not those things.

Nonetheless, this is not to say there aren't people out there who truly appreciate the holiday for what it is and actually do spend the time at home with people they love. So to those people, I applaud you! Well done. 

What am I thankful for? Life -- People that I care about and care about me. Happiness. The little things. Being able to express my thoughts. Fancy, shiny things that I tend to buy a little too much of during the rest of the year. Food. Celebrating the small victories. Health. Family and friends who sometimes makes your blood boil but also melts your heart in the sweetest ways. Silliness. Being able to laugh like a mad woman without a care in the world. Peace and freedom. Exploring different parts of the world. Knowledge. The ability to bury myself in a good book. Being fortunate enough to be in an environment that allows me to appreciate all these things! Happy Thanksgiving.

Oh and one more: Pumpkin Bread! 
Pumpkin Bread
Makes 2 loaves
from America’s Test Kitchen: Pumpkin Bread
 
Ingredients
Topping:
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
Bread
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 can 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese (I used ricotta cheese instead)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup toasted chopped walnuts
Procedures:
  1. Mix all the topping ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside
  3. In a sauce pan over medium/high heat, cook the can pumpkin puree with cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, and salt down to about 1 ½ cup  (should take roughly 6 minutes)
  4. Once the pumpkin puree has been cooked down, incorporate white sugar, brown sugar, cream cheese, and vegetable oil, mix until will mixed (oil may not be completely mixed into puree at this point, that’s okay)
  5. Remove from heat and whisk in buttermilk and eggs
  6. Slowly fold in dry ingredients and then add stir in walnuts
  7. Pour into loaf pan, top with topping and bake at 350F degrees for 40-45 minutes (or done when toothpick comes out clean)


 

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