I’m Falling for… Well, Fall.

I don’t normally relish the coming of winter. In fact, I am probably better known to fight it. Kicking and screaming all the way into the dark days of November. And then into December, and January and February as well. By March I will be completely and thoroughly done with wearing boots and scarves and my winter coat. But for now let’s focus on the positive.

There are many things about this time of year that seem to act as a sort of winter salve as we ease ourselves into the cold months ahead. Fall is one of them. I just love this time of year. I love unpacking all of my winter sweaters, scarves, boots, and coats. I love lighting candles and sipping mugs of warm, almond milk, herbal tea, and pretty soon, glögg (Swedish spiced wine).

I love the changing of the leaves, when the trees are filled with rich ruby red, rusty orange, and deep golden hues. I love once the leaves have fallen and they crisp-ily crunch under foot as I walk over them. I love the excitement of Christmas shopping and deciding on presents for my family and loves ones (Shhhh!!! I know it is too early. Let’s pretend I didn’t really mention the C word!). I love celebrating both my birthday and my husband’s birthday, as well as our wedding anniversary, all in the fall months ahead!

So even though there is a long, dark winter moving in on us, there are many wonderful things to look forward to. And probably one of my absolute favorites is the return of the great pumpkin. I LOVE baking pumpkin treats. And that is why I am sharing with you this amazing recipe and some of the adaptions that were passed down by a friend (E), as well as my own adaptations.

All About Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree*
4 eggs
¾-1 cup of sunflower oil 
2/3 cup of water
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups of sugar
3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
Butter 3 loaf pans (3×7 inch). Or you can choose to make 1 loaf and 12 regular-sized muffins. Or skip making loaves all together and make 24 regular-sized muffins. Your choice!
In a large bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients, plus the sugar, until well blended.
In a separate bowl, measure remaining dry ingredients and whisk well, creating a well in the center.
Incorporate wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until just blended.
Pour into your choice of prepared pans or muffin tins.
Bake loaves for approximately 50 minutes. Muffins will bake in about half of the time, but check them at about 20 minutes. Breads are done when a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.

*If canned pumpkin is unavailable, use cooked pumpkin that has been pureed in a food processor or blender.

Enjoy a thick slice, or muffin, on a rainy, fall day. Ps. They taste just as good on a sunny day too ;-). 
Here’s a great tip: The loaves freeze well, so if you end up making two loaves you can freeze one of them, or cut them in halves, freeze 3 halves and save one half. Simply take a frozen loaf/half a loaf out of the freezer and place in the refrigerator the evening before the day you would like to enjoy it. Place in a preheated 400 F (200 C) oven for 8-10 minutes to warm it up just before serving. It comes out tasting like it’s been freshly baked! 

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