Random Recipe: Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread

First time ever. I completely missed posting a blog yesterday. Blame it on pregnancy brain. Alas. I do have a great recipe to share with you today. You can see I am continuing my pumpkin theme. I cannot get enough, and since pumpkin eventually gives away to peppermint and egg nog, well, you have to take advantage while fall is upon us. Can you believe that Costco already has their peppermint pretzels? It is not even Halloween yet and we can already purchase favorite treats for Christmas. Will we soon be able to purchase Christmas treats in July?

This recipe is a must try. It is, dare I said it? (Moist!) Yummy, and the perfect treat. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. We actually had it for dinner last night with tomato soup. It is worth trying this fall.

Pumpkin Honey Beer Bread

2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup beer (at room temperature)
1/4 cup honey
4 large eggs
1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Shortening (to grease pan)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add pumpkin, and beat at low speed just until blended.

2. Whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, and beat at low speed just until blended. Divide batter between 2 greased (with unsalted butter) and floured 9 x 5 loaf pans.

3. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool bread in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool until you’re ready to devour it!

Screamin’

As some of you may know I am utterly addicted to my niece, Charlie. I have shared a few photos and a video or two on my blog in the past few months. I constantly ask my sister to send photos and videos since we live in different states. Charlie is just days away from being 7 months, and is a hilariously happy, smiley, precious one. I can only hope my future kid(s) are as happy as Charlie. Yesterday, I got this text from my sister:

“Charlie’s piano playing sounds like the audio of a haunted house and it makes the cats flee.”

Her text was followed by this video and photo. Apparently, Charlie had on her own (while banging on the keys) found a “Scream” setting on the keyboard. I guess she is practicing for Halloween in a month.

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IMG_3807How can you not find her so adorable? Especially at about 12 seconds in where she turns and smiles at you and then turns back and plays more. Then at around 30 seconds she crouches down as though she thinks she can get out of the barricade they have created in the living room to keep her safe and from crawling to other parts of the house. When she realizes she is not getting out, she goes back to banging on the keyboard. I know, I know you already watched it, but I had to give my play-by-play. Can you tell how addicted I am?

A Dime, Bazooka, and Lost Bounty

I remember two specific houses that I always wanted to avoid when trick-or-treating as a kid. One was a woman down the street who would take a dime, a cotton ball, a piece of orange tissue paper and make little mini jack-o-lanterns with the dime as the flat base, the cotton on top wrapped tightly with orange tissue and the face drawn on with black marker. Borrrrrring. Yet, she was so before her time. That would be something I would find today on Pinterest. As a kid though, I thought it was such a waste. A dime? Really. I got more from the tooth fairy, and that was not saying much.

The second house was about five streets back where the houses were larger and usually occupied by doctors and dentists. I knew most everyone in my neighborhood due to the afternoon newspaper I delivered to a large percentage of the neighborhood, and the many, many years of Girl Scout cookies I sold. This particular house was owned by a dentist and again, borrrring. They did not hand out apples, but rather Bazooka gum. Which out of all the gums it was more of the sugary kind, but I was not a gum girl. I guess gum, even with a little sugar, was better then getting a dime on Halloween.

I do remember one year when I was the last kid to the dentist’s house, or maybe they were just done for the night. They gave me the rest of their bag of Bazooka. That was like winning the lottery as a kid, especially as a kid who rarely had candy and treats at home. I took it home and of course hid it from my sister and brother. I learned early on that to share meant it would be gone in moments and I would have to wait until next year. In our house when treats were like water in the desert, you found ways to hide your bounty. Funny how “hiding” meant under your pillow. I am sure I had many lumpy nights of sleep. Until many months later when my sister and I found the bag of Bazooka under my bed, hard as a rock. It must have fallen under the bed while I slept and I had forgotten about that gum. There was no way that we could ever chew any of it, the entire bag like tiny bricks. An interesting thing that happens when you do not share. Sometimes your bounty just goes to waste.

#Halloweenlessons

“Does your face light up?”

I recently read a book called: “You Can Be Right [or You Can Be Married]” by Dana Adam Shapiro. While the book has more to do with marriage (which I might tell you about in a future post), the following quote is what inspired me today as I think about all the precious little munchkins that came by my house in their costumes last night. It makes me think about all the times my parent’s face did or did not light up when I came into a room.

“Ms. Morrison explained that it’s interesting to watch what happens when a child walks into a room. She asked, “Does your face light up?” She explained, “When my children used to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up…You think your affections and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face. What’s wrong now? Her advice was simple, but paradigm-shifting for me. She said, “Let your face speak what’s in your heart. When they walk in the room my face says I’m glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see?” page 223

Aww…this almost brings tears to my eyes. I can feel the tears there, just waiting. This is such a great reminder of how we need to be present and aware of how we come across to little bambinos. Having said all that, I think this still applies to adults too. What if our face lit up when we saw our spouses, family, and co-workers walk into a room. How would it feel if others reacted in that way towards us? Would we feel more loved and connected to others if we saw them light up when we arrived?

I thought about this yesterday when I answered the doorbell for those costumed munchkins. I knelt down with my bowl of candy and talked to them at their level. I looked at them face-to-face. I saw their excitement and energy for Halloween. I was inspired by their exuberance. That is my challenge to myself, to approach the munchkins and bambinos I encounter with the light in my eyes, and my heart on my face. I will let that all speak for itself.

Are you with me!?

 

Who will you pretend to be today?

Ah, the fun of Halloween. You get to dress up and be someone else for the day. The leaves are falling off the trees, the ground is covered in the colorful array of leaves. Homes are decorated with lights, jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, and goblins. It is really the beginning of the holiday season of festivities. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. (Yes, I left out Black Friday, that is not a holiday, but like Halloween it can be just as scary).

It is good to have a day where we can pretend to be someone else. Often we work so hard just trying to be ourselves, that even adults can even get excited to get to play dress up once in a while. We even like to be creative and carve our own jack-o-lanterns. I love this photo of me watching our finished pumpkins turned jack-o-lanterns.

my excitement over jack-o-lanterns

(Be sure to note the pea colored refrigerator and I can assure you that while you cannot see it, there is wood paneling behind me. You can also see the head of the baby doll I am holding). Cutting pumpkins to me was like dying easter eggs, a process, but one of tradition around a certain day of the year. I was always in awe.

We would decide which pumpkin to carve, then draw on the design we were going to cut out, then the messy part of clearing out the guts and goop inside. Once it was cleaned out then it was time to carve. I have never been quite proficient with a sharp knife (Chris can attest to that). So I am not sure my creations were always superb, as artistic as I may have been, my lack of knife skills = poor pumpkin carving. Then adding the candle and putting the lid on top.

I cannot remember that much about the costumes I selected, although I do know one year I was a clown. We always had homemade costumes. What I remember most, and who knows why, was this one house in my neighborhood. I can remember the name of the family, and that they had a courtyard at the front of their house. They outfitted it with spooky music, Halloween lights and decorations, and would have people hiding in the bushes. You never knew what would happen from year to year, and it was always dark out. My memory of it was that it was the scariest house on Halloween. The fact that I can still picture it tells me that they designed it well. I was always impressed with myself if I could make it through the squeaky gate, down the courtyard path to the front door. Then if I made it that far and actually attained the candy then I knew I was brave that year. Candy at scary neighborhood house = I could conquer any fear.

I am hoping to make it home in time for the trick-or-treaters this year. It will be the first time as an adult that I am in a neighborhood that has kids to come door-to-door. Can you tell I am giddy about it?

Trick or treat!