Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin Paradise

A view of the Eureka Pumpkin Festival. October 1947
Photo Credit: Life

Have you been to the grocery store this week? Did you notice that all the baking supplies were  discounted? Now that Thanksgiving is over, there seems to be a sale on anything related to that holiday. 

Photo Credit: Filia Artis

One thing that was massively on sale (besides turkey, which I also happened to pick up) was canned pumpkin puree. I've thought about making it myself from scratch in the past, but it always sounds like a lot more work than necessary. 

Photo Credit: Filia Artis

I was inspired by Trina at A Country Farmhouse to try baking some pumpkin spice loaf. It has the welcome effect of making your home smell like heaven! If you are trying to sell your place, be sure to bake some right before an open house...

The recipe was pretty easy to make. It was really the same as any basic loaf. I doubled the recipe and the loaves came out very tasty and are highly recommended by Hubby who insisted that he would like to have eaten an entire loaf by himself in one sitting!

Photo Credit: Filia Artis

Since there was a bit of pumpkin left over, I decided to try making some pumpkin spice granola with cranberries - especially useful since we ran out of breakfast cereal yesterday morning. As I learned about a year ago, making your own granola and muesli is extremely easy and affordable - especially in comparison to buying boxed cereal. It is also about three hundred times tastier! The recipe I found at Two Peas and Their Pod turned out excellently. I substituted in some fresh cranberries that I'd also bought at the post-Thanksgiving grocery sale and they came out nice. I am storing my granola in the fridge just because of the fresh berries.

So here is the pumpkin loaf recipe at Epicurious and the cereal recipe at Two Peas and Their Pod. Both are also linked in on my recipe page.

PS. The granola calls for "Pumpkin Spice Mix" - if you google it, you can easily make your own PSM without having to buy an extra ingredient - it's really just cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.

DIY Rating: 

10 for the granola which was a totally no-sweat recipe.

8 for the pumpkin bread which was easy, but created a full sink of dishes to make. 
The bonus is that it was super delicious and way, way better 
than the shipped in version available at Starbucks for a small fortune per slice!


  1. That pumpkin cake looks delicious. Loaves are one of the few things I can bake with some degree of competence. Usually I make them with rotting bananas, but pumpkin would be a nice change. I clicked through to the recipe, but my heart fell. Who has all those spices in the house? (Besides you, I mean.) I would look pretty ridiculous at the bulk store (assuming I could find a bulk store) buying thimble-sized bits of spice!

    How do you think the loaf would taste without the butter, milk, or sour cream? Those are the constraints I labour under at our house.

  2. Cburrell,

    The spices are fairly basic ones that you should have in your arsenal. You will find other uses for cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves - they work well in Indian food, Christmas baking or just add them to hot apple cider or better yet, try a bit of rum and hot water with some cinnamon and cloves! They go well in anything baked with apples or shake some onto your applesauce!

    I ALWAYS buy my spices in teeny amounts. They are best used fresh, so I only buy what will fit into a regular sized spice jar at a time (about the size of a salt/pepper shaker). Who says you can't buy in small amounts?

    Butter, milk and sour cream are all key ingredients in terms of the chemistry of what you're making. However, you can substitute margarine (or possibly shortening) for butter, higher fat plain yoghurt for sour cream and evaporated or powdered milk or soy/almond milk for milk. I will not be exactly the same, but these normally work for me in a pinch.

    Good luck!

  3. The only spices we have at the moment are salt and pepper. Perhaps I'll pick up some of the things you suggest, though probably not the cinnamon, which I do not like. I always get cloves mixed up with chives.

    In a pinch, I sometimes substitute apple sauce for butter (it adds moisture, at least). For milk, the best I can do is usually skim milk -- or maybe soy milk. Sour cream is beyond the pale.

    Thanks for the suggestions!


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