Friday, September 20, 2013

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


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)


Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C)
Butter 3 loaf pans (3x7 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! 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Weekend Breakfast

A quiet Sunday morning. You awaken and make your way down to the kitchen. Make a couple of cups of coffee. One for yourself and one for your husband. You feed and pet the kitty, then hand-deliver coffee to the husband. Spoiled. Perhaps, but totally deserved.

You then settle in at your desk to enjoy your coffee and morning ritual of sitting in front of the computer and discovering what happened on the Internet in the mere eight hours you were asleep. Suddenly the coffee cup is empty. Not too much later the stomach starts to growl. So back to the kitchen you go.

What's it going to be? Often on the weekends, a more extravagant breakfast tempts you. Scrambled eggs with beans and toast, American pancakes with bananas or berries and maple syrup, or breakfast tacos maybe? Today however, simplicity calls.

Whole oats are soaked in almond milk, then topped with fresh blueberries, a dollop of Greek yogurt, and finally, a drizzle of agave syrup. A perfect start to the morning. A new weekend breakfast ritual created.

What is your favorite weekend breakfast? Do you have a tried and true morning breakfast ritual?

Friday, September 6, 2013

What's on Your Wish List?

(Bag from Orla Kiely's new Autumn/Winter 2013 collection)

It seems like my wish list is always growing. It's not that I want that much or that I'm super materialistic, I just like nice things. It just so happens that nice things happen to cross my path quite often and my eye is naturally drawn to beautiful design, like this Orla Kiely bag, or pretty much anything orange. And did I mention that the interior of this beauty is orange? Well, it is. Absolutely gorgeous. I had to control myself to not buy it immediately when I saw it. Though I will admit that I hung around the store longer than normal and I "tried it on" in the mirror, admiring it and picturing us together, me and the bag, out in the city. Sigh.

You see, it's the time of year when my husband and I agree to not buy things for ourselves. We make this pact every year around this time. With birthdays and Christmas coming up, we start making wish lists instead so we have gift ideas when the time comes to buy presents for one another. 

This bag is at the TOP of my wish list. Or even a gift certificate to go towards it. Hint, hint.

And if the season comes and goes and any items are still on our wish lists, it is then declared open shopping once again. I will run right out and buy this bag. Who knows, maybe it will be on sale by then!

Have a Happy Weekend!

I am planning to...

... clean out my closet some more. Always fun to make room for the new ;-)

... go for a run with my running club on Saturday.

... ride in the Sthlm Bike ride at the crack of dawn on Sunday (42 kilometers before coffee??!! I must be insane).

What are you planning to do?