Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

>> Saturday, October 30, 2010

First of all... If you haven't entered my CSN stores giveaway for a $35 gift card - GO ENTER now!!

I have a confession... I have a couple shows on tv right now that I love to watch when I'm home alone. Mostly, because I know that the husband would probably just make fun of me for watching it if he was home with me.

One of them is Giuliana & Bill on the Style Network. I love it. I know, it's a stupid show, but I can't stop watching it!!! When I flew back from Charleston a few weeks ago, I watched it on the flight, and kind of got slightly addicted to it. Giuliana is one of the anchors on E News, and it's a whole reality style show about them trying to get pregnant, blah blah blah. I don't want to ruin too much of it, so you can go watch it... Shh, don't tell my husband, he might make fun of me! :)

What's your show you watch that you don't tell anyone you watch? :)
As promised, I am sharing my favorite pumpkin bread recipe. I've been making this for a few years, but I switched it up just a little bit this year, and added a cream cheese layer to the middle - which really made a nice addition to this crumbly bread. It's sweet, but not too sweet, has a nice nutty flavor because of the whole wheat flower, and goes perfect with fall. And you can even say it's good for you since it's made with whole wheat flour!!! Score!

Go make some for Halloween!
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread (By Me - & cream cheese layer adapted by: Joy of Baking)
Ingredients: Makes 1 loaf
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour (all purpose flour will also work)
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Cream Cheese Filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 Tbs. + 1/4 Tbs. all-purpose flour

Cream together brown sugar and eggs.
Add pumpkin and melted butter and beat well.

Add remaining ingredients and beat well.
In a separate bowl, using a hand mixer or food processor, mix cream cheese and sugar until smooth and creamy.
Add the egg, and blend until creamy
Stir in the flour
Pour half the batter into a loaf pan.
Pour the cream cheese filling over the half of the batter evenly. Some may run to the sides, so it's helpful to get the batter on the bottom as even as you can.
Spoon the remaining batter on top of the cream cheese filling, being careful that it doesn't mix in together, and smooth carefully over top.
Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes or until knife goes in middle and comes out smooth.


Hip Hip Hooray... My Second Giveaway!

>> Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm so excited... as I promised, CSN stores contacted me to do a SECOND giveaway!!!

They are an awesome online store that let's you choose from just about anything! ‘CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find anything you need whether it be a stylish handbag, a chic bar stool or even cute cookware!’ You can stock up your kitchen with the most up to date kitchen tools, or you can deck out your closet with super hip clothes. I'm currently looking for a leather tote that doubles as a laptop bag! I'm sure I'll find something on CSN.

So, what do you win?? A $35 gift card to use towards whatever purchase you'd like to in any of their stores. What an awesome Halloween treat!

So here's what you have to do to enter. One entry for each comment, but please leave separate comments for each - other wise it will only be counted for one entry! Sorry!

1. Become a follower and leave me a comment letting me know you stopped by.

2. Head over to CSNstores.com, check out the websites, and let me know what you would get with your gift card

3. Post this giveaway on your blog!

That's it! Remember each separate entry counts for one, but leave a separate comment!

Contest ends on 10/31/10 - HALLOWEEN at midnight PST. Good Luck!


I Love Fall!

>> Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fall is my FAVORITE time of year!!

I love the leaves turning colors, the crispness in the air, the smell of bon-fires, sitting by a fire, hot chocolate, pumpkins, and everything else about fall.

One of my favorite times in the fall is Halloween. Ever since I was in high school, I have loved sitting at home on Halloween night, watching a movie, sipping hot cocoa (if it was cold enough in Charleston :) ) and passing out candy to the trick or treaters. I loved seeing all the costumes, oohing and aahhing over the little babies dressed up so the parents can eat their candy, and telling the teenagers not dressed up so they don't get any candy! :) My favorite ever costume that has come through was a 6 month old baby dressed up as a Hershey's kiss! SOO cute. And she was an only child! ha.

My husband supports my love for fall! Being the wonderful guy he is, he knows I'm a sap, and can't get enough of fall fun, so he endures taking me to pumpkin patches like I'm a child, carves a pumpkin for us every year, and deals with the fall decor in the house, only mentioning that "it looks like fall threw up in our living room" when I really go overboard!

On the first day of fall, he always buys me a card to celebrate, and this year was no exception - he even bought be a fall themed bouquet of flowers. :)
With all the candy corn, red and orange, pumpkin bread (my favorite recipe coming soon!), and gingerbread lattes going around, I happened to notice Peet's had some pumpkin caramels. I didn't want to spend the $10 bucks they were selling them for in the store, so I decided to make them. I have a favorite salted caramel recipe, so I tweaked it a bit to add the pumpkin for a nice fall twist. The texture was a bit different than I imagined them to be, but they were AWESOME!

What's your favorite season??

A few notes for making them -
*the texture of these makes the dipping a bit harder, so I recommend refrigerating them to get them nice and set, then cutting them and dipping them in chocolate to get better squares.

*You will need a candy thermometer to get the caramels at the right temperature

*Try not to make these on a day when your house will be 98 degrees because it's 106 degrees outside - because they will not set. And then your caramels will look like poop blobs! :)

* The best way to temper chocolate is to use a heating pad set at medium - No work, no fuss, and you don't have to watch it - it stays at 110 degrees by itself.

Pumpkin Caramels (Adapted from: Recchiuti Confections & Tasty Kitchen):
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. Fleur de Sel salt plus more for sprinkling
22 oz. dark chocolate (61-70%), tempered at 110 degrees.

Line the bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly coat the paper and sides of pan with flavorless vegetable oil. DON'T SKIP this step - it will make a mess.
Cook the sugar in a heavy saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
While the sugar is cooking, place cream in a sauce pan and bring to a scald. When the sugar has reached a deep-amber color, remove from heat and carefully add scalded cream, corn syrup, and pumpkin puree.
Return to heat and cook mixture until 252 degrees. After mixture has reached temperature, remove from heat and stir in butter and salt.

Pour into pre-lined baking pan, let stand for 2-3 hours or overnight until cool and firm.
This is what it looks like when it's 100 degrees in your house. Poop!
Temper the chocolate in a saucepan and dip cut squares in chocolate. Place on parchment paper until dry. Sprinkle with remaining Fleur De Sel.


Beef Bourguignon and a Half Marathon!

>> Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm sorry. I know I said I would be back last week. I lied.... I'm sorry I lied. But I'm officially back.

Just needed some time away, but I'm back and have a zillion recipes to share with you, have another giveaway coming up, a book review for an AWESOME book you'll want to check out, and a vacation recap! :)

For now, I'll give a quick run down of the half marathon. I finished!!! And I finished running the whole time! I didn't really have a huge time goal, but I just wanted to run the entire race. I joined something called a "pace team" which was so great for me. First of all because I couldn't find anyone to run with me (I can't imagine why no one wanted to run a half marathon?), so this gave me an automatic team at the start line of the race. Second, it set me up on a pace that I could keep with in order to keep running.

I just about died at mile 8.5, but having the team with me was great encouragement, and then I used one of those crazy, nasty, toothpaste textured Gu packets, and it was GOLD!!! 5 minutes later I felt like a new woman! So thankful for my pace team.

I made this goal to do this half several years ago, and it took me that long to get up the guts to do it, but SO glad I did!

To celebrate, and to top it off, I checked off two goals in one day by making Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon. I'm not going to lie, this is a dish that takes time, dedication, and attention - but boy oh boy is it worth it!!! The sauce for this is absolutely delectable. The perfect fall dish, made for cold nights sitting by the fire. But just know that it takes a few hours to make this (I'd say at least a good 3 hours), so it might be a good weekend dish. And it will feed a crowd, so plan for guests.... or leftovers.... or just stuff your face full of yummy stew!

Julia Child's Beef Bourguignon (Adapted from Julia Child via Good Morning America)
  • 6-ounces bacon
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cloves mashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • A crumbled bay leaf
  • 3 - 4 small white onions, quartered
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme)
  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms, fresh and quartered

  • Directions:
  • 1. Cut bacon into 1/2" thick strips and simmer in 1 1/2 quarts water for 10 minutes. Drain and dry.
  • 2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

    3. Saute bacon in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole (or large stock pot) over moderate heat for 2-3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
    4. Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat remaining bacon fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, careful not to overcrowd pan, and saute until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon in side dish.

    5. Slice onion and carrots, and brown them in same fat from bacon and beef. Add garlic before completely browned (last 2 minutes). Drain excess fat.
    6. Return beef and bacon to pan with browned vegetables and stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Then add the flour and toss to coat meat lightly. Set casserole in preheated over for 4 minutes. Toss meat again and return to oven for additional 4 minutes. Remove casserole and reduce heat of oven to 325.
    7. Stir in wine and 3 cups beef stock - enough to barely cover meat. Add tomato paste and herbs. Cover casserole and place in lower third of the oven. Allow to simmer ~ 1 1/2 hours or until fork pierces meat easily.
    8. While beef is cooking, prepare onions and mushrooms. Heat 1 1/2 Tbs. butter with 1/2 Tbs. oil in large skillet until bubbling. Add onions and saute over moderate heat for 10 minutes, rolling them so they brown as evenly as possible. Add 1/2 cup stock, salt, pepper to taste and herbs. Cover and simmer until liquid has evaporated - about 20-30 minutes. Remove bay leaf and parsley and set onions aside.
    9. Heat remaining butter and oil in skillet, and add mushrooms. Toss 5-10 minutes until tender and browned and remove from heat - combine with onions.

    10. When meat is tender, remove from oven and drain contents into a sieve set over a saucepan. Return meat to casserole and place onions/mushrooms over top of meat.
    11. Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.

    Mine wasn't thick enough, so I added a little cornstarch to a little of the sauce in a small bowl and stirred till smooth. Then added the cornstarch just a little at a time until desired thickness.

    Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2-3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with sauce several times. Serve in bowls with some warm, crusty bread.