My, it sure has been a while! Hope everyone out there had a good year!
We're doing well - despite a couple setbacks, every day I realize how lucky I am. The biggest news is that I am unemployed for first time since my teenage years (which was, by the way, a kind of long time ago!) But it was the inevitable result of the sale of a company, one of those things that happens and eventually you just need to deal with it emotionally and move on. So, once I got over the initial shock I decided to twist my attitude in to one of optimism instead of despair.
Believe me, we are by no means wealthy and I simply have to work - no amount of clipping coupons and cutting back will do it for us. But a very wise colleague of mine had a saying about times like this: "There are no problems, just opportunities." And for me, that translates into an opportunity to spend more time with my family this December, as well as an opportunity to explore other careers, other employers, to build my professional network, maybe further my education....oh, and clean my house. Kind of.
Or totally skip cleaning and get right down to baking something yummy!
Say hello to Cherry Chocolate Pumpkin Nut Bread!
So easy, yet sweet/tart dried cherries and hunks of chocolate make this no ordinary pumpkin bread. All I did was take a perfectly lovely pumpkin bread recipe, Pumpkin Cranberry Bread from Allrecipes, and make a few changes - sub cherries for cranberries, add some chocolate chips and instead of canned, I used my own fresh (frozen/thawed) pumpkin from the freezer.
I also used my own Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend.
The original recipe can be found HERE.
First, whisk or sift the dry ingredients together.
Since dried cherries tend to be a bit larger than cranberries, I went ahead and chopped them coarsely. Set them aside with the chocolate chips and chopped walnuts.
In a separate bowl, blend together the sugar, eggs, pumpkin and oil. Fold that into the flour mixture until just barely blended, then fold in the cherries, chips and nuts. I sprinkled about a teaspoon of flour over those and tossed them to coat before adding them to the batter. The batter was a bit thin and I was afraid everything would sink to the bottom of each loaf. A dusting of flour will help the bits stay suspended as the bread bakes.
I used three 8" x 4" foil loaf pans - you could certainly use large or smaller pans, just adjust the baking time accordingly.
Bake at 350 F for about 50 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool completely before slicing.
I love this bread - very moist and tender, great balance of flavors and best of all, delicious!
Cherry Chocolate Pumpkin Nut Bread
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup chopped dried cherries
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8" x 4" loaf pans.
Whisk or sift together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In another bowl, blend together eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil.
Pour over flour mixture and stir until just blended. Fold in cherries, chocolate chips and nuts.
Fill loaf pans half way. Bake for about 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and tops are golden brown/
Let cool completely on wire racks (I remove from loaf pans after abut 10 or 15 minutes).