It should be known that for any sort of apology one must present an offering of sincerity...which is usually food. In all honesty I couldn't think of a sweeter (pun intended) way of saying.
Might I also add I'm new in hopes that I can salvage my grand audience of two?
How about an explanation. I've been blinded by Wedding Bells, and my sister has decided to get married---in five months! God Bless Her! Now I congratulate her for this great step forward in life, but at the same time this caused me to shrink back and realize I really don't have much in my bank account. So I was faced with one of those whats-a-ma-call-it "life choices" and regressed to my ignore my blogging ways. Really, It was wonderful almost to not cook for three whole weeks. Then I realized I really really wanted to cook, because cooking is for lack of a better word, therapeutic. What was missed was a Chili with too much spice and Muffins that while sweet and lasted a whole day unfortunately were so complicated it made me scream. In other words true failures that I just wasn't ready to admit too. Am I in denial? Probably...I mean, yes, but that doesn't give me any excuse. In fact I make a lot of failures but every once in a while I hit a streak of pure gold. It just so happens that recently that streak of gold was from the flesh of some sort of slow-roasted vegetable. So enough with the sincerities and time for the real presents!
I don't know why, but this time of year...I am obsessed with squash. Maybe it's just us Americans or an obscure diet staple of upper midwest americas or what, but anywhere you go this time of year you will see a variety of fall-hued stemmed monstrosities. Children Carry around Plastic versions of the more popular ones, while our grocery aisles suddenly have endcap aisles devoted to Libby's Moneymaker. Our Coffee Shops create drinks devoted to them, our bakeries thrown them in cheesecakes and muffins and cookies, oh my! You cannot go anywhere without running into them, that's because any grower knows that when they really go to fruition they breed like happy bunnies and gerbils.
So I present a gift, orange and sweet and studded with crunchy pecans, this is loaf that is it's simplest form, frakking awesome! The best part is that it is from an old Cooking Light so it's almost good for you...well, admittedly eating a whole loaf in one sitting won't help your wasteline. I'd like to note I really couldn't bring myself to add water to a loaf recipe when you can really add something more flavorful, after a try I opted to add buttermilk to balance the flavor. (Which for a quarter cup it adds about 30 calories to the whole loaf and very little fat...which I should really look up)
I hope in the future after a stunning amount of butter consumption in preparing my first recipe I can actually slim down in the future. Think of this as a positive step in the right direction, a new effort, a season resolution so to speak.
AND Maybe...just maybe I'll figure out how to use my gorram camera some day too.
Pumpkin Cranberry Loaf (Adapted from Cooking Light - November 1995)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
(or Sub 3/4 tsp Ginger, 1/2 tsp Cinnamon,
1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 1/8 tsp cloves)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
3/4 cup coarsely chopped cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Vegetable cooking spray
5 x 9 Loaf Pan
Wheat Germ or Flour for Dusting
Preheat your Oven to 350 Fahrenheit, (someday I will look up Celcius, but until then remember I am american and we all run on the "our system is the way" measuring system) and spray and dust your pan with whatever your choice of dusting items and fat. I use good old Canola Oil Cooking Spray. I spray the bottom, then add a fitted piece of parchment paper followed by more spraying along he sides. I usually dust with wheat germ, just because I think it really marries well with muffins and loafs (and my mother told me too), again I say use whatever you normally do.
Now, before you really do anything else, seperate the three eggs and leave the whites in a medium size bowl for later. Now Measure and Whisk Together all of the spices, the baking powder, salt, flour and sugars in a large bowl until combined. Now stop and clean up before you go any further because if you're like me---you just don't want to do this later. Now back to those egg whites; whisk them until right before they form those soft peaks; you want a thickness but not a meringue. Now fold in the pumpkin (or butternut puree if you're feeling bored yet adventerous), buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract. Create a well in the middle the dry ingredients and add the wet to that well and fold lightly. Now just after the dry really starts to marry to the wet (but while there are still large streaks of flour) throw the cranberries into the fold. There should still be large some streams of flour when you decide to walk away. Just walk away. Let this baby rest and clean up any residual messes amongst your kitchen.
Spread the batter into that already coated 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, gently. Sprinkle the Pecans Evenly over the top and using whatever you used to spread the batter to just gently tuck in the pecans. Bake at 350° for 54 - 58 Minutes depending on your oven, I typically take it out just a little bit early. Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes on a wire rack; remove from the pan, and let cool almost completely on wire rack before slicing. Resist the Temptation to eat it all the minute it comes out, a burnt mouth really ruins the experience, and that added in-pan cooking time seems to help it set.Each Slice depending on the size from a twelve piece loaf will have around 225 calories, and about 6 grams of fat. Mostly Good fat, and there is nothing better than good fat.
Yield: 12-16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)