The Best Pumpkin Bread You’ll Ever Have

Remember what I said before about pumpkin being the kind of fall you could eat? Well, it’s still true---only, OK, listen: this hasn’t just been any fall. This year in Chicago, fall’s gone above and beyond. Literally. Yesterday was the third day in a row where temps soared into the 70s. Yes, you read that right: 70s! In late October! While the trees are already ten shades of orange and red! I went somewhere last night and had to take my sweater off, that’s how warm I was. It’s the kind of thing people talk about wherever you go---church, the grocery store, chatting on the phone---as if, no matter what your feelings or indifference about this crazy gorgeous season that transitions from the long daylight of summer into the snow and frost of winter, one thing remains, at least this year, at least where I live: autumn’s got your attention. I guess the same could be said of many things, from football to TV shows to the pleasure of reading a good book: the die-hard lovers will … [Read more...]

it found me (white whole wheat pecan bread)

This bread came to me unassumingly, unexpectedly, on the back of a bag of flour---the very same bag of flour I gleaned through that crazy Sunday at Whole Foods you may remember. I wasn’t looking for a bread recipe; I wasn’t even really in the mood to bake but, maybe because of what we’d been through together, maybe because I am too impressionable, as soon as I saw this bag’s recipe, despite every bad loaf of bread I've made over the last few months, I started gathering ingredients. It was like this bread found me. It seems that in this life, there are things we pursue: people we want to be our friends, jobs we apply to have, opportunities we dream of and work for. Then there are things that pursue us or, sometimes, things that fall right into our laps, without our looking for them, without our knowing we could have wanted them at all. In my experience? These are some of the best things. … [Read more...]

the heart of things (sugar and spiced candy nuts)

Two days from Christmas, I can't imagine any of you are still looking for gift ideas. You're probably nothing like me, who not only hasn't finished wrapping presents but also hasn't finished buying them---not that there are many to buy because, whenever possible, I like to homemake Christmas gifts. This year has been as simple as free cards online, whipping up a batch of my favorite sweet and salty granola and baking some cookies, after which I mainly just had these sugar-and-spiced nuts to bake---two batches, because they're that good, and, like I said, I know you don't need gift ideas at this point, but if you ever do, trust me when I say these things make great ones. You know, in the last post, I told you how sick I've been, how I spent the full weekend before Christmas at home, in bed, trying to distract myself from my stuffy nose, and that's true. It's also true that Monday night, I spent a half hour holding ice against my face while trying to end my first-ever bloody nose. … [Read more...]