I love recipes, I love traditions, and I think a lot of times these two go hand-in-hand. What's Christmas without that delicious pie that your mom makes for company during the holidays? Or Thanksgiving without your grandmother's classic dressing? Familiar food can invoke some of the best memories, and I think that's part of the comfort that our favorite recipes provide.
I want this little space on the internet to be inspiring and warm, just like many of the memories that are made around the kitchen table. I'm excited to start a fun series that will involve both recipes and traditions. During the year, we will be posting some our friends' favorite recipes and the stories behind why that particular dish has been shared. The format will be the same each time, but the stories will be unique and the recipes too delicious to pass up!
I hope you will enjoy reading the stories that are coming, and I'm going to start off the November posts with one recipe that never fails to please!
Recipe: Gina's Pumpkin Bread
Ingredients: 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree 2.5 cups sugar 1 cup vegetable oil 2/3 cup water 4 eggs 3.5 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 1.5 teaspoons salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray two loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. Mix the pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, water, and eggs in electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment) for 1 minute on low speed. Sift dry ingredients together in separate bowl, then slowly incorporate into wet ingredients while mixer is still on low speed. Mix until just combined, then mix for 1 additional minute on medium speed. Pour evenly into the two loaf pans, and bake for 60-75 minutes on center rack in oven. The bread is done when the center is set and when a toothpick inserted into the off-center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, then enjoy! To store, wrap loaves in plastic wrap and keep at room temperature.
What's the story behind the recipe? I met my friend Marilyn in third grade, and because we attended a private K-12 school, we actually ended up attending school together until our high school graduation! Every October, Marilyn's mother made the most delicious pumpkin bread I'd ever had, and knowing the sweet tooth I had (and still have, if we are being honest), Marilyn would always share her slice with me. I knew I had really crossed over the elementary friendship threshold when her mom started packing two sandwich bags with pumpkin bread - one for her daughter, and one for her daughter's friend who was obsessed with the treat. This tradition kept on throughout high school (although Marilyn was now the one packing her own lunch by then), and I was always a grateful recipient of the seasonal bread. When we went our separate ways to college, Marilyn and I stayed in touch and continued our friendship throughout the time I headed to graduate school in the mountains of North Carolina. The fall of my first year in grad school, I remembered the pumpkin bread that I loved for so long, and asked if Marilyn wouldn't mind asking her mom for the recipe. Miss Gina passed it along, and it is now entitled "Gina's Pumpkin Bread" in my box full of recipe cards.
As soon as canned pumpkin hits the shelves for the season, I'm baking pumpkin bread! I typically make the most loaves during October-December...it makes the perfect breakfast, snack, or dessert, and also makes a wonderful gift. If I give it as a gift, I'll usually wrap it up with parchment paper and place in a basket with an inexpensive tea towel. It's the kind of gift that doesn't cost much other than time, but can make quite a sweet impression on the recipient! Of course, I don't think anyone would complain if it were just wrapped in plastic wrap, either.
If you decide to make this recipe, I hope it will become as much of a favorite of yours as it is mine. Happy baking!