cranberry walnut pumpkin bread 

december 1st, 2015

homesweet_pumpkinbread

As I write this I’m sitting in a favorite coffee shop of mine, watching people wrap lampposts with garlands and frost storefronts with white lights. It’s officially the holiday season, and even though it’s a total cliché, I really do believe it’s the most magical time of the year. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, and between a career change, hosting a friendsgiving, and preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday, there’s been little time to sit down and just be still. This time of year has a way of slowing me down, reminding me to count my blessings and to spend lots of time with loved ones.

I’d be lying if I told you my move to Boston has been easy. I’ve adventured to new towns and cities before, moving from southern California to Vermont for school, then hopping on over to the coast of Maine for a seasonal stint, then on to Boston. I’d be lying to you if I told you my move to Boston didn’t involve a certain boy, but it was for more than that. It was for the adventure, the challenge, and the excitement that comes with a new place, and while this move proved to be all of these things, it was also really, really hard. The city felt overwhelming, nothing like the safe and comforting home my dear friend Lizzy and I had made on the farm in Maine. I didn’t have my girlfriends from college to snuggle up on the couch with or have a beer on the porch with, and it was isolating. There were tears and many moments of self doubt, many moments of “I give up, I just want to go home.” The problem, I soon realized, was which home? Home to my family in California? To my home in Vermont? To Maine? There was no quick fix, and as I began getting into the swing of things in my new neighborhood, every once in awhile I’d feel this little ping in my chest, that feeling of warmth that comes with comfort, that feeling of “you are where you’re meant to be in this moment.” I slowly began to feel more at ease, and with that came the confidence to reach out and branch out. Another cliché, but it’s taken me more than a year to “find myself,” in this city. I've navigated a few new career paths, created Home Sweet, and explored new places with new people. It’s a process, and through it I have befriended some incredible and inspiring individuals.

A week or so ago I had some girlfriends over for a friendsgiving feast, one involving warming, seasonal dishes, pretty cocktails, and plenty of champagne. Space was minimal, as there were eight of us in my 250 square foot apartment, but it was the best kind of cozy and I had an absolute blast hosting. As we ate and passed plates, I felt that ping, that feeling of “I am where I’m meant to be”, and was so happy for it. In that moment, I felt at home. My move to Boston has had its challenges, but each one of the ladies sitting around me at the table has inspired me to follow my passions and has lifted me when days felt a little grey. They've helped to make this place feel like home, and for that I am so thankful. 

After a week spent with good friends around the dinner table, I found myself with some leftover friendsgiving ingredients in my pantry begging to be whipped up into something tasty. I wanted to make something simple and just a bit sweet, something I could pass off as breakfast on one of those running-out-the-door-can't-find-my-keys kind of mornings (not unusual in my world.) This slightly sweet and tangy pumpkin bread is all of the above and more. The greek yogurt and coconut oil make this loaf so satisfying, and the cranberries and walnut pieces add a great crunch and zing to it. This pumpkin bread is the best sort of "on the go" breakfast, and is equally enjoyable shared in good company over tea and coffee.

Wishing you all a warm and happy holiday season. I hope it's full of good food and friends who make you feel at home.

Bon appetit! 

cranberry walnut pumpkin bread - 

ingredients - 

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree 
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, full fat (Fage is my go-to)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup refined coconut oil, melted 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup oat flour 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp nutmeg 
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spie 
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, greek yogurt, egg, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, and brown sugar. Set aside. In a separate bowl stir the remaining dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredient mixture to your wet ingredients, mix until evenly combined. Fold in cranberries and walnut pieces, adding more or less depending on personal preference. 

Line a bread pan with parchment paper, scoop pumpkin mix into the pan, and sprinkle the top with cranberries and walnut pieces. Bake on the middle oven rack for 45 - 55 minutes, or until you're able to insert and remove a toothpick cleanly. 

Remove and let cool for 15 minutes or so before slicing. 

Enjoy!

pumpkin spice & walnut granola 

october 9th, 2015

homesweet-pumpkin

Lately, I've been desperately trying to slow down the hours, days, and weeks. It's my favorite time of year (much like everyone else in New England) and I'm savoring these crisp and sunny days before the winter air settles in. It can be easy to let this time of year pass you by in the city. You see trees with scarlet and gold leaves here and there, but the colors don't overwhelm you the way they do in the mountains.

This past weekend I zipped up to my old stomping grounds in Vermont, and boy, do I miss it there. I moved to Burlington when I was eighteen, and quickly fell in love with its mountains and its people. Vermont felt like home right away. My first fall there was basically my first fall, ever. I remember walking down to Lake Champlain, looking out to the Adirondacks and thinking that their slopes and ridges looked like they were on fire. The colors burned so bright they blazed, and it took my breath away year after year. Still does. From September to November I was determined to spend as much time as I possibly could outside. There were sunrise and sunset hikes on Camel's Hump, weekends in the apple orchards, pumpkin picking, and long solo runs along the lake. Though the air grew cooler and the days shorter, I always found myself feeling indescribably warm this time of year. A combination of beautiful views, good company, and the sweet and spicy scents often floating from the kitchen made for happy memories in one of my happy places. 

So, this granola. While it can't take me back in time, it sure does bring back a whole lot of happy memories with it's warming, nutty, and spicy flavors. It's cozy and inviting and makes both your heart and belly feel full. I like to make big batches of it to sprinkle on yogurt, add to oatmeal, and to snack on morning, noon, and night. I hope you enjoy this simple recipe as much as I do :).

pumpkin walnut granola

ingredients - 

  • 3 cups rolled oats 
  • 1 1/3 cups raw walnuts, halved or chopped
  • 1/3 cup raw pepitas
  • 1 Tbsp flax seeds 
  • 2 dashes of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flax seeds, walnuts, pepitas, spices, and salt.

In a small pan, melt the refined coconut oil and then whisk in pumpkin puree and honey. Mix well until the contents are evenly combined. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until all dry ingredients are coated. 

Spread half of the mixture evenly on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 7 minutes, stir contents around a bit, rotate, and place in the oven for another 7 or so minutes. *Keep an eye on it! It can go from crispy to burnt to a crisp quite quickly (speaking from experience.) 

Once golden brown, remove your granola from the oven and let it cool. Enjoy warm over yogurt, with a splash of milk, or store in an airtight container to enjoy at a later time. 

Let me know how your pumpkin granola turns out by tagging #HSrecipes on instagram, and be sure to follow me @homesweet_mary. Happy baking! 

double dark chocolate chunk cookies & vanilla bean ice cream sandwiches 

September 14th, 2015

homesweet_cookies

My mom always added nuts to baked goods when I was growing up. She'd throw them in cookies and banana bread, insisting that they made the finished product that much tastier. I wasn't so crazy about nuts at the time, and was always sure we left a generous number of cookies nut free. It wasn't until I left for college that my taste buds seemed to snap to and realize that adding nuts to baked goods is a must and absolutely delicious. If you disagree, no hard feelings, I understand where you're coming from. These cookies can easily be made sans walnuts. 

Anywho, anyone who knows me knows how much I love chocolate. Dark chocolate almonds are a weakness of mine, and I can finish off a Liberty Chocolate Bar (my all time fav,) no problem. It's a craving I tend to indulge, and these cookies are no exception. These double chocolate cookies are rich in color and taste, filled to capacity with dark chocolate chunks and walnuts for crunch. They're a snap to whip up, and are made even tastier with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream sandwiched between two. A perfect treat for the last weeks of summer, these ice cream cookie sammies celebrate sunshine and warmth while ushering in those first feelings of fall. 

Enjoy :)

double dark chocolate chunk cookies + walnuts - 

makes about a dozen cookies 

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted & cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks 
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • flaky sea salt for sprinkling - maldon is my fav
  • * 1 pint vanilla bean ice cream, or flavor of your choice 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl beat brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and melted coconut oil for 1 - 2 minutes. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix until evenly combined. Add chocolate chips, chunks, and chopped walnuts and mix well. Chill for 20 - 30 minutes.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Roll dough into 1 inch round balls, press to flatten slightly with your palm. Put the cookies in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes, mine were perfect at 9 minutes. Pop them out of the oven, sprinkle with flaky salt immediately, and let cool for about 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, scoop some vanilla bean ice cream onto a cookie and sandwich it with another. Enjoy while chocolate chunks are nice and ooey-gooey.

first of summer strawberry & rhubarb galette

may 27, 2015

I always find myself feeling a tad nostalgic around this time of year. In the past, this month has always brought about some sort of marked change in my life. It never failed to bring adventure, launching me into motion and transition whether I was ready for it or not. May closed out school years, marked the beginnings of adventures abroad, welcomed me home to California, and gave way to new jobs and opportunities. May felt reliable, in an exhilarating and stomach churning sort of way. The months that would follow would sometimes be relaxing and at other times challenging. But, no matter where in the world my summer plans took me, I always found comfort in knowing I'd be going home in the fall to the start of a new school year, to family and friends. I took comfort in knowing I'd return to the familiar. 

Two years ago I was packing my bags for a summer in Copenhagen. One year ago I was graduating from the University of Vermont, saying sayonara to the home I'd made there, and heading for Maine to live and work on a farm by the sea. Though excited, I was equally anxious about this new phase, fully aware that I wouldn't necessarily be returning to old friends and family at the close of the experience. It was in Maine I met Lizzy, one of the most lovely, free-spirited and kind women I have ever known. She had just moved north from New York City, looking to disconnect and get her hands dirty. She and I became fast friends and spent our days weeding, chasing chickens, hiking in the hills, and harvesting the summer produce and fruits grown on the farm. It was both hard work and dream like, and sometimes it's hard to believe the experience has already come and gone. Time flies. 

It didn't take long for me to notice that Lizzy took whole cooking and eating to another level. She'd walk barefoot through the soil and crunch on kohlrabi leaves and raw rhubarb, sometimes popping a strawberry or two into her mouth, leaves n' all. She taught me to appreciate food in it's natural state, and that more often than not it tastes best that way. This strawberry rhubarb galette is both tart and sweet, just as strawberries taste early in the season. They're perfect for a picnic with friends, a breezy birthday celebration, or simply for a "just because" treat. Whip these up and let me know how you enjoy them. Happy baking!

strawberry rhubarb galettes - 

makes 8-10 small treats 

pastry - 

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 Tbsp
  • 2 Tbsp flaxmeal 
  • 10 Tbsp cold butter, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup ice water

fruit filling - 

  • 2 1/2 cups strawberries, sliced 
  • 1 cup rhubarb, sliced 
  • 1 Tbsp refined coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • raw sugar, for sprinkling 

Preheat the oven to 375.  

For the dough - mix the flour, flaxmeal and salt together in a large bowl.  Add the cubed butter and work into the flour mixture with your hands until it looks like coarse meal. Slowly drip in the ice water, working the dough into an imperfect ball. It should be flakey and just barely holding it's shape. You may not need a full cup on ice water, so simply add as needed. Once the dough comes together, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. 

For the filling - Place coconut oil in a heated pan. Once melted, add the rhubarb and cook until softened, roughly 5 minutes. Combine the sliced strawberries and rhubarb in a medium bowl. Toss evenly with sugar and set aside.

Roll out chilled dough between two pieces of parchment paper. It prevents sticking! Place the dough on a cookie sheet and cut into circles roughly 6 inches in diameter. This should yield somewhere between 8-10 galettes. You can get creative with this step, making one big galette if you prefer, etc. Spoon the strawberry mixture in the middle of each circle, leaving about an inch wide border all around. Fold and pinch the crust over the strawberry rhubarb filling. Beat one egg with a fork, brush the crusts with it, and then sprinkle the galettes with raw sugar. 

Bake for 35 - 45 minutes, or until the crusts are golden brown and flakey. Enjoy as is, with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, or with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream!

chocolate zucchini bread + chopped walnuts and dark chocolate chips 

April 8th, 2015

I'll take any chance I get to bake something rich and chocolatey. Dark chocolate has long been a favorite indulgence of mine, and finding a socially acceptable way to eat it in the morning is considered a win in my book.

This past weekend I found myself craving something a bit sweet, satisfying, and comforting, as this spring has been slow to arrive here in the northeast. I wanted to make something I could snack on in the afternoon or enjoy in the morning with a cup of tea. After flipping through my favorite cookbooks and zig-zagging through the aisles of my local market, I decided on this tasty and surprisingly nutritious loaf. It's just sweet enough to make it feel like a treat, but hearty and filling in the best sort of way as well. AND there is quite a bit of zucchini hidden in these loaves, which makes them healthy right? Personally, I love adding nuts to breads like these for a little crunch, but feel free to leave them out if you'd rather. Mini dark chocolate chips top off this seemingly decadent baked good. 

This was the perfect little loaf to wrap up and enjoy with friends this past Easter Sunday. Whip this up and let me know how you share it. Bon appetit! 

double dark chocolate zucchini bread - 

makes 2 loaves

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 packed cups zucchini, grated (don’t peel it!)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup dark mini chocolate chips (you can use semi-sweet as well)

Preheat your oven to 350°. 

Lightly grease and line two bread pans with parchment paper. You can grease and flour your tins if you don't have any parchment paper on hand. This will prevent your chocolatey loaves from sticking.

In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients - flours, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and chopped walnuts.

In a separate medium sized bowl, crack your eggs and beat lightly with a fork until whisked together. Add your zucchini, vanilla, and then your melted coconut oil. Take care to work efficiently during this step, you don't want your coconut oil to solidify! Once combined, add this mixture to your dry ingredients, stirring until you are left with a well mixed batter. Fold in the dark (or semi-sweet) chocolate chips until just combined. 

Divide your batter between your bread pans. Place them on the middle rack of your preheated oven for about 50 minutes. Your zucchini bread is done when the tops of your loaves are cracked, risen, and a toothpick comes back clean when inserted. Let your loaves cool for 10 minutes before enjoying with good friends and a cup of tea. Enjoy!