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!