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Tag: fall foods

Pumpkin Apple Bread

Pumpkin puree and finely chopped apple slices keep this bread naturally moist, while cinnamon and cloves give it that classic, comforting taste and aroma.  What better way to savor fall than to bake with apple and pumpkin?  And it is a bonus to have a bread that is sweet enough to be considered a treat, yet wholesome enough to be considered a hearty, healthy snack.  The recipe makes two loaves, so keep one loaf and give the other away, or keep both loaves!

pumpkin apple breadI adapted this recipe from one I found in my Hollyhocks & Radishes cookbook by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson. Since I did not have quite as much pumpkin puree as the recipe called for, I added some chopped apple slices to make up the difference, and the combination is delicious.  It is a very mild bread, and my husband, who is not a huge fan of a strong pumpkin flavor, prefers this adaptation.  My kids love it too, as do some of their friends (I often pack extra in their lunches so they can share).pumpkin apple breadThis past few days the weather has really turned, and it has been chilly and breezy outside.  It is dark earlier in the evenings, and dark when I take the kids to school in the mornings.  Suddenly the inside of the home becomes more appealing, and we spend more time inside.  We crave cozy things like baking bread, hot tea and blankets, soft lamps and candles.  I get to wear my favorite rain boots out and about, and tromp around in the woods taking pictures of the colorful leaves before they fall, and as they fall.

pumpkin apple breadI was leafing through a cookbook the other day and saw a recipe for ice pops.  When I saw it, I realized how far away summer seems now! Instead of dreaming up fun flavor combinations for homemade ice pops, after a busy day spent going all kinds of different directions, nowadays we are sitting down in the evenings with a cup of hot tea.  Even my kids are getting into drinking herbal tea, and I love using that as an excuse to drink a cup with them and try to find out what’s going on in their lives, though I don’t think I ever really find out as much as I’d like to.  This pumpkin apple bread goes perfectly with tea, by the way.

I hope you all have a great weekend! Stay warm and cozy! I am sharing this recipe over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Judi @ cookingwithauntjuju and Maggie @ Spoon in a Saucepan.pumpkin apple breadpumpkin apple breadred maple tree

Pumpkin Apple Bread

  • Servings: two loaves
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  • 2/3 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 and 2/3 cups of white granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of pumpkin puree (if you prefer to use all pumpkin and no apple, just use 2 cups of pumpkin puree)
  • 1/2 cup of apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • 3 and 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars.  In a small bowl, beat the eggs and then add them to the butter/sugar mixture.  Add the pumpkin, chopped apple, and water.  Stir well until thoroughly combined.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ground cloves.  Stir with a fork until well combined.  Stir the dry ingredients into the bowl with the pumpkin mixture.  Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.  Fold in the nuts, if you are using them.

Pour the batter into the greased loaf pans, distributing the batter evenly between the two pans.  Bake in your 350-degree oven for about one hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Let the bread cool for about 10 minutes in the pans, then gently turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from one found in Hollyhocks & Radishes by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson.

Fall Harvest Soup

I love it when food captures the color and feeling of a season.  This fall harvest soup does just that.  It is warm and nourishing, and its color is a beautiful combination of deep orange and gold, much like the leaves that are falling off of the trees.  With butternut squash, potatoes, and carrots being the main ingredients, it if full of necessary vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to help us stay strong as the weather turns cold and damp.  Curry, ginger, and nutmeg give this soup a subtle flavor, along with a generous amount of ground peppercorns.  Because it is pureed in the blender or food processor, the texture is smooth and creamy, and you can serve it either in bowls or little glasses.  The garnish possibilities are endless, including chopped walnuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, shredded cheese, or sour cream.

fall harvest soup on purple benchThough I have made some changes, the recipe for this soup is based on one I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, simply called “Autumn,” by Susan Branch.  My cousin gave me this cookbook a few years ago, and I have enjoyed many of the recipes in it, along with beautiful illustrations and quotes.  This cousin is actually more like a sister to me, since she and I both grew up with three brothers and no sisters.  We are so different, yet so alike in many ways.  Food has the power to connect people, and every time I use a recipe from that cookbook she gave me, I think of her.  We live far apart now (the Atlantic Ocean is between us), yet we are able to stay connected.  She recently called me to wish me a happy birthday, and along with catching up about our families and our career accomplishments and aspirations, she told me about her latest favorite way to make butternut squash (which I want to try soon). The love of food is something we have shared for a long time, a love rooted in our shared past and our shared ancestors, and our shared favorite recipes.

fall harvest soup on railing 1No matter how much modern life seems to isolate us, or how much our busy schedules threaten to overtake our souls, food can bring us back to earth and connect us to those we love.  A humble vegetable like squash can make us feel like we have crossed continents.  Allowing time for washing, peeling, and chopping vegetables gives us time to think, to reminisce, or to talk with whomever is in the kitchen.  Homemade soup cannot be rushed.  Somehow soup that is not rushed tastes the best to me.  This soup is delicious–in its taste, in its color, and with all the associations it brings.  Wishing you all the beauty of fall.fall harvest soup on front porch 2 chopped vegetablesNick sniffing the walnutsfall grasses

Fall Harvest Soup

  • Servings: 8-10
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  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium to large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 medium potatoes or 4-5 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • about 5 cups of butternut squash (one medium-sized squash or about 2 and 1/2 pounds), peeled and cubed, with seeds cut away
  • 6 cups of chicken broth or stock (I like the Better than Bouillon brand)
  • 1 teaspoon of curry
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped walnuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, shredded cheese, or sour cream for garnish


Melt the butter in a large soup pot.  Over medium heat, saute the onion and carrot until soft, about 7 minutes.  Stir in the potatoes and squash.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 40 minutes.  Add the curry, nutmeg, and ginger.  Let the soup cool for a few minutes.  In a food processor or blender, puree the soup in batches.  Return the soup to the pot and add salt and pepper to your taste.  Adjust the other seasonings if you wish.  Serve in bowls with spoons, or in little glasses to sip.  Enjoy!

Apple Pie with a Hint of Plum

This delicious pie showcases seasonal apples with a touch of extra sweetness from plums.  It is now the month of October and prime apple season here, as well as the very tail end of plum season.  I like to use apples in as many ways as possible at this time of year, and making pies is one of my favorite ways.  Apple pies are such an iconic part of celebrating fall.  I have a few juicy plums lingering in my kitchen from the end of summer, so I added a cup of sliced plums to the apple pie filling, to jazz it up a little.  It was a great combination, with the plums just adding a hint of a slightly different type of sweetness.  Too many plums, and the crust may have gotten soggy, but this was just the right amount.

apple plum pie with pie plate 3Pies symbolize so many different things to different people, but to me they symbolize celebration and comfort.  There were (and still are) always pies around at big family gatherings, and lots of the women in my family were and are great pie-makers, from my grandma, my great aunt and my husband’s grandma, to my mother and aunt, who still make incredible pies.

apple pie with plums 4Some people may think of making pies as old-fashioned, or overly domestic, but to me it is empowering to be able to make something that others love so much, and to be able to use fruit that grows so close to home, wrap it in a delicious pastry, and be able to nourish people in such a healthy, natural, and beautiful way.  While cherry pie was my father’s favorite, and my mother, my brothers, my kids, and I like pretty much every kind of pie, apple pie is my husband’s all-time favorite.  He loved the bit of plums in this pie as well.

raw pie crustPie crust can be a bit of a challenge, but it is a worthy challenge.  The recipe I am sharing below is one that works well for me.  Although it turns out slightly different every time, and some crusts are prettier than others, it always tastes wonderful.  I like to use unsalted butter from grass-fed cows for my pie crust.  I also sometimes make it with canola oil, which is good too.  If I use some whole wheat flour (which I like to do sometimes), the crust does not hold together as well, but it still tastes good.  If I want the crust to look extra-pretty, I use unbleached all-purpose flour.

apples and plums in bowlI hope you are all enjoying the beautiful fall weather, and the fruits and vegetables of fall too. This is such an incredible time of year!  “Give me the splendid silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling, give me juicy autumnal fruit ripe and red from the orchard.” ~Walt Whitman

Have a great weekend!

apples and plums in bowlpeeled applesapple plum pie in pie plateapple plum pie against blueThis week, Angie’s Fiesta Friday is co-hosted by Julie @ Hostess at Heart and Liz @ Spades, Spatulas, & Spoons. I look forward to checking out some inspiration there! 

Apple Pie with a Hint of Plum

  • Servings: 8
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For the Filling

  • 5 cups of apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of plums, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

For the Pie Crust

  • 2 cup of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2/3 cup of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 6-7 tablespoons of cold water


Wash, peel, and slice the fruit, and place it in a large mixing bowl.  Add the sugar, flour, and cinnamon, and stir to combine.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  In another large mixing bowl, combine the flour and the salt.  With a fork or pastry cutter, cut in the butter and combine, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs about the size of peas.  Gradually add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork to combine. Add water and toss with fork until all the dough is uniformly moistened. Divide the dough into two equal-sized balls. On a lightly floured surface (I often flour a large sheet of waxed paper on my counter and roll the dough out on it–the dough doesn’t stick to it as much), press one of the dough balls down with the palm of your hand. Then roll it into a circle, from the center to the edges, about 12 inches in diameter.  Roll the dough onto a floured rolling pin and gently unroll it into a 9-inch pie baking plate.  Try not to stretch the dough too much.  If it tears, patch it with more dough.  Then roll out the second ball of dough, the same way as the first one.  Pour the fruit filling into the pie plate.  Ease that second 12-inch circle of dough from the floured rolling pin to the top of the fruit filling.  Gently fold the top crust under the bottom crust, all the way around the plate.  Then flute the edges as best you can.  Patch any tears with extra dough.  With a fork, poke several tiny holes in the top of the crust to allow air to come through. Sprinkle with sugar if desired.

Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil, to avoid over-browning. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 25 minutes.  Remove the foil, and then bake another 18-25 minutes, or until the crust is just golden and fruit is tender.  Allow to cool before slicing.  Enjoy!