Sunday, October 16, 2011


Lots of fall baking and cooking going on in my cozy little kitchen this week--hey, why don't you come on over, grab yourself a hot cup of coffee and lend me a hand? I wish. As we speak, I'm cooking up another big batch of Apple Butter, because in a few days I'm heading here.................

That's right, my homeland, my City By The Bay, San Francisco. I'll be staying at a sweet little hotel in Berkeley, which is right across the bay from S.F. (never, EVER say "Frisco", unless you want to be, well,  a TOTAL GEEK!). I'm flying all the way 'cross country just because I miss this girl so much I can't STAND it...............

(I might not be doing another post for a week or so, because jet lag seems to hit me hard lately, but I promise to bring lots and lots of fun Bay Area photos home with me to share--promise!)
Little Miss Thing has requested that her mama bring some Apple Butter, which has just thrown me into a tizzy--how on EARTH does someone travel with something like Apple Butter in this day and age? Anyone who has flown anywhere after 9 / 11 knows that you can't carry more than 4 puny ounces of any sort of liquid onto a plane, and 4 oz. of Apple Butter, well, that t'aint NUTTIN', honey! So here's my devious plan....I'm gonna freeze a container of my homemade jelly, then put it in about 6 ziploc bags, and stick the whole thing in my suitcase and PRAY, just PRAY, that it doesn't thaw and run all over my clothes. My husband says this sounds like one of my typical Lucy Ricardo plans , and that I'm asking for trouble. But shoot, Ricky--"they" let us carry full -sized bottles of shampoo and hair jell in our checked luggage, so what's the harm in a little Apple Butter? I'll let you know how it all goes down.......

I'm also baking a couple of loaves of our new favorite obsession, Southern Living's (the BEST cooking magazine, by the way) Pumpkin Pecan Bread, which shall also be packed into my poor luggage..............

I tell you WHAT--this bread is soooo delicious, and it gets even better after being refrigerated for a few days...especially with a little cream cheese or butter slathered on top!

Believe it or not, I did not use a mixer OR food processor while making this bread--it's all done by hand, and is super simple! To begin, you'll want to toast your chopped pecans in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they're fragrant....................

Stir together flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and baking powder. Make a "well" in the center of your dry mixture.......

Whisk together pumpkin, oil and eggs, plus water, and add to dry ingredients......

Stir until just moistened, and stir in toasted pecans...............

Spoon batter into prepared loafpans (this makes 2 loaves)..............

Bake for an hour or so, and cool on wire racks. A no-fail recipe, and one I'm sure you'll love to have in your recipe box!........................

Here's the recipe.....

Makes 2 loaves

1 and 1 / 2 cups chopped pecans
3 and 1 / 2 cup flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 tblsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 15oz. can pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl, and make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together pumpkin, next 2 ingredients and 2 / 3  cup water; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Stir in pecans. Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 9 x 5 inch loafpans. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Makes 2 loaves.


***Sleeping in late this morning....I LOVE LOVE LOVE Sundays!

***Starbuck's French Roast with a little half and half......pretty much my only vice these days!

***The nice 4 mile walk that B.A., Wee Willie and I took this morning in the brisk fall days like these when I have lots of energy!


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