The Not Too Sweet Pumpkin Bread

Happy Friday!

This chilly fall morning started with Brent and I jumping up and running to Cumberland Farms for our FREE COFFEE FRIDAY! Normally I run in to grab some water, gatorade, energy bars or every once in a while some ice cream. If I want coffee, it’s Dunkies or Starbucks for this girl. But who can deny a free coffee?? So, head to Cumberland Farms this morning for your free coffee :-)

Anyways, this past weekend Brent and I headed to Nashville to hang out with some friends and just see the city. It just may be my favorite city I have ever been to. We had a SUPER early flight back to Boston and we were back home by 2. Which gave us just enough time to prepare for some people coming over for the Patriots game. While Brent headed to the game with them, I decided to make some pumpkin bread and sweet potato biscuits for breakfast the next morning. It was an easy way to have something for everyone to eat without making much of a fuss.

Fall Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

1 Can Pumpkin Puree 2 Eggs
1/2 Cup Canola Oil 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar 2 1/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Water 3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder 1.2 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer, whisk the pumpkin puree, canola oil, light brown sugar, water, eggs, and vanilla.

2. In a separate bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.

3. Add the dry mix to the wet and stir until well blended. Pour the batter into a greased bread pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

Pumpkin Bread Steps

The bread is definitely not sweet and has a strong natural pumpkin flavor, which I love. It allows the pumpkin puree to take over the bread, as opposed to sweetness and spices. It was delicious.

I also made, or attempted to make, sweet potato biscuits. I had gotten this cute mix in a mason jar from a wedding that Brent and I were in a little while ago. I think my definition of a large sweet potato was VERY different than their idea of large. Because my biscuits turned out to be more like a moist cake texture. I don’t think I have ever made anything quite like this before.

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It was definitely delicious and I can see how the biscuit version of this would be irresistible.

This weekend I’m working on some fall inspired coffees that you can make at home. I love making “fancy” coffees on the weekend and have some ideas on pumpkin spice coffees.

What do you make when you have several people over for breakfast??

The bread was definitely a win. It made breakfast super easy, especially when we all got up at 5AM for work!

Motivate Me Running Playlist

Over the past month, I have really started to struggle with staying motivated to run those 9, 10, 11, and 12 milers. I simply lost the motivation to do it. One of the ways that I kept myself going was changing up the music playlist. I found that sitting down and putting together a new playlist got me excited to hit the road and try it out.

All of the songs are upbeat, motivating and some had me singing along while running. True Life, I ran singing Breaking Dishes several times.

Motivate Me Playlist

 

Get You Home- Shwayze

S&M- Rihanna

Barracuda- Heart

Headstrong- Trapt

Breaking Dishes- Rihanna

Feel This Moment- Pit Bull

Timber- Kesha

Call On Me- Eric Prydz

Come On Feel The Noize- Quiet Riot

Teenagers- My Chemical Romance

Bleed it Out- Linkin Park

Up, Up, & Away- Kid Cudi

Blow- Kesha

Eye of the Tiger- Great White

Vegas Girl- Conor Maynard

Come With Me Now- Kongos

Hold it Against Me- Britney Spears

All Day- Cody Simpson

My Songs Know What You In The Dark- Fall Out Boy

How Far We’ve Come- Matchbox Twenty

These songs are definitely all over the place but I couldn’t help myself when certain songs came over my ear buds. How can you ignore the contagious beat of Come With Me Now, or the I’m going to kill this run feeling of Barracuda and Eye of the Tiger?? It’s just not possible.

What is your motivating running song?? What beat can’t you ignore??

Delicious Rum Raisin Cupcakes

This past week was my parent’s Anniversary and I wanted to make something different for them. My father’s favorite ice cream flavor is Rum Raisin, and flowers just seem to be a staple for anniversaries. So, naturally I combined the two to come up with a Rum Raisin Cupcake Bouquet! Naturally!

I did use Bobby Flay’s Recipe for this and it is a phenomenal recipe. This will be making an appearance at Thanksgiving for sure!

 

Rum Raisin Cupcakes

 

Ingredients

Buttercream Icing:

1 1/2 Cups Golden Rum 8 Ounces Butter, Softened
1 Tablespoon Sugar 4 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
1 Cup Golden Raisins 8-9 Cups Confectioners Sugar
2 Teaspoons Rum Extract

Cupcakes:

2 1/2 Cups Cake Flour 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1 1/4 Teaspoons Baking Powder 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda 1 1/4 Sticks Butter, Melted
1/2 Teaspoon Salt 1 Cup Buttermilk, Room Temp
1 3/4 Cup Sugar 3 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Teaspoon Rum Extract 6 Egg Yolks, Room Temp
3 Egg Whites, Room Temp

Directions:

Buttercream

1. Bring rum and cane sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiled, remove it from the heat and add in the raisins. Set aside for 4 hours or more. I started the cupcakes at this point. 

2. Strain the raisins and finely chop them. Set the raisins aside for the cupcakes. Bring the strained rum to a boil in a small saucepan and reduce it to a 1/4 cup. Remove it from the heat and let it cool completely before you add it to the buttercream. 

3. Combine the butter and cream cheese in a mixer at medium speed with a whisk attachment until it is light and fluffy. Add 3 cups of confectioners sugar and continues whipping. Then add in 3 more cups of the powdered sugar. Add the cooled, reduced rum mixture and rum extract. Continue adding the powdered sugar until you achieve the texture and flavor you desire. The thicker, the easier to pipe and mold. 

Cupcakes:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 1 1/2 cups cane sugar, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg together. You can use a sifter to make the mix even lighter. In a separate bowl, whisk the melted butter (cooled slightly), buttermilk, oil, vanilla, rum extract, and yolks in a medium sized bowl. 

2. In the mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs until they they are light and fluffy. Add in 1/4 cup of cane sugar and beat again until stiff peaks form. Set the egg whites aside. 

3. In a separate mixer bowl (or clean out the egg white bowl), add the flour mixture. Gradually add in the butter mix, while stirring at medium-low speed. 

4. Using a spatula, fold in the egg white mix. You will notice a drastic change in texture. Then fold in the cooled raisins. Spoon them into cupcake tins with liners. Fill the cupcakes 3/4 full and bake for about 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

5. Frost with the butter cream!

Rum Raisin Cupcake Steps

 

They came out fantastic! There are definitely a few steps to make these, but it’s worth it!

 

What is the craziest flavor of cupcake you have made?

Mount Washington Part 3

Just about two years ago, I wrote about our summiting of Mt. Washington for the 2nd time and mentioned that we aimed to do it every other year. Well…it was time.

The previous 2 times, we have climbed Tuckermans’ Ravine, which is one of the more popular trails. This year, I wanted to try something new. After a little research, we settled on the second most popular trails on the opposite side of the mountain. Ammonoosuc and Jewell. We climbed the Ammonoosuc Trail to the top and ventured down Jewell.

IMG_3502Jewell was an easier slope down and helped avoid the slippery rocks that you find on Ammonoosuc.

It is definitely a little intense looking up in the clouds and know that’s where you are walking to. You can’t even see the summit.

 

 

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The hike itself was absolutely beautiful. It was so scenic and kept you mesmerized the entire hike. The trail follows a beautiful waterfall up until you break the tree line.

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Bacon loved every time there was a little pool for him to jump in and cool off.

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If you can’t tell from the pictures, it was a steep slope and unlike Tuckermans, there weren’t nicely laid out stairs for you to walk up. It made you concentrate a lot more on where you were stepping. But the views were just incredible.

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Brent is TERRIFIED of heights, and would die if he knew what was behind him. He was hilarious to watch climb, simply because he wouldn’t turn around to look at the amazing views. Instead, I decided to snap pictures to show him after he “Was on solid, flat ground” as he described it.

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Just about half way, there is a larger hut that allowed you to warm up a little and take a seat to fuel up. In the picture above, you can see the post amongst the clouds that marks the summit. It is about 1.8 miles away. Not too bad right?!

Just after the hut, there is a really pretty lake…or perhaps an infinity pool??!

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Once we reached the clouds, pictures became impossible. Visibility was just about 10ft so unfortunately, we weren’t able to get any pictures of the views from top. We did grab a picture at the summit marker though.

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Literally, standing in a cloud. It’s cold, windy, and rainy. In case you were wondering. The weather at the summit was 42 degrees with a 20mph wind. So it felt like 32. Chilly.

Once we were at the bottom again, we had to snap a photo of where we just were. See those clouds??

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OOHHH YEAAA.

We are already talking about our next hiking/camping trip and maybe doing a smaller mountain. No need to do the highest peak on the east coast every time. But knowing us, go big or go home.

What’s your favorite hiking mountain??

 

Eggplant Parm Make Over

This weekend, Brent and I were sitting out on our porch talking about what foods we wanted to get for the week. After spending about a year with my parent’s, Brent picked up the love for Eggplant Parm. It’s become a running joke that it’s one of the only ways we can get him to willingly eat veggies.

I haven’t really been eating pasta all too often and wasn’t really feeling the heaviness of it. It’s not on my summer food loving list. Immediately, the idea was born. Spaghetti squash Eggplant Parm.

The recipe below is actually a combination of two that I have done before. Baked Eggplant and just a typical Spaghetti Squash.

Eggplant Parm Makeover

Ingredients:

1 Large Eggplant 3 Eggs
1 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs 1 16oz Jar Tomato Basil Red Sauce
2 Medium Sized Spaghetti Squash 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste 1/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded

Directions:

Spaghetti Squash:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut each squash in half and remove the seeds. Spread the olive oil over the inside of half and place them face down on a baking sheet. Bake them for 40 minutes or until the outside has become soft or wrinkly.

2. Let them cool off to the side for a few minutes. Then take a fork to the inside of them and scrape the squash from the inside. It will turn into strings. Place the squash in a bowl.

Eggplant:

1. Slice the eggplant in even slices with 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch width, depending on your preference. It’s more important to make them even.

2. In a flat dish with edges, whip up the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water until it is uniform. Place the bread crumbs on a separate plate. Take a slice of eggplant, place it in the eggs mixture until well covered, then transfer it to the bread crumb plate and cover it with the crumbs. Don’t forget to do the sides!

3. Put the eggplant slices on a baking sheet. Once all of the slices are finished, bake them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, flip them over and bake for another 15 minutes or until as crispy as you want.

4. To serve, top the squash with the eggplant and finish with some red sauce and mozzarella.

DONE! You can make the squash and the eggplant at the same time. So don’t wait for the squash to finish in the oven before starting the eggplant.

Eggplant Parm Make Over Steps

Brent took a bite of it and I quote, “This may be the best thing I have ever eaten.” Words like this are really rare because normally I get, “Yea, it’s good.” And it’s a plate of veggies!! This will be making another appearance.

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I used a new red sauce for this as well, and it was delicious. I would recommend you give it Rao’s Homemade Red Sauce a try. You could make this gluten free by just substituting gluten free bread crumbs.

Have you ever changed a favorite and had it turn out better?