Pumpkin Bread

by Nancy on November 8, 2011

in Breads,Snacks,Vegetarian

I suppose I can admit that we don’t always have pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving anymore. Kinda sad I know but the apples on my tree ripen about a month before Thanksgiving so I often make an apple pie and freeze it so all I have to do is bake it the day before. And then I have a couple of diehards that insist on a pecan pie for Thanksgiving. Carrie is one of them so she bakes the pecan pie, one less thing for me to do. But it still doesn’t seem like fall without something pumpkin with the accompanying spicy aroma.

So to get my pumpkin spice fix I make pumpkin bread and have a slice or two for breakfast with a cup of tea. Many pumpkin bread recipes suffer the same “flaw” as carrot cake (another favorite of mine). To keep the bread moist, the recipes use a lot of oil – 2/3 to 1 cup for an average loaf. I don’t like my pumpkin bread or carrot cake to leave an oil ring on my plate and that oil adds a lot of calories. So I tested several recipes and made a few changes of my own until I came up with a recipe that is moist and uses only 1/3 cup of oil.

Pumpkin Bread

Makes two 3″ x 7″ mini loaves.


  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
  1. Blend pumpkin, sugar and egg with spoon in 1 quart bowl.
  2. Stir in oil, salt and spices.
  3. Add water, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Mix in flour.
  5. Pour into two 3″ x 7″ mini loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes. Do not underbake.


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Steak Stir Fry

by Carrie on October 19, 2011

in Main Dish

Steak Stir Fry

At my house, we’re currently seeking quick, easy, and healthy options that are easy to customize for people *cough cough like my fiance* who won’t eat vegetables while still giving me the option to eat more vegetables. This is one we recently adapted from Cooking Light. If you have two people who will eat the same thing you’re good to go with this recipe. If not, make two batches and you each also have lunch for tomorrow which is the route we usually take.

Steak Stir Fry

Serves 2.


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups sliced veggies of your choice (we used carrots, snap peas, and red bell peppers)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 4 ounces cooked steak sliced for stir fry (we bought this ready to go but you could slice your own)
  • 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  1. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add canola oil.
  2. Add veggies and cook for one minute stiring often.
  3. Add rice and cook for one minute stiring often.
  4. Add cooked meat. Don’t stir for 30 seconds and then stir for the next 30 seconds to get a nice sear.
  5. Add teriyaki sauce and stir for one minute.
  6. Garnish with sesame seeds if you like and serve.


Seed Bread

by Nancy on September 13, 2011

in Breads

A local bakery that supplies artisan bread to local Safeways use to make a Sweet Three Seed Bread. It was one of my favorite breads but the line was cut back and this was one of the breads that Safeway doesn’t carry anymore. I miss this bread. It has such a wonderful flavor and aroma when toasted. It’s like the peanut butter (or sunflower butter) is built right in. I like to make bread so I decided to develop my own Seed Bread recipe.

I do a couple of things to tweak the flavor to my liking. First, I use peanut oil instead of vegetable oil to add more nut flavor. Peanut oil has a definite peanut flavor. Second, I use malted barley flour to give an “earthy” flavor. Malted barley flour is made from the same malted barley used in malted milk balls and beer so you get a malted/beer flavor. Malted barley functions as a sugar (it’s sweet) and you can use it to replace part or all of the sugar normally found in a bread recipe.

You can use any mix of seeds that you like. As a rule of thumb, I use 2 tablespoons of each small seed and 1/4 cup of each large seed (twice as much as small seeds) for four cups of flour.

I always toast this bread to bring out the flavor of the seeds. It’s perfect for a toasted cheese sandwich. It slices nicer when it is a day or two old.

Collecting all of the ingredients for this recipe can be a challenge. Bob’s Red Mill is an excellent source carrying all of the hard-to-find ingredients – malted barley flour, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. We’d like to thank Bob’s Red Mill for providing those ingredients.

Seed Bread

Makes two 4″ x 8″ loaves or three 3″ x 7″ loaves.


  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons malted barley flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  1. Microwave milk for 1 minute. This heats up the milk so the yeast will grow faster. You should be able to hold your finger in the milk indefinitely or it is too hot and will kill the yeast. Let it cool if it is too hot.
  2. Pour milk in bowl. Add all other ingredients except egg, seeds and bread flour. Mix.
  3. Wait 5 minutes. You should see froth or bubbles forming in the milk. The yeast is starting to grow. If the yeast is not growing, wait 5 more minutes. If it is still not growing, the milk was probably too hot and killed the yeast. If so, add another tablespoon or package of yeast and wait until it starts to grow. This is called proofing the yeast. You are proofing or proving that the yeast will grow.
  4. Add egg and 3 cups of flour. Mix.
  5. If you are using a machine to knead the dough, add more flour until the dough forms a mass around the dough hook and does not stick to the sides of the bowl. If kneading by hand, pour on floured counter and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky, is smooth and begins to “pop back” as you knead it.
  6. Divide dough in halves or thirds. Place each in a greased pan. Press it out to the edges of the pan with floured fingers
  7. Let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes depending on the temperature of your kitchen. If you are in a hurry or your kitchen is cold, heat oven to lowest temperature possible. Turn oven off, place kuchen in oven and let rise there (remove from oven before heating oven to baking temperature).
  8. Bake at 375 degrees 35-40 minutes.




Simple black bean and corn salsa.

I learned to do much of my cooking without recipes. Cooking was based on what ingredients were available and one kind of guessed how much of each to use learning by trial and error. I love simple recipes like this where it is easy to remember the ingredients and amounts. Here you just use equal portions of the main ingredients. If you have leftover beans either in the refrigerator or in the freezer, use them. If not, use 1 14 oz. can of beans drained. I prefer frozen corn over canned for its fresher flavor but use what you’ve got on hand. Choose the chilies based on how much heat you want; bell pepper for mild, Anaheim for medium or Jalapeno for hot. Out of season you can use canned chilies. Likewise you can choose the variety of onion based on season or flavor. Use green onions in the spring, later in the year choose red, yellow or white based on your preference. You get the idea. The dressing is equally simple, standard oil and vinegar with only one spice.

Simple Black Bean and Corn Salsa

  • 3/4 cup cooked black beans
  • 3/4 cup whole kernel corn
  • 3/4 cup tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup green chilies
  • 3/4 cup onion
  • 1/4 cup cilantro


  • 2 T vinegar
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  1. Chop tomatoes, chilies, onion and cilantro.
  2. Combine all ingredients in bowl.
  3. Mix dressing in separate bowl, pour over vegetables and toss.
  4. Marinate in refrigerator to allow flavors to combine.