I have another special guest for you today. I’m still out west enjoying some time with the family and quite likely plotting so we can just stay out there. I may never want to go home. In the meantime I have some lovely guests helping me out, like the lovely Aly from Cooking in Stilettos
Aly was a total sweetheart when I put the word out I was looking for guest posters. She is such a nice lady and so incredibly talented. Aly blogs about cooking but also life and things she loves. I love variety in the blogs I read so I find myself drawn to her. Her back story for how she got interested in cooking is compelling and I admire her for her tenacity. This is a lady who can not only cook but inspire others to go forth and conquer in life. It’s a beautiful thing. So is her food. Things like her Apple Brie Panini, her Blackberry Vanilla Syrup, her Southern Meatballs, Grilled Ancho Tequila Chicken, and her Mixed Berry Jam. Everything she makes is fabulous and I am thrilled to have her here today. Please welcome Aly to the asylum.
A Harvest Welcome
It’s hard to believe how quickly the summer flew by and fall is upon us. For me, fall is the perfect season – not too hot, not too cold – it’s JUST right. I get to channel my inner Goldilocks, trade the peep toe stilettos for tall boots, snuggle into a cozy sweater, sip a pumpkin spice latte and enjoy the changing of the season before the holiday madness descends.
When Kim graciously opened her front door and invited me to post at Cravings of a Lunatic, I knew that the recipe had to be top notch. I had the perfect recipe – my favorite fall staple – Harvest Bread. There was just one problem – this recipe needed a serious makeover before it was worthy to be posted here. My Harvest Bread was born out of a boxed mix. Yes, I confess, I originally used to make this recipe from a boxed pumpkin bread mix that I got at Costco every season and just spice it up with apples, cherries and some extra spices. While my baking skills have developed over the years, making things from scratch is something I’m still working on. There was no better time like the present to learn how to make pumpkin bread from scratch. After trying this recipe, as God is my witness, I promise that I will never make boxed mix pumpkin bread again (Sorry – had a bit of a Scarlett O’Hara moment there). Seriously, when I realized how easy it was (and economical) for me to make it with ingredients I already have in my pantry, well then – it was a done deal.
This Harvest Bread has a bit of spicy sass in it – courtesy of some dried cherries soaked in my favorite spiced rum. However, if you want to avoid the rum, feel free to soak them in a little water to plump them up. I assure you that this Harvest Bread is definitely not your typical pumpkin bread that you will find at Starbucks – but full of the flavors of fall: pumpkin, crisp apples, cinnamon and rum plumped cherries. Save yourself the extra funds and make this harvest bread from scratch – your wallet and taste buds will thank you.
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup canned pumpkin
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup water
- 1½ cups diced granny smith apples
- ½ cup dried cherries
- 2 tablespoons spiced rum (optional) (I adore Cruzan but Captain Morgan works nicely too)
- 1⅔ cups of all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of baking soda
- ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, soak the dried cherries in the rum.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
- In another large bowl, lightly beat the two eggs. Add the applesauce, pumpkin, and water and make sure the mixture is fully combined.
- Add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet ingredients, making sure everything is thoroughly mixed.
- Add the apples, dried cherries (and rum, should you so wish) and fold into the mixture.
- Pour the mixture into a greased loaf pan (I was able to get two loaves out of this).
- Bake for 1½ to 1¾ hours, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool for about 10-15 minutes in the pan and then remove to a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
Does that not make you want fall to hurry up so you can start baking up some comforting and hearty breads. I love fall for baking. It’s such a magical time in the kitchen. This recipe just makes me want to whip up some hot chocolate, grab a couple of slices of harvest bread and curl up with a good book in front of the fireplace. Thanks so much to Aly for sharing this with us today. Also a huge personal thank you for guest posting for me. Let me tell you folks Aly is amazing. Not only did she agree to guest but she had hers submitted eons in advance. I originally had her slotted for a weekend trip in September and when I realized I had an open spot for this trip I asked her if she would be willing to do it and she was so gracious about it. I adore her.
I encourage you all to visit Aly’s blog, Cooking in Stilettos and poke around a bit. You will love her every minute of your time there. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I highly advise stalking her everywhere. Bloggers love to be followed. The more places you follow us the better.
Today we are scheduled to visit Spruce Meadows for some horsey action. Unfortunately we’re missing The Masters but we’re hitting the preliminary stuff so we’ll make do. Just going there is enough. We saw The Masters about 8 years ago and I think I acted like a 5 year old most of the day. I actually got in trouble from some little old lady who volunteered there. She told me I was leaning too far over the railing. I proceeded to tell her she ruined my perfect shot of Ian Millar. Yup, dress me up and can’t take me anywhere. We are also scheduled to visit my Auntie Judy today. So hopefully the stars align and everything goes as planned. Tomorrow we hit Banff. Whoo to the hoo!
Toodles and smoochies! xx