I had no business turning my oven on yesterday afternoon. It had reached nearly eighty-five degrees outside. I refused to turn on the air conditioner and close the house up. I had all the windows open. There was a lovely breeze crossing through all the rooms in our house. It has been gorgeous here. Every hour or so, I'll succumb to a hot flash and have to run outside, stand on the porch and wait for it to pass fanning my face the whole time. My calendar says fall. The trees say fall. My body says, Alright already. . . enough with the summertime weather, bring on fall!
We took our girl for a walk yesterday afternoon. Want to get her in shape for our cool weather hikes. The Pyrenees breed is not a fan of "hot" weather. But we have this one park close to where we live that is mostly shaded. Plus, Dr.Thyme needed some nature time, he's been stuck in meetings all week. So when we take our baby Pyr out, folks just gravitate toward her. She is just such a lovely dog. But maybe I'm partial. Plus with her brother getting all the attention lately with us hand feeding him and all, we thought she needed some time away. So we come upon another couple walking. Man stops and says, Would that be a Great Pyrenees by chance? I say, Why yes, but she also has Kuvasz mixed in, etc. He gushes over her. We smile proudly at our good girl and walk on. Then Dr. Thyme, out of nowhere says: God. Some people. I'm like, What? That was really nice. Then he goes: Uh, she's NOT a Great Pry "by chance", she's a Great Pyr "by design". . . it's by DESIGN, not chance! Sometimes I feel like I'm living the Big Bang Theory television show and I've somehow managed to marry a "Sheldon". Seriously.
I feel something is amiss. The official date for our first freeze averages out to be around October 15th based on weather data. I find it hard to believe we'll come crashing down to the freezing mark any time soon given this mini-fall-heatwave we're experiencing. We've had the firewood delivered and stacked for over two weeks now and only once has it been cool enough for a fire. And I've been craving pumpkin. The kind you carve and the kind you eat. I've also had an insatiable chocolate craving. Dr. Thyme and I went grocery shopping yesterday (we call it a "date" because we really do consider a trip to the store together an outing) and I stopped in front of the candy section. I stared longingly at the selections. But I knew exactly what I was looking for: Mr. Goodbar. (Okay, I could go into a thousand directions here, I know.) Anyway, I said to Dr. Thyme, I want peanuts and I want chocolate. He looked at the selection then said, Okay, how about peanut M&Ms. Umm. No, that's too much. I turned over the bag to inspect the calories and noticed that the "serving size" I'd normally consume in one pass would equal the calories I'd consume in one lunch! Clearly an accident waiting to happen. The only other option was for that bag of "mixed" wrapped treats. You know the one I'm talking about. It seemed hopeless to purchase another bag and be left with all the chocolate that I really would rather not eat. (The plain milk chocolate for instance. Ew.) So we left without any candy. I think a trip to Target may be in order today. When chocolate calls, I must abide.
I went about my pumpkin baking when we returned from the store. Almost instantly, the house was filled with the aroma of fall. And I have to say, for a bread that I was hoping to "health-up" a bit, but still end up with an uber-moist, decadent loaf--I am quite pleased with myself on this one. I was a little skittish about passing up my usual pumpkin bread recipe--one that calls for a full cup of canola oil!--in lieu of adapting a recipe that came from a baking book titled: Light And Easy Baking. I'll simply say: So glad I gave this recipe a try. So. Glad. Before I go on with the recipe, I'll stop of to talk about my second favorite topic: knitting.
I had to set aside knitting with woolies this week. I simply cannot stand to touch wool if it's over eighty. Lucky for me I snagged some terrific cotton yarn in one of my favorite colors in the clearance bin at the LYS this past summer. This yarn feels like a soft pillow all bunched up. I decided I needed to have it against my skin as a scarf. No rocket science to this pattern. Your basic k2/p2 on size ten or so needles, holding two strands of the yarn together throughout. It is scrumptious and I can hardly wait for the first cool day to break it out and wear it on my next trip for Mr. Goodbars!
Vegan Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from Light & Easy Baking by Beatrice Ojakangas
*makes 2 9 x 5" loaves
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups sugar (you could adjust for taste here and use less sugar)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or whole nutmeg on the zester)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 cup unsalted vegetable margerine (1 1/2 sticks), melted
3 teaspoons ground flaxseed whisked with 1/3 cup of water
1 can of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk (or coconut or almond milk will work)
Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray the bread pans with non-stick baking spray. Whisk together the flours, sugar, salt, baking soda and seasonings in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl add the melted margerine, flaxseed mixture, pumpkin, sour cream and milk and whisk well to combine. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture in thirds and mix with a large spoon, just until the all dry parts have moistened. Don't overmix! Divide the batter evenly in the baking pans. Give them a little tap on the counter before you set them in the oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the middle of the bread is baked through (insert a knife in the center of the bread to test for doneness--if it comes out clean or with a few crumbs, remove it from the oven--you don't want to over bake or underbake this bread, just keep an eye on it toward the end of baking). Allow the bread to cool in the pans for about ten minutes. After ten minutes, turn the bread out onto a rack to finish cooling. Once the bread is cooled, wrap tightly and store one in the freezer and one in the fridge. Enjoy!