Tag Archives: pumpkin patch

Perks of a taper week

Happy marathon week to all you runners out there! For those of you not running a marathon it’s likely you are either getting married or watching others get married this weekend. After all, the second weekend of October is typically celebrated one of these two ways. A small percentage of you have nothing more than visiting a pumpkin patch on your agenda. That’s OK too. Making decisions at pumpkin patches can be challenging.

For my fellow runners, the week leading up to the marathon is a taper week. Most of you are probably going crazy trying to figure out what to do with all your free time that doesn’t involve running. By now your friends and family just want this stupid race over with so you can go back to being your old self again. No? Oh that just must be mine. As someone who has been not running at all “tapering” for two weeks now, let me offer some advice. Cook something. Bake, why don’t ya? Because nothing says taper like 3 loaves of pumpkin bread, homemade pesto and a gigantic batch of chili does it now?

pumpkin bread, pesto, chili

This weekend the air was crisp, the leaves were changing and the sun was shining. Perfect running weather, right? I know. But also perfect baking weather. See how I justified that? It’s all about changing your outlook.

Shall we begin?

My Thursday night went a little something like this

canned pumpkin baking ingredients instagram

So it was inevitable that I was going to make something with pumpkin the very next day. As if that wasn’t incentive enough, a friend saw the photo on Instagram and requested a dessert. Supply and demand matched up and out popped a massive batch of pumpkin bread. I really have a way of making appetizing things sound completely unappetizing, don’t I?

pumpkin bread streusel topping

I make banana bread all year long but come October I like to change it up. It’s a little trick I call adding pumpkin in everything and anything. Try it sometime. It’s fun.

I can’t remember if I made this recipe in years past or not but I chose it based on quantity and a chocolate chip kicker. I’ve tried pumpkin chocolate chip cookies a few times and while they taste good, I find the consistency to be a little chewy for my taste. Like a cuffin. Not the urban dictionary definition, the half cookie, half muffin one.

Anywho I know my friends liked them so I wanted to share the chocolate chip batch with them. This makes enough for 3 loaves. I did one chocolate chip, 1 regular and two minis.

Side note: mini loaves are awesome because let’s just say a last minute party comes up Saturday night and you want to bring something. Boom. Small loaf is just enough for a host/hostess gift but not too much in case they are anti-pumpkin, paleo or presumptuous.

pumpkin bread streusel topping

Pumpkin Bread (adapted from Two peas and their pod)

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I did 1/2 C whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (added 1/2 C to one loaf)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare loaf pans. I used two 9×5 and 2 mini loaf pans.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl.

In your stand mixer, mix sugar, pumpkin, oil, water and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs.

Add dry ingredients to wet being careful not to overmix. You can easily do this by hand I just like the size of the bowl with my stand mixer. Fold chocolate chips into one portion of batter and fill loaf pan.

In a small bowl, mix 3 TBL brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon and a little flour. Top each loaf pan with streusel topping before baking.

Bake for 45-60 minutes depending on the heat of your oven. A knife should come out clean when bread is done. Note: small loaf pans will cook much faster.

pumpkin bread streusel topping

Let cool on wire rack for 10 minutes then flip bread out of loaf pans. Let cool again. Right foot two stomps. Left foot two stomps. Cha Cha real smooth. 

Take bread over by window to get better lighting for photograph. Try to get a good shot without your dog photobombing the bread.

swissy puppy photobombs pumpkin bread

warning: puppy in photo is not as close as he appears

Slice and serve for breakfast, brunch or dessert. Or if you’re tapering this week, all three. Just call it an early carb-load.

pumpkin bread streusel topping
Best of luck to all my fellow marathoners and marrieds this weekend!

The Great Amazing Pumpkin Race

I’d say we are about due for a happy weekend wrap-up post, aren’t we?

Hit it.

I had a hard time excepting that fall had arrived until this weekend. I’ll admit, I was a little bitter at the lack of summer weather we experienced here in Chicago and I just wasn’t ready for a change in season yet. Fall is my favorite time of year so normally I can’t wait to buy stock in pumpkin and place it into every possible food, drink and decor imaginable. I’ll admit I was a little bitter until this past weekend.

I now realize fall has arrived and I’m welcoming it with open arms.

So I jumped into it head first and I’m not looking back. This weekend I:

Bought my first bag of candy corn.

candy corn dish halloween simply social blog

Lord help me. 

Ate my first pumpkin scone while visiting the farmer’s market with my mom.

pumpkin farmers market springfield illinois simply social blog

I forgot how good those things are.

Found out what my nephews are going to dress up as everyday from now until Halloween.

owen and jake spiderman captain america costume halloween boys

Did you know pizza tastes better when it’s made by superheroes? 

And finally, I checked ‘visit a pumpkin patch’ off my fall bucket list.

bomke's patch, pumpkin, simply social blog

My sister and I made the most of a beautiful fall Sunday and took my nephews to nearby Bomke’s Patch for the afternoon. It’s not far from where my mom lives and is run by a family that went to my high school. Living in Chicago for a number of years now has made me realize how much I miss things like pumpkin patches and tree farms. It sounds cliché, but being able to walk into an open field, yank a pumpkin from it’s stem (yes, yank because Jake wouldn’t give up the “snippers”) you appreciate the pumpkin so much more.

bomke's patch, pumpkin, simply social blog,

And just like their momma, my country pumpkins have found their place in the city.

We started our adventure at the barn where Jake proceeded to ride the ‘for photos only’ tractor away from it’s location over and over. Then we moved over to the playground where they had a series of unique slides, swings and corn boxes. 

bomke's patch, pumpkin, wagons, tractors, barn, playground, corn crib, simply social blog

Next stop, corn maze.

bomke's patch, pumpkin, simply social blog, corn maze, map

If it weren’t for Owen, Anne, Jake and I might still be in that corn maze. That kid is a pretty good navigator. We had fun trying to locate each checkpoint and avoiding dead ends. Our success later led to a discussion of Anne and I applying for the next season of the Amazing Race together. A discussion that will only be revisited if she takes back her presumption that I would always have to be right throughout the race. An unnecessary presumption as I think we can all agree my knowledge, wit and charm would obviously carry us to an eventual first place prize.

Anywho.

After the corn maze we grabbed a wagon and started pumpkin hunting. The weapons, obstacles and search for elusive species indicated that this was much more of a hunt than a pick.

bomke's patch, pumpkin, wagons, simply social blog

Letting me pick my own pumpkins is like sending a fat kid loose in the candy aisle. 30 minutes later we were down to 9 or so pumpkins (plus a Jake). I decided to re-evaluate my choices and let a few go because I was sure I was in for $50 worth of pumpkins at this point when my sister came back with the receipt.

15 dollars! 15 dollars for 9 pumpkins minus a Jake. We all know you can’t put a price on that gem of a kid. I could hardly believe it. Had I bought anything near those pumpkins at Home Depot in the city, I probably would have spent triple that.

Point country. 

Once I got over the fact that we cheated those pumpkin growers out of some beauts, we moved onto to the final activity of the day.

bomke's patch, pumpkin, wagons, tractors, petting zoo, miniature horse, goats, imply social blog
We took a tractor ride down to a small petting zoo where we met several goats, a donkey and a miniature horse I will call Beyoncé. No, I’m not saying Beyoncé looks like a horse. It’s just the way in which that little diva of a horse shook her hair that reminded me of Queen B.

Jake preferred to feed the little goat (the real thing, not the restaurant) as I tried to explain that just because he was little, he wasn’t necessarily the youngest. He didn’t care. All 50 cents of feed when straight to that little guy. I understood. Us younger children have to stick together.

And so ends a lovely fall weekend wrap-up. If you have a kid in your life or you just like using kids to be your excuse to do fun kids things, go visit a pumpkin patch this month. Not that I ever use my nephews for that kind of thing.

Happy harvest!