so here’s the deal. it is 83 degrees today because I live in a barren wasteland. I should be “grateful” you say because I don’t have to deal with snow or ice or scraping windshields? well, tell me that in february when you’re all sick of the snow and it’s still 80 degrees here in arizona. the holidays are supposed to be cold so you can feel warm inside from all the holiday love and cheer. that was cheesy but I don’t care! I mean it!
in any case, the smell of pumpkin baking always puts one in a cheerful holiday mood (which I apparently need badly) - that and the smell of hot mulled cider. so here’s both:
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
2/3 cup water
3 cups granulated sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray three (medium/smallish) bread loaf pans.
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, oil, eggs, water and sugar. Sift in flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda. Beat gently until batter is smooth, then gently add chocolate chips and mix until just incorporated. Pour batter into loaf pans until halfway full. Bake in preheated oven for one hour or (depending on your loaf pan – see note) until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely before slicing. Optional: You can also lightly butter the tops and dredge with powdered sugar.
note: if you don’t have small loaf pans, you can use two medium or one large loaf pan. just be sure that the batter only comes halfway up the sides of the pan. you should also increase the cooking time a few minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
1 orange, washed
4 cups (1 quart) apple juice or cranberry juice cocktail
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
Peel the orange by slicing into strips. Combine your juice of choice, orange peel, cinnamon sticks and cloves in a saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium heat and warm the juice until tiny bubbles appear around the edges of the pan. Simmer gently for 20 minutes, reducing the heat as needed to keep the juice from boiling. Remove the pan from the heat. Pour into mugs and serve immediately.
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