Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pumpkin: Red Velvet's Tastier, More Elusive Cousin

Your favorite guest blogger is BACK! Meghan Diamond, the Red Velvet Extraordinaire turned Autumn Enthusiast, will be sharing with us the wonders of pumpkin bread and roadtrips during our favorite season of the year: FALL.
I know you guys missed her. I sure did. Take it away, Meghan....

Today is my first day back home after a rowdy weekend in Austin so naturally I decided to catch up on blogging instead of cleaning or running errands or being productive. Plus, listening to The National (aka the best band ever) puts me in good mood. And since I’m on the topic of good moods, I will be writing about my absolute favorite time of the year: Fall. It’s strange that I love autumn so much considering that I grew up in Florida and now live in South Texas. We don’t really get a real fall until winter comes around. But I think the feeling comes from knowing that the summer weather is finally going to end and the holidays are right around the corner.  Throughout college, MC and I planned fall trips, usually to either Nashville or North Carolina. We loved the cool weather and beautiful foliage, not to mention that road trips just make us happy. And for every road trip I always stayed up late, baking pumpkin bread and not studying for whatever important nursing school exam I had at 730 the following morning.

So on Thursday night, in keeping with tradition, I stayed up until 4am baking pumpkin bread and watching Garden State (aka the best movie ever). I then woke up at 8am and made the 3 hour drive to Austin, ate a slice of the delicious bread, and then proceeded to spend the next 10 hours sweating, walking wayyy too much, and seeing some really awesome live music at Austin City Limits. This trip wasn’t quite a normal fall trip considering it was 90-something degrees the whole time but I switched things up this year, including my pumpkin bread recipe. 

I usually stick with basic pumpkin bread and then make one loaf with chocolate chips and maybe some walnuts or pecans (this one is always my favorite because of the chocolate, duh) and the other loaf with dried cranberries or cherries and maybe some walnuts. They are always moist, delicious and so so pumpkiny (please excuse my bad habit of making up words). This is my typical recipe that I took from a Taste of Home cookbook and can also be found here. Its perfectly simple and delicious and I highly recommend making it.

I’ve been making that recipe since I was in high school, however, since then I’ve discovered Pinterest. Remember my last guest post where I drooled over Pinterest the entire time? Well nothing has changed since then, I’m still obsessed and, fortunately, it has expanded the horizons of my love for pumpkin baked goods. I recently came across this recipe (I won’t post the actual recipe because the blog is super cute and definitely worth checking out). It’s cream cheese rippled pumpkin bread and it is amazing. It’s slightly less pumpkiny than the previous recipe but I don’t even care. My boyfriend could not stop eating it all weekend - believe me when I say this is a big deal since he is very picky about what baked goods he eats. And when I say picky, I mean he doesn’t like too much chocolate...we’ve been going to couples counseling regarding this issue because it’s been a major source of stress in our relationship (for obvious reasons).

Seriously, you want this. Make it. Now.

Since I seriously got carried away with the whole pumpkin thing this week, I also made vegan pumpkin cupcakes for a patient of mine who is vegan. We always have trouble getting her favorite foods because our cafeteria doesn’t carry many vegan options so I started bringing her vegan baked goods. They were a big hit. I made vegan icing by mixing half a tub of tofutti “cream cheese,” a few tablespoons of Earth Balance margarine, 1.5 cups powdered sugar, some vanilla, and cinnamon. Don’t be scared of vegan baking, its usually just as good (and sometimes better) than non vegan baked goods I promise!

Then since I was seriously stressed about working 3 nights in a row, I made myself some cookies with all the leftover pumpkin in my fridge. I added chocolate chips (duh) because that was all I had in my pantry but I froze some leftover batter to bake when I get some dried cherries because dried cherries and pumpkin are the best combo.

Pumpkin overload? Nah, there’s no such thing. Plus it has lots of Vitamin A, which is good for you. It’s also just good for your mental health because how could pumpkin or the fall season not make anyone happy?

And just in case nobody believes how much MC and I love fall, just take a look at our excitement during this trip to Nashvegas back in 2009:

We also get really excited about being at dueling piano bars in the fall but that is completely unrelated and any photo evidence would probably be embarrassing. Except for this...

....That’s not at all embarrassing.

Want some funky fall decor tips? Check out my guest post on Meghan's blog!

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