In response to the never-ending housekeeping, and after a few tense months in La Casa de Luz y Lee, Mr. Luz developed a chore chart to track our individual contributions to the household. We avoided it for a long time because of the stigma that comes with "keeping score," but Mr. Luz in his wisdom decided that keeping score is exactly what we need. As in, he's initiated an informal contest to see who can do more around the house and we keep track on the chore chart. I have to say, I take certain joy shoving him out of the way to put my initials in the "Cooking" box, and I really love to see both of our initials side by side next to "Laundry."
Last night because of the Chore Chart, after work I cooked two meals and baked my seasonal favorite, Spicy & Sweet Pumpkin Bread in a clean kitchen, and we finished the laundry, and squeezed in a movie, knitting, and reading all before midnight. Domestic bliss doesn't even begin to describe it.
Some variations include adding: sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, golden raisins, a cream cheese filling (cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar and vanilla, which you'll just spoon onto half of the batter in the loaf pan or muffin tin before carefully covering it with the rest of the batter) Also, if you don't have garam masala, plain cinnamon will do. The garam masala adds some spice and intrigue with pepper, cardamom, and star anise. Finally, using all white sugar won't impart as much dark molasses flavor as using some brown and some white sugar, but the bread will be tasty nonetheless.
1 Can pumpkin puree (15 oz.)
1 Cup vegetable oil
2/3 Cup water
2 Cups packed brown sugar
1 Cup white sugar
3 1/3 Cups unbleached or all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. garam masala spice
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup of chopped dried cranberries and walnuts/almonds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour your loaf and/or muffin pans.
In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients (the first four). In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients.
While stirring the pumpkin mixture with a fork, add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined. With a spatula, fold in the nuts and dried fruit (optional) and pour into your baking pans. Bake the muffins for 35 minutes and check for doneness (knife inserted in the middle comes out clean). Continue baking just until the muffins are done and then remove to a cooling rack. Bake the loaf pans for 50 minutes and check for doneness. Continue baking until the loaves are done then remove to a cooling rack.
- It's best to get these muffins and loaves out of the pan asap so they don't steam and get soggy. Run a knife around the edge of the loaf/muffins, let them rest for approx. 10 minutes, then carefully remove them to a cooling rack.
- These baked goods are great candidates for the Bread Trick. Tear a slice of bread into small pieces and scatter them around the loaf/muffins before covering them for storage. The bread will absorb the oxygen and become stale while the bread will remain soft.
- You can freeze a tightly wrapped loaf of pumpkin bread for a few months. Thaw in a warm space and then heat before serving.