Autumn looks very different in L.A. It’s slow to arrive and sometimes impossible to tell one season from the next. At least there’s one thing we can depend on this time of year…pumpkin patches! I know fall is officially here when pumpkins begin to appear.
The boys love the fall season for two reasons: pumpkins and trick or treating. I love this time of year for pumpkins and pumpkin pie spice. Food is one of the biggest pleasures the seasons bring and I love to celebrate the change of seasons by baking. For me, the flavor of pumpkin pie spice signals the arrival of fall. I like to add it to pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, even sprinkled on my morning yogurt.
Our family’s favorite fall recipe is Pumpkin Cranberry Bread. This quick bread embraces all the flavors and colors of the season. Baking it is a fall tradition in our house, even though the boys love to eat this bread any time of year. It makes a great breakfast served with a glass of milk or a perfect after-school snack. I also pack it in their lunchboxes.
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup water
1 cup sweetened, dried cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9” x 5” loaf pans. Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, eggs, pumpkin, oil and water. Gently blend dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture. Fold in the cranberries and divide batter between the two prepared pans.
Enjoy the harvest season. It’s a wonderful time of year to start a new family tradition of your own. Explore your local pumpkin patches and fall festivals. And don’t forget to bring a little bit of local harvest back home to cook with. Most of all, encourage your kids to appreciate what this time of year has to offer. They’ll treasure the memories long after the seasons have changed.
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