Chocolate Pumpkin Loaf

When I was little, I hated pumpkin (gasp!). So the first time my mom made this bread, I absolutely refused to eat it under pain of death, which was pretty ridiculous, given that it tastes just like chocolate cake. How silly we can be as kids, cycling through our untested fears and strengthening them without cause…

This quickbread, like all quickbreads, sounds like it might be good for you because it has a vegetable (er…fruit) in the title. While this trick used to fool moms, I think we all know the truth: we are eating cake for breakfast!

So put on your blinders, grab your sugar and chocolate chips, and let’s make a pumpkin laced, lightly spiced, bread-shaped chocolate cake that will go over like gangbusters, even with the crazy kids that think pumpkin is gross.

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Vegetarian Lasagna

Confession: I have never liked lasagna. There was always just something about the texture and greasiness of ground beef that was off-putting to me…it didn’t match with the smooth noodles and the creamy, stretchy cheese. Even before I became a vegetarian, I never felt quite at home with ground meats.

So…imagine my delight when my mom came upon a recipe for a vegetarian lasagna, filled with pureed, roasted vegetables! The first time she made this, I think I ate 3 slices of it. The first time I made it, I realized that this was only going to be an occasional treat, because it takes about 2 hours to make! But if you have a weekend afternoon free, I highly recommend you try this lasagna out! This meal is great if you are expecting company, because it serves 6–8 people, depending on how hungry everyone is.

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Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Oh my gosh. When I found this recipe on Annie’s Eats, I almost died of excitement. And boy, were these cookies good.

I’m not sure I would actually call this cookie a snickerdoodle, now that I have tasted them. To me, snickerdoodles are light crunchy and oh-so-buttery disks covered in cinnamon. Their pumpkin friends are actually more like tea cakes covered in spiced sugar. But don’t let that stop you! In fact…once you make these cookies, you may find it hard to stop eating them…I know I did.

Say…maybe I will go make them again once I finish writing this post…

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Boozy Mushroom Ragu

My husband loves mushrooms. Possibly the only vegetable in the whole world about which he feels enthusiastic. Unfortunately for both of us, he likes them cooked (and drenched in some kind of sauce) where I prefer them raw on salads. I’ve been working  to edit my tastes, and occasionally I find a dish that really works for both of us on the mushroom front—like this mushroom ragu!

I knew Dave would love it the second I saw that it’s made with whiskey. I think you will love this pasta, too! There is definitely a large amount of alcohol in the sauce, but it is so aromatic as it cooks off, and when combined with the cream and the mushrooms it makes a surprisingly light and elegant sauce for your favorite pasta.

So…stop by your local ABC and pick up a bottle of bourbon. Let’s get cookin’!

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Oatmeal Butterscotch Chip Cookies

I don’t know about you, but I never understood the distaste most of my childhood friends had for oatmeal cookies. The oatmeal cookies that came out of my mom’s kitchen were always chewy and delicious! Yet somehow my friends preferred those rock-hard Chips-Ahoy cookies to anything baked from scratch. Silly friends.

I love oatmeal cookies. My favorite combination is with butterscotch chips, and I think the bright, intense flavor of butterscotch is perfect for Fall. But no matter whether you prefer your cookies filled with ridiculously sweet butterscotch or (ahem…) raisins (…not my fave), this recipe will bring joy to your church potlucks, visiting friends, and your tastebuds. Yum.

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Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

Hooray! It’s Fall! Pumpkins are everywhere, including in these brownies!

For those of you that are thinking to yourselves, “Does pumpkin really go with chocolate?” or any other silly, suspicious thoughts…stop being such a Doubting Thomas! These two flavors are delightful together, and will be featured prominently on SLB this Autumn.

I first made these brownies almost 2 years ago, right as I was really starting to get into cooking. Maybe it was something I did…maybe Martha swung and missed (as many reviewers commented)…but the original recipe turned out very dry. Like cake made of sawdust. I put the recipe away and vowed not to think about it again. But honestly, who can resist a brownie with warm swirls of pumpkin running through it? As Fall rolled around this year, I knew I just had to try it again, play with the recipe, and see if I could make these brownies sing. I think you will be really pleased with the results!

I’ve been told that these brownies are still a little bit more like cake than brownies…but I’ll let you be the judge of that. They are dense and moist, but they are not particularly fudgie or chewy the way brownies would be. Let me know what you think!

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