The last few days have been a little rough around here.  A weekend of long work days, coming home Sunday night to one sick boy that quickly turned into 3 sick boys. It’s days (and nights) like this that can leave a mama feeling very tired.

But let’s look on the bright side, shall we?

It’s November!  The trees are in full color, the air is cooler and our calendar is looking lighter.  Thanksgiving is in just a few weeks…my favorite holiday.  No pressure, no shopping.  Just family and food.  I’ve been brainstorming about our Thanksgiving menu already.  Sweet potatoes will surely make an appearance.

sweet potato soup

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What does relaxation look like for you?

For myself, it takes several different forms, depending on the day and how I’m feeling. It can be stepping out the door for a run, the rhythm of each breath, each footstep lulling me into auto pilot. It can be digging in the dirt of the garden, feeling the earth, taking notice of it’s details. Lately, it’s been a new yoga class pulling me into the world of poses, inhaling and exhaling.

chai tea

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Before we changed the way we ate, I didn’t pay too much attention to eating seasonally.  Sure, I knew that the best strawberries were in early June, tomatoes in July, squash in the fall, but really, most of those things are available year round.  It wasn’t until after taking on a vegetarian way of eating that I started paying attention to food seasons. When the majority of what you eat is fruits and veggies, you want it to taste good, and be reasonable on the budget.  Oh, the difference it makes to both your wallet and your taste buds.

roasted potato soup

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I think I’ve said it before, but I’m going to say it again. I love this time of year. Although, I think I may say this at the turn of every new season, fall has a special place. There is just something about it that invokes warmth and feeling of home, of reflection.

pumpkins

I find sentiment pulling at my heartstrings as I think about far off memories of my childhood….

Being six years old, sitting in the sea of pumpkins we grew in our garden with overwhelming success.

Standing on the front porch in my homemade bunny costume, grinning, my front teeth missing, a jack o’lantern smile all my own.

Carving pumpkins with dad, while mom attended to roasting seeds in the oven.

pumpkins

It’s this same sentiment that moves me to take notice of the memories my boys will have of our life together. I want them to have something to draw on as they grow, as they think of home. Not created, artificial moments, but the kind that come organically, in the motions of everyday. This is where the comfort of memories lie.

Times of being together in the kitchen, baking. Filling our house with the smell of pumpkin and cinnamon, from a recipe written by my own Gram’s hand.

pumpkin bread

Hovering over fresh slices of pumpkin bread, smeared with maple butter. Experiencing each taste with all our senses. Sharing the events of the day. Unknowingly, recording them to draw on later. In another time, in another season.

pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread

Makes 1 loaf of bread

1 3/4 cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water (equivalent of 1 egg beaten), whipped to egg yolk consistency

1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together all dry ingredients. Make a well in the center. Add melted butter, pumpkin, egg and water. Stir until all ingredients well combined, making a moist, dense batter. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan and pour in batter. Bake a 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean.

Maple Butter

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup maple syrup (use the real deal maple syrup here, trust me on this)

Combine ingredients in a small bowl; beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread on slices of pumpkin bread.

pumpkin bread

Alison

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