Saturday, November 16, 2013

Almond Poppy Seed Loaves

"Hey, what's with all this bread?" you may be thinking. Well, I guess fall is the time for baking. It also seems like the time to put on your extra pounds to keep you warm while the snow falls outside.

When I go grocery shopping I like to go down every single aisle, especially if my husband is home with the boy. It serves as my thinking time, and I would be lying if I said I was in a huge hurry to get out of there. Since cooking meals and making lunches is now in my job description, I like to take my time looking at different ingredients and daydream about the different food creations in my future. 

Unfortunately, most of my daydreams will remain in my head since I'm still trying to lose the baby weight. But sometimes I'll splurge on a recipe that I want to try. And I'll usually try to make it for a party so I can give away the leftovers. 

So on one of my wanderings in the grocery store, I stopped for a good five minutes in the spice section trying to get some ideas for the next week of dinner meals. But what I found distracted me from all my dinner planning. Poppy seeds. 

I love poppy seed things. Almond poppy seed muffins, lemon poppy seed muffins, everything bagels... and that's about it... but I love all of them! So although it wasn't an amazing price and it was way more poppy seeds than I could probably use, I waved away the angel on my shoulder saying, "you really shouldn't..." and I marched to the checkout with the seeds and the rest of my groceries. 

And I'm glad I did! It opened me up to so many avenues of internet searching. Here are some recipes that I am going to try eventually: 

Chewy Almond Poppy Seed Granola Bars from Cooking Classy

Lemon Poppy Seed Pancakes from Baking with Blondie

Homemade (everything) bagels from Annie's Eats

Poppy Seed Dressing from A Pinch of Yum

Although all of these look really great, I was dying for some almond poppy seed bread. So here's the recipe I made from Our Best Bites. I made just a minor change with the flavorings because I didn't have butter flavor and I didn't make the glaze because I didn't want it to be too sweet. It turned out perfect!

Almond Poppy Seed Bread
(makes 2 normal loaves or 4 mini loaves)

3 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/8 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp almond extract

In a mixing bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and the sugar. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.

Grease 2 normal sized loaf pans or 4 mini sized loaf pans. Separate batter between pans and put in the oven at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

It's funny because if you search for almond poppy seed bread online, you pretty much just get this recipe. It's like everyone thinks they are being original but they all really just stole it from one another! But it tastes great, so why change a good thing?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Happy Halloween! I know it's a little bit late, but I wanted to acknowledge the holiday, even if its purpose is a little questionable. Halloween is 1000 times better when you have a kid, I realized this year. It was so fun making all of our costumes so that we could all coordinate. I know that in two or three years he's going to want to do his own thing and it will be more difficult to all match, so this year was really fun!

If you couldn't tell, Evan was Han Solo, I was Princess Leia, and Alex was R2D2

One thing that really surprised me this year for Halloween is that the trick-or-treaters made their way around the neighborhood super early. We were completely cleaned out of candy before 5:30. Maybe it's just because I grew up in the northwest where it gets dark a touch earlier than here in Utah, but I remember always going trick-or-treating when it was dark out. I guess it's safer this way, or they get to go to more neighborhoods. But it made us feel a little awkward because we had to just shut our lights off and pretend we weren't home for a while.

But anyway, Halloween always reminds me of pumpkins and I love pumpkin pretty much anything! We busted out our first can way before October rolled around and there's no sign of getting bored of it yet. One of my favorite things to make is pumpkin bread, and here's my recipe:

Spiced Pumpkin Bread
(makes two regular or four mini loaves)

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pumpkin (I highly recommend Libby's)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider 
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all dry ingredients into a medium bowl. Mix pumpkin, sugar, cider, eggs, oil, and vanilla together and stir well. Add flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Divide into greased loaf pans. 

Bake 65 to 70 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove to continue cooling. 

This is a perfect gift to give out to neighbors, especially if you make them in mini loaves. It's delicious served warm with butter. Or if you're like me and love hot chocolate, you can dip it in a warm, steamy cup!