Happy Friday! It’s not so much a Friday for me, however, as I have to be at work at 7 tomorrow morning again! As hard as these looong days are, the up side is that every night I fall asleep around 9:30 and sleep AWESOME. I swear, my bed never feels so amazing! Getting in between those sheets is seriously the highlight of my day. Haha
This morning I had planned to wake up a little earlier, at 5:50, so I could make oatmeal on the stove. I knew I would get enough sleep since I went to bed early last night (9:15!!! woot woot!) so I wasn’t worried. However……..I WOKE UP AT 5:05!!!! I mean FULL AWAKE! Like, one of those moments when I could have sworn my alarm was about to buzz any second and then I caved and looked at the clock and it read 5:05.
Of course I couldn’t fall back asleep knowing that my alarm was going to go off about 45 minutes later, so I just laid there for awhile before finally getting up, checking the blog & emails and making coffee and breakfast. I claim to be a morning person but woooahhhh that was early this morning!
I DID get my stove top oatmeal this morning so it was all worth it.
This is the classic jenna combo of 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup silk light vanilla, some dried cherries, a banana and a spoonful of almond butter. It was thick, creamy and absolutely delicious and worth waking up early for.
And I packed the beeeest sammie for lunch……hummus & turkey on protein bread with spinach.
The combo of Sabra’s Spicy Hummus (LOVE this) and turkey was too die for. It made my morning complete. I’m a dork, I know. I also packed a yogurt and an apple and had the yogurt midmorning and the apple with my sandwich.
When I got home from work I snacked on banana bread:
I relaxed for about an hour while it stormed outside. When it cleared up, I headed outside for a 40 minute run. My shin was really sore but I was proud of myself because even though there were points I wanted to stop and turn around, I kept going and made it! I got these Tiger Balm Patches and I’ve been sticking them on my shins during the day at work and that helps a bit. I think I’m just plagued :(.
Betty and her husband are having friends over for dinner tonight and, of course, invited me to sit with them and wine & dine but I politely declined. After working/running days like this I’m honestly POOPED. I just want an early dinner and my bed. Asap. So, being the most amazing host mother she is, Betty made me my own dinner early before her guests arrived :). She baked salmon, which she marinated with a little evoo, soy sauce, garlic and key lime juice, and made me a buffalo mozzarella salad with light balsamic. I also had a slice of pumpkin bread (more on that later on!!).
Before dinner, I sampled the appetizer she made for her guests—-prosciutto wrapped goat cheese with arugula and dried tart cherries. AHhhhh it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g!!!!!
I had seconds of the salmon and had another appetizer. I’m seriously going to remake this when I get to having dinner parties (ahh some day!). It was so easy and soooo delicious and gourmet. I also had a small glass of red wine with my meal. It was perfecto!
For dessert: raspberry tea and Almondina cookies
So, when I got in to work this morning I immediately set out on my usual early morning bread production- —pumpernickel rolls + cranberry bread for lunch service:
And then I made delicious, moist, heavenly pumpkin bread!!!
It’s from a very ooooold recipe but I swear its amazing. Here it is for your taste bud’s desire! Its the best I’ve had ever.
Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Makes 2 loaves
4 cups all purpose flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly ground if possible)
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup canola oil
15 oz pumpkin (1 can)
2/3rds cup warm water
2 cups chopped, toasted pecans
EASY procedure!!! Just dump everything except the nuts into a mixing bowl, mix with a paddle attachment for about 2 minutes (or until everything has come together…do NOT over mix!!!!!), fold in the pecans and bake for 50 minutes at 350. Very yummy **I’m not even attempting to “healthify” this recipe. There are tons of recipes which stand amazing just the way they are and the “healthier” versions just don’t do them justice. Everything in moderation, right?!
After the pumpkin bread, I made and baked some almond macaroons:
This might be my favorite cookie. I had one after lunch and it was too die for!
I also made some Mocha Truffle mix (I’ll scoop them tomorrow), threw together the Opera Cakes for tonight’s happy hour and made more pizza dough, which I tossed in the fridge for later use. Another very full day!
And……………because of popular demand—–here’s the pumpkin whoopie pie recipe!
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups pumpkin
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp ground ginger
4 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly ground is best)
1. Mix together the oil and the brown sugar until combined. Add the eggs and the pumpkin and stir well.
2. SIFT together (!!!) the dry ingredients including spices. Add the dry to the wet and stir until just combined. Do not overmix!
3. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or until slightly golden and puffy. Let cool completely.
First, make the marshmallow fluff (or just buy it already made….I won’t tell):
3 egg whites 1/2 tsp. salt 1 tbsp. vanilla 2 c. white corn syrup 2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
1. Beat the egg whites, salt, vanilla and corn syrup until light and fluffy—about 10 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and beat for another 10 until thick, light and fluffy. Set aside.
2. To about 1 cup of fluff (homemade from above or from the grocery store), add 8 oz soft butter, 2 tsp cinnamon and 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Beat on high until very fluffy and light. This is an approximation—-you will have to taste it and see what it needs…more sugar, more cinnamon….whatever. I like a lot of cinnamon in mine!
Sandwich the fluff between two cookies. Remember to breathe.
So there ya have it! Yall must be pumpkin’d out by now!!! I just looove baking with pumpkin and will continue testing new recipes with it all holiday season so be forewarned! The above whoopie pie recipe is another one of those “just enjoy it and don’t try to make it healthy” recipes. Seriously. Life is way too short to eat carrots and canned tuna all the time! I know yall love healthy recipes so you can try to adjust to whatever you like but just know that if it turns out crappy, I have nothing to do with it! I don’t recommend any alterations.
And now, on that note, I am going to go read. I AM READING THE BEST BOOK!!!!!!!!! I could not put it down last night. Its two stories intertwined—–the first is told in the eyes of this 10 year old girl being taken with her family to Auschwitz. Right when the secret police come to their house to arrest them, she locks her 3 year old brother in the kitchen cabinet telling him she will be back later for him and he will be safer there. Only she has the key to the secret cabinet. The other story is told from the perspective of an American journalist living in Paris doing a story, in present times, about what happened that day when Paris Jews were taken from their home and arrested. I’m a little less than halfway but I can’t put it down! I do have sort of a fascination with Holocaust literature though, as depressing as that may be. I wrote my 60 page senior thesis on adolescent Holocaust literature and its influence on modern day teens.