My favorite holiday is almost here! Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it is hands down the best meal of the year. When I was a kid, I hated Thanksgiving. I was a picky eater (imagine that!) and didn’t like gravy, stuffing or sweet potatoes. So my Thanksgiving consisted of dry turkey and mashed potatoes, although luckily my family always had THE BEST dinner rolls. Nowadays my brother and sister-in-law host Thanksgiving. Not only do they make a delicious meal, they also make the day super-casual (like “sweatpants casual”—right up my alley!). Over the years my taste buds got with the program and I now like stuffing, gravy and sweet potatoes. I still love mashed potatoes (when I make them I add melty mozzarella cheese…mmm…) and cranberry sauce (from the can. I know, I know…but I like it!). If I were hosting Thanksgiving it would include sweet potato pie with toasted marshmallows on top and homemade macaroni and cheese. Some day…when we have a house with a dining room (or when they move Thanksgiving to July so we can party outside).
Let’s talk Thanksgiving dessert. Um…YES PLEASE. Oddly enough, I do not like pie. Let me rephrase that—I do not like pie crust. So I don’t eat apple or pumpkin pie (or any fruit pies for that matter). I like pies with graham cracker crusts, like the German chocolate pie I make. Even if you remove pies from the equation though, Thanksgiving always offers yummy desserts. Since I’m traveling 3½ hours to my brother’s house for the holiday, I am bringing a few desserts that travel well—chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon snaps and Arlene’s Pumpkin Bread.
Arlene is my co-worker, and she always makes sure the office feels homey. A few weeks ago, she brought homemade pumpkin bread to work. It’s scary how quickly the four people in my office polished it off. It was AMAZING. I’ve never tasted a bread of any variety that was this moist. It is the best pumpkin bread ever. She kindly gave me the recipe, and now I bring it to you.
I made two batches of pumpkin bread, which yielded three loaves and 16 muffins. I’m freezing one loaf for Thanksgiving, and I left another loaf forJay, Jake and I (mostly “I”) to pick at until I’m forced to freeze it for fear my pants will not button. I donated the remaining loaf and muffins to this great local charity, Helping Hands in West Islip, that was hosting a Thanksgiving Drive. Helping Hands was founded by a local mom over 20 years ago and provides local children in need with essentials on a year-round basis. This includes food, clothing, shoes, toys, backpacks, school supplies and much more. At the Thanksgiving Drive they were collecting homemade baked goods and Thanksgiving centerpieces, holiday food baskets, canned goods and food gift certificates. I like knowing my small contribution will be enjoyed by a family in my own community. As the holidays approach and I’m stressing over gift-giving, it’s a nice reminder that I’m lucky to have what I do and I can help others by spending just a couple hours in my kitchen (which, let’s face it, I’d find an excuse to do anyway!)