Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pumpkin Bread

One of the snacks I made for our trip to Penn State was this pumpkin bread. It's definitely not fall unless I've made some pumpkin goodies! This is yet another recipe that my parents typed up and put in a book for me when I first moved out on my own, so I'm not sure of the original source (I need to just look at my mom's collection the next time I'm there and see if I can figure all these out!).

Anyway, this is good stuff. Though chocolate will always be my favorite, I must say that the scent of pumpkin-flavored treats baking is one of the best ever. (Apologies for the less-than-stellar picture...I'm losing daylight both before and after work!)

Pumpkin Bread

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 16 oz can pure pumpkin
2/3 cup water
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 9 x 5 or 3 loaf pans, 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches. (You can use mini loaf pans too.) Mix sugar, oil, pumpkin, water, eggs and vanilla. Stir together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and nutmeg. Mix into pumpkin mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 60 to 70 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean; cool 5 minutes. (Maybe it's just my oven, but mine were done at around 55 minutes.) Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans. Cool before slicing. (If you use mini pans, bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Penn State Weekend

Hey, at least I'm getting around to posting about last weekend before another one has passed. On Friday afternoon (10/9), Rich and Shaun once again picked me up from work and we headed to PA. It was a long drive, thanks to the 5 miles of construction traffic near Wilkes-Barre that took over an hour to get through, and then metro Harrisburg traffic. We traveled that direction to stay with one of Rich's PSU friends in York, as we weren't able to get the camper for the weekend and stay on campus like we did last year. It's fun either way though - I mean, it's college football! (And it was Notre Dame's bye weekend so we didn't miss a game!) We had the same crowd as our Philly trip in March, minus John and Sarah, because they unfortunately had to stay in DC for the weekend to be on call for work.

Friday night we chilled at Ben's house, ordered pizza, and played games. Then on Saturday we got up pretty early (silly Big 10 and their noon games) and made the should-have-been-2-hour-but-was-actually-3-with-game-day-traffic drive to State College. In the parking lot, Ben whipped out his awesome griddle and we quickly cooked up some pancakes and bacon before heading over to the stadium.

We had a pretty cool perspective from the front of the end zone. In this picture the Penn State Blue Band is on the field - Jess is a proud former member so we had some fun band nerd moments watching and listening to them.

Touchdown Nittany Lions! It wasn't the most exciting of games, however - Penn State beat up on Eastern Illinois 52-3.

After the game, we came back and cooked some burgers and hot dogs. Here was the view from our tailgating spot...not too shabby.

Another angle...the hills of the Northeast can make for treacherous driving sometimes, but they're so gorgeous in the fall.

Beautiful sunset shots from Shaun (actually, I think he took all of these but the first one). It was a chilly, windy day, but nice to be outside to see this sky.

After we were done eating, and sufficiently frozen, we headed back to Ben's place. Even a few hours after the game ended, we ran into traffic from a truck that broke down, closing the road. Frustrating! But once we got back to the house we were able to relax, and pretty much spent the rest of the weekend playing games. We played Apples to Apples, Ticket to Ride, and lots of The Game of Things. Possibly my favorite "Things" answer of the weekend was to the prompt, "Things that take courage". There were the typical answers - "public speaking" and "blind dates"...and then there was Shaun's answer: "A vending machine in a world where the currency is courage". A lot of times we can guess Shaun's answers right away, but he continues to show his creativity to make us laugh - and we appreciate it! it's back to focusing on Notre Dame football. Will tomorrow be the first time we've beaten USC since 2001? I sure hope so! Go Irish!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Apple Picking

I'm so slow! Here is yet another week-late post. Shaun and I went apple picking with his mom on Saturday the 26th. It's been a tradition for him to go apple picking every year, pretty much since he's been born. My family also used to pick apples often when I lived in Minnesota - I hope to get back there during apple season, since usually we're there in the summer and over the winter holidays.

It was a gorgeous fall day...perfect weather at Averill Farm.

This and all following pictures are courtesy of Shaun!

Unfortunately, due to a hail storm over the summer, the apple selection wasn't the greatest - but they were at least offering a discount. We got some Honeygold, Spartan, Rhode Island Greening, and a couple McIntosh. (Alas, none of my Minnesota Harvest favorites, Honeycrisp and Chestnut Crab.)

A tiny Spartan! (On a completely unrelated note, that's my new favorite shirt - I got it at the ND bookstore during our recent trip)

Cool clouds and a nice view of the northwest hills

Not much else has been happening - just trying not to have nervous breakdowns watching Notre Dame football. The exciting sports weekend is continuing tonight with the Vikings/Packers game now (I know Brett Favre has been kind of annoying the past few years, but I'm just happy to have the Vikes doing well for once!)...and the Twins/Tigers playoff for the AL Central tomorrow. It'd be a fitting end for the Metrodome to host one more World Series before the Twins move to Target Field next season...we shall see.