Thursday, November 7, 2013


I love that there's a time dedicated each year to focus on being thankful.

I started this list over a year ago and although (technically) I didn't meet my goal of 1,000 things, I more than met my goal of noticing and being grateful for life's everyday gifts that sometimes we are too busy / too tired / too stressed to notice.

Since starting that challenge, daily something jumps out at me that I am thankful for - whether it's a phone call from a friend to keep me company on my commute home or the gorgeous pink sky at dusk (I'm a sucker for a pink sky).

Of course, those things happened before, I just didn't always take notice of truly what a gift they were.

I am constantly reminded that gratitude mostly definitely changes everything.

So for this month I'm hoping to write a weekly list here to help me focus on being thankful for life's big and small gifts that I'm sure I take for granted all too often.

Here is my short and very incomplete list for today:

I am grateful for:
the wonderful man I just married 
(almost 6 weeks as newlyweds)
having so many friends and family that live nearby
working for a company I love
living near the ocean
a morning cup of hot coffee
leg warmers
sweater weather

What are you grateful for?


Friday, November 1, 2013

chocolate pumpkin bread {recipe}

I was looking for two things when I decided to make pumpkin bread:

 1 - I wanted to use one whole can of pumpkin purée 
Seriously, what do people do with the leftovers in the can from most recipes?

 2 - I wanted something that both the adults and kids would like at last weekends sleepover

This totally delivered on both.

Chocolate pumpkin bread
yield: 2 loaves + 12 mini muffins


 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
 - 1 tbs cinnamon
 - 1 tbs nutmeg
 - 2 tsp baking soda
 - 1 1/2 tsp salt
 - 3 cups sugar
 - 1 (15oz) can pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
 - 1 cup canola oil
 - 2/3 cup water
 - 1 tbs vanilla paste
 - 4 large eggs
 - 1 cup chocolate pieces (I used 72% dark because then I can pretend it's healthy)

Muffin topping - I stole this from Amanda and now keep a cinnamon sugar mixture in my baking supplies to add to all my muffins
 - 1 tsp cinnamon
 - 1 tbs raw sugar
 - chocolate pieces, chopped


Preheat over to 350 degrees F.  Spray pans with cooking spray.

Chop chocolate chips and set aside.  I like to chop them so that there are some really fine pieces and some big chucks.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.  In separate bowl or stand-mixer, combine all of the rest of the ingredients, except the chocolate.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients 1 cup at a time.  Mix just until combined.  Gently fold in chocolate pieces.

Pour batter into muffin tins; I fill them almost to the top.  Evenly distribute the rest of the batter between 2 loaf pans.

Bake loaves for 55-60 minutes and mini muffins for approximately 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.


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