When November hits, I brace myself. Holidays, birthdays, parties, they all come rushing at me and if I don’t focus, I end up a little dizzy and way out of sorts by the time January hits. November and December’s ability to pass by at the speed of light breaks my heart every time because they are my favorite months of the year. I’m a sucker for smiles, fireplaces, hot cocoa, movie nights, sweets, and the twinkling lights.
I think the reason why I love the holidays so much is because they are a time to celebrate the love that is all around you. Yes, I know how sappy but it’s true. I believe that love truly comes through during the holiday months. Even with the bickering, nagging, and overall stress that family/friends/spouses can cause, love is there, hiding in the corners.
This year was all about growth, change, and yes, it was a bit of a struggle but I pushed through. Friends came, and now some are gone, and while it is always disappointing to say goodbye to people in your life who you used to care about, I think that friends are like the seasons. They have a time and a place and when they leave you wish them well and move on.
I am such a lucky gal to have the most amazing friends back in California who can make me laugh and offer comfort when I just want to cry and give up. They remind me of the person I was, and show me how to be a better person than I am now. I’m also grateful for the friends that I have made here in the city. After a couple of months of trial/error, I found a great group of gals who are just so sweet, caring, unselfish and REAL. Without them, New York would be an awfully lonely place.
Don’t you feel that this time of the year brings reflection about the year? How have you spent your year? Have you been surrounded by those who support you? Have you pushed yourself harder to get what you want?If I could, I would send this little loaf cake to all my friends to show them how much I care.
Wrapped in white boxes with a red string and a simple card that wishes them all the happiness in the world. Because it’s true, because it’s important, and because it’s that time of the year once again.
Chocolate-Topped Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from: A Cozy Kitchen
Yields: One 9×5 loaf
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp pumpkin-pie spice (a combo of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and allspice)
1 1/4 cups of sugar
4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Start by lightly greasing a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with softened butter and flour.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another large bowl, whisk, using a stand-up mixer, pumpkin puree, oil, eggs, pumpkin-pie spice, 1 1/4 cups of sugar until smooth.
Using a spatula, fold in flour mixture until just combined, making sure to not overmix the batter.
Pour melted chocolate on top and using a butter knife, swirl chocolate in a figure-8 pattern with the pumpkin batter.
Add the batter to the greased/floured loaf pan.
Transfer to oven and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a wooden pick or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes, then invert. Serve bread warm or at room temperature.
Cook’s note: If you don’t have pumpkin-pie spice you can simply add 1/8 of nutmeg, cloves, ginger and allspice. And then 1/4 of a teaspoon of cinnamon.