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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Vegan Pumpkin Bread inspired by How to Bake a Man

Vegan Pumpkin Bread #vegan #quickbread #pumpkin
Let me start off by saying that this book is pure fun. I took along with me to read on my flight to Seattle a few weeks ago, and finished it shortly into my return flight. I was disappointed after I turned the final page, not because of the book, but because I didn't want to stop reading.

How to Bake a Man is a fast, light-hearted jaunt into the world of 27-year old Becca who hasn't quite figured out yet what she wants to do with her life—other than bake (because that's what she's truly good at). Just as she's about to go back to school for her MBA, she decides that she'd rather push a food cart filled with baked goods through an office building. She's a feeder, and anybody who loves to cook or bake knows that her choice is inevitable (oh she who speaks from experience...).

With a cast of characters that includes (but is in no way limited to) a long-distance best friend, a handsome and confident snakeskin boot-wearin' neighbor, an evil doppelganger,  the perfect man, and a menu full of tempting food—I found it hard not to lose myself in the world of Becca's Best.

Each chapter leads off with the name and description of a recipe; something to get you in the mood. The best part is that the recipe are actually tucked away into the back of the book, so you can actually bake them up yourself once you start craving them.

On another level, the book is about realizations: much like a book, you can't judge a person on their looks, or how their life looks from the outside. It's also about finding love, and how sometimes you look so far in the distance that you miss what's all around you.
Vegan Pumpkin Bread #vegan #quickbread #pumpkin
Is it fodder for reflection and deep thinking? Heck no it's not—and that's just how I like it. With everyday being busier than the next lately, I want my reading time to be an escape...a time to unwind and have a little fun. That's exactly what this book is. Throw it into your carry-on next time you have a flight to catch. Take it to the beach. Curl up with it on a rainy day. But be sure that your pantry is well-stocked with flour, sugar, and spices when you do!

So, on to the recipe that I chose. You'd think maybe I'd go for one of the ones from the back of the book, right? I almost did. Snickerdoodles are there (one of my favorites). Her Honey Nuts are now on my holiday baking list. The Rum Cake and the Butter Cake are both slated to be tried out very soon, as well.

But quite fittingly, I wound up making something to please a man. My man. The husband. Sort of. He (of course) volunteered me to bake something for a benefit at work (raising money for breast cancer research) the day before he needed it. Ah, typical. So I looked to my pantry and a couple of shiny cans of pumpkin puree stared back at me. 'Tis the season! I had also recently picked up a bunch of mini disposable loaf tins with lids on sale. The rest is history...but this bread shouldn't be. It should be present and future at all times. It's moist and it has incredible flavor, and from what I hear, I baked up not only a few "new" men, but also some women. Everybody loves baked goods.

Vegan Pumpkin Bread
This pumpkin quick bread is incredibly tender and moist - plus, it's vegan! Fold pecans in for some crunch and added flavor. This makes the perfect bake sale treat.
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Vegan Pumpkin Bread
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes (40 minutes for mini loaves)
Keywords: bake bread snack vegan soy-free dairy-free pumpkin spice pecans American

Ingredients (2 large (or 6 mini) loaves)
  • 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (scooped & leveled)
  • 2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, optional
  • 10-18 whole pecans, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 8"x4" loaf pans (or six mini loaf pans, set on a baking sheet). Set aside for now.

Whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices together in a large bowl. Whisk together the pumpkin puree, oil, maple syrup, and water together in a separate bowl or large measuring cup with spout.

Scrape all of the liquid mixture into the dry mixture with a rubber spatula, and then use that rubber spatula to just fold and combine all of the ingredients together until no dry spots remain. Fold in the chopped pecans, if using.

Divide the batter amongst the prepared pans, smoothing the tops a bit. If using the whole pecans, press some into the top of each loaf (I like 5 per loaf for the large pans and 3 per loaf for the small pans).

Slide into preheated oven and bake for 1 hour (or about 40 minutes for the mini loaves), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean. Let them sit in their pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes before turning out. Set the bread back onto the racks to finish cooling all the way.
Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread

This bread is amazing cut into thick slices and served warm.

Completely cooled loaves can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 5 days. Freeze tightly wrapped loaves, and allow to thaw at room temperature, if you wish.

Mini loaves make great gifts or bake sale items. Make them in disposable loaf pans (don't turn out, just let them cool all the way in the pan). Cover once completely cool.

-slightly adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook
Vegan Pumpkin Bread #vegan #quickbread #pumpkin
How to Bake a Man by Jessica Barksdale Inclan - global #giveaway through 10/20/14

How to Bake a Man
author: Jessica Barksdale Inclán
publisher: Ghostwood Books
source: TLC Book Tours
soft cover: 280 pages

"foodie" read: Yes, definitely!

random excerpt: Rolling by the desk, I give them all a little wave, and move down the hallway toward Brad's office, ready to sell him a bacon-cheddar muffin. I've made half a batch, hoping he'll be hungry for carcinogenic meat before lunch. I see that he's there, standing by the window, and I knock on his open door. But he doesn't turn around right way, something very slow and sad and immobile about him. The sadness in the room almost has a smell, heavy and gray and dank.

synopsis (from tlc book tours page) : When 27-year-old Becca Muchmore drops out of grad school, all she has left to fall back on is her baking. Ignoring her mother’s usual barrage of disapproval and disappointment, she decides to start a small business hand-delivering her wares. A friend introduces her to an office of hungry lawyers, who agree to give her a try. Her lizard-booted neighbor Sal is happy to help out when he can, and almost before she knows it, Becca’s Best is up and running.

Before she can settle into a routine, things get complicated. The office ogress could easily be Becca’s sister and has absolutely no patience with cookies or other frivolities. Even worse, her boyfriend is the man of Becca’s dreams – kind, funny, successful, and brain-meltingly gorgeous. As the dark undercurrents threaten to pull her down, Becca swiftly finds herself neck-deep in office politics, clandestine romance, and flour. Saving her business (and finding true love) is going to take everything she’s got, and more.

Packed with charm, sparkling humor, and a genuinely unforgettable cast, this delicious tale of a woman struggling to find her path might just be Jessica Barksdale Inclán’s finest novel to date.

about the author: Jessica Barksdale Inclán is the author of thirteen traditionally published novels, including the best-selling Her Daughter's Eyes, The Matter of Grace, and When You Believe. She has also published several ebooks and a women's studies textbook, Diverse Voices of Women.  Her work had been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, and Czech.

Inclán teaches composition, creative writing, mythology, and women’s literature at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California, and online novel writing courses for UCLA Extension.

Ms. Inclán has degrees in sociology and English literature from CSU Stanislaus and a Master’s degree in English literature from SFSU. Ms. Inclán lives in Oakland, California with her husband and is currently at work on a young adult novel.

connect with the author: website | facebook | twitter

recipe inspired by the book: Vegan Pumpkin Bread

Would you like to win a copy of How to Bake a Man? To enter this global giveaway, simply answer this question in the comment section below (mandatory entry):
What's YOUR sure-fire way to "bake a man"? Recipes and links to recipes welcome!

After you've commented with your answer, be sure to record your entry in the rafflecopter widget below. Other optional ways to enter are also available.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to global submission - ANYONE MAY ENTER. Submissions will be accepted through 11:59 pm ET on Monday, October 20, 2014. One winner will be chosen via random draw and notified via email within 48 hours of the close of this contest, and given 24 hours in which to respond. If no response is received within that time frame, a new winner will be chosen. All entries will be verified (if the mandatory comment is not received, yet the box is checked, all entries by that person will be voided).

I received an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of this book for free. All opinions stated in this post are my own.