Insecurities, Insanity, and Pumpkin Bread Galore!

Yikes. Yeah, it's been a little while. It's not that I haven't baked, friends. It's mostly that it's been kind of an insane time in my life (I feel like if you typed "insane time in my life" into the Sad Shibow search bar, it would come up a lot. Like an embarrassing amount). I'm just starting to question a lot of things, which is kind of cliche for a woman in her mid-twenties, so forgive me. It's just that I feel like I've faced a few situations which have made me feel not-so-great about myself. Allow me to explain. Well, first, allow me to seduce your eyes with the following photographs. IMG_1380

WHAT THE WHAT, SAD SHIBOW?!

IMG_1378 IMG_1377

START TALKING!

IMG_1376

Ok, sorry, I know, I'll stop. So, maybe it's obvious (since I am a mess), but I did not make any of the above desserts. These were presented to a select set of food bloggers at a special holiday tasting given by...wait for it....Butter Lane!

Now, I've mentioned before that there is a special place for Butter Lane in my heart. It's so special that Glen Hansard, my family and my boyfriend all live in the Butter Lane that lives inside my heart. Stamos lives far, far away from my heart. I feel I must make that clear. So yes, as you can probably guess, I was incredibly honored to have been invited. And everything that was offered was AMAZING and is now being sold at the bakery. New offerings include homemade mini "Pop Tarts," chocolate mint cupcakes and vanilla cupcakes with eggnog frosting. Yes, I tried all of them (Um, it's a tasting. WHAT UP.), and yes, they're all ridiculous. Please go to there. Please try all of these things and more.

So, back to why I'm feeling the way I'm feeling. I guess at that particular event, being surrounded by other bloggers, many of whom have been doing this whole thing for longer than I have, many of whom do it better than I do, made me freak out a little. Believe me, I know how lame and pessimistic I sound, and for that I apologize. I'm super happy that I was invited to join that event, I just don't think I was in the right frame of mind to enjoy it. I'm just in the middle of a good deal of confusion over where I'm heading, over whether or not I'm doing the right things with my life, over what will make me happy in the long run, professionally. And I know it's kind of a champagne problem, given that I have so many good things for which to be grateful. I'm just frustrated with myself for not knowing exactly what I should be doing with my life and kind of want to kick something. I also, as many of you know, become a grump around the holidays for various reasons... and kind of want to kick something.

I know, violence is bad, I will not kick something, or someone ('cept Stamos), but I will remain slightly sad and a tiny bit panicky until this all someone works itself out. Any tips and pointers would be immensely appreciated.

Ok, well, we got our taste of sadness, so now it's on to the baked good! Today, I have something very special: My boyfriend's grandmother's recipe for pumpkin bread! She graciously passed it along, and I jumped at the chance to bombard you all with more pumpkin. YAY!

Pumpkin Bread (makes two 9x5" loaves)

3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

3 cups of granulated sugar

2 teaspoons of baking soda

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon of ginger

1 1/2 teaspoons of salt

2 cups of pureed pumpkin

1 cup of canola oil

4 eggs, slightly beaten

2/3 cup of water

1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease and flour ONLY the bottoms of two 9x5 loaf pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat together flour, sugar, baking soda and spices on medium speed for about a minute. Add in all ingredients except chocolate chips, and beat again on medium speed until batter is smooth. SONY DSC

Stir in chocolate chips and divide batter between pans. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted comes out with some crumbs sticking to it. And then, you will be left with this:

SONY DSC

Oh, you want a better view? Your wish is my command.

SONY DSC

As I inserted that last picture, I muttered "I miss that pumpkin bread." That's because I do. I need it back now. Seriously, this will become the only recipe I ever use again for pumpkin bread. It's moist, pumpkin-y, comforting, and, believe it or not, not too sweet. It's just perfect, and I can't thank the creator enough for letting me use this recipe, nor can I take any credit for simply following it. This is a must.