Friday, November 15, 2013

Cinnamon Swirl Sweet Potato Bread

Counting down the days...

We're at t-minus 13 days to Thanksgiving and I don't think I've ever been more ready.  Ready for seeing family, making pie, eating pie.  And sleep.  And stuffing.

I think I literally have been counting down since November one (I was even tempted to go all kindergarten on myself and make a construction paper chain).  But now, with less than two weeks to go, the only thing that stands between me and a few days of turkey-filled R-and-R is, well, pie.  A lot of pie.  Not for me and not for you, but for all those folks who go the easy route and order their pies pre-mixed, poured, baked, and boxed.  (Sorry, however I have an inkling if you're reading a food blog you're probably the type of person who intends to make their own pies for the big meal.  Yup.)  One order alone next week consists of fifty pumpkin.  help. 

Lucky for me though, pumpkin is easy as...pie.  (take note, you bakery orderers!)  And while it's not my favorite dessert on turkey day (unless is involves chocolate), I do love me a good sweet potato pie which has a similar flavor and consistency but is oh, just oh-so-better.  But no, as many times as I've said pie in this post I did not make you a sweet potato pie, however I was itching to do something with this fall flavor and baked up a little loaf and doused it with cinnamon sugar.  Oh fall, how I love you and all your fall-y flavors.
Cinnamon Swirl Sweet Potato Bread

Makes one 9x5-inch loaf pan

1 (15-ounce) can sweet potatoes in syrup, drained (or one pound peeled, cooked, diced sweet potato)
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon white vinegar + 1 cup milk, mixed and let sit for 5 minutes)

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup granulated sugar

In small bowl, first combine 1 tablespoon cinnamon and 1/3 cup granulated sugar.  Set aside.

Combine sweet potatoes, egg, vanilla, and sugars in large mixing bowl.  Mix on low speed and slowly add oil.  Add flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Mix until well blended, then slowly add buttermilk, mixing until combined. 

Pour half of the batter into lightly greased 9x5-inch loaf pan.  Sprinkle evenly with a little more than half of cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Pour the remaining batter on top and finish with the rest of the cinnamon-sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Chelsea Original :) 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mom's Classic Chili

Can last weekend be every weekend?

It would involve: kissing monkeys, fuzzy navels, bakery breakfasts, wooden play sets, lego duplos, picture-taking, gift-giving, hug-receiving.  Margaritas, cloudless skies, byowine, video-watching*, story-sharing, trip-planning.  Thus was the weekend of a very welcome (and very overdue) visit from four of the loveliest people I know: my two parents, my favorite older sis, and my adorable nephew, Ben.  It was a full house for roughly 48 hours (+1, thank you daylight savings!), and it was wonderful.

We went to the zoo, we built our own tacos, we feasted on Italian cuisine.  We discussed Thanksgiving 2013 (Tulsa here I come! ps I'm making pie), we discussed Christmas 2013 (Colorado, here we come! ps I'm making cookies). 

But before we did any of this, we ate chili.  My mom's chili.  But I made it.  She had given the recipe to me years ago, which I had chicken-scratched on a piece of notebook paper, and I finally took it out from my arsenal of soup recipes to make for the ones I love.  It was a hit (by everyone except Ben, who decided to feast on macaroni and apples- no hard feelings though.  That boy could ram his new bike into my car and then trek it through my newly planted pansies and I would still love him to bits and pieces) and paired nicely with my go-to cornbread- the perfect way to celebrate both the arrival of the beautiful fall weather, and the arrival of my beautiful family.

*{see video here}

Mom's Classic Chili

Serves 4-5 (serves a family)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chuck beef
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1 (28-ounce) can italian whole tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt, or as needed
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or as needed

Heat oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onions and garlic.  Sauté until onions are translucent, about 8 minutes. Add chuck and sauté until brown, breaking up meat with back of spoon, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cloves, basil, oregano, and cumin.  Stir 2 minutes. Mix in tomatoes, crushing with back of spoon, tomato paste, and water. Simmer until thickened to desired consistency, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, about 1 hour 15 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Adapted from my mom :)