Thursday, December 19, 2013

Cranberry Orange Bread and Craving Some Memories

There’s nothing too exciting going on over here; Michael and I have been feeling under the weather these past few days and I blame it on this indecisive New Jersey weather. One day it’s snowing, the next day there’s sunshine and after that it’s snowing again and freezing cold. But don’t you worry, I’m not complaining! In fact I’m using this time to figure things out. As you may or may not know, I’m currently not working and won’t be living in Jersey for long. “What I do” right now is take care of our apartment, read, take pictures every now and then, and of course research information on how I can start an online baking business. I also have been thinking about taking natural nutrition courses online when we move to Pennsylvania. To be honest, I was pretty nervous about moving far away but now, I’m mostly excited for us to start a new chapter. I’m looking forward to the change of location, working from home and expanding my education. Oh, and other monumental events such as getting our first house, dog and some goats.

On another thought, is it just me or has Christmastime came out of nowhere this year? I’m usually more excited this time of year, but have been nonchalant and all “oh yeah it’s next week.” I’m kind of questioning my sanity. For example I haven’t stepped into the mall once this month and only made two batches of cookies. You read that correctly TWO batches! (They were oatmeal and snickerdoodle cookies in case you were wondering.) I am usually a beast when it comes to baking Christmas cookies. It must be the fact that I moved away and have not baked cookies with mom this year. She really made baking cookies a great memory for me. Aside from baking the cookies we'd have good conversation, hot chocolate and always made sure to eat the "reject" cookies. While I miss being home and baking with my mama, I am ready to make new traditions with my husband such as baking cookies with him, having a real Christmas tree and of course drinking hot chocolate together. The hot chocolate thing never gets old and eventually we’ll have children who love to drink it with us while we bake millions of cookies together. These are the cheesy daydreams that I live for, because the older I get the more I realize that Christmas isn't about buying gifts or receiving them, the tree or the music, it’s about being with your family and making memories with them. 

Oh wait. Before I go, I wanted to share this delicious cranberry orange bread I made last weekend. You can find the original recipe here, though I made a few changes if you look below. It was the perfect balance of sweet and tangy, not to mention it was incredibly moist and yummy! Everyone seemed to like it which was encouraging to hear after having a rough week. 

The original recipe is called “Orange Cranberry Bread” I call it, Cranberry Orange Bread:

1 cup all-purpose flour plus, 1 cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cups organic sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons orange zest
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt
½ cup goat or coconut milk
¼ cup applesauce
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil or butter
Optional: ½ cup chopped pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
Pinch of salt

In a small bowl combine these ingredients and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center and add canola oil, orange juice, zest and vanilla. Mix just until all wet ingredients are moistened. About 1/2 way through mixing fold in the cranberries. Fill loaf pan with half the batter and sprinkle with half of the streusel. Add the rest of the batter and top with remaining streusel. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until lightly browned on top and a toothpick or knife inserted through the center comes out clean. When cool enough to handle, transfer to cooling rack.

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