Living Lou http://www.livinglou.com + cooking through my twenties Sun, 16 Nov 2014 11:00:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Maple Sage Roasted Brussels Sprouts http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/maple-sage-roasted-brussels-sprouts.html http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/maple-sage-roasted-brussels-sprouts.html#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 11:00:12 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=5815

maple sage roasted brussels sprouts

There was a time in my life where roasted brussels sprouts would have sent me running from the kitchen. There was also a time where I dreamed of being an Olympic figure skater. Ah, time. It’s funny because now all I want to eat are these maple sage roasted brussels sprouts, and my dreams no longer involve countless hours spent in an arena. Which I am quite pleased about. I’m not really sure what my dreams consist of these days, but that’s another story. I just have to remind myself that time has a way of working things out. I’m finding that I’m constantly giving myself little reminders throughout the day. Of which I failed yesterday because I forgot my purse in a lecture hall. Woops. But, like I said, time has a way of working things out because two hours later, my ruby red purse was still hanging over the back of the chair in the fourth row. That chair where I sat contemplating and asking myself questions: what do I wantNovember is turning out to be quite a think-y month for me.

Many of you probably have Thanksgiving on your mind right now, so you might be preoccupied with Thanksgiving recipes and dishes instead of these existential crisis-esque thoughts I have on mine. If you’re looking for a simple side dish, these brussels sprouts will hit the spot.

maple sage roasted brussels sprouts

And because I’m a lover of lists, a list of reminders for you (& me). Remember…

…we are all works in progress.

just do the next right thing. 

…to look up from the screen.

take in the moments. They are everything.

…you don’t have to have it all figured out.

…you can’t have it all figured out.

As it often does, my mind goes to food. Flavour combinations, usually. I’m always trying to think of something new to try. Roasted brussels sprouts are one of my favourite things right now, and I’m clearly having a love affair with sage (recent sage-filled recipes: Thanksgiving turkeyRoasted Root Vegetables & Balsamic and Sage Glazed Pork Chops). So, these sweet and savoury brussels sprouts were the next obvious step.

Maple Sage Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Combine maple and sage with brussels sprouts for the perfect, simple Thanksgiving side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, sage and salt.
  3. Roast in a roasting dish for 15 minutes.
  4. Drizzle and toss with maple syrup. Return to oven and continue roasting for another 2-4 minutes.

Notes

Recipe by Louisa Clements

http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/maple-sage-roasted-brussels-sprouts.html

And now, my lovely friends, all you have to do is remember to make these maple sage roasted brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving.

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10 Uses for Leftover Pesto http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/10-uses-for-leftover-pesto.html http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/10-uses-for-leftover-pesto.html#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 23:00:49 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=5804

Top 10 Uses for Leftover Pesto

Have you ever had that meltdown around 6pm when you realize that despite what you thought was a well-stocked fridge; you have nothing to eat for dinner? That’s when I grab a jar of pesto. It is hands down the ultimate condiment. I recommend that everyone have a jar of pesto in the pantry or fridge at all times. It’s a simple way to add a burst of flavor to any dish and that one jar can be the starting point of so many dishes. Whether that be an appetizer, lunch or dinner, you name it you can make a meal out of it with the help of pesto. Here are the top 10 uses for leftover pesto.

10-uses-for-leftover-pesto-graphic

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Double Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/double-chocolate-pecan-pie-bars.html http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/double-chocolate-pecan-pie-bars.html#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 11:00:41 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=5787

double chocolate pecan pie bars

Double chocolate pecan pie bars. Yes, get ready, friends. Consider these loaded chocolate and pecan bars to be vital to your November plans. I am a firm believer in the idea that at this time of year, baking should always be part of your weekend. Right now, we’re in the sweet spot for fall/winter baking because we’re heading towards the peppermint and ginger of the holiday season but it’s still totally appropriate to bake with pumpkin. Kind of the best of both worlds, no? If you’re feeling a little more autumn inspired this week, you can make my Whole Wheat Pumpkin Quick Bread a try.

This is also the time of year where life can start to get away from you. It’s the all too familiar holiday induced frenzy. Yesterday, my Twitter feed was filled with people tweeting about having finished their Christmas shopping. Yikes. Believe me, it’s the last thing I want to think about right now, too. And I’ll have you know that I’m a chronic last-minute shopper, so you won’t be seeing me tweeting that anytime soon. Are you a last-minute holiday planner too? Well, I’ve simplified one thing for you, finding the perfect dessert. If you’re looking for a dessert for any Thanksgiving or holiday potluck, these double chocolate pecan pie bars are the answer. Seriously, look no further. You can go ahead and close the thousands of tabs you have open right now. Crisis averted!

double chocolate pecan pie bars

Hop on over to The College Prepster to get the recipe for double chocolate pecan pie bars!

 

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Leek and Potato Soup http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/leek-and-potato-soup.html http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/leek-and-potato-soup.html#comments Thu, 06 Nov 2014 11:00:46 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=5745

leek and potato soup

I’ve decided that today, we should try to actually celebrate the cooler weather with leek and potato soup. As I’ve mentioned about a thousand times already, cold weather and I do not see eye to eye. But, I always try to find a little something positive in most situations, so cozy, comforting soups are the focus of today. Leek and potato soup has been one of my favourite soups for years now, and it’s not only because of the bacon bits I put on top (though, don’t get me wrong, they do help). It also helps that it’s made with only five ingredients.

quote about fear

Somehow, we’ve found ourselves in November. The moments are just zooming by. As always, I’m doing my best to soak them up. The afternoon coffees at my favourite coffee shop. The thought provoking lectures from interesting professors. The necessary order of wings and a pint after a draining day. The conversations over a warm bowl of soup that leave you buzzing. After all, this is the last Fall that I’ll ever be in my undergrad. Mind you, within the haze of stress, there isn’t really room for any of that feel good nostalgia.

The way I feel being in my last year of university is incredibly different from how I felt during my senior year of high school. Back then, I was nervous, but excited. I knew what was coming, what my next move was. But it’s not the same this time around. I have no idea what my next move is. I feel like it should be liberating and exiting, but instead, it’s just scary. Admitting that is hard, but I think that fear informs so much of what we do (and what we don’t do). And we all have fears, a mixture of big and small fears, but they are fears none the less. Maybe it’s a fear of failure. Or of saying the wrong thing. Doing the wrong thing. Whatever it may be, facing them is hard, and I wish I was better at it. My method right now? It’s the same thing I do in my cooking, in my safe haven of the kitchen, with my Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin playing. The same system that I used when I was creating this leek and potato soup recipe. Doing the next right thing. Breaking it down. One step at a time.

Food for thought

What are your fears right now? How are you facing them?

Leek and Potato Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 38 minutes

Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 6 leeks, sliced
  • 4 large potatoes, diced
  • 7 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
  • bacon bits for topping

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat butter on low heat. Saute the leeks for 5 minutes.
  2. Add potatoes, and saute for another 3 minutes.
  3. Add stock, bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
  4. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or in a regular blender.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.

Notes

Recipe by Louisa Clements

http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/leek-and-potato-soup.html

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Chicken Stew Fresita Sparkling Wine http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/chicken-stew-fresita-sparkling-wine.html http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/chicken-stew-fresita-sparkling-wine.html#comments Mon, 03 Nov 2014 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=5704

chicken stew with fresita

With the sudden cooling down of temperatures in Toronto, chicken stew with fresita sparkling wine was the only way to cure my beginning of Winter blues. I think food is really the best way to cure any kind of the blues, don’t you? In the depths of winter there aren’t many things that are better than a comforting bowl of steaming hot chicken stew. To me, a good stew is all about the broth. It needs to be deep and complex with just a little je-ne-sais-quoi. It all starts with building the flavour, from browning the meat, sauteing the vegetables and adding in wine and seasoning.

chicken stew with fresita

What makes this broth so rich in flavour is the Fresita sparkling wine. It is a Chilean, fruity sparkling wine (made from strawberries) so it adds a wonderful sweetness, (that je-ne-sais-quoi I was talking about earlier) to the broth. The wine itself is fruity and fresh, and would be perfect for a summer evening, but is the magic secret ingredient in this chicken stew. You know how they always say that you should cook with a wine you would drink? I am a firm believer in that. So I always have a little sip beforehand so I know what I am working with. When I tasted the Fresita, I knew I would need a little something to balance out the sweetness in my broth. I opted to add some jalapeño for spice and a little tomato paste and balsamic vinegar for that extra acidity. It turned out to be one of the most fantastic broths I have ever made.

chicken stew with fresita sparkling wine

You’ll also notice that in addition to the sparkling wine, I opted for beef broth. Yes, beef broth in a chicken stew, call me crazy. I actually decided on the beef broth because my favourite Coq au Vin is made with beef broth, so I figured I would follow that lead. This recipe would also work well with chicken broth, but if you can use the beef, go with beef. But you know what’s the best way to start on this recipe? Heading to your local LCBO and picking up a bottle of Fresita!

Chicken Stew with Fresita Sparkling Wine

Yield: Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 6 pieces of bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds & membrane removed, diced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups Fresita sparkling wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 8 oz sliced button mushrooms

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, over medium-high heat, brown bacon for 2-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Brown chicken, be careful not to crowd the pan, for 1-2 minutes per side, set aside. Repeat until all chicken has been browned.
  3. Add olive oil to pan, turn down heat to medium and cook onion for 3 minutes.
  4. Add carrots and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Next, add garlic, jalapeno and tomato paste, cooking for a minute or until fragrant.
  6. Deglaze with Fresita sparkling wine and beef broth. Stir in balsamic vinegar and sage leaves. Bring to a boil.
  7. Add chicken and bacon back to pot. Partially cover, turn down heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, in a pan, heat butter over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 5-8 minutes.
  9. Finally, once stew is done cooking add the mushrooms.
  10. Serve over rice, noodles or on its own.

Notes

Recipe by Louisa Clements

http://www.livinglou.com/2014/11/chicken-stew-fresita-sparkling-wine.html

behind the scenes chicken fresita stew

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Fresita – as always all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting my sponsors and allowing me to continue creating content!

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Monster Meatballs in Tomato Sauce http://www.livinglou.com/2014/10/slow-cooker-monster-meatballs-tomato-sauce.html http://www.livinglou.com/2014/10/slow-cooker-monster-meatballs-tomato-sauce.html#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 10:00:44 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=5672

monster meatballs in tomato sauce

There’s a time and place for everything and when it comes to slow cookers, they should be on your counter 24/7.  I recently replaced my old slow cooker and now I want to slow cook everything. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’ve been reading for a while. My slow cooker recipes on here have been some of your favourites over the years. Today, because it’s Thursday, and we’re tired I’ve got a simple, delicious and comforting “dump in the slow cooker” recipe for monster meatballs in tomato sauce from the new Canadian Living: New Slow Cooker Favourites cookbook. A slow cooker really is the ultimate tool for you, whether you’re a busy student like me, a busy, over-scheduled 20-something or a busy parent.

canadian living slow cooker favourites

I recently got this book in the mail, and I cannot recommend it enough. There are a few pages in the beginning about slow cooker basics (best cuts of meats to use, to brown or not to brown your meat etc.) but it quickly jumps right into the recipes. And those are what make this book standout for me, the wide array of recipes. There are four recipe-packed sections. Soups & chowders, stews, beans, meatballs & sauces, chilies, curries & casseroles, and last but not least (and my favourite section) pot roasts, braised steaks & ribs. Did you know you could make paella in the slow cooker? I also had never made meatballs in the slow cooker before, but monster meatballs (and their accompanying tomato sauce) have really changed my slow cooker strategy.

When it comes to cookbooks, I find that sometimes they can be a little intimidating, but with this book, all of the recipes are so approachable. I’m a cookbook junkie and I have tons of books that I just love to look at, but this is one that I know I will be cooking from for years to come. To give you a taste, here are a few of the recipes on my “to-make” list: Kale and Chorizo Soup, Smoky Roasted Pepper Chicken and Coconut Squash Curry.

monster meatballs recipe

And I know it’s a little early, but I think this would make a great gift for the holiday season! Meanwhile, get your slow cooker out of the cupboard and give these monster meatballs in tomato sauce a try.

Disclaimer: Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of Canadian Living: New Slow Cooker Favourites for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own. This post contains affiliate links, thank you for supporting Living Lou!

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Roasted Root Vegetables http://www.livinglou.com/2014/10/roasted-root-vegetables.html http://www.livinglou.com/2014/10/roasted-root-vegetables.html#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 10:00:12 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=5645

roasted root vegetables

It doesn’t get much simpler than roasted root vegetables, does it? And please tell me that I’m not the only one who is craving all things simple these days. I know, I sound like a broken record; I always talk about simplicity. But what can I say, Life. Is. Complicated. It’s like all of a sudden every single thing has decided that right now is the perfect time to veer to the left. Or to the right. Whichever would throw me off the most. First there’s that email that sends you into a panic. Then there is that due date looming much closer than you thought. A little bit (okay, a lot) of miscommunication. A few people with just a few too many prodding questions. And let’s not forget that person with unnecessary expectations, that leave you feeling empty. Don’t you just love that? And, exhale. 

Now because I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl, the best part is that I get to explore my longing for simplicity in my “Back to Basics” cooking series over on Carly’s blog, The College Prepster. Hence this basic recipe for roasted root vegetables. You know those basic recipes that everyone should have in their repertoire? Or those recipes that will help you gain confidence in the kitchen? Yep, those are the ones I’ve been sharing over there. Today I’ve got my favourite fall roasted vegetables, seasoned with sage. roasted root vegetables If you’re craving either: a) simplicity b) vegetables c) healthy comfort food d) anything with sage e) all of the above This is the recipe for you. Head on over to The College Prepster for my Roasted Root Vegetables recipe.

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Pizza Party Entertaining Guide http://www.livinglou.com/2014/10/pizza-party-entertaining-guide.html http://www.livinglou.com/2014/10/pizza-party-entertaining-guide.html#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 10:00:55 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=5609

pizza party entertaining guide

You all know how much I love entertaining, but let’s be honest, entertaining on a budget is a challenge. This post originally started out as your typical dinner party, which I love, but I wanted to change things up and do something really fun. Enter the pizza party. Is there a better way to celebrate my fourth week using PC Plus and 20,000 points than with a table full of pizza? Ok, maybe a table full of homemade pizza. Would it sweeten the deal if I told you this all cost under $30 at my local No Frills? You could definitely make your own bread machine pizza dough and homemade pizza sauce, but for this pizza party I ended up buying the whole wheat pre-made pizza dough which ended up costing about $0.95 per pizza.

pizza party table

Now that I’ve been using PC Plus for a month at No Frills, I thought that I would share a few tips with you that I’ve learned a long the way. First of all, load all your offers to the app. Then, make sure your phone is charged so it won’t die just as you’re checking out. Woops. Something else I learned is to make sure that you are using your PC Plus card even if the items you’re buying aren’t part of your offers. The program will track your purchases and tailor your offers down the road based on your shopping habits. I’m hoping next week I have an offer on arugula because I really can’t get enough of that peppery green. Overall my experience with PC Plus has been really positive and I will definitely continue using it for grocery shopping.

pizza party entertaining guide

Let’s talk toppings, I made two vegetarian and two meat pizzas which suited my needs perfectly. But you know what would be pretty fun too? If you were to ask each of your guests to bring a couple of potential toppings with them and then spend your evening getting creative in the kitchen with them! It’s like Chopped except the mystery baskets only include pizza toppings.

Here are the pizzas I served:

Mozzarella + roasted red peppers + cherry tomatoes + garlic + mushrooms + crumbled feta

Mozzarella + pepperoni + thinly sliced potatoes + red onion

Mozzarella + mushrooms + pepperoni

Pesto sauce + roasted red pepper + peppercorn goats cheese + arugula

And now for a giveaway! I’m giving away an $100 President’s Choice gift card! It is open to residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) over the age of 18 (see terms & conditions for more info.) It’s super simple, all you have to do is click “log in” and then enter your name and email in the rafflecopter widget below and then leave a comment letting me know about your favourite pizza toppings.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was compensated by Loblaw to write this post and they have provided the prize for the giveaway. All experiences and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting Living Lou!

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The Best Healthy Study Snacks http://www.livinglou.com/2014/10/the-best-healthy-study-snacks.html http://www.livinglou.com/2014/10/the-best-healthy-study-snacks.html#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 10:00:37 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=5589

avocado and tuna toast

Since I’m in my last year of university, you might be able to consider me to be somewhat of an expert in all things studying. Whether it’s snacks, flashcards, the perfect ratio of sleep to studying or the best times to hit the library, I may be able to share a few words of wisdom. Mostly, just remember that you will get through it. We are currently right smack in the middle of the wonderful time of the semester that is midterms. Luckily, this year I don’t have any midterm exams (just about 2500 essays to write, which I’m not sure is much better). But I still need to fuel up for those long days or nights writing. When it comes to study snacks, I like to split them into two categories: on-the-go and at-home.

On-the-go:

on the go study snack

When it comes to on-the-go snacks there are two things that I like to keep in mind, where and how long. If I’m heading to the library, crunchy snacks like carrot sticks and celery may not be the best idea, but if I’m heading to a friend’s place for a group study session, they can live with the crunch. The photo above is a basic example of my go-to snacks, I was lucky because I had PC Plus offers for some of my favourites like the celery, carrots and cheddar cheese. But you can switch this up, I also picked up some bell peppers because I had a personalized offer for them as well. I also like to buy the PC Hummus that comes in a set of four, small pre-packaged containers because it’s easy to pack. And let’s be honest, most students do not have the amount of little Tupperware our parents do at home. I also always add in nuts and cheese because they have lots of protein which will keep your energy levels up for long study sessions.

At-home:

avocado tuna toast study snack

At home there is a little more room for fun and creativity. My newest go-to study snack has been this jazzed up avocado toast. I’ve added tuna (it was on sale at my local No Frills, and got me bonus PC Plus points), spicy sriracha mayonnaise, and chips on top for a little crunch. This really is satisfying in every way food can be. It’s crunchy, salty, spicy and creamy, plus it only takes a few seconds to throw it together then you can head back to your desk.

I thought I’d give you a little update on my PC Plus journey so far. I’ve been using it for three weeks now, and I’ve got about 16,000 points. Think about it, if I’m able to get 20,000 points per month, that is saving me $20 on my grocery bill. That’s a pretty significant amount of savings throughout the year. And just imagine how many points you could get if you’re shopping for your family! I don’t know if it’s the nerd in me, but I get so excited for the day when my new offers come in and find using the app on my iPhone to be the most intuitive way to use the program and keep up to date with my balance and offers.

Avocado Tuna Toast

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 piece of whole wheat bread, toasted
  • 1/2 an avocado, mashed
  • 1/2 can tuna, drained
  • mayonnaise
  • sriracha
  • potato chips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Spread mashed avocado on toast.
  2. Top with drained tuna.
  3. Whisk together mayonnaise with sriracha (to taste).
  4. Drizzle sriracha-mayonnaise on tuna.
  5. Top with potato chips.

Notes

Recipe by Louisa Clements

http://www.livinglou.com/2014/10/the-best-healthy-study-snacks.html

Disclosure: I was compensated by Loblaw to write this post. All experiences and opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting Living Lou!

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Quick Bread http://www.livinglou.com/2014/10/whole-wheat-pumpkin-quick-bread.html http://www.livinglou.com/2014/10/whole-wheat-pumpkin-quick-bread.html#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2014 10:00:05 +0000 http://www.livinglou.com/?p=5562

whole wheat pumpkin quick bread

Now that we’re almost halfway through October I guess that it’s about time that I posted a pumpkin recipe on here. And since we’re on that topic, I think it’s about time that I do a lot of things actually. For some reason, October has been a month of “I’ll deal with that later.”, which for anyone who knows me, knows that is not really my style. But the truth is that my inbox is a little out of control, I ate two chocolate bars today (and don’t regret it in the slightest) and have had Joni Mitchell’s Blue on repeat for much longer than I care to admit. I also have a raging case of early on-set senioritis, and I’ve never handed in a weirder assignment than the piece of experimental music I created for a class a couple of weeks ago.

whole wheat pumpkin quick bread

I’ve also been sitting on this recipe for whole wheat pumpkin quick bread for about a month. October has been weird, I blame Mercury in retrograde. I’ve also been doing way more baking than cooking this month, which is a little strange for me. Be prepared for some more baking recipes coming your way over the next couple of months. Think quick breads, cookies, bars, and the like. In the meantime, let’s make a promise to soak up all of the remaining days of Fall, ok? The rainbow leaves, the crisp walks, the scarves and coats and boots. The baking, the pumpkin and chai everything. And I don’t think there is a better season to listen to Joni Mitchell, so go for it.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Quick Bread

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • pumpkin seeds for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.
  4. Create a well in the center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Lightly mix, until just combined.
  5. Stir in dried cranberries.
  6. Pour into a 9 inch, parchment lined loaf pan. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
  7. Bake for 60 minutes to 75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Notes

Recipe by Louisa Clements

http://www.livinglou.com/2014/10/whole-wheat-pumpkin-quick-bread.html

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