Nostalgia and I pair well together. Sentimentality and I are not as good. I might, even, scoff and then shun everything deemed overly sentimental. My threshold isn’t too high. Why one and not the other? One is more emotional than the other. One is safe and the other not. One is touchy-feely — this is bad. The other is softly, wistfully joyful — this is good.
While the holidays are wonderful — full of nostalgia past and nostalgia to-be — I dislike all the expressions of emotion. Especially on Thanksgiving when every so often, family decides to pretend we are a different family by saying — out loud — what we are thankful for.
Must it be said? This year I think that perhaps, yes, it does. Perhaps, I spend too much time thinking about what I do not have. Here, in no particular order, are many of the things I am thankful for — not that I would ever say these out loud in front of anyone. Please, I am not a sentimental mush.
Lazing on my couch with a puppy at my feet and a cat at my head, peaceful and sleeping.
Feeling a part of the hip-high, swaying grasses in a city block’s field.
Friends to laugh with drinking beer. Friends who support and cheer.
My parents and my brother.
Grandparents, uncles, cousins and more cousins.
Reading a book that enfolds me in its pages.
Being a fool.
A salary for more than the necessities and benefits for continuing good health.
A temper that teaches patience.
Patience that precedes a temper.
Knowing how to relax and how to laugh. Knowing how to bake.
Roasted Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread
found through pinterest, adapted from anediblemosaic.com, who was inspired by others (but that’s a statement on a post for the future)
First you are going to roast a pumpkin. Yes, it will take more time, but it’s fun and good. And there is a lot of leftover puree that can be used to make more pumpkin foods. Can you tell pumpkin is a current obsession?
Turn on your oven. Cut your pumpkin into wedges and put in a baking dish or a roasting pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Put in the hot oven until tender. Oh, and I put some water in the bottom of the pan because it seemed to need this. Not at all sure this is the best way to do any of this, but it worked for me. And I’m thankful for that, too.
Once it’s done, let it cool, puree the flesh.
Now for the rest. Beat 8 ounces of cream cheese (at room temperature), 1 egg, ¼ cup powdered sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla. This is your topping.
Combine 1 tablespoon flax seed meal with 3 tablespoons water. Let sit several minutes. (Or, make sure you have 3 eggs before you get started.) In a large bowl beat ¾ cup brown sugar with 1 egg and the flax seed. Add in ¾ cup pumpkin, 2 tablespoons canola oil (or your pleasure), and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Combine together your dry ingredients: 1 ¼ cup flour, 1 ¼ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ginger, pinch of cloves. Add this into the wet ingredients.
Oil and parchment line a standard size loaf pan. Pour in the pumpkin mixture. Spread on the cream cheese topping. Bake in a 350° oven. Might take up to about an hour, give it the ol’ poke test like you would with most cakes. It will also smell ready. Remove and cool and all that stuff and then eat.