We don’t have to talk about Thanksgiving quite yet. I know, according to every single store I’ve ventured into, we’re supposed to be putting up the Christmas tree and hanging the mistletoe at this point, but I’m still working on the last of my candy corn and what’s the rush? We know how Thanksgiving goes. It’s very yadda, yadda, yadda, save for the extreme amount of preparation it takes to yadda.
But not yet.
I’ll be sweet talking you into making my Dad’s Sweet Potato Pie in a few short weeks but in the meantime, let’s pretend like this year isn’t hurtling towards the next. It’s called Distraction Baking and it has its purpose exactly right now. Let’s bake bread and granola for the very bake of it.
Here’s the plan:
• This Cheddar Scallion English Muffin Bread was my pandemic bread thanks to the inadvertent hoard of yeast I had stashed away in January of 2020. I baked a loaf of this loafy bread a few times a month. It is a WONDER! Textured and studded with chopped scallions. The crumb is moist, with tight air pockets that hold a smear of salted butter better than any other homemade bread I’ve made.
I gave this loaf a break through 2021 but we’re back, baby! Get in on this with me!
• Tucked away with this recipe for homemade Yogurt Pita is this recipe for Baked Chicken Shawarma with quartered onions that could easily be a staple every week this month. I make some sort of this chicken marinade every time Will and I go camping and cook it over the campfire. The chicken thighs grill well if you want to pass them off to the House Grill Master while you pursue your pita passions. Either way, don’t let this homemade bread situation keep you away from this dream chicken dinner.
• We’re subbing in a can of pumpkin puree for the jarred tomato sauce in this very cozy Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Goat Cheese. The fresh sage, thyme, and goat cheese make this pasta feel like white tablecloth, restaurant pasta (I say that with my pinky up). I’ve also started adding a splash of cream to the finished sauce and I mean… of course it’s good!
• To solve the problem of all that leftover Halloween candy: Candy Bar Blondies. I didn’t have any leftover chocolate candy and rest assured I plowed through all the mini Twizzlers sometime between 11am and noon on November 1st.
• There are two ways we could go with cookies this month. These Almond Flour Banana Bread Cookies are the product of my most well-intentioned self. The person who buys a bundle of bananas at the grocery store like she’s going to eat a bundle of bananas. Instead, without fail, I pass by them and they spot their way to Baking Bananas. These cookies are made with almond flour, walnuts, and chocolate making them a hearty and healthy afternoon snack that also happens to be a sweet little cookie.
• Now these Cheesecake-Stuffed Snickerdoodles are more of an indulgence. They also happen to be more of a project but worth it for the tender spiced cookie, creamy center, and surprise that erupts from faces when they realize there’s CHEESECAKE in their cookie.
• The afternoons have been grey here in New Orleans. I find myself reaching for this morning’s long cold coffee pot come 3pm. Suffice it to say, it’s Coffee in Cookies season. Browned Butter Cappuccino Cookies with white chocolate chips are just the ticket. This cookie dough freezes well so you can have afternoon cookies on demand.
• Wealth and luxury – a strange thing to ask from granola AND YET: Baklava Granola. Filled with dried apricots, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and topped with an orange honey syrup and pomegranate seeds? It’s special like the $70 face mask I bought and cherish like Gollum and his ring, except this granola is jarred in the pantry and I snack on it directly from the jar.
• I’ve been on a pancake kick lately as evidenced by the bottle of maple syrup I’ve plowed through in a week and a fluffy Sweet Potato Pancake recipe set to hit the blog soon. From the archives, these little banana coins coated in pancake batter and served with cinnamon and sugar taste like little banana fritters and are very popular with the under 10 set. (Psssst… Toby!) Battered Banana Pancakes
• In a shocking turn, this Savory Coffee Cake is an incredible breakfast snack. I typically take my breakfast snacks in the car with an open mug of coffee – it’s all rather chaotic. Savory Coffee Cake is more bread than cake, really. The grain-free batter is made with almond flour and topped with a quick parsley pesto, roasted tomatoes and a savory struesel. It’s a surprising alternative to coffee cake and complemented very well with a soft boiled egg.
I hope you’ve found some inspiration here, friends. We’ll ease our way into the holidays, okay?