Tea, Sympathy, and Zucchini

by Kaye Tengco in ,

Christmas has come and swiftly gone, but the sweets and festivities have thankfully lingered as the New Year celebration approaches. New York has been unusually warm this season - a far cry from last year's brutal polar vortex - and a (frighteningly) big part of me is missing that chill. A hot cup of tea on one hand, a book on the other, a warm throw on your lap, and a purring little furball right by your side. See! Near-apocalytic sub-zero winters aren't so bad!

My other favorite thing about the cold weather is firing up the oven for some freshly-baked goodies. So, in addition to the pumpkin extravaganza of Christmas Eve, a special request by my best friend, Rose, added a bit of zucchini into the mix (not together, of course, but that might be a curious pairing...).

Inspired by Smitten Kitchen's zucchini bread recipe, my momentum that started with over 60 pumpkin chocolate chip + walnut cookies and three and a half loaves of pumpkin loaves carried me on to make two pans of zucchini bread. I followed Deb Perelman's recipe right down to the last detail, opting for chopped pecans as the additional ingredient.

It's two days after Christmas and we're continuing to enjoy our tea and treats!

As you will soon find out, Smitten Kitchen is a favorite go-to source of mine as I love Deb's recipes and words.

I hope you also give this wonderful recipe a try!

The Holiday Pumpkin Extravaganza

by Kaye Tengco in , ,

The run-up to the holidays is often a hectic time, with a seemingly endless list of to-dos and to-gets to check off. However, holiday errands are often a wonderful time for me. I'm quite a holiday enthusiast and I get giddy thinking of gift shopping and wrapping, tree decorating, and holiday baking and cooking.

This year, I tried something I've never done before. As part of my Christmas presents, I decided to bake holiday-themed sweets for my friends and family using that delicious autumnal ingredient: pumpkin.

I found a couple of cute festive jars at the Container Store, along with some holiday boxes perfect for loaves and bread. These got the gears going in my head and the end results were delicious freshly baked pumpkin cookies and loaves.

Both cookies and loaves were inspired by recipes found on the Food Network. The only alteration were the addition of chopped walnuts to the cookies.