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Fall Weekend: Caturday and Pumpkin Bread

I’m starting this post on Saturday afternoon while watching college football, with Yoyo snuggled in at my side. It seems like the 80+ degree weather finally broke, and it was a chilly 43 this morning!

This has been a really low key weekend, which was needed after a few crazy ones. I was traveling the last 2 weekends, and had an action packed weekend the week before that with my parents visiting.

Friday morning began with a great Crossfit workout—front squats and deadlifts! I love anything with power movements. We did 10×2 front squats, and I used 125 lbs. The WOD was

15 deadlifts (135 lbs)

15 box jups

15 deadlifts

15 box jumps

rest 3 minutes. repeat.

For breakfast I had something a little bit different. I’m trying to make my way through the freezer, so I made a protein smoothie with a frozen banana, milk, cocoa powder, and Quest salted caramel protein.

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I haven’t been feeling meat as much lately for some reason, so my lunch salad was meatless. Pears, dried cranberries, and lots of goat cheese in champagne vinaigrette, with crackers on the side.

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And a pice of chocolate.

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I can’t believe I only have 2 weeks left of zoo life!

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My wild Friday night included plan at a coffeeshop to work on my online Microbiology class. With all the travel lately, it’s kind of been put on the back burner.

I started out by ordering a sandwich. I ordered it on GF bread but I don’t think they actually gave me GF bread because I’ve gotten sandwiches there before that don’t look like that! Despite the results of my gluten experiment, I decided I didn’t want to lose mental capacity so I just ate around the bread. The sandwich was turkey, swiss, and herb cream cheese with a side salad.

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After enjoying that, I ordered a baked pumpkin maple latte (decaf!) to sip on while completing an assignment.

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I’m not normally a sweet coffee person, but this was no Starbucks. It was really delicious and actually tasted like coffee!

I was planning on watching Game 7 of the 2014 World Series (I have it on DVD) afterwards, but I was craving a book so I stopped by Target to pick one up. This was my night:

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I like this book! There’s definitely a lot to it, and it’s fairly dark.

Saturday morning I was supposed to teach spin, but no one came to the class. Instead, I headed out to a 9am Crossfit for some clean and jerk work and a partner WOD. In groups of 3, we split 75-60-45-30-15 push press (65), calories on the rower, and kettle bell swings.

Afterwards, it was time to hit up a St. Louis must-do.

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Rumor was they have GF donuts Friday and Saturday mornings, and I picked up a GF pumpkin spice cake donut!

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Of course I had to try a bite in the parking lot (but managed to save the rest for when I got home because it needed milk).

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It was good, but to be honest, I think I would have liked it more baked. I don’t really like the fried flavor. But my first donut in a very long time was well enjoyed.

I also really like this milk, so I wanted to mention it. It’s filtered to have lower lactose and high protein than normal milk, but mostly I like it because I actually have a pretty strong fear of sour milk, and I feel like if it’s super filtered that’s less likely to be an issue!

My entire day basically consisted of reading my book on the coach with kitties. Mostly Yoyo, but Scooby joined us for a little bit. He sat on my lap but kind of spilled onto Yoyo and was directly on top of him, so I LITERALLY had cats on cats.

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Saturday night I went to a Crossfit night out.

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My local Crossfit here organized a night out at a local bar. It was a really fun night; it was nice to actually talk to people outside of working out (though of course the topic of Crossfit was brought up once or twice 😉 ). It was really interesting learning more about people’s lives outside of them gym, and of course I had to try some local craft beer! It just makes me all the more sad to leave these people in 2 weeks!

One really nice thing was that it was within walking distance of my house, and while the temperatures have dropped quite a bit these past few days, it was a really nice, crisp night to walk.

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Sunday morning at 6am, Yoyo busted open my door and before I knew it I had 2 kitties snuggled up on my bed.

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Despite their antics, I managed to sleep a little bit longer!

My main event for Sunday morning was going to Crossfit run group. It’s basically just people meeting at the gym to go run together. There was a short and a long option. The short was 1.5, and the long was 5…1.5 seemed a lot shorter than what I was hoping for, so I decided I might as well go for 5 and turn back if necessary. I hadn’t run this far since my stress fracture; I had only run 4 miles 2x, and 3 is my normal distance.

My foot performed fantastically! I was able to cover 5 miles pain-free, which is pretty huge. My legs were feeling it by the end though! A group of 3 of us did the 5 mile option, and apparently our average pace was 9:36, which is not too shabby! It felt good to run longer again, and I’m sure I’ll be feeling it tomorrow. My plantar fasciitis is flaring a little bit from the increased effort though. Running on my foot is pretty variable. I think the fact that I spent the entire previous day on the couch is part of why I was able to cover those miles pain free. I walk and stand a ton at work, which limits my mileage.

I was HUNGRY when I got home and had a few gulps of chocolate milk while preparing lunch.

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I messed up flipping my egg, but somehow it turned out perfectly bread shaped! I’ll take it! I made an open-faced egg sandwich with American cheese. On the side was a salad with goat cheese and dried cranberries.

After lunch, I facetimed a friend back home, while mixing up pumpkin bread (and dividing the recipe in half!) Somehow, despite multitasking, I think I managed to not screw anything up.

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I asked my mom to dig up my favorite pumpkin bread recipe which I haven’t made in a little while. The recipe is from so long ago, it’s 1. pre-blog and 2. on paper!

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I tried to find the link to the recipe, but I can’t find it!

I cut the recipe in half, used GF flour, and used a bit under 1/3c brown sugar and 1/3c maple syrup in place of the full cup of sugar. I also sprinkled a few chocolate chips on top of one side!

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Delicious!

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Chilly temperatures+pumpkin bread?

NOW it’s fall.

I spent the afternoon studying. I went to Rise for a cozy decaf cappuccino.

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Dinner tonight was another warm fall favorite: soup! I heated up some mushroom lentil soup and topped it with fat free cheddar (kind of rubbery but trying to use it up!). On the side I had some buttered toast.

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For dessert, I sautéed up some apples with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. I don’t think I added nearly enough butter, and the edges got sort of caramelized. I served that with some vanilla Halo Top.

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It was a great, relaxing, low key cozy fall weekend!

What do you like to do when the temperature drops?

WIAW: #Bootlife Nostalgia

Today on the way to teaching spin at my undergrad campus, I listened to an album that I listened to a lot last spring. Immediately it took me back to all my boot workouts: grinding it out on the bike, learning new leg machines, endless dumbbell presses. I actually miss the boot in some strange way. Obviously, it’s nice not having a broken foot. But many good times were had in my boot. While wearing a giant boot with a broken foot was painful and made it hard to get around, I didn’t let it hold me back from doing anything I wanted to do and from enjoying my senior year. And not going to lie, I definitely felt super tough doing some of the things I did in a boot. I tried to make the most of it and have fun with it. Protip: if you go out and don’t want people to step on your broken foot, lighting up your boot works fabulously. The big silver lining of #bootlife was that I spent 2 months working on pull ups like a mad woman, and now I’m busting them out in workouts like it’s no big deal. (I did 50 kipping pull ups on Monday in sets of 5 the whole way!) Being optimistic is who I am; I may be sarcastic and pessimistic about humanity, but on a case by case basis I always look for the bright side.

But again, I think a lot of the good times that were had in the boot were because of the awesome people I was with. I’m missing my college friends like crazy now, and while I’m excited for a new opportunity in a new city, I’m sad I won’t see them every day. I think it’s finally getting real that I won’t be going back to Stanford this fall.

Sigh.

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(Featuring: Boot goes to the beach, boot goes win tasting in Napa, boot goes to the Giant’s game, boot goes to senior nights, boot goes to a Stanford baseball game, boot ‘graduates” from my sorority, and boot does murph.)

After that absurdly long introduction, let’s get into WIAW, shall we? Thanks as always to Jenn for starting the fun all those years ago.

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For breakfast, I had a few crackers alongside a smoothie bowl. I recently bought Quest salted caramel protein powder, and so far I don’t hate it. I want to try it in waffles/pancakes at some point though!

In the blender went 1.33 bananas, milk, cocoa powder, and protein powder. I topped it with some KIND Raspberry granola.

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I taught a noon spin class on campus. It was a class I made when I had a broken foot, and it was fun to actually be able to do the full class for real (I couldn’t stand before).

I had some business to attend to on campus, so I packed a lunch because I knew I would be hungry post-spin. I had a Trader Joe’s chicken, goat cheese, and beet salad, and a few crackers.

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When I got back, I had snack part 1: a farmer’s market peach that was absolutely delicious.

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Snack part 2 was a new purchase: a Flapjacked muffin. I saw these the other day and actually am not allergic to anything in them, so I was excited to try them out! Plus, given my physical activity for the day I knew I wanted plenty of protein, and these pack 20g in.

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I overcooked it a tiny bit. When I originally took it out, it seemed too soft still so I added a few extra seconds and apparently that was too much. It was good though! The cinnamon chips were a good touch!

Before dinner, I attended a spin class. Normally I would never double up spin, but since it’s my last week and I had one spin credit left to a local studio, I wanted to go to one of my favorite teacher’s classes. It was a fun one! I always like her music.

For dinner, we had roasted corn and spaghetti squash mac and cheese.I haven’t had mac and cheese in forever so I was excited!

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I love the idea of using spaghetti squash. Honestly, I’m not a huge pasta person. I’m all about the sauce! And who doesn’t love sneaking in extra veggies? This may be my favorite way to eat spaghetti squash thus far!

For dessert, I had my final 2 leftover grad cupcakes: chocolate with caramel frosting, and caramel with chocolate frosting.

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A little while later, I had another snack. Because, hello, 2 spin classes, I needed the calories! Another thing I was super excited to try? Pumpkin spice cheerios! We finally found them! Yes, they are good. And I’m ready to dive headfirst into pumpkin. I was crazy into pumpkin a couple of years ago, but less recently. I think I’m due for another year of being crazy into pumpkin. And clearly I’m starting off strong with 2 pumpkin items in one day!

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I also had a few milk chocolate chips to cap it off.

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Have you had any pumpkin yet? What’s you favorite fall food?

I love pumpkin bread!

My Puppy is 51 Lbs

How crazy is that? She’s gotten so big! Over 6x the weight she was when we got her!

Let’s compare:

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What the heck?? How did that happen??

This morning I went for my first run longer than 2.5 miles since my half. It was uneventful. I’ve been embracing the shorter runs lately, especially with midterms and other life craziness! Plus I’m in love with my 2.5 mile route. It feels like fall! I broke out my santa run shirt-after Halloween means that’s officially acceptable. My spin classes are going to love me when I start busting out the holiday tunes! For the sake of my own dignity I will wait until after Thanksgiving for that. I’m a firm believer that the time between Halloween and Thanksgiving is the magical period when it is acceptable to start celebrating Christmas but also to still eat all the pumpkin.

The weather here has been gorgeous as well, minus a rainstorm earlier this week. It’s quite brisk in the mornings, but warm enough during the day that long sleeves/cardigans and scarves are tolerable.

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I spent my Sunday doing reading from our hammock!

For some reason, I haven’t been feeling sunflower seed butter at breakfasts and have been doing greek yogurt with jam.

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I know this looks like a spoonful but the bowls+spoons are huge!

The food situation has been better as well. I think our new chef is adapting to the tastes and needs of my house. More vegetables, less oil, the return of grilled chicken to the salad bar, and sufficient food for leftovers.

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One day for lunch, it was all salads, which was awesome. Asian with shrimp, chicken caesar, and butternut squash with parmesan and brussels sprouts.

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Dinner of chicken, kale+veggie+tomatoes, and parmesan polenta.

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Make your own tacos in salad form-Mexican rice, black beans, chicken, tomato vinaigrette. There has also been homemade salad dressings lately which have been awesome!

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A dinner of leftovers because I was gone late at Crossfit-chicken, more polenta, leftover salad, roasted sage sweet potatoes.

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Salad+chicken with roasted cruciferous veggies (my fave) and rice pilaf.

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I made my own little concoction today as well-cinnamon apples heated up in the microwave on top of oats, sun butter, and a touch of honey. I heated this up in the microwave as well and the oats actually got toasty! The things you learn.

In other life news-check out this photo of my little guy!

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And finally-I’ve been loving time hop. Today’s memory from 3 years ago was great. The context is it was my first regatta for crew.

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My father, everyone!

 

Fall Festivities

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! I’m still in the heat of midterms, but I thought I’d pop in and share some fun weekend happenings.

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I had to start my Friday off on the right foot pre-midterm. An amazing Fuji apple from the farmer’s market with cottage cheese and sun butter. My midterm was a time crunch. I walked out with my brain fried, and grateful that I planned a track workout right afterwards! 4x400m-nothing too crazy, but homework for my exercise physiology class! I spent the afternoon running errands-including a flu shot, new running shoes, and some study time in Peet’s. That evening I went to Crossfit for some squats and a lighter workout that involved lots of push ups-my shoulder is getting stronger!

My evening plans involved friends and a nice bottle of wine.

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I still cannot believe I will be leaving these people in less than a year!

Saturday morning I had planned on going for a fall run, but my legs were not feeling it. They had been feeling a little rough between my race, spin classes, and sprint workouts, so I went for a leisurely morning bike ride. I did a beautiful 15ish mile loop, and the good news is I felt much stronger than the last time I did it a year ago-those spin classes must be doing something!

Post ride meal scavenged from the fridge:
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Sautéed garlic spinach, rice, and leftover chicken (served with ketchup of course!).

That evening was our Homecoming football game. My Crossfit actually arranged a tailgate prior to the game, so I enjoyed some time outside of the gym with my workout buddies. Everyone looked so different not in workout clothes!

At game time, I met up with some friends.

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Our mascot is a tree, and each year, it is quite the honor to be the tree. The trees are crazy-they usually have to do some sort of insane stunt to get the position, although many of these are kept under wraps. The tree makes its own costume each year, with many different interpretations, including a palm tree, the traditional pine, and this year a willow. A fun part of Homecoming is seeing the tree reunion!

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I left at halftime (we were up by 2 touchdowns already 🙂 ) to head over to a Wine and Cheese night hosted by my sister. She had an extensive cheese selection, and pumpkin creme brûlée made before our eyes with a hand held blow torch. (How cool is it that she has that??) It was also fun to see her friends and discuss the wedding!

Sunday morning I was up bright an dearly to sub a spin class at my off-campus gym. It was a good class, and I left energized!

The main event for the weekend though?

PUMPKIN PATCH. There’s a historic farm across the bay (that has baby animals in the spring) with all kinds of ruminants, plus a full on pumpkin patch. I made my friends commit to going weeks in advance because I didn’t want anyone to miss out!

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First up was the goats. I’m pretty sure these goats are the babies of the pregnant mothers I saw in the spring!

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The most exciting thing? I got to see my cow! I saw this cow when it was young (maybe teenaged?) my freshman year of college, and when I returned last spring, it had grown so much! This year? I got quite the wonderful surprise when I saw that it had a young calf! My cow is all grown up!

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After exploring the cornfields, it was time for the pumpkin patch! I was on the search for the perfect pumpkin.

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After an extensive search, I found the one!

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On the way back to campus, we stopped for pumpkin froyo. Because basic. And because fall. I got pumpkin froyo and salted caramel froyo. SO amazing.

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I love fall!

Sweet Potato Bread Recipe

Ok, I know I’ve been promising this bread for forever. Ok, like a week, but still. I’m finally ready to share it today!

First, I want to catch up a little bit. On food. On fitness. Life. Etc.

First of all-my sister is engaged! How crazy is that?? I’m the maid of honor and I’m so happy for the couple! We even broke out the good champagne to celebrate!

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It happened on a hot air balloon in Napa-hwo perfect is that? They stopped by for congratulations and to partake in our grilled nectarine salad (because we got nectarines from Costco with only a few days to eat them…)

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Recipe here.

Another meal I’ve been meaning to post were these beautiful parmesan and spinach soufflés.

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Plus a delicious side salad with herbs, meyer lemon infused olive oil, and aged white balsamic vinegar.

In workout news, I messed up my shoulder today. I was weight lifting with my trainer. We did heavy snatches and I did pretty well-didn’t hit my max but made the lifts I should have made. Then, heavy deadlifts. After working my way up to heavy weights, I did a set of 5 at 210, a set of 3 at 220, and a set of 1 at 230, followed by max reps at 230 (I got 2-apparently my form was going and I wasn’t allowed to try a 3rd with my ‘cat back’). Then,I worked on behind the neck snatch grip presses and snatch balances. It was fine. So basically I spent a lot of time stabilizing heavy weights with my shoulders with no issues. Then since there was a bit of extra time, we did some core work-roll outs. You may have seen those ab wheels before, but I used a barbell with circular plates to roll out. I got a little too ambitious on the first one and roll out to far, and then got kind of stuck and ended up sort of face-planting and felt a pop in my shoulder. I was worried at first, but everything seems to be in the right place and it feels much better than it did initially. The pain is in the same area that my shoulders get creaky, especially this one, so I think it’s just a bit of a sprain/strain. I’m hoping it feels better soon!

In life news, I’m jetting off to Hawaii with my family! My dad has a conference so we’re tagging along and making a vacation of it. To be perfectly honest, I’m a bit worried about what I can eat but I’m sure we’ll make it work. Hawaii is full of nuts and coconut, and the last time I was there I ate both and ended up with a pretty bad allergic reaction to macadamia nuts (this is before I completely avoided them and was still in denial).

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It’s actually looking to be a pretty active vacation for me. I have a 10 mile run scheduled this weekend, which will feel great in the heat and humidity I’m sure…Plus some other shorter runs. I’m also hoping my shoulder is ok to visit some of the Crossfit boxes I visited last time I was there! Other excitement includes another visit to see the piggies.

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The biggest thing I’m excited about it visiting a goat dairy farm! We went many years ago and I remember trying delicious goat cheese. Plus-RUMINANTS. I think as part of the tour we get to milk them? So pumped!

In terms of my health-my stomach is mostly healed but not 100%. There are still times were I feel super dizzy and nauseous, and tums/pepto still has to come everywhere with me just in case. Luckily, at this point it seems these episodes are mostly linked to certain foods. Which can be frustrating, but I’m trying to be better about figuring out what foods and how to better avoid them The list of things that makes me sick includes dark chocolate, onions, mexican food, tortilla chips, wheat, too much sun butter, too much fatty food. The list goes on. I really do feel like some of this is temporary and won’t affect me in time when I’m fully healed, but we’ll see. In the meantime, I’m sticking to gluten free-all of these breads I make with gluten free flour, and you’d never know it. It seems to be even less noticeable with pumpkin bread than banana bread too.

Which FINALLY brings us to the recipe! I wanted to make sweet potato bread, but couldn’t find the recipe I used in the past so I figured, why not try my own hand at it? Like I’ve said before-I’ve tried very hard to screw up my basic banana bread recipe so I might was well try a little bit harder!

Sweet Potato Bread

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Ingredients

1.5 cups mashed, cooked sweet potato or yam

1 c flour

1/3 c milk

2 bananas, mashed

2 T oil (I used avocado)

1 egg

1 T vanilla

1 t salt

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1/4 c honey (can add more-to taste)

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

Optional: 1 T orange juice (I wanted to moisten it and in full honesty the only citrus we had was a tangerine so I just used the juice from that)

cinnamon sugar for sprinkling on top

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  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix wet ingredients well, then add dry ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top (this just makes it pretty!)
  4. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.IMG_3644

This dense bread is the perfect segway between summer and fall. It’s a dense, warm bread but doesn’t quite have the kick of fall spices.

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What is your favorite quick bread? What should I experiment with next?