I very much adore the unexpected sweetness that a simple day can hold within it.
Many mornings, it can be a challenge just to wipe the bleariness out of the eyes, to get the spirit uplifted, and to get that little inner motor roaring and ready to function at full capacity, never mind with gusto, style and a little flare.
But it sure can make a difference in our day when we mercifully experience those little hints of sweetness, those palette pleasing flavors that are like a pumpkin-y spice bread chock-full of orange-flavored cranberries, and drizzled with an orange-vanilla bean icing; and then, we ourselves become the purveyors of those precious “spoonfuls of sugar” for others to taste and enjoy.
You know, there are just some days that I start out a bit on the quiet side; I feel vulnerable, or perhaps a bit introverted.
Someone sweetens things for me, and I'm willing to bet they aren't even aware of it.
They sweeten things by offering me a big, warm “Hello!” accompanied by their twinkling, smiling eyes; they sweeten things by leaving me a little love note (my hubby) reminding me of just how special I am, and how loved; they sweeten things by generously and patiently making a space for me to enter in front of them onto an already-packed freeway; they sweeten things by asking me how my day was, and offering me a big hug and a precious peck on my cheek when they walk through the door from school (my son).
These are the little ways that we sweeten things on a daily basis for one another; it's really nothing fancy, but it makes all the difference in the world to how we feel on the inside, and then, in turn, how we share ourselves with others.
Wouldn't it be a beautiful thing if we could all practice random acts of sweetness?
Wouldn't the world be a place full of more consciousness, humility, kindness and genuineness if we simply lavished upon one another those little reminders that show that we do, indeed, matter to each other?
We need each other, and that's the truth.
So why not offer up something sweet, genuine and from the heart—something that will warm another to their very core?
You'd be adding a touch of sweetness to someone's day; and perhaps next time around, it'll be someone else that'll be adding it to yours.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Pumpkin Patch Spice Bread with Orange-Flavored Cranberries & Orange-Vanilla Bean Icing
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves about 8
• 1 ½ cups flour, plus 1tablespoon, divided use
• 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
• ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 cup organic pumpkin (puree)
• 1 cup brown sugar
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 2 eggs, room temp
• ½ cup vegetable oil
• ¼ cup buttermilk, room temp
• 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
• ½ cup orange flavored, dried cranberries
• Orange-Vanilla Bean Icing (recipe below)
• 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)
-Preheat your oven to 350°, and line a 8 ½” x 4 ½” loaf with overhanging parchment paper, and lightly mist with cooking spray.
-Prep your dry ingredients by whisking together the 1 ½ cups of flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside for a moment.
-Prep your wet ingredients by whisking together the pumpkin puree, both of the sugars, eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth and well blended; next, add in your dry ingredients and whisk until well combined.
-Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of flour over the cranberries, and using your fingers, toss to coat; add those into the batter, and fold those in.
-Pour the batter into your prepared loaf tin, and bake for 60-65 minutes (mine took exactly 65), or until a toothpick comes out clean.
-Allow the bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then lift it out using the overhanging parchment, and allow to cool completely before icing.
Vanilla Bean-Orange Icing Ingredients:
• 2 ¾ cups powdered sugar
• 5 tablespoons buttermilk
• ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped for vanilla “paste”
• 1 teaspoon orange zest
-Add the powdered sugar and the buttermilk into a medium bowl, and whisk until smooth.
-Add in the vanilla “paste” from the bean, along with the orange zest, and whisk to blend.
-Use immediately, or, keep covered in fridge.