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Second Attempt: Portuguese Sweet Bread

21 Jan

I know I am not alone when I proclaim my love for King Arthur Flour.  Non-bakers may wonder why one flour could be so much better than another and I have no real explanation but can firmly say, “It Just is!”  A visit to King Arthur Flour’s Baker’s Shop was a must for me during our quick vacation to Vermont.

The Baker’s Store is located in Norwich, Vermont which is not to far from the Montshire Museum.  If you get there early enough you may even get to try some of their freshly baked breads and goodies but we were moving slowly and we weren’t so lucky.  They did have mini creme filled cupcakes for us to sample though—and they were delicious!

Not to fear, we still got to peruse the aisles for all kinds of flours, baking mixes (including tons of gluten free varieties) and all kinds of exciting baker type stuff.  I splurged and bought myself two whole vanilla beans (among other things) that I can’t wait to use.

One thing I did not buy while I was there (I was worried about exceeding the weight allowance with our luggage) was this book or this book.  Although I was very tempted  and still really want to add them to my growing cookbook collection. (Since January is the month of not spending money-I’ll be heading off to the library to find it.)

Luckily, I was able to find a King Arthur flour recipe online for Portuguese Sweet Bread.  This recipe was a lot different than the one passed on to me from my aunt but it made a really nice loaf of bread–with perfect sweetness.  My mom thought it should have been a bit fluffier and that maybe I had not allowed the yeast to work for long enough.  I’m not sure.

It has been so long since I tried the family recipe—maybe I need to give it one more shot.

Here is the recipe, lovingly borrowed from the King Arthur Flour website:

The  Sponge
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons or packets active dry yeast
1/2 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

The Dough
1 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter*
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel OR 1/2 teaspoon lemon oil (optional)
7 1/2 to 8 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
4 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
wash made of 1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water

The Sponge:

Pour the water into a large bowl and dissolve in it the sugar and yeast. Stir in the flour and set aside until the mixture is bubbly and expanded.

The Dough: Scald the milk. Remove from the heat and add the butter, sugar, salt and optional lemon peel. ( I did not add the lemon peel as there was none on hand-but I am sure it would be a nice addition.)

Stir to dissolve and then let the mixture cool to lukewarm.

Beat the eggs and yolk together . Add them and the milk mixture to the proofing sponge. Stir in 6 to 7 cups of flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Lightly oil the same bowl and set aside.

Knead the dough, adding only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the board. When the dough is smooth and soft, place it in the oiled bowl. Turn to lightly oil the entire surface of the dough. Cover the bowl with greased plastic wrap (to keep the dough from sticking to it) and a clean towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Punch the dough down and divide into two equal pieces. You can decide to shape the dough into a round loaf or a regular rectangular loaf–which is what I did.  What ever your choice, shape it and place in two greased pans.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap (again greased) and cover with a clean towel. Let the loaves rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 375°F for at least 15 minutes. Brush the loaves with the egg white and water mixture.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom with a finger. When the bread is done, remove it from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.


Risotto Party: Four Recipes, One Night

20 Nov

The challenge:  Compare  four different varieties of Italian risotto rice.

The issues:
1) In order to compare the varieties, I would have to prepare them.
2) Risotto preparation is kind of time consuming.
3) After our trip to NYC, the deadline to finish the review was coming up quickly.  I wasn’t sure there was enough time left to actually complete the task.

What to do?

Have a risotto party!

At first, I was hesitant to pitch the idea to some of my friends….I wanted to invite them over to eat but felt a bit guilty for giving them an assignment as part of their dinner.

However, they are all love food and any chance to get together and drink wine.  Luckily, they agreed to the challenge.

The week prior was spent delivering risotto samples, researching  recipes, and buying wine.

Thursday night, (a school night!) they all came over and we had a risotto feast.  (Including a really delicious olive oil cake–recipe coming soon.)

It was so fun to see what each of them came up with and all of the risottos were very different.

The contestants:

Risotto #1:  The purple blob.

Rice: Marx Foods Italian Carnaroli rice

Recipe:  Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe for Spring Green Risotto

This risotto was not pretty.  Actually, it was a very pretty color—it just looked like a gelatinous blob.  In case you are wondering, the purple came from the addition of red wine instead of white.  According to Marx Foods website, this rice tends to hold its shape better than arborio rice and offers better liquid absorption.  Supposedly, this rice will yield a creamier risotto than other varieties.  And, this one was very creamy.

Comments:    “If I didn’t know you, I wouldn’t eat this.”

“Why is it purple?”

“What is that flavor?”

Risotto #2:  The healthy risotto.


Rice:  Marx Foods Organic Italian Arborio
Recipe:  Chef’s creation with lots of spinach and a ton of garlic.

Comments:  “Maybe it needs more salt.”

“Wow, very garlic-y!”

This is the type of rice that is normally used for risotto and just as suspected, the results were a creamy rice porridge.

Risotto #3:   The professional risotto.

Rice:  Marx Foods Vialone Nano Rice

Recipe:  Chef’s creation including asparagus, leek, sundried tomato and goat cheese.

For risotto #3, the chefs followed the basic recipes for preparing a risotto complete with toasting the rice and slowly adding the broth.  They completed the dish by adding asparagus, leek, sundried tomato and goat cheese.  This risotto was dryer than the others and the rice grains were separate.

Comments:  “This looks like what a risotto is supposed to look like.”
“This is the most professional looking of the risottos”

According to the Marx Foods website, this variety of rice and the Carnaroli are thought to make better risotto than the traditional arborio.  Vialone Nano rice absorbs liquid more quickly which is likely why this risotto was a bit dryer than the others.

Risotto #4:  The meat risotto.

Rice:  Marx Food’s Italian Integrale rice

Recipe:  Smitten Kitchen’s Tomato and Sausage Risotto

Comments:  “This could be a meal on its own.”

“Too tomato-y”

“The rice is slightly hard”

The Integrale rice is a whole grain Italian brown rice.  Following the traditional recipes for risotto resulted in a rice that was slightly undercooked.  Other recipes using this variety may need to use more liquid.

Our mission:

Our original intention was to compare the different risotto rice and determine if one variety was better than another.  However, that was difficult to do given that each chef chose a different recipe and have different levels of culinary skills.

For example:

Did risotto #1 turn gelatinous because it was prepared the day before and re-heated?  Or was it the starchiness of the rice?

Did risotto #4 taste slightly undercooked because it was a wheat grain or because of the novice cooking skills of the chef?

Did risotto #3 have nicely separated grains due to the type of risotto or because the chefs toasted the rice?

Risotto #2 looked like a typical risotto—like soupy rice—was that due to the preparation or the fact that the chef received the typical arborio rice?

If we had all prepared the same recipe, we may have been able to do a better comparison of the various rice types—but it would have been so much less fun.  However, the rice did behave as described on the Marx Foods website.


Since we weren’t really able to judge the different rice types –we just decided which risottos we enjoyed the taste of the most.

And the winner was………..

The purple blob.

Are you surprised?  I was–I have to admit I was a little bit afraid to try it but it had such a great flavor–likely due to the large amount of lemon zest and the marscapone cheese.

The runner up was:

The professional risotto.  It had great flavors, looked pretty and contained goat cheese.  How can you go wrong with goat cheese?

The healthy risotto and the meat risotto received honorable mention.

Interestingly, the two winners used the type of rice that Marx Foods describes as  Italian’s choice for the best risotto.

Great job contestants!

Thanks to Marx Foods for supplying us with risotto samples and to everyone for agreeing to make risotto.  Special thanks to the kids (all 7 of them!) for not killing each other while we ignored them.

Roasted Kabocha

15 Nov

Do you ever get tired of junk food? Like, really just craving colorful vegetables and healthy choices? That is exactly how I felt after our long weekend in NYC. We tried to make sure that we had at least cupcakes and pizza everyday—and it really took a toll on our bodies.

Roasted Kabocha is the perfect solution for a junk food detox.

Kabocha is also called Japanese Pumpkin and is nothing like our pumpkins. It has a green peel–that you eat–giving you fiber and greens. The inside is bright orange and filled with vitamins.  I have seen it in most grocery stores and the organic market.  If you don’t see it in your regular grocery store, try an Asian specialty store.

When I lived in Japan, my favorite thing to order at the markets were Kabocha Croquettes—basically a pumpkin patty covered with a Panko crust and deep fried. I need to figure out how to make those.  But not today.  Today we want healthy.

This recipe is simple, healthy and delicious. A perfect cure to the winter time blues.

Roasted Kabocha (with Truffle Salt)

1 Kabocha pumpkin
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
Sprinkle of Truffle Salt

1. Cut the Kabocha in half and scoop out the seeds. Put them in your compost pile.

2. Cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick. The pumpkin is pretty difficult to cut into but use your sharpest knife and you should be OK.
3. In a shallow baking dish, arrange the slices of pumpkin so they are not touching. Sprinkle with the olive oil and toss around to make sure everything is covered.
4. Sprinkle with the truffle salt.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

6. Serve with Fennel Pollen Chicken with Pasta or any other wholesome dinner.

By the way, I have a little post over at the Marx Foods Blog that has my recipe for the Fennel Pollen Chicken Pasta. If you have time, I would appreciate you visiting the site and voting for me. Thanks!

Fennel Pollen-Topped Chicken with Pasta

11 Nov

When I got the package from Marx Foods filled with truffle salt, fennel pollen, pasta and dried mushrooms—I was so excited to use the gourmet ingredients to make a fancy-schmancy meal.  Especially the truffle salt.

It wasn’t until today that I realized that the smell of truffles does not sit well with me.  And, the taste is not my favorite either.  I know, I know—-how can I not like truffle salt?  I have a similar problem with cheesecake, creme brulee, and most white sauces.  I’m weird.

So, for my original recipe–I decided not to use the truffle salt and to focus on the fennel pollen (which smelled amazing!) and the pasta.  My goal was to make a meal that the kids would eat without too much fuss and chicken and pasta is always a good combination in our house.


Nice and simple.  Simple and tasty.

First, I used 1 pound of split chicken breast and cut them down the center to come up with four very thin chicken breasts.  I marinated these in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, some pepper and about 2 teaspoons of the fennel pollen.  (If I did it again, I would use a lot more. It gives such a nice flavor.)

I let the breasts sit in the fridge for about 2 hours while I made some cookies and prepared the rest of the meal.

The chicken breasts were later grilled outside—-one of the perks of living in Florida, year round outdoor grilling.  You can see the little flecks of the fennel pollen—yum!

Second, I prepared a little bit of a white sauce.  This was kind of an experiment and I wasn’t quite sure how much to make.  I melted about 3 Tablespoons of butter in a saucepan, added 3 cloves of minced garlic.  I added about 1/4 cup of chicken stock and turned up the heat–for about 4 minutes.   Once a lot of the liquid cooked away–I turned down the heat and added about 1/4 cup of heavy cream–stirring all the while. This created just a little bit of sauce but was really all that was necessary.

While I was making the sauce, I also prepared the pasta.  Marx Foods had sent me a kind of pasta I had never tried—Radiatore–which has an  interesting shape and would be good for a super thick red sauce.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t what I had planned to make.  Maybe next time.

Once all the pieces were prepared, the pasta was very simple to throw together.

In a large bowl, I layered about one-third of the cooked pasta, a large handful of spinach, one-third of the white sauce–and then continued the process until all the ingredients had been used.  I topped the entire thing with grilled chicken cut into strips and a healthy amount of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

I tossed it around and served it with roasted Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) sprinkled with truffle salt.

Ooh la la!

P.S.–Stay tuned for the Kabocha recipe–something everyone will want to make.  So good and super healthy too!

Chocolate Chunk Muffins

5 Nov

No need for an explanation.

We wanted chocolate.  We wanted muffins.  We made Chocolate Muffins!  And they were good. They are sweet—yet not too sweet and are fine for a nice breakfast treat.

Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Prep Time:15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Eating Time: Quick


6 T unsalted butter

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cocoa powder, sifted

1 T baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 and 1/4 buttermilk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1. Melt butter and chopped chocolate in the microwave (or using a double boiler). Let cool.

2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.

4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry.  Add the chocolate mixture.

5.  Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix it up.

6.  Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin.

7.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.

8. Let cool and eat for breakfast, snack, lunch or dinner!

Butter Mochi

2 Nov

I am worried that this recipe may have been lost in the shuffle of the Korean Classics post awhile ago.  And it is very important that you see this recipe.  It is so good, so unusual, so interesting that you will be making it for years and years to come.  For those reasons, I decided to re-post this.

For those of you who tried to make it……you understand.  For those that didn’t—go now and make butter mochi.

You will need: 1/2 cup butter (softened) 3 cups of sugar 2 cups milk (whole or 2%—you need the fat) 1 can of coconut milk 1 box of Mochiko flour (In most big cities, you can find this in the Asian section of most grocery stores.  In Sarasota, we had to make a special trip to the Asian market.) 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp vanilla

1) Mix together the butter and the sugar.

2) Add the eggs, milk, vanilla, coconut milk, baking powder and Mochiko flour.

3) Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

4) When you take it out of the oven, it will be crispy on top and so good.

Aaron loves it the most right out of the oven.  I prefer it cold–the next day.  Yummy!

Spinach Lentil Soup

22 Oct

My mom sends packages.  It doesn’t have to be a birthday, Christmas or Easter—she just loves to fill up boxes and send them to us. Of course, we love to receive them but sometimes we just have to laugh at what is inside.  Last time, the package contained a cute skirt for me, a couple packs of gummy candy, an assortment of hair ties, a T-shirt for the Bean and two cans of refried beans.  The previous package was a bit smaller and contained a couple of recipes clipped from various sources, more gummy candy and a tube of toothpaste.  Thanks Mom!

One of the recipes that she sent was from a magazine called, “Delicious Living” for Red Lentil Soup.  It sounded perfect for a cool fall day—so using their recipe as a base and making a bunch of modifications—I came up with this recipe for Lentil Spinach Soup.  The soup was warm, hearty and healthy—just what I needed.  (I was so excited to eat it for lunch today until I realized that I had packed the Bean’s lunch (homemade pizza) in my bag and sent him to school with my green soup…..he is not going to be happy.)

Lentil Spinach Soup
Loosely Adapted from Delicious Living magazine
1 cup red lentils
2 cups of vegetable broth
2 cups of water
2 bay leaves
1 heaping teaspoon of smoked paprika
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, diced tiny (My first from my garden!)
2 cloves of garlic (I didn’t have any but I know it would only make the soup better.)
2 cups baby spinach
1 tsp salt
3T heavy cream

1) In a medium pot, combine water, broth, lentils, bay leaves and smoked paprika to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Once the lentils start to break apart remove from heat.

2) Sautee in 1 T olive oil the chopped onion and diced jalapeño. (I was out of garlic but would suggest using it here as well.)

3) Add the onion and jalapeno mixture to the lentil mixture.

4) Using an immersion blender, blend the soup together.  Not too much though—you still want it a bit chunky.  Add the spinach and 2 T of heavy cream and blend some more.  Salt to taste.

5) I tried to be fancy and put a drizzle of heavy cream on top—just a tiny bit—to give it that little bit of needed fat.

6) Serve with homemade croutons or delicious Chanterelle Shallot Flatbread.


Food Success: Chantrelle Shallot Flatbread

21 Oct

As you may remember, I had some issues with my apple cheddar scones.  Everything about them was embarrassing.  But then, later that same day, I was redeemed with this Chantrelle Shallot Flatbread.  It was good.  So good.

Like I mentioned before, I received a few samples of dried mushrooms from Marx Foods and made a wild mushroom risotto using four types of reconstituted mushrooms.  I didn’t use the Chantrelles however, I was saving them for something special.  And, this flatbread is that something special.

It is super easy and tasty too!

I started with my basic pizza dough recipe.  After the rising period, I rolled out one of the mini loaves and slathered it with about 2T of olive oil, a sprinkling of kosher salt, and a healthy dose of oregano.

I sautéed my reconstituted Chantrelles and shallots in about 1T of olive oil, and 1T of butter.  I then sprinkled these over the oiled and spiced crust and baked at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

The results were crispy, chewy and fabulous.

By the way, if you want to vote for me in the Marx Foods Mushroom Challenge, I would much appreciate it.  Go here.



Wild Mushroom Risotto

12 Oct

I grew up in Washington State and every fall –my dad would get us up early, and rush out of the house in our  rainy cold weather clothes and go tramp through the woods looking for mushrooms.  Sometimes, we would come home with buckets and buckets of wild chantrelle mushrooms.  Sometimes, we would come back with a handful.  Either way, it was so fun to be outside with my dad, breathing in that earthy wet smell of the Washington forests.  (I am getting super homesick…..).

I remember going once with my best friend Leona and her dad.  We got so many chantrelles and then went to her house and sauteed them in butter.  They were so simple but so delicious!

Needless to say, fall reminds me of mushroom picking and eating and I was very excited to get a package from Marx Foods.  Marx Foods is a company based in Seattle, Washington that specialize in gourmet and hard to find foods.  They have some really interesting things on their website like, truffle honey, lavender salts and kangaroo meat.  I highly recommend checking them out-their website is here.  I have been very impressed with them based on my limited involvement with them—they are active and supportive of the food blog community—and when you send them an email, they promptly reply.

They sent me about 1/2 ounce of dried Chantrelles, Lobster Mushrooms, Black Trumpets, Porcinis and Matsutake Mushrooms–all of which were hand collected from the Pacific Northwest.  I felt they had sent me a little piece of home and I was very excited to use them.

A risotto seemed like the perfect opportunity.  A perfect recipe for fall and a delicious and healthy dinner for the family.

I have to admit—I was a little bit scared to make this as it seemed so complicated and I wasn’t sure I would like it.  Let me reassure you, it is NOT complicated, just a bit time consuming, but so worth it.  You should make it.

You will need:

1 and 1/4 cup Arborio Rice

About 6 cups of chicken stock

1 cup of mushroom stock (from your freshly reconstituted mushrooms)

About 2 cups of wild mushrooms—I used an assortment of wild porcinis, black trumpet, lobster and Mastsutake because that is what I had–but one mushroom variety would have been just as good.  (I did not use the chantrelles that were sent to me as I plan to make cream of chantrelle soup later in the week.  Stay tuned for that recipe.)

1/2 white wine (I don’t know my wine AT ALL–but thought a wine called “Cupcake” would have to be good..don’t you agree?)

1/2 onion

2 shallots

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

6 Tablespoons butter

1)  If using dried mushrooms, you will need to reconstitute them.  This is as easy as boiling some water, pouring it over the mushrooms and letting them soak for twenty minutes.  The results will be plump, ready to use mushrooms and nice beautiful mushroom broth to use in your cooking.

If you are lucky enough to live in a place (or have the knowledge) and can forage for the mushrooms–good on you.  Clean your ‘shrooms and cut them in quarters.  We are looking for small pieces of mushrooms not huge chunks.

2)  Once the mushrooms are ready, heat about 2 T butter in a cast iron pan and saute about 1/3 of your mushrooms.  Sprinkle with salt.  Set aside.  Repeat with the second two batches of mushrooms.

3)  In a saucepan, combine the chicken and mushroom broth.  Heat until almost boiling.  Turn down but keep warm.

4)  In a separate saucepan, heat 1 T  of olive oil and saute the onion and shallot until translucent and smelling delicious.  Add the Arborio Rice.  Saute for about 4-5 minutes.

5)  At this point, you are going to slowly add about 3/4 cups of the broth at a time.  Pausing and stirring in between each addition for the rice to absorb the liquid.  The Amateur Gourmet has a great video on how to do this and it really made me less scared to try it.  You can watch it here. It takes a minute or two between each addition of liquid for it to absorb.  The whole process should take about 20 minutes.

6)  After the 4th addition of liquid, about ten minutes will have passed.  You will wonder if you will ever be done slaving in front of the hot stove.  You will wonder if it is really worth it. Don’t worry–it is.

7) Before you add in your 5th broth serving, add the sauteed mushrooms that have been patiently waiting.  They are ready.

8 ) Continue with broth additions until you are left with no broth.

9) For the final step, add the Parmesan cheese and mix together.

Hooray!  You are done!

Serve with Parmesan……and maybe some grilled WILD salmon (because, friends don’t let friends eat farmed salmon) and a fresh spinach salad.  Seeing that we live in Florida and my dad never sends us any fish–we ate the Risotto with a Spinach salad and no salmon–but I know it would be a good combination.

Disclaimer: Marx Foods provided me with samples of dried wild mushrooms to create this dish.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

8 Oct

I’ve been wanting it to be feel like fall for awhile now so that I could have an excuse to begin baking with pumpkin.   Back in July, I started to plan a Halloween party for the kids and in August began talking about Thanksgiving plans.  I wanted to carve a Jack O’ lantern a month ago although I learned my lesson on that last year.  ( It ended up rotting before Halloween. We then used it as a science experiment to see if it would rot away completely by Christmas.  It did not.)

Anyway, I was home sick from work this week and finally made the pumpkin bread that I had been craving.  It was good.  It was the only thing I ate for two days.  Don’t judge me.  I was sick and when you are sick you get to eat whatever you want.

I am embarrassed to say that I did not use the $6.00 organic pumpkin  I had purchased solely for baked goods.  I made a special trip to the store to get grapefruit juice and allspice and then gave in and bought their last can of Pumpkin Puree.  Which, if you look on the bright side, means I have more pumpkin just for baking.

I made two loaves–one with bittersweet chocolate chips and one without.  Of course, the chocolate chip loaf was gone first.


Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips


The non-chocolate loaf was in the refrigerator for a couple of days and tastes absolutely perfect cold.  It cuts easily, is moist, and so super good.  You will never buy the seasonal pumpkin bread from that coffee shop again.



Pumpkin Bread with no chocolate chips


Here is recipe….it is super easy and takes only about 15 minutes to mix up and about 70 minutes to bake.  Your house will be filled with most loveliest of smells!

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Bread Ingredients:
¾ cups Butter, Softened
¾ cups Granulated Sugar
¾ cups Dark Brown Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
4 whole Eggs
1 can of Pumpkin Puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
3 cups All-purpose Flour
3 tsp Baking Powder
¾ tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1-½ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Allspice
¼ tsp Grated Nutmeg
¼  tsp grated cloves
½ cups milk
1 tsp vinegar
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Topping Ingredients:
¼ stick of butter (softened)
½ brown sugar
1/3 cup oatmeal
¼ cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
3 Tablespoons pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) (These are good for you so use more if you want!)


1) Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare two loaf pans.

2) Make the crunchy topping:  In a small bowl, add the butter, sugar, flour, oats and spices.  Using a fork or your fingers, mix together until well combined—it should be a crumbly texture.  Toss the pepitas to cover them with the crumbles.

3) Cream together the butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Stir in the pumpkin puree.

4) In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients—flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.  Gently stir them together.

5) Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter/pumpkin mixture.  Mix until they are combined.

6) Add 1 tsp of vinegar to the milk.

7) Add the milk/vinegar to the bread.

8) Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

9) Pour batter into the loaf pans

10) Sprinkle with the crunchy topping—making sure to evenly coat each loaf.  This is the best part of the bread so you really want to get a lot on each loaf.

Bake at 350 degrees for 70-80 minutes or until your house smells delicious and a knife comes out clean.  Let cool slightly and then dig in!