I am by no means a hoarder, however, I do keep a sufficient amount of shelf stable and non-perishable foods on hand that could safely be stored and eaten for an extended period of time. My pantry came in handy during recovery from two foot surgeries where my mobility was limited for several weeks.
My Mom kept an under the stairs stash of foods that could be pulled out and prepared in a pinch; she always managed to pull out a can or jar of food and turn it into a delicious meal. I especially liked the canned pears and peaches she put up from fruits grown in our backyard. I followed suit when I had my own family—except for the canning.
My pantry usually has dried peas and beans, dry pasta, rice, canned tomatoes, fish (sardines, anchovy and tuna), olive oils and vinegars, flours, sugar, gluten free oats, jam, chocolate, local honey, maple syrup, dried fruits, nuts and nut butter, jarred and canned sauces, and an assortment of spices, herbs, extracts and flavorings.
I uncovered a can of pumpkin purée in my pantry recently and put on my “food lab” hat. The fridge held two dozen fresh eggs (thanks to a generous neighbor) which inspired me to bake “something” good. On one of the chilliest days this winter, I stumbled across a recipe for Maine Pumpkin Bread which I’d bookmarked earlier, most likely around the holidays for gift giving. Quick breads are a lifesaver food, in my book. Easy to assemble with usually what’s on hand, no kneading, rolling or waiting for yeast to rise. The slices are great for breakfast, packed in a lunchbox or backpack.
Here’s my adapted recipe.
Makes 1 large loaf.
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease and flour a large loaf pan.
1 15 oz can pumpkin purée
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup orange juice
1 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup Ginger Spiced Pat’s Granola
Combine pumpkin, eggs, oil, water and orange juice in a large bowl. Whisk to blend.
in a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Add dry ingredients to wet and combine thoroughly until blended. Mix well.
Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pan smoothing the top. Sprinkle with Pat’s Granola pressing gently into batter. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Loaf is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool in pan 15 minutes then remove to wire rack to finish cooling. Wrap well in cellophane to store. You can slice individual pieces and freeze to be enjoyed later. This quick bread can also be toasted. It’s a winner.
In case you don’t have granola, these Maple Spiced Nuts are also a delicious topping for a quick bread.
3 cups walnut or pecan halves
4 tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 tbsp. sugar
Pinch each sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg
For the nuts (Make Ahead):
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and coat with nonstick spray (or brush lightly with oil).Mix the ingredients together and spread out on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12–14 minutes, until golden brown, stirring halfway through. Cool thoroughly, then store in a covered container for up to a week (they won’t last long).