I don't know what it was but as soon as August 1st arrived, so did a tingle of fall in the air. Suddenly the days seemed to shorten at a quicker pace, and though it has still been quite warm, especially for Sweden this time of year, I’ve noticed a crispness to the breeze and I hear a crackly sound when the leaves rustle on the trees. Autumn is definitely in the air.
Usually I am sad to see the summer go. Okay, maybe sad is the wrong word, it's more like a reluctance I feel to step full force into the next season. Perhaps it has been my fear of the long, dark winters ahead that weigh on my soul, or perhaps my body didn’t feel that it had “downloaded” enough warmth from the summer sun to take me into a long, tough Swedish winter, I don't really know. But what I am feeling and experiencing now, with regard to the "höst känslor" in the air, is that my body and soul are fully embracing it, welcoming it even. I am surrendering to nature.
What else is there to do? When I look at nature around me, the flowers, plants, and trees, they do not seem to fight the changing seasons. Nature continues to evolve according to divine plan. Summer becomes fall, fall becomes winter and so forth. Why then would I not follow suit? The argument that living at a different longitude and latitude having a strong influence on my reluctance to embrace the season’s change can easily be made, given that I was not accustomed to white nights in the summer and black days in the winter when I first moved here.
Perhaps time is the great equalizer. It has now been nearly five years that I have lived in Sweden. It is a very different place from where I am from, where I grew up, different in almost every way. There are vast differences in the way people interact, the cuisine is different, being influenced by the cold as well as the great abundance of fresh seafood, and the weather, of course, is quite different. Life here is lived differently.
Perhaps by embracing autumn I am also finally embracing this new and different life in another world... With pumpkin bread, of course. Something comforting and sweet always softens the blow of autumn breezes.
Autumn Pumpkin Bread:
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c unsweetened apple sauce (or just use another 1/2 c vegetable oil)
2/3 c water
2 c sugar
3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter 2 loaf pans, or one loaf pan and prepare a twelve muffin pan with muffin baking liners.
In a large bowl, mix pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, sugar, & vanilla extract. Set aside.
In a clean bowl, measure out the remaining dry ingredients and whisk to blend well. Add dry ingredients to the large bowl with your well-blended wet ingredients.
Divide between the two loaf pans, or between one loaf pan & twelve muffin tins.
Bake loaves for 50 minutes to an hour. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes. Use a cake tester or toothpick to test if done. It should come out clean.
Add a big handful of chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate to the batter before distributing in your baking vessels.
Top the batter in the loaf pans or muffin tin with pecan halves before baking.