The past few weeks have presented the best hiking weather. The mornings are brisk, the air is cool and the foliage this time of the year is on point.
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So, more often than not, the family and I head out for hikes to get as much outdoor time in as possible before the winter hits. We typically trend towards our local tried and true trails at Jockey Hollow in Morristown, NJ. (Small history lesson – it was the site of the 1779-80 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General George Washington! So I like to literally put myself in the soldiers’ shoes while we hike and envision what that winter must have been like.)Timberland Women’s Courmayeur Valley 6″ Boot Fashion, Dark Brown Nubuck, 9 M US
Last weekend we decided to branch out so we headed out to Newton and followed Paulinskill Valley Rail Trail. If you haven’t been, I would highly encourage a visit! It was a super easy, beautiful trail with loads of trees and fall foliage. There was nearly no elevation change so it was perfect for the baby carrier and honestly even the stroller. Frank (the dog) was going crazy sniffing through the woods. We had a blast. It’s also nice because you can decide how far you go as it’s an “out and back” sort of trail.LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons Six-Position 360° Ergonomic Baby and Child Carrier, Stone
Hike Up an Appetite
Also – big bonus – Windy Brow Farms is right down the road so we stopped for pumpkin picking, hot cider donuts and, wait for it, ice cream. YUM. The ice cream was amazing. The bread was amazing. The donuts were amazing. They have a bread baker AND pastry chef on staff, so everything is made fresh in house. Let me tell you, well worth the trip.OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Better Balloon Whisk
After, we got back I had a craving for some bread. Not yeasty, crunchy doughy bread but sweet and moist quick bread. Think Banana or Zucchini Bread. But instead, Pumpkin Cheesecake Bread. Inspired by the fall vibes we had over the weekend, I pulled out an old recipe I used to sell at farmer’s markets some odd years back. It’s a pumpkin quick bread base with all the warm spices of cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, ginger, and clove. Then swirled through the center of the loaf is a stripe of a cheesecake filling. It’s whipped together with sweetened cream cheese and vanilla paste. Studded throughout are dark chocolate chips to add some bitterness to it all.USA Pan Bakeware Aluminized Steel Loaf Pan, 1 Pound, Silver
Pumpkin Cheesecake Bread with Dark Chocolate Chips
I retested this recipe of Pumpkin Cheesecake Bread on my Mom Group brunch this week and it was a success. I’ll definitely be bringing some for Thanksgiving at my Dad’s farm in Pennsylvania. My whole family goes up there and stays for the weekend, so I’m thinking Friday morning after THE FEAST is the perfect time to break this out. Our stomachs have already been stretched past capacity from the night before, so we’ve made plenty of room for a slice of sweet pumpkin bread. Served with Stuffing Breakfast Hash made from the dinner leftovers and fresh fried eggs from the chicken coop, I think I’m more excited for brunch than Thanksgiving Dinner!KitchenAid KSM180QHSD 100 Year Limited Edition Queen of Hearts Stand Mixer, Passion Red Valrhona Chocolate Guanaja 70% Feves – 2 lb
- When making this loaf, be sure to get good quality chocolate chips. The better quality your ingredients, the better your product, especially with chocolate. I personally love Valrhona but if you can’t get that then Ghirardelli is an excellent substitute.
- To help get nice layering, use a portioning scoop to evenly spread your batter in the pans. Without that, you may end up with disproportionate layers. I like to use an offset spatula to spread the batter once it’s in the pan.
- Bring your cream cheese to room temperature before you begin making the cheesecake filling so it’s easy to spread in your pumpkin batter.
- This recipe is great as big and small loaves, as well as muffins.