Friday, October 10, 2014

Yummy “Pumpkin Gingerbread” To Celebrate "I Love Yarn Day!"

Julia Roberts does it, so does Vanna White, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julianna Margulies and many others. Are you wondering what it is that they do? They all knit or crochet, which is one of their favorite hobbies, but these crafts aren’t just for celebrities or your grandmothers. Some 20-30 year olds are turning on to crocheting and knitting, joining the 38 million consumers who enjoy doing these crafts. Did you know that knitting and crocheting can improve your mood, mind, and body? Well it can so let’s celebrate as today happens to be, “I Love Yarn Day!” This day is always the second Friday in October, The idea behind this day to share your enthusiasm for yarn with those around you.

Many of my followers know that I cook and bake, which is what my blog is all about. But something many of you don’t know is that I also knit and crochet. It is my creative outlet, my passion, (besides food) my stress reliever, and my comfort. My favorite patterns to crochet are doilies, but I will crochet anything. I love all kinds of yarn and colors. 

As the weather gets deeper into the fall, and the days get colder, there is nothing like snuggling on the sofa, a chair, or your bed with one of your crochet protects. There is a special feeling when you finish a pattern for a throw (small blanket) or a scarf that you can wear and know that you made this yourself. When I am not writing my blog, or my novel, or even cooking/baking, a way to keep my hands busy and unwind is to know that my crochet and knitting needles are not far away. I get so much satisfaction when my projects are completed. Most of my house is filled with my throws, Afghans, doilies, and fun objects that are used for practical purposes which I have made in the past. 

Before I go any further I have to tell you about how I began to crochet and knit. My love for crocheting became apparent when I was taught by my grandmother (Nanni) at a young age. She never used a pattern to crochet but she would look at an item and create the exact same thing. That is how she taught me; I never learned how to read a pattern book till much later in my life. My Nanni was a Milliner/ Interior Designer by profession. A milliner is one that makes, trims, designs or sells women’s hats. Some of her many talents included crocheting, playing the piano by ear, designing clothes for herself, and being very creative. She owned her own business and called it “Roberta Originals.” I have many memories of going to her store in Astoria, Queens and helping her for the day. She would take me on the bus and we would go into New York City in the garment district so she could get her supplies for her hats. It was always an experience to be with her as she would teach me about many ways to be creative. My Nanni, you could say was very flamboyant in her ways. She always dressed to the nines. Her hats were so beautiful and always different. All I had to do is have a hat on, (at that time they used hats when I was a young girl) she would take a chiffon scarf out of her closet and drape it on the hat, add an ornament of some kind and a new hat would be born for me to wear. 

Nanni (grandmother)
Now let me get back to yarn and knitting/crocheting. I hadn’t picked up a crochet needle for many years. When I lived upstate NY, I was reading the local paper that they were having classes at the school. So I went one night to the class and that is when my life changed and took a different direction. I met a woman there who was going to be in my life, her name is Mary Ann. We became friends and kept going to the class, even though she was extremely experienced and knew how to knit and crochet (she taught herself) like a professional. We began having our own crochet circle with some other ladies at each others houses and she taught me how to read a pattern from a book. 
A whole new world opened up to me because I was able to create so many patterns from clothing to beautiful doilies. It’s not important whether she is miles apart from you, as a true friend will always have you in her heart forever. That is my Mary Ann! She is the person that told me about Ravelry, which is a free social networking website. It functions as an organizational tool for a variety of fiber arts including knitting, crocheting, spinning, and weaving. Members share projects, ideas, and their collection of yarn, fiber, and tools. You can see my projects that I have made if you click on this link Ravelry. 
I am listed as angellite13 on Ravelry.
Since then, I have knitted hats for the soldiers, so their heads will not get cold under the helmets. I have entered two of my projects into the county fair upstate and won, 1st prize, (Blue Ribbon) for crocheting Baby Booties using the thin thread yarn, and 2nd prize, (Red Ribbon) for a crocheted afghan called “Kittens in a Row,” plus many afghans for friends and family. I also share my talents for charity by making Afghans; making toys and fun items for the holidays is also fun to create.. 
When I moved back to Long Island, I was invited by another friend, Carolyn to join her group of woman who crochet and knit also. I was thrilled as I met a wonderful group of ladies and we also took turns at each others houses every Wednesday for what we call “Sewing.” As far as the yarn goes, my love for yarn has been a love for many years. I have bins filled with my stash of yarn, all types and colors. From thin doily yarns to thick yarns. A favorite of mine is Red Heart, as it is easy to work with. I also love the new fun yarns especially the yarn that is used for those new curly scarves called, “Red Heart Sashay.” So I continue to crochet and knit in-between my food blogs. I do hope that I have inspired some of you that have crocheted and knitted before to pick up your yarn and needles again, and those that have not, try to find a class at your local school or library. You will not be sorry you did. 

Now you can’t crochet or knit without a cup of tea and a sweet dessert. My recipe for today is called, “Pumpkin Gingerbread.” When you are making your projects you don’t want to have a gooey or messy dessert, so a bread, a plain cake, or even cookies will do. This recipe is not only outstanding for this time of the year, but the aroma in your house is amazing. It really gets you in the fall mood. Enjoy!                                

                                                    “Pumpkin Gingerbread

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Ready: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Servings: 24 (makes (2) 9x5 inch loaf pans)

A delicious bread that will fill your kitchen with spicy scents.

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In a large mixing, combine sugar, oil and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove. In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.

Till Next Time………………………………............................

Copyright  © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love” All Rights Reserved


  1. Oh Dottie! I had no idea you could knit so well. I really love your creations. If we were living nearer I would have loved to learn from you! My mum always used to say to me I should learn to saw and knit as they are life skills which you need sooner or later. Especially sawing as there is always something to do. Well I can put a button on ;-) and do little jobs but never properly. I guess I still have time to learn.
    I love your pumpkin cake. I am just about to cook pumpkin now. I think I will just put it in the oven to eat like this for now. Have a nice weekend my friend!

    1. Dear Alida,
      Thank you so much for visiting and your lovely comment. See there is so much to learn about each other...There are so many more of my crocheting and knitting projects that I just couldn't fit them all in.It was hard to pick the ones that I did to post. Remember I have been doing this for years, so I don't even have photos of all my creations. I can also sew, but I am not as good as I am at crocheting. If you can put a button on, then you have the needle mastered, the rest just comes. Yes, this Pumpkin Gingerbread cake I thought would be a lovely treat to have with crocheting. The whole house smells of spices that remind me of fall and Christmas...such a nice warm, cozy feeling. You as well, dear friend have a wonderful weekend...
      Enjoy, Dottie :)

  2. Dear Dottie, I learned to crochet from my grandma as well. She never used a pattern or read a book of how to crochet, she simply knew how. I love to crochet as well. My aunts used to come over and sit in the backyard and make doilies. I would like to find more time to crochet, since I really do love it.
    Your creations are so lovely. You are correct, crocheting is a very soothing hobby and the results last a lifetime.
    It is such a blessings the memories of our childhood.
    The pumpkin gingerbread is perfect with a cup of tea.
    Have a beautiful and blessed weekend and thank you for your kind words. Hugs, Catherine xo

    1. Dear Catherine,
      Thank you for stopping in and your beautiful comment. I think that most of the women back in our grandmother's day used to crochet and knit by sight. I have some pieces of my great grandmothers and I just can't see her looking in a pattern book. That was the way they were taught, by sight. Glad I was able to bring you back with some memories. You should really pick it up again, it is so relaxing. I agree this bread was a perfect added treat to have with some tea. The house smells so delicious as well, with the aroma of all the spices. I love that, nice and cozy feeling..You as well dear friend, have a fantastic weekend with your family, blessings...
      Dottie :) Hugs back...

  3. Good evening Dottie !
    What wonderful memories you have , I don't crochet ... not for lack of not trying , my older sister knits and crochets like you and your grandmother , she make beautiful items and also belong to a group of ladies that do charity work for the less fortunate , I was blessed with the ability to sew so I guess it's not all lost ;-D .
    I never thought to make gingerbread with pumpkin , this is a must make this weekend , I have all the making and we had an abundance of pumpkins this year . Thanks for sharing this great recipe and have a wonderful and blessed Columbus Day . Thanks for sharing ~~Nee~~ :)

    PS: What is your novel about ? I know it will be a good read ... will it Have a great weekend .be out in the near future ? Have a great weekend :)

    1. Good evening Nee,
      Thanks for visiting and your comment.Yes, I agree with you I do have so many wonderful memories with my family. That is so fabulous that your sister crochets and knits as well. I am sure her work is just beautiful.Nee sewing is terrific, and being blessed is really something, I can sew a little, but I envy those people like you that can create an outfit with thread, pattern, and a needle. The pumpkin gingerbread is really a perfect dessert with a cup of tea. Glad that you are going to try this one...besides the house smells like fall, with all the spices. Such a nice and cozy feeling.
      I started out writing a novella, but now it has become a novel. I thought up this idea about a year or so ago. I am calling it "Catherine's Secret". A romance novel. As you know I love to write and this is another outlet to express my thoughts on paper. (or computer) Not sure when I will be finished, it is coming along. I know many authors and they say to take your time, get it right in your head, then write it down. Sometimes I will say I will write for an hour and then 6 hours later, I realize I need to stop for the day. Also, still working on a cook book idea. So I am very busy writing my books, blog posts, cooking/baking, and crocheting. Thanks for asking. Have a wonderful and fun weekend with your family, have a blessed Columbus Day!
      Dottie :)

  4. HI Dottie!
    Well, aren't you just filled with surprises. I had no idea you crocheted. And just look at those beauties:) As you know, Marion is the crochet person in this house:) She's working on baby blankets now.

    I love the story about your grandmother. I had an aunt who was a fashionista. She use to take me to our family's warehouse in the garment district where I could pick out anything I wanted, lol...My uncle Funzi would get so upset with her because he wanted me to wear childish clothes and she wanted me to be a bit more extravagant, lol...I don't think I really appreciated it until my Prom. How wonderful it was to have a one of a kind dress, lol...

    For some reason, the name Roberta Originals sounds so familar to me. I use to collect vintage clothing and accessories. Maybe that is where I have seen the name. You have such wonderful memories Dottie and are full of storeis and talents. I'm sure your writing portrays all of these creative assets dressed in delicious goodness too:)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Dottie...Whoops, Yes, the Pumpkin Gingerbread is just perfect too:)

    1. Hi Louise,
      Thank you for visiting and your comment. Yes, I have another side to Dottie the food blogger. These photos are just a sampling of all of my projects. Marion must crochet very beautiful baby blankets It is fun but also relaxing!
      Thanks yes, my Nanni was an awesome person. Sounds like your grandmother was the same type of person. Your prom dress must have been lovely! The name Roberta originals, maybe familiar to you is that I may have written about her before and her occupation. That is not a name you forget...Then again it could also be the vintage clothing. I agree Louise, you and I both have many memories about our childhood. I feel so bad for the person who never had these memories, I think that is what makes us be who we are today.
      The pumpkin gingerbread was yummy for sure..It is all gone now, as everyone wanted a piece. That is why you need to make two of them. One for yourself and one for the hungry masses. Enjoy your night/day with blessings.
      Dottie :)