November Warm Thoughts







It hasn’t felt quite like autumn until now, with November a week behind us. The chill in the air is permanent – it doesn’t particularly diminish in the middle of the day and only increases with a breeze in the evening. Yes, it is certainly fall. Rainy days set aside, autumn is actually quite nice and comforting. I always envision (and now wear) large cozy scarves and warm drinks. I no longer have to shy away from holiday excitement — in fact, I can’t wait to indulge in a Starbucks Gingerbread Latte tomorrow! A week into November is long enough! It’s time!

Other November things I want to participate in is seasonal baking and comfort food cooking.

Pumpkin is my year-round craving (especially in Japan) but finally it feels fitting to the season. In honor of my favorite cabocha, here are a few recipes I’d like to share from my online findings:


  • 1  cup  pumpkin pie filling (not pure pumpkin)
  • 1/2  cup  canola oil, plus more for the pan
  • 3/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2  cup  molasses
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  teaspoons  baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 3/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground nutmeg
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cloves
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground ginger


  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Oil a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin pie filling, oil, sugar, molasses, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture.
  3. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the bread from the pan. Invert it onto a cutting board. Serve warm.


  • 3  tablespoons  unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3  cup  brown sugar
  • 1/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2  cup  canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2  teaspoon  pure vanilla extract
  • 1  large egg
  • 1  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 1/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  pumpkin pie spice (found in the spice aisle)
  • 1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 2/3  cup  cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4  cup  heavy cream
  • 1/4  cup  confectioners’ sugar


  1. Heat oven to 375° F.
  2. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until smooth. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and egg and beat until combined.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar and butter and beat on medium-low speed until fully incorporated.
  4. Spoon heaping tablespoons of the mixture 2 inches apart onto parchment- or foil-lined baking sheets. Bake until puffed and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  5. Clean the mixer, then, as the cookies bake, beat the cream cheese, heavy cream, and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread the flat sides of half the cooled cookies with the cream mixture. Top with the remaining cookies.


  • 2  large ripe pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 14  tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2  cup  maple syrup
  • 1  teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 2  teaspoons  ground ginger
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 2  15-ounce cans pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/4  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/2  cup  packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2  cup  walnut pieces


  1. In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, combine pears, 4 tablespoons of butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and spices and cook until the pears are tender, 9 to 10 minutes. Add pumpkin and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. Place the flour, brown sugar, and remaining butter in a bowl. With your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until large crumbs form. Add the walnuts and combine well.
  3. Heat oven to 375° F.
  4. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, spread the pumpkin-pear mixture evenly on the bottom. Sprinkle the topping over it and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 40 to 50 minutes. Serve warm.

All recipes from Real Simple (please follow the picture links).



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