• deborahreinhardt

This pumpkin bread recipes combines warm spices with chocolate to create a moist loaf that takes only minutes to put together in one bowl.

bread made with pureed pumpkin, chocolate chips, cinnamon and nutmeg
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Quick Bread

Boy, have I been enjoying the recent autumn weather in St. Louis! Brilliant blue and cloudless skies, cool breezes, and the tops of trees just starting to show a change in color combine to create an ideal backdrop for any outdoor activity. Even my morning walks with my dog take on a new vibrancy. I love returning home to savor my second cup of coffee paired with a homemade baked treat, and a quick bread is one of my favorites.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Quick Bread is perfect for October or November. Dense, full of autumn flavors (pumpkin, chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg) and easy to bake, this moist quick bread should be in your fall baking repertoire. Inspired by a recipe from an old church cookbook that Mom often turned to, this loaf comes together in no time, allowing you opportunities to do some fall cleaning, rake leaves, or whatever. After an hour when it’s ready to come out of the oven, brew a cup of coffee or tea and relax.

To make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Quick Bread, which yields one medium-sized loaf, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

  • ½ cup vegetable oil

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/3 cup water

  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

  • 1 cup granulated sugar plus ½ cup brown sugar

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pumpkin History 101

Cooking with pumpkin is an ancient practice believed to date to 8750 BC and the Oaxaca Valley. Pumpkins and other squash have been part of Native American diets for centuries. It wasn’t until the 1500s when European explorers brought pumpkin home, often roasting strips of this winter squash to eat.

Pumpkin cakes appeared in an 1839 cookbook, The Kentucky Housewife, and were made with corn meal, cooked pumpkin, butter, eggs and milk. Small sugar or baking pumpkins still are used today in recipes, but thankfully Libby’s—which started in the late 1800s as a canned meat company in Chicago—introduced their canned pumpkin in 1920 when they bought Dickinson & Company of Eureka, Illinois. Today, 75 percent of pumpkins used by Libby’s comes from their farm in Morton, Illinois. They use a variety called Dickinson because those pumpkins can be harvested as early as August to meet the canned pumpkin demand that spikes in the fall. Libby’s classic pumpkin pie recipe on the back of most cans dates to the 1950s.

So, pumpkin spice peeps, you’re a little late to the party.

Pairing pumpkin with chocolate, however, is more of a recent (the last 10 years or so) trend as far as I can tell. If you have a better history of this flavor combo, please comment below. But many pastry chefs agree that chocolate works well with pumpkin, which generally delivers a savory flavor with an underlining sweetness as in most winter squashes.

Directions to make Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Quick Bread.

I love that this is a dump, stir, and bake recipe; no mixer is needed. My addition of chocolate updates the vintage cookbook recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add brown and white sugars and mix well. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, whisk eggs, water, and oil together. Stir in pumpkin.

Pour wet mix into dry mixture and stir well to incorporate all ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips.

Transfer mixture into a greased and floured 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes. Test the center of loaf with a toothpick or knife and, if necessary, bake up to an additional 20 minutes. The loaf was fully baked in my oven after an hour.

Allow to cool 30 minutes before removing from pan. Slice and serve. Wrap any remaining bread in foil to store (I recommend keeping it in the refrigerator).

Can this bread be frozen?

Absolutely! Just wrap the cooled, whole loaf first in plastic wrap then foil. For extra protection, place wrapped loaf in a zip top bag and it will keep for a couple of months. Mom and Grandma for their holiday baking always made mini loaves of various quick breads and froze them to give as gifts.

I hope you will make this delicious and moist quick bread this season. Better yet, make one for you and one to share.



Here are two more autumn-inspired baking recipes. Another pumpkin dessert perfect for fall is Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart. Want another quick bread idea for fall? Apple Cinnamon Quick Bread is served with a salted caramel sauce, creating a nice finish to a hearty autumn supper.

About the blog

Three Women in the Kitchen is an award-winning food blog offering today’s home cooks comforting, hearty recipes with a personal touch. The website also pays tribute to Deborah’s mother, Katie Reinhardt, and paternal grandmother, Dorothy Reinhardt (the “three women” in the kitchen). Whether you’re an experienced or a novice cook, you’ll find inspiration here to feed your families and warm your heart. Subscribe today so you won’t miss a single delicious detail.

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  • deborahreinhardt

This recipe uses your slow cooker and sweet or hot peppers to create an economical, succulent pork dinner.

shredded tender pork with cooked bell peppers on two sesame sandwich buns
Tasty Pork and Pepper Sandwiches

If you’re looking for a simple, economical, and tasty idea for dinner, these Pork and Pepper Sandwiches check all the boxes. Not only will your slow cooker deliver succulent, fork-tender pork to pile on your sandwich bun, you can use leftovers from this versatile recipe to make other meals later in the week. Economical recipes like this are more important than ever considering rising food costs.

A recent CNN Business article delivered the sobering news. Food prices have spiked over 11 percent in the last year, the biggest increase since 1979, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Eggs have seen the biggest price jump (39.8 percent). Chicken prices are up 16.6 percent. Experts say the avian flu has helped drive the spikes for eggs and poultry. However, pork and beef prices have gone up by nearly 7 percent.

Steps taken by the Federal Reserve Bank to combat inflation doesn’t have a lot of effect on your grocery bill, according to the article. Wars and crop-killing droughts are the main culprits.

And prices at the grocery store are affecting how we shop, CNN stated. The demand for frozen dinners has fallen drastically, and many families are opting to leave items like cookies, candy, and snacks on the shelves.

I look at the weekly prices of food much closer now than ever, and often swap pork for a lean protein choice instead of costlier chicken breasts. Also, the price for pork has dropped almost 2 percent in July and August, according to CNN (another reason to love these Tasty Pork and Pepper Sandwiches). This week, a 3-pound pork shoulder roast at Walmart was about $9. So, let’s get cooking!

Orange and yellow bell peppers, can of green enchilada sauce, spice rub on marble countertop

To make my Tasty Pork and Pepper Sandwiches, which yields six servings, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 3-pound pork shoulder roast

  • 2 cans enchilada sauce (red or green)

  • ½ package taco seasoning

  • 2 sweet bell peppers (red, orange or yellow)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 6 sandwich rolls

Directions to make Tasty Pork and Pepper Sandwiches

I like to first sear any meat before adding it to my slow cooker; it lends for better color and flavor. So, this is an optional first step, but I recommend taking it.

Divide the taco seasoning and rub the top and bottom of roast thoroughly. Heat oil in a large skillet and brown the pork shoulder. If you don’t have taco seasoning on hand (as I didn’t), make your own rub using 1 teaspoon each of granulated garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, black pepper. I added 1½ teaspoons kosher salt to this mix.

Coat the slow cooker with non-stick spray. Place browned pork shoulder in cooker.

pork shoulder browning in pan to make Pork and Pepper Sandwiches
Brown pork before placing in slow cooker.

Remove seeds from peppers and slice in strips (about ½-inch thick) then place around the pork. If you want more heat, use 2 habanero peppers or 4 jalapenos. You also can do any combination of sweet and hot peppers. Just remember when working with the hot peppers to protect your hands with gloves while chopping.

Pour sauce over pork (I used green sauce) and vegetables, cover, and cook on low heat for 8 hours.

Remove pork and shred with two forks. Serve on sandwich rolls of your choice and top with cooked peppers. A side bowl of sauce is nice for dipping the sandwich. I also sliced an onion to include a few slides on the sandwich. A delicious side with this meal would be St. Louis-Style Street Corn.

yellow and orange bell pepper strips are used in pork and pepper sandwich recipe.
Cut bell peppers in strips before adding to slow cooker.

If you have leftover pork and peppers (as I did), use them to make fajita-inspired wraps. I simply reheated the pork and peppers, sautéed the rest of the onion I’d cut for sandwiches, and added shredded cheese and a dollop of salsa to the soft tortilla. Reheat the pork to use in this recipe for tacos pastor. This succulent pork would be delicious added to your mac and cheese recipe or in the classic King Ranch casserole. You get the idea!

So, what’s the cost per serving for Tasty Pork and Pepper Sandwiches? Realizing this total is very subjective based on prices near me at the time I’m writing this post, but it still came to $3.13 per serving. Any time you can feed six people for under $20, that recipe’s a keeper.

I hope you’ll give these pork sandwiches a try. Let us know how they turned out and how you used leftovers in comments below.


Interested in more economical pork recipes? Pork Chops in Creamy Mushroom Sauce is a quick weeknight meal that's fancy enough to serve guests. A great dish for fall and a favorite of my father's is Pork Schnitzel with Sauerkraut made with affordable pork cutlets.

About the blog

Three Women in the Kitchen is an award-winning food blog offering today’s home cooks comforting, hearty recipes with a personal touch. The website also pays tribute to Deborah’s mother, Katie Reinhardt, and paternal grandmother, Dorothy Reinhardt (the “three women” in the kitchen). Whether you’re an experienced or a novice cook, you’ll find inspiration here to feed your families and warm your heart. Subscribe today so you won’t miss a single delicious detail.

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  • deborahreinhardt

This simple pastry takes the crown for a traditional English teatime.

currant scone on plate with jars of clotted cream, lemon curd and jam.
Currant scones are best served with clotted cream, lemon curd and jam.

Like others across the globe, I’m following the final journey of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from Scotland to London. During this official mourning period, I’m remembering my visit to London two decades ago over Christmas (Her Majesty of course was at Sandringham) and, most recently, a lovely evening in St. Louis’s London Tea Room with friends as we learned to make traditional scones.

Teatime is woven into the fabric of life in the United Kingdom (more history to come), and it fascinates me that a simple culinary ritual is enjoyed by everyone there, from the royals to a London laborer. Whether you’re having a common biscuit with your cuppa or an elaborate spread, teatime is important to Britons.

Although I don’t partake daily, it’s wonderful to stop activity by 3 p.m., make a cup of tea and select a sweet to savor. It rests the mind and body and is a perfectly delightful tradition to carry on.

As a young cook, I tried making scones with disastrous effects. Whatever I did caused them to turn out like hockey pucks. No amount of dunking in warm tea or coffee could save these. So, when a friend mentioned our London Tea Room was holding a scone making class, I was all in.

Turns out making scones isn’t difficult at all, but as our teacher mentioned, quality ingredients are key, especially when it comes to butter. The tearoom bakers use a Danish brand of butter called Lurpak, but she added Kerry Gold, an Irish butter that’s readily available at most stores in the U.S., will also work.

To make Currant Scones, which makes about 8 servings, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 stick unsalted butter

  • 1 ½ tablespoons baking powder

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • Pinch of salt

  • ¾ to 1 cup currants

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

flour and butter in aluminum mixing bowl will make scones

Follow these simple directions to make Currant Scones:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Using clean hands, combine flour and butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl. The butter was room temperature, but I know other recipes keep the butter diced and cold to work with. We’re not going for a flaky dough here, so I think softened butter is fine to use.

  3. Add salt, baking powder, sugar, and currants and mix well using your hands.

  4. Make a well in the center and add milk. If necessary, add an extra tablespoon or two to help dough come together.

  5. Mix first with a spatula and finish using your hands.

  6. Turn dough on a clean surface and press down until flattened to about ½ inch thick. The dough should be a smooth disk.

mixed dough is formed into a round disk to cut into scones
Our dough shaped and ready to cut into scones.

7. Cut using a scone or biscuit cutter and place the scones on a greased baking sheet. Some prefer to cut scones into triangles or even use a scone baking pan. Whatever method you choose will work. The size of your cutter will also determine the yield; we got 8 scones out of our dough in class.

8. Brush the tops of the scones with egg wash.

9. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. Serve with clotted cream, lemon curd or your favorite jam. (I recommend clotted cream; it’s divine.)

9 cut currant scones on baking tray ready to bake

Other scone flavors

The wonderful thing about this basic scone recipe is it can be easily adapted to incorporate other flavors. For example, dried cranberry and orange zest would be amazing for the holidays. Fresh fruit also can be used. In fact, fresh blueberry scones were top sellers at the London Tea Room. Their tip is not to mix in the fresh fruit but to flatten the dough to 1-inch thickness, make an indentation in the center and place the blueberry in the dough, fold in half and reshape as desired.

Savory scones are wonderful. Cut sugar to 1 tablespoon, omit any fruit and add (for example) ½ cup cooked bacon, ½ cup white cheddar and 2 tablespoons freshly chopped chive.

Is anything better than cooking (and eating) with friends? From left, that's Lisa Hanly (check out her blog for food and travel ideas) and my friend from college Barb Anderson. Me and my friend Beth Immer Eppy whom I met through Barb. Beth and I were bridesmaids in Barb's wedding (I won't say how long ago).

A spoonful of tea history

I’m part of a history meetup group and we recently held an outdoor tea. Organizers Susan and Kris provided a few teas, sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and jams. The history lesson included how the custom of drinking tea came to England. It was during reign of King Charles II (1660s) whose queen, Catherine of Portugal, was accustomed to drinking tea imported from Asia. The court, not surprisingly, joined in. But tea was heavily taxed (over 100 percent) and the East India Company maintained a monopoly, making it a beverage for wealthier Britons. Eventually, taxes were reduced to about 12.5 percent and tea became the morning beverage of choice.

Afternoon tea was introduced in 1840 in England by Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford. Evening meals were served at the fashionable time of 8 p.m., however, the duchess grew peckish around 4 p.m., so she asked that a tray of tea with bread, butter and cakes be brought to her room. She later invited friends to join her, and the upper crust of society readily adopted the practice.

Poorer households also paused for afternoon tea but “high tea” at the end of the working day was more practical here, the menu consisting of strong tea and hearty, hot food. Today, it’s estimated the British drink 100 million cups of tea per day!

pimento cheese sandwiches, cucumber and cheese sandwiches and scones on serving platters
Delicate sandwiches and scones were on the menu for Hands on History's tea in the park.

I always enjoy the Hands on History meetups and learn something at each gathering. At our teatime, Kris shared her recipe for making clotted cream at home (something I must try because this teatime accoutrement isn’t easily found on this side of the Atlantic).

Kris said she simply preheated an oven to 180 degrees F. She poured one pint of heavy cream (don’t use “ultra-pasteurized”) into a 9x13-inch baking pan and let it go for 22 hours. I’ve seen other recipes go anywhere from 8 to 12 hours. Some recipes mention covering the dish, others do not. As you want some of the liquid to slowly evaporate, I’d imagine uncovered is the way to go.

Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday will be televised starting at 11 a.m. BST (6 a.m. EST; 5 a.m. CST), so my plan is to have plenty of strong, hot tea on hand, as well as a few scones, as I watch this historic event unfold. I remember watching the royal wedding of Diana and now King Charles III. It was moving to think I was one of millions around the globe experiencing something simultaneously. I suspect the feeling will return as the world pays its final respects to the queen.



Here are a few more ideas for teatime sweets. Lavender Blackberry Cupcakes would be a delicate addition to your treat tray. Classic Snickerdoodles are perfect for your everyday cuppa.

About the blog

Three Women in the Kitchen is an award-winning food blog offering today’s home cooks comforting, hearty recipes with a personal touch. The website also pays tribute to Deborah’s mother, Katie Reinhardt, and paternal grandmother, Dorothy Reinhardt (the “three women” in the kitchen). Whether you’re an experienced or a novice cook, you’ll find inspiration here to feed your families and warm your heart. Subscribe today so you won’t miss a single delicious detail.

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