The Great (canned) Pumpkin is back! Pumpkin Banana Bread

30 Sep

Fall is my favorite season. The refreshing crisp in the air, the tantalizing sight of orange and red taking over the landscape, the fact that you can turn the oven on and not swelter…ahhh, a great time of year. But let’s be honest here, people. My absolute, hands-down favorite thing about fall has GOT to be the return of the pumpkin. Pumpkin spice coffee, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin coffee creamer…the lists of things that this big ol’ gourd works it’s magic on is endless.

So, I was obviously devastated by the “pumpkin shortage” of 2009. How could there not be any pumpkin?!? What kind of sick world is this?????

Lucky for me, my mother is somewhat of a food hoarder. (Or, she’s just Italian. We do always have a constant fear of running out of food.) She was able to give me a enough pumpkin for a few loaves of bread, batches of muffins and even Paula Deen’s “pumpkin gooey bars.” My overzealous pumpkin quota was met for the season, and although I was saddened by its seasonal departure, I knew next fall was just a few months away.

Little did I know that this year, the pumpkin gods (I think they work at Libby) would find themselves short-stacked again. Thanks to Mother Nature, another pumpkin shortage was to plague us all this season. So, since the beginning of the month, I have been on a county-wide search for the great canned pumpkin. I’ve ran into every grocery store I could find, only to be told that I “wasn’t going to find any around these parts,” and that my search was hopeless. I moped around my apartment every evening, pining for the day when I could fill the air with pumpkin bread once again.

Needless to say I was a bit shocked and utterly overwhelmed when I walked into Safeway yesterday to find a shelf FILLED with Libby’s pumpkin! I immediately went into hoarding mode and filled up my entire cart in about 30 seconds. I almost considered buying every can (I have a lot of pumpkin-flavored things I want to make this year, okay?) but I paused to think about the other pumpkin-obsessed foodies out there in this town. It just wouldn’t be right to hog it all for myself! I gladly put a few cans back, and then happily pushed my now very heavy cart to the checkout. Fall 2010, here I come!

Before I went home, I had to run into Giant for a few more things. (Look Ma, I’m actually grocery-store hopping, based on the weekly deals! I’m sorry I ever teased you for that. You’re right, 10 cents does make a huge difference.) So you can imagine my surprise when I found yet ANOTHER shelf of pumpkin! I stared at it for awhile, to make sure I wasn’t just seeing things/lacking my daily caffeine intake. When I realized that yes, they were actually real live Libby’s cans, I began to feel a bit duped. Tryin’ to play me for a fool now aren’t cha, “pumpkin shortage” news stories? Well I have news for you people….

I bought ten more cans. (Just incase! Maybe it was the one and only shipment.)

1/3 of my pumpkin purchase. I left the other two bags in the car for Matt to bring up, since I am still only benching 5 lb. weights at the gym.

Anyways, in my first pumpkin baking of the year, here is Pumpkin-Banana Bread, adapted from Gina’s Skinny Eats. (Normally I am not a fan of low-fat bread, but we are going to California next week, and I am also not a fan of being uncomfortable in a bathing suit. And I want my pumpkin and I want to eat it too, dammit!) For being low-fat, this bread is incredible! It definitely does not have that gummy-texture that other low-fat breads tend to have, and instead baked up perfectly moist and delicious. I used all whole wheat flour and also added pumpkin seeds, walnuts and flax seeds, because that’s how I roll/convince myself that I can have as many slices as I want, since it’s heart healthy 🙂

Ahhh, the warm, spicy, pumpkin-y smell that is finally engulfing our apartment….oh my goodness, it was so worth the wait!

Pumpkin Banana Bread

(adapted from Gina’s Skinny Eats)


  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp each of cloves and nutmeg)
  • 2 Tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (I used about 3/4 cup…I obviously have an addiction)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, plus handful for sprinkling on top
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, plus handful for sprinkling on top


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray/grease loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice together.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg, egg white, mashed bananas, pumpkin and vanilla and beat until thick, making sure to stop and scrap down the sides of the bowl. Add nuts & flax seed and blend until just combined.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (I still don’t have toothpicks for some reason, so I knife-tested the loaf at about 55 minutes and it was perfecto.)

Let cool for about 20 minutes, if you can wait that long! I inverted mine onto a cutting board and, after snapping a few pictures, immediately did some damage. After my long and strenuous pumpkin expedition, this wasn’t a time for portion size.

Mangia e zucca!


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