At Birth Roots, we talk a lot about the lesser known, hormonal opposite of adrenaline, called OXYTOCIN.  The hormone of love, community, bonding and relaxation. It is so incredibly important in so many of the processes around pregnancy, birth (literally makes contractions!) and parenting.  One way to increase oxytocin is to have an experience that is pleasing to the senses and eating yummy food, especially in the company of friends, definitely fits the bill.

Each class we take turns bringing in snacks which is practical, community building and oxytocin producing.  Birth Roots has a few favorite recipes that usually make an appearance sometime during a Bridge Package, baked Yours Truly, Emily Murray.  We hope these make it to your own family cookbooks and that you fondly remember your Birth Roots classes when you make a batch.

This is our favorite Pumpkin Bread Recipe adapted a little from The Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread Recipe from allrecipes.com submitted by Laurie Bennett

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread-Birth Roots edition

Makes 3 7X3 loaves

As with the banana bread, I also play around with kinds and ratios of sugars and oils/yogurt.  You could probably make this vegan and go all oil or all butter and no oil if you prefer no oils.  Less sugar makes it more of a breakfast item, add up to a cup extra for a more dessert-y option. 

Preheat oven to 350

WET INGREDIENTS: In a large bowl mix together pumpkin, eggs, oil, yogurt, water and sugar. Mix until well blended.

DRY INGREDIENTS: In another bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  Whisk or fluff with a fork to make sure you don’t have pockets of soda or spices.

Stir the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture until just combined.

Spray or grease your 3 medium pans and evenly split the batter.  Bake for about 45 minutes.  Check about 5 minutes early just in case our ovens have different opinions of 350.  You can also test by pressing your fingers on the top – should be springy (but hot!) or sticking a butter knife in the middle – should come out clean.  Keep adding 5 minutes until done.

Freeze a loaf or two by cooling completely, wrapping in wax or parchment paper, then placing in a freezer bag.  Pre-slice if you want easy postpartum snacks.  We’re fans of cream cheese on top but no judging from me if you go for whipped cream.