Hallmark and the holiday gods give us a lot to work with as our gorgeous indian summer ends and the bitter months begin.

What do we have to fall back on? Well, the parents get to squeeze tiny arms and chubby legs into silken Halloween costumes that always appear one-size-too-small. (The rest of you, with all of your disposable income, get to buy beautiful wool sweaters and cashmere scarves…)

At the same time–and with much excitement (!!!)–we welcome gourd and squash season. Pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash and all their vegetable kin make amazing vegetable side dishes, stews, pastas and breads.

Nothing fills the kitchen with the warm, heady scent of fall like a luscious loaf of pumpkin bread perfumed with cinnamon, ginger, allspice and everything nice. And right before the loaf hits the oven, Jamie and I top it off with a salty-sweet oat topping that bakes up crunchy and irresistable.

Maybe the best part of all, and the biggest consolation for having to put away the sandals and sundresses and usher in months of cold, is that our pumpkin loaf is actually healthful. Yep, I can eat a slice with my morning coffee and not feel guilty. Here’s to a long winter of chubby thighs (the baby’s–not mine), warm kitchens and delicious meals.

Brooke and Jamie’s Super Healthful Pumpkin Loaf  (follow the link!)

Pictured: Parker at the West Village Halloween Carnival yesterday. Her first wisp of cotton candy!