Sunday, October 31, 2010


Happy Halloween! We didn't really do too much Halloween-y stuff today, but I did manage to spend some time in the kitchen!

We observed "All Saints Day" in church this morning, and it was, frankly, kind of a bummer of a way to start the day. Important, but still not exactly uplifting, ya know? So, regardless of what church is about, there is one constant -- church ALWAYS makes me hungry! Enter, breakfast burritos:

So decadent. So packed with protein. SO TASTY! MMMMMMMM.


I cooked up a gorgeous pumpkin last night, and I just HAD to show you a picture of some of the finished puree:

LOOK AT THAT COLOR! Courtney described it as, "Crayola crayon macaroni and cheese color!" Right on! This will make one gorgeous batch of pumpkin soup in our near future!


I also made granola this afternoon:

Loaded with the usual good stuff, I am always impressed by how heavenly the granola smells when it comes out of the oven! Toasty, roasty, sweet, maple-y goodness! I am on a quest to eat better breakfasts, (I'm not huge on breakfast in general, but do need to eat something substantial,) so I hope bowls of granola will help me get to lunch without eating a bunch of crap at work!


Dinner tonight was another success from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers:

"Whole-Grain Pasta with Greens and Tomatoes" ROCKED! Yum! I had been feeling a serious lack of veggies this weekend, and this pasta, along with a side of roasted broccoli, helped fill the void. Mmm!



Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pineapple-Pumpkin Muffins

Sometimes, I find excellent recipes in the strangest places, including advertisements for food products in magazines! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, really -- those folks design recipes that make their products shine!

Enter, Pineapple-Pumpkin Muffins:

Since I can't ever leave well enough alone, I did make the following modifications to the printed recipe . . .
~ I used muffin liners instead of brushing the bottoms of the pans with oil
~ I used canola oil instead of extra-light tasting olive oil (it was what I had on hand)
~ I didn't bother mixing the sugar-cinnamon mixture and sprinkling it on top of the muffins -- just blended it all in
~ I used pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon
~ I used 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar mixed with 2/3 cup almond milk instead of buttermilk
~ I used one whole egg, instead of 2 whites
~ I omitted the orange zest, just because I didn't have an orange in the house
~ I have smaller-than-average muffin tins, so I got 16 muffins out of this recipe

How are they, you ask? Fan-tas-tic!!! Moist, rich, subtlely spicy, almost buttery, with juicy-sweet chunks of pineapple throughout. These will make great grab-and-go breakfasts next week, (I love that they contain some whole-wheat flour,) keeping both Dan and I happy until lunchtime. :) I think these could only be improved by the addition of the suggested orange zest, and I will make every effort to include some in my next batch.

It's getting late . . . time for bed!

letting the weekend be the weekend

Dan and I have been on a quest lately -- a quest to "let the weekend be the weekend." We've realized that up until recently, we have been overworked and overscheduled, both at work and at home, and we're making an effort to change that! We're trying to get a few things done during the week, (light cleaning, a load or two of laundry, grocery shopping, etc.) so we actually have some free time together on the weekends! What a novel idea, eh?

Today was one of the first weekends in a long time where I woke up and didn't really have a full "agenda" for the day! I did have to take the cat to the vet at 9:15, but the rest of the day was mine! Woo! Dan and I did end up running a bunch of errands, doing the laundry, and getting the car in for a minor thing, but we still had lots of fun -- did some browsing/fun shopping at favorite stores, went out for lunch, etc. We also had plenty of time this afternoon to go for a long walk downtown AND hang out at home!

I haven't spent much time in the kitchen today, but I did manage to whip up what I had planned for brunch at dinnertime instead:

Poached eggs, kale, and oven-roasted potatoes always makes both of us happy!

I currently have huge quantities of pumpkin roasting in my oven, so if they get done at a reasonable hour, I may yet make pumpkin pineapple muffins this evening! (I found the recipe in a magazine . . . doesn't that sound interesting? Yum.) And amazingly, the weekend is only half over! Wahoo!

simple, hearty, healthy

We had a simple, hearty, healthy dinner last night:

Homemade veggie Italian links, sauteed with garlic, chard, and a can of diced tomatoes, all over creamy, delicious polenta! This was loosely based on a recipe from Real Simple, but it really was so simple, who needs a recipe anyway? :)

Off to take the cat to the vet for his yearly -- happy weekend, all!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I can't believe I haven't posted since Saturday! What happened? Well, let's see . . . Dan made off with the camera for a couple of days, so I had pictures trapped for a little bit. Here was Sunday night's dinner:

Butternut Squash Lasagna, from Cooking Light, was a huge hit! I didn't make their recipe for "Smoky Marinara" -- I just made my own recipe using a 28-ounce can of fire-roased crushed tomatoes. I also cheated a bit and used frozen butternut squash cubes, but hey, they worked beautifully! (I also had a coupon that was about to expire -- double bonus!) This will make a nice change from our usual spinach and artichoke lasagna, and is also another way I've found for both Dan and I to enjoy squash. :)

Dessert made me happy, too!

I had hit up Penzey's earlier in the weekend, and picked up a new blend to try: Cake Spice! I have enjoyed using their Baking Spice for a while now, and Cake Spice is a nice change of pace. What better way to test it out, than in a simple applesauce cake? I threw in some finely chopped pecans for texture and tastiness, and did use half whole-wheat pastry flour, too. Yum! I must confess . . . I have been eating this cake for breakfast! ;)

I did cook on Monday night, too -- Cheese Muffins alongside Red, Gold, Black, and Green Chili, but that was one of those meals that missed being photographed due to the camera being away from home. :) This meal was awesome to come home to, bubbling away in the Crock Pot, and has made delicious lunches for both of us the past two days in a row. I didn't cook last night, (translation: WAY too tired,) and won't be able to cook tonight, either, (choir practice,) but I'm sure I'll be back in the kitchen by Thursday. Until then!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

great day, great food

Oh, how I love the weekend! We started our day yesterday with a lovely batch of baked oatmeal:

I find that neither Dan nor I really cares much for regular oatmeal, but we love a baked version! Stuffed with walnuts and dried blueberries, this was a lovely way to wake up on a Saturday morning.

Later, nachos for lunch!

Organic yellow corn tortilla chips topped with taco leftovers from Thursday night -- black beans, peppers and onions, chipotle gouda, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. MMMMMMMMMMMM!

I decided we needed to have a veggie-packed dinner, to make up for the small serving of veggies at lunch:

Vegetarian pho!!! Yum. I've adapted this recipe, using vegetable broth, tofu, and soy sauce to replace the turkey stock, turkey, and fish sauce, and it is always well-received! (I also choose to serve all of the herbs and green onions on the side, only adding the sliced white onion and bean sprouts to the soup broth.) Dan's brother, Ryan, joined us for dinner, and the three of us managed to take down almost an entire batch! There was lots of sniffling and sweating due to adding too many jalapenos and too much sriracha, but it was soooooo worth it! :)

Dessert was a special request of Dan's:

Caramel custard is one of those dead-easy desserts that never fails to impress the socks off of anyone! Truthfully, I find the hardest part is getting the custards into the oven in the water bath without creating a sloshy, watery mess. I wonder why I don't make this dessert more often? :)

Thankfully, I have a second weekend day ahead of me to enjoy! Woo! What have you been up to this weekend?

Friday, October 22, 2010

soup and tacos

Even though Dan and I decided to go out for dinner on Tuesday night, (to Saigon! for banh mi!), I did end up cooking a little something so we had plenty of leftovers for lunches throughout the week . . .

"Red Lentil Soup," from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. I added a huge amount of fresh spinach to this recipe, which was an excellent idea, as was more chili flakes than the recipe called for. Mmmmm! I also quickly cooked up a bunch of leftover half whole-wheat Artisan Bread dough into some chewy, flavorful naan.

Last night, it was time again for tacos!

Whole-wheat tortillas stuffed with black beans, cast-iron fried peppers and onions, chipotle gouda, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, homemade guacamole, sour cream, and salsa. MMM! I always think of tacos as kind of an "indulgent" meal, but when I looked at the piles of produce on the counter last night as I was preparing to start cooking, I may slowly be changing my mind! :)

TGIF! We have a quiet weekend planned, which I'm looking forward to. Woo!

Monday, October 18, 2010

speedy to the table

Tonight's dinner was a great weeknight meal, since it was nutritious, protein-packed, and speedy to the table!

"Curried Chickpeas and Tofu," from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, over brown rice, with a side of oven-roasted broccoli. Now, this isn't the best curry I've ever had, (it's a tad too tame for my tastes, both in the level of complexity and level of spiciness,) but it qualifies as a tasty, speedy weeknight dinner! I definitely think I would prefer the more traditional paneer, but the suggested tofu makes a healthier, less-expensive substitute. :) You know . . . this might even be kid-friendly! (I'll see if any of the kidlets want a sample at lunch tomorrow and get back to ya.) Another Moosewood success at my house!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

eggs, pie, and PIZZA!

We had a "throwback brunch" today!

(Sorry for the blurry photo . . . don't know WHAT was wrong with the camera this morning!?!) We haven't had poached eggs, hashbrowns, and kale in AGES, and it was nice to go back to an old standby! Yum. :)

Here's a slice of the pumpkin pie I made yesterday:

I followed a pretty traditional recipe, except that I didn't have any evaporated milk in the house, so I used a combination of fat-free greek yogurt and regular milk in place . . . and the finished pie has a slightly tangy, almost cheesecake-like flavor. Mmmmm! What a great surprise!

After an afternoon of lounging, biking, and seeing a play, I made Dan and I some pizza for dinner! Woo!

Pie #1:

Half whole-wheat Artisan Bread crust, topped with caramelized onions, mozzarella, parmesan, four different kinds of mushrooms, (white button, cremini, shiitake, and chanterelle,) a teensie sprinkle of salt, a generous amount of black pepper, and a few dashes of dried thyme. Sublime! Rich, slightly sweet, and incredibly flavorful from all of the different fungi. MMMMMMMMMM.

Pie #2:

Half whole-wheat Artisan Bread crust again, topped with organic pizza sauce, mozzarella and parmesan, red onion, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, broccoli, and a sprinkle of dried oregano. A completely different species than the pie above, but just as good, in its own bright and assertive way.

Plated, with salad:

I fixed us a little side salad of local micro greens, dressed with a simple lemon juice, olive oil, s/p dressing. I could have eaten gallons of this salad! Thank goodness we still have half a clamshell of micro greens left!


I think it's funny that my impulse buys at the co-op this week were pomegranate-flavored licorice, wild mushrooms, and micro greens! I'm such a dork. :)

What goofy stuff do you impulse buy when food shopping?

why choose?

This bread was born of my need to use both three ooey bananas and a zucchini that had been languishing in my produce drawer for FAR too long. (Translation: I had to cut off a mushy part . . . but the rest of the zuke was fine!) Now there will no longer be a need to choose between banana and zucchini . . . just have both!

Whole-Wheat Banana Zucchini Bread
yield: one 9-inch loaf

Blend together until smooth:
3 overripe banans, peeled
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup milk

Fold in:
1 medium zucchini, shredded and obvious water squeezed out (about 2 cups of squeezed shreds)

Whisk together until well-blended:
3 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until combined. (Lumps are ok.) Depending on how moist your batter seems at this point, you may want to add up to an additional 1/4 cup of milk -- both zucchini and banana moisture levels vary greatly. :) (You could also fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips, nuts, and/or dried fruit at this point.) Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch loaf pan and bake at 350 for 60 to 70 minutes, or until well-browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

very little actual cooking

Strangely, I did very little actual cooking this past week -- what did we eat? I have no idea! We did go out for dinner on Tuesday night, Dan made some pasta at some point during the week, and I met a friend for dinner on Thursday night, (shout out to Lauren!), but I'm still kind of puzzled!

Here are a few things that made their way from our kitchen to our bellies . . .

Wild Rice Soup!

Dan's Famous Stir-Fry!

(Dan has deemed himself in charge of dinner on Friday nights -- woo!)

Whole-wheat Blueberry Pancakes!

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup!

(Yeah, this doesn't qualify as "cooking" in my book, but at least we ate at home!)


I had a wonderfully pleasant day today! Dan and I ran a few errands this morning, including hitting the farmer's market, where we scored gorgeous produce and a gigantic, beautiful pumpkin! (Isn't it funny that Dan buys pumpkins based on how many seeds he thinks they might contain?) We chilled at home this afternoon, (I even took a nap!), before I headed over to church for a couple of hours. One of the women in my choir was married today, and the choir sang three pieces for the ceremony -- it was so much fun! Tonight, I have been busy in the kitchen prepping veggies and fruits for meals this week, starting some bread dough, making a pumpkin pie, and baking a loaf of banana-zucchini bread for breakfasts. Whew! I still have a pile of black beans bubbling away in the crock pot, so I still have to deal with those at some point. :) Hope you are having an enjoyable Saturday night!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day 2010: Water

I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and we are extremely fortunate to have water literally everywhere -- I live in the "City of Lakes, " in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." We have access to the largest freshwater lake in the world, (Lake Superior,) thousands of rivers, streams, smaller lakes, ponds, etc. in every corner of the state. Some lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, located in northern Minnesota, are so clean, you can dip a cup into the middle of the lake and safely drink the water!

So, why should I care about water? After all, I'm surrounded by it! It's plentiful!

Simply put, not everyone is as fortunate as I. Large portions of the world's population do not have access to fresh, clean drinking water on a daily basis, having to filter or treat the water they do have access to in order to safely consume it. I remember visiting Haiti in 2008, and having to drink, brush my teeth with, and even wash my face with filtered/bottled water -- and we had to make sure to keep our mouthes and eyes closed while showering!

While lack of access to clean water is tragic, there is a strong possibility that in the future, we may face a lack of clean water, period. Some suggest that while we war over oil today, we may very well war over water in the future -- possibly even in my lifetime.

What can we do? While I, as an individual living in a water-saturated state cannot singly help provide water to those less fortunate than I, I can choose to conserve and protect the water I do have access to -- I choose to remember that water is important and valuable, and I try very hard not to waste it. America uses, on average, twice as much water per person than any other country in the world! I say, "not me!"

Choices I make that help conserve water:

(Statistics taken from The Green Book)

~ We have adopted the, "if it's yellow, let it mellow" rule for toilet flushing at home. I realize this seems gross, and it did seem gross to me at first, but when you learn more about how much clean drinking water is flushed down your toilet, (about 40 percent of your daily useage,) it's shocking. One toilet flush uses about 4 1/2 gallons of water, which is more water than the average person in Africa uses in an ENTIRE DAY for drinking, cooking, bathing, and cleaning! Tolerating a little pee saves a LOT of water over the course of a whole day, week, month, year, lifetime!

~ I always turn off the water while I brush my teeth. I guess this seems like common sense at this point, but I save 5 gallons of water at each brushing -- and if everyone in the US did this, we'd save 1.5 billion gallons every single day!

~ We take our car to a commercial car wash, which saves about 100 gallons per wash. Also, a little known fact -- many commercial car washes recycle and reuse rinse water. This also keeps soapy, polluted water out of our rivers and lakes!

~ We travel infrequently, but when we do, we make sure we decline maid service during our stay in a hotel. Washing all of those sheets and towels uses about 200 gallons of water per day! I don't change my sheets and towels every day at home -- why do it on the road?

~ We buy as many organic food products as possible, and eat a vegetarian diet. We help keep millions of pounds of pesticides per year out of the nation's rivers and lakes by eating organic foods, and help save tens of thousands of gallons of water per year by eating a vegetarian diet. Even choosing a few organic products each week at the store and preparing one or two meatless meals per week can make a huge difference!

~ We use as many homeopathic remedies for common symptoms/illnesses as possible, including teas, herbs, honey, etc., which helps keep millions of pounds of pollutants out of the air, water, and soil. Manufacturing of over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceuticals is extremely taxing on our environment. Funny how a cup of hot herbal tea with honey is much more soothing than an artifically-flavored cough drop, and it's even better for the environment!

~ I buy only organic cotton tampons, which help keep pollutants out of air, water, and soil. If 5% of women used organic cotton tampons, we could save 750,000 pounds of pesticides each year!

I'm not perfect here, but I do think that little choices can make a big difference, especially if we talk and write about our choices, inspiring others to do the same. What do you do to conserve water?

Monday, October 11, 2010

kids say the darndest . . .

I pulled my microfiber cloth out of my pocket this afternoon to take a wipe at my glasses; one of the kids asked, "is that your glasses napkin?"

Personally, I think "glasses napkin" is almost as good as "mystery point," don't you?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

eats and treats

Hope you have been having a wonderful weekend! Dan and I really took it easy this weekend -- mostly hung out at home, did a little laundry, had a picnic and a hike at Lake Maria state park, etc. I spent plenty of time in the kitchen, of course!

Dinner last night was both speedy and delightful:

"Black-Eyed Peas with Spinach," from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, over cheesy grits, with a few slices of heirloom tomato on the side. Simple, nourishing, and fantastic! I added a few dashes of smoked paprika to the beans, which I didn't really detect in the finished dish, but it couldn't have hurt, right? The cheese grits were easy and amazing, and the sliced tomato added a fresh, bright note to the meal. Best part? I think this entire meal was on the table in less than 30 minutes! Wahoo!

I've REALLY been loving my Moosewood cookbooks lately. Example #2:

"Banana Cupcakes," from Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers, topped with chocolate cream cheese frosting. Oh yum! I had some leftover cream cheese frosting from the pumpkin muffins I made last weekend, and decided to melt a little semi-sweet chocolate and whip it into the leftovers -- ta-da! Amazing!!!!! Dan and I split one of these this afternoon, and they are GREAT. Dan mentioned the frosting tastes a little like chocolate pudding, and I loved the sweet, dense, comforting banana cupcake. I think the only thing that could possibly make this treat better would be the addition of peanut butter in some form . . . hmm . . . time to experiment! :)

Since you can't have cupcakes for breakfast, (well, technically you can, but you know,) I felt compelled to make a breakfast treat as well:

Now, we usually have granola, toast, or PBJ for breakfast, but every once in a while, it's lovely to look forward to a little pastry something first thing in the morning! AB in Five bake-a-long to the rescue! Crystal, Victoria, and I have been talking about starting the brioche dough, and I decided to take the plunge this weekend. Now, know this -- I will probably bake my way through the dough, and then wait a year while I work on losing all the weight that I will inevitably gain! (The dough recipe, which yields 4 to 5 pounds of dough, enough for 4 to 5 projects, calls for 3 sticks of butter and EIGHT eggs. Gasp!) Oh, but how delicious these "Sticky Pecan Caramel Rolls" are! Buttery, soft, light, with a wonderful, crisp-chewy caramel topping. Jeff and Zoe, how dare you make caramel rolls so EASY!

Thankfully, the dough freezes well, so I have appropriately-portioned chunks waiting patiently for us to detox from all of the saturated fat. :)

Sunday night is a great time for pizza!

Artisan Bread "Olive Oil Dough," topped with organic pizza sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses. The front slice also has red onion, green pepper, mushroom, green olive, oregano, and chili flakes. The back slice has roasted red peppers, dried tomatoes, spinach, artichoke hearts, and oregano. Side of green salad with apple, fennel, walnuts, bleu cheese, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. A GREAT way to end the weekend, if you ask me!

The kitchen is still a mess, so I'm off. G'night!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

healthy & satisfying

After a long, stressful week, Dan and I were due a healthy, satisfying dinner last night! Thankfully, we had tons of food in the house, and dinner was pretty quick to the table:

"Seasoned Tempeh," from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, oven-roasted green beans, and garlic-mashed potatoes with homemade mushroom gravy. This entire meal was spectacular, if I do say so myself, but the gravy took it over the top. Hands-down the best gravy I've ever made. What did I do?

Mushroom Gravy
yield: about 2 1/2 cups

Melt together:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil

Cook in the butter/oil:
about 8 ounces of sliced white button mushrooms

1/4 cup AP flour
black pepper
dried thyme (a few dashes)
And cook for about 2 minutes

Stir in:
2 tsp soy sauce
2 cups mushroom broth (I used commercially-prepared, but you could use homemade, too.)
Slowly bring the gravy to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for a couple of minutes until thick. Serve over mashed potatoes, tempeh, etc.


Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

preschool thinking

I rarely blog about my job teaching preschool because, well, I can't show you pictures of the kids, and stories just aren't the same without pictures!

HOWEVER, I can show you pictures of a project! I have a small group of 2- and 3-year-olds, and we have been working on making a fall tree this week! Here it is:

The thing I love about a developing curriculum is just that -- I didn't PLAN on making a tree this week; rather, it just sort of "came" to us! We started on Monday with a whole-group painting project -- we covered a sheet of butcher paper with shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown. The kids in my group are LITTLE, (2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years old,) and do have a hard time focusing on a teacher-directed task for more than ten minutes. BUT, the kids in my group love to paint, and they love to use scissors, so I thought for a while about what we could do with our painting -- and I thought they might like to cut it up and make a tree out of it!

Wednesday, I sketched a trunk and branches on another sheet of butcher paper, and we used brown crayons to color it in. (Vocabulary word alert! Not only have we been working on colors, the kids inadvertently learned the words bark, trunk, branch, tree, leaves, fall, and autumn! I'm so sneaky.) After we cut out the trunk and hung it on the wall, the kids insisted the tree needed leaves immediately! We worked on our tree for 45 minutes on Wednesday!!!! I couldn't BELIEVE it! While we were cutting and adding leaves to our tree, one of the kids mentioned our tree might like a squirrel to live in it. Someone else piped up, "what about the birds?" SO, we made birds and squirrels today.

Three of the kids in my group are starting to draw recognizeable objects; two are still very much in the scribbling stage. Here are some recognizeable birds and squirrels . . .

First, the birds:

The pink bird on the left is, in my opinion, very typical of how a preschooler would draw just about anything, when first learning to draw -- a blob for a body, and a few details, such as a face, wings, and legs, in this case. Most kids see the whole first, and the parts come later. The blue bird on the right, however, is sort of an anomoly -- the straight line across symbolizes wings, and the short line in back is a tail. This boy then added large eyes and eyebrows to his bird, but there is no actual body to speak of! Odd and interesting.

Here are the squirrrels . . .

Another typical "blob squirrel" -- body, legs, face, and tail.

This drawing actually has two parts -- the top area is a squirrel, and the bottom swirl is her second attempt at making a bushy/curly tail:

And here's one more squirrel, from the boy who only drew parts of his bird:

BIG eyes, four legs, and a tail. Again, no body!

Tomorrow, we'll go for a walk around the neighborhood and look at real trees, just to see if there's anything we "missed" in making our paper tree!

Hope you enjoyed your child development "lesson" for the day! Back to food this weekend, I promise!

Monday, October 04, 2010


Here's a shot of the finished mini muffins I took to work today -- complete with cream cheese frosting and a candy corn!

SO cute, eh? I discovered the trick to getting frosted cupcakes/muffins to work in one piece on the bus . . . pack the frosting in a seperate container, and frost and decorate "on site." :) It worked! The few lonely little minis pictured were all that was leftover after snack today. The kids were all stoked, most tried the muffin, a few asked for seconds, and they ALL ate the candy corn. Big surprise. :)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

more pumpkin baking

One of my kidlets asked early last week, "Ms. Catherine, can you make us some pumpkin bread?" Even better, sweetie -- I'll make MINI pumpkin muffins!

Even though my friend Courtney is always so generous in allowing me to borrow her mini muffin pan, I decided it was about time I invested in my own -- the urge to make minis has happened frequently lately, and I want to be an impulsive baker sometimes!

I adapted my family's pumpkin bread recipe, significantly lowering the fat by replacing half the oil with applesauce and all of the eggs with flax and warm water blended together, but know that these taste pretty "healthy." Like, they kind of stick to their wrappers healthy. That's ok, though -- just an excuse to top them with cream cheese frosting and candy corn! ;)

Pumpkin-Flax Muffins
yield: 16 standard and 24 mini-muffins

Blend together (using a hand blender right in your mixing bowl, if possible)
3/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup ground flax seeds (I like using gold flax seeds -- less noticeable in the finished muffin)

Whisk into the flax mixture:
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup canola oil
2/3 cup sugar
16 ounces (2 cups) pumpkin puree (home-cooked or canned, whichever you prefer)

Whisk together, then stir into wet ingredients:
3 1/3 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Bake minis for 12 to 13 minutes, standards for about 24 minutes, at 350.

(If you wanted a less "healthy" tasting muffin, use a full cup of oil and omit the applesauce. Using flax instead of eggs will still keep the calories down!)

I enjoyed the muffin I snacked on after dinner; I'll update tomorrow with the kid review!

I also baked up the last of the "Oatmeal Pumpkin Bread" tonight:

This really is the most gorgeous, homey, chewy-soft and satisfying loaf of Artisan Bread! We plowed through the first loaf in record time last week, and I was pleased the loaf stayed soft for several days -- my homemade bread usually gets hard and dried out-tasting after only a day or two. Magical oats and pumpkin to the rescue!

Off to fold laundry -- g'night!

Saturday, October 02, 2010


We had a very beige, but very tasty, meal on Thursday night:

Buttered egg noodles smothered with cabbage and onions (cooked in butter, and seasoned simply with paprika and salt,) with a slice of Oatmeal Pumpkin bread and some homemade applesauce for sides. A humble, but filling, nutritious, and strangely comforting meal. Sometimes, beige food is just the ticket! :)