Friday, February 3, 2012

Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

I know! Posts two days in a row!  This whole being on leave while waiting for my baby to show up thing has given me some more time than I thought (at least for now).

As part of this whole process, I've been trying to stockpile the freezer with some meals and snacks.  Today, I made pumpkin muffins.  My house smells amazing!

The basis of this recipe was a pumpkin bread recipe I got from my MIL.  I've altered it to try & make it a little healthier (and to use up what I have in the house).  I also add more spices than the original, since I like my pumpkin with a lot of different spices.  I do the same thing to pumpkin pie.  You can use it to make either a loaf, or a dozen large muffins.  Here's what you'll need:

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
1 cup mashed, cooked pumpkin (or a 28 ounce can of pumpkin)
1 cup of oil (I usually use canola)
3 eggs

Optional 3/4 cup of any of the following: raisins, chocolate chips, nuts (walnuts are nice), pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds - it's what I used today.  They're high in iron!), unsalted sunflower seeds or dried cranberries.  Traditionally this is made with 3/4 cup of raisins AND 3/4 cup of nuts, but I personally hate raisins in my baked goods.

Preheat your oven to 350 F and prepare your muffin tin or loaf pan.

Mix all your dry ingredients together (you can see the eggs and my ziplock of defrosted pumpkin behind the bowl.  Kindly ignore the mug of hot chocolate).

You could mix the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, but I usually just dump them all in the dry and then stir everything together. 

You'll end up with a nice, thick batter.  At this point, you should add in your optional ingredients, if you are using them.  Hey look, pepitas!

Once your optional ingredients are all stirred in, you can pour the batter into your loaf pan, or spoon it into your muffin cups.  Then, put it in the oven!
If you are making a loaf, bake for 60 minutes (1 hour).  If you are making muffins, halve the time (ie. bake for 30 minutes).  I like to rotate my pans halfway through the cooking time, in case there are any uneven spots in the oven.
Here's the finished muffins I made today:

I've already eaten one, and I'm hoping that I can get the rest into the freezer before I eat them too!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Award Season

In addition to the Oscars, the Emmys, the Junos and all the other awards which are part of the rapidly approaching award season, there's apparently this thing called an MOV award for blogging.

Both the lovely Julie over at Feeding the Cat & the equally lovely Skwishee at Just a Mom? gave one to me.
They're both pretty rockin' so go read their stuff if you haven't already.
Also, Skwishee, you really should give quick pickles a shot! They're easy, fun, cheap and delicious.  As an added bonus, extra jars make handy gifts.

I don't know who to give an award to in return, since I don't read a ton of blogs (and will likely be reading fewer in the coming weeks after our new human arrives).

However, I'm apparently supposed to post why I started writing.  While I really like my job, it doesn't use my degree or creative muscles (for the record, I have a B. of Fine Arts in Theatre Production and Design - specifically lighting design, costume design and stage management).  It also lets me avoid driving my loved ones crazy from talking their ears off about the latest recipe I've tried/thing I've done in the garden/etc.

So there ya go.  Thanks for the appreciation :)