Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tasty Pumpkin Muffins!

I made the best muffins tonight! I might try to perfect the recipe later but here it is for now (it's basically a variation on the aforementioned pear bread recipe):
Pumpkin Muffins!
  • 3 cups flour (I used half whole wheat & half all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • generous pinch of allspice
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • splash vanilla extract

Mix together the flour, baking soda & power, salt, and spices in a large bowl. In another bowl combine the butter, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla. Stir until well combined, then add to the flour mixture, stirring just until batter is evenly moist. Fold in the nuts.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tins and bake at 350ยบ for about 25-35 minutes, until muffins are brown & crisp on the top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

(For the sugar this time I used a combination of Sucanat, brown, and white sugar because we were running out of white sugar. Then, of course, I discovered a whole new bag of it in the back of the pantry. Still, I'd like to try these with only Sucanat someday, I think it might work well (and be better for you). Also my pumpkin puree didn't come to quite two cups, but it was close. I'd also like to try substituting grated apples &/or pears for part of the pumpkin sometime.)
Go make these now & serve them with some good apple cider. They're the most perfect autumn muffins I've had so far.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hi internet!

Well, I still have no exciting knitting to show you -- I'm slowly plodding along on the same few projects I feel like I've been working on for years. I did just order a sweater's worth of yarn from KnitPicks, though! I'm hoping that'll help inspire me pick up the pace. I'm going to use this pattern but attempt to do it as a top-down raglan to avoid the hell of seaming. We'll see how that goes.

I have been cooking & baking a bit lately, though! I'm trying really hard to make a big dish or two at the beginning of each week so I can take leftovers to school or my internship as needed. It's a better plan than spending tons on eating out every day, anyway. Here are some of the best things I've made recently:
  • Broccoli Crunch Salad: I made this this week & it might be my favorite thing. The dressing is unbelievably delicious! There's really not much else to say about this except that it's awesome & you should make it right now. It's even good for you!

  • Orzo salad: I kind of made this up after having something similar at a grad party. I feel like it could be even better (and healthier) with some more veggies or something, but so far it goes like this: make some orzo and when it's finished stir in some butter, olive oil, feta cheese, fresh basil, and toasted sliced almonds. The version I had at the party had cherry tomatoes, which seem like a good idea for those of you who are into that kind of thing (I am not, unfortunately). I think I also added some chopped spinach once & that was pretty good. What I really love about this is that it keeps well and tastes fantastic at any temperature.

  • Pear bread: I used walnuts instead of pecans, halved the recipe, and made just under a dozen perfect pear muffins. They were moist and flavorful and very, very autumnal. I wish they hadn't all disappeared so quickly!
I do still have a huge backlog of pictures to show you, so here are some of the cute alpacas I met in Illinois when I was there in August:

This one never fails to crack me up.

Look at those eyelashes!

And this is an alpaca named Acorn eating out of my hand -- can you imagine anything more adorable?!

The alpacas at Kickapoo Creek Alpacas were all extremely friendly and not too shy, which I hear is uncommon. I feel very lucky to have spent some time with them & I am still dreaming of maybe having my own someday. I did buy some alpaca yarn, of course, which I'll show off soon!