tap, tap. is this thing on? and pumpkin bread

ok, I know I’ve been away from this blog for a long time. My last post was December, 2013. Having three children in school really threw me for a loop. The driving. The homework. The crying. Its not that I stopped cooking–I just stopped taking pictures of it and telling you about it.

I know that my absence has been noted. Even WordPress has changed things around.  I’ll have to get used to the new editor and remember how to put pictures into this post.

And so I bring you pumpkin bread.  We love the stuff. My son, Adam, eats two pumpkin muffins for breakfast EVERY morning. Yes, every morning. And I am more than happy to supply him with that breakfast. I like this recipe because it calls for oil and not butter. I like that because if I decide to make pumpkin bread RIGHT NOW, I can, and not have to wait for the butter to soften.

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The muffins (or loaves) freeze beautifully, so don’t worry that you can’t use several dozen muffins before they go bad. Stick ’em in the freezer and defrost as you need them. I take a few out at night and in the morning they look like they just came out of the oven.

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I hate it when I get batter on my muffin pans, and I also hate when the muffins aren’t all the same size. I finally figured out if I use two scoops of batter in each muffin cup. I use the same scooper that I use for scooping cookie batter. This is the scoop I use. It’s purple. They come in tons of sizes, and I found it in my local resturant supply store. The scooper is a life saver. Also that resturant supply store is a life saver–but that is a topic for a whole other post…

Pumpkin Bread
makes about 3 dozen muffins or 3 loaves

3 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
4 eggs
1 can pumpkin
3 cups flour (I use a mix of AP and White Whole Wheat)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup water or milk (or a combination)

Mix sugar, oil, applesauce, eggs and pumpkin together
In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices
Add the dry ingredients into the wet in three additions, alternating with the milk.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes for muffins, or about 50 for loaves.

Baking Clean: Corn Muffins

I don’t eat corn muffins often, and I haven’t made them in years. They were one of the first things I baked by myself as a kid. You know, from the box? We even made it sometimes in college when we wanted something easy and warm to bake in the winter. But since then, I learned that Jiffy puts things in their muffins that I wouldn’t put in mine. So I pretty much stopped baking corn muffins and moved onto other things. I discovered a bag of corn meal in my pantry the other day and then I found this recipe from an eating clean book. Needless to say, a light went on, espcially since I had all the ingredients I needed.
It was easy to mix up…just two bowls, one for the wet ingredients, and one for the dry. I didn’t have vanilla Almond Milk, so I just poured in a teaspoon of vanilla extract. I used King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat Flour, since that’s what I had on hand.

I ate one hot, right out of the oven for a mid-morning snack. it was delicious with a little honey drizzled over it.
Sunshine Corn Muffins
from the Everything Eating Clean Cookbook

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1/2 cup unsweetend applesauce
3 Tablespoons Agave Nectar
2 cups almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 cup kernel corn (fresh or frozen)

preheat oven to 425

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl, in a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, egg whites, applesauce, agave, milk, vanilla, and yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir gently

Fold in the corn and spoon into greased muffin cups and bake for 330-45 minutes. Keep an eye on them, though, mine were done much sooner

Blueberries, fresh from the field

Yesterday we went blueberry picking. It was the first day of the season, so it was a little like a treasure hunt to find the berries. Still, though, we came home with just over 3lbs of beautiful blueberries. it was really a perfect day. not too hot, a nice breeze, and the berry bushes still had dew on them, so when you walked in between the rows of plants, you got a little shower! I’m sorry I didn’t have my camera with me to take pictures. Adam didn’t contribute a single berry to the ‘pot’ they all went directly into his mouth. he’d say, “I got a berry” and deposit it directly into his tummy.
Today, I went to publix with dorothy for some stuff, and she asked me if she could have little bites, and she had to explain what they were to me. Once I understood what it was that she wanted, I told her no, but we could make our own blueberry muffins. We could even make them tiny, if she wanted.

I’m not 100% sure that tiny muffins really work here, since the blueberries are so big, and the muffin cups are so small. If you go the ‘tiny’ route, don’t do what I did. I overfilled them. big mistake.
once the cups were full….I took the batter that was left and fished out the berries, and added them to the already full cups. Don’t do that. I should have baked what I had, and then done another few muffins. But I didn’t. Don’t be like me.

my mother found this recipe in the New York Times Magazine a long time ago….I think I was still in college. Its been with us ever since

½ cup unsalted butter
2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups flour (I replaced 2/3 cup AP with 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour. Can’t taste the difference)
2 tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. kosher salt (omit if using salted butter)
1½ cups fresh blueberries (I often use frozen. DO NOT DEFROST BEFORE USING)
½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 375. Using an electric mixer combine the butter and lemon zest.  Add one cup of sugar and beat until light.  Mix in the egg and then the vanilla.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Place the blueberries in a bowl and toss with ¼ cup of the flour mixture.  Add the remaining flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, mixing just to combine.  Gently fold in the blueberries.

Line a muffin pan with paper muffin cups.  Spoon the batter into the cups, filling them about ¾ full.  Sprinkle the tops with the remaining sugar.  Bake until muffins are lightly browned and spring back when touched in the center, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving. Makes about  11 regular sized muffins, and about 30 minis

**If you don’t have field fresh blueberries….just use frozen. Keep in mind, though, the batter will get very stiff when you mix them in, since you’re effectively re-freezing the butter. And you’ll need a little extra cooking time. But they’ll be just as good. I promise.