Sunday, December 27, 2009

Heirloom Pumpkin Walnut Muffins

My sister Janel gave me a cool cookbook full of heirloom recipes for Christmas, "Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters." I got up early this morning, tip-toe-ing around so the dogs would stay asleep (which didn't work), and pulled out the cookbook and started reviewing recipes. The first one I wanted to try was the Pumpkin Walnut Muffins, pg. 45. I've had a can of pumpkin burning a hole in my pantry (so to speak.) I didn't have any heavy cream or mace on hand so I had to just sort that out on the fly. Here's what I did:

My Version of the Pumpkin Walnut Muffins
2 C unbleached flour
2 T ground flax seed (optional)
1 T plus 1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t cloves
1 t ginger
1 C sugar
1 egg (beaten)
2 t vanilla
1 C whole milk
2/3 C canned pumpkin
1 C chopped walnuts
1/2 C butter, melted
1/2 C chopped walnuts (for topping)
1/2 C brown sugar

Mix dry ingredients together. Mix wet ingredients and add the pumpkin and combine. Add the butter and fold in. Fold in the 1 C chopped walnuts. Don't overmix. (I mixed the muffins with a wooden spoon.) Scoop into muffin tin and sprinkle muffins with walnuts and brown sugar. Bake at 400 until toothpick comes out clean. (About 20-22 minutes.)

Everybody say "cheese!"
Review: I think they were just right. The consistency was really good. They baked perfectly and popped right out of the muffin cups. Just the right amount of spice to compliment the pumpkin. (Yep, there were 12 muffins... Mmmmm!) My husband liked them too! Hope you try them, they were a breeze to make!

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eric Can Cook

Remember the PBS cooking show with "Yan Can Cook?" Well Eric can too, when he has time. This particular little number (see the brownies above) came from pre-fab stuff, but I overheard Em say they were the best brownies she had ever eaten (and that includes homemade from scratch Alton Brown-ies and the kind you make from Bakers chocolate - old school). He made the mix, sprinkled walnuts on top, and baked. When cool, he frosted (out of a can), and sprinkled with powdered sugar. He used a special "Baker's Edge Nonstick Edge Brownie Pan" so everybody got a chewy edge piece.

Cue narrator with English accent: "...and they shall be called "Nemesis Brownies" and they shall be known across the land as evil calorie chunks of delight."


UPDATE: I made some Brownies from scratch that everybody liked! Yay! Get the recipe

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gingerbread Yoga People

Adorable! Words fail me.

{ Photo source:, Patti Paige Baked Ideas Custom Baking }

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Best Banana Bread

A short story about baking with bananas...

The Joy of Baking
A couple of years ago I was looking for the best recipe for Banana Bread. I found it.

All Recipes
Next, it was on to muffin recipes. I ended up baking Banana Crumb Muffins. Em and I loved them, but Eric didn't.

Cooking Light
Then I found a banana bread recipe from Cooking Light. Really? Intriguing! I used my favorite Greek Gods Honey yogurt (because I don't ever have plain yogurt kicking around in my fridge). So, here's their recipe for Classic Banana Bread, and here's what I did:

Banana Bread
Banana Bread
My Version of the CL Classic Banana Bread
1 1/2 C Unbleached flour
1/2 C Whole wheat flour
1t Baking soda
1/2 t Salt
1 C sugar
1/4 C butter (soft/quasi melted)
2 eggs
3 over ripe bananas
1/3 C Honey yogurt
1 t Vanilla
1/2 C Walnuts (chopped)*
Turbinado sugar

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix the butter and sugar, add the eggs, bananas, yogurt and vanilla. Mix in the dry ingredients (don't over mix). Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and sprinkle with some of that "Tarantino" sugar. Bake until a toothpick test shows you it's baked thru.

1. Banana Bread
2. My Version of the CL Classic Banana Bread
3. Banana Crumb Muffins

PS: Did you see the cute pot holder? My sister Janel, made me 2 adorable patchwork pot holders for my birthday. I use them all of the time! ~Thank you Janel!~

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Spam Fried Rice

Spam fried rice
Spam Fried Rice

Tonight Em had a friend over, and the pressure was on to cook something yummy. I suppose I could have pulled out a cereal box and some milk, but well, you know... I pulled out an old recipe instead.

Spam Fried Rice

4 C cooked rice
1 can of Spam (lite is okay)
1/2 C (to taste) frozen peas and carrots
4-5 eggs
olive oil
soy sauce

How to: start by cooking the rice. I use Jasmine rice and have a small rice cooker, this makes cooking rice a snap. Next cut the Spam into small chunks and fry in a pan with olive oil to keep it from sticking to the pan. Sprinkle some soy sauce over the ham to caramelize and stir as it browns. Next add the cooked rice to the pan, add the frozen carrots, break eggs over rice (yes, this looks sooo attractive, not) then break the yokes and stir by putting a spatula under the rice and flipping it, repeat every few minutes - this is a bit like hashbrowns, don't mess with it for a minute so you will get a golden cooked area. By the time the eggs are cooked the veggies will be too. Add a little soy sauce if you want. Then serve.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner

Is it dark where you are at dinnertime? It's dark here too. Solstice is a comin' and tonight it's again with the "breakfast for dinner." Here's to breakfast at 7:00 p.m!
Mom's German Pancake
(a great recipe to use up eggs)

3 T butter
6 eggs
1 C flour
1 C milk
1 t salt

Place butter in a 9.5 x 13.5 pan and let it melt into a puddle of goodness in a 400 degree oven while you're mixing up the batter. Crack the eggs into a bowl, add milk, flour, salt, and whisk. Pull the pan out of the oven, put it on the counter and pour in the batter (do not stir).
Place the pan back in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes. Serve with maple syrup.


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