Jan 072013

I said I would bake this weekend, and I did!  But I didn’t make the hearty rolls I had planned; I decided to bake some treats for the freezer instead.  I’ll get back to those rolls later, I promise.

I was surfing the Internet, and spotted this recipe for Ginger Pecan Pumpkin Muffins.  I had crystallized ginger leftover from the Dark Chocolate Brownies with Crystallized Ginger and Sea Salt that I made this summer.  I had leftover pecans from my Mom’s pantry clean out.  And way up top in my cabinet I had a stash of canned pumpkin.  It was destiny, right?  I did change a few things from the original recipe by using some whole wheat flour, replacing a portion of the sugar with honey, and changing the spices a bit.

The muffins were quite good, and I liked the crunch of the pecans.  You can only taste the ginger every few bites so if you want more of a kick, I would increase the amount of crystallized ginger to 1/3-1/2 cup, as in the original recipe.  Although I know pumpkin is often enjoyed in the fall, these muffins are pretty good for January too.



Pumpkin Ginger Pecan Muffins

1 c. white flour
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 c. honey
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. crystallized ginger pieces

In a large bowl, mix flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.  In another bowl, mix eggs, pumpkin, oil, yogurt, honey, and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix just until blended.  Fold in pecans and ginger.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin tins coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350F for 22-28 minutes.

-Adapted from Etsy

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Oct 222012

Of course, I love to visit farmer’s markets and my local produce market.  I really do believe in enjoying fruit and vegetables seasonally, and supporting local agriculture as much as possible.  But I am not ashamed to admit that I also check out the discount produce bin at the grocery store.  You do what you need to do.  This week, I found an incredible deal: 10 very ripe bananas, packaged together and priced at just $1.  This meant, of course, that I had to make banana bread.

It seems a shame that I don’t have a single banana bread recipe on the blog.  My grandmother made banana bread all.the.time and it’s always been one of my favorites.  I decided to make this Crackly Banana Bread from Smitten Kitchen, which aims to make a bread that is more suitable for breakfast with fruit, whole grains, and less sugar.  The “crackle” comes from uncooked millet.  Now, I didn’t want to get a deal on bananas and then spend a lot on millet.  But it was pretty cheap to buy just 1/4 c. of millet from the bulk bins at Whole Foods.

I made a few changes to the original recipe, most notably using canola oil instead of coconut oil, and switching up the spices a bit.  Everything worked out well, and I loved the crackle!  This is a really moist banana bread, which supposedly keeps for a week.  You could enjoy this banana bread as a treat for breakfast, perhaps paired with some nonfat plain yogurt, but I know my grandmother would be eating it in the afternoon with a cup of coffee.



Crackly Banana Bread

4 small ripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1/3 c. canola oil
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. uncooked millet

In a large bowl, mix bananas, egg, oil, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Add baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice and mix well.  Add flour and stir just until combined.  Stir in millet.  Pour batter into a 9″x5″ loaf pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool on a wire rack before removing from pan.

-Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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Oct 022012

My sweet tooth was satisfied with the Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal cookies, but I still had a good amount of pumpkin leftover.  I decided to make this Pumpkin Cornbread from the New York Times.  The recipe is written by Martha Rose Shulman as part of the ‘Recipes for Health’ feature.

I don’t make cornbread often, but it is such a treat to have a piece fresh from the oven.  Even though the recipe calls for a whole cup of pumpkin, the flavor is very subtle.  Unlike other pumpkin cornbread recipes, this one does not call for pumpkin-like spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice.  It’s really a traditional cornbread with just a hint of pumpkin, which is great for serving with any fall dinner.




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Sep 172012

Our cooking club theme this month was “Apples”.  I decided to make these Apple Thyme Cheddar Scones from the website of a Western dairy company named Challenge.  We can’t buy Challenge butter around here, but I still liked this recipe for savory scones.  It’s the fall version of my late summer classic Zucchini Cheddar Biscuits.

The ingredients came together very easily, and I was able to resist that strong urge to add more flour at the end.  I pressed the dough into more of a rectangle than a circle, so instead of triangles, I made small squares.  Note that my oven does run a little hot, but these scones were quite browned in 20 minutes, so watch them carefully.

The scones were a nice complement to our apple-themed meal, although I might use fresh herbs instead of dried for more intensity next time.  If you go apple picking and come home with a big tote of apples, save one for this recipe.



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Aug 082012

I’ve had this recipe for Zucchini Cheddar Drop Biscuits saved on my Pinterest for months.  I was fortunate enough to be invited to a dinner party, and thought it would be a good opportunity to try the recipe.  I felt very Southern taking a dishtowel-lined basket of biscuits to a party, and I am happy to report they were a hit!

I changed a few things from the original recipe, cutting back the salt and increasing the amount of zucchini.  You might notice that these biscuits appear a little flat.  I think the extra zucchini may have weighed them down a bit, but the texture was still fairly light.  Although I love just about anything with zucchini, I think it’s the cheese that really makes these taste great.

If you have some extra zucchini around, try these biscuits for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  If you still have extra zucchini, drop them off at my house please.  🙂



Zucchini Cheddar Drop Biscuits

1 c. shredded zucchini
2 1/2 c. flour
1 T baking powder
1 stick butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 c. nonfat milk
1 c. shredded cheddar, such as Cabot 50% reduced fat cheddar

Place shredded zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with salt.  Press with a fork, and allow to drain for 30 minutes.

Mix flour and baking powder in a bowl.  Cut in butter with two knives, or a pastry blender, until all of the butter pieces are the size of small peas.  Add milk, cheese, and drained zucchini.  Drop batter in large spoonfuls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 425F for 12-15 minutes.

-Recipe slightly adapted from A Cozy Kitchen

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