Thanksgiving


How was your Thanksgiving?? Ours was pretty good. My work scheduled enabled me to have an extended break which was nice. By Sunday though I desperately needed to get out of the house. I spent most of Thursday cooking which was nice. We managed to do just enough so it felt like Turkey Day but not so much that it was overwhelming. On our menu:

  • Sausage Stuffing with Fruit
  • Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • Apple Crumb Pie
  • Turkey Breast – nothing too special here just herb butter (rosemary & thyme) and lots of basting (every 10 minutes for the last 45 minutes). 5 pounds went for about 2.25 hours total (30 minutes at 425 and the remaining at 350).
  • Gravy – store bought (trader joe’s)
  • Mashed Potatoes – done by my mother in law; basically your standard recipe but we added in some garlic-parmesan olive oil
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Tart – made by my mother in law and we adapted it from these two #1 and #2

We really enjoyed each of these treats. Some were proven to be excellent breakfast choices while others delicious standalone lunches.

Carver and I really enjoy the turkey-stuffing combo. In fact we often have it outside of that fourth Thursday of November. I think it is safe to say that we will make it again in our new house this January.

Meanwhile enjoy some other photos of our holiday.

           

      


Pumpkin Donut Muffins


These fabulous muffins came up last year. I believe I originally saw them in the November 2010 EDF. I knew instantly that these would be a huge hit. I made them last year as Thanksgiving day breakfast and they lasted a few days beyond that for snacks. This year I made them again – twice. Once for Carver’s breakfasts last week and again last week (5AM on Wednesday before work…) for my coworkers. Here is the original recipe.

Pumpkin Donut Muffins

Yields 12 muffins

Muffins

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 15 ounces canned pumpkin
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup egg substitute

Topping

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with papers and spray papers with nonstick spray.

2. Sift dry ingredients together in to a medium bowl or on to parchment paper.

In a small bowl whisk together pumpkin and buttermilk. Set wet and dry aside.

3. In a separate bowl beat butter, brown sugar and applesauce together until light and fluffy. Mix in egg substitute gradually scraping down bowl regularly.

4. Put mixer on low and add wet and dry ingredients to butter/sugar mix. Alternate flour and pumpkin; add the flour in thirds and the pumpkin in halves.

5. Spoon batter in to muffin cup – they should be about 2/3 full.

6. Bake muffins for about 30 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through cook time. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in the pan.

7. Assemble the topping. Combine cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg in a small bowl and transfer the melted butter to a separate small bowl.

8. After muffins have cooled for 10 minutes, dunk the top of each muffin in butter then dunk top in cinnamon sugar mix. Transfer to wire rack to finish cooling. I would put paper or baking sheet underneath the cooling rack to catch any stray sugar.

These will last 4 days in an airtight container at room temperature. They also will freeze very well; they last 3 months in an airtight freezer bag.


I wanted November to be different


and it is. So different in fact that if November 16-30 were the same as October 1-30 it would still count. Granted I’m (we’re) still exhausted and have a big chunk of our lives boxed up but some things have changed. Things that are good and things that are eh – but when I asked for things to change I didn’t specify for the better/worse so I guess I’ve learned that for the next time I go making wishes to no one and any one. I now have limited closet space thanks to more wedding stuff than I know what to do with – my gown, 2 bridesmaid dresses, 2 pairs of wedding shoes (his & hers), the material for table numbers, escort cards and invitations along with some display supplies. Not to mention we put a rent-sized check down yesterday. But not for an apartment. For a real home. Our home. It has been a whirlwind experience and we aren’t quite through it yet but at least we are closer to being on our own two feet (and foundation). I have also been busy working on incorporating this blogging hobby of mine. It deserves to be real and legal. I have also signed up for this crazy thing called writing a book… 30 posts in 30 days and 50,000 words in 30 days. I’m not quite at the timeline I wanted to be at but I haven’t quit and I am making progress each day towards these goals. The question will be what to do with these projects. I think I am going to need more caffeine, more snacks and more adorable pictures to keep me motivated.


harvest muffins make a come back


It was just over a week ago that the request for these muffins came to me. I made them once last year for a meeting and they were a huge hit. No surprise because they are filled with nuts, dried fruit and ‘fall-y’ spices. I have made them less sinful than the original recipe, but they will never and should never be a 2 point muffin – unless you make them mini then you could drop the stats. The changes I have made make them super moist as well so live it up and enjoy the tastes of fall.

Harvest Muffins

  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package (4oz) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried figs, chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 375. Line muffin tin with papers and spray papers with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl sift (or just stir with a whisk if you don’t have a sifter) dry ingredients together – flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients egg, milk, sour cream, butter, applesauce, pumpkin; mixing slowly until just combined. Next, add in the sugar, making sure it is evenly dispersed. At this point I switch to a silicon spatula and fold in the fruit and nuts.

Scoop muffin batter in to prepared pans – each muffin paper should be 2/3 full. Bake the muffins for 35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking time. When they come out of the oven let them rest in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack (mine is still packed so I just put them on a brown paper bag to cool) until completely cooled. I keep them frozen and pop them in Carver’s lunch each day; by the time he is ready for a snack it has defrosted.

For 18 large muffins it is 6 Points Plus per muffin. If you were to make mini muffins you would get 40 muffins at 3 Points Plus per muffin.

I might add – they are delicious warmed with a light slathering of whipped cream cheese.


I know the shame in your defeat


I did a 180 this morning, on the advice of a dear friend. The day started with some bad pants. (Note that I am blaming the pants.) I should have done something about these pants months ago. They were passed down to me and I like the idea of the pants but they aren’t flattering and they do NOTHING good for my self-esteem. Anyways I gave them another try this morning and nearly spiraled out of control. I got by with a little help from my friend. As I was driving to work two things happened (three if you count driving…). One: I got some therapy from Foster the People. Torches is my current cure-all for bad moods or ambivalence. Two: I decided it’s far too easy for things to screw with my day. Last night it was eggs giving it their all. Today those pants. Changes at work over the past few weeks. I’M SO OVER IT!!! I’m sick of letting things like pants and eggs throw a kink in my day. I’m better than that. I know I’m not alone here so if you have that issue too – you are better than that too!

I was working on my meal plan for the week and decided spinach salads with bacon and hardboiled eggs sounded like a nice easy lunch we could both enjoy. One small problem. I’ve never made hard-boiled eggs before. For many years I wouldn’t eat them so why would I make them?! Well I was really nervous about these eggs. Because if I screwed that up, I didn’t have a back up plan (sometimes I work best that way). I did some research and I decided to go with Chocolate and Zucchini on this. And they were a success! I even got requests to have them more often. This morning I was nervously peeling the shell while Carver was laughing at me, “You make souffles and you’re afraid of a hard-boiled egg?” Yah, so.. Maybe I was. Anywho that’s all fixed now. Now that I have delicious, creamy hard-boiled eggs in my arsenal. They were delicious on our salad. Give them a try – they may help you fight the mojo-killer in your life.

I felt the eggs were a perfect example of letting something silly affect my day. This time I won. I showed those eggs who was boss. And when I get home I will either decide to give up on the pants or add them to my pile for the tailor. BUT until the issue is resolved they will not mess with my day.

What will you vow to stand up to today?

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Quality time with mom


So a few weeks ago my mom came to visit. It was a whirlwind weekend, but we got a lot done and it was nice to spend some quality time with her. The majority of our work was for the wedding but we did some serious eating while she was here to. There were 3 places I had to introduce her to. Pita Jungle, Sprinkles, and Seasons 52. Yummy… Such a yummy weekend. Falafel, hummus, cupcakes and salads… Especially because she brough cake pops! oh my… I must make these once I have guaranteed someone to help me eat them (Jen, Gina… ahem).

I did so well taking photos early in the day… But by the time we scarfed down cupcakes I was almost comatose and thus there are no dinner photos. Please forgive me. I promise to return to Seasons 52 to get you photos… Maybe a lunch shot would be more successful.

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Excerpts from the trail


Saturday we went for an adventure. We loaded up the trucks and hit the road. The first time Carver took me off-roading I was white-knuckles the whole way. This time I did better. Taking photos distracted me from any drastic changes in incline and super-sized rocks. We started the day with a trip through the drive-thru at Dunkin Donuts. Egg white flatbreads and coffee. And maybe a couple munchkins. When in Rome.. the day finished up at this cute restaurant with a pond and ducks and swans.

Anyway, here are my favorite photos of the trip. I hope these photos give you some warmth – especially my East coast readers.

 

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