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Archive for the ‘Muffins & Breakfast breads’ Category

I’m having a blog obsession these days.  I’ve been following Joy the Baker for a couple of years now, and though I love her recipes, I think what I love the most is her writing.  She’s a smart sassy gal, with a good head on her shoulders and I thoroughly enjoy her little bits of life advice.  Especially her Halloween post last month, amen sister!  There’s something about the way she writes and communicates her feelings toward food and how she cooks that I find myself repeatedly thinking, “Yes! Exactly!”

I’ve made two of her recipes in the past couple of weeks so I decided to share them both here.  One was her Big Fat Bolognese sauce, and the second was Banana Cranberry Bread.  Make both now and have a fantastic weekend.  While I type this I’ll admit, the banana bread is in the oven and my oh my, does my kitchen smell amazing!!!!!!!!  Thank you Joy! Keep doing what you’re doing!

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First up… Pumpkin Almond Muffins…

As many things go around here, this wasn’t the muffin I intended to make.  I was hoping to make these delicious looking pumpkin millet muffins care of Whole Foods, however, when I went to use the millet, I realized it had gone bad.  I figured it was like any other grain- or more like rice, I guess, and that it wouldn’t have gone bad.  Whelp. It did.  So then I got to thinking, what else could I use? I could make plain pumpkin muffins, but I’ve done that and the crunch of the millet was enticing.  I opened the ol’ freezer and decided to substitute slivered almonds for the millet.  That was a good decision.

I also substituted Greek low-fat plain yogurt for the sour cream (because I didn’t have sour cream) and low-fat milk instead of whole.  I don’t think any of my substitutions adversely affected the muffins, because boy are they delicious!  They’re fluffy, and comforting, and all the things you want out of a muffin,  heat one up with a cup of tea today!

Next up… Pumpkin Pancakes…

Now, seeing as the muffin recipe only called for 1 cup of pumpkin puree, I had about another 1/3 cup or so left in the can.  I thought maybe I could make a cream-based pumpkin sauce for pasta, but then I decided the way to go was pancakes.  I feel like that could be a new life motto… when in doubt: Pancakes.

Pumpkin, meet flour.

I didn’t take notes while I was working – sometimes my multi-tasking isn’t the best- but I can tell you I used the buttermilk pancake recipe from Joy of Cooking, and cut the recipe in half, added a dash each of cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and the pumpkin puree.  The result was a fluffy and tasty breakfast version of pumpkin pie.  A-mazing! I invited a couple friends over for Sunday brunch (because who can eat 12 pancakes alone!- no judgement, just usually not the case!) and we tucked into these lovely things…

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I think I may have to change the name of my blog- something like Tallo Tuesdays.  I realize I’ve been posting only weekly, and it seems to always happen on a Tuesday.  It reminds me of a piece that a class clown of the BHS class of  1999 (maybe 2000, not quite sure) wrote in the student paper once about all the days of the week, each day had a nickname, or a purpose, all but poor Tuesday.  The article ended with, “So, what’s up with Tuesday?” or something to that effect.  Funny how you still remember little things like that, but for the life of me cannot remember things from a year ago!

I was looking through notes from my grad program yesterday and oh man! There’s so much already that I’ve forgotten.  The notes are in my handwriting, but I couldn’t help but think, “Did I really do this? Really? I understood this at one point?”  I’m a bit rusty now and haven’t used much of it, but that is my first and foremost goal of 2011.  To put it to work.  Maybe I can start leveraging my baking ratios or start a commodity trading clearing house out of my kitchen?  No? Ok. Cool. I’ll just bake for now. 🙂

It was a cold and blustery day here yesterday, but I finally finally finally had a public holiday off!  Yipeeeee!  After having to work the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve I was ready for a day to play hooky.  I slept in until a leisurely 9:30 and made up some blueberry muffins.

I decided to be productive so I went to my local Starbucks, hung out for a bit, went for a brief (and cold!) walk with a friend, then headed to the grocery store for some sundries.  It was taco night at La Cucina, roomie & I made up a tasty dinner while watching completely trashy TV.  Please do not judge, I read several news magazines and plenty of non-fiction, I need a light-weight media outlet somewhere in my life, and yes, it’s reality TV.

But before all that, I wanted to make sure I had something stocked up in the fridge for a busy week ahead, so I made a large pot of Tortellini Soup.  The few bites I had yesterday were pretty good, but this one I pretty much made up completely so no guarantees my friends!

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Pumpkin Pop-Tart

The Fall frenzy continues in La Cucina this week.

I had first heard of this whole home-made pop tart thing thanks to, where else, Smitten Kitchen.  It’s a recipe on my “I want to spend a Sunday afternoon baking this” list.  It’s more than a list really, it’s a binder.   The problem with the binder is, as soon as I put something in it, I find another gem.  Case in point: homemade pop tart pastries.  I had been planning/wanting to make a cinnamon sugar version, or even raspberry jam, but then. Then, I found this.  Oh Joy.  How you know me so well.  I love pumpkin things. Obvi.

This past Sunday I cleared my calendar.  Well, let me re-phrase.  I put a baking session on my calendar.  I’m serious.  After brunch with my grad school girls, there was “Pop-Tarts” in my calendar.  I like making lists.  It’s in the family what can I say.

something good is bakin' up in there!

Anyway.  I’m not a baker either.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but baking is just not my strong suit.  The exact measurements, exact dimensions, ugh.  But. I tackled this pastry delight head on, made a complete mess of my kitchen and my self in the process but oh boy! It was worth it.  I make a pretty mean pastry.  Just sayin’.  Now, throw a bit o’pumpkin pie filling in the middle and HELLO! Delicious! Warm! Flaky! Buttery! Gah! I could go on for days.

fresh pop-tarts!

After that, and a couple of Halloween themed movies, I set my sights on Roasted Butternut Squash soup.

Roasting chicken & squash for soup

Thank you Ms. Martha Stewart for the below tip in this month’s EveryDay Food.  Sidebar: the Beef & Barley soup a couple of pages ahead of this one is also fantastic, one of my co-workers made it last week and I had a taste.

The makings of a warm sunday dinner

Healthful and satisfying!!

The only bit I changed was that I used my immersion blender and made it a silky smooth soup before adding the roasted chicken back in.  I was a bit skeptical of this recipe at first I’ll admit.  It wasn’t the traditionally seasoned or creamy squash soup.  It calls for ground cumin, coriander and tops it with cilantro.  I met Martha half-way and used the blender to make it a fuller, creamy-like soup, but sans cream.

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There are some days that just kind of beat you up a bit.  At least if you’re as much of a softie as I am.  There are just days when someone can look at me wrong and I’ll start to cry.  Not the ugly cry or anything, but I’ll tear up and and all I want is to go home, put on my sweats, and have a big bowl of mashed potatoes.  Sometimes the only thing that can help is baking.  (Cooking a hearty meal does the job too.)

There is something about the method of cooking & baking, that takes my mind off of things, it’s rather cathartic.  A sort of treat to yourself.  When all is said and done, Tuesday may have been a bad day, but HEY!  Look at those amazing pumpkin muffins you just made, and they’re so delicious!  Get what I’m saying?  It’s the small victories in life really, and if it’s a successful batch of muffins (or the free subscription to Us Weekly that began appearing at my apt), I’ll take it.

I made a few changes as I ran out of white sugar, but otherwise stayed true to the original written recipe.  And I would like to thank Deb of Smitten Kitchen.  You were just what I needed today.

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