Pumpkin Muffins

My friend Andrea posted a photo on her Facebook page with me tagged in it that she thought I would like…since she knows of my pumpkin obsession!

Ingredients

recipe

Instead of a yellow cake mix I used a spice cake since it had….well spices in it! I thought it would be comparable to what is used in pumpkin pie.

Ingredients

Ingredients

I just did like it said and mixed the pumpkin into the cake mix and put 1 and 1/2 scoops into a muffin tin lined with papers. The can of pumpkin in the picture is 15oz and since I make my own puree I measured out that amount.

filled and ready to bake!

filled and ready to bake!

cooked and cooling.

cooked and cooling.

I just tasted one and OMG they are so delicious! They came out light, fluffy and tasting just like pumpkin bread/roll/pie etc….so very good! Yummy! I suppose you could top with frosting (for the ones I made cream cheese frosting came to mind) but then they’d be cupcakes…right? I highly recommend this very easy and delicious recipe!

Pumpkin Puree Part 2

In another post I covered how to make your own purred pumpkin for cooking and in it I said:

“I found nicer, darker pie pumpkins at a local market that sells Amish and Mennonite produce (they were $1.49 each) and I will bake them today but I don’t expect much change.”

Well I cooked some up recently that were a nice dark color and the puree they made was so much better then the pale ones at the grocery!

Nice dark pumpkin.

Nice dark pumpkin.

I cooked them according to my old post (here: https://aradiasilvermoon.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/pumpkin-puree/) and pureed them in my food processor. The puree came out so nice and dark! You could definitely tell the difference!

Freshly pureed

Freshly pureed

Fresh puree packaged for freezing.

Fresh puree packaged for freezing.

 

Old vs. New

Old vs. New

In this photo you can see the old, pale puree laying on top of the darker, newer pumpkin. Now I know you are thinking did it really make any difference? In cooking no it didn’t but the darker puree had a richer taste to it…hard to describe…but it was better tasting.  Another problem I ran into was after packaging them in baggies it was difficult to get the puree out and some got stuck. Since I measured these out at precisely the amount needed for the items I was making leaving some behind wasn’t ideal. Then I came up with an idea on how to get the puree out without leaving any behind! I cut the end off the baggie and slowly squeeze out every drop, if you have ever iced cakes this way then it’s the same concept.

Pumpkin out of a baggie

Pumpkin out of a baggie

So when making your own puree I would recommend getting the darkest pumpkins so you can get that dark, rich tasting puree for your baked goods! The pale puree works great too and tastes good, so much better then canned versions, so either way it’s a healthy and tasty addition to your cooking!

Happy Pinning!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Yup this anohter pumpkin themed recipe! I love this time of the year because of all the yummy pumpkin themed food and drinks! While making the pumpkin puree (https://aradiasilvermoon.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/pumpkin-puree/) I put the seeds and strings in a bowl of water so I could roast them later. I didn’t even know you could do this until my boyfriend asked about it, apparently he love them! The same pin which inspired me to make my own pumpkin puree had instructions to roast the seeds.

The pin: 

http://dailysavings.allyou.com/2012/09/24/pumpkin-cooking/

It says to place the pumpkin innards in a bowl of water and then mush them until the seeds separate and float to the top.

Soaking

Soaking

Once you have the seeds floating on top of the water scoop them out and lay them out flat to dry them out.

 

Ready to dry!

Ready to dry!

I laid mine on a clean dish towel and let them sit out for a few hours to dry. Then you lay them in a single layer on a lightly oiled pan and season, I used sea salt, and toast at 325 for 10 to 15 minutes. Check them after 10 minutes and gently shake the pan once or twice and if needed toast them longer until lightly browned. After roasted transfer into a bowl to cool down then enjoy!

Roasted and ready to eat!

Roasted and ready to eat!

Tips from me: 

#1 Let them dry completely! When I roasted mine they were still “tacky” feeling and because of this they took extra long to roast.

#2 You can season them anyway you like! My boyfriend told me he likes them sweet so next time I will sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Also the pin states you can use cumin and chili powder or salt and pepper….whatever you want!

#3 Separating the seeds from the  strings can be challenging and you won’t get them all but your patience will be rewarded with yummy crunchy goodness!

I found these to be so yummy and even my uber-picky daughter loved them and stated they tasted like sunflower seeds! I am going back to get more pie pumpkin from the Amish market and will definitely make this again!

Happy Pinning!

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

After making the steel cut pumpkin pie oats and the homemade pumpkin bread I had to break down and buy some more pumpkin so I could continue my cooking. But what I found shocked me! The canned pumpkin was $1.99 for generic and around $2.xx for name brand! I was astonished and decided I wouldn’t buy any! When I got home I looked on my pinterest and I found a how to on making your own pumpkin puree for use in recipes. I also like the idea of making my own because it won’t have any dyes, preservatives, or other artificial ingredients in it!

The pin: 

http://dailysavings.allyou.com/2012/09/24/pumpkin-cooking/

I went to a local grocery store and found they had pie pumpkins on sale for $0.89 and I bought two for under $3. The are a lot smaller then carving pumpkins, you should use pie pumpkin because they have a better taste to them. First you cut them in half legthwise (start at the stem and cut until you reach the stem again. After cutting it scoop out the seeds and put them aside (I am going to roast them for the first time tonight and post about it tomorrow) in a bowl of water.

Cut, scooped, and ready to bake.

Cut, scooped, and ready to bake.

Place both halve cut side down on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cook on 350 degrees the time ranges due to several factors. My tiny ones cooked up in 45 minutes but it can take up to 2 hours depending on size and density.

Baking

Baking

After they are cooked fully the flesh should scoop out easily, if not place back in over and cook longer. Wait until the pumpkin is cooled then scoop out the flesh and place into a bowl and toss the rinds in the trash, or compost. The pin said to mash it up but I had trouble and couldn’t mash it well enough so I dumped into a food processor until it was all smooth.

Pumpkin puree

Pumpkin puree

I baked two pumpkins and got around 3 cups of puree and since the bread calls for one and a half cups I measured out that amount. I put some into the fridge then froze the rest. I found nicer, darker pie pumpkins at a local market that sells Amish and Mennonite produce (they were $1.49 each) and I will bake them today but I don’t expect much change. I asked my mom about how pale the pureed pumpkin was compared to the canned pumpkin (she makes her own canned pumpkin) and she said the color didn’t matter. She said the products I made would be paler in comparison (to canned products) but taste the same since pumpkin has really no taste of it’s own…it’s the spices that make the taste. So don’t be frightened if your puree is pale too.  So for under $3 I got enough pumpkin for 2 loaves of bread compared to $2.xx for one can which would only make one loaf! It was super easy and unless I can find a crazy good deal on canned pumpkin I will make my own!

Happy Pinning!

Food (and life) Saving Tips

Imagine you’re cooking your favorite meal and halfway through it you realize you don’t have the spices for it or another important ingredient. Nothing is more frustrating right? Well thanks to Pinterest I have found so many neat tricks that have saved me a lot of time, money, and most important frustration!

Seasonings

I was halfway through making tacos one night when I realized I didn’t have any taco seasoning packets! I was also broke so I couldn’t just run out and buy one! Thankfully I remembered I had pinned some seasoning blends so I went to my computer and found this lifesaver!

Taco Seasoning:
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
mix and use! When I made this I omitted the red pepper flakes since I don’t like it to spicy. Also when using this put a little in at a time then taste it before adding more. I didn’t do this and my meat came out really spicy so I had to cut it down with water and more meat before we could eat it.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend:

I was making the pumpkin pie steel cut oats I realized that it called for pumpkin spice blend and I didn’t have any! S0 again I dug through my pins and found a great helping recipe.

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

mix together and use!

The best thing about these blends is the fact that they have no MSG, preservatives, or other additives! I like knowing what is in my food and I love how with a few simple spices you can save money by not buying packets at the store!

Freezing

Ever make something only to have a TON of it and no idea what to do with it all? I always freeze items for quick and tasty meals but I found some great tips that made this process a bit easier.

#1 Use a muffin tin!

Oatmeal in a muffin tin

Oatmeal in a muffin tin

(the pin http://highermiles.blogspot.com/2012/03/friday-food-oatmeal-from-freezer.html) After I made the pumpkin pie steel cut oats (post here https://aradiasilvermoon.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/pumpkin-pie-steel-cut-oats/) I took a 1/2 cup measuring cup and filled the muffin tin with the oatmeal then I put it in the freezer. After they froze I used a knife to gently loosen them so they popped out and I put them in the baggie to save for later!

bag of oatmeal!

bag of oatmeal!

You can also use your freezer to make yummy desserts!

The pin: http://www.funelf.net/ice-tray-strawberries-chocolate-go/

Slice strawberries in half, place in an ice cube tray, pour melted chocolate over,and freeze! I would spray the tray with a bit of non stick spray so you can pop them all out then break apart!

Misc Tips: 

#1: Use your muffin tin to poach eggs!

Poached eggs

Poached eggs

Crack the eggs into a muffin tin and cook at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes! You can then freeze them like this then heat up for breakfast or make sandwiches out of them and freeze those!

#2 Use 2 cookie sheets to make crispy, baked sandwiches!

Perfect grilled sandwiches

Perfect grilled sandwiches

Hopefully these tips will help you in your cooking future!!

Happy Pinning!

Homemade Pumpkin Bread

Since the season of pumpkin is upon us I decided to make some yummy, scrumptious pumpkin bread! I love all things pumpkin including, but not limited to, pumpkin bread, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice cappuccino, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin oatmeal. Yummy!!

The pin:

http://mylifeandkids.com/moist-pumpkin-bread-recipe/#comment-91397

Ingredients:

2 eggs

1 c sugar

½ c brown sugar

½ c butter or margarine, softened

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1½ cup canned pumpkin

Ingredients

Ingredients

First you preheat the over to 350 degrees then mix all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Mix butter and sugar together until creamy then add eggs one at a time while still stirring (or crack one and then stir…add the other…stir). After the eggs add the vanilla, then you slowly combine the dry ingredients with the liquid ingredients. Add pumpkin into mixture (the blog says to “by hand, mix in pumpkin”) but I folded it in gently until all combined.

Pumpkin batter, ready to bake

Pumpkin batter, ready to bake

Pour into a greased, floured pan and bake for 45 minutes, let set in the pan once cooked for 15 minutes then remove and cool on a wire rack.

Done and ready to eat!

Done and ready to eat!

Tips from me:

#1: Oven temperatures vary widely so the cooking time may be longer. I checked mine at 45 minutes and it was still really liquidy so I cooked it longer, it took 1 hour and 10 minutes before the knife came out clean.

#2: Like I said above the blog stated to “by hand, mix in pumpkin”. But in my experience a batter like this that is sticky and really liquid it is hard to knead by hand.

#3: When it says dry ingredients it means the spices too lol! When I first made this (I have made 2 loaves so far) I mixed everything in but the spices since it didn’t occur to me they were dry ingredients! So I added them in at the end but before adding the pumpkin! It tasted every bit as delicious as my second loaf (made properly this time lol!).

I found this to be a very easy and simple bread to make! It was very moist, flavor full, and it sliced real easily! It was so good in fact my boyfriend ate half the loaf the next morning for breakfast! Since my mom, as well as I, wanted some I had to bake a second loaf and let him have the remainder of the first one! So be prepared because this pumpkin bread is so good it’ll disappear quickly!

Pumpkin Pie Steel Cut Oats

‘Tis the season!! No not that season…not yet anyways! I mean the season of everything pumpkin! I LOVE pumpkin so much that I try to use it as much as possible this time of the year! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin coffee creamer, pumpkin roll, pumpkin bread, and now pumpkin pie steel cut oats! I have only recently because aware of how much better steel cut oats are for you vs. rolled oats so I looked up multiple recipes.  Last time, my first blog post on here, was cinnamon apple steel cut oats https://aradiasilvermoon.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/crock-pot-cinnamon-apple-steel-cut-oats/.

The pin: http://fooddoodles.com/2011/11/13/pumpkin-pie-steel-cut-oats-in-the-crockpot/

Ingredients:

  • 2 C steel cut oats
  • 1 15oz can of pumpkin(or about 1 3/4C)
  • 1 400 mL (about 1.5 cups) or 14 oz can full fat coconut milk plus enough water to make 7C(about 5 1/4C water)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 C honey or maple syrup(or leave unsweetened and add after it’s been cooked)

Mix all ingredients in a crock pot and cook 5-6 hours on low.

Ready to cook!

Ready to cook!

When done simply spoon up and enjoy with any topping you like!

Delicious!

Delicious!

I loved cooking this overnight because when I work up this morning not only did my house smell so good but a hot breakfast was waiting for me! I didn’t have to cook or prepare anything I could just serve it up and enjoy! It tasted like you crumbled up a slice of pumpkin pie and ate it in milk! So good! I can’t wait to have more tomorrow morning!

Tips from me:

#1 Any milk can be used in place of the coconut milk. I used a almond/cashew/hazelnut milk blend in mine.

#2 The temperature and time may vary from crock pot to crock pot. Mine has timed settings intervals of 4, 6, 8, or 10 hours so I started mine at 8:30 pm and set it on 10 hours so it would be done by 6:30 am and ready to eat!

#3 I didn’t have any honey or maple syrup so I omitted it (it cooked just fine) and I added brown sugar to my bowl and it tasted fabulous!

#4 It makes a lot so be prepared for leftovers if your family is small, like mine!

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Happy Pinning!

P.S.: I would love it if my readers would post some pins in the comments section! I am always looking for new things to try!!