Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

My in-laws were in town over the weekend and we were busy, busy! Dinner out, the circus, my husband and I even snuck out to see the new Steve Jobs movie after we put the kids to bed Saturday night – by Sunday morning we all needed a special sweet breakfast treat. I had this pumpkin muffin recipe bookmarked to try and decided it was the perfect morning to make them. I adjusted a couple measurements in the recipe so I noted them below. The streusel topping really made these muffins extra good and since they seemed to go over well I thought I’d share here.

Baking notes:
– the recipe calls for 1 1/2C pumpkin puree, I added more for a total of 1 3/4C
– the recipe calls for 1C regular sugar and 1C brown sugar. I used the full amount of brown and halved the amount of white sugar.
– the recipe calls for 2/3C oil and 1/2C apple sauce (1 1/6C together). I used about 3/4C apple sauce and the rest in oil to lessen the amount of oil used even more.- for the streusel topping, I mixed the flower, oats, and sugar with cold butter and blended together with my fingers before sprinkling on top of the muffins.
– With all my adjustments cooking time was the same but the muffins stuck to the paper wrappers terribly – I recommend spraying your muffin tins with cooking spray or using parchment paper.

I made a few mini muffins for the kiddos, too. Enjoy!

The Secret to an Extra Delicious Apple Pie

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Happy October! By now you’ve probably gone apple picking, or at least popped into a farm stand for a bag of apples. Yes, we all like to trek to the apple farm for our annual family day out to apple pick, we just did it last weekend ourselves. And yes, the experience is wonderful, idyllic, tasty – a fall right-of-passage, if you will, but why REALLY do we do it every year? Three words: homemade apple pie. There is nothing better. I don’t make my own crust but still make pretty decent pies with fresh apples, except for one problem: sometimes they’re just a little too watery. Yours too? Especially the day after. You have apple for dessert on a Sunday, let’s say, and Monday morning you’re thinking it may be a good idea for a slice for breakfast. You get downstairs and your pie is liquid-y with a terribly soggy bottom crust. No good. I know apples are full of water, I always cut a steam vent hole into my pie crust, I sometimes use a pie bird, I always use the right variety of apple too, but the soggy phenomenon still happened every so often. And when you only make a couple apple pies all year, one soggy pie is a disastrous occasion.

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So when I read this article in a recent issue of Bon Appetit, I was so intrigued (my husband happened to point it out, too). The article mentioned roasting your apples pre-pie with sugar and flour and then chilling them to not only remove the moisture but also create a caramelized flavor. Wow! What a great idea and yet so simple. So Sunday afternoon after our Saturday morning apple picking adventure, we did just that. I followed Bon Appetit’s roasting recipe of 4 lbs apples, 1C sugar, and 1/4C flour. I then used my usual recipe to make our pie (store bought refrigerator crust, we use this one, a bunch of cinnamon, 1/4C brown sugar, egg wash on the crust) and just look at this piece of pie!

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And Monday morning it was still beautiful – not a soggy ounce of crust in sight (yes, Z helped me with the pie and we made our initials out of extra dough for the top of the pie). One note, the apples obviously reduce in size as they roast so definitely use a couple apples more than you think are necessary, apples are the star of this pie show after-all, right? Also, reduce (or increase if you want?) the sugar for roasting, this turned out to be a very sweet pie… Let me know if you try this method, I definitely recommend it.

Baked Kale and Ricotta Dip

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I was flipping through the most recent issue of Martha Stewart Living late last week and came across a quick one-page recipe for an alternative to spinach artichoke dip. Since it’s fall and football season and we’re always looking for snacks to enjoy while we watch games on Sunday afternoon, I immediately tore out the page to save. The recipe called for just 2 main ingredients – ricotta cheese and a leafy green. Since we had a bunch of kale in the fridge from our CSA that week we decided to make it for Sunday’s game-watching. I was totally surprised at not only how easy this was to put together but also how delicious it turned out. *Warning, I didn’t chop the kale quite enough and some bites were tricky to eat. I suggest chopping the kale (or whatever green you choose) smaller than you think is appropriate.

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I sauteed the kale first to cook it down and then chopped even more.

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Mix with ricotta cheese (the ratio is 1C ricotta to 1C chopped green) and season with salt and pepper. I then sprinkled with a little grated Parmesan cheese.

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Bake for about 12 minutes at 425 until the edges start to brown. Serve with toasted bread and ENJOY!

Pappa Al Pomodoro – Bread Soup

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I was watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa over the weekend where everything she made had bread as the main ingredient. One recipe was this soup (Pappa Al Pomodoro) and I thought, soup with bread IN it? That sounds pretty awesome, so we made it for dinner on Sunday. We also have tons of tomatoes and carrots to use from our CSA to use up so I’m on the hunt for tomato carrot recipes. I thought the soup was delish and pretty different, so I thought I’d share with you.

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You cook the carrots, onions, fennel and garlic then add the bread before you add any liquid.

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We peeled our fresh tomatos instead of using canned (as we did here).

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We also had some fresh basil growing in our garden still that we used in the recipe.

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At the end you whisk the soup to break up the bread cubes and add a little parmesean cheese.

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It’s really quite good, enjoy!

Fall Breakfast Yogurt

I’m always on the hunt for new breakfast ideas that are healthy and filling. Since we had tons of apples from our apple picking adventure I thought about how good apples would be with Greek yogurt, right? Here’s what I threw together and have been eating now for a week – it’s the perfect combination of fall flavors. Try it, let me know what you think!

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Greek yogurt
Diced apples
Pistachios for crunch
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Drizzle of honey

Enjoy!

Apple Galette

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To continue on our post-apple picking baking adventures we made an Apple Galette over the weekend. And what is a galette, you ask? According to Wikipedia, the term galette is used to describe French round or freeform crust cakes. In layman’s terms a galette is a pie with no top baked flat instead of in a pie pan. So anyways, I read through a lot of recipes and I liked the sound of this one from Epicurious the best. We always seem to gravitate towards recipes with the least amount of ingredients.

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First, peel and core about 6 apples and cut into small wedges. Mix with 2 Tbs sugar, 1 tsp lemon peel, and a dash of cinnamon.

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Roll out your pie crust (we totally used a Pillsbury pre-maid crust) and spread a thin layer of apricot jam around the dough, leaving an inch and a half free.

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Then, arrange your apples to cover the jam overlapping the apples a little. Fold the border of dough on top of the apples.

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Brush with a little milk (or eggwash) and sprinkle with a dash of sugar, about 1 Tbs. Bake at 425 for 20 mins. Reduce the oven to 375 and cook for another 20-30 until the crust is brown.

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Cool, serve, enjoy!

Apple Chips

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Apple chips. Baked Apple Slices. Whatever you call them – they. are. delicious!

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If you’re like us, then you’ll go apple picking at least once this fall and find yourself with a large amount of apples. I love to eat them as is but we were searching for a way to use our freshly picked apples above and beyond the standard pie and crisp. We love our mandolin so we thought we’d try making our own apple chips and boy did they come out great. It’s a bit of work to mandolin all your apples and then bake for 2 hours in batches, but the results are just so yummy I think it’s totally worth it.

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Slice your apples with the 1/8″ size on your mandolin and place on a parchment paper or Silpat lined cookie sheet.

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Remove any actual seeds but you don’t need to remove the core.

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Sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar mixture (for 6 apples we used 2 Tbs sugar and 1 Tsp cinnamon).

Then bake at 225 degrees for 2 hours or more until they get crunchy. A few notes:
– You’ll want to use an “eating” apple for these like a Honey Crisp rather than a “baking” apple like Macintosh.
– We fit 3 cut apples on 2 baking sheets.
– 2 baking sheets don’t fit side by side in my oven so each sheet was on a different rack. To make sure the apple chips baked evenly, we rotated the baking sheets halfway through baking at 1 hour.
– You can use your own judgement on how much cinnamon sugar to add, or don’t use any at all!
– We used one baking sheet with a silpat and one with parchment paper and I would say the apples baked on parchment paper came out slightly better.

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Enjoy!