Pumpkin, Pumpkin Everywhere!

So I’m up to my eyeballs in Thanksgiving preparations so I must be brief.  Plus, I’m one-handed typing this –  because I’m covered in pumpkin goo.  I baked and pureed up my three little sugar pumpkins that have been gracing my countertop since they came to live at my house. Today, their lusciousness must be turned into pie.

At this point, I’d have to say that opening a can is a lot less labor intensive, but their taste may change my attitude.  Of course, my attitude may be influenced on the numbers of helpers I’ve had with this project and how much fighting there can be involved when the blender comes out of the cupboard.

Who knew pushing the buttons could be so paramount?

Next installment:  a taste test fest!

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Thankful for Thanksgiving

What should I make out of these sugar pumpkins?

What should I make out of these sugar pumpkins?

I am getting ready to host 2 family Thanksgiving soirees and my mind is buzzing with all the possibilities.  Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday and not just because I love to wear yoga pants and feel miserable.  I love having a day to pour over the recipes in my gazillion recipe books, magazines, and cooking websites searching for just the right one.

My family usually gets together the Saturday after Thanksgiving for enchiladas and all kinds of cheesy insanity.  But this year we are doing it the weekend before Thanksgiving in order to work around some schedules.  And then my husband’s family will be over for the actual Turkey Day.

I just pulled myself away from Recipezaar’s 411 pie recipes in order to ask you all this important question:  standard or “exotic” pumpkin dessert for my first celebration?  I could go with the old faithful, do a pecan pumpkin pie, pumpkin brandy pie, or either a chiffon or bar version.

What’s your verdict?  Really, I’m taking suggestions here.

Fall Tastes Like Ginger

 

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Kristina's Gingered Pumpkin Muffins

The rain has started in earnest around here which is a necessary thing, but makes me want to curl up with a blankie and something warm and tasty.  Like a chai and a muffin.  I think muffins are the perfect food because you can hide a whole lotta healthiness in a seemingly decadent little bundle of joy.  Plus, natural portion control – something I often need help with achieving.  So, if you are needing your house to seem all cozy or your tummy is just needing a hug from the inside, or if you are like me and like a muffin with a warm beverage, this is just the ticket.

 

I love ginger in its many incarnations – sweet, savory, what-have-you.  It adds a sweet kind of pizzazz to a food that I enjoy.  Of course, I love spicy foods, so for some who like a bland existence,  you probably don’t want to come to dinner at my house.   But what with the weather being so crap-tastic, I decided to whip up some Gingered Pumpkin Muffins last night.  It was an inspired idea, let me tell you.

A word of “warning” from me to you.  I break a whole lotta rules when I bake.  It is my nature; sorry, I really can’t help it.  But there are a few places I try to never deviate – and the basic chemical properties needed for leavening are front and central.  So, the following is the basic concept of these muffins, but I’m known for throwing in some sultans one time or swapping pecans for the walnuts, or whatever.  I think of cooking and baking as ways of expressing my more creative side.  So just as long as you don’t monkey about with whatever makes it rise or take out all the fat, I figure you just can’t go wrong.

Kristina’s Gingered Pumpkin Muffins

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/3 cup melted butter

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup water

1/2 tps nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1 tsp ground ginger

1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

2 Tblsp minced candied ginger

In a bowl, sift the flours, salt, sugar, and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin, butter, eggs, water and spices.  Add the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated.  Fold in candied ginger and nuts.

Spoon into prepared muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes in a 350 (F) degree oven.  Muffins are ready when an inserted toothpick is moist but not wet.  Cool on rack.  Makes 12 muffins.

*Notes:  One large can of pumpkin has 3 cups of pumpkin puree in it.  I use muffin/cupcake liners that I spray with Pam and one recipe makes 12 nice large muffins.  Enjoy!