Friday, November 14, 2014

It's Cold Out, So Let's Bake!

Hello Fellow Homesteaders!

I love to bake, but I really really love to bake when it's cold outside. One of my many favorite things about winter is coming in from out of the cold into a warm house and being enveloped with the warm aroma of baked goods. Especially when that aroma is spicy like it is with pumpkin baked goods! I'm pretty sure I made excuses to go outside for a moment here and there just so that I could experience this over and over!

Well, today I started out with a tasty Honey Maple Pumpkin Bread recipe. I wanted to do some baking, this popped up on my news feed, so I thought, "why not?" My 9 by 5 pans are not exact. As you can see, one is shorter and wider than the other. It works though!

While that was baking, I looked through my recipes for the next one. I love cooking with honey and maple, but only have so much of it. So I found a recipe for Healthy Pumpkin Muffins. When I went to paste the link on here for you, it said the page was no longer there. I'm thankful I had it written down already!

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins
1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
15 oz Can of Pumpkin Puree (I used home made)
1/3 C Canola Oil (I used apple sauce)
2 Eggs
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (make your own w/ 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp all spice, 1/2 tsp nutmeg. I usually double this or more to keep on hand. Works for Apple Pie Spice too.)
1/2 tsp Cloves
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1 C Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt

Mix flour and baking powder. In a separate bowl, mix everything else, then add flour mixture incorporating slowly. Don't over mix. Divide into greased or papered muffin pan and top with cinnamon and sugar mixture if desired. (I forgot this part, but it didn't need it anyway.) Bake at 350 degrees: 25-30 minutes for regular sized muffins, or 15-17 minutes for mini muffins, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes and remove from pan to cooling rack. Serve warm with real butter!

I made 3 batches of this...some regular sized muffins and some mini muffins.

I rarely stop for meals when I am on a cooking spree, so it was convenient to have something easy to eat while I baked. Mmmm mmmm!! They were good! They were pretty filling too.

I love to re-use items, so I decided to wash out a 15 oz can to measure my pureed pumpkin more easily. 

After using up what I needed, I froze the rest of the pumpkin puree in 1/2 cup measurements in my other muffin pan. After they are frozen solid, I sit this out for a few minutes to let the bottoms soften up just enough to get them out, then I put them all in a freezer bag.

I have to show off my girls' glorious eggs! Thanks to them, I didn't run out! I found this nifty egg-holder on clearance at Target long before my chicks started laying. Perhaps I was counting my eggs before they were laid, but I am thankful my girls didn't let me down. This won't wear out like an egg-carton would and it makes me happy to see my eggs displayed every time I open the fridge. 

I also had several small eggs from my younger girls. I was going to crack them all, whisk them with a bit of salt and freeze them in ice cube trays for later use in cooking. I'd guess these 10 eggs would be equivalent to maybe 5 or 6 large baking eggs. (Fun tip: unless otherwise specified, the general egg size to be used in recipes is large.) Then I got an idea...maybe they'd make cute boiled eggs! So I made some cutesy hard-boiled eggs while I baked. Maybe I'll make some deviled eggs out of them. I love these precious tiny eggs! 

Fun Fact: Did you know that the fresher an egg is, the worse it sticks to the shell when you try to peel it? To fix this problem, steam your eggs instead of immersing them in water. That's why these little bird fruits aren't under water. I usually steam eggs for about 20 minutes. You can hard "boil" any egg like this.

Well, I'd say at the end of the day, I had a pretty good bounty! Much of this will go into the freezer for another day. With this hungry crew, it's a wonder any of it made it there!

What have you been baking this fall so far? Please share your recipes below! I love trying new recipes! So much so that my husband sometimes complains that I'll make something that's really good, but then he never sees it! 

Happy Baking!

Jen Hen

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