Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pumpkin Chip Muffins

Here is another much requested recipe. I put this one together as a result of moving to the Denver area. Not a lot of cakes appear when you bring something for a gathering. High altitude baking is a skill here in the Mile High City. Everyone have their favorite bar cookie so this brings something different to the table.
These Pumpkin Chip Muffins are very moist and have a kick from the spices. The pumpkin is mild. The recipe is adapted from a Libby' recipe. As always use the best ingredients you can.

Pumpkin Chip Muffins

7 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons of Salt
2 teaspoons each of Nutmeg, Cloves and Cinnamon
(you can substitute 2 Tablespoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice)
3 cups Granulated Sugar
3 cups Brown Sugar
2 cups Vegetable Oil
1 can of Pumpkin (3.5 to 4 cups) (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
8 Eggs
12oz. bag of Chocolate Chips (use mini chips if making mini muffins)

Sift together the Flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt and Spices. Stir in the Sugars. Add the Pumpkin and Oil and stir combining well.

Add the Eggs 2 at a time. Add the Chocolate Chips.

Either grease muffin tins or use cupcake papers. I use cooking spray on my mini muffins. Fill about 2/3 full.

Bake at 350 22-25 minutes for large muffins and about 12-15 minutes for mini muffins. Tester should come out clean.

This recipe makes about 2 dozen muffins and 6 dozen mini muffins. They are a great crowd-pleaser and they freeze well.

Have fun baking.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cream of Tomato Soup

Several of you have requested some recipes from me and I thought this might be the best way to present them. Then you wont lose them or have your son do his homework on the back of it. Now how do I know about that one!

Cream of Tomato Soup
This is nice and thick. It will stick to your ribs on a chilly day. Not a real picky recipe on amounts of the ingredients. Adapted from a recipe on FoodNetwork.

Ingredients & directions
4 Tablespoons of Butter melt it in a pan on low
2 medium Onion chopped add to pan
1 large Carrot diced small add to pan
Turn up the heat to medium till the onions and carrots soften, keep stirring.
Then Add 4 Tablespoons of Flour, cook and stir 3-5 minutes. (As flour sticks to the pan you need to move to the next step.)

Then add:
2 28 oz cans of Tomatoes (diced, stewed, whatever you have 4 14.5 oz cans work too)
2 14.5 oz cans of Chicken Broth and 1/2 can of water
About 3oz of Tomato Paste (half a small can, you can freeze the rest to use later.)
1 teaspoon Basil
1 teaspoon Thyme
2 Bay leaves, whole
Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove Bay leaves.

In small batches puree the soup in a food processor or blender.
Return it to the pan. Slowly add 2 cups of light Cream or Milk (Use anything heavier than skim milk.) Wisking it together. Simmer till heated through.

Salt and pepper to taste
We also like to add Garlic Powder and Parmigiana Cheese at the table.
Serve with some nice crusty bread.

If you chose to freeze this stop before you add the cream or milk (they will not freeze well in the soup.) Add cream or milk after defrosting.

Sure if it is the right time of the year use fresh tomatoes and seasonings. Canned and dried are the least expensive most of the time.

The recipe can be halved.

6 to 10 servings

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Procrastination Can Be Expensive

I often wonder why it seems that doing anything but the priorities on my list, look like more inviting tasks. It creates all sorts of problems.

The forgotten birthday card to your mother-in -law will involve a lot of Tylenol.

Deciding not to go to the store on Monday when it is sunny, will either get you wet in Tuesday's rain or the grapes will cost a dollar more a pound on Wednesday.

You might as well pick up the poster boards now because it will be a Sunday evening when your child needs one for the term project, due Monday, that he remembered 10 minutes ago.

All of us know that that the meal still in the freezer as dinner time approaches creates a problem. Microwave thawed chicken parts are not as tasty and that hamburg is going to need a lot of coaxing to become patties. Once in a while you can get away with pulling out a jar of spaghetti sauce and with salad fixings the family might think you planned it. How often is it tempting to just hit the drive thru or holler out for pizza? The lesson: timely defrosting.

Now for fifteen more things that will cost you money if you postpone doing them.
1. Returning rental movies or library books late.
2. Paying a bill late.
3. Store bought cupcakes are more expensive than home made ones.
4. Fixing the car's oil leak now and not replacing the engine later.
5. Keep a filled water bottle with you rather than buy a fountain drink when you are out.
6. Packing your lunch will save you later in the day.
7. Book as hotel as soon as you know you need one, gives you more choices and maybe less expensive.
8. Set the coffee pot up before you go to bed, then you can take it with you rather than wait in line for a more expensive one.
9. Wear you new shoes around the house on the carpet to be sure they feel good, if not no scuffs on the soles makes for a much easier return.
10. Before hitting the new book store, check out a used book store. Go with a list of what you want.
11. Check batteries in flashlights and radios often for charge and corrosion.
12. Start you seedlings for your garden. $3 of seeds will give you a lot more plants than you can buy for that later.
13. Check your tires. Proper inflation gives better gas mileage.
14. Buy extra 'Forever' postage stamps now before the rates go up this Spring.
15. Admit it, you are now eligible for senior citizens discounts, use that to your advantage.

Being Prepared can reduce your stress and maybe save you a little money.