Pumpkin Muffins

I made these muffins initially a few weeks back and posted a post called Oh Snap! where I talk about my muffins “flopping”. I forgot the spices! DUH! LOL! Well, today I had some pumpkin in the fridge that needed to be used up, so I made another attempt at the muffins. They turned out MUCH better this time! YAY!!! The taste of fall. The flavors that I love. Spices…..nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon & ginger. A picture:

Pumpkin Muffins
**Adapted from Pamela’s Website

1 1/4 cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup honey (or 1/4 cup sugar, I used sugar)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup pumpkin (canned)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional, I skipped these b/c my peeps would whine)
Brown Sugar, for topping the muffins

Yield: approximately 6 to 7 muffins

Mix all ingredients together and spoon 2/3 full into greased muffin pan (or use paper muffin cups). Top Muffins with sprinkles of brown sugar. Bake in preheated 350º oven for 18 to 20 minutes

YUM!! Now that I know it is good, I will be doubling this recipe from now on. I wasn’t into wasting ingredients if they weren’t any good.

Menu Plan ~ Week of September 29, 2008

Wow. I can’t believe that it is already Sunday night. Time really does fly. It seems like I just did my menu plan for last week. This week is going to be crazy, just as last week was. I have so much going on. I didn’t get half of what I wanted to get baked last week done, so I have moved some of it to this week. I am trying to concentrate on using stuff I have in the house and only buying fresh fruits, milk, eggs & veggies. Well, the $100 I spent at the grocery store today shows that I didn’t do as well as I had hoped! LOL! I really should stay out of the store when I am hungry.

Sunday ~ Grilled Salmon, okra medley (for me; brocooli for my peeps), steamed brown basmati rice and spinach salad. Oh, the kids also had leftover All Purpose Quick Bread.

Monday ~ Crockpot Roast Chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed green beans & salad.

Tuesday ~ Mexican Pizzas with ground turkey taco meat, mexican rice, & salad.

Wednesday ~ Cheeseburger In Paradise. Hannah has ice skating.

Thursday ~ Filet mignon, baked sweet potatoes or baked sweet potato fries & spinach salads

Friday ~ Homemade pizza, steamed broccoli & salad

Saturday ~ Breakfast for dinner (french toast for the kids), veggie frittata for moi, bacon & sweet potato hash browns.

Baking Projects for the Week
Applesauce Cake
Pie in a Pumpkin
Chocolate Chewies
Pumpkin Muffins (did these once, I need to perfect them)

Applesauce Cookies

When I was growing up my Grandmother (this time, my Mom’s Mother), always used to make applesauce/spice cookies. They were awesome. I woke up thinking about these last week and had to track down the recipe. I emailed my Grandma to ask if she had it, she didn’t. However, my Mom did! She had the cookbook that the recipe came from. Betty Crocker’s Cookbook, the 1969 edition. All I had to do was modify the recipe to make it gluten-free. I did just that. The cookies smelled amazing while they were cooking. In addition, I used my homemade applesauce that I made a huge batch of last week. I really think that just added to the wonderful flavor of these cookies. These cookies really said “fall” to me. The flavors were everything representative of the season. The recipe for the frosting that Betty Crocker suggests is not the one I used. I actually used the Cinnamon Icing that I used for my pumpkin cookies the other day. All of my taste testers have raved about these. They aren’t the prettiest cookies, but who cares when they taste so good?!? They didn’t want to flatten out when they baked, so next time I will probably shape them a little flatter before putting them in the oven. The texture and moisture level was perfect, so I don’t see altering the recipe to try to alter the shape.

Some pictures:

Before baking:

After baking, before frosting:

After frosting, ready to be eaten:

Applesauce Cookies

**Applesauce Cookies – from Betty Crocker cookbook 1969

½ cup softened butter or margarine
¾ cup applesauce
2 ¾ cup flour (I used Gluten Free Pantry’s All-Purpose mix that includes guar gum, so didn’t add any xanthan gum; make sure to add this if you don’t have it in your mix already)
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp baking soda
2 eggs

Heat oven to 375. Mix butter and applesauce. Stir in remaining ingredients. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake until almost no indentation remains when touched – 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Cool. Frost with Caramel Frosting if desired. About 6 dozen cookies – 70 calories each. (BTW, this made no where near 6 dozen, more like 2-3 dozen)

Caramel Frosting
**This is the recipe for frosting that Betty Crocker Suggests; I did not use this one
½ cup margarine or butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
Heat margarine in 1-quart saucepan until melted. Stir in brown sugar. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir over low heat 2 minutes. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling; remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm. Gradually stir in powdered sugar. Place pan of frosting in bowl of cold water; beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. If frosting becomes too stiff, stir in additional milk, 1 tsp at a time. Frosts a 13 x 9 inch cake or fills and frost two 8 or 9 inch cake layers.

Cinnamon Frosting
**This is the icing/frosting that I used

2 cups powdered sugar
2 TBSP milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together until icing is the right consistency to ice cookies. You can half this recipe if you want less icing.

Enjoy!!

Snapea Crisps

Have you heard of these nifty little snacks? While shopping the other day at my local health food store, I ran across a new product called Snapea Crisps. I figured I could eat these right out of the bag as a snack or have them on top of my salad for some extra crunch. I had some for the first time yesterday and boy are they good! Nice and crispy, just like the name says! :) My Mom had them as well, she thought they were great too! Just thought I would share. :)

Leftovers

Today for lunch I was really wanting to make just a sandwich and have a nice salad. Well, once I opened up my fridge I realized that I better eat some of the leftovers in there or I would be tossing some food and that really angers Aaron. I don’t like wasting food either, but it is one of his major pet peeves. I respect that and try to do my best to eat the food before it goes to waste. I found a nice mix of veggies, so in place of my salad, I made a large veggie plate to go along side my Garlic Pork Roast that I shredded and put on some gluten-free bread. I had some leftover sweet potato/yam that I topped with black beans and some almond cheese (mozzerella style), some sauteed spinach and some fresh tomatoes (that I completely forgot to top with my fresh basil from the plant that I have in my kitchen window; I haven’t killed it yet!). What a yummy lunch! Here is a shot of the veggie platter:

Makes me want leftovers more often. ;)

The Cast ~ Day 3

Jon saw the orthopedic doctor/nurse practitioner on Wednesday morning. Not only did he chip/fracture the navicular bone in his hand, but at least one other bone and possibly 2 more! Poor kid! He will be in a cast for at least 4 weeks and possibly more. The good news is that he can play hockey! He is ecstatic! There a a couple of small, minor concerns. First, if he does fall and catch himself with the right hand, he may break the exposed fingers due to the placement of the cast. We are hoping that the hockey glove will prevent this. Second, he could really hurt someone else if he isn’t careful because of how hard the cast is. Fortunately the next 4 weeks are just evaluations and team placements, not scheduled games. He sees the orthopedist again on October 15th for more x-rays. If the bones are all healed, the cast comes off. This is where they will be able to see the 2 bones that they were unsure of. The 2 bones in question are on either side of his wrist and are right where a couple of growth plates are located. Apparently waiting the 4 weeks will allow them to see the changes and healing and determine if he goes back in the cast or not. Jon is still in some pain. I am not sure if it is still the actual injury or the cast causing the pain now. He says there isn’t enough padding under it and that he wants me to call the dr to take it off and put a new one on. I am thinking that he is just getting tired of the restrictions (no video games, football, etc) that have been forced upon him.

A picture of my prince in his cast (as you can see, he is beyond thrilled at being photographed for my enteratinment ;) ):

Close up (you can see here that he has no movement of the thumb at all):

He chose red/scarlet for Ohio State. He wanted grey too, but the cast wasn’t big enough to do 2 colors.

He has tried to get out of every chore he normally does. I was understanding the first few days, but now I am not. He still has a perfectly good left hand with which he can empty the dishwasher with. I spared him from loading (God knows that we don’t need a wet and food covered cast to help speed along the smell that will start to come from within shortly), sweeping the floor and taking out the trash.

I have also rewarded him with lots of baked goods lately, including this awesome bread from Gluten-Free in the Country. This is an All Purpose Quick Bread and man, was it good! The kids loved it, as did I. It has stayed wonderfully at room temperature on my counter since Tuesday. Jon has eaten pulled pork sandwiches on it, PB & J and butter. Here are some pics of the bread:

All Purpose Quick Bread **Recipe Courtesy of Gluten Free in the Country

First mix:
4 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cups mayonnaise
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Then add:
1 1/4 cups rice flour
1/4 cup sorghum
3/4 cup tapioca starch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
Mix well for about one minute. Pour into greased loaf pan (batter will be more like cake batter).
Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Pumpkin Cookies

One of my favorite parts about fall is pumpkin. I have mentioned that before many times. Since I have been in the baking mood, I made pumpkin cookies the other day. This recipe comes from my Grandmother on my Dad’s side of the family. Sadly she passed away several years ago. Another reason I like this recipe so much is that it reminds me of her and all the times that she made them for us when we were kids.

Before baking:

After baking:

Frosted and ready to eat:

The recipe has been modified to be gluten-free. The icing can be made with or without the cinnamon. I personally like it with and that is how I made it for these cookies.

Pumpkin Cookies
1 cup sugar
½ cup shortening
2 eggs (beaten)
1 cup pumpkin (not pie mix)
1 ½ cups flour (I used rice, potato starch & tapioca mix that had guar gum in it; make sure to add 1.5 tsp. xanthan gum if your mix doesn’t have it)
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp baking powder (not a typo, these puppies get fluffy!)
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

First mix sugar & shortening. Then add everything else. Spoon onto greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Cool slightly and then transfer to baking rack. Tip: Place wax paper or parchment paper under your cooling rack so when you frost/ice the cookies you don’t make a disaster zone like I usually do. My husband, Aaron, always reminds me that I forgot the wax paper after the fact. Thanks, honey!

2 – 2 ½ dozen cookies (may need to double the recipe if you want more, this is a true count)

Icing – (let cookies cool before icing)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk (may need more)
1 tsp vanilla

Try ½ tsp cinnamon in the icing…YUM!

Enjoy!

Stress = Baking/Cooking

When I am stressed out, I bake or cook. So, watch for lots of baked goods this week. Today was a rough day. Found out that Jon’s wrist (navicular bone) is chipped/fractured. The dr from the urgent care called me back this afternoon and told me that the radiologist read the x-ray and called back right after we left last night. We have an appointment for Jon to see the orthopedic doctor on Wednesday morning.

This morning I wanted to make my little, injured man feel better, so what better way than GF Cinnamon Rolls?? I used the Chebe Cinnamon Roll Up Mix and made the recipe using the method for the almond sticky buns on the back. I subbed walnuts for almonds though. They turned out wonderfully and it took Jon’s mind off his pain for a bit. :) Here is a picture (not that great b/c it was still dark out):

They are darker in color than typical cinnamon rolls for a couple of reasons. One, the mix has cinnamon in it. Second, the mix calls for applesauce (hey, didn’t I just make a bunch of that??) and my homemade applesauce is darker in color b/c of the brown sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg mixture I season it with.

Chebe Cinnamon Walnut Sticky Rolls

1 package Chebe Cinnamon Roll Ups
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Butter and/or Pam
9 inch pie pan or cake pan

1. Make mix according to directions.
2. Roll out into a rectangle.
3. Grease pan with butter or Pam.
4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup walnuts over the bottom of the greased pan.
5. Spray dough with Pam or spread with butter and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup walnuts over the rolled out dough.
6. Roll up into a log-like roll.
7. Slice in 1/2 inch slices and place swirl side down in pan.
8. Bake at 350 for 10-14 minutes, checking frequently.
9. Cool slightly, then invert onto a plate.
10. Enjoy!

One recipe down, one or 2 more to go for the day. I had to do something to keep my mind (and my fingers off the lap top) off of Jon’s injury.

I set off next on a marathon applesauce making event. I made a small batch the other day, today, I filled that 4.5 qt. crock pot to the rim! I peeled, cored and cut up 22 apples. YIKES! Not only did I want to freeze some, but I need some for upcoming recipes this week (applesauce cake and applesauce cookies). Here are some pics of my stuffed crock pot:

Apples before:

In the pot, ready to slow cook:

I started them at 10:30 AM and just packaged up my containers at 8:30 PM. Boy did it smell good in here!

It Was Bound to Happen

Both of my children have been extremely lucky in the broken bones department, especially considering that Jon plays ice hockey and has since he was 4. Well, that streak of luck has possibly come to an end. Jon was playing football in the neighbor’s yard this evening and came inside saying that he thought the might have broken his arm. Oh good Lord! I glanced at the clock and noticed that it was 7:40 PM. The Children’s Close To Home Urgent Care Center closes at 8:00 PM on the weekends, so off we ran. I drove as fast (and as safe) as I was legally allowed to. We got in right away. Several X-Rays and probings later, the doctor had his right arm wrapped up in a splint. They weren’t quite sure whether or not anything is broken. There is a questionable spot in his wrist that if that bone is damaged (can’t remember what it is called), it won’t fuse properly as he grows and then he won’t be able to do things involving thumb movemet, like play the piano, text message, play video games, etc. So erring on the conservative side, they treat it like it is broken. I have to call his Ped. in the AM and get a referral to the orthopedist. He needs to see the orthopedist in the next 3 – 5 days or sooner if things get worse. He can’t take the splint off until the ortho sees him. Poor kid! He is right-handed, so school should be entertaining for him this week. I need to remember to email his teachers so they are aware of his situation and see what he can do to make things easier this week.

The really bad part of all of this (not that a broken arm isn’t bad enough), hockey evaluations start in a week. This could push back his hockey season or eliminate it all together, depending on what the ortho says.

On a positive note, I have never been in and out of that Urgent Care so quickly!! Maybe walking (running) in 10 minutes before they closed, and probably being the only patient in there, motivated them to get us out quickly! LOL!

Menu Plan Monday ~ September 22, 2008

We are in full fall mode here in Central Ohio. I am so excited. I have so many fall recipes planned, I can’t wait! Some will be this week, some over the next few weeks. I am going on a fall baking extravaganza this week, I am sure that my husband is going to wonder if I am opening a bakery on the sly! ;) I am making more applesauce tomorrow, a whole crock pot worth, for use in some of my baked goods. :)

The menu plan this week is based on some of the family favorites in our house.

Sunday ~ Burgers on Chebe Homemade Buns, homemade sweet potato fries (see recipe below), broccoli and okra zuchinni medley (see recipe below).

Monday ~ Grilled Salmon, steamed brown jasmine rice, green beans and spinach salad

Tuesday ~ Garlic Pork Roast (family favorite), mashed garlic potatoes, steamed broccoli, salad and homemade biscuits (will post recipe later in the week for these with a picture).

Wednesday ~ Dinner out, most likely Cheeseburger in Paradise

Thursday ~ BBQ baby back ribs (family favorite), baked potatoes, homemade corn bread (see recipe below) & salad.

Friday ~ Homemade pizza (family favorite; dough is Pamela’s Wheat Free or a new one I found from Gluten-Free Mommy that I want to try), steamed veggies and salad.

Saturday ~ I am going out for Sushi with my Mom. The kids will have leftovers with Aaron.

Baking that I have planned for the week:

Applesauce
Iced Pumpkin Cookies
Applesauce Spice Cookies
Apple & Spice Muffins
Chocolate Chewies
Pie In a Pumpkin

Recipes

Sweet Potato Fries

1 large sweet potato or yam
Pam
Sea salt
Nutmeg

1. Scrub and slice sweet potato/yam into fry shapes. I left the peel on, you can peel it if you like.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pam your baking sheet.
3. Place potatoes on baking sheet in a single layer. Spray with Pam. Sprinkle with sea salt and lightly with nutmeg.
4. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. Check on fries. Flip them over and bake for another 15 or so minutes. If they aren’t done yet, turn temp up to 425 and keep a close eye on them. If you want to crisp up the outside, broil for the last few minutes.

This made enough for 2 people.

Okra Medley

Yield
4 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)
Ingredients
· 1 small zucchini and 1 small yellow squash
· Cooking spray
· 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh okra
· 2 tablespoons chopped onion (I omitted this b/c I can’t eat onion)
· 1 cup chopped tomato
· 1/8 teaspoon dried basil (I used fresh)
· 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme (I omitted this)
· Dash of freshly ground black pepper
Preparation
Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, okra, and onion; sauté 4 minutes. Stir in tomato and remaining ingredients. Cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently.

Corn Bread

**From the back of the Quaker Yellow Corn Meal Box

1 ¼ cups Pamela’s Baking Mix
¾ cup cornmeal
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt (I omitted this b/c there is salt in Pamela’s baking mix)
1 cup buttermilk (the box says to use skim, I like buttermilk in my cornbread)
¼ cup vegetable oil (I use canola)
2 egg whites or 1 egg beaten (I used the beaten egg).

Heat oven to 400. Pam 8 or 9 inch baking pan. Combine dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. (I did 20 minutes). Serve warm.

**You can make these into muffins. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400. Makes 12 muffins.

BBQ Baby Back Ribs

2 racks of baby back ribs
1 – 1.5 bottles of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce (all flavors are GF)
Pam

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Pam large (lasagna size) baking dish
3. Cut racks of ribs in half (so they all fit, single layers, in the baking dish).
4. Coat both sides with sauce and place in baking dish. Don’t skimp on the sauce.
5. Cover tightly (like twice) with foil.
6. Bake for 2 hours.
7. Let cool slightly on the counter. Either put in fridge or heat up the grill to finish off.
8. About 20 minutes before you want to eat, heat up the grill.
9. Place ribs on grill and brush both sides with sauce.
10. Grill until they start to brown up on both sides.
11. Enjoy!

Make sure to check out Cooking & UNcooking for lots more GF Menu Plans. Thanks for hosting!

Also, for more menu plans, check out Org Junkie.

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