Pumpkin Love Muffins

I am a huge lover of all things pumpkin. I eat pumpkin oats almost every day in the fall, and I have never met a pumpkin item I did not want to gobble down. This being said, they are not always the most healthy items…I think sometimes there is more sugar in pumpkin baked goods to balance the gourd flavor.

I wanted to take a recipe from the pumpkin masters themselves, Libby’s, and make it healthier without tasting like poo.

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I based my recipe off this guy: LIBBY’S Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

The nutrition stats according to Calorie Count are:

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This is pretty typical of most bakery cupcakes muffins. Check out that sugar! (The recipe calls for 3 cups of the sweet stuff)

My version added up like so:new

Now they both get a score of C+ but check out the calorie, fat and sugar drops! Also note the increase in fiber.

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So what was in my recipe???

  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (Also can use cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves mixed)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups granulated sugar 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 4 large eggs 2 large eggs, 2 flax eggs (1 tablespoon flax to 3 tablespoons water per egg)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

I followed the same directions as the Libby’s recipe except I added a little cinnamon + nutmeg sugar to the tops. I figured it we were cutting out a cup of sugar I could make a crunch top.

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What is your favorite pumpkin baked good?

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Happy Birthday MB

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE MOST AMAZING MOM EVER!

Thank you for helping make my dreams come true!


Fall Finds

This weekend we had some fun fall activities planned!  I started off by visiting my first antique/flea market and we ended with s’more by bonfire.

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As it was my first time at a flea market, I was a little overwhelmed.  It was a pretty large market and I didn’t have much time to look around.  I am also not use to paying cash only and haggling.  There was a lot of what I would consider “junk” but there were a few vendors selling the rustic decor that I love.   I think I would have end up with a lot more if I actually had a house to fill because there were some great deals on solid wood furniture, but alas I walked away with two small boxes to help organize my office mess.

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The vendor said he found them on his families farm when they were cleaning it out to put the land on the market.  I like that they have writing on them and that the one looks like it held a holiday cheese log back in the day.  I like pieces with stories (actual or ones I make up) and these two definitely tell a story.  For now they will hold my postcard collection and mailing supplies.

IMG_1359After my fun times at the market it was time to head out to the pumpkin patch!  Nick and I had grand plans with our friends Doug and Rory to go pumpkin picking, carve them and drink hot rum cider before the bonfire.  
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One of these things did not happen. I blame it on the cider.


Jemily

After seeing Heather post a vendor review for her wedding,  I thought I should do the same while I wait patiently for my pictures.
First up, Wedding Coordinator – let me just say you need a wedding coordinator if your site does not already come with one or you don’t have a family member/friend willing to take on he task.  I wasn’t going to get coordinator at first and then I quickly realized that meant I would be the one laying out the table clothes, setting up the flowers, shuffling guests, managing the caterer, checking on the servers and bartenders etc. on my actually wedding day.  As my mom says, “you can’t put a price on piece of mind”.

Now, let’s meet Jean and Emily aka “Jemily”.
These ladies are a hoot but keep it professional.  They are extremely organized and have been in the planning business for a long time.  They were always dressed to the nines, while I was all frump, but I was planning a wedding!

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I hired Jemily for their day of coordination services, met them 6 times before the wedding and I had countless e-mail exchanges.  I was also a little spoiled because they manage all of the rentals for the caterer I had selected, giving me access to more choices when it came to things like linens (I was given access to thousands of linen choices, could have been overwhelming, but I knew what I wanted).  They had countless checklists and helped me focus in on the exact details of how I wanted my wedding to go.  Do you know if you would want the groomsmen to come down the isle alone or with the bridesmaid? Crossed arms or just next to each other?  Little things that don’t really matter in the big picture, but why not have everyone coordinate?

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On the day of my wedding I probably missed most of the things Jean was doing to make sure my day was running smoothly.   I had left our centerpieces for her to place on the tables along with table numbers and candles, given her our drink list to create our bar menu, told her about all of our vendors.

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When I arrived 2 hours before the ceremony everything was geared up and ready to go.  She made sure the DJ’s music was on time, our officiant was there, the tables looked amazing, the servers were even in coordinating ties of green instead of the boring black.  The entire morning we were getting ready I didn’t worry one bit about what was going on at our barn.  I guess this was sign that Jean had put me at easy, and what would be would be.

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After the ceremony Jean made sure all of the decor used in the ceremony space was moved down to the reception space to make sure we got full use out of all of our hard work and dollar.   At the end of the night Jean and her team collected all of items that were my personal belongings and boxed them up so that they would be ready for loading in the morning (It took us about 15min to clear everything out the next morning).

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If you are looking for an event coordinator in the Baltimore metro area, I would highly recommend Boutique Events!


Cilantro Pesto!

I am a day late with Farmers Market Tuesday (now Wednesday!).  I got home from yoga late last night and all I wanted to do was eat some dinner and go to sleep.

The pickin’s are getting slim at the market and I will miss summer produce, but one surprise I found was a huge bunch of cilantro (root and all)!  I really wanted it but one person cannot eat 3 cups of cilantro before it goes bad.  I opted for making cilantro pesto!

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I wanted it to be semi-thick because I want to use it on bread.  I also do not have pine nuts because they are super expensive.

Simple Cilantro Pesto

  • 2 cups cilantro
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • EVOO to your thickness taste
  • juice of 1/2 one lemon
  • 1/2 jalapeno
  • pinch salt

Throw everything but the olive oil into a food processor and blend!  Add the olive oil gradually until you get the consistency you like.IMG_1355

I cannot believe from 2 cups of cilantro I only got 1/2 cup of pesto!  I guess that is why the stuff is kind of expensive.

What would you use cilantro pesto on?

p.s. I am never cooking rice on the stove top again…my new rice maker we got as a wedding gift is amazing!


Expanding The Audience

Moms

The other day when I was stopping by Mom’s Organic Market I saw that they had just finished up a demonstration from the Sustainable Living Roadshow. At first I thought, “Cool! I wish I had come a little earlier and seen what this was all about.” But then I got to thinking. What good is it to have a sustainable living demonstration at a store that already has customers making the choice to buy organic/local/humane food? I feel like having this sort of thing at Mom’s is kind of like preaching to the choir. I would consider myself the average Mom’s shopper and I make seasonal food choices, recycle and reduce my waste it the best ways I can to fit my lifestyle, so what more can the SLR give me? Now I cannot say I would have gotten nothing out of the demo, but I feel like the show would have been much better served at the Giant down the road (I am only coming at this from a sustainable food perspective).

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Giant is known to be a nice general grocery store that caters to the middle to upper-middle class. I personally feel that these people, those that have the money to make the choice to vote with their dollar should be the ones targeted. Many American’s just don’t know how their food choices influence the world, but these American’s don’t tend to shop at Mom’s.

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Another side issue I had was that the program did not make the campaign approachable. You need people from all walks of life to be part of your task force if you want success. The SLR staff seemed to fit into a single stereotype and I know that people are less likely to approach someone who they feel is already judging them. The signs and slogans they use are also a bit off putting to a suburban housewife doing the weekly shopping, but she is exactly who SLR should be targeting. She is the one who makes the household choices. They are focused on their families’ bottom line and their children. They are the ones voting with their families’ fork.

I all for everything Mom’s and The Sustainable Living Roadshow does, I just wish they could expand their audience to those that need to listen.


Italian Spaghetti Squash and Lentil Soup

Finally I am back with an edition of Farmer’s Market Tuesday!

It has been really warm in Maryland lately but we have a lot of rain in forecast and Fall + rain = soup in my book.

I love all squash in the fall and I usually make the spaghetti variety as yep, spaghetti.  Tonight I wanted to try something different and man did it work out!

What you will need:

  • 1 small to medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 large can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups veggie broth (or chicken/beef)
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 clove of garlic pressed
  • 2 tsp dried thyme or fresh to your taste
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary de-stemmed or 1 tbsp dried
  • dash of hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 bunch kale
  • 1/2 cup uncooked lentils
  • pepper (no salt needed due to tomatoes and veggie broth)

I started by cutting the squash in half lengthwise and roasting it for 45min in the oven.  While it was roasting I cooked down the onion and garlic then added everything but the rosemary, thyme and kale.  45min late pull out the squash to cool and add the herbs and kale to the pot to cook for a few min while you pull out the spaghetti.

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Now, the squash can be really hot and I don’t like waiting so I usually wear an oven mitt to get things going.  Add the squash to the lentils and stir before serving.IMG_1348I seriously have not made something this good since I made butternut chili before the wedding.IMG_1349

The herbs really came out in this and I loved the addition of a different squash.IMG_1353

I just wish I could have slurped up some of these “spaghetti” noodles!

What is your favorite way to eat spaghetti squash?