Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Since it’s still November, I’m still allowed to make pumpkin things.  I recently had an early morning class field trip, so I decided that it would be nice to bring some muffins along.  I had a few very ripe bananas, so my initial plan was to find a good banana muffin recipe, but during my search I found something even better: a pumpkin banana muffin recipe.  To make the muffins a little more interesting I decided to add some chocolate chips and walnuts.  Basically whenever I can add nuts or chocolate, I will.

The muffins turned out fairly dense and quite moist which was great.  The original recipe called for whole wheat flour, or at least a combination of white and whole wheat.  I typically jump at the chance to use whole wheat flour, but in this instance I had just bought some white flour that I wanted to use up, so I used all white.  I love recipes that are adaptable to what you have on hand!

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Yeilds 24 muffins, adapted from Alida’s Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour (or 1 cup all-purpose flour/1 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1-2 cups chocolate chips (depending on how chocolaty you want it)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line the muffin tins with liners, or spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together pumpkin puree, oil, and mashed bananas with an electric mixer.  Gradually add eggs and vanilla until mixture is well combined.
  4. Gradually fold in the dry ingredients to the wet, and finally add walnuts and chocolate chips.
  5. Bake 13-15 minutes for normal sized muffins (a little shorter if you make minis).
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Christmas Preparations Phase 2

Well it’s official!  The house is completed decorated except for the tree in the living room.  The reason for this is that I am having a tree trimming party on Tuesday for friends as promised.  See if some of these pictures inspire you to start your own decorating extravaganza!

These are vintage figures from my grandmother. They are cute and festive!


I laid fabric down on the table as a runner. It accents the pieces set on the table. Filling a bowl with ornaments is a quick and easy way to create a festive centerpiece!

I have a collection of these vintage elves from my grandmother. They were featured in Martha’s magazine last year.

I just bought this 3 ft. table topper tree this year. It’s decorated with Christopher Radko ornaments from Kmart that I found this year as well. They were on sale for $7.99 for a set of 6. What a steal!

Pretzel Perfect

So I mentioned on my Thanksgiving recap that I would post the soft pretzel recipe I made for an appetizer.  I pinned the recipe for the pretzels when I saw them on Food Gawker a couple months ago, and I knew they would be great for the Thanksgiving crowd at my house.  Let me tell you something.  Re-prioritize your life today and make these now.  Your family and friends will thank you.

I’m still trying to get the hang of dealing with yeast, but this time it worked out for me.  The recipe has a few different steps but each step is pretty easy.  Just remember to budget an hour to let the dough rise.  It was the toughest hour of my day, I was chomping at the bit to get those pretzels in the oven!

Soft Pretzel Bites

Yields about 100 bites depending how big you cute them, recipe from Snixy Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbs light brown sugar
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 3 oz melted unsalted butter (3/4 of 1 stick)
  • 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • 12 cups water
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt for the top of the pretzels (I just used kosher because I couldn’t find pretzel salt in the store)

Method

  1. Put your dough hook on your stand mixer or hand held electric mixer.  Mix together warm water, brown sugar, yeast, and melted butter.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add salt and flour and mix until dough starts pulling away from the bowl. About 3-4 minutes.  Turn out on a floured surface and knead with your hands into a ball.
  3. Coat a bowl with Vegetable oil, place dough in bowl, and turn over to make sure it is coated with oil.  Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about an hour.  It should double in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 425.
  5. Bring a the 12 cups of water to a boil and add the baking soda.  Divide dough into 8 portions.  Roll the portions into long skinny strips and slice into small nuggets.  They will puff when you boil them so you can be conservative when you cut them.
  6. Drop the nuggets about 15 at a time in the boiling water for about 30 seconds.  Push them a little to make sure they get wet on all sides.  After 30 seconds pull them out with a slotted spoon or strainer.
  7. Put the boiled nuggets on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush them with egg wash and sprinkle them with salt.  Pop them in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they are a medium brown.  Careful they don’t burn on the bottom!
  8. Grab some mustard and enjoy!