Monday, October 1, 2018

Monday Muffin Motivation

I do love the autumn. Especially on those clear crisp days of beautiful blue skies and vivid colors of late blossoming flowers, end of season harvests and fall foliage, I love getting out to walk and take photos of the loveliness of nature at this time of year. 

Today though, here in Chicagoland, it is a dreary fall Monday but, even the cloudy drizzly days have their beauty and can be turned into some motivation. I currently have a butternut squash in the oven, preparing it to add warmth and vitamin 'A' to tonight's evening meal, as the main ingredient of a healthy comfort soup. The muffins will follow as a treat all week (if they last that long).

Butternut Squash Soup

1 small - medium butternut squash
1 16 oz.can chicken broth
1 cup low-fat sour cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash lemon pepper or white pepper
1 tablespoon honey
chopped fresh chives for garnish

Halve the squash, remove seeds and bake at 350 in baking pan in shallow water cut side down, turn cut side up after about 20 minutes.
Bake another 15-20 minutes for a total 30-40 minutes total or until tender.
Spoon squash from peel into food processor or blender and puree. (When in a hurry, I have skipped this step, but the resulting texture isn't as nice.)
Combine baked pureed squash and broth in a large saucepan bring to a boil and simmer.
Over medium heat stir in sour cream, butter, cayenne and honey. Add salt and white pepper.
Cook soup until thoroughly heated.
Garnish with chives. And if you like a small extra dollop of sour cream.                                     

This one brings cheer to any autumn menu. Monday muffins, sharing the best last...

Another fall favorite of ours is this wonderful Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe. I have been making this one for years and have shared it on my doula website for almost as long. 

Pumpkin Muffins

A long time favorite in our household, this pumpkin chocolate chip muffin recipe has evolved and while still a bit decedent with the chocolate chips involved, it does have less sugar than the original recipe and the butter has been reduced. I use all whole wheat flour. 
These freeze well and are still yummy upon reheating. Make sure you put some aside to freeze or you'll have to start over as they will go so fast.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

12 standard or 48 mini
1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon allspice
a pinch of cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup plain pumpkin (half of a 1 lb. can)
6 Tablespoons butter melted
1 cup chocolate chips (dark chocolate works for me)
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Thoroughly mix flour, sugar, spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Break eggs into another bowl add pumpkin and melted butter. Whisk until well blended.
Pour over dry ingredients and fold in just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Scoop batter into lined muffin tins.
Bake 20-25 minutes or until springy to the touch in the center.
Turn onto a rack to cool.

Put some of the muffins aside to freeze or you'll have to start baking all over again - they will go fast.

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