Hodge Podge and Pumpkin Muffins

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

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(lovely Italian restaurant in Berlin, Germany / Julie Cook / 2012)

I have a friend who prefers viewing my blog only on the days I choose to focus on food or offer a little recipe or two… and not that I offer a plethora of recipes as my intent has not necessarily been to create another food blog in an already existing sea of on-line food sites. I do certainly enjoy cooking and it is indeed a creative outlet, as well as catharsis, but it is not my sole passion.

Which of course got me thinking…what is this blog business of mine all about after all anyway?

The other day I was out helping my husband with a little project of his when I asked, in jest mind you, how much it was that he intended on paying me for my assistance. He shot back a little too quick for my liking “the same amount that blog of yours pays…”
Oh the low blow of it all, the pain, the sting and sadly—the truth.

It is true that I do tend to pour heart and soul into this thing lovingly known as “the crumbs”—and why is that you ask? “It’s not like your’e getting paid”, you say. “What’s the point?!” Well. . .I’m not quite certain.

I did have a post, shortly after beginning the blog, entitled “why a blog”—it had everything to do with having just retired and leaving the classroom. The need to still “teach”. I’ve even eluded to my secret wish to having been a writer— it’s just that I don’t have anything specific or in particular that I necessarily want to write about. Being the next great novelist is not my cup of tea as I’m not one for fiction.

I suppose hodge lodge best sums up “the cookie crumbs” —it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that—which is a lot like my cooking techniques. . .and some might say that the concept of a little bit of this and a little bit of that mirrors my bar tending skills, but we won’t go there as I’m simply digressing. . .again.

And so it is with the thought of hodge podges and the this and thats of life that I shall leave you today. . . along with a delightful recipe for Pumpkin Muffins. I found this several years ago in an issue of Cooking Light–and of course tweaked and amended a la cookie..please enjoy:

Pumpkin muffins
–1 cup all- purpose flour (about 4.5 ounces)
–½ cup whole wheat flour (about 2.5 ounces) –this is where I grind oats in a food
processor using ½ cup ground oats—Quaker instead of the whole wheat flour
–1/2 cup granulated sugar
–1/2 cup packed brown sugar
–1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin-pie spice
(here is where I just add my own cinnamon, fresh grated nutmeg, cardamom,
allspice, ginger—whatever floats my boat—plus, I am not precise—a sprinkle
here, a sprinkle there
–1 teaspoon baking soda
–1/4 teaspoon baking powder
–¼ teaspoon salt
–1 can pumpkin
–1/2 cup buttermilk (fat free it you’d like—I have used coconut milk)
–1/2 cup egg substitute, or for purists such as myself, 2 whole eggs
–1/4 canola oil (if no applesauce or grated apples, ½ oil)
–1/4 cup applesauce-– if you don’t have applesauce, I’ve been known to grate half an
apple
** I add 1 cup of a mix of raisins and/ or dried cranberries– if the truth be told,
it’s more like 2 cups—you could also add some nuts if you’d like

Preheat the oven to 375°

**I have discovered that canned pumpkin has a great deal of water that can leach into a batter, changing the consistency, possibly making things too runny. I will usually spread out the pumpkin, using a spatula, onto a double layer of paper towels, allowing it to sit while I prepare the other ingredients. When it’s time to add the pumpkin, I simply scrape it off the paper towels, which has absorbed the extra moisture, with the spatula, adding it to the batter.

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1. I spray a muffin tin with Baker’s Joy; you may line the cups as well with paper cupcake cups. You will need one 12-cup muffin pan plus a 6-cup pan as you will have about 16 muffins—or just use two 12-cups pans leaving several cups empty.

2. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combining flours, granulated sugar, and the next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk till blended. Here is where I toss in the raisins/ cranberries. Coating the fruit with flour helps it to disperse better throughout the batter rather than sink to the bottom.

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3. Combine pumpkin and the next 4 ingredients (through applesauce) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into the 16 prepared muffin cups.

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4. Bake for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on a wire rack

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**If you’re feeling a bit decadent you could throw caution to the wind, ditch the whole “cooking light” concept and frost these puppies with a heavenly cream cheese frosting—now that’s what I’m talking about!!!!

7 comments on “Hodge Podge and Pumpkin Muffins

  1. Hi Cookie!
    What a lovely fall recipe! And your hints are great, like laying watery pumpkin on a paper towel!
    I know that my writing serves an internal and external purpose. It is my creative outlet and there are people who tell me (and I’m sure this is in your case as well) that what I write can sometimes change their day.
    Are you on Facebook and/or Twitter? Facebook has really helped my blog grow and go beyond in readership. Just a thought. I’d love to friend you on Facebook if you are there.
    Keep on writing!
    xo Joanne

    • Hi Joanne, thank you for your visit today…no, I don’t “do” Facebook–when I was in the classroom my principal was adamant that his teachers not have a Facebook, although many of them did and did not give it up upon his request/ demand. Seems many a teacher has gotten themselves in trouble due to what they would post–some unknowingly, others with stupid intent. I also saw how bad the cyber bullying was with our students–things said on Facebook, coming back to school with fights and other malicious repercussions.
      Once I left the classroom, I just maintained my small “rebellion” 🙂 Blogging was about it –as I’ve always told the kids if they needed a “cookie fix”, they could get it by way of the blog. I’ve also figured that God would open up the doors necessary to take the blog where it needed to go…so maybe down the road..who knows…
      So I suppose that means, for now, I’m your friend here in our blog world Joanne—ha 🙂
      Hope you’ll enjoy the muffins—-hugs to you—julie

      • Julie,
        I totally understand your take on Facebook. I resisted it for years until my sisters’ request for me to get on simply wore me out! 🙂
        I love that you are dedicated to your blog. I think we bloggers understand what it takes mentally for us to put ourselves out there. Not everyone is willing to go inside of themselves and talk about their feelings.
        I hope to try your muffins soon!
        xo Joanne

  2. Erik Andrulis says:

    Great Tolkien quote, great reflection on the purpose/need/meaning of your blog, and, finally, what a mouthwatering recipe and walk-through. Man oh man I may have to make these for my kids (I always add walnuts to everything…) Peace, Ik

    • Hi Erik–thank you for popping in today–yes this blog business…I went into education because I really wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people–the blog became an extension of that desire once I retired from the classroom…it is a hodge podge as those who read it, just as my kids were, are a mix of faiths, backgrounds, cultures, etc–I want to be accessible to a wide range, as I was in my classroom. Yes, I am a deeply devoted Christian, a follower of Christ as my son likes to say, as that should not mean that I alienate anyone because of my being deeply spiritual–if I can offer a smile, a laugh, something thought provoking or just letting someone out there know that they are not alone…then I have been successful–albeit on a small scale—and as for the muffins, your kids will love them–light and moist but so full of flavor!!
      A blessed day my friend–as the blog has given me that—new and wonderful friends such as yourself 🙂
      Julie

  3. Good evening Julie,
    Looks like red wine to me,, love wine! I also love Berlin. When I worked for Rockwell I spent a lot of time working at many different Rockwell facilities in Europe back in the late 1990’s, more time in Germany. The manufacturing plant I worked at was in Mosbach Germany, a very nice city.

    Sweet… I have printed this post for your muffin recipe, they look great, thank you. Never thought of adding raisins or cranberries, I usually add nuts, good idea.

  4. Ooooh, I’m going to try these. One of my grandson’s has Asperger’s and has to stay off gluten and milk products. They sound and look yummy. Thanks for the recipe. Blessings, Natalie

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