Friday, November 18, 2011

little pumpkin

I know I said I'd post a muffin recipe yesterday, but life got in the way. Only a day late though, which is better than I can say for the past few months!

Yesterday I woke up and motivated myself to run which was great because after my 6 miler the day before I finally hit my running groove. I set out to do about 4, but on my way back I bumped into a nurse that started working when I did a year ago (but on a different unit) and invited myself to run with her. Four miles turned into nearly six PLUS I made a new running buddy. Yay!

Then it was off to dinner at Lillie's Victorian with my college roommate Laura then met up for drinks with Liz before heading back here for a sleepover with Laura. Fun Thursday- and just thirsty enough.

Today I woke up at noon- even though I had arms set for both nine and ten. Fail. Tried to make the best of it though because I usually be at myself up for sleeping in. I actually resisted the urge to run and just did some neighborhood exploration with power walking between destinations. My only shopping damage was my first pair of Lululemon pants (they were on sale!) which I am excited to wear to the GOTR 5K on Sunday. With two races this weekend, a rest day seemed like a good idea even though I caught the running bug and just want to get back out there.

Since I slept in, today I ate a decent sized "brunch" which included TWO of the Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins I made earlier this week. I took a short cut by using a TJ's baking mix- which includes some whole wheat flour, rolled oats, cornmeal, and other whole grains- but you could use any flour of your choice, just add baking soda and a pinch of salt to make sure you get a good rise and flavor.

Here's the recipe... make a little fall love.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins 
(makes about 2 dozen)

2 1/2 cups Trader Joe's Multigrain Pancake and baking mix 
(or some combination of 2 1/2 cups flour PLUS baking soda)

1 cup skim milk 
1 egg 
2 TBSP canola oil 
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree 
1 cup fresh whole cranberries 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 tsp ground ginger 
1/4 tsp allspice (or ground cloves)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tins, place muffin liners, or use silicone baking cups (which I used). 
2) Mix egg, milk, sugar, and oil in bowl. Slowly add baking mix. 
3) Once flour or baking mix is incorporated, add pumpkin and spices. Continue to mix, just until pumpkin is incorporated. 
4) Fold cranberries into batter. 
5) Fill cups to about 3/4 full with batter. Makes 22-24 muffins. 
6) Bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 
7) Serve or freeze! Tastes great with apple butter, nut butter, or other topping of your choice! 

Note: Applesauce could easily replace oil and some sugar in this recipe. I will work on that substitution next time, but as a novice baker I didn't get involved in that this time!
Another note: Silicone baking cups are so easy to use and eliminate the need for any extra oil. They wash out so easily PLUS these were only $2 from HomeGoods. Should have bought the second dozen!

Now, as much as I dislike baking, I had a good time developing this recipe and an even better time enjoying it! I even felt confident enough to bring some to work- and they were even more well-received than I expected. The muffins are very moist (due to the pumpkin) and fairly sweet. You could definitely cut back on the sugar or oil in favor of applesauce. The spices add a pumpkin pie flavor while the cranberries add some tangy freshness. I froze half the recipe and have been heating them in the toaster oven then topping them with apple butter. For someone who prefers salty over sweet any day, I have been tearing through the bag rather quickly! But, for 100 calories a pop, there are worse habits!

Got back nice and early from drinks with girls from work and now I am off to bed to prepare for the Rugged Maniac 5K tomorrow! Running/Fire/Mud/Music/Beer.... what more could a girl ask for? Pretty sure I will be a mud popsicle by the end but I am nonetheless super excited!

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