Monday, January 31, 2011

Pumpkin Take 2

OK, we've already established that I'm a pumpkin freak. And way back in one of my first posts on this blog we established my love of Yorkshire pudding that I inherited from my grandmother. I discovered a way to combine the two.

I love Dutch babies. They are basically a light, fluffy, baked pancake. They are NOT anything I invented. Sometimes I follow a tried & true Dutch baby recipe because I'm craving their Yorkshire pudding like texture. I've also been known to have my regular pancake batter all mixed up and literally just throw it in the oven so I don't have to stand there flipping pancakes (you know those mornings where you can't even find time for THAT!)

I've been making Dutch babies a lot recently and changing them up each time. Sometimes I throw a couple handfuls of fresh or frozen blackberries or blueberries (or both!) into the pan right before I cook them. I've also mixed applesauce and cinnamon into the batter. Sometimes I make a plain one and then use homemade sauteed cinnamon apples as the "syrup". I've even been known to throw in a few chocolate chips. Once I did a bananas foster Dutch baby. Yeah, all it needed was a scoop of ice cream to make a fabulous dessert! Like with most of my inventions, I just take a recipe that sounds good and make it my own. And as I've said before, I never miss an opportunity to add fruits or veggies to something my kids like to up the nutritional value.

But I have discovered my new favorite breakfast.......PUMPKIN SPICE DUTCH BABIES! Yum. I had opened a big can of pumpkin (yeah, shoot me, I'm out of my stash that I roasted and froze back in the fall!) the day before to make pumpkin spice muffins. I had quite a bit left and didn't want to forget about it, so I was thinking of what else I could do with it for Sunday breakfast. I was craving a Dutch baby, but I really wanted to use up the pumpkin. So I decided to try my hand at a pumpkin one. I still can't believe how incredible it came out!

If you've ever been tempted to have a slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast, but just couldn't bring yourself to do it, this is the perfect breakfast recipe for you!

Pumpkin Spice Dutch Babies

2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg (fresh grated preferably!)
1/4 tsp cloves
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup maple syrup


1) Spray oven safe skillet (cast iron or stainless) with cooking spray.

2) Put the butter in skillet. Place pan in oven and preheat to 375.

3) Mix all ingredients together in a blender. Let sit for about 10 minutes while the butter melts and your pan gets good and hot.

4) Remove skillet from oven (careful, it will be HOT!) and pour batter into the pan. Return
skillet to the oven.

5) Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

6) Remove pan, slice and serve warm.

7) Serve with hot maple syrup (or what I did was pour the maple syrup over the whole thing
before slicing, and let it sit for about 10 minutes before a cut into it.)

Note: This recipe has more flour in it than a traditional dutch baby recipe. I've used less, but I like the consistency that the extra flour and the pumpkin gives it (not to mention I'm feeding 5 mouths that LOVE Dutch Babies!) Feel free to use less flour if you want a more traditional, lighter result.

My only regret is that I didn't think to take pictures! I promise one of these days I'll plan ahead and start taking pics of my food! And maybe even throw in a few of my kids helping! :)


Friday, January 28, 2011

Life, excuses, and bread!

I know, I know. I keep saying I won't slack on this blog. I keep posting statuses on Facebook to discuss what I'm cooking, then fail to share the recipe. That's what happens when you get busy. I keep my phone charging next to the stove. So I can spare a minute to let you know what I'm cooking, while I wait for water to boil or butter to melt or for my daughter to dump a cup of flour into a bowl. I can't always spare the time to come share some heartfelt back story to how or why I came up with the recipe that sounds good in my status, but may have actually end up burnt or lacking salt because I was actually too busy to keep an eye on the food.

So, yes, I'm busy. For those of you who don't know, we just spent the last 2/3 of a year building a brand new house. We moved in a week before Christmas. Let me state for the record, moving into a house the week before Christmas when you LOVE a decorated house and have 3 little kids is a task. It barely leaves time to breathe, let alone find time to share the recipe for the awesome rib roast you pull off for Christmas dinner or the Christmas cookies that surprising turned out really well at an altitude of 7000 feet.

We had enough time to move about 85% of our belongings and get the tree up. Then I spent hours unpacking so I could find the necessities to live life and have a nice Christmas. Once Christmas was over, we had 6 days --- 6 very short, very busy days --- to get everything out of our rent house and get it cleaned up so we could surrender the keys by the 31st. Unaddressed Christmas cards sat on the desk (where they still yes, if you didn't get a card from me and were expecting one, I haven't forgotten you!!) and my new house got stacked floor to ceiling with boxes that I had no desire to unpack since I had just spent countless hours taping them up. My cooking least the the point where I didn't feel anything I made was special enough to share the recipe. (Of course, now I need to go back and rethink that since in my intro post I told you that one reason I wanted to do this blog was to share all my quick & easy meals for those of you who think you don't have time to cook!)

Then the new year hit. I realized I hadn't actually sat down except to drive between the new house & the rent house, or to eat a meal with my family. My body longed to just sit, but my brain was too sleepy to form coherent sentences. In fact, it was still too sleepy to come up with fancy recipes. School was back in session and it was time to get used to our new schedule. Our schedule that actually allowed me 3 extra hours a day to think about what to cook. And blogging about what I cooked. But more importantly, time to unpack, organize and think about paint colors. Three things I'm still doing and obviously, by the look of my house, not doing enough of. Because those were also 3 hours a day that I could allow myself time to do the stuff that I needed to be doing in my life the last 5 months but didn't have time. Like sit down and do puzzles with my 5 year old. And plan & make healthy after-school snacks instead of grabbing fries in the McD's drive-thru since school doesn't get out til almost 4 and we still had the long car ride back to the rent house. And write......

Yes, I've been cheating on this blog......errrrr....writing something else. A story. No clue if it will become a novel, or a movie, or simply just my random thoughts on paper where I can sit down and re-read them when I'm 80. But hopefully someday I'll have something more than recipes to share with you all. Maybe. We'll see. But that's a tangent I'm not ready to discuss.

Back to food. I've statused (is that a real verb yet? LOL) about my honey-oatmeal-flaxseed bread quite a bit recently. I LOVE fresh bread. And I really love it when I come up with a good bread that is both good broken into pieces and either covered in butter or dipped in a good soup AND also works as a good sandwich bread. And I have found it in this bread.

Several of you (and yes, I still know who each of you are!) have asked for the recipe. I apologize for not immediately taking time to just comment on my status with it, but I knew it would work as a good recipe for this blog.....when I found the time. And hopefully, I will finally get back to blogging regularly! So without further delay.......

Honey-Oatmeal-Flaxseed Bread
(Bread Machine Recipe)

1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp canola oil
2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup whole, dry roasted flax seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

Place ingredients in order into your bread machine pan. Back on basic (or regular) setting.

Please note, getting the dough right at this altitude and/or dry climate has proven difficult. I've tried following a few exact recipes and have needed a good 1/2 cup extra liquid. I'm posting this one because I have now had it work out perfectly several times and the quantities are still somewhat close to other recipes I have success with at normal altitudes. Hopefully it works for you. But please remember to check the dough after 5 minutes for consistency. You may need an extra teaspoon of flour or water.