My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
Photo by Thousand Hills Photography. Click on photo to visit their site.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pumpkin Muffins, Spaghetti Squash, and Shabbat

Did I say we wrapped up fall break on Saturday? Well, perhaps I had visions of a Sunday Shabbat spent on the couch in PJ's, reading and drinking hot tea, but the Mr had a better idea. We went to a nearby state park for the afternoon. We packed a picnic lunch, pulled on jeans and jackets, went to Bible study, then drove straight to the park. We hiked several small trails, got a great work-out on the paddle boats, and talked trash on the putt-putt golf course. Turns out the only one that had the right to talk a big game was my man, who outscored the second-place player - yes, that would be me - by about 15 points. I hang my head in shame. Or not.

On our way home, we detoured to a nearby pizza place and got our grub on. We pulled in the driveway at the girls' bedtime, gave them a quick bath, and put them to bed.

We had more fun than we've had in a while. We hope to go back in a couple of weeks when all the leaves have turned fall colors. And I see a longer trail with an overnight camp-out in our near future.

And, now I must tell you about my latest adventures in the kitchen, not because I think any of you really care, but because I want to save these recipes and this blog has become my online cookbook.

Saturday night I made pumpkin muffins. I found the recipe on It's from Ellie Krieger, of whom I know absolutely nothing about, by the way, except that I like her muffins. Here is the link.  And following is my variation of the recipe. (I really wonder...could I follow a recipe if my very life depended on it?)

1 1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground ginger (I omitted)
1/4 tsp. ground cloves (funny story to follow)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
5 T. maple syrup
3 oz. canola oil (1/4 + 1/8 c. oil)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 c. pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 c. buttermilk (I used about 1/4 c. regular milk because my fresh pumpkin was so watery.)

Whisk the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Whisk the sugar, maple syrup, and oil. Add eggs one at a time. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and milk. Add flour mixture gradually. Mix just until combined. (I used the Kitchen Aid mixer for every step.)

Pour into muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Let cool on wire rack.


Okay, now here is the truth: I was slightly, only very slightly, disappointed with the results. It is no fault of the recipe. The muffins are truly delish! The prob is I thought I was making CUPCAKES. I mean, when I Googled "pumpkin muffins," and was imagining "cupcakes," Google should have known what I was thinking! Duh. So, when I bit into a rather heavy, not-as-sweet muffin when I was expecting light, sweet cupcakes...well, you can see why I was disappointed. No bother. I will slather them in cream cheese icing and they will be sweet if not light. 

Perhaps next time I will search for pumpkin cake, then bake as cupcakes. 

Oh me.

Oh, and if you're wondering why all the measurements seem a little weird, that's because I portioned my pumpkin for a CUPCAKE recipe (my old one called for 1 1/2 c pumpkin). So, I had to adjust all the other ingredients in this MUFFIN recipe to fit the amount of pumpkin I already had pre-portioned for cupcakes. Now, the math is already done for you. Welcome.

As for the funny story, which of course won't be all that funny since I'm not all that funny, here's the deal with the cloves...

...recipe calls for ground cloves. I only have whole cloves. I pull out the Ninja and throw what is prob a tablespoon of cloves in my smallest cup and push down the button. When I let off the button and the cloves stop spinning, I see the cloves are still mostly intact, but my poor blender has taken a beating; the sides are scratched all to pieces. Hmmm. Not good. I pull out the coffee grinder. First, I have to wash the coffee grinder to remove years' and years' accumulation of coffee grit and oil. (No, I have never washed my grinder. Who does that?) This is not a quick procedure. I then throw about a tablespoon of cloves in THERE. Voila! Ground cloves! Only problem - besides the fact that I could have gone to the store and bought ground cloves quicker than I was able to grind them at home - my coffee maker now smells very strongly of cloves! I guess I will be having my very own version of pumpkin spice lattes at home for a while. Happy fall to me!

And Monday, I made this recipe, which just happens to be the best recipe I have tried in a long time: Spicy Spaghetti Squash!  It is found at This is a picture of mine, but it looked way better in person, truly! Especially with sour cream, salsa, and cheese!

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup sweet corn, frozen or fresh
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange squash in a large baking dish, cut-sides down. Pour 1/2 cup water into the dish and bake until just tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Rake with a fork to remove flesh in strands, leaving the shell intact for stuffing.

For the filling, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeño and bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes or until soft. Add beans, corn and chili powder; cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute longer. Add cooked squash, cilantro, lime juice and salt, cook 1 minute until heated through.

Fill squash halves with filling, mounding mixture in the center.

Believe it or not, I hardly messed with this recipe. I simply doubled the black beans and corn, and was possibly a little more liberal with the cilantro and lime. The Mr said, "You should have added a little cilantro." Dripping sarcasm. Of course I added tons of cilantro! I served with salsa, sour cream, and a good aged white cheddar that was gifted to us. I did have to pick out the jalepenos since the ones I used were from my freezer and had the seeds intact. Whew! I am such a wimp when it comes to heat these days.

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