Monday, November 6, 2017

Pumpkin Bread and Muffins

Pumpkin Bread and Muffins

3 cups all purpose flour or whole wheat flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins, if desired
2/3 cup of vegetable oil
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1 can ( 16 ounces ) pumpkin

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9x5x3 loaf pans.  Beat all ingredients in a large bowl on low speed, scraping bowl frequently, for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium speed, scraping bowl frequently, for 45 second.  Pour into pans.  Bake until a wooden pick inserted comes out clean, about 50 - 60 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes in pan.  Remove from pans and cool completely before slicing.  Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.  Also freezes well.

Muffins - Makes about 2 dozen muffins, bake for 20 to 25 minutes until tops spring back when touched.  

I have been making this recipe for it!   It can be made into bread, mini-loaves, or muffins.  Found this recipe in a booklet from Gold Medal Flour that I sent in 25 cents to have mailed to me back in the 1980's.   About 20 years ago I lost the booklet...called Gold Medal and described the cover of the booklet and the woman I spoke to said they had a few left, she would send me another.  I quickly made a copy of the recipe and put the booklet in a safe place...because everyone seems to enjoy the pumpkin treat and I never want to be without it.  As you can see you can also vary the recipe with applesauce, banana, carrots, or zucchini.  I have tried them all and they are all great - but pumpkin is my favorite.   
Variations :   I often substitute 1/2 to 1 cup of oat bran for some of the flour.  I also never use raisin....I always use 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips.  The combination of pumpkin, walnuts, and chocolate is divine.  Here's how the recipe goes together....

Gather all ingredients and place in large mixer bowl.
Mix well, then add chocolate chips.
Mix gently to fold in chocolate chips.
To make the muffins all the same size I spray an ice cream scooper with non-stick spray and then use that to fill the muffin tins I lined with paper liners.  This makes a nice rounded top on the muffins.
Sprinkling the tops with raw or demerara sugar to give a  nice top on the muffins.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until tops are set and bounce back when pressed lightly.
Finished product - perfect with a cup of tea as an afternoon treat!  Great for breakfast or anytime.   I put the muffins in freezer bags and store in freezer so I can take out as many as needed whenever I need.
These are also perfect for little gifts...just popping over to a neighbor to share a little treat!

Hope you make these soon - they are delicious !

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Marvelous Mums

Marvelous Mums !  Last week we had the pleasure of visiting one of the world's best gardens...Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA .  My wonderful friends gifted us with a membership as a retirement gift.  We have enjoyed the gardens many times and this visit we were accompanied by my sister and her husband.  Part of their " milestone birthday" year celebration.
The gardens are beautiful and we were happy to be there on the last day of the famous fountains.  The wonderfully restored fountains have a show several times a day and the water moves to the music that is piped out over the gardens.  It is magnificent!
Loved the entrance and pumpkin topiary.

Strolling the grounds the trees were at their glad to live in the Northeast and enjoy this time of the year.
"Summer's loss seems little dear, on October days like these." Ernest Dowson

It was the perfect weather for wandering around the gardens...
The highlight of the day was this amazing chrysanthemum.  The gardeners there train the plant so that all the blooms are coming off of one plant!

Walking through the greenhouse we saw so many varieties of plants...

 Including this peaceful silver and white garden...
It was a fabulous day, but as we returned home to Willow Valley we were struck by the beauty that surrounds us thanks to the amazing grounds and garden staff here...

Gorgeous mums...and we get to enjoy them every day.  Well, until the frost comes!
If you want to visit Longwood Gardens here is the link 

It is a very popular place...and very crowded during the holiday season.  That is when the mums are replaced with poinsettias and lights.   If you visit, be sure to have lunch in the cafe...and try the mushroom soup.  Kennett Square is famous for mushrooms and the soup is wonderful!
Hope everyone enjoyed the extra hour we gained...have a cozy and fabulous November!

Trip !

  TRIP !!! And not the trip we were looking forward to...out for a walk and waiting for the crosswalk to say WALK.  A tractor trailer turned...