Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Extenda-Week #2: Crumb-Topped Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Welcome to recipe number 2! This time, we (Michelle and I ) had a special guest. Her name is Sabrina, and, if you are a good blog reader, you will remember that she is an ultra-awesome ultrarunning who was just recently featured in RUNNERS WORLD MAGAZINE! WHATTTTTT. SO GREAT AT LIFE. Here she is with our lovely kitchen assistant....
Crumb-Topped Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
(adapted from here)

Gracie voted this the best recipe so far. I really liked these, and they get better and better the longer they sit in the fridge (within reason of course). The blog from which I stole these says you can make regular cupcake sized muffins or the mini muffins. If you want to see the adaptation for that, go to the blog. Otherwise here you will find cupcake sized muffins.

In general, these are quite delicious. They almost make a good breakfast food. The crumbly bottom with the pumpkin cream cheesy layer are a delicious partnership. Expect the pumpkin layer to be soft and a little gooey. The recipe says it makes 24 muffins. I got 22 out of the pumpkin batter, but had crumble to spare. Okay, on to the recipe!

Crumb Crust
2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. uncooked regular oats
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. finely chopped pecans (or walnuts)
3/4 c. butter, melted

Combine flour, sugar, oats, salt, and nuts in a medium bowl. Add melted butter and combine with hands until mixture is coarse and crumbly. See mixture in the bottom right corner below.
Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners and drop a generous tablespoon of crumble into each liner. Press down with your table spoon.
Save leftover mixture to sprinkle on tarts before baking.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling
1 small can (15oz) pumpkin
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese (light works great), softened (THIS IS IMPORTANT)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine pumpkin, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. (NOTE- make sure your cream cheese is softened and closer to room temp. I used mine straight from the fridge, and it would not mix smoothly/fully) Add eggs and seasoning and mix completely. Spoon into prepared crust. (I used a 1/4 measuring cup and this worked really well. You dont want to fill it all the way to the top. Just allllmost there- see pictures below)

Sprinkle extra crumble on top of the muffins.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. If you'd like the crumb topping a little darker, you can turn the broiler on for a few minutes, but you have to keep a close eye on them because they will literally burn in a few seconds.

Allow to cool completely and then refrigerate for at LEAST 24 hours. Serve with sweetened whipped cream on top if desired.

Ultra delicious. Ultra easy.

Ultra love.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin Extenda-Week #1: Pumpkin Cookies

The Recipe that started the whole thing... Pumpkin Cookies. I have a very soft spot (also known as a spoft) for pumpkin cookies because they are really delicious. Michelle and I spent lots of time looking for good recipes, and I eventually just picked this one. You shall see the adventures below!

Super Soft Pumpkin Cookies (adapted from here)


2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola or corn oil

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices together in a medium bowl and set aside. Make sure you stir them all together (not like in the picture below)

Put the rack in the middle of the oven . Preheat the oven to 325. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and butter the paper. (I didnt have parchment paper, so we just buttered the pan. worked like a charm)

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On low speed, mix the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla until blended. Michelle took care of this portion of the mixing. What a beautiful co-chef.

Gracie didn't help bake per-se because she was sweaty from Bikram.
But she kept our kitchen assistant entertained!
Our lovely kitchen assistant, Luna the angel.

Next, mix in the flour mixture to incorporate it. See demonstration below. This is a very hard job...

Then, using an ice cream scoop or a 1/4 measuring cup (or whatever you want), scoop mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Use a thin metal spatula to smooth and flatten the rounds. (We didnt have to do this step because I used Trader Joe's canned pumpkin which is a thinner consistency than the normal Libby's brand.)

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 16 minutes. Cool them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. (I didn't test mine with a toothpick but if you are really anal about stuff, go for it) Make sure the kitchen assistant is having a good time. Picture evidence below.

MMMMMMMM look at the yummy cookies that are about to be iced!

Glaze- Ingredients

2 cups confectioners sugar

3 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon butter (melted)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions: Combine confectioner’s sugar, milk, butter and vanilla. Mix well. If needed, add more milk until consistency is drizzle-able.

Drizzle glaze onto cookies with a spoon. (I probably doubled the milk)

Final Product with Luna creeping in the background. What a girl.
Picture of the co-chefs .
These cookies were so delicious. And they really were super soft. I highly recommend them. I also recommend only icing the cookies after they are cool- otherwise the icing spills everywhere and then you have to lick it up. Nevermind, I highly recommend icing the cookies while they ARE hot so you CAN lick the excess icing. If you want, you can also add a cup of chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, or anything else you want. Me? I am a purist. Only pumpkin.


Ultra Love.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin Extenda-Week 2010

So a few weeks ago, Michelle and I realized reading week (a week off from class, where you actually do need to catch up on reading) was coming. We just knew we wanted to bake PUMPKIN THINGS. At first it was just pumpkin cookies, but the more we looked for good recipes, the more recipes we found. So what was just lets get together and bake pumpkin cookies has turned into, "i just spent alot of money at the grocery store so we can bake pumpkin things many days in a row" aka "Pumpkin Extenda-Week 2010!"

Why Extenda-Week you ask? Well, I found more than 7 recipes (i think 10 total?). AND, sometimes in grad school you just can't bake everyday and live to tell about it. AND, i don't want any food to go to waste, so i am going to try to make sure things get eaten before i move onto the next food.

Thus far, two recipes have been made. Each will have an individual post, so don't fret.


ultra love.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Real Life

so remember when i was training for an ultra marathon? don't forget about that. it is still a daily dream of mine. mostly, when i walk Luna to the dog park, i imagine what life would be like if i could just run. and keep running. i miss running in shelby farms. i miss the trails, the grass, the mud, the trees, the smells, the aching joints, all of it.

don't get me wrong. I LOVE YOGA. And i am very happy that i found it, but running is just one of those things that feels right, even when my legs are about to fall off. specifially, running with luna is the most peaceful i have ever felt. when luna starts acting up, i take myself to my happy place (thank you cesar milan, for your fantastic dog advice) which is a very distinct memory i have of the two of us running through a wooded part of the tour de wolf trail. it was the perfect temperature, my legs were fresh, and Luna and i were perfectly synchronized in so many ways. she knew when to turn, when to slow down, which way to proceed. our brains and bodies were connected through this special moment we were sharing. That is my calm/assertive moment that i recall so that Luna is a calm and submissive pup.

I think cesar milan does bikram yoga. really. 1- i can just see him in half moon pose. totally uncomfortable but relaxed and killin it. 2- i can see him as an instructor, SHHHHH-ing people when they are doing the pose wrong.........

sorry for that side thought. it needed to come out.

but anyway- today i needed all of my calm/assertive energy slash my yoga "presence." See bikram is not about peaceful meditation. it is about remaining calm and relaxed even when you are in the middle of hell. today's hell was new haven city hall. i had to fork over $600 for my flippin parking permit, and the tax people are rude. and not helpful. and their whole system is dumb. and grad students dont have much money, so i just lost my mind in there. i was not a calm yogi or a calm/assertive leader of the pack. i was a hot mess. fortuantely, i eventaully got it together. all it took was a burrito (from the carts- a strange yale culture that is very delicious), a diet coke, some love from my roomie grace, a dog park trip with luna, and a shower.

i feel much better. hopefully i will get to go to 6:00 am yoga tomorrow.

OH, now that i have remembered, this post was supposed to be about my new friend. Her name is sabrina, and, yes, it is a little creepy that i am blogging about her. but it is okay because she is a part of why i can keep dreaming about running. see, sabrina is a REAL ULTRA RUNNER. LIKE FOR REAL, PEOPLE. a few weeks ago, she was doing a 24 hour race. no big, right? but she got injured 80 miles in. 80 miles, no big.

anyway- it is very nice to have someone here at YDS who shares my running love/obsession/craziness. Most people enjoy running, but few have the desire to just keep running for a long time. In my mind, if i could do an 8 hour run (and my body could make it and not break) that would be pure happiness. I want to be able to run for a long time and for a long way. Hopefully, my new friendship with sabrina will give me motivation, someone to chat with, someone to think i am not crazy. it also helps that she is super nice and fun to be around in general. grace and i will DEF have to invite her to our "fall fun fest" or whatever it is that we are having at our house. grace is making vegetarian chili- i think i am going to spike it with meat. BAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

okay. enough rambling for today.

oh wait. ps. grace has started to come to yoga with me. and i think i am getting her addicted. YES.

ultra love.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Miss Manners

Greetings! I am blogging from my new smart phone. Impressive, eh? Well this past weekend i got to visit my handsome and health conscious boyfriend in nashville, and we went to the gym (it is the glue that holds us together). See at school, i have been going to yoga about 6 days a week, so i havent been lifting at all. Thus, man-friend and i lifted together! We had just sat down on an incline bench to do some incline presses when dude comes up to us and asks to work in with us.

For those of you in blogland who arent hip to gym lingo, this basically means sharing, rotating sets. This was weird for multiple reasons:
1. There were already 2 of us using this one bench.
2. There were 2 other open incline benches 10 ft away ( dude used some excuse about his lower back, but i say if you cant carry the weight you shouldnt be lifting it. Duh)
3. Some teenager was just resting his weights on the toher other other incline bench. (3 other options and dude asks to work in on the bech 2 ppl are using. Weird)

Fortunately, the kid moved his weights for the dude who ened up asking my boyfriend to spot him. He then proceeded to tell us his enitre life story slash wight lifting saga. Really. Dude. Stop. Thus, i give you some helpful gym etiquette:
1. There is rarely any need to talk to someone who looks even remotely into what they are doing. Just leave people be.
2. Be aware if you are taking up needed space.
3. Save others from weirdos if you can.
4. Try not to smell too bad.

Also, in honor of my weekend of bliss, i leave you with a list of things a person would miss if they just so happened to be living among and surrounded by VEGETARIANS (Gasp!) -
1. Hamburgers
2. Hotdogs
3. Bbq
4. Chicken salad
5. Good sushi
6. Bacon (bacon is good for me!)
7. Cupcakes
Okay so vegetarians eat cupcakes but i havent had any in new haven. And i got to eat all of these things this weekend. The picture you see somewhere in this post is my man with our burgers. Love. True love, people.

Oh and i got to see Vince Gill in concert.

I am a happy happy girl.

Ultra love.
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