Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sugar Pie

Matt bought me this very rotund sugar pie pumpkin after witnessing my elation over a very large butternut squash.  

After an adequate period of admiration I cleaned, halved, baked, and pureed my pumpkin-- committing it  to pie duty.  

This was the first pumpkin pie I've ever made, and (as with most first time projects) I learned some things..

1.  Crust needs to be pre-baked when there is a custard filling involved.  People actually use pie weights  for this, as the crust will shrink without support.  I improvised by pre-baking the crust with a smaller pie pan supporting it.

2.  Pumpkin pies take a really, really long time to bake. Knifing the middle 12 times will not expedite the process.

The pies (I ultimately made two) were quite delicious.  I used this all butter crust recipe, and (after some heavy research) amalgamated several filling recipes.  It went something like this:

Pumpkin Pie Filling
3 eggs
1.25 cups half and half
2 C Pumpkin Puree 
.5-.75 C Brown Sugar (depending on desired sweetness)
1.5 t grated fresh ginger
1.5 t cinnamon 
1 t nutmeg
.5 t cloves

Whip eggs very well by themselves. Then, add half and half, pumpkin, spices, and sugar and whisk everything together very well.  Pour into an egg coated, pre-baked pie shell. Cook for a long ass time, and try not to poke the middle with too many knives...


Our girls are growing up!  For the last couple of weeks I've been regularly checking for eggs.  Finally, this morning, I found two-- one in the coop, and one under a tree.  I suspect both eggs are from the same hen, as she is large, in charge, and apparently an early bloomer...

The other ladies are not far behind, and will likely start popping eggs out in the next week or so.  Each hen will lay about 6 times a week, which translates to 3-4 fresh eggs per day for us!

Finding the first egg was a pretty thrilling farm moment.  I feel quite proud of our little ladies...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


On Thursday night, Matt and I took a quick and lovely pedal down to Bay View State Park to stay in a tiny (warm) cabin for the night.  In the morning we parted ways, and I headed home to catch a bus down to the big city to eat a ton of delicious food spend some time with a couple of my favorite ladies. 

Here are the photos I managed to take of my very Novemberish trip home...

Our cabin in the light of day.

The good old bicycle freeway. 

My cold wet feet (that did not have gangrene, as I had begun to suspect). 


For the last while a cute little spider has resided in our kitchen window. She (my gender assumption is probably rooted in Charlotte's Web) has built a pretty comfy looking web, and seems to enjoy a relatively predator-free existence. I know some folks would probably evict such a resident, but being a bit of a Buddhist I err on the side of caution.  I am simply not willing to rule out that she might be my great grandmother, you know?  

A couple of days ago, I noticed she'd made a big kill-- check out the huge fly in her web. The colder temperatures are making fruit flies, her usual fare, scarce. So, I hope that the big meal will hold her over for a few weeks!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Breakfast Muffins

My father appreciates the simple things-- bike rides, big lake trout, strong coffee, and crunchy cookies. I assume that not all of his peers are as affable in their interests, so I appreciate this quality of his a great deal. 

Now I'm not trying to get too Freudian (because that gets way too weird way too fast), but Matt is strikingly similar to my pops in this regard. The list even remains nearly identical, but definitely requires the distinct addition of, "any donut that ever existed." 

The reverence of deep-fried dough and sugar makes perfect sense to me, but in the interest of remaining diabetes-free, here is our household's alternative to the morning donut. These muffins are full of the good stuff, and might even include enough carrot to qualify as a vegetable (by public school standards, at least).

Apple Carrot Spice Muffins
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups rolled oats
1 T cinnamon
1 T nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
.5 tsp salt
2-3 medium sized carrots
1 apple
4 eggs
.5 cup milk
.5 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 T molasses
3 T maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
1/3+ cup raisins
1/3+ cup crushed walnuts
Brown Sugar (optional)

Preheat Oven to 350° F
Use a food processor to grate the carrots and half of the apple. Dice the other half of the apple into chunks. Set the fruits and veggies aside with the raisins and walnuts. In a different bowl mix together the flour, oatmeal, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, (there are some dirty dishes involved) stir together all the wet ingredients: milk, eggs, oil, vanilla, molasses, and syrup. Slowly combine all 3 bowls (wet, dry, fruits/veggies), and stir until just combined. Do not over stir. After putting batter into a greased muffin in pan, lightly sprinkle brown sugar over the muffins (if desired). Cook muffins in greased muffin pan at 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Makes 13-14 large muffins.