Getting my swing back

We’ve cooked dinner maybe three times since getting our SBJ, and I haven’t made anything for Sunday brunch once. Too many bottles to fill, diapers to change, noses to wipe, and butts to powder. Or at least, that was my excuse. So this Sunday I had to get back into it, but given my time off, I needed to start slowly.

I’m not sure why pumpkin is thought of as only a Thanksgiving and Christmas treat. Because it’s easily canned, it’s available year round, has a long shelf life, and is chocked full of beta carotene and vitamin C. And, it’s nearly idiot-proof in the oven. Bread, muffins, pie… you can forget to set the timer, set the oven for the wrong temperature, forget how many scoops of sugar you added, and it’s still going to turn out okay.

So the easiest way to get back up on the horse and find my culinary sea legs is to take one of the many cans of pumpkin from down in the pantry and slap together some muffins.

Now, this being the Training Table, I have to make a nod to nutrition, expedience, and flexibility. I like making muffins on Sunday because they take about 30 minutes to prepare and then 30 minutes to bake, so while the muffins are in the oven, you can finish the dishes, and sit down to enjoy a muffin and cup of coffee without worrying about the pile of bowls and measuring scoops in the sink. I also double the recipe and then freeze most of the muffins in little zip locks, two per bag, so I can grab one as I go out the door all next week.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 15 oz canned pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil or 1/3 cup apple sauce
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Pumpkin spice mix: either one Tbsp of pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice, or one tsp each of ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, or whatever floats your boat. I tend to go overboard on the ginger, and no one has ever complained.

For the topping:
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350º. Prep the pans with liners or the grease of your choice. (I usually skip both with our Wilton pans, so your call there.)

Mix together everything but the flour, and then slowly sift in the flour until just combined. I use the beater from the electric mixer for this step, since it only has four tines and lets a lot of air into the mix without clumping.

Fill the muffin cups, then sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mix on top.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Let them cool in the tray for five minutes, then pop them out and serve. Let them cool to room temperature before bagging or tupperwaring.

About SAO'

Dad to two amazing girls, husband to one.
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