Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pumpkin Coffeecake

A few weeks ago we had some extra pumpkin puree sitting in the fridge, just waiting to be used. For some reason, I had a craving for a whole wheat pumpkin coffeecake. So began my usual google recipe search. I found several recipes and then combined ideas to create my own. This recipe is based off one by Two Peas and Their Pod and a few other recipes I chanced upon.

The trick to cooking with whole wheat is extra moistness. Add-ins like pumpkin make that job just a little bit easier. A little secret? If you’re cooking with pumpkin and whole wheat, double the pumpkin. Here, I use a whole cup instead of the 1/2 cup recommended in most recipes. It allows the pumpkin to shine instead of being drowned out by the stronger wheat flavor.

Another secret? Buttermilk makes everything taste better!

photo (25)

Ingredients:

streusel

  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 TB unsalted butter, cold

cake

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very cold
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree, homemade or store bought
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

photo (28)

Directions

to make the streusel

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Cut the butter in till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside

to make the coffeecake

1) Preheat oven to 35o and butter a 9 inch cake pan.

2) Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt). Cut in butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3) In a stand mixer, beat together the eggs, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree, and buttermilk. Add in the dry mixture. Be careful not to overmix.

4) Add batter to prepared pan. Top with prepared streusel. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

5) Allow cake to cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Then, remove cake from pan and transfer to a cooling rack.

to make the glaze

Sift powdered sugar to remove any lumps. Whisk together all ingredients. While coffeecake is still warm but not hot, drizzle glaze over it. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to enjoy any leftovers for breakfast throughout the week.

photo (26)

Cheap and Delicious {Perfect Panfried Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks}

I’m not a huge fan of dark chicken meat. Something about the texture has always disturbed me. In the pursuit of a lower food budget, though, we buy a lot of chicken thighs and drumsticks. Until recently, I would cook those up for the hubby and content myself with the sides. I’ve always preferred veggies and grains, anyway. Recently, though, that changed, and it’s all due to this recipe.

Cooked to within an inch of their life (yes, I fully recognize the irony of that statement-the chicken is already dead), these panfried chicken thighs have changed my opinion of dark meat. Sometimes, I even start thinking I’m eating deep-fried, breaded chicken.

As a bonus, if you use cast iron, you’ll season your pan in the process (don’t be surprised if you set off your smoke alarm, too).

Ingredients

  • bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or drumsticks (as long as they fit in your pan, use as many chicken pieces as you like)
  • 4 Tb olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • heavy duty, oven safe frying pan, preferably cast iron

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 450 F.

2) Place frying pan over med-high heat. Add oil. Heat.

IMG_2130

3) Meanwhile, rinse chicken. Place chicken skin side up on a plate. Generously salt and pepper skin side.

IMG_2131

4) When oil just barely begins to smoke, place chicken pieces skin side down in frying pan. Set a timer for 15 minutes.

5) While chicken cooks, salt and pepper un-seasoned side of the chicken. Nudge chicken pieces occasionally to make sure they don’t stick to pan.

IMG_2133

6) After fifteen minutes, transfer pan to stove. Set timer for 15 another minutes.

7) After fifteen minutes, flip chicken pieces. Return to stove. Set timer for 10 minutes.

8) Finally, remove chicken from the stove. Let cool for a few minutes.

IMG_2134

Enjoy!

IMG_2692

By the way, don’t waste that delicious oil from the cooked chicken. When you’re done, remove the chicken from the pan and sautee some greens, such as kale, in the leftover oil. Delicious!

How to Have a Happy Husband {Whole Wheat Yogurt Blueberry Muffins}

Sometimes, life is complicated. Other times, it’s surprisingly simple. For instance, this last week, all it took to have a happy husband was a batch of whole wheat yogurt blueberry muffins.

A few weeks back I was looking for a way to use up some aging yogurt and a boatload of wild Maine blueberries (we’ve just had blueberry season up here!). The Pioneer Woman came to the rescue. I hadn’t expected the recipe to be such a hit, but the hubby didn’t stop singing their praises until I made them again.

Breakfast.

Here’s the recipe, with a few of my tweaks. Keep in mind these are fairly hardy. If you’re looking for a traditional, sweeter dessert type muffin, this might not be your cup of tea. But if I were you, I’d give them a try. You might be surprised at how delicious you think they are.

Whole Wheat Yogurt Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 scant cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • dash of cloves
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar (1 cup if you like things sweeter)
  • 1 stick butter, melted or 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups plain yogurt (I make my own, thus the mason jar.)
  • 2 1/2 cups wild Maine blueberries. Use regular blueberries if you can’t find these.
  • Raw sugar
The rather darkish looking blur to the left is the blueberries.

The rather darkish looking blur to the left is the blueberries.

 

Directions

1. Grease muffin tins. I used a mixture of small and jumbo. The recipe made 12 small and 6 large muffins. Keep in mind, the cooking times are for smaller tins, so you’ll have to cook larger muffins longer.

2. Preheat oven to 385.

3. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together.

IMG_2118

4. Combine wet ingredients. Whisk.

5. Combine dry and wet ingredients. Mix together very lightly.

IMG_2119

6. Add 1 1/2 cups blueberries to the batter. Mix gently.

7. Spoon batter into prepared pans.

8. Top muffins with remaining cup of blueberries. Sprinkle raw sugar on top of berries. Press muffins flat slightly.

IMG_2120

9. Cook 20-25 minutes. Cook 5-10 minutes longer for larger muffins. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Breakfast.

Breakfast.

You can eat these muffins hot from the oven, but the flavors really start shining at room temperature. Try cooking them in the evening, indulging in one before bed (I was never good at following the “let cool completely before serving” instructions), then eat the cooled muffins for breakfast the next day.

Make sure you hop on over to this recipe on the Pioneer Woman’s blog. She has a great yogurt blueberry sauce to top them with.

Give it Some Time {How to Make Raspberry Vinegar}

My mom called me a couple weeks ago, excited about a free PYO raspberry spot she’d found. I’m a sucker for free (even if it means traveling over an hour to my hometown). So on a bright (TOO bright) morning that week, I spent several hours with my mom, wading through brambles, squishing berries on my favorite jeans, and getting sunburnt. While we picked, she told me about this strange new thing she’d heard about—Raspberry Vinegar.

IMG_1648

I was suspicious. I mean, I love vinegar. Seriously—LOVE it! As in, I might drink it. But I couldn’t wrap my mind around fruit-flavored vinegar (apple cider vinegar being an obvious exception). The next day, though, with fresh raspberries in a cooler in my living room, I ventured to a local kitchen store and tried a sampling of their raspberry vinegar. That sealed the deal. I knew this delicious concoction was in our future.

It might sound intimidating, but raspberry vinegar actually has only three components: raspberries, vinegar, and time. Here’s how it’s done.

Raspberry Vinegar Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups raspberries (don’t worry, frozen works just as well as fresh)

2 cups vinegar (I made two batches, one with white balsamic and one with black balsamic)

Patience

Screen Shot 2013-08-08 at 5.21.49 PM

Directions

1) In a mason jar, combine rasberries and vinegar.

Left: White Balsamic Right: Black Balsamic

Left: White Balsamic
Right: Black Balsamic

2) Let set in a dark place for two weeks. I cheated and did one week and six days. Guess I should work on that patience thing.

3) Strain vinegar through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard raspberries.

Can't get over how much darker the raspberries in the balsamic came out!

Can’t get over how much darker the raspberries in the balsamic came out!

4) Enjoy!

White Balsamic Raspberry Vinegar. Somehow I neglected to get a pic of the black balsamic.

White Balsamic Raspberry Vinegar. Somehow, I neglected to get a pic of the black balsamic.

The vinegar makes a delicious vinaigrette when mixed with a little olive oil. It’s also surprisingly sweet and can (I’ve heard) be mixed with seltzer water for a delicious soda. I’ll fill you in on that recipe once I try it.

Next up? Wild Maine Blueberry vinegar! Can’t wait to try blueberry soda.

How to Make Lemon Curd {5 Ingredients = Perfection}

IMG_1873

Lemon curd. It’s one of those intimidating sounding things that’s not so intimidating after all. In just 5 ingredients and 3 steps, you can make the perfect topping for your morning toast.

Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 6 Tb sugar
  • 4 Tb butter

IMG_1863

Directions

  1. Put egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar in a small saucepan. Whisk well. Place over medium heat and stir constantly with wooden spoon until mixture coats back of spoon. This should take about 7 minutes. IMG_1869
  2. Remove mixture from heat. Add butter a little bit at a time, stirring well until butter melts and all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  3. Put lemon curd in a small bowl. Place a layer of plastic wrap across the surface. Refrigerate for about an hour or until cool.
  4. Enjoy! Lemon curd taste great on scones and toast.

IMG_1880