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Entries in pumpkin (16)

Monday
Dec022013

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins Pumpkin Streusel Muffins Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

The first of the three holidays is over now. The turkey is carved, the stuffing is eaten, and my stomach is pleasantly stretched. Though the weekend was only a short break from everyday life, the time spent with family was reenergizing. Putting off the to-do list, if only for a few days, makes me feel as though all of my responsibilities have been lifted. For once my thoughts revolved around something other than lesson plans, grading, and my next caffeine fix.

For this, I am thankful.

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Though many of you have moved on to December’s peppermint and gingerbread flavors, I haven’t finished with pumpkin yet. Perhaps it’s because my favorite loaf of pumpkin espresso bread never made it to the kitchen table or the beloved pumpkin spiced latte never warmed my chilled fingers. I feel as if I didn’t do autumn enough justice, so now I’m rushing to right those delicious wrongs.

I hope that the cinnamon and nutmeg spices in these muffins are enough to transverse the winter flavor barrier. Join me. Let’s not forget about fall just yet.

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins are sweet, spiced, and have just the right crunch. The pumpkin muffins are topped with a cinnamon streusel topping and drizzled with a maple glaze. The muffins are best eaten the day they are made, but they can be stored for a day or two in a container with the lid cracked; this leaves the streusel crunchy and the muffins moist. These muffins make any morning, weekend or weekday, into a special occasion.

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Sunday
Nov102013

Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts

Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts

When I fall in love with books and songs, I fall hard and fast and deeply. Belonging and acceptance can be a feeling so rare at times. When I find something that I can identify with, I draw myself into its world, surrounding myself with pages of words and looping tracks. Books are devoured in days, the written words joining me during spare moments throughout the day, at the dinner table, and late into the dark night. A single song may be put on repeat for weeks, meaningful for far longer than the few minutes it plays.

I breathe it in, taking in the experience and the moment, and I take and I take and when there's nothing more for it to give, I share it with someone else, hoping they will find the voice and spirit in it as I had.

Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts

And I ran back to that hollow again
The moon was just a sliver back then
And I ached for my heart like some tin man
When it came oh it beat and it boiled and it rang

The Stable Song by Gregory Alan Isakov is one of the few songs that speaks to me in a way so many others cannot. When it plays, I find myself stopping whatever I am doing and listening. Listening with ears-wide, mind-open abandon. A hundred listens later, I still get the chills, still find the words speaking to me. Each time the guitar tells a slightly different story, the chords evolving with my life and its changes.

Yesterday it was about loss, tomorrow it is about self discovery.

Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts

With my eyes shut tight, I imagine myself in the mountains on a warm summer night, the smell of green, of life in the air, the feeling of peace and sadness and emotion, and it somehow all fits together. The chords on the guitar allow me to live outside myself for a moment, live another life before my eyes open and I'm brought back to my kitchen table and my computer and an empty coffee mug and a distinct awareness of feeling drained but in a way I would never change.

I never want that moment to end.

Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts

Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts are moist and spiced with the scents of autumn. Pumpkin is baked into a cake doughnut, adding a bright flavor to match its bright color. The doughnuts and glaze complement each other well, providing the right amount of sweetness when paired together. A cup of coffee in one hand and a doughnut in the other is the best way I've found to enjoy these.

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Sunday
Nov182012

Pumpkin Pie Espresso Bars

Pumpkin Pie Espresso Bars

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, but from the sheer amount of holiday commercials on television and Christmas music on the radio, you may guess it to be mid-December. My family is hosting the Thanksgiving celebration this year, as we have done many years before. My mother is already rushing around to get groceries, keep the house clean, and find enough space to seat twenty people for dinner. It can be a tight fit, but we figure it can't hurt to bring the family close together (both literally and figuratively).

Food and family go hand-in-hand. In many ways, it is a defining feature of our holidays to truly help them feel like a special moment in time.

Pumpkin Pie Espresso Bars

For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has always held the very same routines for me. As family begins to arrive and the food slowly begins to be spread out on the table, I hover over the vegetable tray trying to steal half of the black olives without anyone noticing, starving from a lack of breakfast (Needless to say, someone always notices and I continue to sneak olives despite it). Once everyone has arrived, we say grace and dig in, always eating much more than we should.

The chorus of content, but slightly uncomfortable voices after dinner confirms this fate.

Pumpkin Pie Espresso Bars

As the dishes are cleared, the televisions are quickly tuned to football games and everyone settles in for a lazy, sleepy afternoon. Without fail, someone in the family manages to fall asleep with his or her mouth hanging open, snoring softly, while the rest of the family gathers to laugh quietly and take embarrassing video footage (I desperately hope it's not my turn this year). In late afternoon, after the sun has set and the food coma is beginning to wear off, the leftovers from lunch are spread out on the tables and the second meal of the day indulgently begins before we part ways for the evening.

While my family never quite expresses our gratitude for one another out loud, it can be felt in the room. It is as real and perceptible as the scent of turkey in the air.

Pumpkin Pie Espresso Bars

I've been struggling to come up with a Thanksgiving dessert menu this year, but this recipe has easily made the short list of possible contenders. These bars are a twist on the traditional pumpkin pie. The crust is made from oatmeal and almonds, providing a strong contrast in texture to the smooth pumpkin filling. The filling is spiced with the classic spices of cinnamon and nutmeg, but I added a tablespoon of espresso powder which lends a subtle, but harmonizing flavor to the finished product. Topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of cinnamon, these bars are truly something special for the holiday season.

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