Because I was at home this week, and because I had a lot to think about, I spent many hours in the kitchen. It always makes me happier. If you are interested, here is a little bit of what I made:
This tomato lentil soup has become a regular in my winter cooking. I usually make it a couple of times a month and eat it with good bread and cheese.
I had extra pumpkin (see below) and so I made these pumpkin and cranberry muffins. The only changes I made was to substitute the millet with extra flour and add pumpkin seeds and a tiny bit of brown sugar to the top of the muffins before baking.
I make pumpkin bread at least twice a month, though Matt would prefer that I make it twice a week. I think pumpkin bread is in many ways a perfect food--it doesn't require any specialty ingredients (so you can make at a moment's notice), it contains one cup of pumpkin per loaf (which might be the only cup of vegetable that Alyce eats that week), and you can make it with chocolate chips. Done and done. The only tricky part about cooking with pumpkin is that it can sometimes be hard to find. For some ridiculous reason, stores often carry pureed pumpkin only during the holiday months of November and December (I'm looking at you, Trader Joe's). Of course during the fall you can find wonderful sugar pumpkins at the market, but the idea of roasting your own pumpkin sometimes scares people away, and I don't want to do anything to stand in the way of you making this. So, you can do what I do: stock your pantry with can after can of pumpkin.
I can't find the recipe online anywhere, but it comes from Eating for Pregnancy: An Essential Guide to Nutrition with Recipes for the Whole Family, by Catherine Jones, with Rose Ann Hudson. Because I've had so many people ask me for the recipe, I'll include it here. But I won't assault you with any photos of the batch I made yesterday, because I'm still learning (read: I don't take very good photos).
Patricia Terry's Pumpkin Bread
From Eating for Pregnancy
Makes two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaves
This recipe halves easily (but why not make both and hide one in the freezer?)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 3/4 cups sugar (the original calls for 2 1/2 cups, but I prefer it less sweet, to make room for the chocolate later)
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce (you can substitute plain yogurt if you don't have applesauce)
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg whites
2/3 cup water
2 cups solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup chocolate chips (optional, but strongly encouraged)
Preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray. In a very large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, egg whites, applesauce and water, and then add to the dry ingredients, making sure only to mix until all the ingredients are combined, and no more. Add the pumpkin and the chocolate chips and, again, stir only until just combined. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Start checking at 60 minutes, because you don't want to overbake it. Cool before slicing.
If you have any extra pumpkin, I recommend that you add it to pancakes or french toast later in the week, or maybe even to your risotto. Alyce always approves of extra pumpkin.
Finally, I am not the only one thinking about summer this week. Just looking at these photos makes my skin feel warmer. I hope everyone has a great weekend. I, of course, plan on sleeping. What are your plans?