This past weekend was tough! I was in the midst of a juice cleanse and could not stop thinking about how much I wanted a salad the size of my face. Or grilled fish with a glass of wine followed by some Fro Yo with major amounts of sprinkles and pink-frosted animal crackers.
Then to make matters worse, I watched The Food Network again. They were playing Red Lobster commercials which nearly caused me to drool on myself. I guess you could say my cravings were pretty ridiculous; then again it was probably my own fault for watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.
There is good news though: I truly feel incredible and since I enjoy sharing my discoveries with you, I journaled my experience with the cleanse. I plan on posting it sometime this week. Perhaps it will inspire you, too!
Okay enough chatting, can we get to the muffins?
Is it normal that I sleep with my iPhone under my pillow? Or that when I immediately wake up I check all of my SEVEN email accounts? Um, probably not.
I need to figure out a way to unplug from all of the communication sometimes. Or just find a balance. When I’m not working on my site, I’m constantly plugged in for my other job. As much as I tell myself that I need to take a break and relax, it’s hard to step away from the chaos of work and the busyness of life; I’m sure many of you can relate!
Usually the only thing that gets me away from all of it is the chaos of my own kitchen — my own little sweet happy spot. As soon as I put on a little music and begin to dice and chop, my creative energy pours into pots and pans, creating good food for loved ones.
This stew was made during an evening when my mind was cluttered and I needed a release. I had a busy day full of meetings. Okay and I was also dreaming about when I would actually get those girl scout cookies I ordered — like how long it would take for me to destroy 5 boxes this year? Whattttttt? Girl scout cookies are stressful to think about.
Anyway there was a jar of lentils that had been sitting in my cupboard along with gorgeous organic sweet potatoes from Whole Foods. It was time to put the iPhone down. A lovely pot of stew was an adventure I was ready to take on.
Soup is one of my favorite things during the cold winter months. I literally dream about the days where I can sit with a good book, a cup of soup, and a slice of crusty bread to soak up all that warm comfort left on the bottom of my bowl.
And of course in between eating pie for breakfast (there were leftovers!) and shoveling Christmas cookies in my mouth; my soul craves soup. Perhaps because it’s the only thing that isn’t made up of purely sugar and butter. Goodness, my body needs a break from that. And this soup? Well, it leaves me full, warm, and richly satisfied.
The butternut squash is roasted in the oven to bring out it’s natural sweetness. Meanwhile the apples, carrots and onions are sauteed with a bit of cinnamon. Lastly the maple and milk are added. The soup is easily pureed into a fairly thick and creamy delight which ends up being quite delicious paired with croutons, or a warm crusty bread for dipping.
I hope you all had a magical thanksgiving full of good food and major amounts of pie to put a smile on your face. Sorry I have been so busy lately traveling that blogging has been difficult.
My Thanksgiving was lovely and full of laughter. We had roasted turkey, green bean casserole, blueberry brie cheese over italian crackers, sour cream mashed potatoes, and an incredible sweet potato casserole with a oatmeal pecan brown sugar streusel. Three days later I’m still not sick of the leftovers.
I wish I would have snapped photos of how beautiful everything turned out, but I was too busy running around the kitchen and enjoying time spent with good people. However, I have to admit that I tried to make some of the dishes healthy because I knew that I had to have dessert; which on Thanksgiving is actually more like my main meal. This year’s included a ridiculous chocolate ganache pie with a toasted marshmallow topping and this stupidly good apple crisp served warm and topped with vanilla bean ice cream.
I was in a food coma for a good 36 hours.
Obviously worth it.
I’ll never forget the day I fell in love with baking. I was 7 years old.
My Mom decided that we would make a homemade pumpkin pie for the holidays. We spent hours deseeding and roasting pumpkins. I always enjoyed our time together in the kitchen because she gave me the best tasks.
On that particular day, I was in charge of making the pie crust look beautiful and fancy. Using my small hands, I tried my best to mimic the pie crust I had seen on the Thanksgiving dinner table, which of course resulted in something unsymetrical and pretty funny looking. Nevertheless, Mom was beaming at my accomplished pie crust and I was too! Eating the pie was the best part though; each bite brought me comfort and happiness knowing that I helped create a little slice of magic.
And so my love affair with baking began.
These days I find myself so busy that baking seems like a daunting task. It’s time-consuming, and sometimes a little bit complicated BUT I have to remind myself the results of home-baked goods are always unmatched. Lately I’ve been wanting to get back to real baking, the kind that is more like a project. And what’s more fun and interesting then making bagels from scratch? Seriously!
Now surprisingly, I don’t own bread machine, so I kneaded the dough by hand (talk about a calorie burner!); I felt accomplished and proud. Although, using an electrical mixer (such as a KitchenAid) would also work with this recipe.
Alas! I’m here to convince you to make homemade (handmade?) bagels. I’ll take you step-by-step through the recipe so that you can make these too! It’s a wonderful weekend project and great to do with kids. These bagels also happen to be lower in calories than bakery style, plus they’re chewy and toast perfectly. It’s some serious magic.
And since it’s Fall, we might as well make them pumpkin bagels, right? Then top them with a homemade whipped cinnamon honey butter.
So, here’s how we start: we’re going to proof the yeast (basically activate it)! Begin by placing warm water in a large bowl and adding the yeast along with brown sugar. The yeast essentially feeds off the sugar.
After a couple of minutes add the pumpkin, spices, and 2 cups of bread flour and mix until a sticky dough forms (pictured above).