Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Kitchen Pontificating

Sometimes I think if there were an eleventh commandment it might go like this:

hou shalt not miss an opportunity to add butter.

Let me explain.

esterday after picking the boys up from school, we came home and put up backpacks and hung up jackets and had a squabble over toys (those are mine!) with a follow up squabble and poor behavior from The-Mother-who-should-not-lose-control over the fighting. I've been a bit wound up tight the past couple days, or maybe the past week.

'm blaming it on
being with period and the hormones that love to ebb and flow in a woman's body.

o, to continue.

We eventually made it out the door and went running. My children have an utter fascination with all the Halloween decorations, and we spend our outside-in-the-neighborhoods-time these days looking for them. Today we found some new ones: we admired a witch on a bicycle and a fantastic pirate ship with accompanying scary skeleton pirates and skulls and spiders and webs.

nd somewhere in amongst all this, I was pondering the canned pumpkin in my fridge leftover from pumpkin bread last week. It was somehow calling my name.

was imagining moistness with pumpkin and carrot.

ame home and had some lunch and then sidled up to one of my kitchen BFFs, the Kitchenaid, and began concocting. Here's what I came up with.

Pumpkin Carrot Muffins

2 large carrots, finely grated

3/4 - 1 cup canned pumpkin

3/4 cup sugar (ouch...was hoping for less of that)

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup bran buds

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder
1 heaping tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup half n' half (or just milk, if you prefer)

3 heaping T ground flax

1 T. oil

1/4 cup applesauce

baked them at 375 degrees for precisely 18 minutes, then removed.

esult: 12 hearty MOIST muffins

o even though it already had 1/2 cup butter and some half n' half too, somewhere in all of this I had envisioned one other component.

here must be a cream cheese butter.

fter these muffins came out, we headed up the canyon to go leafing.

e spent time meandering about the family cabin, picking up leaves,
discussing roads and properties and negotiating hiking up through all the scrub oak, retrieving these lovelies. Eventually we got back in the car and made our way back down the road, stopping on the mountain road to gather more leaves if something seemed particularly stunning.

e stopped at a river crossing and got out for a while.
It was so lovely. The air was crisp, it was late afternoon and the sun was tipping low on its descent to goodnight. I watched the water on the rocks, the way the leaves and trees hugged the river's edge. I watched my children exploring and throwing things in the water and it gave me peace. It felt like a big breath I'd been needing to take.
We climbed back in the car and made our way down the mountain. There is something so lovely about a mountain road, the way it winds and is quiet and inviting. I had to stop at Reams on the way back. The cream cheese was SO calling.

e came home and we had dinner in five minutes. I heated up some cream cheese, just till warm and spreadable (20 seconds). Added some soft, spreadable, unsalted butter. And a couple spoonfuls of powdered sugar. Mix.

Cut moist muffins. Slather quite profusely with cream cheese butter (insert: do not skip this step) and viola! (You may just have to try them out and tell me if you find them any good at all. I think they're decent...might tweek a bit next time.)

As I said: Thou shalt not deny the butter.
(And there might be a second like unto it, a postscript, if you will, reading: If thou makest these, thou shalt not leave the cream cheese butter out. On the contrary; Slather, I daresay.)

It will come through for you every time.

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