Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The best baked "donuts" you'll ever have

It seems like for every so-so recipe I make (this one was not a hit at our house this weekend), I find a delicious recipe that I wonder what we ever did without.

I'm not into the pumpkin craze, but this recipe has the perfect amount of pumpkin and spice, yet mild enough that you could make it all year round.

This recipe was adapted from Blue Eyed Bakers Pumpkin Spice Donuts.  You need to make this right now - it's that good! This makes a dozen donut holes using a mini-muffin tin.

For the donuts:
1 1/4 + 2 T whole wheat flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t all spice
1/8 t ground ginger (optional)
2 T + 2 t canola oil
1/4 c brown sugar
1 egg white
3/4 t vanilla
1/4 c + 2 T canned pumpkin
1/4 c milk

For cinnamon sugar coating:
2 T butter, melted
3 T sugar
1 t cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 and coat muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice and ginger.

In a larger bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, egg white, vanilla, canned pumpkin and milk. Slowly add dry ingredients until just combined.

Spoon batter into muffin tin, filling nearly to top. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

While muffins are cooling, melt butter in one bowl and combine cinnamon and sugar in another. While muffins are still warm, dip in butter and then in cinnamon sugar.

If you have leftovers (which is unlikely), you can store in the refrigerator in a sealed container overnight.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kitchen tips

I will preface this post by saying I'm not a professionally trained chef, but I have learned my way around the kitchen. Here are a few tips I've picked up along the way that have helped me reduce prep time while also keeping a clean, healthy kitchen.

Grate garlic cloves, don't mince. I use a zester, but a cheese grater works well too. It's quick and the pieces of garlic are consistently sized and cook more evenly.

Use non-stick cookware. You can use less oil or butter in recipes.

Keep flour in the freezer. I didn't used to do this, but you only need one person to tell you about bugs in flour to make you change your ways. Enough said.

Rinse meat and pat dry with paper towels before seasoning. It's also great if you remember to take meat out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature. It will cook more consistently.

Use fresh herbs when you can. There are certain herbs and spices that don't taste the same dried or ground. Nutmeg is a great example. I buy nutmeg whole and zest it into recipes. Thyme is an example of an herb that tastes different dried. I try to use fresh when I have it on hand. Substitute one tablespoon fresh herbs for one teaspoon dried.

Don't buy special pans, tools or equipment for one recipe. You will end up with a kitchen full of stuff you never use! This weekend I had a recipe for baked donuts, but didn't have a donut pan, so I made donut holes using a mini-muffin pan. There were just as good!

I'm sure there are so many other great tips out there. What things help you in the kitchen?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Busy, busy

Yes, we're still here. We've been busy with so many projects around the house. I'm finally getting around to painting and decorating this room. I'm not going as bold as I originally planned. I found a beautiful fabric for roman shades and I'm keeping the room neutral. It will be wonderful to have big dinners in there as soon as we're finished. Just one more coat of paint...

I've also been busy taking this little one to and from school and keeping her entertained on her days off. We've had a couple warm days here, so we've been enjoying them outside. It won't be too long before we'll be stuck indoors.

I've also been making a lot of comfort food on cooler days. We love turkey chili and this chicken pot pie I made a couple weeks ago. You can find the recipe here, although I made a few changes (no egg or celery). Am I the only adult who can't stand celery?!

Oh, and remember this project? The dresser is finally finished, although I can't take much credit. Okay, I can't take credit at all. Well, I did find the dresser, so does that count? Originally, I planned to use the existing hardware, but it was in bad shape, so when I removed it, it bent and twisted. I just have to put the new hardware on and move it out of the garage. I can't wait to share pictures with you next week.

We are spending this weekend celebrating Halloween. We still haven't carved our pumpkins, but we went to The Great Pumpkin Display in Whitefish Bay last night and we got a lot of inspiration. It's also trick-or-treat on Sunday, so we're hoping for good weather this year.

I hope you're able to enjoy the Halloween festivities this weekend! Check back next week for pictures of a painted dining room and a completed dresser!

Friday, October 5, 2012

What we've been doing...

I'm sorry about the lack of posting. I have a few things to blog about, but I have been battling a nasty cold that my daughter brought home from school. I am hoping we can all get our immunity up quickly so we aren't dealing with illness all winter!

The sunrise and sunset have been absolutely amazing the last week. I saw my first shooting star (!) and we watched the moon rise over the lake one night.

Emmerson had picture day at school this week. Sadly, these might be the only pictures we'll have of her because she had a meltdown. She didn't want to take a break from playing for a picture. I can't blame her - I'm not one for a posed portrait either.

She was so excited about her skirt and sparkly tights though. I'm happy she's finally excited about clothes (even though she might still be a bit of a tomboy and wants to wear rain boots with most dresses). She's such a cutie!

Have a wonderful weekend!
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