Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pumpkin Muffins

I made pumpkin muffins last week and they were a big hit around here! The recipe made a ton (maybe 5 dozen), but you wouldn't be able to tell by the empty plate of muffins only four days after baking them. I woke up to a cool fall breeze and decided that today was the day to make more muffins. After brewing a pot of hazelnut coffee my mission for muffins continued! Mmmm. My recipe is one that was handed down from my grandmother's friend ( I can't trace the origins before that... but it has been a hit in our family for years!). It is delicious and reminds me of all the fall has to offer. At my house, we like to bake half of the batter as muffins and use the remaining half to fill loaf pans. In the mornings we just toast a slice or two and spread a little cream cheese on the warm bread. I also like to freeze some of the loaves and save them for a busy morning when there is no time for baking.

Here's the recipe:

3 cups of sugar
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups of pumpkin (1 lb can)
1 cup salad oil
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp alspice
2 tsp salt
2/3 cup water

Combine sugar, eggs, pumpkin and oil. Sift dry ingredients together and add to sugar pumpkin mixture, alternately adding water. Place in muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees F. Muffins take about 25 - 30 minutes. The small loaf pans take approximately 45 minutes to bake and a large loaf pan will take nearly an hour to bake.

I am trying to make this slightly more healthy than it is. I know... I know... its never going to be Weight Watchers friendly or Sugar Busters friendly, but I will try and add a few more nutritious ingredients. See my notes below for some successful substitutions.

1. sugar - I use 2 1/2 cups. I'd like to try to substitute the sugar for honey, but I haven't tried this yet.
2. salad oil - I use 3/4 of a cup. I think that the recipe could be reduced a bit more too... maybe even 2/3 cup. Next time I will try that.
3. flour - Instead of using 3 1/2 cups of flour, I have tried adding a cup of oatmeal (run it through the food processor to blend it up first) and 2 1/2 cups of flour. Personally, I enjoy the slightly crunchier texture, however some of my family prefers a smoother texture to the muffins. Its all in what you prefer.

Enjoy and good luck! Tell me what you think of the recipe and any other substitutions you may have!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I don't know about you, but I've spent the past month fresh out of ideas. Maybe its from 4 years of design school sucking every ounce of creativity out of me, or maybe its just that I've been busy doing other things. I think its probably a combination of both. Anyways, I'd like to officially announce that I am out of that rut. I'm back and feeling incredibly design savvy, creative, and resourceful.

I decided to make a tufted pinboard covered in linen the other day. Its been on my mind for a while, but I haven't had the chance to approach the design of it until Monday. I'm not completely finished with the tufting process (just a steady border of upholstry tacks three inches inset from the border of the pinboard) but I'm looking forward to finishing it by the end of the day tomorrow. I have to run back out to Lowes to buy a few more packs of upholstry tacks. One note to those interested in using upholstry tacks - buy more than you anticipate needing!!! I cannot say this enough. I bought 150 tacks and thought I would have enough... but I've only made it around three sides of the board. For some reason the tacks keep getting bent after I hammer them in and then bounce back out of the board (VERY annoying!). I am hesitant to post a photo, only because the place is a mess.... but I want to give you an idea of how its going to look. Here it is:

Making the pinboard made me want to rearrange a bit. I've flipflopped the dresser and small kitchen table/workdesk and I think there's a bit more space to work on projects now. I also want to find a way to display some of my purses. I don't have a walk in closet, but I think that I could use a small wall outside the closet to display them on. I think I'll need to install some simple shelves - probably white lack shelves from Ikea (good price point and relatively easy to install). Before that happens though, I think I need to save up a bit of money!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oh Baby!

These are the cutest baby pillows! I found a link from Beach Bungalow 8 about the new textile design company called Rikshaw Design. This company sells baby bedding and accessories made from hand blocked fabric - in soft soothing shades and patterns. I have some friends who are expecting and also have childrens fabric laying around (well, I've been trying to save it for the perfect project). I think this is the perfect use of that fabric. I'll probably make other animals though... maybe a scottie dog or a dashound or a bunny and mouse. Here are some other images from their website.