Monday, July 23, 2012

Breakfast Baking Day

I wanted to make sure that James had some quick breakfasts next week while I am house/dog sitting for my parents, so I had a baking day.  I went to my Pinterest account and pulled 6 recipes I had pinned.  Obviously the one with the candy is a snack and not a breakfast food...although there's no telling how James will eat while I am gone! :)

Here's what I made:

Monster Candy  Cookie
Apple Pie Muffins
Lemon Cranberry Muffins
Breakfast Omelet Muffins
Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal
Orange Blueberry Muffins

Hopefully that will get him through the week for breakfast, and if I'm lucky still have leftovers for awhile!

Brownie Comparison

I didn't take any pictures of this challenge, but we enjoyed the results. I decided to time myself while making store bought brownies and homemade brownies.  The boxed brownies are definitely more "convenient" since it only took my 4 minutes and 20 seconds to mix up the brownies.  Of course, neither one of us really enjoyed the brownies and we ended up throwing out half the batch (we used Pillsbury Fudge Brownie mix).  Our biggest problem with these brownies was that they tasted super oily.

As a comparison, I made a batch of homemade brownies from a recipe I've used for awhile.  It took me 15 minutes to mix the batch up.  The brownies were awesome tasting!!!  So much better than the others, and definitely worth the extra time. James said he would prefer if I only made the homemade batch from now on.

When I timed myself, it included finding all the ingredients, measuring out ingredients, and cleaning up.  The homemade brownies mostly seemed to take longer because I had to melt chocolate chips.

Definitely an interesting experiment.  We learned that the extra time on the homemade brownies is absolutely worth the effort!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Timed Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I've been thinking a lot lately about "convenience foods".  I understand that most people have much higher and many more time demands than I do, but does it really take that long to make stuff from scratch?  I decided to time myself today while I prepped a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies.  I did not include the baking time or the amount of time the butter was sitting out softening.  I also wanted a fairly accurate time, so I didn't set anything out in preparation (other than the butter), and I didn't rush at all.

It took me 12 minutes and 18 seconds to make the dough for the oatmeal raisin cookies.  That time included getting everything out of the cupboards, putting the items away when I was done with each of them (yep, I clean as I go), using my arms instead of a mixer, and trying to mash up little bits of hardened brown sugar.

Is 12 minutes and 18 seconds worth it to me in order to ensure that James has a yummy batch of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies (his favorite and I don't touch them) with no added preservatives in bet! Plus, James says they taste a ton better than any kind of store bought or out of a box mix cookie!

Hmmm...I feel a brownie mix vs. homemade brownie comparison coming!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cupcakes using Homemade Pumpkin Puree

I made some cupcakes the other day, using the homemade pumpkin puree we made from the found pumpkin. They looked so pretty and tasted awesome!

I had a box of yellow cake mix in my cupboards that I was ready to get rid of, so I used that.  All I did was substitute the pumpkin for the oil used in the recipe and added some chocolate chips.  I made a pretty standard chocolate ganache to top the cupcakes.  So happy with the results.  We also made pancakes yesterday morning  substituting the pumpkin for the oil!  I'm looking forward to more baking with the pumpkin.

Friday, July 6, 2012

"Wild" Pumpkin

Ten months after the massive fire that hit our area, new growth is prevalent.  One of the families that lost their home was big into gardening.  James and I used to walk by their home just to see what was growing (and to look at the incredible welded animal statues the man made.)  Apparently some seeds survived the fire and were washed into the gullies on either side of the burnt out slab.  Recently I walked by the place and saw, what I thought were pumpkins growing.  I took James over to look and he wasn't sure if they were pumpkins, squash, or gourds.  On the 4th of July we walked over to the area and I was crushed to find that the vines I had been watching had been cut back by the crews cleaning up the area.  James decided to traipse down into the gully and found the pumpkin pictured above.  So pretty!  It reminded me of the pumpkin that Cinderella's Fairy Godmother turned into a coach.  Of course, there are no pumpkin coaches in my future, so we decided to process it down into pureed pumpkin.

 Here's half of the cleaned out pumpkin.  The other half was already cut up and roasting in the oven. 

Two hours, a lot of work, and a big mess later, we ended up with a bunch of pureed pumpkin.  Anyone who knows me is probably thinking...what is this girl doing with pumpkin, she doesn't even eat fruit or vegetables.  Well, I use pureed pumpkin in pancake/waffle mixes and as a substitute for oil in baked goods like cakes and muffins.  As I am typing, I have some chocolate chip cupcakes, using the pumpkin, baking in the oven! They smell so yummy!