Before I dive into Thanksgiving recipes here, I had to share this pumpkin pecan muffin recipe with you. In prior years this recipe may have been with fresh roasted pumpkins that I would have happily scooped out and used during the season, then froze plenty more for the rest of the year; not so this year with life going full speed ahead with IEP’s, health insurance appeals, new treatments on our journey, and me trying to get my adrenals back in shape (they fell way low right under my stressed-out nose) but all THAT wasn’t going to sway me from making these delectable muffins or Thanksgiving (got so much in store for you this year!).
Zucchini usually makes its’ way into my pasta meals, fritters, or simply grilled throughout the year being that it’s so readily available, but when peak season arrives (July-August), when it’s most tender and sweeter than ever I can’t think of anything better than zucchini bread. Nothing better.
Growing up, my mother would often serve big bowls of porridge with plenty of sugar on top. Even during the summer in the Catskills, but with heaping spoons of freshly picked blueberries – my favorite way. In Russian, we call it mannaya kasha, which is basically wheat semolina based Cream of Wheat, made with milk. Not exactly a breakfast of champions. What did I know, I thought it was normal to get bloated and feel the need to pass out soon after. Needless to say, this is a better porridge option without the belly-aching, sugar-crashing side effects … what I like to call the ‘new and improved’ version of breakfast porridge. A whole lot healthier and I must say, a whole lotta DELICIOUS.
When I first made this I was looking to create an egg-free (vegan) banana bread in addition to gluten free to serve to our plant-based friend who was coming for brunch. I played around with a Williams-Sonoma recipe and viola, after two tweaked versions (theirs is not gf, df) I was thrilled with the results. I have made it many different ways over the years and it always comes through whatever the occasion may be – school snack, entertaining, gifting, teachers, etc. – my go-to loaf for sure.
You’re probably wondering why the heck anyone would bake pancakes. I get it. They’re pancakes, they belong on a hot griddle, you’re right. But one morning I got fed up standing over the stove – half asleep – flipping loads of pancakes (we’re a family of six, and five of those humans are guys aka big eaters) so I preheated my oven in a huff after a dozen flips and poured the batter onto baking sheets and the rest was history.
Don’t let the simplicity of these charming muffins fool you. It’s anything but. Tucked inside are a combination of sweet ripened banana and slightly tart (yet sweet) plump blueberry embedded throughout a moist, delicate crumb. It’s full-on fruit, kissed with some sugar sweetness – what you’d expect from your morning muffin. The hint of ginger and nutmeg in here rounds out the flavors nicely while enhancing the banana and blueberry flavor. My boys love finding one tucked into their lunch boxes.
I don’t think I have ever fallen in love with pesto, until now. What started out as a throw-a-few-ingredients-together kind of recipe turned out to be love at first taste. And just look at that color. #springtimehappiness
I originally made it as an add to penne pasta for a quick weeknight dinner (a big hit and a must try!) but it wasn’t enough. We were all so struck by this new mash-up of a pesto that I made another batch that night to shmear on toast – instead of the usual avocado – the next morning and then, all week long.
Spring is here!
So is asparagus season – yum! Our relationship has come a long way.
Growing up, raw carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes were welcomed on my plate, for the most part, and nothing else. The green vegetables were what I had a tough time with. Mushy, and usually marginally seasoned thus resulting in my conviction: I will never eat vegetables for the rest of my life.
If this weekend comfort food doesn’t provide any consolation from a long week, then I don’t know what will.
Can we just stop and stare for a minute?
I’m not one to initiate a stare but look at those crispy edges. And the clusters of caramelized crunchy goodness. And the specks of orange zest. YASSS. Wait until we slice… there’s an irresistible blend of citrus swirling around with vanilla and honey flavors, all infused into the most decadent custardy french toast under a golden brown exterior.
Even though we are all well past pumpkin, I’m boldly (gasp) reprising its role despite all the gingerbread and eggnog in the air.
My love of waffles is obvious – gingerbread, pumpkin spice, vanilla bacon, (posted so long ago using my iPhone 4 (yes, really) to which the photos don’t do any justice), and savory cornbread ones with fried chicken (another vintage recipe), it’s no wonder I’m inspired to try new waffle recipes.