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Day Four: Classy Pumpkin Muffins

This is Day Four of a 8 part series featuring pumpkins! Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.IMG_0984

The weather has turned cold and crisp here, so we are beginning to think about Thanksgiving and all the wonderful things that come with it! We love the festive feeling of preparing pies and stuffing in the week leading up to it. We love hunting season, and the excitement when one of the hunters gets a deer. And we love the food. Oh, yes… we love it! It’s wonderful to start out a cold, dark fall morning with a fresh-baked muffin, and these pumpkin muffins are a favorite! Even Dad, who doesn’t enjoy most pumpkin baked goods, likes these muffins.

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Several years ago we found a pumpkin muffin recipe that made the most moist, tender, and delicious muffins. The only fault we could find with this recipe was that it called for a lot of oil and the topping was not very calorie-conscious. We try to keep our cooking and baking healthy, so we decided to lighten up this recipe! The first thing we did was reduce the oil to half the amount, and substitute unsweetened applesauce for the amount we left out. Then we made the topping much more simple, by just combining brown sugar and oats. Why add butter when it’s not necessary? Here’s a closer look at the recipe!

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Lightly beat four eggs in a large bowl.

 

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Add the sugar and pumpkin…

 

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… the applesauce and oil…

 

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… and the water, and mix it together well.

 

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Lookin’ good!

 

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In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

 

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Add them to the pumpkin mixture.

 

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Whisk it until just combined.

 

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Scrape the sides of the bowl. Prepare a jumbo sized muffin pan by greasing it or placing paper muffin liners in it.

 

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Spoon the batter into the cups until three fourths full.

 

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About like that. This amount of batter easily fills one dozen jumbo muffin cups.

 

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Stir together the topping ingredients. Simply oats and brown sugar! You can add a dash of cinnamon if you like.

 

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Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffin batter. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes.

 

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I turned the pan in the oven about halfway through the baking time to make sure that they baked evenly. These are perfect! They are delicious served piping hot from the oven, room temperature, or refrigerated. They re-heat nicely for breakfast the next morning, too.

 

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The full recipe:

Classy Pumpkin Muffins

4 eggs, beaten
3 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup oil (we use canola oil)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup water
3 1/3 cups all-purpouse flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Topping:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats

In a large bowl, whisk the first six ingredients. In another bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture; mix well.

Fill greased or paper-lined jumbo muffin cups three-fourths full. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes or until muffins test done with a toothpick. Do not over bake. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 1 dozen jumbo-sized muffins.

 For variation, you can add about 1   1/2 cups of chopped pecans to the muffin batter before baking. We leave them out because we don’t feel like they are necessary.

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

 

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{10 Days of Pumpkin Delight} Day One: Pumpkin Biscuits with Texas Roadhouse-Style Butter

This is Day One of a 8 day series featuring pumpkins! Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.DSCN1560

At this time of year, we like to add pumpkin to all of our usual recipes to make them a bit festive! Biscuits are no exception. These light, fluffy biscuits have just the right amount of sugar and spice, but they are still versatile. They can be served as a sweet breakfast treat, or alongside a savory stew.

As for the butter…. ahh, the butter. Have you ever been to Texas Roadhouse and partaken of their complementary rolls and cinnamon honey butter? Maybe you skipped the rolls and just ate the butter. Good, we aren’t the only ones! I’m so relieved. 😉 Anyway, we believe that the cinnamon honey butter makes the noise and peanuts at TR worth enduring. Then one day while browsing Pinterest, we found a super easy recipe for the butter. As in, it’s a no brainer, because it’s so easy!

Let’s take a closer look!

 

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Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

 

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Melt a stick of butter in a small microwave safe bowl.

 

 

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Whisk in the pumpkin and sugar. (We used half brown sugar and half regular.)

 

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Add the milk and whisk it until smooth.

 

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Yummy!

 

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Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients.

 

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Stir it until completely moistened.

 

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Fold it with a spatula a few times. This takes the place of kneading it.

 

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Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. (We used a clean, smooth dish towel for easy clean-up.)

 

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Roll the dough out until about 1/2″  thick.

 

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Cut into biscuits.

 

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Place the biscuits on a baking sheet. We like to put them close together so they help each other rise.

 

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Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15-18 minutes, or until they are golden brown and not doughy.

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These are perfect!

 

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For the cinnamon honey butter, beat 1 stick of softened butter until light and fluffy. The key to this really is to have it at the perfect temperature. You don’t want it to be cold and hard, but it would be just as bad to have it melting.

 

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When it’s fluffy, add the cinnamon…

 

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… and the honey.

 

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Beat it until it’s smooth.

 

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Add the powdered sugar, and stir it in a little bit by hand. Then finish beating it in until it’s smooth and gorgeous!

 

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It’s so, so delicious!

 

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Place the butter in a cute fall dish and serve it with the warm pumpkin biscuits. This is a wonderful accompaniment to a main dish such as a hearty beef stew or soup. But you could save them for dessert instead.

 

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Here is the full recipe!

Pumpkin Biscuits with Cinnamon-Honey Butter

Biscuits:
3   1/2 cups flour
4   1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1   1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. milk
Cinnamon Honey Butter:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the biscuits, in large bowl combine first four ingredients. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, butter, sugar, and milk; add to flour mixture and mix well. Knead 8-10 times. Roll to 1/2 inch thickness and cut. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 15-18 minutes.

For the Cinnamon Honey Butter, beat the softened butter until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve immediately with warm biscuits.

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Disking the Garden

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Earlier this week, Nate disked up our vegetable garden so it will be easier to work in next spring. In years past, every spring when Dad worked up the garden, it would grow by a few feet on each side. Eventually we decided that it was too much, so we gave some space back to the hay field and some back to the yard. Now our garden is quite manageable, but for some reason we still use our biggest tractor for the task! 🙂

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Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

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Day Nine: William Tell’s Never-Miss Apple Cake

This is Day Nine in a 9 day series featuring apples. Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.IMG_0617

The recipe for this delicious moist apple cake, with a cream cheese center and an easy caramel topping, is one of our favorites to pull out each fall. The cake itself is full of apple, shredded carrot, and pecans in every bite. All of the best autumn flavors! Several times this cake has been the birthday cake choice, and it is always a gorgeous presentation. Here are more detailed directions, with the full recipe at the end of the post.

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For the cheesecake ribbon, beat a brick of cream cheese until fluffy.

 

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Add 1/4 cup sugar.

 

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And 1 egg.

 

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Beat until smooth and creamy.

 

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Perfect! Set it aside.

 

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For the cake: beat together the oil (or use half oil, half applesauce), 1  3/4 cup sugar, and 3 eggs.

 

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Beat it until it’s good an’ frothy!

 

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In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

 

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Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture.

 

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And beat it until it’s combined.

 

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Lovely!

 

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Add the chopped apple, shredded carrots, and pecans!

 

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Fold it together!

 

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Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan. Time to put this cake together!

 

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Spoon most of the batter into the pan.

 

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Then scoop the cream cheese filling by little spoonfuls around the center of the cake, being careful that it doesn’t touch the pan.

 

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Spoon the rest of the batter over the cream cheese filling.

 

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Bake at 350 degrees F. for 50-60 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick.

 

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Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

 

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Absolutely lovely!

 

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For the caramel icing, combine the brown sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan.

 

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Stir it until it’s smooth.

 

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Let it come to a boil, stirring it occasionally. When it’s boiling, cook and stir it for 1 minute.

 

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Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla until the icing is smooth.

 

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Gorgeous!

 

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Drizzle over the cake. The icing will cool and harden quickly, so be sure to work fast!

 

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Scatter pecan pieces across the icing, and press them in gently, so they stay put.

 

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William Tell’s Never-Miss Apple Cake

Cream cheese Filling:
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
Apple Cake:
1 cup oil (may reduce to 1/2 cup and substitute applesauce for the amount you leave out)
1  3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups chopped peeled tart apples
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Caramel Icing:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 Tbsp. 2% milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans

For cream cheese filling, in a small bowl beat cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in egg; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat oil, 1  3/4 cup sugar, and 3 eggs until well blended. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients; gradually beat into oil mixture until blended. Stir in apples, carrots, and pecans.

Transfer half of the apple batter to a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan; layer with cream cheese mixture and remaining apple batter. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 50-60 minutes or until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing, in a large saucepan bring the brown sugar, butter, and milk to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over cake. (Icing will cool and harden quickly.) Sprinkle with pecans.

Yield:   12 servings

 

Let us know how this cake turns out for you!! 🙂

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle

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Day Seven: Apple Butter

This is Day Seven of a 9 day series featuring apples. Click here to start reading at the beginning of the series.

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Apple butter is a beautiful old-fashioned preserve that is super simple to make! Using a slow cooker makes it easy to leave it for a while without being too fearful of it burning.

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Measure the sugar and spices into a bowl.

 

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Cinnamon

 

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Aww, it’s a heart. 🙂

 

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Salt

 

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Cloves. Then mix the dry ingredients together.

 

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Chop five pounds of apples into a three quart slow cooker. (We figured three medium apples equaled about one pound.)

 

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Then stir the sugar combination in to the apples. We split the apples in half to make it easier to stir!

 

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Oh, it tastes so, so good at this stage!!

 

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Cover and cook on high for one hour.

 

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Leaving the lid on, cook on low for 9-11 hours, until it’s dark brown and thickened.

 

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When it is dark brown, uncover and cook on low for 1 hour. When it is done, you can mash it with a potato masher to make the texture a bit more smooth and spreadable. This will also thicken the apple butter considerably.

 

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Serve with piping hot biscuits or toasted bread. Or get creative, and serve it over vanilla ice cream or stir it into a smoothie!

 

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All-Day Apple Butter

5 1/2 pounds apples, peeled and finely chopped (basically, just fill the 3-quart crock pot full of finely chopped apples)
4 cups sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place apples in a 3-qt. slow cooker. Combine sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; pour over apples and mix well. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook for 9 to 11 hours or until thickened and dark brown, stirring occasionally (stir more frequently as it thickens to prevent sticking). Uncover and cook on low 1 hour longer. If desired, stir with a wire whisk until smooth. Spoon into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Cover and refrigerate or freeze. Yield: 4 pints

 

Thank you for visiting A Homespun Country Life!

~Kerstin, Elisabeth, and Gabrielle