Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pumpkin Walnut-Raisin Muffins


As promised, here is a new recipe (finally)! Does it surprise you that it's a muffin recipe? Probably not. What can I say... muffins make me happy :).

This recipe is almost precisely the same as Pumpkin Walnut Muffins from epicurious.com. However, I made some adjustments to make them even healthier!

Ingredients:

- 3/4 C canned solid-packed Pumpkin
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) of Butter; melt it before mixing it
- 1/4 C Buttermilk
- 2 Eggs
- 3 tbsp Molasses
- 1 tbsp Vanilla
- 1 C unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 C whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 C brown sugar
- 1/2 C - 3/4 C raisins
- 1/2 C - 3/4 C finely chopped walnuts


Directions:

-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Whisk together the melted butter, pumpkin, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and molasses in a small or medium sized bowl.
- In a larger bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Add the brown sugar and mix well (whisk if needed to break up the sugar).
- Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the pumpkin mixture in. Mix until completely combined, then add the raisins and walnuts.
- Scoop mixture into prepared muffin pan, whether sprayed or lined with cups. Filling each cup takes about 1/4 C to 1/3 C of batter.
-- Optional: sprinkle walnuts on top of batter before putting in the oven. I forgot to do this because I was preparing these with one hand, baby Michael taking up the other.
- Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove them to a cooling rack once done and let them cool for five to ten minutes.


Perfect for a breakfast treat, afternoon snack, or to take to a coffee date in the fall!

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's the most wonderful time of the year! (Well, sort of.)


Happy Autumn!

This is when the leaves begin to change, the weather becomes crisp and perfect, pumpkins can be seen in front of doorways, baked goods containing apples and other goodies are being taken out of the oven, and we have so much to be grateful for.

It's the most wonderful time of the year to me. Autumn is my favorite season. (No rolling of the eyes, folks... it's my favorite season now that it's autumn!)

On this first day of autumn I am reflecting on how much I have been through within the past few "seasons". As this season comes into play, I feel so blessed to truly be starting a new one as a mom.

Don't worry, I'm not getting too sappy. I am promising posts full of recipes and fall treats galore! Stay tuned!

How do you like to celebrate fall?

Tomorrow my mom, my husband, my newborn son and I are going on a waterfall loop in the Pisgah National Forest and surrounding area. We're so excited! On the menu is also some pumpkin muffins (recipe to come) and around the house are some new autumn makeovers (inspiration from my visiting mom).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sweet Baby Boy


He's here!

On September 7, 2011, after 12 hours of labor, at 8:52pm, our son Michael Clark came into the world :). He was 7lbs, 7oz and 21 inches long.

Like I was one of the lucky ones who had a birth-control baby, I was also one of the lucky ones who had her water break before heading to the hospital. After having contractions since the Friday before Michael arrived, it seemed only fair that I had a short labor for my first child. Of course, I had plenty of people who disagreed with this.

Because our little miracle arrived two weeks early, we only had two family members arrive for after the birth: Clark's cousin and her husband. We named them godparents only a few days before, so it was very comforting to have them there. Clark's parents came up over the weekend, and my mom flies in this coming Sunday. Everyone is overjoyed that Michael is here and everything went smoothly.

Having Michael home is surreal. We're slowly but surely getting used to a routine. That is, as much of a routine that's possible. A newborn, as everyone warned us, does not come with a predictable schedule. Dirty diapers, feeding, sleeping... it all happens on HIS time. It's positively wonderful and exhausting all at the same time.

Speaking of the baby... he's calling! I promise to start up the posts again soon!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mystery (Vegan) Muffins


I told you experimentation was coming! If you haven't yet, make sure to check out the fan page for this blog on Facebook (click here). Also, if you want to know what is going on day-to-day with the Newfangled Housewife, you can follow me on twitter at: Newfangled_Wife!

So, enough with the advertising.

I've been trying to think of how to make muffins healthier and healthier. While normally I don't include a lot of sugar and always have some type of fruit or healthy grain involved, I thought I would go the extra step and include some veggies! Not to worry. I got the inspiration from the Purple People Eater Muffins, otherwise known as Fresh Ginger-Lemon Muffins from WhattoExpect.com. The recipes are constantly using substitutes to help pregnant ladies to get all the necessities (amongst other things). So, I thought I would steal some of their ideas and apply it to a new-and-improved-muffin.

If I wasn't looking for a challenge as it was, I decided to make these muffins vegan (aka no dairy, eggs, etc). One of my best friends is currently taking a break from her vegan-ism and returning simply to being a vegetarian. However, so many people that I have met through her (including most of her family) are vegans, so I thought I would give this a go.

WARNING: This is an experiment. I will be posting even if it doesn't work out so well so you can take the idea and run with it. Please let me know, if it doesn't work for me, how you make it work in your kitchen!

SUPPLIES:

- 1 C Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/4 C Wheat Germ
- 1/4 C Oats
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Nutmeg

- 1 tbsp Vanilla
- 1/4 C Canola Oil
- 1 C White Grape Peach Juice from Concentrate
- 1 C Grated Carrot
- 3 (Very Ripe) Bananas

Directions:

- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Mix together all the ingredients. Have patience when grating the carrot- it takes a while. I usually average 3 to 4 medium sized carrots to make a cup.
If you want the bananas to be as mashed as possible, I would do that before adding any of the other ingredients to the mix.
- After putting together the bananas and carrots, add the rest of the wet ingredients, whisking them together as much as possible. Then add the spices, then add the rest of the dry ingredients.
- Line the muffin pan or spray them with cooking spray. I filled the muffin cups to the brim, using about 1/4 C of mix in each. This will get you a dozen muffins precisely. If you only fill the pan half full or 2/3rds full, I imagine you can get another 1/2 dozen to a dozen muffins.
- Cook the muffins for 25 minutes. Let them cool for five to ten. Let's see how they turn out!

So, they didn't turn out half that bad! I think they're not quite as solid as they should be, but we'll find a solution for that! If you take the recipe and run with it, please post and let me know what you did to make them a little bit better! But, if I may say so, they are DELICIOUS... even if they are a little moist/gooey (not because they aren't cooked, it's just the makeup of them).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Restless Nights

This morning I woke up as though someone had given me a shot of adrenaline. As I lay awake for a few moments, I realized that the baby had the hiccups (in utero, of course). I just lay there as my belly seemed to fidget in and out, in and out, in perfect rhythm.

As time progressed, I started focusing on my heart beat over the hiccups. When some people say that their heart was like a kettle drum, they're simply emphasizing that they couldn't really focus on anything else. That's how this was to me. I chose to focus on the fast tempo of my heart over the slow, rhythmic sound of the baby's hiccups. I thought, for whatever reason, it would help my heartbeat slow down and put us both to sleep.

After twenty minutes of hiccups (I kept time via my phone), the baby was as restless as I was. For an hour he rolled and stretched and seemed to just be moving to get my attention. It's so strange at this point that I can actually feel where an elbow, or knee, or maybe a foot or hand is and push it so it goes back "into place"... or at least a place that's a little more comfortable for me. He didn't like that much. He began moving with more vigor. Finally, around 5 am (two hours after waking up to hiccups), I got out of bed.

I don't know why I had so much energy, or how I'm managing to keep my eyes open now. My mind is full of a to-do list a mile long that I feel like simply must be done. Nesting syndrome, maybe? Or just Restless Syndrome? Either way it's kind of driving me crazy. It's just like yesterday afternoon when all I wanted to do was work on SOMETHING, but I didn't want to work on anything around the house. The kitchen needs to be cleaned, the whole apartment needs to be vacuumed, there's still some laundry left over from Tuesday (my laundry day) that needs to be folded... there's a lot to do, especially since I have a friend visiting tomorrow. But yesterday none of that seemed important. What was important? Looking towards the future and coming up with some pretty rockin' ideas of things I want to do with my life.

These past 24 hours or so I've had many revelations. For years I thought I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Just a housewife and mother living up the 1950s in the 2000s. Part of me still wants that. However, I want to be a mom that still does something so my children don't look at me like I was "just a mom".

I hate when people say that. My mom, for example, was a stay at home mom and still is to my little sister who is now a senior in high school. I think she is the most amazing woman. Many things that she has wanted to do her whole life she's now just really putting time into pursuing. I admire her so much for that. She's still doing what she wants to do, she just delayed it for her kids. She's so selfless.

So, not saying that I don't want to be like my mother. What I'm saying is I want to combine my mother with the now-idea of a "working mom" and do something not-so-traditional and show my kids that parenthood always comes first, but that doesn't mean that's all I did. My husband and I are very young, and this baby was quite a surprise. We are beyond thrilled and so READY to be parents (so ready that this morning I also was doing squats in an attempt to coach the baby out... I did not succeed). But, I want to use my "young energy" while I still can to take some risks, do some crazy things, and hopefully have them turn out. If not... that's life.

No worries. I'm not going to go sky diving or jump off a cliff or do something that will possibly leave my child without a mother. I'm talking about "safer" options. Still, they're options. What are they? I have no idea. I just hope God puts them before me within the next few years and I'm able to run with them.

This is what I get for not sleeping and still feeling like I'm on a sugar high.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Celebrating September

Happy September!

To me, September has always marked the beginning of autumn. I know that it's not "officially" autumn until September 22nd or something like that, but the month itself seems to represent this time of year to me. By "this time of year" I mean: pumpkins, leaves changing, sweaters, hot apple cider, apple and pumpkin pie, perfect weather, Halloween, Thanksgiving, being outdoors, etc. I LOVE fall. But, if you've read my other posts, you know I truly love every season. I just can't help it. They all offer something special.

Last September I was excited to be in the last fall semester of my college career. I was focused on papers and reading and all that jazz. (Last September we visited Boone Hall in Charleston, SC.)

This September has a lot to offer. Not only will Clark and I be celebrating our four year anniversary, but my husband is in his first fall semester where he's actually attending classes. Not only is he worried about papers and reading and projects, he's worried about work and the upcoming arrival of his son. He has A LOT on his plate. (This is from two weeks ago, but I'm sure you see the difference between last year and this year!)

Now, of course, we are looking forward to, worrying about, and anticipating the upcoming arrival of our first child. We're down to the last three weeks when the little one could truly be making an appearance at any time. It really puts things into perspective.

I've been trying to find the best ways to celebrate this month. Normally I would start decorating the house in fall decor and setting out all the sweaters that have been in hiding since March or so. While I still intend on doing that, I've been more focused on making sure the baby has some cute outfits washed and ready and I have ideas of things we can do with him this fall.

Now, I know I'm jumping the gun. Newborns are newborns, and I keep reminding myself that he'll really be too little to remember or enjoy this autumn. However, I'm determined not to be a recluse and just stay inside and miss the season. After all, we have much more to be thankful for this fall than we have before.