Apple-Cheddar Corn Muffins

Looking for a few bakers away from altitude (I’m at 6,800 ft.) to test drive this recipe and let me know how it did by commenting at the bottom of the post. Altitude bakers are welcome, too, of course–but I mostly need folks at sea level or not too far above. American east or west coasts, south, midwest –all fine. Countries abroad at sea level, you know who you are. Thanks!!

My mom, born and raised near McComb, Mississippi, was the cornbread maker in our family. Black as coal on the outside and yellow like salty sunshine on the inside, her no-recipe cornbread — hot or cold — gave shape to our days. The cast iron pan graced the table at a tomatoes and green beans summer suppertime and then you could sneak into the kitchen of a morning and cut yourself a little piece for breakfast to keep from getting coffee tummy. If you were lucky, there might be an afternoon snack of cornbread topped with sour cream and honey. (And if there wasn’t cornbread, you’d do the same with biscuits.) In the evening, my dad would crumble a big slice into a glass and then fill the glass with buttermilk, eating the whole kit and caboodle with a big spoon.

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Pumpkin-Pepita Muffins

Before moving to Colorado, I don’t remember eating pepitas, but I certainly got to them as fast as I could upon arrival. The tiny, full of health “pumpkin seeds” we eat for snacks, add to salads, tacos, omelets, or granola, and what I put on my muffins (above), aren’t like the pumpkin seeds you remove with all of the gloppy mess inside the typical Halloween jack-o-lantern. I mean, you could open up those big fat seeds (which have their own happy uses–see below at MORE THAN YOU WANTED TO READ) and try to get at the little inner seed, but that’s not where pepitas come from. Read on:

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Pumpkin-Ginger Crunch Cheesecake

I can’t remember exactly when the pumpkin spice thing took hold. Or how it came to be. You can google all that and get your own ideas. One thing comes to mind and it’s coffee:

By the early 2000s, some evil genius figured out that it sold well as a latte with plenty of cream and sugar. An early reference in a newspaper is “Springs coffee shops offer something to fit almost everyone’s taste” in the Colorado Springs Gazette in January 11, 2002, which describes Purple Mountain Coffee in Colorado serving up a “pumpkin pie latte.”

Melissa Mcewan: Chicagoist/October 31, 2014
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Sausage and Beer Soup with Brussels Sprouts and White Beans

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Sausage+Beer Soup w/ Brussels Sprouts+White Beans – Scroll down for recipe

After nearly a month away from the blog and home

…first to see our daughter Emily in Pennsylvania..

       …and then to cruise via some stormy, leftover hurricane seas with my sister Helen from our favorite foreign spot, Quebec City, to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida… … 

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Slow Cooker Pumpkin-Black Bean Chili with Alyce’s Green Onion Cornbread

img_3024The blog, along with Dave,”the babies,” and I, will be on vacation until late in October. Until then, make my easy Slow Cooker Pumpkin-Black Bean Chili. Happy Fall!

I’ve been making pumpkin chili off and on for years now…  It seems to be my fall go-to for chili because ,#1 I’m not happy unless there’s chili in the freezer and, #2 making different kinds of chili changes up the menu and wakens the palate. Today’s version creates a pretty smooth, but not-too-spicy chili that doesn’t taste pumpkiny, but still has all the potassium, fiber, nutrients, and overall  health goodness pumpkin offers. Pumpkin is also low in calories: go, pumpkin!  If you are partial to chunky Pumpkin-Chicken Chili, try my stovetop version made with boneless chicken thighs and lots of vegetables like zucchini, along with both pureed and chunks of pumpkin.  Continue reading