So now we’re in Vancouver. All of us, this time. It took 12 hours or so to get here, slowed down a bit by a highway closure near Golden, which caused a few hundred people to cram into the Tim Horton’s beside the intersection of said closure, all with a not so subtle eye on the situation outside, and at the first sign of traffic being allowed through the mass exodus was like, I don’t know, something really funny that I might be able to think of if my brain was functioning at a respectable level.
I got home from Toronto last night at about 7, and the next few hours were a frantic flurry of laundry, reading to W, packing, wrapping gifts, charging electronic devices and catching up on work, with of course a break at 10pm to watch Jim marry Pam.
I’m not sure how long we’ll be gone this time – definitely almost a week, possibly a bit more than. Which meant kicking everyone out of the fridge that might get nasty and stinky over time. There was half a carton of buttermilk and a half a butternut squash that needed using up, so I made muffins – when traveling with a 4 year old and an 11 year old (my niece, Emily), having a sack of homemade muffins at the ready to deflect evil drive-thrus and gas station snacks is a very good thing.
Morning Glory muffins are a little like carrot cakes – typically made with grated carrots and apples, with handfuls of nuts and/or raisins and/or coconut thrown in. I just swapped grated raw squash for the carrots – did you know you could do that? Yes you can! And with sweet potatoes too! – and a pear and a half for the apple. Same dif.
Squash & Pear Morning Glory Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar (white or brown)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 packed cups grated raw butternut squash or carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup flaked coconut, sweetened or unsweetened (optional)
1/2 cup canola or light olive oil
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 pear or apple, coarsely grated (don’t bother peeling it)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray muffin cups with nonstick spray or line them with paper liners.
In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add the carrots, pecans, raisins, and coconut and toss to combine well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add to the carrot mixture with the grated apple and stir just until the batter is combined. Don’t worry about getting all the lumps out – overmixing will make the muffins tough.
Fill the prepared muffin tins almost to the top. Bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the muffins are golden and the tops are springy to the touch. Tip them in their cups to help them cool by allowing steam to escape.
How did it possibly get to be Friday again? This week I have a really cool little item to give away – I just learned of a new Calgary-based party planning service called Party Designers (started with the idea that more people should be cooking, entertaining, and enjoying time with friends and family around food), and the owner offered us up some gift certificates for her services. (You don’t have to live in Calgary.) It seemed timely – ’tis the season to start thinking about parties!
And congratulations to Elizabeth, our newlywed newbie soup-maker, who by some culinary miracle won herself a CrockPot! (It wasn’t the pitch, honest! The random number generator did it!) We’ll fully expect her to become a slow cooker diva this winter.
Since it’s Thanksgiving weekend, I’d love to hear what’s on your menu – party or not!
One Year Ago: Pulled Pork and Baked Beans