I've discovered that with a view like this from my living room, I can spend the whole day in the easy chair, thinking about nothing in particular and watching the birds feast on seed from the many feeders we keep stocked. While I know resting is important, sometimes I enjoy it just a little too much!
I've been doing some reading on homemaking, and have decided that joining MoneySavingMom's Eat From The Pantry Challenge for January is just the accountability I need to jump start some purposeful activity during the last of Christmas break.
I started the challenge yesterday, by cooking a pie pumpkin I had gotten free back before Thanksgiving. I used it as part of a centerpiece, through the holidays. I scooped the insides of the fruit, and will make roasted seeds tomorrow, as they have to dry 48 hours before cooking. The three cups of pumpkin puree it yielded are in the freezer, and I put some of the insides and the rind out for the birds.
This morning, I used my Champion juicer to make fresh orange juice, and I salvaged part of the pulp to use in Orange Cranberry muffins. They were delicious, and I felt inspired because I had all the ingredients on hand. If it was that easy to make something new from what I already have, surely I will be able to make a good plan for the next month's worth of meals from the pantry as well! I'm hopeful, anyway!
Here's the recipe I used for the muffins:
Cranberry Orange Muffins
2 1/4 cup flour (I used a combination of oat, whole wheat and unbleached)
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Mix these in a large bowl. Then cut in:
1/2 cup butter
In seperate bowl, combine by wisking:
2 whole eggs
pulp of 2 oranges
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp orange juice
enough milk to make moist but not runny (I used raw milk that was ready to expire)
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, and stir until moistened. Add extra Tbsp. milk if needed. Fold in:
3/4 cup dried cranberries ( you could use fresh, but this is what I had on hand).
I also added 1/2 tsp of McCormick's Chai Spice, but you could skip this step, or add cinnamon in it's place.
Bake at 350* in greased or lined muffin tins for 20-25 minutes. Makes 18 medium muffins.
You could also add grated orange peel if you have organic oranges, but I didn't so I skipped that ingredient. It would add greatly to the orange flavor. This was a new recipe to me, and the first time I made muffins by cutting in the butter, but I really liked the flavor, so I will add this to my Heirloom Family Cookbook and make these again.
Don't forget to serve them with the fresh orange juice or some aromatic hot tea!