Pumpkin Muffins

Do you have any memories of your mom baking or cooking something? Memories so clear it’s like they happened yesterday? One of my many memories with my mother, include these muffins. For a few reasons…

When my mom started making these muffins, I fell in love with powdered dry milk. Is that weird? Dairy purists everywhere are gasping, I’m sure. Anyway. To this day, I still keep dry milk in my cupboard just in case I run out or need milk STAT. I love dry milk.

Second thing about these muffins I remember: we made them so often that the wooden spoon I grew up stiring things with (and, in fact, still use in my own kitchen today) started to turn orange from all the carrots!! Ha!

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Beef Stew

In case you don’t live in DC…it snowed. All. Day. Saturday. Something about a snow day like that just makes you want to cuddle up on the couch with a blanket and a book and maybe some cider or hot cocoa. Doesn’t it? Or maybe if The BF happens to be in town you get a request to curl up with a big, thick bowl of beef stew!  And as my Twitter buddy @jeffdonald pointed out, *flexes muscles* only amateurs stock up on TP and milk during a snow storm, pros stock up on stew ingredients.

I’m a regular reader of The Kitchn, a cooking and, uhm, kitchen, blog. And last week they had a really lovely post about how to make beef stew…breaking it down into totally understandable, basic steps. I don’t know about you but I always feel a little safer when I understand why and how each step is carried out in a recipe. (The exception being baking, because I still don’t understand what baking soda vs. baking powder does.) 

Let me add a few notes here before we get to the recipe. This is one of those dishes you make when you have time. Like, a whole day. Not because it’s necessarily going to take a whole day, but because it’s soothing to methodically take on the recipe one step at a time. Sear the beef. Saute the veggies. Measure and add the liquids. Let it sit for delicious hour after hour. Each step only takes a few minutes, but tending to it makes you feel like you’re adding layers of flavor to a tiny stew baby that you’re going to serve to people you love.

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Pot Roast and Popover Panoply

The BF likes meat and potatoes. If it comes from a cow and is a brown root vegetable, he’ll eat it and love it. So last weekend (Sunday to be exact) in a one-two punch to my New Year’s resolutions I took on mastering meat and rocking the crock pot and slow cooked a pot roast. I chose popovers as a side because I’d been thinking about BLT Steak’s popovers which…are…um, how do I say, other-worldly?! 

First step to tackling new recipes: get all the appropriate hardware. I didn’t have a popover pan (and in retrospect probably didn’t need one but I wasn’t about to use a muffin pan for my first popover experiment, duuhhh!) and so the hunt began. I first visited Coffee and The Works which is my go-to, in-my-hood, last-minute, looking-for-odd-ball cooking-related needs (giant pizza spatula, anyone?!)and!…they were out of popover pans. Okay, okay fine. Bed Bath and Beyond will have one right?! No. Okay at that point I felt like I was destined to NOT make popovers, but I pressed on. Hills Kitchen!! Success! Not only did they have a popover pan…they had TWO KINDS!! So I bought the one that looked like the pans BLT Steak uses (cause I’m a copy-cat like that). 

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