Pumpkin Cranberry Oat Agave Muffins

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I still enjoy baking with agave instead of cane sugar and I recently found a fabulous recipe for pumpkin agave muffins (I added the cranberry part) on the blog, Hell Yeah It’s Vegan!  (This link will bring you right to the recipe.)  They are moist, not too sweet and full of pumpkin-y goodness.  The only other tweak I made was switching regular flour for whole wheat flour.

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I made them a second time around and reduced the flour to 1 and 1/4 cup to make way for adding 1/3 cup of Coach’s Oats (also interchangeable with Old-Fashioned Oatmeal).  And Pumpkin Cranberry Oat Agave muffins were born!  I brought them to a morning work meeting and they were a hit!

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Persimmon Apple Strudel

Recently a neighbor of mine kindly brought over a bag of home-grown Fuyu persimmons.  I love their unique flavor and bold color.  Like the pomegranate, the persimmon comes in season in late fall.  Generally I like to eat them like an apple when they are soft to the touch, skin and all.

With a dinner party tonight which I have been assigned dessert, I had the idea to bring a persimmon dish.  I adapted a fabulous and easy apple strudel recipe that uses puff pastry.  Here’s the result!

I’d wanted to photograph the inside of this amazing strudel after I cut into it but the hustle and bustle of the party distracted me.  It was a huge hit!  It looks like fall when you cut into it with the red cranberries, orange persimmons, apples and walnuts.  The persimmon flavor really holds up, unlike some sweet bread and cookie recipes I’ve tasted.

Makes: 8 servings

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs water
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 2 tbs granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 of a 17.3 ounce package Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheet (1 sheet), thawed
  • 2 medium ripe 1/2 in. cubed Fuyu persimmons, peeled
  • 1 large apple, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 C cranberries or raisins
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 C chopped walnuts
  • confectioner’s sugar (optional)

Heat the oven to 375°F. Beat the egg and water in a small bowl with a fork. Stir the flour, granulated sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the persimmon, apple, cranberries, lemon zest and walnuts  and toss to coat.

Sprinkle additional flour on the work surface.  Unfold the pastry sheet on the work surface. Roll the pastry sheet into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. With the short side facing you, spoon the apple mixture onto the bottom half of the pastry sheet to within 1 inch of the edge.  Roll up like a jelly roll.  Place seam-side down onto a baking sheet.  Tuck the ends under to seal.  Brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Cut several slits in the top of the pastry.

Bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Let the pastry cool on the baking sheet for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

For best results, make sure to toss the persimmons, apples, cranberries and walnuts until they’re evenly coated with the flour mixture. The flour helps to thicken the juices released by the apples as they cook.

Happy Harvest

The girls came right up to the back door the other door to say hello. I think they saw me bring in some tomatoes from the garden and they were saying, "Tomatoes are our favorite! Where's ours?" They are so sweet and really have become our little buddies.

Here we have the last bit of lemon cucumbers, one lonely beet and some tomatoes. Notice my cat's tail poking out under my left hand? She is so docile and nonchalant around the silkies and they don't mind her either!

Lettuce, lettuce! It seems we have salad about every other night these days, which is a wonderful side effect of having your own garden. Sometimes you're forced to eat healthier for the sake of ripe veggies. The sugar snap peas are reaching to the heavens and have started to ripen. Here's a few that made it in the house instead of a garden snack!

I have two bell pepper plants, each of which only produced one large pepper.  Just when I thought they were dunzo, the plants have greened up and are about to flower again.  Not sure if this is normal for a bell (my first time with them, too!) but if I can get a couple more out of them, I would be grateful!  I have a feeling that the few nights of frost in the winter will probably prematurely interrupt their plan, but we’ll give it a shot.

Happy Harvesting!

Fall Garden

The yellow crookneck squash is still hanging on!

Heirloom tomato "Stupice" getting ready to ripen already!

Stupice is a prolific grower. So glad I have 4 of them.

The sugar snap peas are starting to really take off.

My first lettuce! This is a second planting after the first set was mowed by a bunny.

The lemon cucumber is VERY happy. I had to prune the main shoot to control it's height. There are so many baby cucumbers for one plant.

Baby lemon cucumber

The cherry tomatoes are still producing well.

After the first wave of green beans, these vines had a growth spurt and I'm expecting another large crop.

The bells should be turning orange and yellow pretty soon!

The majority of the pumpkins are harvested, which gave way for new planting. Yesterday I sowed Detroit Red beets, cosmic purple carrots and all season romaine.

A late bloomer pumpkin finishing up.

Here we have beets, carrots, cabbage and spinach. The spinach sure is taking it's sweet time.

The nasturtiums are popping up with the cooler weather. Great on salads!