Is It Fall Yet? Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Fall is in the air! In southern Virginia that means that people are talking about fall, there are Halloween decorations popping up, you pulled out all your cardigans and hoodies, but you’re just looking at them while you sweat because it’s still ninety degrees outside. We got a thunderstorm the other day and it temporarily cooled things down so my three year old and I went a little crazy decorating. She kept yelling, “Look! It’s fall-tastic!” while I set out the acorns and fall leaves and every day since she’s become obsessed with checking the leaves for color change. No such luck, honey. However, it’s coming. I can feel a crisp in the air. We’ll be consuming all things pumpkin while wearing our favorite boots in no time!

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During our fake fall fiesta, we decided to do a little baking as well. One of my favorite combinations is pumpkin and chocolate chip. As a matter of fact that was the flavor of my wedding cake. In case you feel the need to taste a little Autumn, I thought I’d share the recipe.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 2 dozen)

Ingredients:

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

15 oz pumpkin puree

11/2 cups of applesauce

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking sods

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbs pumpkin pie spice

1 cup of mini chocolate chips

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin cups or use liners.

2. Mix eggs, sugar, applesauce and pumpkin puree

3. Combine dry ingredients and then add to wet ingredients and mix well.

4. Pour into muffin cups and back for 15 minutes.

These muffins freeze perfectly. Throw your second dozen in a large Ziplock bag once they cool, then pull them out one at a time and reheat in the microwave. Excellent warm breakfast as you’re rushing to work.

 

If you let your three year old pour the mix into the muffin cups, you will end up with some awkwardly large muffins and some that are bite size. Be prepared.

 

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Blueberry Cherry Almond Muffins

 

I am a domestic goddess. Ok, maybe not, but I’ve been cooking a lot lately and some of it is really good. I have a husband that literally needs about 5,000 calories a day just to maintain the weight that he already is. I know, sometimes I hate him too. He gets up really early and doesn’t have time for breakfast so one of the things I do to help him out is freeze meals for him to eat on his way to work. Bacon, egg, and cheese bagels is one that I make that freezes really well.

All you do is fry up six eggs and cook about six slices of bacon (cut in half). Toast six bagels (I use Arnold’s Whole Wheat because they have 10 grams of protein). Then assemble the sandwiches. 

The trick is in the freezing. Wrap the sandwiches in a paper towel, then wrap again in wax paper. Put the them in individual freezer bags and pop them in the freezer.

When it’s time to eat, take off the bag and wax paper (leave the paper towel on) and heat for 70 seconds in the microwave. It’s that easy! I become #1 Wife and the hubs is fat and happy. I like to use Cinnamon Raisin Bagels for my sandwiches because they taste like healthy versions of a McDonalds McGriddle- which is my kyrptonite.

This week I topped everything I have ever done with my freezer breakfast- Cherry, Blueberry, Almond Muffins!! Oh. My. Goodness. 

You will need:

1 cup blueberries (1/2 cup reserved)

1 cup cherries (pitted and diced)

3 cups minus 2 tbs. flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

dash of nutmeg

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 cup vanilla yogurt

1/2 capful of vanilla extract

brown sugar

2 tbs. almonds

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg into a bowl. In another bowl mix sugar, vegetable oil, egg, yogurt and vanilla extract. Add the bowls together and mix just until moist. Mix in berries but leave out the 1/2 cup of blueberries for topping. Stir lightly. Spray muffin pan and pour in mixture. Top each muffin with remaining blueberries and almonds, lightly pressing them in a bit. Sprinkle muffins with brown sugar. Bake at 385 degrees for 25 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.

Just pull out what you want to eat now…and freeze the rest by laying them flat side by side in a ziplock bag. Do it quickly before you eat them all!  I mean it, I was already down four muffins before I made it to the freezer. Then you can pull them out as you need them. Pop them in the microwave for a few seconds and BAM!

With these muffins, my diabolical plan to fatten my husband up so that I will look skinnier is in full effect. Bwahahahaha! (I say, as I twirl my imaginary handlebar mustache.)

Freezer Meals for the Lazy Lady

I am always on the lookout for ways to make life easier. Life gets hectic sometimes, and let’s be honest mostly I’m just downright lazy and try to find a way to take shortcuts. So since I like to appear as though I am a naturally-gifted domestic goddess, I have to pull a few rabbits out of a hat now and then. One of these so called “rabbits” is freezer meals. 

I had the idea a while back to make a bunch of freezer meals before the baby comes. I worry that once she is here I will feel so overwhelmed that I will have zero desire to cook and my already thin husband will quite literally turn into Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas. I worry about this for his health, and because if he gets skinnier and I still look like I swallowed a trash barge after baby comes, we may have an episode of Snapped on our hands.

So, the freezer meals. I dabble a little here and there, but last weekend I decided to take the full plunge. My trusty sidekick in this cooking endeavor was my friend Allison. You may remember her from past blog adventures like my trip to Boone, The Scream half marathon, and Sake Saturday. Allison is usually game for any plan I can cook up. So we made a list (which I left at home) and hit the grocery store. 

The plan was to make several meals that I could put in the freezer that were also crock pot friendly. I wanted to be able to take the bag out of the freezer, dump it into the crock pot and have it ready to eat at the end of the day without any more effort. See, I told you I was lazy. 

On the menu was:

Peppercorn Steak

Goulash

BBQ Chicken

Freezer Baked Oatmeal Cups

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Individual Apple Crisps

I have a tendency to go big when I do something. It’s a curse and a blessing.

Here’s what you need to take on a cooking day of this scale (in addition to Allison- get your own friend, she’s mine):

Ingredients

I suggest a very large food processor. I got this one for Christmas in addition to my Kitchenaid mixer. It has a wide mouth opening and also makes french fries.

By the time we got everything ready we were starving so we put the french fry feature into action. I HATE cutting up sweet potatoes, but it was so easy with the food processor. We may have gotten a little carried away….That’s ok, they freeze too. Then I can just throw them in the oven for snack another day.

One thing I simply cannot function without? The infamous pink sweat pants.

Ok, they might not be a necessity, but they are for me. I can’t tackle a job like this in any other article of clothing. Admit it, you’ve got your go-to comfy pants too. Mine just happen to be hot pink.

After we gorged on sweet potato fries, we got down to business. It was really pretty easy to do with four hands. Allison prepped the veggies and I chopped then we followed the recipes and added everything into giant freezer bags. We doubled every recipe and were able to make 4 freezer meals (2 bags for each of us) out of every recipe. Each bag held enough food for dinner for two and at least two leftover lunches. I tend to believe that there is no point in cooking unless you have leftovers for lunch.

I also believe that you shouldn’t reinvent the wheel. So here’s the links to the recipes we used.

Peppercorn Steak– This was actually not a freezer meal, but I didn’t see any reason why it couldn’t be. The girl that writes this blog used her crock pot for 365 days, so it is full of ideas for lazy people.

BBQ Chicken- Sadly, just one week later, the blog that I got this recipe from has been removed and I didn’t write the recipe down! Basically, it was peppers, onions, garlic, mustard, worcerstire sauce, and some other seasonings added to a bag with chicken. Wow, I know that is really not helpful. Sorry.

Goulash- Same blog, same sad story. Something with a bunch of veggies and meat. Why would you delete such a wonderful blog?? There is sometime wrong here.

Baked Oatmeal Cups– These are sugar free and delicious! We made three varieties: Banana Chocolate Chip, Blueberry- Cranberry, and Apple. They’re baked and frozen in muffin cups so you just pop them out of the freezer and heat them in the microwave for a minute. My husband devoured like nine of them for breakfast one day. So easy and healthy.

Individual Apple Crisps– I have an incurable sweet tooth and these did the trick without all the sugar. They come from Iowa Girl’s blog and I love her! When I am lost for easy cooking ideas I always turn to her website. Plus I made them in these cute little crocks that I got for Christmas so that made it fun.

Individual Chicken Pot Pies– I didn’t freeze these because Jon and I ate them up really fast, but I think you could easily freeze them. I may try it next time because they were amazing! I loved that they were in my little crocks too because I also have an issue with portion control. 

About five hours later we had something that looked like this:

This was Allison’s stash to take home.

Here’s a peak at my freezer now:

Speaking of freezers, last week our refrigerator decided it was finished. The whole thing just quit working. We lost most of our food, including a lot of the stuff that I had previously cooked and frozen. I was so furious until I realized that meant I got to buy my dream fridge. Take a look at this baby.

I swear to you that angels sing when you open it. Ok, maybe not but I hum a few bars. Look at all that space! If it is possible to have inappropriate feelings towards an appliance, I may be guilty.

By the end of the day I was pretty exhausted. I suggest that if you’re going to do this, don’t wait until you’re seven months pregnant to get started. My back was killing me. Allison didn’t really seemed phased by it all though, so I’m thinking it’s a pregnant thing. 

This weekend it’s time to work on the nursery. It’s actually coming along pretty well, but I don’t want to post pics until it’s a little closer to finished. However, just because you hung in there with me and looked at all those delicious food pictures, I’ll give you a sneak peak.

Happy weekend, everyone.