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Pumpkin Streusel Maxi Muffins

The temps have actually cooled off a little here in Canaryland…we’re now into more wintery weather (which for us, means high 60′s-low 70′sF/high teens to low 20′sC, and lots of rain :P ).  With the cooler temps comes my need to fill the house with spicy aromas baking in the oven and simmering on the stove….cinnamon, pumpkin, apples….yes indeed.  I’m almost ready to break out the tree and start decorating for the holidays! :O  But maybe not just yet.  I should probably celebrate this as fall for at least a week or two, right? LOL  The kids have been asking for new and different healthy things they can bring to school to snack on, and they love pumpkin pie…so I thought, why not make up some pumpkin muffins?  Easily transportable, and mostly nutritious…perfect!  Once they were made, the kids gobbled them up so quickly they never even made it to school. hahaha  Time to make some more.

pumpkin muffins


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
pinch of ground cloves
1/4 cup quick oats
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves to taste


Preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC.
Lightly grease 8 ramekins with sunflower oil or butter.
Cream butter and sugars until fluffy.
Add pumpkin and egg and beat to combine.
Add milk and vanilla and continue to beat until well mixed.
Mix dry ingredients (up to oats) in a bowl, and add to sugar mixture.
Stir by hand just until combined.
Fill ramekins 3/4 full.
Combine streusel ingredients and top each muffin with mixture.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
***note These can also be made in regular muffin cups, you should be able to get 12 muffins, and the baking time should be reduced to 25 minutes.

Chicken and Vegetable Stirfry

Yesterday was one of those lucky days that I was able to make it to my Asian grocer.  Man I love that place.  They have the freshest produce at the lowest prices.  Huge bunches of baby bok choy, scallions, cilantro, spinach, basil and bean sprouts for a mere 90 cents each (that’s euro cents, but in US dollars it works out to about 1.35 I guess?).  And the Napa Cabbage…Wow…a humongous bunch for a buck.  You can’t beat that.  This week they also had fresh tofu, which will show up hopefully tomorrow (we celebrate Thanksgiving day on Friday here, so the hubs can join us).  With the abundance of fresh produce and some lovely chicken breasts that my local grocer had on sale this week, the obvious choice was a stir-fry.  Don’t be frightened by the lengthy ingredient list here…just change it up according to your tastes, and what you have in the fridge.  It’s all good. ;) :)   The possibilities for this recipe are virtually endless, to make it vegetarian/vegan, change the chicken to tofu and substitute vegetable broth for the meat based, or mix it up a bit with beef, chicken and shrimp or other seafood.



1 pound (400 grams) chicken breast, cut into strips
2 tablespoons oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons minced ginger
6 cups mixed vegetables, I used the following:
baby bok choy
bamboo shoots
water chestnuts
napa cabbage
baby corn
baby spinach leaves
bean sprouts
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
corn starch slurry to thicken
salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil over high heat in a larger wok.
Saute garlic and ginger until golden, then add chicken and continue to cook until cooked through.
Add vegetables through baby corn (reserve the spinach, scallions and sprouts for later).
Toss around to mix well, and stir-fry until veggies take on a bright color.
Add broth and soy and toss to combine.
Add cornstarch slurry to thicken sauce.
Toss in spinach, scallions and sprouts and remove from heat.
Give it a good stir and serve over steamed rice.
I tossed on some sriracha, too, which gave it a great bite.

Banapple Bread

What is a banapple, you ask?  Bananas and apples of course! lol  It’s actually cooled down a little in canaryville…we’re out of the 90′sF/30′sC for the most part…today it’s only 72ºF/22ºC!  It’s practically freezing! LOL  I’ve been in the mood for fall food, cinnamony spicy stuff…heck, I’m almost ready to start boiling potpourri on the stove!  In a little over a month Christmas (or insert your own special holiday here) will be upon us…I cannot believe that next week is Thanksgiving already…I’ve barely begun the planning for that, let alone the end of the year festivities…but I’m getting ahead of myself here…I’m still in “it’s finally fall” mode, and wanted to share this delicious banana apple bread recipe with you. :)   We can get to the other stuff in due time. ;)

ps…my friend Allie made a suggestion to convert this recipe to vegan, and I thought I’d share it with you!  Her suggestion is to substitute an extra banana for the egg, and use soy milk in place of cow’s milk.  Happy eating! :)

banapple bread

2 very ripe bananas (to yield about 1 cup of mashed bananas)
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
a pinch of ground cloves
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375º F (175ºC).
Grease a bundt pan with vegetable oil.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add mashed bananas, applesauce, milk and vanilla and blend well.
Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a small bowl.
Stir flour mixture into banana mixture by hand-only until dry ingredients are just mixed in.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake approximately 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean.
Turn baked bread onto a wire rack to cool.
Store tightly covered, or wrapped in plastic wrap.

Chicken Cutlets with Skillet Gravy

The other day, my good friend LeeAnn shared a fantastic recipe for chicken cutlets and skillet gravy.  This week I picked up the ingredients and gave it a whirl…Wow.  Simply, Wow!  I did modify the recipe a bit (can’t follow a recipe to save my life), so I’ll post as I made it here.  This is a great alternative to fried chicken, not quite as greasy and a bit more calorie friendly, yet still every bit as satisfying.  It’s darned quick and easy, too, which is always a bonus.  :)   The cutlets were great served with mashed potatoes and steamed peas. (ps this recipe could easily be made gluten free by substituting gf bread crumbs for wheat based and cornstarch for the flour)

chicken cutlets with skillet gravy


1 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or gluten free bread crumbs)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 egg, lightly beaten plus 2-3 tablespoons water
2 pounds/ 1 kilo chicken breast fillets
1/4 cup sunflower oil
3 tablespoons flour (or cornstarch)
a generous pinch of rubbed sage (I’d say about 1/2 teaspoon, maybe?)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon thyme leaves
garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups chicken broth


Beat eggs and water and set aside.
Dredge chicken fillets in egg first, then in bread crumbs and reserve on a plate.
Heat oil over moderate heat, and fry chicken fillets about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
Drain on paper towels and keep warm.
After all chicken is done, add butter to skillet and melt.
Add flour and seasonings and whisk until combined. (If using cornstarch, whisk cornstarch into broth and add to pan, then proceed with the instructions as written)
Gradually add broth, whisking constantly and bring to a boil.
Whisk until thickened.
Serve chicken cutlets with gravy, mashed potatoes and a vegetable.

Put on your best Homer Simpson voice and say it with me: “MMMMMM Chocolate Caaaake.”

Or, if you’d rather just listen, check out Jaklumen’s audio post here:  http://jaklumen.vox.com/library/post/canarygirl-said-i-should-say-chocolate-cake-like-homer-simpson.html

Well we’ve had our last birthday at the canary house until next year…my little baby Sammy turned 3 years old yesterday.  *sigh*  It seems like he was just born the other day…I miss the newborn days, and I think if I didn’t have so many children stuffed into my shoe, I’d be aching for another one right about now…there’s just something about newborns…so cuddly and soft and sweet…and their little heads smell like heaven.  Ok, I guess I’ve digressed from the original topic a bit, haven’t I?  Cake.  Even better, Chocolate Cake.  With Capital C’s.  This is my no fail chocolate cake recipe, it comes out perfectly every time…I’ve made sheet cakes, layer cakes and bundt cakes with this recipe, and it has never disappointed me (or anyone that’s tried it for that matter! lol).  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  Sorry for the lame picture this time…trying to coordinate a 3 year old and his party made it difficult for me to concentrate on the shot. LOL

chocolate cake


3/4 cup water
1 cup buttermilk (I usually have to make sour milk instead-1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, allowed to sit 15 minutes)
1 cup sunflower oil
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda


Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC.
Line desired pan with parchment or wipe with sunflower oil and dust with cocoa powder.
In a large bowl, beat water, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla with a mixer on low speed.
Add dry ingredients and beat for about 3-5 minutes on low speed, until thoroughly combined.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake accordingly, a 13×9″ pan will take about 40-50 minutes, but you’ll need to adjust baking time according to the pan(s) you are using.
I like to frost this with my mom’s fudge frosting, but go wild and bust out of the mold if you like. ;) lol

Please put on your breathing masks before reading this post…..

Because you do NOT want to catch the virus we’ve got here…..Sorry I’ve been so absent over the last week…most of our family has come down with the most heinous of evil illnesses….the dreaded stomach flu…I was down for the count for 2 whole days, and have been dragging my whiny behind around since then tending the other sick-o’s (not *that* kind…the *actual* kind!) around here…We’ve mostly been having white rice and broth and crackers and lots of Aquarius…which, I suppose I could have taken pictures of too, really….but would it have made for an interesting post?  Probably not.  Besides…all that stuff doesn’t really require a recipe, now does it?  LOL  I’m very thankful to say that I’m beginning to feel a bit better, so new recipes will be up soon!  I’ve already got a bunch of fall ideas for new stuff milling about in my thoughts…so please bear with me until we’re all back up and running! :)

Oh what the heck….a rice pic for the heck of it:



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