Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

I’m going to be honest with you all and admit that I have no idea what happened to summer. We didn’t get blasted by the snowfall that everyone in the prairies experienced (like most of Trevor’s family), but I’m still finding myself in denial about the chilly weather and don’t get me started on the lack of sunlight in the morning. We’re still trying to find our groove in our new place and now when my alarm goes off, I’m not only disoriented that our bed is facing a completely different way, but now the lack of natural light is throwing me off. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I walk into the wall or trip over the mountain of laundry I’ve managed to create in the past week.

I also haven’t been baking as much as I usually do because I’m still learning my way around my new(er) kitchen. The space is a little bit tighter and I’m still trying to figure out where I put everything in the haste that was unpacking everything and jumping on a plane to England. All in due time I suppose, but hopefully I’ll be able to find my groove by the end of this month as I have a few more recipes that I’ve been meaning to try out.

Since my mornings are so out of whack with our new place, a new routine and a new commute, I’ve been at a total loss for what to eat for breakfast. Usually my go-to is a bowl of overnight oats that I make the night before, but since the move I haven’t been able to wrap my head around the idea of pre-planning meals like I used to. Also, I’m super convinced that most of the red-lid rubbermaid containers that were the perfect size for my overnight oats have grown legs and wandered away (also known as the “husband-who-takes-his-lunch-to-work-may-not-always-bring-the-containers-home” syndrome).

So instead of overnight oats, my breakfasts were been all over the map. Until last week when I though “duh, why don’t I just make some muffins to last us through the week?” Sometimes in the routine of trying to think about something new and awesome and (hopefully) creative to bake, I tend to forget the simplicity of making a batch of wholesome, stick-to-your-teeth-with-goodness muffins. And these pumpkin muffins are just that. Chewy, almost cake-like in texture and wholesomely made with whole wheat flour. Don’t skip out out on the chocolate chips either, it’s not getting any lighter out and I have a feeling that winter could just be lurking around the corner.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins 16-18 muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree*
  • 1/3 cup almond milk**
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350*F. Line your muffin tray with paper liners or lightly coat with a non-stick baking spray.
  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, measure almond milk and add the apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, grated ginger, salt and chocolate chips. Make a small well in the dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together brown sugar, almond milk/apple cider vinegar mixture, vegetable oil, eggs, molasses and vanilla extract. I find that using a spatula helps mix everything together.
  5. Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Make sure there are no pockets of flour in the batter.
  6. Fill muffin tin 3/4 full of batter and bake for 13-15 minutes until the tops spring back lightly when touched. Remove from the oven and let stand for 3 minutes before gently removing with a butter knife. Let cool on a wired rack and enjoy!

*Canned pumpkin is fine, just make sure it's pure pumpkin and not pie filling.

**Regular milk can also be used.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light (Marge Perry, November 2006)

England, France and All That Jazz

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It’s taken me over a week to post photos from our whirlwind England/France trip because I’ve been in denial about no longer being in vacation-mode. Getting up early when you’re on vacation is fantastic because it’s all about the “what are we going to see next?” or in our case, “what are we going to eat next?” Although we had moved prior to our trip and a new place to come home to, it was a confusing few days fighting jet lag and getting back into the routine of work and daily life.

The main reason we took this trip was to attend Crystal and Craig’s wedding. Crystal and I go as far back as junior high when we both lived in Saskatchewan and she was even a bridesmaid at my own wedding last year. A couple years ago she went to teach in Saudi Arabia and met Craig who is from the UK. I wasn’t surprised when they announced their engagement, but I was thrilled when she asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. Since the wedding was going to take place overseas, we decided to make the most of the traveling and spend a few days in Paris, with a quick side-stop in London for good measure.

Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows

Homemade Chocolate Marshmallows

As much as we love the city, it can sometimes reach a point where we just want to get away from it all. The loud bumper-to-bumper traffic, the constant rubbing shoulders with strangers on the subway, and just generally feeling like you’re in everyone’s way. Sometimes when I find myself feeling overwhelmed, I like to close my eyes and daydream about being at my parent’s house on the lake, hanging out on the dock with their dog. Complete bliss.

Luckily, one the great things about Toronto is the amount of parks and green spaces that are available in the GTA. Some parks are so big that it doesn’t even feel like you’re in the city anymore. We’ve spent afternoons walking around High Park feeling completely lost! Well, as lost as one can feel when we know we are sandwiched between Bloor Street and Queen Street.

Wedding Pie – One Year Later

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Here is a photo of a Saskatoon berry pie, fresh out of the oven. Well, as “fresh” as pie can be when instead of a cake, you have a pies for your wedding. And your main pie is not just any pie, but a Saskatoon berry pie, a flavour requested by groom who was born and bred in Saskatchewan. And then after the wedding, you tenderly wrap most of that pie in plastic and tin foil and then you freeze it with the tradition that you will both enjoy a slice on your one year anniversary on August 16th 2014.

Today is our one year anniversary and technically, we had to cheat this tradition by a few days because we’re currently on route to another wedding. This upcoming wedding holds a dear place in my heart because the bride-to-be was one of my close friends in high school and also one of my bridesmaids. So a couple days ago, I unfroze, unwrapped and baked our wedding pie so we could each enjoy a slice.

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On our wedding day, the pie was delicious. We each had a bite for photos and later in the night, Trevor cut himself a full slice to enjoy. But as pretty as the pictures look, I guess you can’t deny that the pie was frozen for a year and recently survived a move from our old apartment to our new-to-us condo. In fact, Trevor’s exact words when we each took a bite was “it tastes like it spent a year in the freezer.” Oh well, you can’t win them all!

Happy one year anniversary to my best friend and the love of my life. Although we get to spend today chilling out in the airport, I’m thrilled to be able to spent it knowing that we’re about to cross off a couple places off our travel bucket list!

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Moving Day in Photos

It’s been a busy week of packing, moving, unpacking and now packing again for our friend’s wedding in Manchester (!!), but here are some photos from the last couple of days (don’t mind the quality, my DSLR was packed).

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One sign of a good moving company is that everything is lovingly wrapped up, even Ikea furniture!

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Creeping on our movers from our condo balcony. And yes, that’s the real company name.

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Our new place, before the paint job (don’t mind Trevor’s Frankenstein cup and prosthetic spider).

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After we painted and re-installed the kitchen shelves. The white/blue is much brighter and more inviting than the green, don’t you think?

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Also a side-by-side comparison of our old apartment oven and the oven in our condo. I’m not sure what I love more about this newer oven – the built in timer, the glass window or the fact that the temperature doesn’t shoot up to 450*F at random intervals.

All right, back to laundry and more packing.