Last week-end I headed out with some girlfriends on a road trip, to hang out with one of my culinary heroes Chef Michael Smith. He’s a TV host, cookbook author and an ambassador for all of the amazing food that Canada has to offer. We spent a few days in a beautiful resort, talking all about cooking turkey and trying out some of the recipes from his new cookbook.
Guys, we ate. And ate. And ate.
There was good, local, fresh food at every corner. I don’t know if it was the place, the company or the recipes, but I kept telling my friends, “I’m so happy right now!” Being surrounded by people who appreciate good food, real food, does really energize me and get the creative juices flowing. And even though I’m a mom to three and a grandmother to one, I’ve finally decided what I want to do when I grow up. I’ve decided I’ve got to dip my toes further into some more culinary education. Not because I envision myself working in some Michelin-starred kitchen, but because I’m seriously enthusiastic about food and want to learn all that I can.
Oh don’t worry, baking breads, cakes and cookies is my first love, and that will continue. But, having some professional culinary skills would just be the icing on the cake you know? So while I’m online investigating how I might make that happen, I’ve got a turkey brining in the fridge, using all of the tips that Chef Michael taught us last week-end. And as the preparations are underway for a fantastic Sunday turkey dinner, I’ve also got some of these Pumpkin and Raisin Muffins baking off, for lunch snacks this week.
Let’s just move away from my dreams for a second, and talk about these Pumpkin and Raisin Muffins. They are probably pretty close to these Better Ginger Cookies, for being the recipe that catapulted me into my love of working in the kitchen in the first place. It’s one of many of mom’s recipes that I made with her often and still bake to this day, simply because they are delicious and so easy. These are a regular on our weekly snack rotation because they freeze so well and the kids can just grab one to go when needed. It’s full on spicy pumpkin flavor, with plump raisins inside and a little crunch from the pepitas on top. And these are ridiculously moist and so incredibly good warm from the oven.
Well friends, as I’m posting this, I’ve got a giant mug of tea and a warm muffin at my side. I’ve got the anticipation of a scrumptious dinner with my favourite people. And I’ve got some exciting new goals ahead of me. Life is good.
Pumpkin and Raisin Muffins
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp. oil
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup large flake oats for sprinkling on top
- 1/2 cup pepita seeds for sprinkling on top
Preheat oven to 375°. Line two muffin tins with paper liners.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cloves and cinnamon; set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the sugar, oil and eggs. Add the pumpkin puree and mix well.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in the raisins.
- Fill each muffin liner 2/3 of the way full. Top with a sprinkle of oats and pepita seeds. Bake for 18 minutes or until cake tester inserted comes out clean.
- These muffins freeze really well.