Pumpkin Chip Bread or Muffins

Here is the first recipe I’m sharing that uses my homemade pumpkin pie spice mix.  This is so perfect for a cool fall day, and as a bonus it will make your house smell like fall too!

Pumpkin Chip Bread

Pumpkin Chip Bread or Muffins
 
Author:
Recipe type: Quick Bread
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup butter - melted
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
  • 1 cup chocolate chips plus ¼ cup for sprinkling on top
Instructions
  1. In a mixer or large bowl combine the pumpkin, vanilla, eggs, butter and yogurt. In a separate bowl stir together flours, sugar, salt, baking powder & soda, and Pumpkin Pie Spice mix. Pour dry ingredients into the mixer and blend well. Fold in the 1 cup of chocolate chips. Grease a loaf pan, pour batter in and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 75 minutes.

Pumpkin Chip BatterNote: If you don’t have plain yogurt you could substitute sour cream and you could also substitute apple sauce for the butter.  I used organic sugar but sucanat would also work.  I also used a little less sugar and chocolate chips and it was still yummy, yummy!

Pumpkin Chip MuffinsInstead of bread you can make muffins.  These are the jumbo muffins and they took about 30 minutes to get done.  The smaller regular size muffins take about 20 minutes.  Be sure to grease your muffin tins and fill them about 2/3 full…..yummm!

This recipes was adapted from: Java Cupcake

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A Chicken Named Traveler

I am very excited to announce that this is the VERY FIRST guest post here at the Red Double Wide.  The best part is, that it was written by my husband!  I had a blast reading this post even though I had already heard the story first hand.  If you enjoy it too, please leave a comment to let him know!

 

Hello! I’m the husband of the “Queen”.  Here she calls me “Digger”, elsewhere she calls me other things.  If you haven’t guessed; I’m a subgrade contractor (think heavy equipment) and I dig for customers all over this county, but this story isn’t about me.  A good friend of mine was helping to finish excavation of a painfully slow trench on Saturday while I ran some errands.  He’s a contractor as well, and we have been working together quite a bit the last few years.  So much so the girls have taken to calling him “Uncle Tom”, but this story isn’t about him either.

I returned to the jobsite from home near noon; a twenty plus minute commute, several miles of which is gravel and none to smooth.  I parked next to the customers shop and followed the trenchline down the hill and through the trees to where Tom was still digging.  He seemed content enough to keep scratching away at the dense clay subsoil, so I headed back up the hill for tools to level a transformer pad.  That’s when I saw the chicken…

TravelerNow please understand that my brain didn’t process what my eyes were seeing straight away.  My eyes are used to seeing chickens running around all the time, especially this particular breed of chicken, but I’m thinking about the work at hand.  It’s Saturday (a day I prefer to spend with family), half my day was ate up due to prior obligations, and Tom is here trying to help me get caught up before the utility company shows up Monday morning to install.

As my feet carried me several steps closer to the truck, my mind was thinking; “Huh,… someone around here has the same breed of chicken we do.”  My next thought was the fact that “around here” was nothing but woods.  No close neighbors, no buildings aside from the customers new shop, and most notably there are no fences.  Nothing but overgrown pine, scrub oak, and now a loose chicken accustomed to a free range life.  Uh oh…!

I tried to call Grace thinking she could count her chickens and tell me if one is missing (or more to the point, hoping one isn’t), but no answer.  I called the owner of the property (who lives 2,000 mi. away) to ask if he’d ever seen chickens roaming around this place, but he was sure he hadn’t.  The small flicker of hope I’d had vanished.  I told him “I think I have a problem.  One of the Queens’ chickens stowed away on my truck, and I’m staring at it right now.”  His immediate laughter made it clear he understood just how much fun trying to catch a chicken in the thick brush covering this hillside would be.  The small pine and oak had grown like dog hair, and,… well,… you do the math.

When he stopped laughing we touched briefly on the project, and then he asked a favor.  Would I mind disposing of some fruit he’d left in a cooler outside the door the week before?  “No problem”, I said, and immediately filed that little chore away for later.  I had to figure out what to do with this dang chicken!

I knew what had happened.  There’s a fair gap between the bottom of the dump bed and the top of the fuel tank between the frame rails on my truck.  Just about the right height for a chicken.  For some reason OUR chickens feel compelled to jump up in there periodically, scratch around at nothing I can see, and bail out again at their leisure.  I don’t know why; they’re chickens!  They do all kinds of goofy stuff I can’t explain.  Typically they leave when I start the truck, so no problem.  Anyway, that’s HOW she got here, (and boy howdy that must of been some ride) but now what do I do about it?

Goldie

This is not Traveler, it’s actually Goldie but this shows you where she held on for dear life during the bumpy ride!

I briefly considered how much trouble I’d be in with Grace when I got home if I simply ignored the bird and went back to work.  Yea, right.  Capture was a must and I knew it, but I couldn’t just walk up and catch the dang thing; I had to corner it somehow.  This was looking like a two man job.  I took a deep breath, glared hard at the chicken (willing it to stay put), and let out a sigh of resignation.  As much as I didn’t want to interrupt Tom’s progress I headed back down the trenchline to recruit his help.  When I explained the situation he laughed out loud…  Why does everyone think this is funny?

By the time we got back up to the truck the chicken was gone (of course).  Tom went right, and I went left hoping to surround the general area we thought it must be in.  This is about the time Grace decided to return my call.  She was still in town and not yet finished shopping.  I explained what was going on,… SHE didn’t laugh.  I’d already been considering just what to do with the little bugger once caught, but the options were few, and there was NO WAY I was turning a chicken loose in the cab of my truck.  I asked if she could bring the carrier we use to transfer critters out to us after she got home.  “Sure, fine”, but she wouldn’t be home for a few more hours.  As my eyes searched the acres of woods for the small brown bird I said, “This could take that long.”

I heard it!  The sound came from the direction Tom had gone and I followed it through the trees.  I saw the little trouble maker just before I saw Tom…  Now, to better understand what I was seeing, you need to know that Uncle Tom is not a small man.  Well over six feet tall and something beyond two hundred pounds,… on his hands and knees crawling through the brush making chicken noises!  Not only that, but the sounds he was making were remarkably convincing.  It occurred to me that what I’d heard may not have been the chicken at all.  I struggled to stifle my laughter not wanting to alarm the bird, and began maneuvering to trap it between us.

An hour or so later, having repeatedly tried and failed to grab the dang thing (picture headlong, prostrate dive), we resorted to steering our quarry through the trees with long sticks back down the hill toward the truck.  Every cluck was a taunt!  This chicken was laughing at us, and it wouldn’t shut up!  We finally managed to push it out of the brush next to my trailer where it immediately took refuge.  It didn’t take long to realize retrieving her out from under the trailer with sticks was hopeless.  At this point Tom and I agreed that spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon being outsmarted by a chicken wasn’t our idea of recreation.  I shared that I was wishing one of my daughters were there.  She’d just call “Here chick, chick, chick.” and the thing would come a runnin’.  Or maybe my dog?  Nah, he’d fail to see the point.  A gun!…  Now there’s a tempting idea.

We sat on the trailer awhile considering options when I remembered the little favor the customer had asked of me.  The FRUIT!!!  Why had I not thought about the dang fruit until now?  I went and brought it back to the trailer where we set some out as bait a couple feet beyond the birds new sanctuary.  Tom sat on the trailer above it laying in wait.  Oh yea,… She wanted that sweet smelling fruit bad.  Really bad…  But this chicken was quick and cunning.  Several failed attempts later we decided to let “her” rest awhile. (Well,… it was hot!  She needed a break!)

I told Tom, “You know this chicken is going to be given a name when I bring it home.”  Tom knows the story of Stinky and is aware of a few other birds at my place that have been named and why.  He thought a moment, then looked at me with a grin and simply said “Traveler”.

FINALLY!!!  With an impressive snatch Tom had her!  The little beast was contained!  Victory was ours!  The intellectual prowess of two middle aged contractors had ultimately prevailed!  Umm,… So now what do we do with her?…  I hadn’t heard from Grace, and there was STILL no way that chicken was being set loose in the cab of my truck,…  So,…  “Let’s hogtie her”!  Tom had some string in his truck, and she really didn’t struggle all that bad while I tied her feet together.  He set her down next to the fruit and water, at which point she immediately stood up and started to quickly hop away.  Brilliant!…  I took a longer length of string and tied her to the trailer as a lead so she couldn’t get far.  In a few moments she succumbed to her defeat, realizing any attempt to escape was futile and settled for a feast of overly ripe peach and plumb.

I was finishing a couple small things on the project when Grace called.  She was still some while off and it was looking like I’d have to come back the next day to finish the trench anyway, so I told her to stay home and I’d be along soon.  I figured the bird could ride in the bed of my truck hogtied and tethered, but the Queen wasn’t very pleased with this suggestion.  I told her I’d figure something out and went back to finish up so “Traveler” could go home.

I wound up stealing the small Styrofoam cooler the fruit had been in from my customer, and still hogtied put the little pain in the butt inside.  She rode back with me without complaint on the passenger side floorboard; a piece of plywood for a lid kept her trapped, and yes, Traveler was very happy to be home.

TravelerUncle Tom kept digging for a few more hours after I left, and I finished the excavation Sunday after church (a day I strongly feel is for faith and family).  The family agreed with “Uncle Tom” as to what the perfect name for this chicken should be, so it remains…

 

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Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

It’s that time of year again and I’ve been thinking about pumpkins a lot lately.  Mostly pumpkin desserts!  I’ve been a little obsessed with making my own spice blends, so what better blend for fall than pumpkin pie spice mix!

Pumpkin Pie Spice MixMaybe you already know exactly what you want to do with your pumpkin pie spice blend or maybe you need some ideas.  Of course you can make pumpkin pie…..but there are sooooooo many other yummy things to make with it.  I will have a few ideas and links at the bottom of this post, and in the next few weeks I will be posting some recipes using pumpkin pie spice.

Welcome to fall everyone!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
 
This will make ½ of a cup of Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
Author:
Cuisine: spice mix
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
Instructions
  1. Just put spices into a small container or jar and shake.

You can easily double this recipe if you plan on using LOTS or to just make one teaspoon worth.  Here are the measurements: 1/2 tsp. cinnamon – 1/4 tsp. ginger – 1/8 tsp. nutmeg – 1/8 tsp. cloves

Pumpkin Pie SpiceNow for some ideas on how to use your homemade pumpkin pie spice mix.  Here is a post from theKitchn.com that is called 7 ways to use pumpkin pie spice.  The one for pumpkin spiced popcorn sounds especially delicious!  Some other ideas are to add it to smoothies, oatmeal, vanilla yogurt, roasted pumpkins seeds, coffee, or fall cookies!  Anyone else have any ideas?

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September 2013 – A Month Of Photos From The Red Double Wide

Happy Fall Everyone!

The last days of summer went out with unusually hot temperatures, and the first days of fall came in very wet (for around here anyway).  September brought lots of changes with me going back to teaching at our local Christian School, and the girls going back to school there.  My poor garden has been severely neglected, (it’s more like a jungle than a garden) but as you can see we are still harvesting the benefits of our early summer work.

Onions

Harvest

Bread

Whole wheat bread and hamburger buns.

Saturday has become my, baking/laundry/blogging/gardening/chicken coop cleaning day!  I am trying to learn how to plan meals ahead of time and get as much done on the weekends as i can.  I want to keep cooking real food from scratch as much as possible with this new schedule.  This is a big challenge for me, as my organization skills are MINIMAL! (just ask my husband)  Good thing my girls are big enough to help and the men in the house are patient. :D

Peppers

Eggs

PumpkinI have learned that gardening is all about NEXT year.  So many things I want to change and do better next spring. I guess that’s part of the excitement of a garden. :)

StinkyThis past month I posted about butchering our Cornish Cross chickens and then I wrote a story about Stinky going to the fair.  After that post I had several people express concern about Stinky someday ending up in the cook pot.  I want to assure everyone that Stinky will live out her free range life here at the Red Double Wide with no fear of ending up in the cook pot! :D

Thanks for visiting and have a good week!

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Baked Whole Wheat Pancakes

One of my sisters sent me a baked pancake recipe the other day via Pinterest.  What a brilliant idea!!  As I mentioned before in my German Puff Pancake post I really dislike standing at the oven flipping pancakes FOREVER….while half of the family eats and the other half waits for a pancake.  There are times though that you just need a good ol’ fluffy  pancake and we’ve been loving my Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancake recipe.  As I slowly bounced this idea of baked pancakes around in my brain…I thought, why can’t I bake my own pancake recipe?  That would be the best of both worlds, a pancake that I already know we like and no flipping or waiting involved. :)

So I mixed up a batch of Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes.

Baked PancakesPoured the batter into a greased 13X9 inch pan.

Baked PancakesBaked it at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Whole Wheat Baked PancakesWho says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

Baked Whole Wheat PancakesThis got a thumbs up from everyone around here, including Uncle Tom.  :D

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Homemade Spiced Pear Butter

Spiced Pear ButterI’m a big fan of apple butter, so when I had a box of pears that needed to be used up quickly, pear butter kept coming to mind.  I looked up some recipes and then mixed, matched, and tweaked until I had a recipe I was happy with.  I have never made apple OR pear butter before and I was a bit skeptical at first.  But when I smelled that pot of yummyness bubbling on my stove I knew I had a winner!!

First peel and cut up 8 pounds of pears.  This was about 16 medium sized pears.

Spiced Pear ButterAdd just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan to keep them from sticking. About 1/2 a cup.  Cook on medium heat until they are soft, about 30 minutes.

Pear ButterLet the soft pears cool off a bit and then blend until you have a smooth consistency.  You could use a stick blender or a regular blender.

Pear Butter 1When you have a nice smooth “pear sauce” add the sugar, orange zest, nutmeg, orange juice, and almond extract.  Cook on medium heat until it reaches your desired thickness, stir often so it doesn’t stick to the pan.  It will take about an hour.  I let it cool then ladled it into clean pint size mason jars and put them in the freezer.

To can it: Ladle hot pear butter into sterile jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Seal with lids and rings.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to seal.   This made a little over 4 pints.  The recipe could easily be doubled or cut in half.

Spiced Pear Butter 2NOTE:  This recipe uses about half the amount of sugar that all the other recipes for pear butter call for.  It was PLENTY sweet for us but you could add more if you like.  The only thing I will do differently next time is cook it for longer, I would prefer it to be a bit thicker.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Homemade Spiced Pear Butter
 
Author:
Recipe type: Condiment
Ingredients
  • 8 pounds of pears - about 16 medium size pears
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1½ teaspoons almond extract
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel, core, and chop up 8 pounds of pears into a big pot.
  2. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, about ½ a cup.
  3. Cook on medium heat until pears are soft. About a ½ hour.
  4. Let them cool off a bit then blend until smooth.
  5. Return to the pot and add sugar, orange zest, nutmeg, orange juice, and almond extract.
  6. Cook on medium heat until it reaches desired thickness.
  7. To can or freeze see instructions above.

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Stinky Goes To The Fair

This is a post for all you Stinky fans out there.  If you’ve never heard of Stinky and want to know how Stinky got her name and why she is so special to us, click here.

When my girls picked out the hens they wanted to take to the fair.  Stinky was an obvious choice.   She is the most docile of all our chickens (given her history) and very easy to handle.

Over the past few weeks Jo, has been packing her around, singing to her, and training her to stand on the picnic table.  When you show a chicken they should stand on the table in front of you without being held there.

Stinky 1A few times while Jo was “training” Stinky  I would hear her firmly say “Stinky, you stay right here, I’ll be right back”.  She would leave the chicken on the table, run in the house to tell me something “exciting” or grab something “important” and then run back out.  That darn chicken would stay right where she was told every time, and Jo seemed to have absolute confidence Stinky would be there when she got back every time!

When fair time rolled around, I was not worried about Stinky. :)

Stinky 4Here she is taking her first bath in preparation for the fair.

Stinky 5It must have been an exhausting experience because as soon as the bath was over she had a snooze….. :)

Stinky 6We started our drive to the fair with the hens in a kennel.  Stinky however, would not behave herself and kept picking on poor Goldie.  She wound up riding on Jo’s lap…  (I suspect a conspiracy here!)

Stinky at the fairJo made sure Stinky got plenty of outside time and they both met new friends.

Stinky's FriendsMeet two of Stinky’s new friends: Fire and Afro :D

Show time was a little nerve-wracking for both of them.  But all that “training” paid off!

Blue RibbonsWe always knew she was a blue ribbon chicken!!

Stinky back homeAfter four eventful days at the fair Stinky was VERY happy to be home with the rest of the ladies!

 

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Pear Smoothies – A Healthy Fall Treat!

Fall Smoothies

Fall is in the air!

On our way home from a shopping trip my mom and I stopped at a fruit stand.  Everything looked soooo good (I love this time of year)!   After some debating I settled on a box of pears and a box of apples.  The pears were really ripe and by the next morning I thought the fruit flies were going to pick up my kitchen and fly away.  I quickly started a big batch of pear butter (I’ll share that recipe later) and then I froze a bunch to use in future smoothies.  What was left, nicely fit in the fridge and we are still enjoying fresh pears and fall smoothies.  After putting up a couple fly strips, my kitchen is now (mostly) fly free again!

Here are two wonderful, healthy fall smoothies!

Cinnamon Pear Smoothie 

All you need is: 2 pears (cored and quartered) – 1 frozen banana (cut into pieces) – 1 cup of milk (any kind) – 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt1/2 cup oatmeal1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon – a pinch of nutmeg.

Cinnamon Pear SmoothiePut everything in a blender and puree until nice and smooth. This makes enough for 3 of us to have a nice size smoothie.

 

Apple and Pear Smoothie

You will need: 1 ripe pear (cored and quartered) – 2 apples (cored, peeled and cut into pieces) – 1 frozen banana (peeled & cut into pieces) – 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt – 1/2 cup of apple juice1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pear Apple Smoothie 1Throw it all in the blender and puree until smooth.

 These make a healthy breakfast or snack….it’s like fall in a cup!

 

The Queen Of The Red Double Wide adapted these recipes from: AllRecipes.com and Good Food Channel

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Raising Cornish Cross Chickens – Week 8 – Butchering Day

I have to admit that after the turmoil during fair week, I was very ready for butchering day.  Out of the 15 birds that we bought, we had 13 make it to butchering day.  The five my parents raised and eight out of ten that we raised.

If you would like to read about the first seven weeks (with lots of pictures) here they are: Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4Week 5Week 6Week 7

Butchering DayThe evening before we butchered it POURED down rain while we were packing up at the fair.  By the time we got home they were soaking wet out in their little chicken tractor.  So we brought them in the shop to dry off.  They quickly dried and we kept them in for the night in case of another down pour.

We took the feed out 12 hours before butchering time; this is so the crop and intestinal tract has time to clear.

Rooster Hen CollageI weighed a few of them that morning and they were all around 7 pounds.

We put them in a couple of kennels and headed to my parents house.  They have raised turkeys in the past and have a better set up for butchering than we do.

We don’t have any killing cones so the guys used a chopping block and an axe.  I think next year we will buy or make some cones.  Especially if we have more than 13 chickens.

Scalding TemperatureFor scalding we kept the temperature between 145°and 150° F. and scalded them for 1 minute.  It worked great!  I couldn’t believe how easy they were to pluck!

PluckingThis is me, my mom, and one of my sisters plucking.

SkinningDigger skinned a few of them to see if it was faster than plucking.  Skinning was definitely faster.  Here are a couple pics of a skinned chicken, this was before it was gutted and cleaned.  Check out all that meat!!!

Skinned Cornish Cross

Cornish CrossThis is the gutting, cleaning, and wrapping station.  After they were cleaned we wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in zip lock bags.  They were all around 5 pounds. :)

Cleaning and WrappingThe whole process only took about 2 hours for 13 chickens despite the fact everyone was exhausted from the fair.  I was surprised at how smoothly it went and that it didn’t bother me at all.  I was very pleased with the sizes of the dressed out birds.  My parents were pleased too and have decided to stick with chickens instead of turkeys from now on.  Mom already said she wants 20 more next year!  I’m sure we will get more next year too.  I’m thinking I’d like to try some freedom rangers, just so I can compare.

All said and done they cost right at $9.00 each. Not to bad for five pound, pastured chickens!

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August 2013 – A Month of Photos From the Red Double Wide

WOW!  August is over already?!?!

Hope you enjoy some of my photos from August.

Chicken

Buddies

Napping on the trampoline. :)

Green Beans

beans….beans…..beans

Bag Of Wheat

This a HUGE bag of wheat that my dad harvested. We are going to supplement the chicken feed with it and Digger wants to experiment with fodder.

Wind Storm

We had a nasty wind storm that blew over several corn stocks. I was glad it didn’t do more damage.

Tomato

We have dozens and dozens of these….now, if they would just turn red!

Bee

I am very pleased with how many bees I hear and see while in the garden. :)

Some of our corn grew CRAZY tall.  A few of them are over 12 feet tall and the ears are so high I'm going to need a ladder to harvest them!

Some of our corn grew like CRAZY. A few of them are over 12 feet tall and the ears are so high I’m going to need a ladder to harvest them!

Sun Flower

One volunteer sun flower came up in the middle of our garden. I decided to let it grow and I’m glad I did. It’s absolutely gorgeous! I counted 30 blooms on it at one point. :)

We ended the month of August with the county fair.

Showing Chickens

This isn’t the greatest picture but I wanted everyone to see how the fair and chickens are a family ordeal! They all did so well with ALL of their projects. I am a very proud mom, sister, and aunt!!!

September will be bringing many changes.  I have decided after much thought and prayer to go back to teaching at our local Christian School and the girls will also be attending there.  This means lots less time at home.  I am hopeful that I can keep up with cooking from scratch, gardening, and my blog!

Thanks for stopping by the Red Double Wide!!  Hope you are all getting to enjoy this harvest season. :D

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