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This weather is lovely, but truly creeping a lot of us out here in NYC. We’ll probably be just shy of 60 degrees today, in the last week of February! Is the seasonal confusion driving my craving for pumpkin muffins? Or perhaps from watching the Crawley family of Downton Abbey take their afternoon tea over and over again? I’ve definitely been heating the tea kettle more often and sipping the English Breakfast. And sure enough, I shared an (amazing) ginger-lemon-honey tea and cranberry scone with Georgia this morning (Balthazar scone, tea, at De Luxe cafe Park Slope). Baking quick breads at home, cutting crusts off my daughter’s sandwiches…my oh my. Where is Mrs. Patmore to teach me to bake a Christmas pudding then light it on fire?

Pumpkin Muffins with Crunchy Sugared Walnuts*

*Perfect for high tea with your 20-month old

  • 1 cup pumpkin (canned or fresh pureed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1 tsp cinnamon)
  • 1/2 cup milk (your preferred milk, I used reduced fat)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole grain pastry flour (can substitute whole wheat flour for all or half, if desired)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp turbinado (raw) sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, oil, molasses, salt, spices, and milk.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add all at once to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  4. Scoop batter evenly into the cups of a greased or paper-lined 12-cup muffin tin (I use unbleached parchment paper muffin liners). Sprinkle each cup evenly with walnuts, then cinnamon, then sugar. Bake 10 minutes, rotate 180 degrees, then continue to bake another 8-10 minutes or until the center springs back when lightly touched. Let cool 5 minutes in pan, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from the King Arthur Flour Pumpkin Leaf Muffins recipe


A Quiche Kick

February 1, 2012

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The little one is back to eating with her usual gusto after about 10 days of fruitarianism. Georgia contracted a virus (along with half of Brooklyn) and her appetite shrunk to bird-like levels…a peck of blueberry here, a tiny suck of clementine there. She wanted nothing to do with a picture-perfect bowl of healing chicken soup, Brancaccio’s chicken & fregola, which ended up being my happy source of nourishment after wiping snot for days on end.

So after a rousing morning of Music Together, I attempted to feed Georgia a non-fruit meal for the twentieth or so time. We picked up a generous slice of spinach-mushroom-cheddar quiche from Park Slope’s Parco and it was gone within minutes. So, whether the appetite light went on at that moment, or my kid appreciates a good quiche, we were going to have quiche again, and soon!

If your kid is not especially fond of scrambled eggs, or vegetables f0r that matter, quiche’s creamy custard texture may be appealing. I used a whole wheat pie crust, reduced-fat milk, large eggs, and our usual fridge cheese. Most parents with (non-allergic) toddlers keep milk, cheese & eggs stocked, so consider keeping a frozen pie crust on hand for an impromptu meal. We used and really like the whole wheat pie crust from Fresh Direct. Both of these recipes went over like gangbusters with our sweet, and now about 95% healthy, 19-month old.  Enjoy!

*Baking directions are the same for both quiches

Bacon, Spinach, Tomato & Goat Cheese Quiche (‘BST Goat’)

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • tiny pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 oz fresh goat cheese
  • 10 oz frozen organic chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 oz bacon (about 4 thin slices), cooked and crumbled
  • 1 whole wheat, all-natural pie crust (9″), fresh or thawed

Broccoli, Roasted Pepper & Aged Cheddar Quiche

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • tiny pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) grated aged cheddar cheese
  • 1 -1/2 cup cooked & seasoned bite-sized broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup small-diced roasted red bell pepper (jarred & drained is fine)
  • 1 whole wheat, all-natural pie crust (9″), fresh or thawed
  1. Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large bowl.
  2. Place the pie pan on a baking sheet with sides. Sprinkle cheese over the bottom of the pie crust. Sprinkle over vegetables, and meat if using. Evenly pour over egg mixture.
  3. Bake in center of oven for 20 minutes. Rotate tray 180 degrees and bake until the center is just set, another 20-25 minutes. Cool quiche on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.