Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cupkins and Peach Pecan Muffins!


Joanne at Ready, Set, Craft and I have teamed up to bring you the ultimate collaboration of baked goods: Cupcakes and Muffins!

On the first Monday of each month, hop on to one of our bogs to see this month's features ingredient and/or theme and view our mouth watering recipes!
Joanne will lure you in with a sweet and sugary cupcake and I'll bring you a breakfast acceptable dessert, Oh wait I mean a wholesome delicious muffin. Simply click on the Cupkins logo to switch between sites and enjoy both recipes!
 A little about muffins and cupcakes:  What's the difference? 
Well just by looks- cupcakes are usually frosted and muffins are not.
Recipe wise butter seems to be the biggest difference. Muffins don't usually have butter in the batter while cupcakes do. Also muffins usually have nuts or fruit, instead of ingredients like chocolate or candy. 
Think of cupcakes as being a little cake while muffins are more like a quick bread. 
But really isn't it just a way to eat dessert twice a day without feeling too bad! Right?  
September's ingredient is apple! Think Fall, apple orchards, and back to school time! Join us on Monday September 7th for out Cupkins debut!
Now a little about us:  
I love making things and I'm always up for trying a new craft. (my packed studio shelves are proof of that!) You'll find me blogging on everything from knitting, kids crafts, and card making to my newest adventures in glass blowing, yarn dyeing, and spinning. I started Mega•Crafty at the beginning of 2009 as a way to be involved with a larger creative community. It's also been a great way to help me stay creative on a regular basis.
I live with my husband, our dog and two cats.
My favorite color is Teal.
I'm a creative director by day.
My favorite holiday is Halloween and I've recently started a new blog Mega•Spooky dedicated to all things Halloween.  
Joanne started Ready, Set, Craft! about a year ago as a creative outlet and way to connect with other artisans and crafters world wide. An avid paper crafter and cupcake connoisseur, Joanne has recently started to dabble in warn and sewing crafts- and is loving it! Joanne has taught art, craft, and fashion/jewelry classes throughout West Michigan, and enjoys encouraging creativity in all those around her- young and old! 
Joanne holds a BA in Music, and is currently a full-time graduate assistant majoring in Public Administration and Non-Profit Leadership. Joanne is a demonstrator for Stampin' Up! and lives with her husband, dog, and two cats is Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Can't wait until September? Here's a little taste of what to expect each month from CUPKINS...  
Check out Joanne's Toy Store Cupcakes: Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting and Toys on Top! (YUM) Click the Cupkins logo at the top of the page.
And keep reading to check out my Peach Pecan Muffins.

Every August the town I grew up in has a Peach Festival. We'd get all sorts of delicious peachy treats, which were the perfect refreshment for the hot August weather. I haven't been to the festival in longer than I could tell you but August still makes me think of peaches.

I love to bake muffins, o.k. really I love to eat them, but the only way I can do that on a regular basis is to make them myself- that way I can lower the fat by taking out most of the oil. I also love to use seasonal ingredients when I can so... peach muffins seemed a natural choice!

My philosophy on baking muffins is that you start with one good standard batter recipe and sub-out different ingredients according to what flavor you'd like to make. I've come up with what I consider the perfect balance between taste, texture and low oil content. Here is the basic recipe.

It's the first time out for these Peachy Pecan Muffins- but I love how they came out! The surprise here is cinnamon coated pecans (recipe below). The peach brings a light sweetness and mixes wonderfully with the cinnamon.

For the Peach Pecan Muffins here's what I changed in the basic recipe.

Add two blanched, peeled, then mashed peaches instead of the apple sauce. (It's about 1 cup)

Cut the milk down to about 1/3 cup.

Fold in about 1/2 a cup of chopped cinnamon pecans. (add more if you'd like!) Reserve three half pecans for the top of each muffin.

And obviously leave out the blackberries and lemon (since these are peach/pecan)

These baked about 3 minutes less than usual. At that point I took them out of the oven, out of the pan and put the pecans on top. The heat from the muffins melted the sugar just enough to make them stick. Pretty huh!

Seriously they were might be my new favorite flavor. My husband isn't wild about peaches but he loved these!

Cinnamon Pecans:

1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Pecan Halves
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
Pinch of Nutmeg
1 egg white
1/4 Water

Lightly Toast Pecans, let cool.
Mix sugar and spiced together in a plastic bag.
Mix egg white and water together and dip cooled pecans into this mix.
Then toss the egg washed pecans into the plastic bag with the sugar and spices and coat pecans.
Put the whole mix onto a foil lined baking sheet.
Bake at 275 until sugar is melted and pecans are nicely toasted the rest of the way. (10 min. or less is usually what it takes). Stir frequently. Seriously you have to watch this like a hawk- sugared nuts burn in a second! I never leave the oven when I'm doing this so I can pull them out a a moments notice.

When done remove from warm baking sheet to another cool baking sheet or oven proof container to cool.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Birthday Yarn

I've been knitting baby things for a while now. When I finished my last project I knew I had at least one more baby project to do but I really wanted to knit something... anything else.

I dug through the stash and found this little jem, which was a birthday present.

Sublime (doesn't that just say it all) angora (20%) merino mix

It's a lovely deep pink and so soft all I want to do is hug it. Sadly the shade is only a number (oo45), I absolutely would have given this a color a name!

I've been saving the yarn- not knowing what I wanted to do with it. I have 3 balls (so no sweater) but something this soft should be near your skin. So I've ended up starting a scarf in a slip garter stitch pattern.

I started it in the hotel on my last business trip.

Knit on a very overcrowded train, where the guy next to me asked me all about knitting. (If I had extra needles I would have taught him.)

And happily in the park during lunch as well as on the couch at night.

It's coming along-

It's almost cool enough this morning to wear it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

By Jove I Think She's Got It!

Now I just have to work out how to freeze time or get an extra couple of days into the next week.

If you saw this post, you'll know that I'm knee deep (ok more like up to my forehead) in baby shower invitations. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Let's start with the good news since that's how I titled the post- I've got a simpler design for the paper cut horse and I'm just as happy with the overall design! The horse is no longer cut to stand in a frame of the invitation. Instead it will be totally cut out and placed on green background paper. I'm going to raise the horse off the background creating an interesting 3D effect.

"The bad news?" you ask.

The number of invites is now up to 35, they still take a long time to cut, I was going to start printing them tonight- only to discover the printer is out of ink and... trying to make them all in less than a week might actually drive me over the edge of craft-sanity. Not to mention there's a good chance I'll get carpal tunnel by the end of all this horse cutting. Despite all of that I just couldn't let the idea go... although I couldn't begin to explain "why not" in a way that sounds sane even to me!

: )
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