Whole Wheat Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins

Do you still have a can of pumpkin lurking in your pantry left over from Thanksgiving?  That’s really the great thing about canned food, isn’t it?  Well, I’ve got a great way for you to use it…pumpkin muffins with a healthier twist.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch of ground cloves
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup buttermilk (or make your own from regular or Cholov Yisroel milk)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
1 large egg
2/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional, hazelnuts pictured)

Preheat oven to 375°.Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and cloves well with a whisk in a medium bowl. Combine granulated sugar and remaining wet ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer until relatively smooth.  Add dry mixture to wet ingredients; beat at low speed just until combined.  Gently fold in dried cranberries. Place 12 paper muffin cup liners in muffin pan (you can spray cups and pan with cooking spray if you like).  Spoon batter into cups and top with chopped nuts if desired.  Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center.  Remove muffins from pan immediately and let cool on a wire rack.  Muffins will be dense but moist and make a great breakfast or snack.  (Note: You may fill cups more to make 9 larger muffins [what is pictured here].)

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Slow-Cooker Middle Eastern Black Beans and Rice

This recipe is so easy and is best done in a slow-cooker so it’s twice as convenient.  Just dump everything in, leave it for about an hour, and you have a wonderful, hearty, and vegetarian dinner!

Ingredients:

2 cans of black beans (low-sodium, rinsed)

2 cans of chickpeas (rinsed)

1 can of medium black olives

1 cup white rice (or brown)

3-4 roma tomatoes, chopped

3 cups vegetable stock (low-sodium)

6 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small onion, chopped finely

2 tbsp paprika

1.5 tbsp cumin

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp coriander

2 tsp kosher salt

2 tbsp kosher olive oil

Cook the rice according to package instructions (typically, boil 1 cup rice in 2 cups vegetable broth for about 20 minutes) and set aside.  In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onions and cook until just translucent.  Add garlic and paprika (heating paprika in oil brings out its flavour).  Cook just until garlic softens and then toss in tomatoes and remaining spices.  Lower heat and cook for 2-3 minutes or until tomatoes soften.  Empty pan into slow-cooker set on high.  Add remaining 1 cup of vegetable broth, rice, beans, chickpeas, and olives.  Mix well.  Reduce slow-cooker heat to low after about a half an hour.  Mixture is ready to eat when hot, but tastes better after about an hour or two in the slow-cooker on low.  I serve it with whole-grain pita and it easily feeds 4 very hungry adults.

 

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