What's that you say? Where's the food in my alleged food blog? Don't worry--there's some food in this post, and hey, there's even a recipe at the end! But I have to admit, I have not been doing much baking (or interesting eating) lately because I've been so freaking busy!! Still, it's my favorite season and I've had a few moments to enjoy the cool weather (perfect tea-drinking weather), sunshine, and this past weekend, we escaped the city for a little while to pet sheepies at the Sheep and Wool Festival! Yay sheep!! How can you resist a face like this?
Okay, that's not a sheep, it's an alpaca. But how gorgeous is she? I desperately want to move somewhere where I can have a mini farm which will be the home of a mini sheep, mini alpaca, mini pony, mini donkey...you get the idea, right?
This sheep reminds me of a friend of mine (same haircut, heh).
Rhinebeck is about a 2 hour drive north of NYC, so with that in mind, I made a batch of pumpkin muffins to tide us over until we could eat an appropriately unhealthy fair lunch. What's not to like about pumpkin muffins? These have a sprinkling of crystallized ginger inside and a dusting of pearl sugar on top; when I make them again (and you know I will!), I'll double the amount of ginger. In the end though, we were too busy talking on the drive to actually eat any--I ate one afterwards :) (Recipe is at the bottom of this post!)
It was a gorgeous day for a drive and along the way we saw lots and lots of fall foliage (I was driving though, so mostly I saw road, hah!). And when we finally arrived, we browsed a couple of buildings' worth of yarns and fleeces before we stopped for a snack:
It's not a fair unless you have something fried, and this fit the bill. I felt mildly queasy afterwards and so skipped the fried dough and other fried goodies available. Actually now that I think about it, those cheese fries were pretty much all we ate all day (except for my muffin later on). Oh wait, we also had cups of cocoa on the way out, more to warm up our chilly fingers! Enough babbling, here are some more pictures of sheepies and alpacas and goats!
An extremely regal and aloof alpaca. I don't know if you can quite see it, but his name tag is Emperor Alexander. Indeed!
Inquisitive horned sheep!
We spotted this on the bouncy castle; I'm pretty sure this is a knight wearing assless armor-chaps. What's up with that? We remain befuddled.
An Ewok. No, no. It's a miniature sheep! And I desperately, desperately want one. Even though we left with no sheep, I had a lovely day out, so thanks to my buds for coming along, and thanks to the sheep for letting me pet you (soooo soft and squishy).
Gingery Pumpkin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins, one loaf, or 3 mini-loaves
1 cup pumpkin (canned is fine, but make sure you use plain pumpkin, not pumpkin PIE filling)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup flavorless vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
Additional ginger or pearl sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 12 muffin cups with papers (or whatever baking vessel you are using). Sift flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt together into a small bowl. Toss in the crystallized ginger bits and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, sugars, syrup, and vegetable oil and beat until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir the flour mixture in with a wooden spoon, just until combined. This is a fairly soft batter, so this should not be difficult. Spoon batter into muffin cups, about 2/3rd full (or pour into a greased and floured loaf pan or mini pans). Sprinkle with pearl sugar or additional ginger chips, if desired. Bake muffins about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. A full sized loaf pan will take about 45 minutes and mini pans will take about 30. Enjoy! Preferably with some hot tea...or maybe hot cider. Mmmm, cider...