They’re really just muffins. But, you know, I couldn’t resist. So we’ll call them parcels. Little parcels of joy. Moist, hearty, spiced. With a crunch from toasted pecans, loads of protein to satiate and a sweet craisin in each bite.
But first. Norman Wells is becoming beautiful. The sun rises after I arrive at work and we are treated to such a display.
Before long this sunrise won’t be happening until 12pm.. and lasting until 2pm when it changes into a sunset. We are both anxious and excited for this. (I’m mostly anxious. When the heck will I take my photos?) Already we lose 6 minutes of daylight each day – they say the seasons turn quick in the North and I can see why. The orange-leafed trees I captured just last week are now barren. Sparse twigs in the ground. We expect in the next couple of weeks they will be up to their ankles in snow.
These muffins are the result of my first experimentation with canned pumpkin. Such a treat to buy this nutritious good ready to go in a can. Back home in New Zealand I always had to peel, roast and puree my own pumpkin if I planned to bake, say Pumpkin Pie, with it. Did you know pumpkin in Canada is solely for sweets? It is sold either as the huge bright orange ball we associate with Halloween (which is only used for carving or entering in giant pumpkin competitions) or in the canned form, to be used in cakes, muffins, pies, biscuits, oatmeal… Even a traditional pumpkin or sweet potato casserole involves sugar or marshmallows. Kumara seems to be treated similarly. Even Deb at Smitten Kitchen puts marshmallows in her sweet potato scones.
Never mind the typical cafe-in-New Zealand selling a roasted pumpkin salad. Or the traditional farming way of serving it alongside roast lamb. In fact, New Zealand doesn’t even produce what North Americans call pumpkin. That little green skinned thing we use for salads and roasts – supposedly it’s a squash.
North Americans, can I let you in on a secret? Canned pumpkin… it’s actually squash.
Pumpkin Pecan Protein Parcels
Recipe loosely based on Busy But Healthy
1 1/4 cups oats (ground in food processor into flour)
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tsp ground flax seed
3 scoops whey protein (vanilla)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup pecans, pan roasted and chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
4 egg whites (oh the joy of cartoned egg whites…)
1 can pure pumpkin
1/3 cup 100% applesauce
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Spray a 12 hole muffin pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients. Add the dry to the wet and fold until just combined. Spoon into muffin holes and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and the tops are no longer gooey.
Come winter, I am adamant it will be social events and getting out-and-about that will keep me sane and motivated through the long, dark season. Hence, when I heard of a local scrap booking class starting up, I jumped on the list. Monday nights, at the community library, we sit and sit and glue and stamp and create cards and tags. To tie onto little parcels of homemade baking. Pumpkin pecan protein parcels, say. What a lovely treat for friends during the cold months.