Now that summer is officially over…I’m kinda bummed. I don’t mind fall weather. I actually kind of like it. With less humidity the air is definitely more “breathable” and the evenings are perhaps the most enjoyable time of the year, but it signifies the inevitable.
The winter nasty is coming.
I don’t care much for the soul freezing shortened days that Mother Nature spreads across the south. It is truly the longest season of all. Just thinking about the dark skies and hardened coldness that beats on my front door makes me want to wrap up in a blanket and fall into hibernation.
In order to fend off the depressive stuff I do like most people do…layers, blankets, boots, and anything that inspires the feel of warmness inside my home. Glowing candles, winter throws, rugs, and of course lots of feel good foods.
While it all sounds toasty and amazing I find myself in a bit of a predicament. Normally I’ve already got my plan laid out, but this time around I’ve bitten off a lot more than I can chew. I’m on day 7 of a 30 day residency and don’t have five minutes to spare, so the food part has already proven that it’s going to be a challenge this year.
I’ve pulled out a few to my Cheater’s Kitchen feel good recipes in search of everything that inspires warmth: Muffins, soups, cocoa, potatoes and anything that saves time. It’s not easy trying to pull off amazing in incremental minutes, especially for a family that has grown accustom to a kitchen that always has something cooking.
They’ve been pretty good about pitching in (so far), but Ms. Ma’am doesn’t really understand the sacrifices of a time crunched day and has started making some pretty specific requests. Among is a lot of pumpkin spice.
I’m still looking for ideas, but did manage to pull together some pretty amazing pumpkin muffins done cheater’s style. I’ve seen several varieties of different recipes and modified them all. So far this one has been the easiest and the most popular with the kids.
Cake Mix Pumpkin Spice Muffins
1 boxed cake mix (white or yellow) – I used a butter mixed yellow
1 15oz can of pumpkin (not pie filling)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Completely mix pumpkin and dry cake mix
Spoon batter into cupcake tins – filling them about ¾ full.
The batter is pretty dense and does not settle so if you care about how the final product looks, you may want to smooth the tops of each muffin before baking. I just use a spoon.
You can add nuts, raisins, cranberries or chocolate chips to the batter if you like.
I also like to mix in about a half of a cup to a whole cup (I don’t measure so this is a guess) of sour cream for a heavier finish. It also makes them especially moist.
For more flavor I usually sprinkle in pumpkin spice, clover, and nutmeg with a dash of my homemade vanilla.
Bake for 25 minutes
Can also be used to make small bread loaves, but you’ll have to check for doneness because depending upon the size of pan they while need to bake longer
My family has no idea that these are not homemade and gobbles them down before they have even cooled. I just have to make sure that I hide the wrappers so that I can claim the “homemade” cooking fame :0)
If you have any great kitchen cheat recipes I’d love to see them.
Please read my disclosure