I had ambitious plans for this past weekend.  I planned on getting the house perfectly clean and organized from top to bottom, running a bunch of errands, and going on a long run.  Instead I spent the weekend at home, only braving the snowy weather to grab some groceries.  I only did one short run, and I decided to forgo my chores for lying in bed reading books and watching Disney movies, playing Play-Doh, and having tea parties with my girls.

Minda and her Play-Doh Creations

 On Sunday morning we slept in, and when we finally awoke, I baked whole wheat pumpkin muffins that were loaded with dates, pepitas, and walnuts. We ate breakfast at the dining table together as a family for the first time in months, chatting over coffee even after the muffins were gone. So even though we didn’t do anything particularly exciting, it was one of the best weekends I have had in a long time.  I think these simple weekends at home are when some of the best memories are made.  I also know that my family needs my attention much more than my floors.  My body and mind appreciated the rest too. I am now feeling rejuvenated, ready to start the week, and maybe catch up on my chores I have neglected.

The pumpkin muffins we had for our Sunday breakfast may not be the healthiest thing that I bake, but they are really delicious. I am not too worried about the extra calories though, after all, healthy eating, as in life, is all about balance.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins-adapted from Cowgirl Cuisine by Paula Disbrowe

¼ cup pepitas

½  cup walnuts, roughly chopped

½ cup butter

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

¼ cup 2% plain yogurt

¼ cup soy milk (or skim milk)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ cup molasses

¼ cup pure maple syrup

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

3 medjool dates, pitted and chopped

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Place the pepitas and walnuts on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside.  Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with a little of the butter.  Melt the butter and place in a large bowl (I used my stand mixer) with the pumpkin, yogurt, milk, eggs, vanilla, molasses, and maple syrup.  Whisk to combine.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and spices.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined.  Fold in dates and half of the nuts and pepitas.  Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tin cups.  Top with the remaining nuts and seeds, gently pressing them down into the batter.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool about 5 minutes before serving warm, or transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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