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Golden Pumpkin Raisin Muffins

You are probably thinking: Oh no! Not another stinking’ muffin recipe! There are so many out there. I know there have been a few on the NaturalKids Team blog in the past. But I promise you won’t be disappointed if you try this one. They are so good you will make them over and again!

I hope you have some winter squash stored in your basement or cellar, since that is the main ingredient that makes your muffins golden and pretty. Cut up and bake that old Butternut, Acorn, or Zucca Barruca at 350 Fahrenheit in the oven. Hmmm, my frozen feet are finally beginning to thaw out in this cold drafty house…

Besides 15-16 ounces of processed squash pulp you need the following items:

2 cups of flour
¼ cup of wheat germ
½ teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ground ginger
Fresh Grated Nutmeg (kids love to do it!)
½ teaspoon of salt
6 Tablespoons of melted butter
½ cup of milk
½ cup of brown sugar
¼ cup of white sugar
2 large eggs
Several kid sized handfuls of raisins

How to make them:

Give your child a bowl and the list of dry ingredients such as the flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda , spices, and salt. My kids really enjoy measuring and mixing things together. It’s such a great way to teach them about measurements and what happens if you get things wrong…But with a little supervision a 6-year old can do this!

In another bowl mix melted butter, brown sugar (make sure you work in all the little lumps with a fork!), white sugar, add melted butter, beaten eggs, milk, and pumpkin pulp. Mix well together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet pumpkin mixture. Throw in the handfuls of raisins.

Grease a muffin pan and flour it. You can also use paper cups, but these muffins are very sticky and will disintegrate when peeled off from the paper too soon! So if you want to eat them warm from the pan the greasing option is probably the way to go!

Bake for 20-25 minutes in preheated oven at 375 degree Fahrenheit!

This recipe will make about 17 muffins. This is another plus, besides the great taste, if you have a growing ‘tween boy who will eat 5 muffins in one sitting…

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Christstollen – A Recipe for The Oldest German Christmas Pastry

Christstollen, the Christ Loaf, is the oldest German Christmas pastry – made to resemble the Christchild in his swaddling cloths. Unfortunately there are not too many people in the US who know about it. Lebkuchen has become the standard sweet that people think of when they think of Germany and Christmas. So I wanted to introduce some more people to this wonderful traditional bread.

Are you READY? First you may want to ask yourself: Do I really have time for this project, in the midst of the Christmas insanity, in the middle of writing & mailing out cards, buying & wrapping gifts, taking your kids to Christmas concerts and Nutcracker performances? Are you sure about this?

Well, if your answer is “Yes”, you should start shopping for these items now! Might take you a while to scout for the ingredients:

For >>the<< recipe you need:

  • 1 kg flour
  • 450 g butter
  • 1/2 liter warm milk
  • 200 g sugar
  • 100 g of fresh yeast (ca. 5 tsp of dry yeast)
  • 10 g salt
  • spices: 1 tsp each of ginger powder, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • zest of one lemon
  • 100 ml rum (whenever I am not looking my husband adds more to the bowl…)
  • 500 g raisins
  • 150 g corinths (small kind of raisins, I found them at Sprouts)
  • 200 g almond flour
  • 150 g candied lemon peel
  • 150 g candied orange peel
  • logs of marzipan, if you are feeling rich buy 2-3 (You know they keep that stuff hidden in the baking section at the grocery store, I swear. Usually I find it behind a display of some sort on the bottom of the shelves…Make sure you squeeze the package to ensure its freshness. If the paste inside the cardboard and wrapper are rock hard and won’t give, don’t purchase! Grab the next package and repeat till you find one that is squeezable. Sorry, but I came home many a time with old marzipan. I guess not too many people buy that stuff)
  • 100 g butter
  • powdered sugar
  • Vanilla sugar ( impossible to find in this nation – find a long lost relative in Germany and have them mail it to you!)

Step 1 Put raisins, corinths, chopped candied citrus fruit peel, almond flour, rum, lemon zest in a bowl and soak over night or for a longer time in the refrigerator. Monitor husband and rumbottle closely!

Step 2 Make the pre-dough. put flour in a bowl and make a little well. In the well put a few tablespoons of lukewarm milk mixed with the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Stir taking small amounts of the flour from the side of your well. Cover with a dusting of flour, put a towel over the bowl, and let it rest in a warm non-drafty place ( are you kiddin’ me? there is no non-drafty place when you live in an old house ) for 45 minutes. During that time you can work on those last Christmas cards for the uncle and aunt in Germany you forgot…

Step 3 Go back to your dough and see if any rising action took place. If not, write more cards or wrap another gift. Maybe you could mail that last package to a customer. By now the lines at the post office might be too long.But you got time! If the dough has risen, once you return from your errand, add the rest of the warm milk, spices, butter, sugar, and mix all of in with the flour. You know the real German Hausfrau has big arms from doing this. It’s hard labor to move these mountains of stuff and kneed them together. Luckily I own a kitchen aid. My scrawny arms could never manage this. So hopefully you have one of those miracle tools, too! Once everything is nicely mixed together into a sticky ball of dough, let it sit and rise for another hour. During that time you could run out and buy another gift for your husband. If he is deserving…

Step 4 Hopefully you have removed the soaking fruits from the refrigerator – so the warm yeasty dough doesn’t suffer too much of a shock from the cold fruit mixture! Your bowl is probably too full already. But you can take out batches of the dough and kneed in the fruit mixture by hand. I like to do it that way because you get a feel for how sticky the dough is. Maybe you want to add some more flour…

Step 5 Make loaves. Split the dough into parts, depending on how many loaves you want to make. I usually make one larger loaf and two small ones. But you can do whatever you want. Roll out the first batch of dough flat. Take the marzipan log out of its package, sprinkle some powdered sugar on your workspace and roll out the marzipan as flat as you can. Move the marzipan over on top of your rolled out yeasty dough pieces and roll the two layers together. Sort of like making a jelly roll. Shape the roll into a nice loaf and place onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Start working on the next loaf. You can bake more than one loaf on a cookie sheet! Put towel over the finished loaves and set them in warm place to rise again! Is it Christmas yet? =)

Step 6 I promise you are almost there…Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit while the loaves are rising once again. Bake them until they are cooked all the way through. Now this is the tricky part. In case you thought the rest was hard… Maybe it’s living at high altitude that messes me up each year. Sometime I end up with loaves that are way too dry. Other times they are still sticky despite the fact that I stuck in a knitting needle and tested them. It’s really kind of hit or miss. I have baked them for 35 -45 minutes. But I am hoping some day mine will turn out as perfect as my mother’s. Sigh!

Step 7 It’s the last one I promise, honestly! As soon as the loaves come out of the oven brush the hot loaves with melted butter and sprinkle with vanilla and powdered sugar. Does it look like baby Jesus in his swaddling cloths? Good job! Once they have cooled down wrap the precious loaves tightly, put a bow on them, and give them to a person who has been good to you all year. Or feed them to the family right then! They are probably tired of waiting around for you since you spent most of the day in the kitchen…

If you would like to know more about the history of this traditional German bread please read this blog post from my personal blog here.

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Pumpkin Rolls

In my desperate search to find more recipes to use up our organically grown Zucca Barucca squashes, I found a recipe for rolls in one of my German bread baking books. Have you ever heard of pumpkin rolls? They sell them in German bakeries this time of year. The perfect side to go with any festive dinner this season!

I changed up the German recipe slightly since I did not like that it used all white flour.

  • 300 grams of pumpkin puree (acorn, butternut, or any kind of wintersquash will work!)
  • 250 grams of whole wheat flour
  • 250 grams of regular flour
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt
  • touch of nutmeg
  • 200 ml of milk
  • 3 tsp. of dry yeast

  1. Sift flour, add the salt and nutmeg.Put milk in microwave for one and a half minutes and warm up to a little warmer than room temperature. Add yeast to milk and stir until it is blended in with the milk.
  2. Add the milk yeast mixture to flour. Add pumpkin puree. Knead together until it sticks together. You want a nice dough that is not too sticky. Add more flour if needed.
  3. Place dough in bowl and place towel over it. Let rise in a warm spot. I like to put mine on the radiators. Works great this time of year…
  4. Once the dough has about doubled in size knead again. Shape into 15 little rolls and place on greased cookie sheet. While the oven is warming to 400 degrees let the buns rest and rise once more.
  5. When the oven has reached temperature put buns in and bake for about 20-25 minutes. They are ready when they are turning brown and sound hollow when you tap on the bottom of a bun!

Delicious! The rolls can be decorated with an eggwash and raw pumpkin seeds before baking. I did not have any seeds around – so I left them naked. This is a good recipe for kids and people who don’t like pumpkin normally. The buns are orange but the pumpkin flavor is not very strong. I really like baking them because they are so simple, and it helps me keep our drafty old house warm… 😉

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beds, books and donuts

Today’s recipe (and book suggestion) was originally published by Pamela of Prettydreamer on “Wither Will I Wander”.

While under the weather, sick in bed for three weeks (that is, almost the whole month of April) … there was definitely time to read a lot in bed.

Homer Price by Robert McCloskey had it’s chance for a second time around read. This time read by my child who could mostly read this sweet book herself.

Homer Price contains a series of lovely short stories about life for a young boy from the town of Centerburg. The cast of characters includes: a pet skunk, the string savers club, sandwich advertising man, a comic book super hero, a tinkerer and a hermit inventor and the not to be missed latest, modern “time -saving” machines. Like many of McClosky’s books, “Centerburg Tales” shares
that sweet, slow moving time that children live into.

Now about those donuts ….

Having no new-fangled, modern machinery at my disposal and not wanting to fry donuts in a quart of oil …. I came across this wonderful recipe for baked donuts.

They were very tasty and an important way to end reading about “the donuts”.

“Homer pressed the button marked ‘stop’ and there was a little click, but nothing happened . The rings of batter kept right on dropping…gadgets kept right on turning them over…”


  • 7/8 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk or yogurt

1- Whisk together all of the dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

2- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, oil and buttermilk or yogurt until foamy.

3- Pour the liquid ingredients all at once into the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.

4- Butter or grease the doughnut pan; non-stick pan spray works well here. Note: even though the pan is non-stick, since the doughnuts are low-fat they may stick unless you grease the pan first.

5- Fill each doughnut form half full.

6 – Bake the doughnuts in a preheated 375°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes. When done, they’ll spring back when touched lightly, and will be quite brown on the top.

7- Remove the doughnuts from the oven, remove them from the pan, and allow them to cool on rack. If desired, glaze with icing, or dust with cinnamon-sugar or any non-melting sugar.

This recipe is originally from the King Arthur Flour website.

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Make vanilla coconut oatmeal cookies

Today’s recipe was created by Steph from Elemental Handcrafts, full of beautiful earth-friendly handcrafted pieces. She made these cookies up for her kids to give them a healthy (but so cleverly disguised) snack. Thanks, Steph, for sharing this great new recipe.

RECIPE: Make Healthy Vanilla Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients :

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup unhullled sesame seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/2 shredded raw coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup maple syrup (or other natural sweetener)
1/2 cup barley malt
2 tablespoons vanilla


Preheat oven to 325 degrees and cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper or spray your pan with oil.
Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.
Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well.
Add your wet to your dry and mix until well incorporated.
Drop by spoonful onto prepared baking sheets and bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly brown.

*hint* Measure oil first, then maple syrup and barley malt. The oil left in the measuring cup will keep the malt from sticking.

Makes: 24 cookies, Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 15 minutes

Here is one of Steph’s new beautiful needle-felted dolls!

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Make whole wheat flat bread

Today’s {delicious} recipe is from Beccijo, whose The Enchanted Cupboard”>shop is filled with handpainted wood toys and dolls.

Whole Wheat Flat Bread by Beccijo

This past summer my family made a plan to go without air conditioning for as long as we could. We made it until the very hot month parts of August and September but still used it sparingly when we did turn it on. The one downside to this plan was baking bread in the hot days of summer.

About 2 years ago, I started grinding my own wheat for our bread and baked goods. The benefits of fresh ground wheat are overwhelming and outweigh an extra work it makes for me. So now I was faced with over heating our house or giving up my baking. I was not prepared to do either and I researched other options.

When I first started my homestead, green living lifestyle I was in love with the idea that I could make anything. Our own ketchup, hamburger buns, salad dressing, and laundry soap to name a few of the things we make for ourselves. It was so rewarding to know that when we ran out of something it did not mean a trip to the grocery store. Instead, we could mix a few ingredients we already had in the pantry.

I started researching other ways to make bread-type items without the use of an oven. I checked out bread makers and bought an inexpensive bread maker that is working out nicely and is great for mixing up dough that I may use for rolls or pizzas! I also found some great recipes that are for making flat breads on the stove top. The kids and I experimented and made a recipe that works for us. It has a good bit of oil in it but it makes a nice dough that is easy for kids to roll out.


2 cups of whole wheat flour [note from Jen: organic whole wheat or whole spelt can be used here as well]
1.5 cups all purpose flour
0.5 tsp of baking powder
7 tsp of oil
1 cup very hot water

– 3 minutes of kneading
– 15 minutes to rest under wet warm towel
– then form into golf ball sized balls
– next roll out and cook on a cast iron grill or non stick pan, cooking on medium heat
– cook one side until browned and then flip


Here is a sweet painted toy, a woodland accessory set, from Beccijo’s shop!

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Make a Strawberry Fruit Tart

Today’s recipe is by Cyn of FairiesNest (be sure to check out her lovely shop here). The timing for this recipe is perfect with so much local fruit just coming into season (can’t wait for our local organic strawberries in June). It would make a delightful Mother’s Day surprise too.

Recipe for a Strawberry Fruit Tart

The strawberries in our part of the world are coming in fast and furious. To make this fruit tart, you start with a pre baked tart shell, preferably a sweet shortcrust. My favorite one is from the book Festive Tarts by Sylvia Thompson. (This is a fantastic tart book that I highly recommend and although it’s out of print you can find cheap used copies).

1 2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons butter
pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons cream

Combine the dry, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal, add the wet and mix lightly until a ball of dough forms. refrigerate for 15-30 mins. Roll out and place in tart form. Stick in the freezer for 30 mins and then bake in a 400 degree F oven with pie weights (or dried beans) on a piece of parchment inside. After 15 mins remove the weights and bake for 12 more mins. Cool and fill!

photo via Flickr

Cut up enough fruit to fill your tart; peaches, berries, plums, all of one kind or a mix …whatever you think is yummy. Mix together 1 cup sugar with 3 cups of orange juise and 4 tablespoon cornstarch in a saucepan. Heat this stirring constantly until it thickens. Put about 1/3 of the mixture in the bottom of the tart. Now place in the fruit in a pretty pattern or all mixed up, it doesn’t matter. Then carefully cover all the fruit with the rest of the OJ sauce. Refrigerate for at least an hour, but not more than 4 or 5 because you don’t want it to get soggy…though it will still taste good! One little trick; if you’re using fruit that might brown, like peaches, toss them with the OJ first and then drain them and proceed. It also gives the OJ a great peachy taste… This works well for freezing peaches too!

Here‘s a sweet spring flower pixie from Cyn’s shop!

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make a chocolate nut cake

Today’s recipe is by Sue of PolarBearCreations, her shop of Waldorf-inspired dolls, and much more.

Chocolate Nut Cake

250 g sugar

200 g soft unsalted butter (just over 7 oz, or a little less than a cup)

250 g flour (just over 1 cup)

2 tsp baking powder

125 g finely grated (or melted) milk chocolate (baking chocolate) (this is about 1/2 cup)

125 g finely grated hazelnuts (or almonds)(about 1/2 cup)

1 small can of condensed milk (note: Sue has not tried it, but it might just work with yogurt, milk, or even buttermilk)

A bit of icing sugar


Preheat oven to 370°F

Mix butter and sugar in large bowl until smooth.

Stir in eggs, one at the time.

Combine baking powder and flour. Sift into mixture. Mix well, then add chocolate and nuts, a bit at the time. Pour in the milk.

Cake batter should not be too moist.

Grease bundt pan (a tube pan works too)

Fill with chocolate mixture.

Bake at 350°F to 400°F for 40 to 55 minutes.

Let cool and remove from the pan.

Dust with icing sugar & enjoy!

What’s in PolarBearCreations’ shop? Beautiful Waldorf dolls and much more, including this mini baby, stuffed with wool.

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Lemon Currant Scones Recipe

Vegan Agave Sweetened Lemon and Currant Scones
by Steph from Elemental Handcrafts

image via Ms.Tea

Ingredients: (use organic where possible)

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegan butter like Earth Balance or coconut oil
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup rice milk
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1/4 to 1/2 cup currants
1/4 flax seed meal (optional)
Zest from one lemon

image via Satoru Kikuchi


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheight. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease pan.

2) In large bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder. Mix well. Cut in the vegan butter or coconut oil. It is best to have the coconut oil cool enough that it is solid.

3) Add rice milk, juice, vanilla, agave, currants and lemon zest. Stir very gently until just mixed. Over mixing bad for scones!

4) Drop by the spoonful on to prepared sheet and pop in oven. They will grow so if you definitely don’t want them to stick together, don’t be lazy like me- use two cookie sheets. Bake until just barely starting to golden on the tops, about 15 to 20 minutes

Let cool and serve with tea. Mmmm!

image via Mads Boedker

Source of recipe: I wrote this recipe.

Makes: 12 scones, Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 20 minutes

What’s in Elemental Handcraft’s shop? This personalized wooden baby ball toy!

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Entries for the Great Breadman Bake Off

Well, the good news is we had some. Who has time for baking when you have a family to take care of, run an etsy shop, blog, and attend team meetings?
I counted 5 entries in all. Please let me know if I forgot someone! I have been going slightly crazy with my doll orders lately…So let me know if I forgot you!
1)Mike from the Netherlands. She has a lovely etsy shop called starrysheep. I don’t think she is a member of our group yet – but looks like she should be here! I love her blog! =)
2) Our famed leader FaerieRebecca! I am so glad she found the time to participate! I would have loved to try her family’s version of breadman with fresh lemons. How cool is that!
3) sent some very cute pictures too! I really loved the different ghosts and shapes the kids came up with.
4) sent a cute entry too! If she wins will have to make a trip to the Post Office to ship the price to our lovely neighbor in Canada! Which is true for Mike too! I love the diversity here!
5)Cat from sent a link to a whole bunch of sweet pictures. The kids were working so hard! You can see that in the pictures! Also looks like they tried a new variation with green pistacchios.
I really really wish I could send a price to all the kids who helped bake! But I just cannot afford it. But I promise we will have more bake off competitions with other fun recipes. I have a lot of good ones! =)
Like last time the drawing will be in the afternoon. I think my son will do the honor this time. The winner will be announced later today! Drawing for what?
A custommade Wee Pocketdoll. The winner can choose from these colors:

See you later…