Dark chocolate-pecan muffins
also rigatoni alla vodka! winter days bonus
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We live somewhere that experiences pretty heavy winter. There are many challenges to deep winter living with the off-grid set-up that we have. The days are shorter and cloudier so the three solar panels we have generate less power than in the summer, and it’s harder for the generator (our other power source) to run properly when it’s colder. We have to keep water lines from freezing, and keep our home warm enough. Plus there are things you might not think of, like getting your driveway plowed or plowing it yourself, putting snow tires on your car and maintaining the car in sub-zero temperatures, making sure there isn’t too much ice around the house, etc.
We are off-grid in the sense that we are off the electrical grid, and the utility grid (mostly). We supply our own water and power, but we have internet through a local provider here. We’re also on a town-maintained road, etc. I think Will and I agree, and probably lots of people will agree as well, however, that we’re very much on the grid in the sense that we rely on fossil fuels - propane for the stove and (when it’s running) the hot water heater, gasoline for the generator and our car, materials that went into our set-up here and that go into what we consume now, and so on.
Even with winter’s challenges, the snow is lovely. The cold can be rough, for example when Niko and I can’t go out for walks. And you have to be wary of ice. But it is nice when we go out!
I recently made dark chocolate and pecan muffins and also rigatoni alla vodka - both were TASTY, and got us through some of the cold! Recipes are below. Remember to like, share, and subscribe to this newsletter if you haven’t yet - recipes and more roughly once a month in your inbox 💌 !
Dark chocolate-pecan muffins
I recently riffed on this muffin recipe by What’s Gaby Cooking to make dark chocolate and pecan breakfast muffins. Instead of using chocolate chips, I chopped a bar of dark chocolate into small pieces, as well as a few handfuls of pecans. Cutting the dark chocolate up means you wind up with little shards of chocolate too, and they mix so well into the batter.
I had to sort of eyeball the dry measurements (baking on the road) - so the muffins turned out a little bread-ier and denser, which I liked. And I was scant on the amount of sugar, since these were going to be for the morning. (I usually do that in most recipes anyway.) The chocolate and pecan were delicious and satisfying together! I also had extra batter so I got to make a little dark chocolate-pecan breakfast loaf.
Rigatoni alla vodka
I’ve always wanted to make vodka sauce and I recently tried Smitten Kitchen’s version, and it was delicious! Such a success. Fun to make, and it really turned out amazing. A vodka sauce also seems appropriate to me in winter. I look forward to making this dish again and adding fresh basil or peas - when spring and summer return!
If you’re looking for more creative food inspiration, check out some of my favorite past issues of Sundays are for baking, including:
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