It’s weird to sit around and wait for a hurricane to arrive. I think (hope?) that we are not going to see too much in Durham. But I can’t stop watching the WRAL-TV news showing my neighbors to the east. New Bern, an old city in eastern North Carolina on the Neuse River I am very fond of, is flooded and the National Guard is out in rescue mode. Elizabeth Gardner, seen above, just said “It’s coming.” Son #2, Girlfriend, dog and cat arrived safely from Charleston on Wednesday. Big relief. Son #1 is our weather-watcher. He has learned a lot about hurricanes, I think. The last hurricane that impacted us was Hurricane Fran in 1996. He was only 9 years old then and Son #2 had just turned 4.
All of my French friends have checked in. They have seen photos of North Carolina. I’ve been checking in with the BFF. Her son and his GF live in Wilmington. They evacuated and are safe and sound here in Durham. However, I know quite a few people who have not evacuated Wilmington, Emerald Isle, and Carolina Beach. There are idiots out in the Neuse River riding jet skis. Seriously? Obviously, I am not a thrill seeker. Neither are my boys. The Ex-Ex just went out and about. The electricity is out near-by. Our worst rain is yet to come. There has only been a little bit of wind and rain so far. We will see what the afternoon brings.
I have quite a bit of work that I could be doing. I brought home student work to grade. I have a couple of sewing projects that I could be finishing. But, as usual, I decided to bake.
Banana bread last night and pumpkin muffins this morning. I just happened to have a can of pumpkin purée in the cabinet. Imagine that. It’s not quite fall, but I don’t care. Pumpkin spice anything is good any time of the year. N’est-ce pas?
I have a couple of good books to read. I am in the middle of the third book, Milk Glass Moon, of the Big Stone Gap trilogy by Adriana Trigiani. Home to Big Stone Gap is waiting for me.
Send good thoughts to the people of North Carolina. Go away, Florence. Turn right around and go back out to sea. Please. Governor Roy Cooper is addressing the state right now.
Pumpkin Spice Muffins
makes 12 muffins
CREAM CHEESE BUTTER SPREAD
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened (I always use Land O’Lakes)
1 tablespoon firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar (I used only 1/2 cup of turbinado sugar)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin (1 cup canned pumpkin purée)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, melted
Heat oven to 400°F. Place paper baking cups into 12 muffin pan cups or grease muffin pan cups; set aside.
Combine all spread ingredients in bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Cover; refrigerate until serving time. (I didn’t make this. Its sounds really good, though.)
Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in bowl; set aside.
Combine pumpkin, 1/2 cup melted butter and eggs in another bowl; stir until well mixed. Stir pumpkin mixture into flour mixture just until combined.
Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin pan cups; spread batter to level. (Muffin cups will be full.) Bake 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan to cooling rack.
Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in bowl. Dip tops of warm muffins in melted butter and then sugar-cinnamon mixture. Serve warm with cream cheese spread.
Bon appétit, my North Carolina neighbors. Be smart, be safe, help your neighbors in the days and weeks to come. Hug your friends and family.