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Category Archives: references, recipes

Zucchini Bread 101

Yes, it’s that time of year when you lock your car so that no one can drop off their daily harvest of the dreaded green tubes on your passenger seat…If all vegetables were as prolific as the under appreciated zucchini, we could feed the world from home gardens alone!

So what to do with these squash that have gotten too big to eat in their native state? Shred it of course!
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Shred on a box grater and freeze in 2+ cup portions in zip top quart size freezer bags. This way you can make zucchini bread all winter. Right now everyone is making it and you’re as sick of the bread as you are of the squash, but come winter, you’ll thank me!

Here’s my favorite recipe courtesy of all recipes.com

Of course I tweaked it by elimating the walnuts(ew!) and replaced 1/4 cup of oil with applesauce. You’ll really like it as the original, or with the tweaks (I promise)…

This recipe freezes well, too.

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Mom’s Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3 tsp ground cinnamon

3 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil (or 3/4 cup vegetable oil plus 1/4 cup applesauce)

2 1/4 cup white sugar

3 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup chopped walnuts (if you must)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Grease and flour (or use baking spray) two 8×4 loaf pans. Or one 8×4 and 2 mini pans. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, or 165 degrees C (for our metric readers)
  2. Sift flour, salt,baking powder,baking soda and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted mix and beat until well combined. Stir in zucchini and nuts.
  4. Pour into the pans
  5. Bake for 40 min and check with a toothpick, then bake for 10 minutes more and check again, if it’s not finished yet, bake for 5 more minutes and repeat until done. (The reason you can’t get exact time for baking is because the moisture level of the zucchini is unpredictable.)
  6. Let cool 5 minutes and slide a butter knife around between the pan and loaf to loosen. Remove loafs from pans onto cooling racks.

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Check with the trusty toothpick/skewer…

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Oh yeah! Tastes great warm, too!

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Apple Cider Margaritas…good and good for you…honest…

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Oh how I love Fall with the crisp nights and sunny days, plus with the apple crop comes the abundance of apple cider.

Here is a delicious drink which you can make as a large punch, or a single drink (but you’ll regret it and end up making more…) We made a pitcher by quadrupling the recipe and it was the best solution.

Thanks to my friend Rebecca for improving the original recipe. This one is a keeper for sure.

This recipe is for one drink

Apple Cider Margaritas
Ingredients:
1 ounce Grand Marnier
2 ounces gold tequila (use GOOD tequila, not great, but decent)
5 ounces real apple cider (not apple juice)
orange slices and apple slices
cinnamon + cane sugar for glass rimming
cinnamon sticks for garnish

Directions:

  1. In a shaker or a tall glass add the Grand Marnier, tequila and apple cider and shake stir to mix.
  2.  Add a few spoonfuls of cane sugar, coarse sugar and cinnamon to a plate. Run an orange segment around the edge of the glass, then press into the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat the rim.
  3. Add an orange slice to the bottom of the glass, fill with ice, then add the cider mixture.
  4. Garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon sticks, and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top of the apple slice. Enjoy!

Open-Faced Ginger Thin S’mores (or what I do when I’m bored)

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Here’s what I do when I have a few Hershey Kisses, Marshmallows and Trader Joe’s Ginger thins…put them together and make a delicious snack. (Please excuse the less than professional photos…)

1. Unwrap kiss (obvious, right?) and microwave for 5 seconds to soften a bit.

2. Cut the marshmallow in half, and roast over gas burner. I’m a bit impatient, and this causes a flare up as I put the marshmallow too close to the flame. But hey, I like that burnt taste and it smells good, too. (Note to self, clean the range top…)

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3. Place toasted marshmallow on Ginger this and immediately smoosh kiss on top.

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4. Enjoy!

5. Repeat…you do have another half a marshmallow after all…

King Cake…there’s a baby in there somewhere…

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Mardi Gras was 2 weeks ago, I know, but I love a good King Cake anytime. And I love anything that reminds my of New Orleans.

This morning instead of having my protein shake, I cut into the King Cake that I won at a silent auction and look what I found!

baby in the cake

The tiny baby. On the first slice! So, I guess this means a year of good luck..maybe…? (If I had chocked on it, maybe it would bode as bad luck?)

I could do without the beads on the cake, but that’s a minor complaint.

The history and name of King Cake goes back to Epiphany and the 3 Kings. It is made with a brioche type dough and covered in a white glaze with mardi gras colored sprinkles.  My cake had a bit of cream cheese filling and some are more butter and cinnamon filled. For more history here’s a link to Wilipedia’s post.

It’s a tradition that should move into Christmas, instead of fruitcake.

Here’s a place to buy one online at kingcakes.com

If you’d like to bake one yourself, you can’t go wrong with Southern Living’s recipe.

Southern Living King Cake

 

Do you have a favorite King Cake recipe or place to buy one? Let me know.

Baked Oatmeal is perfect for a snowy morning.

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When it’s cold, a warm breakfast is just what you need to start the day, and if it’s make-ahead, even better.

Baked Oatmeal is 1.easy 2.cheap 3.delicious. It’s more of a cake, than regular oatmeal, it’s not much to look at, but it’s very satisfying and perfect for a pre-skiing breakfast.

You have all of the ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator. Try adding different fruits, dried berries, or nuts to make it your own recipe. I added frozen raspberries since we still have lots from last summer. Next time I’ll use the frozen huckleberries, and another time I’ll add coconut…

Oh, and it’s gluten-free, too!

Here’s the recipe. Let me know what you think and how you revised it to make it yours…

Ingredients:

1/2 cup applesauce

3/4 sugar

2 eggs

1 cup milk (I used 2%, but any kind is fine)

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup frozen raspberries

topping:

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:

1.Grease a 8″x8″ or 9″x9″ metal pan

2. Mix first 8 ingredients together. Pour into greased pan.

3. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top.

4. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

5. In the morning, remove pan from refrigerator and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pan in oven and bake for 35 minutes.

6. Spoon into bowls and serve with warm milk. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8.

 

 

Giving Thanks for Pumpkin Spice Donuts

I know that pumpkin is everywhere this time of year, and frankly, I’m fine with that.

Today is Thanksgiving and my son’s 20th birthday. I thought it would be great to make homemade pumpkin spice donuts. I had the  recipe around for about a year and I finally bought a donut pan last night. All of the mini donut pans were sold out, so I made regular sized ones from this recipe. (I think it’s better that I make the larger ones, because if I made the minis I’d just keep eating them and thinking that I was just snacking….)

The recipe is very easy, and you likely have all of the ingredients on hand now. I brushed the pan with melted butter and used a zip top bag with a hole in one corner as a pastry bag to pipe the batter into the pan. I got 11 donuts out of the recipe. They turned out light and really good. The batter tasted a bit like flour, but the finished product was yummy.

Check out the recipe at the Blue Eyed Bakers.

Here are my photos taken with my old phone. The photos on the Blue Eyed Bakers site are much prettier, and make my mouth water.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

DRY Soda is anything but dry and is fantastic!

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DRY Soda

Summer is here and I’ve been looking for a refreshing beverage that is 1.low in sugar and 2.tasty 3.could serve as a mixer with vodka, etc.

Here it is! DRY Soda makes flavored seltzer water for adults. It’s all natural with only 4 ingredients! It comes from Seattle and the company is committed to helping small farmers and producers and giving back to those communities.

From their web site:

“DRY Soda is excited to continue its commitment to local food producers through DRY Gives Back. DRY Soda celebrates our country’s independent farmers and producers and we want to inspire others to seek out and buy local foods whenever possible. In addition, DRY Soda will continue to sponsor events that recognize and support local food and producers.”

It comes in multiple flavors: Blood Orange, Ginger, Vanilla Bean, Apple, Cherry, Rhubarb(!), Lavender, Juniper Berry, Cucumber, Wild Lime, and Pear. Not all flavors are available at all retailers.

I have tried the Cucumber and it’s perfect on a warm day, and might be great mixed with a little gin. The blood orange is just a hint bitter and very refreshing and the Vanilla is like a cream soda without all of the sugar. It takes me back to grade school field trips because Cream Soda was what I would bring with my sack lunch.

The sodas come in bottles and cans, and cost about $1.25 each and they are truly worth the cost. Visit their web site for all of the info.

I will be posting cocktails made with these soon. Here’s a link to DRY’s cocktail recipes.

Cheers!