Zucchini Nut Bread

zucchini bread 1 editedThis time of year it is all about the zucchini. How to use up the surplus of the lovely, green vegetable that grows so prolifically. I think people actually avoid me when they see me coming at them with bags of squash!

Today we decided to just go for the tried and true zucchini bread. We have made several different recipes, but I love the lemon zest in this one and also the cinnamon and nutmeg. Mmmmm, the house smells so good right now – I can’t wait for it to come out of the oven.

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The original recipe from The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook only makes one loaf. I figure if I am going to get everything dirty, I may as well make at least two loaves, so I doubled the recipe and modified it slightly.

Preheat oven to 350*. In mixing bowl beat together sugar, zucchini, and egg.

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Add oil and lemon zest and mix well.

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Add in the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and baking powder…zucchini bread 6

and mix well.

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Gently fold in chopped nuts. Turn batter into a greased loaf pan, I sprinkle a bit of cinnamon sugar into the pan after spaying in a bit of oil.

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I also sprinkle a bit more of the cinnamon sugar onto the batter before putting it into the oven. Bake at 350* for 50 to 60 minutes or till a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool on a rack.

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Psych is definitely going to be an “Obsessions”  post sometime in the near future- we love that show! In fact, we just finished watching the Season 7 finale- it’s a sad day in our household.

Zucchini Nut Bread

(makes two loaves)

Preheat oven to 350*
3 cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

In mixing bowl beat together sugar, zucchini, and egg. Add oil and lemon zest and mix well. Add in the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and baking powder, and mix well. Gently fold in chopped nuts. Turn batter into a greased loaf pan, i sprinkle a bit of cinnamon sugar into the pan after spaying in a it of oil. I also sprinkle a bit more of the cinnamon sugar onto the batter before putting it into the oven. Bake at 350* for 50 to 60 minutes or till a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and cool on a rack.

tags: zucchini, bread, walnuts, lemon, citrus, dessert, sweets, breakfast, garden

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Indio & Prescott: “Don’t Miss It!”

indio 1 bJust wanted to post a little update about what we have been up to lately. Last week, we spent two nights at our timeshare in Indio, near Palm Springs. We basically spent the entire weekend floating on innertubes, laying in the sun, swimming and eating delicious food. Oh, and watching girly movies. It was amazing. We had such a relaxing, fun couple of days. We didn’t leave the resort the entire time (they had a lazy river, three Jacuzzis, and a huge pool- we just didn’t see the need ;)), but on the drive home, we stopped by Shields Date Gardens.

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I mean, how could we not stop with a sign like that?

indio 3Yeah, okay, maybe we could have missed it. But the date milkshakes were actually pretty good, and Danae and I had a fun time imitating the 25 foot tall knight. We just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

indio 2After getting home from Indio, we had 12 hours to unpack, repack, sleep and then leave the next morning to visit Alex in Prescott, Arizonia. And 8 of those 12 hours were spent sleeping- nice jolt back to reality, huh?

Anyway, we made it to Alex’s school on Saturday and then looked at some condos for him. That night, Alex and Travis went to the movies, and had a boy’s sleepover in the dorms, while we had a girl’s sleepover at the hotel and swam in their indoor pool. Hmmm…I wonder who had a better night sleep? We went to Alex’s church, which we love, on Sunday morning and then in the afternoon we went for a hike.

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And I mean a hike. Between the 10 pounds of cheesy California burrito we had for lunch (in Arizona heehee) and the 6,300 foot elevation, we were dying. Alex was mortified. I’m serious, he was so embarrassed- in his words, “Geez mom, I thought you’ve been working out- it must be foofee workouts or something.”

prescott 4Despite all this, the hike was gorgeous, and really fun.

Here’s my mom before she realized I was taking a picture…

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and after.

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We made it home Monday night, after fighting Memorial Day traffic all the way home, and now we’re back to baking 🙂

Jordan 

Snickerdoodles

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We love cookies. We bake cookies all the time! Snickerdoodles have to be one of our favorites. Who came up with the name Snickerdoodles? Seriously, what does that even mean?

I have a rule – no appliances as gifts. We have been married for over 20 years and I can only think of two times Donald has broken the no appliance rule.

The first time was over 20 years ago- Donald gave me a bread maker. That was our very first Christmas as a married couple, and from the get go, I was very clear that appliances were not to be given as gifts. Unfortunately, from the get go wasn’t soon enough- he’d already bought the bread maker. For good reason, he was a little afraid when Christmas morning rolled around- luckily, I loved it. We have enjoyed many loaves of bread from that appliance.

The second time he broke the rule was a couple of years ago, when he bought me the KitchenAid. I love it – even more than my bread maker. I use it practically everyday. I guess some rules are just meant to be broken. One of my kids came in and noticed the KitchenAid on the counter and said, “You know it’s going to be a good day when you see the mixer out.” So true, right?

When cooking or baking, the correct tool makes all the difference. Many years ago there was a gal who worked in the same office as I did and she made the best chocolate chip cookies. Each one was perfect in size and shape and when I asked her about it, she told me that she had a special cookie scooper. I thought to myself, do they even make such a thing? I was so impressed by that – and now even I own a special cookie scooper.

So back to the Snickerdoodles-

Preheat oven to 400*
In a large mixing bowl beat together butter, sugar and eggs until creamy and fluffy.

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In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients (flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt).

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Gradually stir dry ingredients into the butter mixture. I use the stir setting on my mixer, being careful not to overmix.

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In small bowl prepare the cinnamon sugar mix. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar with 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Using your handy-dandy cookie scooper, scoop and roll cookie dough into 1 1/2 balls…

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and then roll the dough balls around in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Place on a cookie sheet.

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Bake for 7-9 minutes.

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Cool on a rack.

Yum!!

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Best afternoon snack ever!

 

Ingredients
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

2 1/2 T sugar
1 T cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400*
In a large mixing bowl beat together butter, sugar and eggs until creamy and fluffy. In a separate bowl mix dry ingredients (flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt). Gradually stir dry ingredients into the butter mixture. I use the stir setting on my mixer, being careful not to overmix.

In small bowl prepare the cinnamon sugar mix. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar with 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Roll cookie dough into 1 1/2 balls and then roll the dough balls around in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 7-9 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Thai Pasta Salad

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Every year our family plus our dogs take a road trip north to my aunt and uncle’s house. They live outside San Francisco so there is tons to do and see. We all love going up to visit, eat, hang out, eat, hunt, and eat.

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My aunt is only 4 years older than me, so it’s more like we are sisters, and her three boys are just a few years older than my kids, so it’s fun. Plus, they always seem to come up with some of the most interesting things to do. It’s our tradition to go pheasant hunting, and we have gone go-carting, wine tasting, sight seeing, played bocce ball at an interesting restaurant, picked up fresh crab right off the crab boat and then went straight home to eat it.

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^^^just so dang squinty 😉 ^^^

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^^^Alcatraz^^^

Looking back at all the fun things we’ve done with them, I’m beginning to see a pattern: we kill animals. And then we eat them.

As horrible as that sounds, it’s completely true. From the pheasant hunting, to the modified axe used to split the fresh crabs before cooking (by the way, the crabs are still alive when we smash them over the axe head :/), and worst of all, the killing of their hand-raised, free-range turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner. This horrible event involves “the cone of death”- an orange traffic cone repurposed to aid in the turkey slaughtering (trust me, you don’t even want to know).

See, they are just fun!

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^^^one of their adorable, smiley dogs, Cracker^^^

Anyway, Aunt Sandy is the one who gave me the insane Kalua pork recipe, and this Thai pasta salad is for sure another winner!

When I made this recipe today I used fettuccine noodles, don’t do that! They stuck together while cooking and they are harder to eat. Follow the recipe, not the photos. My recipe does actually tell me to use angel hair pasta and I ignored it and now I’m sorry!

This salad gets better with age so if you can, let it cool and sit for several hours or longer before consuming- it is worth the torture of waiting.

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Cook pasta according to package directions.

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While the noodles are cooking, prepare all the veggies and set aside. Then make the sauce, stir the oils and red pepper flakes in a saucepan and heat for about two minutes. Add honey and soy sauce and heat through.

Drain the cooked noodles and pour into a large bowl.

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Pour the warm sauce over the noodles and mix well.

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There will be quite a bit of sauce in the bottom of the bowl and that is ok. As the noodles cool they will absorb all of that tasty goodness. Add the chopped veggies and mix again.

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Now cover it and put it in the refrigerator and forget you made it for at least 4 hours or better yet, overnight! Stir again before serving to get everything coated. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds and almonds into the whole bowl, or if you have some picky eaters that don’t like nuts in their food (not that I would know anything about that! **wink wink **) then just sprinkle it over the top as you serve and it is almost as good that way. Enjoy!

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^^^I just found a new editing program (picmonkey.com) that I love. And it’s free which means I double love it. Which makes sense if you don’t think about it 🙂 J

Thai Pasta Salad
1 lb. angel hair pasta
1/8 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sesame seed oil
1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, more if you like
6 T honey
5 T soy sauce
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/3 cup bell pepper, chopped (I prefer red)
Toasted sesame seeds and toasted sliced almonds

Cook pasta according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, prepare all the veggies and set aside. Then make the sauce, stir the oils and red pepper flakes in a saucepan and heat for about two minutes. Add honey and soy sauce and heat through. Drain the cooked noodles and pour into a large bowl. Pour the warm sauce over the noodles and mix well. There will be quite a bit of sauce in the bottom of the bowl and that is ok. As the noodles cool they will absorb all of that tasty goodness. Add the chopped veggies and mix again. Now cover it and put it in the refrigerator and forget you made it for at least 4 hours or better yet, overnight! Stir again before serving to get everything coated. Just before serving sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and almonds. Enjoy!