Monday, September 30, 2013

Chocolate Fondue

I recently returned from a wonderful river cruise in Europe with my husband and my parents.  We had a wonderful time!  Our first stop before boarding the boat was Lucerne, Switzerland.  Chocolate everywhere!  My kind of place.  We had lunch one day at a little restaurant on a side street....a fondue house.  We grabbed a table outside and checked out the menu.  We had every intention of having cheese fondue but when we saw the prices (holy cheese!) we quickly decided on the cheapest fondue item for our meal:  chocolate fondue (and that was still really expensive).  

It. was. uh. mazing.  (That's my hubby in the pic below, enjoying a tasty chocolate lunch in the heart of Lucerne.)  Then we found out it was nothing more than melted chocolate bars and cream.  What?!?  I knew as soon as we got home I had to try this with the kids.  So we did.  And it tasted exactly the same!  Well, until our makeshift fondue pot exploded.  Yeah, that wasn't as tasty.  The next time we made it we didn't worry about having it on a flame.  It didn't stay in the bowl long enough to harden up anyway....we ate it too fast!

Ingredients:
6 small Toblerone bars
heavy cream, about 1/2 cup to start

1.  Unwrap the bars of chocolate, break them up, and place the pieces in a saucepan with the cream.  
2.  Stir while it melts and remove from heat when the mixture is smooth.  Add more cream to get your preferred consistency for dipping.
3.  Serve with cut up fruit, pretzels, cubed pound cake, etc.  My personal favorites are strawberries and fresh pineapple.

You can use any combination of Toblerone flavors.  We used half-yellow packaged bar, half blue-packaged bar (I believe those are the technical terms).  My local grocery store carries those as well as a dark chocolate and a white chocolate.  Mix and match to your heart's content!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Spiritual RDA



Just a quick message for today.  In all of our recipe blogging, baking and making, be sure you are getting ALL of your minimum daily requirements.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Skinny Pumpkin Butter


Welcome Fall! Time to have your soaps, candles, and breakfast smell of pumpkin. This pumpkin butter is SO yummy on toast or mixed into a bowl of oatmeal. What's super nice about this is if you are counting points for Weight Watchers, 2 tablespoons of this yummy pumpkin butter is only 1 point. Yeah!

Skinny Pumpkin Butter
1 (29 oz.) can pumpkin puree
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 C. apple cider (or juice)
1 C. packed brown sugar
2-3 cinnamon STICKS (trust me, must be sticks)
1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (to taste)

Directions:
- Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
- Bring mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes or until thickened. Stir frequently.
- Adjust spices to your taste.
- Makes 3 3/4 cups.

Storage Options:
- Freeze for a few months
- Refrigerate for a few weeks

**DO NOT CAN THIS! It is not safe to can pumpkin, due to its low acidity and variable water content there is a high risk of harboring botulism causing bacteria. (According to University of Georgia Agriculture Extension)

From Skinnytaste

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fresh Tomato Pie

A friend who was moving away :( brought this over when we invited her family over for dinner before they left.  I have always wanted to make a tomato pie and this recipe is scrumptious.  She got it  HERE. As for the pie crust recipe, I tried a new one and that is why you see the funkiness in the photo.  I decided to NOT give you a link to that one quite yet (although it tasted really good), until I have used it more than once.  The link I have provided for the crust is my tried and true pie crust recipe.

Ingredients:
Pastry for 1-crust 9 inch pie (see this  RECIPE )
evaporated milk
4 cups sliced firm ripe tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. salt (okay, I typed this up before I actually made the pie--too much salt.  Tweak it.)
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4-1/2 tsp. dried leaf basil
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (I used the grated)
1 large clove garlic, smashed and minced


1.  Line pie plate with pastry.  Flute the edges.  Brush shell with evaporated milk.

2.  Bake shell at 450 degrees for 5 minutes .

3.  Fill the baked shell with sliced tomatoes and sprinkle with salt, pepper and basil.

4.  Combine mayonnaise, Parmesan, and garlic; spread over the layered tomatoes.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, or until tomatoes are cooked and pie is golden.


Source:  southernfood.about.com

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Summer Garden Vegetable Soup


    As summer winds itself to a bounteous close, I wanted to share this recipe while the veggies in it are still in season. It is a GREAT way to use up some of that zucchini and those tomatoes I never have quite enough uses for. My kids (who hate zucchini and said tomatoes) even like it. Win-win!

Summer Garden Vegetable Soup
     Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe
  • 3 medium zucchini, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 4 medium tomatoes, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (or 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 ½ cups frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or more :) to taste
Directions
  1. In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add the zucchini, basil, parsley and onion and saute, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes (I always do it longer, until it is pretty tender). Add the flour, salt and pepper and stir and cook for one minute to remove the raw flour taste. Gradually add the chicken broth, whisking or stirring constantly. Add the lemon juice; mix well. Bring the soup to a simmer, stirring to prevent sticking, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the zucchini is tender but still has some bite to it (it will continue cooking for a few more minutes). Add the tomatoes, evaporated milk, and corn.
  2. Bring the soup to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the soup and simmer until the corn and zucchini are tender. Stir in the cheese just before serving.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies




These cookies are fun and festive and pretty darn tasty.  It's a party in a cookie!

Ingredients:

1 1/4 c. flour
1 1/4 c. yellow or white boxed cake mix (I used a funfetti mix)
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 c. (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips (I used 1/2 white and 1/2 semi-sweet)
1/2 c. sprinkles

Directions:

1.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda.  Set aside.  In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed.  Mix in the egg and vanilla until creamy.

2.  Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.  Do not overmix the dough.

3.  Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 days.  This step is mandatory.  The dough is fairly sticky, so chilling the dough is required in order to keep the cookie from spreading too much.

4.  Scoop rounded tablespoons of the cold dough onto an ungreased baking sheet.  Shape your cookie dough balls to be "taller" than they are wide.  Make sure to keep dough chilled when working in batches.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned.  The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool.

6.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Source:  sallysbakingaddiction.com

Monday, September 23, 2013

Easy French Bread

 If you have never made bread before, this is a perfect place to start! This is such an easy, delicious bread! And really it's hard to mess it up! It makes fabulous garlic bread, French toast, delicious sandwiches and bread bowls! It will be a family favorite!


Easy French Bread

Ingredients:

2 TBSP yeast     
5 TBSP oil
2 ½ cups warm water                      
1 TBSP salt                           
2 TBSP sugar                                       
6 cups white flour 

Directions:

1. Mix all ingredients together and knead in a mixer (like a Bosch or Kitchen Aid) for 10 minutes. You can do it by hand with a bowl and spoon, but just add half of the flour at first and stir for a while until the "batter" seems smooth. Then add in more flour and mix until it gets too difficult to stir by spoon. Dump it out onto a floured surface and knead in the remaining of the flour. I actually do not ever exactly measure the flour. I know I have enough flour when the dough is no longer really sticky, but be careful to not add too much. You do not want the dough to be stiff or dry. A little less flour is better than too much!

2. Let the dough rise in the bowl until doubled. Punch down. (I usually cover the dough with a damp kitchen towel to keep it from drying out.)

3. Divide and form into 2 french loaves. (Or you can braid it!) Cut top of loaves three times with a serrated knife. You can also brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  

4. Let rise until double - 30 mins or so. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 400 °. (Shorter for a soft crust, longer for a thick and chewy crust.)  

Notes: 

*You can also put balls of this dough on a cookie sheet to make “Bread Bowls”. Once baked, cut out center of round loaf and  pour in a creamy soup. Make the Bread Bowls any size you want.
*People love to receive this as a gift, especially the braided bread below!

Here is how I form the loaves:

Then put it on a baking sheet and cut the top of the loaf, and let it rise.

If you want to braid it, divide one half of the dough into 3 equal pieces, and roll out each piece with your hands into a long skinny "snake". Pinch the ends together, or start braiding it however you can. I often have to rebraid it because I get messed up a bit, like in the picture below. I eventually got it right. : ) Pinch the ends together and tuck them under and try to make it pretty. Even if it's not perfect, it will still look pretty and taste delicious!

 I forgot about my bread that morning while I was homeschooling my children, and I let it rise a little too much. It got huge, but it was still gorgeous and delicious! You can spread a little butter on the top of the hot loaves when it comes out of the oven. ENJOY!!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Keep The Commandments

  


"Consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God” (Mosiah 2:41).

"Commandments are the laws and requirements that a loving Heavenly Father gives His children to bless them, protect them, and guide them back to Him. When we keep the commandments, we show our love for Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. As we obey the commandments and continually repent, we become more like the Savior and we are blessed with happiness, peace, testimony, and the companionship of the Holy Ghost."

Two scriptures that illustrate the point that Heavenly Father will bless us with so much if we will be obedient to him follow.

1 Nephi 17:3 "And thus we see that the commandments of God must be fulfilled. And if it so be that the children of men keep the commandments of God he doth nourish them, and astrengthen them, and provide means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he has commanded them; wherefore, he did  means for us while we did sojourn in the wilderness."

 Mosiah 24:14 "And I will also ease the aburdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as bwitnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their cafflictions.

"Good choices make us happy". I say this to my children all the time. Not only will we feel happy when we have been obedient to the commandments, but Heavenly Father will bless us and that will make it even sweeter. Finding our way back to Heavenly Father can be done if we stay on the path that he has given us.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Zucchini Pasta with Lemon Yogurt Sauce


I am not kidding when I say that we have been eating a lot of zucchini around here. If you are friends with me on FB you might have seen a picture I posted of my counter full of zucs! It has been good though because it has given me the opportunity to try new recipes. This is one that I got from Ezra Pound Cake. I followed the sauce recipe but I cut my zucchini differently and used some yellow squash from my garden as well. 


Zucchini Pasta with Lemon Yogurt Sauce 

8 ounces pasta of your choice 
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 
1 tablespoon olive oil 
3 medium (8-ounce) zucchini, cut however you like them. (Here I used 2 zucs and 1 squash)  
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 
1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions. Remove 1/4 cup of the cooking water, and set it aside. Drain the pasta. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, Parmesan, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini, (and squash, if using) and cook just until wilted
  4. Use a spoon or spatula to push the zucchini aside so a space on the bottom of the pan is clear. Add the garlic, and cook for 15 to 30 seconds, until golden but not really brown.
  5. Mix the garlic into the zucchini.
  6. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. 
  7. Add the zucchini mixture to the pasta and add the yogurt sauce. Toss to combine. Add the reserved pasta cooking water a tablespoon at a time, if necessary, to thin it. Divide among four bowls and serve.




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Corn & Black Bean Veggie Salad


I was craving some fresh veggies and remembered that I had this recipe I wanted to try. So,  I made this salad, took two kids to soccer practice, came home ready to dig into it and the two kiddos I left at home with their dad had finished off the salad! They all said they loved it and asked if I  could make some more! Well, if I expected to get any of the salad I needed to make some more! LOL!  This is delicious! We ate it as a side dish to pork chops, and we ate it with tortilla chips. All good!

Salad:
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans of corn, drained and rinsed
1 large tomato, chopped
1 small onion, yellow or red, diced fine
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 -2 large cucumbers, peeled and chopped

Dressing:
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 TBSP. white granulated sugar
4 TBSP. apple cider vinegar
4 TBSP. canola oil
juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4tsp. cumin powder

In a large bowl, add all of the Salad ingredients and stir well.
In a separate bowl, add all of the Dressing ingredients and whisk well until the sugar is mostly dissolved.
Pour the dressing over the salad and stir really well.
Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes at least. 
Serve as a side dish or with tortilla chips.

Adapted from a recipe in Taste of Home.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pumpkin Fudge

Last week we had our September Relief Society activity and, since I'm in charge of those activities, I thought it would be fun to have a pumpkin taster's table for refreshments.  One of the perks of planning activities is being able to try out new recipes on the guinea pigs at church my fellow Relief Society sisters.  And, of course, I headed to Pinterest for some inspiration.  So glad I did....this fudge is yummy and has great texture.

Ingredients:
3 cups granulated white sugar
3/4 cup melted salted butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
½ cup canned pure pumpkin
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
One 12-ounce package white chocolate morsels or vanilla candy melts*
One 7-ounce jar marshmallow crème
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Line a 9x13-inch square pan with aluminum foil, leaving enough on the ends to allow you to lift the fudge out later. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Stir together sugar, butter, evaporated milk, pumpkin, corn syrup, and pumpkin pie spice in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir constantly while you cook the mixture until a candy thermometer registers 234° (soft ball stage) or for about 12 minutes.
3. Once mixture reaches this temperature, remove it from heat.  Immediately stir in the white chocolate, marshmallow creme, nuts (if using), and vanilla.  Stir until smooth.
4. Pour into the prepared pan. Let stand at room temp for 2 hours.  Then carefully lift the fudge out by the foil "handles" and cut into squares.

*I prefer the vanilla candy melts.  Mine are Guittard brand.

Source:  Recipe Girl

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Origin

This Mormon Message reframes a portion of Joseph Smith's own quest for truth from the point of view of a young woman in our modern world.  Hearing Joseph's words spoken from her mouth and in a world more familiar to me really helps me remember to liken scriptures to myself.




Sometimes we struggle in life trying to find answers to questions,big and small, that trouble us.  We often swirl around in a tornado of confusion and are so focused on the chaos we often forget to take quiet time out to petition the source of all truth, our Heavenly Father.  Asking in faith, we can gain knowledge that will bless our lives and the lives of others.

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5)  This scripture inspired Joseph Smith to ask a very important question to his Heavenly Father--a question whose answer changed the course of history.  To read more about his experience, click here.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Pumpkin Bars


I know, I know it isn't Halloween yet. BUT we all want it to be right?  I make these bars year round, in fact my husband's work asks for them for every work gathering.  It feeds a big crowd and you will love them!!!

1 c. oil (I use coconut oil)
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 c. pureed pumpkin (or squash/sweet potatoes)

Mix together then add:

2 c. flour (whole wheat works well!)
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove)

Mix together well and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes in a greased cookie sheet.

Frosting:
*frost when cooled
3 oz. cream cheese
6 T. softened butter
1 t. vanilla
2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. (or more) milk

Source: Honica Smith

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Almond Bites



There are days, and sometimes  weeks, where you are pulled in many directions and can't seem to get things done as efficiently as you would like, much less remember everything that has to be done.  This morning was one of those times.  I work with the youth in our church, specifically the girls, and we alternate with the boys' leadership in providing refreshments for a sort of bi-monthly meeting.  Well we haven't had one this summer, for various reasons, so my brain had not realized that it was our turn to bring the treats until this morning at church.  The meeting is in 3 hours and I don't shop on Sundays.  So, what do I have on hand?  Nature Valley Almond Bars!  Perfect.  And just so you know, there are a few others who are raiding their pantries today--girls included--so the youth will not perish from lack of goodies after their meeting.  This is a great idea for a quick treat and it's healthy--almonds are a Super Food, remember.

Ingredients:
Nature Valley Sweet & Salty Almond Bars

1.  Remove the wrapper from the bars.

2.  Cut each bar into thirds and then cut each third diagonally (I cannot type that word without thinking of Harry Potter).

3.  You now have cute little triangles of chewy goodness, and since these particular bars have an almond butter icing kind of thing going on on the bottom layer, they look even more presentable as a treat to take to a meeting,etc.

Another good quick treat:  Cut Fig Newtons diagonally into cute little triangles and cover in powdered sugar. Yummy!

Source:  A Desperate Youth Leader--me!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Coconut Drop Cookies

    I'm always a fan of a good no-bake cookie. And anything with coconut. So when I saw this recipe, I had to try it. I thought it was really good and a quick treat in a pinch.
 
Coconut Oatmeal

No Bake Cookies

2 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. butter
2/3 c. milk
1 (3.4 oz) box instant coconut flavor pudding mix
2 1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1 c. sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. vanilla pinch of salt

In a large sauce pan, mix together sugar, butter and milk. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat, add in the pudding mix, oats, coconut and vanilla. Let stand 5 minutes before dropping by teaspoons onto waxed paper. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Source: auntpegsrecipebox.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Swig Sugar Cookies



Apparently, this is a knock off version of a cookie that is served at a spunky little joint in St. George, Utah.

Ingredients:

1 c. butter (room temperature)
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. powdered sugar
2 T. water
2 eggs
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cream of tartar
1 t. salt
5 1/2 c. flour

Directions:

1.  Cream together butter, oil, sugars, water and eggs.

2.  Combine dry ingredients and slowly add to butter mixture.

3.  Mix until everything is combined.  Your dough should not be sticky at all.

4.  Roll into golf ball-sized dough and place on cookie sheet.  Put 1/4 c. sugar and a pinch of salt in a dish (this is in addition to the sugar and salt listed above).  Butter  the bottom of a glass. Stick the buttered glass into the sugar.  This is going to be your cookie press.  Firmly press it onto the center of your dough balls.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  Move cookies to a cooling rack.  Once they are cool put them in the refrigerator.

Sour Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

1/2 c. room temperature butter
3/4 sour cream
2 lb. powdered sugar (may not use it all)
1 t. salt
1/4 c. milk
red food coloring

Directions:

1.  Start by creaming together butter and sour cream and salt.  Slowly add powdered sugar.  When it gets so thick it's frosting like, add a splash of milk.  Alternate this process until your frosting is the desired consistency.  Add 1 drop red food coloring and whip on high for 1 minute.

2.  Keep cookies in a sealed container until they are ready to serve.  The magic of a Swig Sugar Cookie is that the cookies are cold and the frosting is room temperature.  Frost right before serving (if you make them in advance and need to refrigerate the frosting make sure you give it time to warm up before serving).

Source:  vintagerevivals.com

Monday, September 9, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was camping in the mountains recently, and those cool mornings reminded me fall was right around the corner, and it made me think of my favorite cookies! Yum! These are soooo delicious! 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used some chocolate chunks this time)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Directions:

1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, milk, cinnamon and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

2. Spray cookie sheet with baking spray. Drop cookie dough by spoonful onto baking sheet.

3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. These are cake-like, so make sure centers are done like a cake. Baking time will depend on the size you make the cookies. I personally like to take them out of the oven right before they start to brown. I'm not a fan of overdone cookies!

4. Eat warm with a glass of milk and you will think you have died and gone to heaven!

Notes:

1. I am pretty crazy over lots of chocolate chips in my cookies, and lots of nuts too. Feel free to use as many or as little as you like. 2 cups is quite a lot, and that's how I like them! For these in the pictures, I used 1 cups of chocolate chips and 1 cup of chocolate chunks. And I used about 3/4 cup of chopped pecans. So, so, so delicious! 

Source: I've had this recipe for over 20 years in my notebook. Not sure where it came from!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Slow Cooker Mac n' Cheese

I first had this recipe at a baby shower a friend was having. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I am from the "boxed macaroni" generation, but this homemade recipe changed my ways! It is so simple and so tasty. Try it, you won't forget it!



Slow Cooker Mac n' Cheese

Ingredients:
2 cups evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
16 oz. Velveeta Cheese, cubed
10 oz. Cheddar cheese, cubed
1 (8 ounce) package macaroni

Directions:
- Combine evaporated milk, paprika, salt, egg, butter and cheeses in a slow cooker; stir. Cook on high for 1 hour.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 5 to 8 minutes or until al dente; drain.
= Stir cooked macaroni into cheese sauce, reduce temperature to low and cook for 3 to 5 hours. Stir frequently to avoid burning on the bottom.

Adapted slightly from allrecipes.com

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread


This bread is a dessert. Let's just put that out there right now. Do not fool yourself into thinking it is healthy because it has zucchini in it. I mean, I am sure the zucchini is good for you but you could basically call this "Chocolatey Cakey Brownie Loaf." That being said, it is a great way to use up all that zucchini from your garden. And it is delectable. I double the recipe, make 3 loaves with it and then give 2 of the 3 loaves away. The original recipe comes from What Megan's Making. I originally doubled the recipe but the pans were very full so I decided to double the recipe (but tripled the amount of baking soda and baking powder) and make 3 loaves out of it.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread (makes one loaf)

2 large eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup King Arthur All-Purpose Baking Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
1 2/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini, gently pressed
1 cup chocolate chips (I used half milk chocolate and half semi-sweet)

Preheat the oven to 350°F; Grease and flour an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, honey, oil, sugar, and vanilla. Add the salt, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, and flour, mixing until well combined. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack. Cool completely before slicing. Or, just cut a piece while it is warm and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole


YUM! YUM!  Everyone likes this casserole.  It's easy to make and easy to eat! LOL!

2- 12 ounce bags frozen, shredded hashbrowns, thawed (at least 30 minutes)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup of diced deli ham
1/2 - 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, or your favorite kind of cheese!
6 large eggs
1 cup evaporated milk
salt
pepper


     Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Squeeze moisture out of thawed potatoes then put them in a large bowl. Pour melted butter over potatoes and stir well until combined. Pour the potatoes into an ungreased 9x13 casserole dish, and press them to make a crust. I press them up the sides of the dish also.
     Bake until the potatoes start to brown around the edges, at least 10 minutes.
     Into a big bowl add the eggs, the milk, salt and pepper.
     Remove the potatoes from the oven. Sprinkle the diced ham over the  potatoes, then sprinkle the cheese over the ham. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese and ham.
     Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Cranberry Buttermilk Scones

I wish I could remember where I originally found this recipe.  It's been in my recipe box for years and is a family favorite.  These are a special breakfast treat in our family, though I do have a couple of kids who pick out the Craisins.  You could substitute raisins, dried currants (my favorite), or do without a dried fruit altogether.  Whatever you use, it'll be great!  My family can't wait to get their hands on these....as you can see from my teenage son's "grab a scone" photobomb hand!

Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cup cold butter (12 Tbsp.)
1 cup buttermilk*
1 cup dried cranberries (Craisins)
1 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1.  Heat oven to 400°F.  Grease a large baking sheet.
2.  In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.  Whisk together well.
3.  Cut butter into small pieces.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender (pictured) or with two knives until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Stir in buttermilk, just until combined (do not overmix).  Fold in cranberries
4.  On a floured surface, form dough gently into an even mass; then divide in half.  Form each half into a circle six inches in diameter.  With a floured knife, partially cut each circle into 6 pieces (just cut about 1/2-3/4 of the way into the dough.  Transfer both circles to baking sheet.
5.  Brush each circle with milk.  Combine the 2 Tbsp. sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over both circles.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.**

*To make buttermilk if you don't have any:  In a glass measuring cup, pour in 1 Tbsp. apple cider or white wine vinegar.  Pour milk up to the 1-cup line.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes before using.
**This sometimes takes more than 20 minutes for me.  I always test the middle with a knife--it should come out with a few small crumbs on it but should not be wet.  Overbaking will make a less than satisfactory final product.