Zucchini Bread

April 30, 2008 at 8:25 pm | Posted in breakfast, zucchini | 15 Comments
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We all have our favorite Zucchini Bread recipes…and this one’s mine. It has been in my family for years and comes from our family friend, Lydia. I just love it.

Zucchini Bread From Lydia

  • 3 eggs well beaten
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (I use heaping cup-fulls)
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 2 loaf pans with Pam for Baking.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the eggs. Next add the oil. sugar, zucchini and vanilla, mix well.

In a separate bowl whisk the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Turn mixer to medium until well combined. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool on wire racks. Each loaf serves 16, in theory.

A little extra…

Saw this on A Fridge Full of Food, What Kind of Cereal Are You?

You Are Corn Flakes

You are traditional and easy going.
If something is high quality, you’re satisfied with it.

You don’t need much variety or novelty in your life.
You’re happy with what you have. You’re quite loyal.

You’re the type of person who eats the same breakfast every day…
And likely at the exact same time each day!

Take the What Kind of Cereal Are You Quiz

Cheesecake Pops

April 27, 2008 at 6:00 am | Posted in Daring Bakers, Dessert | 51 Comments

Cheesecake Pops! This month’s Daring Bakers Challenge was Cheesecake Pops! I had a lot of fun on this challenge and will definitely make these again. Here are some of my creations…

White Chocolate with Oreo:

White Chocolate with Springtime Sprinkles:

Dark Chocolate with Rainbow Jimmies:

Dark Chocolate with Sweetened Coconut:

Of course, I did encounter some challenges with this one. I followed the recipes to a “t”. My cheesecake needed more than 55 minutes to bake. When I pulled it out of the oven, it looked like this…

I allowed the cheesecake to cool completely and then let it set up in the refrigerator overnight. The next day I attempted to roll my cheesecake into balls, but found that my cheesecake was still a bit soupy in the middle.

Wanting to use the cheesecake I had made, I decided to dump the finished cheesecake into my kitchen-aid. With a paddle attachment I let it run for a minute. It turned into baked cheesecake liquid that was thick enough to be filled into a pastry bag. Then I piped the cheesecake out into rounds and let these set up in the freezer…

Once frozen, they were so easy to dip. I think it actually made for a much neater and easier way to get the cheesecake into pops.

At first I thought it was a drawback that they had to be kept in the freezer. Turns out it was perfect for my family. It was like eating ice cream on a stick. Yep, I’ll make these again soon.

Thanks to Elle at Feeding My Enthusiasms and Deborah at Taste and Tell for this fun challenge! And be sure to check out the thousands of other Cheesecake Pops on the Daring Bakers Blogroll!

The recipe…

Continue Reading Cheesecake Pops…

Yoda’s Ice Cream

April 26, 2008 at 1:45 pm | Posted in avocado puree, Dessert | 15 Comments

What do you call Coconut Avocado Ice Cream when you are trying to sell it to 5 year olds? Yoda’s Ice Cream, of course.

I know, my poor kids, their mom has succumbed to the Dark Side. Muw-ha-ha-ha! I can hear Darth Vador laughing. Veggies in your ice cream!

And I’ll admit, it’s no Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. But for some reason the coconut and avocado actually work together. The ice cream is smooth and creamy. The flavors aren’t too intense. And my kids ate it! “Tastes like Yoda“, said my son. But he thought that maybe it should be called Jabba the Hut Ice Cream because of how it slimmed Darth Vador.

Coconut Avocado Ice Cream (aka Yoda’s Ice Cream)

(from All Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup coconut cream (I used a can labelled coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 (1/2 pound) avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions

  1. Puree milk, coconut cream, sugar, avocados, and lemon juice in a blender until smooth.
  2. Strain into a bowl. Cover, and refrigerate for several hours until cold. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s directions, then freeze overnight.
  3. Allow ice cream to soften in refrigerator for 10 minutes before serving.

And I have to dedicate Yoda’s Ice Cream to Jen, who commented, “Today at Costco I was very tempted to get an ice cream and I thought to myself, “would Karen?” and then I thought, “No, she’d probably make some from scratch and throw in some carrots or spinach to make it healthy.” Then I got grossed out and just kept walking past it.” I thought this was hilarious! And took it as a challenge!

Scooping out this Coconut Avocado Ice Cream For Vindicate the Vegetable! Week 3 Event: Avocados

Adventures in Suburbia: The Pink Box

April 25, 2008 at 6:41 pm | Posted in Cupcakes, essay | 8 Comments

My husband came home carrying a pink box. Some girls swoon over flowers. For others, it’s that famous blue box. But for me, it’s The Pink Box.

And now I’m home alone with The Pink Box. My hubby and dear daughter ran to Frys and my son is playing at the neighbor’s house.

And I can’t think about anything but The Pink Box.

So I pick it up.

Take a peek.

Look at it’s glory.

Then close it up and put it away because I have little self control right now. Yep, The Pink Box renders me completely incapacitated.

And since I can’t think of anything but The Pink Box, I might as well write about it. And I’m hoping that as soon as this post is up, everyone will be home and we’ll be able to dive into The Pink Box.

The Pink Box comes from one of our favorite bakeries, Icing on the Cake. Inside the pink box there is a black and tan cupcake, banana cupcake, chocolate sundae cupcake, mint chip cupcake and banana bread. They have the best banana bread!

Okay, I hear the car doors!!!!!

Oatmeal Parfait

April 25, 2008 at 11:00 am | Posted in breakfast, flaxseed meal | 10 Comments
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I knew that the gray clouds were lifting when I envisioned this for breakfast…

Layers of oatmeal, pumpkin, fage and flaxseed meal with hints of pumpkin pie and cloves. Yum!

Oatmeal Pumpkin Parfait

2/3 cup oatmeal, (measured dry then cooked in water)

3/4 cup fage, divided (I use Fage Total 0%)

1/4 cup canned pumpkin

4 T honey, divided

1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

4 T flaxseed meal

Combine the cooked oatmeal and cloves, set aside.

Combine 1/4 cup fage with canned pumpkin, 2 Tbsp honey and pumpkin pie spice, set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup fage with 2 Tbsp honey, set aside.

To assemble, start with two heaping spoon fulls of the oatmeal mixture, then layer in the pumpkin mixture, next sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the flaxseed meal, and then the fage. Do it all again. Makes enough for two servings.

Inspired by Kath, I am serving this up for this month’s Think Spice…Think Cloves event.

get-a-way granita

April 24, 2008 at 9:10 pm | Posted in Dessert | 11 Comments
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It’s been a rough couple of days with my kids. I need to get away. But our trip to San Diego is still a couple weeks away and my “Girls Weekend” is even further out.

So I made this Pineapple-Strawberry Granita and remembered trips to Kauai and Maui…not quite the get-a-way I needed, but it was enough to get me through today.

Pineapple-Strawberry Granita (adapted from Epicurious)

  • 1/2 of a fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 1 pint of fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

Put the pineapple into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Pour the pineapple puree into a bowl and set aside.

Next, process the strawberries in a food processor until smooth. Add the water, sugar and pineapple puree and mix well.

Strain the pineapple strawberry puree through a wire sieve into an 8×8 inch baking dish. Place in the freezer. Stir with a fork every hour until firm, about 4 hours. Store in the freezer.

…I can almost smell the ocean air…

0-Hostess Cupcakes

April 22, 2008 at 6:30 am | Posted in Cupcakes | 17 Comments
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The Hostess Cupcake goes organic in celebration of Earth Day!

I used Beatty’s Chocolate Cake recipe for the cupcakes. Organic (mostly) everything. The difference was I had trouble finding organic vegetable oil so I substituted for organic olive oil. These turned out much lighter than the non-organic version and they rose high.

For the filling and glaze I referred to Megans Cookin and her Mock Hostess Cupcakes. Megan, your piping and decorating skills leave me to shame!

I made regular size cupcakes and baked them for about 20 minutes. Once they had cooled completely, I used a large pastry tip to poke holes in the tops of the cupcakes. After that I used the same size tip on a pastry bag, and piped the filling into the holes.

The white swirl on top is just melted white chocolate.

Dishing out these Organic Hostess Cupcakes to Cupcake Hero’s April Event: Earth Day!

I stored these under a cake dome on the counter…great the next day! Maybe even better than the first. I just love a dessert that can be made the day ahead!

The recipes…

Continue Reading 0-Hostess Cupcakes…

solutions week 22

April 20, 2008 at 6:30 pm | Posted in Diet and Exercise, solutions | 22 Comments

Saturday– I went on a hike.  Well, indoor hike.  43 minutes on the treadmill at a 6.0 incline.  Talk about sweat!

Friday– Isn’t it amazing how a little exercise can change your whole perspective. Love that! Today at the gym I did the stair climber for 20 minutes and the elliptical for 15 minutes. In the weight room I did walking lunges and abs on the decline bench.  Finished eating at 7pm and then I went on a 30 minute walk.

Thursday– Back in the swing of things. I ran 3-11 minute miles…3 miles in 33 minutes. After that I grabbed a big exercise ball and did abs, decline push-ups, squats and reverse tricepts. Finished eating at 6:30pm.

Wednesday– Crazy busy day. At least I was finished eating at 6:30pm. I think the Lord is preparing me to send my kids to kindergarten in the fall, they are driving me crazy!

Tuesday– Missed my gym due to appointments and felt sluggish all afternoon. Dinner was finished at 6:10pm. We went on a family walk and then I hopped on the treadmill and did a 2 mile walk at 3.5 speed with a 6.0 incline, talk about sweat. It took 35 minutes. Now that my body is finally revved up, I feel like walking again before hitting the sofa for American Idol.

Monday– Went to the gym this morning and ran 3 miles in 30 minutes on the treadmill. After that I went into the weight room for triceps and abs, one-legged squats and push-ups, and a two more sets of abs.

This afternoon my kids asked if we could go in the garage so I could go on the treadmill and they could watch more Star Wars. So I walked for 30 minutes at 3.0 with a 6.0 incline.

Sunday– Here’s a photo of me today. I’m 5’4″ and weigh 147 pounds. I’ve seen a 10 pound weight loss and my cholesterol drop 50 points since starting to make better diet and exercise solutions. I’m 35 years old.

I enjoy all types of food without guilt (including all kinds of desserts). What I’ve noticed…the foods that were once off limits are not an obsession anymore. The chocolate and chips and cookies don’t call my name from the kitchen. I don’t feel the compulsion to binge eat anymore because I know I get to eat it again, tomorrow if I want. And if something isn’t good, I don’t just mindlessly eat it, I toss it, because it know it’s not worth it.

This week my goals are about the same:

  • Cardio 5 days a week.
  • Strength train 3 days a week.
  • Walk after dinner.
  • No eating after 7pm.
  • Avoid high fructose corn syrup.
  • Avoid hydrogenated fats.

I’ve received some fun awards over the past few weeks!

Thanks to Gretchen of Canela y Camino for the You Make My Day Award! Gretchen and I were roommates in 1994. She has seen me at my worst and best and has been a constant source of encouragement. Love you girl!

I am passing the You Make My Day award on to Couch Cubicle. She is hilarious and always makes me smile! Also receiving this award is More to Love. Allison is totally authentic and totally relate-able. Finally Picky Fingers. Her mom-ism stories are great and always leave a smile on my face.

Thanks to Megan of Megans Cookin for the E is for Excellent Award! Megan was one of the first food bloggers that I fell in love with. I am so inspired by her cake decorating and continue to be impressed by her recipes.

I would like to share this award of Excellence to Allison at More to Love, Colette at Colette’s Bakery and Angela at Angela Chandler Photography.

Thanks to Dianne of Dianne’s Dishes for the Blog of Distinction Award! Dianne amazes me with her photos of fresh food. Check out her garden link, I am more inspired than envious, and hope to plant on day.

I would like to share the Blog of Distinction award with Kate of Books and Bakes, Aimee of Under the High Chair and Lori of The Recipe Girl.

My final word of thanks is to Robin of Big Red Kitchen for the Blogging with a Purpose Award! Her photos and food creations are amazing. I love her kitchen and the food that comes out of it.

I am passing this Blogging with a Purpose award on to Gretchen of Canela & Comino; Kath of Kath Eats Real Food; Allison of More to Love; Angela of Angela Chandler’s Photography and Megan of Megans Cookin.

To all of the winners…congratulations! Now, go share the love, pass on an award, and make someone’s day!

Lemon Layer Cake

April 17, 2008 at 8:53 am | Posted in Dessert | 11 Comments
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I made this Lemon Layer Cake in honor of LiveStrong Day. LiveSTRONG is part of the Lance Armstrong Foundation working to help fight cancer and encouraging all to live life to the fullest.

This Lemon Layer Cake is a six layer white cake with luscious lemon curd filling. You can find the recipe at America’s Test Kitchen, just make sure to bake it in three 9-inch wide cake pans.

This Lemon Layer Cake is being served up for the LiveSTRONG With a Taste of Yellow event is being hosted by Winos And Foodies.

Asparagus Tart

April 16, 2008 at 11:50 am | Posted in veggie side | 6 Comments
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When I saw this I knew I had to try it for my family. It’s an Asparagus Gruyere Tart. And it’s good.

My son was willing to smell, lick and even kiss the asparagus. In the end he said he didn’t like it. I tried to entice him by saying that his “pee” would smell funny if he ate it. Potty talk by mom at the dinner table, shocking, I know! But in the end he said no. Okay, no pressure.

My dear daughter also tried it with hesitation. At first she said she didn’t like it, but then, with out another word of encouragement from her mother, she ate a bit. Then another. Then another. Pretty soon she was peeling the asparagus off of her tart and eating it straight. Rounds of applause! She was declared “the winner”! A little healthy competition never hurt, right?

I think it helped that I used very thin/young asparagus. Also I started them first on my indoor grill and then put them on my tart to finish cooking.

The recipe is from Under the High Chair. Kudos to her for coming up with a veggie side dish that my 5 year old daughter enjoyed (along with her parents).

Asparagus Gruyère Tart

Flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry

5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyère cheese, shredded

1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyère. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyère, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

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