Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

March 19, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’m just going to start with some boring weather talk. Seattle has been teasing us with sun the last week. We had two gorgeous days that got to 60 last week and it was so glorious. Then it rained for 5 days and now it’s just overcast. Why is this happening? My emotions are so conflicted. The days I want to sit inside and bake are the days its glorious and when I’m ready to get some sun it’s pouring.

One day last week the stars (or sun and clouds rather) aligned and my oven and I got some quality time with this lovely zucchini bread. Feeling inspired by Smitten Kitchen and some almost-old zucchini I whipped up this whole wheat loaf filled with sunflower seeds, chocolate chips and cranberries. The combination is just perfect.

Best part about this? The recipe makes two loaves, one to hoard to yourself and one to share with friends. Feel free (as always) to customize to your hearts content with the fillings. I think next time I would use mini chocolate chips and more dried cranberries.

(makes two 9×5 loaves, based on This Smitten Kitchen Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

To Make:

1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 8×4 or 9×5 cake pans and set aside.
2) Beat eggs, then whisk in vegetable oil and sugar until well combined. Stir in zucchini and set aside. In separate bowl stir together flours, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in to wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Fold in extras.
3) Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans, then serve extra thick slices with some butter and enjoy!

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Birthday Apple Crisp and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

January 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’ve got this great guy in my life. We like each other a lot. I mean, we’re married and all that too, but we genuinely enjoy each other’s company. He puts up with me opening car doors with my feet and I put up with his tendency to leave his shoes in the middle of the floor.

Today is his birthday. When I asked him what kind of dessert he wanted he responded with a shrug and “apple crisp?” Now, I know him, pie is his favorite and I reminded him of that. He responded by saying that since I don’t love pie he wanted crisp. That way everyone is happy. He’s awesome. Self-sacrificing even with dessert. He does most of the dishes, sweeps like a maniac and is generally awesome to have around.

So, in honor of my man, I made some apple crisp and vanilla bean ice cream. It’s a basic Philadelphia-style vanilla bean ice cream (no eggs/custard mix) from Davd Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop and Joy the Baker’s Man-Bait Apple Crisp (if it’s for a married man, is it baited-man apple crisp?). Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup turbino sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1) In a small sauce pan stir 1 cup cream, sugar and salt together. Cut vanilla bean in half and scrape out seeds, but seeds and pod in the saucepan. Over low-medium heat stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat.

2) Pour this mixture into medium bowl. Stir in milk, additional cup of cream and vanilla extract. Chill in refrigerator. Make ice cream according to mixer instructions, freeze until ready to serve.

Apple Crisp

Ingredients

  • 10 medium sized apples (mix of Fuji and Granny Smith)
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 & 2/3 cup AP flour
  • 2 & 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1) Grease a 9×13 pan. Preheat oven to 350.

2) Peel and chop all the apples into bite-sized pieces. A few peels left on, are a-okay. Put into greased pan. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon onto apples and mix.

3) In a large bowl stir to combine flour, brown sugar, oats, nuts and cinnamon. Using your hands, add the butter to the dry ingredients. Work in until coarse meal is formed (sort of like wet sand). Mix 1 cup of this into the apples and stir well. Pour rest of topping onto the apples.

4) Bake for 55-60 minutes until topping is golden brown and apples are slightly bubbly. Let cool slightly. Scoop mixture into bowls, top with ice cream and serve. Enjoy!

Lentil Soup

September 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

This one time I got really upset when the internet went out at our house and the open network worked for everything but my main computer. Frustration was high. I was annoyed. I also felt emotional because I wasn’t with my best friends anymore after a soul-reviving weekend.

Then I remembered there is real life tragedy. People in Colorado have lost their homes to flooding, Syria is happening and there are families dealing with death and cancer. Life is truly hard and sad for people beyond not having internet and missing friends. Real talk. And I needed that mental reminder.

The best I can do right now is thank God for the things I have and pray for those in the midst of horrible things. I wish I could make everyone a bowl of this lentil soup, some bread and love them with comfort food.

To me, soup is one of those foods you make for people that need love, even if it’s me and I need some comfort. If you feel inclined, chop some veggies, pour in some chicken broth, add spices and love on someone that needs it. Thanks for letting me real talk.

Lentil Soup
from my mother-in-law

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 stocks of celery, sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 4-8 cups of chicken or vegetable stock (can substitute 1/2 of this for water)
  • 3 medium red potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1, 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 lb of lentils (I use green usually) , rinsed
  • bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste

To Make

1) Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, cook for one minute. Then add in onions, carrots and celery and stir occasionally; until onions are clear.
2) Add in 4 cups of stock, lentils, potatoes, tomatoes, bay leaf and S&P. Once boiling, bring down to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes, adding more water or stock as it cooks. Once lentils are cooked and potatoes are tender, season to taste and add in liquid until soup is desired consistency.

I like to serve it with a big hunk of bread while warm. Also great as leftovers, and will keep for several days in the fridge or in the freezer for later. Enjoy!

Herbed Simple Syrup and Lemonade

September 6, 2013 § 1 Comment

Does anyone else refuse to believe summer is ending? Labor day weekend came and went (I worked) and all of a sudden sun and vacations are gone. I REFUSE to believe it. I’m gonna keep going on going on vacations and drinking lemonade.

I don’t know whats taken me so long to make simple syrup. Its just so…simple. Equal parts sugar and water. And if you happen to have herbs even better. This time my simple syrup batch included about half a cup of mint, torn into a pieces. I also did a second batch with 5-6 sprigs of thyme.To make the lemonade I juiced 8 lemons. My arms may have gotten a workout. I got about one and half cups of lemon juice. I mixed it with half a cup of sugar and about three cups of cool water. Then, as the cherry on top I combined the simple syrup with the lemonade, the ratio was about 3:1 (lemonade:herbed simple syrup). And added some ice and mixed well. It was fantastic. So refreshing and tasty! Regular lemonade is old news now.

Ingredients for simple syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • fresh herbs (1/2 torn leaves, or 5-6 sprigs depending on the herb)

To Make
1) In a small saucepan combine water, sugar and herbs. Over low-medium heat stir consistently until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in refrigerator for up to one week.

Ingredients for lemonade

  • 1 and 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 8 lemons)
  • 3-4 cups cool water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or more depending on preferences)
  • Ice

To Make
1)Mix lemon juice, water and sugar. Top with ice and stir.
2) For herbed lemonade combine 1 cup lemon juice and 1/3 cup simple syrup (or to taste), add ice and enjoy!

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