Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread: Your kids will never know it's "good" for them!

This is a re-post, but worth repeating. Do you have too many zucchini from your garden? Do you neglect to pick them before they grow too large and bitter like me? Then use them for zucchini bread. This recipe came from my mother-in-law and it very delicious.....seriously good. The best I've ever tried. You can't taste the zucchini which is why my kids and I love it! And with the added glaze it's like you're eating cake!
3 eggs, beaten
1 C white sugar
1 C brown sugar
3 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 C flour
1 C canola oil
2 C zucchini

Glaze: Make a thin powdered sugar glaze and add some cinnamon.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 regular sized loaf pans or 1 large and 4 mini pans. Set aside.

First add oil plus chopped (doesn't have to be peeled. It's extra fiber. And it's pureed so it doesn't affect the texture but you can be if you prefer) zucchini into blender. Blend until smooth. Make sure it equals 3 cups. Add more zucchini until it is so.
Next, beat eggs, sugars and vanilla together. Add zucchini/oil mixture to egg mixture. Mix. Add remaining ingredients. Pour evenly into pans.

Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool on wire rack.

Lemon Zucchini Bread

1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
1 C chopped nuts

Omit cinnamon and nutmeg and add lemon rind and nuts.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread (pictured)

3 Tbsp cocoa
1 C chocolate chips

Omit cinnamon and nutmeg and add cocoa and chips.

Chocolate glaze:
In a double boiler melt 1/2 C chocolate chips with 1 Tbsp butter plus 5 Tbsp water. Stir until melted.

Off heat add:
1/2 C powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Wait until loaves are slightly cooled before glazing.

You can freeze the oil/zucchini blended mixture in a quart sized freezer ziploc bag. Freeze flat. Thaw completely and prepare as normal.

OR you may freeze cooled cooked loaves with glazes. Wrap in saran wrap and then foil.


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Monday, August 1, 2011

Summer Fun Party

Again, I am going back in time. I hosted this party in July 2011 and am sharing it in January 2012 when there is snow on the ground. It's fun to think of summer in the winter, right?

I invited a bunch of my friends and their children to come over for an outdoor summer party. Any excuse to throw a party! The kids had a blast getting each other wet with homemade sponges likes these from OCP and the adults got to sit around and talk....until they got wet. :) 

My little Cecily. Love those chubby legs.

This treat is what I call seashell crunch. 

One of my favorite childhood snacks--Bugles, (because they look kind of like shells), goldfish crackers, and pink jello popcorn. 

 Fresh watermelon on a stick. I tried putting a cupcake liner underneath like I had seen on Real Simple, but the liner just got soggy and defeated the purpose. so I stopped lining them. 

Blue Jello cups with swedish fish. It was so hot they began to melt and the kids drank them. 

Marshmallow starfish. I saw these on Pinterest and thought they were so adorable! But instead of making the marshmallows from scratch I cut them out of those newer flat rectangle marshmallows with a star cookie cutter (a fondant cutter would work too). So as a result they were really small and took a long time. I did not have any candy eyes so I used white chocolate chips and dotted them with tube frosting. They are coated in melted chocolate then dipped in crushed graham crackers. Laying on a bed of sand (brown sugar).

I had seen this idea on Pinterest too. Fresh pureed fruit frozen in a cup. They just tore off the cup and ate the popsicle before it melted. This is the recipe I used from Sunflower Market. I can't find the recipe now but it was basically pureed strawberries, pineapple juice and perhaps watermelon? 

 I made this jello with suspending swedish fish. The tutorial can be found here.  I think I ended up just making blue jello which is why it is so dark. So the effect ins't quite the same and the fish are swimming sideways. But the kids loved it.

 Pretzel crabs. These are simple large pretzels covered in orange (with a touch of red) candy coating (Wilton's). The eyes are like the starfish, white chocolate chips with dots of black frosting. 

This paper fish is a vintage kite from Japan. My grandfather caught it when he visited there many many years ago. My mom had it in her stash and it was perfect for this party. It is now hanging in my son's bedroom. I drew on this old shed wall with pink chalk. It came right off with some hose water.

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