Zucchini Bread


Zucchini Bread:
*2 1/4 cups flour
*2 tsp. cinnamon
*1/8 tsp. ground cloves (didn't have them - omitted them)
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
*1/2 cup canola oil
*3/4 cup white sugar
*1/2 cup brown sugar
*3 eggs
*2 tsp. vanilla
*zest from one large orange (wasn't interested in this, so again, omitted it)
*1/2 cup sour cream
*3 cups grated zucchini (I did this in my food processor and it was so fast)

*2 tbsp. white sugar
*2 tbsp. brown sugar
*1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans and set aside.

Combine flour, cinnamon, cloves, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Beat eggs, oil, sugars and vanilla for 30 seconds. Add sour cream and orange zest and beat to combine. Mix in zucchini.

Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Divide batter between 2 pans. Sprinkle topping evenly over tops. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean. 

Make sure to let the loaf rest on a cooling rack for at least 10 minutes before trying to get it out of the pan or it will come out in chunks. Enjoy.

Recipe from Our Best Bites. 


Banoffee Pie

Seeing as I'm off of sugar 1/2 - 3/4 of the year, I hardly ever make desserts (sorry, Sky). But when I do, they have to be incredible. Banoffee pie is incredible. I first tasted it in London and fell in love instantly. I have no clue why America doesn't have this flavor. So it's rather simple: banana and toffee. Pronounced buh-nof-fee. Ah, incredible.

Pie Crust:
*9 oz. graham crackers - about 1 1/2 packages (or if you happen to have digestives from the UK, that would be even better!)
*1/2 cup butter, melted

*1/2 cup brown sugar
*3 tbsp. water
*1 can sweetened condensed milk
*1/2 cup butter
*2-3 bananas
*1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream

To make crust, blend graham crackers in food processor until finely ground. Pour melted butter over crumbs and process to blend well. The crumbs should stick together when pressed. Press crumbs into a pie pan or springform pan. Put in freezer while you make the filling.

To make toffee filling, put the brown sugar and water into a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until it has turned a deep amber color, occasionally swirling the pan and brushing down the sides, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the condensed milk and butter. Continue stirring for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove toffee sauce and spread into graham cracker crust. Let sit in refrigerator for at least an hour to allow the toffee to become semi-firm.

Right before serving, slice bananas into very thin slices and place on top of semi-firm toffee.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream in a mixing bowl until thick and very soft billowy peaks form. Spoon on top of banana slices. I also dusted the top with some extra graham cracker crumbs. You could sprinkle with cinnamon as well. Enjoy.
Recipe source: adapted slightly from Curtis Stone (the hot Aussie chef).


Pesto Chicken

This a one of our family standby's. Super fast and really good.

4 large or 6 small chicken breasts
1 cup prepared pesto
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1-1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9x13 inch pan with cooking spray. Trim chicken breasts and place in pan. In a bowl, mix pesto and mustard then spoon over chicken. Sprinkle with desired amount of cheese. Bake in oven until center of chicken reaches 160 degrees, about 20-25 minutes.

I made this tonight for dinner but forgot to snap a picture. For those of you not too familiar with pesto, it looks a little like green barf but don't let that turn you off to it. Note to Katie - I made this a few years ago when at home and Skyler hated it even though he was too kind to actually tell me so (I'm not sure he actually tried it, but he didn't eat it). Maybe he'll be less afraid now, maybe not.



These are two of my favorite salsa recipes. The first one I got from Syl. Although I chop most of my ingredients by hand, Syl does most everything in a food processor. It looks a mess but is much faster! Serve both recipes with Fritos Scoops or tortilla chips.

6-8 chopped Roma Tomatoes
2 Lg. chopped Avocados
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
1 bunch Green Onions
1 - 15 oz. can White Hominy drained
1 - 15 oz. Black Beans
Sm. bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing. (Use only as much as you like. The recipe calls for almost a full bottle but I only used half.)

Corn Salsa
1 can corn drained
1 can black eyed peas or garbanzo beans, drained
2-3 chopped tomatoes
1 bunch green onion chopped
1 bunch cilantro chopped
1 avocado cubed
1-2 chopped yellow, green or orange peppers
1 pkg. Good Season Salad dressing mix OR Fat Free Zesty Italian mix.


Blueberry Muffins

These are the most amazing muffins. Whitney can testify of their awesomeness. While we can't finish all 12 in one sitting, my kids will eat one for breakfast, one for lunch, one for snack...you get the point.

Wisk in a medium mixing bowl and set aside:

- 2 Cups Flour

- 1Tbsp. Baking Powder

- ½ tsp. Salt

In another medium mixing bowl whisk:

- 1 egg (for about 20 seconds)... add

- 1 Cup Sugar (whisk vigorously until thick about 30 seconds)... add

- 4 Tbsp. melted (slightly cooled) butter (whisk until mixed well)... add

- 1¼ Cups Sour Cream (whisk in 2 or 3 additions 20-30 seconds)

Add 1½ Cup Frozen Blueberries to dry mixture and toss them making sure they are all well covered with flour.

Pour wet ingredients over the dry and fold together making sure all batter is nice and moist (this takes another 30 seconds or so).

Bake in muffin tins at 350° for about 25-30 min (until golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean). When out of the oven and cool enough to handle, brush tops with melted butter and dip into granulated sugar. Enjoy!


Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

These are not healthy. Sorry. But not that sorry.

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

*1 1/2 cups flour
*3 tbsp. sugar
*1/2 tsp. salt
*4 tsp. baking powder
*1 tbsp. cinnamon
*2 eggs
*1 cup milk
*2 tbsp. corn syrup
*1/4 cup butter, melted
*1 tbsp. vanilla

In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Whisk together well.

In separate large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, corn syrup, butter and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium/low heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto griddle. Brown on both sides. Top with maple butter icing.

Maple Butter Icing

*1 cup powdered sugar
*1/4 cup butter, melted
*dash of salt
*1 tbsp. maple syrup
*1/4 cup milk, more if needed

Combine all ingredients. Enjoy.


Low-fat layered bean dip

I found this in one of Mom's cookbooks YEARS ago and it has been our go-to date night dip ever since. Despite all the chopping involved in this, it can be thrown together in less than 20 minutes.

1 can kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1/4 cup salsa
Fat- free plain yogurt (I use Greek yogurt, much more sour cream-ish)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped tomatoes
Chopped green onions
Sliced olives

In a blender, or using a thunderstick, blend together beans and salsa. Spread in a 9x9 (or slightly smaller) pan. Spread a thin layer of yogurt on top, just enough to cover the beans. Top with cheese, tomatoes, green onions and olives. Served with baked tortilla chips.

This doesn't make a lot, Neil and I polished this off ourselves. Double it if serving more than three people.


Whole Wheat Waffles

One of my aspirations in life (next to playing the violin and speaking French), is to have children that are used to eating a cooked/home-made breakfast every morning. We try to avoid cereal as much as possible. I admit I've been slacking lately though. So in efforts to get my breakfast thang back on, my next few posts will be devoted to breakfast.

I'm beginning to shun Bisquik (gasp!). Costs waaay too much with waaaay too many mystery ingredients. So for waffles, we whip out this baby...

1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3 Tbsp. Oil

Mix together with an egg beater.


Angel Hair Pasta Salad

This salad is delicious. It's not particularly masculine, but really, when is a salad masculine? Once again, this recipe comes from Mels Kitchen Cafe.

Angel Hair Pasta Salad:

*1 pound angel hair pasta
*1/2 cup olive oil
*5 cloves garlic, minced
*1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese (sometimes I sub mozz when that's all I've got - works great)
*2-3 fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced
*handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
*coarse salt
optional: toasted pine nuts

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and put in serving bowl. While pasta is boiling, saute garlic in olive oil until lightly browned. Pour garlic and olive oil over pasta and toss together. Sprinkle 1 tsp. salt and 1 cup of cheese over the pasta. Toss again. Let pasta cool slightly. Right before serving top pasta with the rest of the cheese, tomatoes, basil and pine nuts. Enjoy.