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Monday, July 30, 2012

Zucchini Brownies



Our garden is doing just okay this year.  We planted zucchini, squash, peas, tomatoes and a variety of peppers. We're not overloaded with anything, but our zucchini seem to be doing the best so far. We've been roasting and grilling most of it to eat with our dinners.  Surprisingly, these brownies are the first sweet treat we've made with our zucchini.

If you like cake-like brownies, these are it. They are moist, chocolately, and cakey. And a bonus - made with whole wheat flour, applesauce, and of course the zucchini, they are healthy!  Healthier than your average brownies, anyway. :)

Here are a couple pictures of my helper.  She loves going to the garden and looking for ripe vegetables that are ready to pick.


And the finished product....I was really hoping she didn't drop the whole plate :) She didn't! We brought them along to a cookout and they were a big hit!




Source: Baltic Maid

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup / 200 g sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml applesauce
  • 1 cup / 150 g whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup / 45 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 cups (about 300 – 320 g) grated zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.

In a bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, and the applesauce.

Sieve the flour and the cocoa powder into another bowl. Add the baking soda, the cinnamon and the cardamom. Mix well.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and combine until the dry ingredients are mixed in well.

Add the grated zucchini and the chocolate chips. Mix once more.

Pour the brownie batter into a greased 8 x 8” / 20 x 20 cm baking tin or something with similar dimensions.

Bake at 350°F / 175°C for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out somewhat clean.

Allow to cool completely in the pan.



Friday, July 27, 2012

Chocolate Pudding


I'm back to work now after maternity leave and starting to get back into our normal routine of things - waking up early, working, cooking regular dinners again, and now blogging. I signed up for another round of the Recipe Swap. This time, the theme was Blogger's Choice.  Pick any recipe you want from the assigned blog.  My favorite theme!  There's only one problem with this theme. How do you choose?! I usually find several recipes I want to make and this round was no different.

I received Angie's blog: Coffee and Cannolis. Browsing through her posts, I knew I wanted to make something sweet. I quickly decided to make Root Beer Float Brownies. yum! No wait...the Sugar Cookie Bars looked good, too. Then I saw her post for Homemade Chocolate Pudding.  I've never made my own pudding before. It looked simple enough and it was chocolate. Sounds like a winner! I looked no further.

I made this during a rare quiet time in our house now - both kids napping at the same time. So weird, but so nice! I never knew making pudding was this easy.  I always buy the boxed instant pudding - never the cook & serve. The pudding turned out silky smooth and very chocolatey.  It's an easy way to use up extra milk you may have without needing a lot of other ingredients.

Source: The Essence of Chocolate by John Scharffenberger


Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups whole milk (I used 1% milk)
  • 6 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions:
Combine the cornstarch, sugar and salt in the top of a double boiler. Slowly whisk in the milk, scraping the bottom and sides with a heatproof spatula to incorporate the dry ingredients. Place over gently simmering water and stir occasionally, scraping the bottom and sides. Use a whisk as necessary should lumps begin to form. After 15 to 20 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, add the chocolate. Continue stirring for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until the pudding is smooth and thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a serving bowl or into individual serving dishes.

Place plastic wrap on top of the pudding and smooth it gently against the surface before refrigerating. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 days.



Saturday, July 7, 2012

Orange Push-up Smoothies





I'm sure many of you are experiencing the same miserable record-breaking heat wave that has been happening here in Ohio lately. Everyday it's been close to, or above, 100 degrees with high humidity. We're doing the best we can to stay out of the heat and cool off. The recipe I'm sharing today does just that. Remember Orange Push-Ups? It looks like they have gotten a little fancier since I've had them as a kid (a rainbow of 4 flavors?!). When I was young, we spent a lot of time at my grandma's. Her neighbor across the street who would always give us Push-Ups in the summertime. Of course we loved that neighbor and liked to visit his freezer him every chance we got!


This smoothie tastes just like the real thing.  The orangey, creamy, sweet smoothie is a refreshing way to cool off and bring back some fun childhood memories. When you're mixing the ingredients, adjust the sugar to your taste. I used 3/4 cup, the original poster used 1 cup. Start with 1/2 cup and go from there. 

Source: Averie Cooks


Ingredients:

  • 1 can orange juice concentrate, slightly thawed
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1/2 cup sugar, or to taste (depending on how bitter the concentrate you use is, you may want to use more.  I used 3/4 cup.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups ice, or to taste


Directions:

Combine all ingredients, except for the ice, in a large blender and blend until smooth and creamy, taking care the sugar has dissolved and is well incorporated.  If desired, add a splash more water or more milk.  Add the ice and blend until smooth.
Makes approximately three eight-ounce portions.
 
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