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Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Bread

There comes a point in the garden growing season that the bounty of fresh produce gets to a stage of mass production. While this doesn’t occur for every vegetable every year zucchini is usually one of the plentiful producers. That’s why it is a good idea to have many zucchini recipes on hand. A zucchini bread recipe is a must have if you grow zucchini.

One of the best things about zucchini bread is that it allows you to use zucchini that have gotten too big for much else. When zucchini is roughly 6-10 inches long it is best for grilling, roasting, and sautéeing, At this stage the skin is still tender and edible and the seeds are small or non-existent.

Once zucchini grow to over 12 inches and up to 30 inches and they are 2-3 inches around, their skin is tough and the seeds are large. These big zucchini lend themselves perfectly to being scooped out and turned into zucchini boats or shredded and used in zucchini bread, muffins, cake, and pancakes. It is a good suggestion to remove the large seeds before using the shredded zucchini in your recipe.

Another great thing about having an abundance of large zucchini is that you can save it for use later. It is one of the easiest vegetables to prep for storage; simply peel, shred, and freeze. I freeze mine in freezer bags and freeze 2 cups of shredded zucchini per bag. My zucchini bread recipe calls for 2 cups shredded, so it saves me measuring time later.

Growing up I loved my mom’s zucchini bread recipe, and it is the one I still use.

Of course we are at the stage in the garden where the zucchini harvest is plentiful and they are getting big. I decided to make up a batch of zucchini bread yesterday morning before work. The assembly time is easy and I was able to let it bake while I was getting ready for work.

The girls were awakened by the amazing smell of something baking in the oven. I let them have fresh, warm zucchini bread for breakfast. D3 has never cared for zucchini bread because of the vegetable factor. She doesn’t really like many vegetables. Yesterday she changed her mind. I also let the girls take some slices to school to eat or share.

I took the second loaf to work to share with my co-workers. They seemed to enjoy it very much; especially with a little bit of softened cream cheese spread on it. I also asked one of my co-workers ifshe would like to take the remainder of the loaf home for her husband and son. She didn’t argue a bit.

When I got home from work the loaf I had left for the family had also turned into an after sports snack for the girls. The zucchini bread gave them fuel to begin their homework and kept their hunger pangs at bay while I made dinner.

Do you have a favorite zucchini bread recipe that you use during the height of garden season? What other vegetables does your garden bless your life with? I would love to know how YOUR garden grows!

Zucchini Bread

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups peeled (grated, zucchini squash)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease and flour 2 bread loaf pans.
  3. Beat eggs until light and fluffy . Add sugar and oil and beat well.
  4. Stir in zucchini.
  5. Combine dry ingredients and cinnamon; add to egg mixture and stir until combined.
  6. Stir in vanilla.
  7. Pour ½ of batter into each of 2 prepared loaf pans.
  8. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees, until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack, in pan.
  10. Remove from pan and slice.
  11. Serve with softened cream cheese or butter, if desired.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2018 in Baking Recipes

 

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Whiskey Wednesday 5

Whiskey Wednesday 5

Happy Whiskey Wednesday! I hope you enjoy today’s wisdom and wit!

Whiskey Wisdom

Remember Age is Just a Number. Older doesn’t always mean better, even with Scotch. If you give me the choice of drinking a sub-par fifteen year old whiskey versus a sublime younger whiskey, I’m going to have to go with the younger one. After all, it’s all about the taste. So, while there are some whiskeys that are aged to perfection, don’t get hung up on the age! After all, it really is just a number.

Whiskey Wit

The best bottle of whiskey

The best bottle of whiskey

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2018 in Drinks

 

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Frito Taco Salad

Frito Taco Salad

When days get hot and life is full of summer activities it’s good to have fast, easy recipes to count on. This Frito Taco Salad recipe is great for a quick Taco Tuesday; but exciting enough to take to a picnic, family get together or potluck.

August has definitely been the busiest month we have had in quite some time.

Both of the younger girls spent time away with at least one of their older sisters. D3 got a little one on one time with both of her older sisters. While this seems like a great break for The Parents, there were pick- ups and drop offs to factor in to the schedule.

In fact, two of these pick-ups and drop offs included me making brunch for D1. In fairness, she was doing the picking up on both occasions that one of her younger sisters went to stay with her.

Add prepping for a new school year and sports practices, and our local small Kansas town summer festival to the month and dang. And we still have 10 days to go!

Another change to our world was D3 turned 16. Yes, there was the almost obligatory slumber party for teenage girls. There was also the traditional family get together. Then there was the extra time, energy, and excitement of getting a driver’s license. She passed with flying colors. Yay! Another one of my chicks’ wings are unfolding even more.

Oh, did I mention that it’s the time of year that the vegetable garden requires the most attention? Zucchini, tomatoes, melons, and more need picked and used daily.

So, that is why this Frito Taco Salad is a great recipe to have on hand. It is both easy and refreshing. D3 isn’t a huge fan, but it ticks all of the boxes for me and D4 (vegetarian) and The Hubs doesn’t mind it at all.

The recipe for Frito Taco Salad came from one of my dad’s aunts when I was a child and I make it at once or twice a year.

That’s why when your summer gets super busy and you are looking for an easy dish that’s loaded with flavor, doesn’t dirty a bunch of dishes, and is a salad loaded with protein look no further. Now, I won’t say it is the healthiest salad around, but it is definitely one of the most fun salads.

Let me know if you have a go-to summer salad that ups the traditional notion of what a salad is! I think this one is all

Frito Taco Salad

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce (chopped)
  • 2 cans Ranch Style beans (drained)
  • 1 cup Catalina dressing
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 2 to matoes (diced)
  • 1 bag Frito Corn chips
  • Optional
  • Green onion (diced)
  • Sour cream
  1. In a large bowl add lettuce, beans, tomatoes, dressing, and cheese. Toss to combine thoroughly.
  2. Just before serving, add chips and toss lightly.
  3. Garnish with green onion and sour cream, if desired.

Notes: If you add the chips too soon they will become soggy. I add the chips to each plate individually and let each person mix their individual portion on their plate.

that… and a bag of chips!

 

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2018 in Dinner Recipes, Vegetarian

 

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Battered Shrimp Tacos

Battered Shrimp Tacos

At least once a month I try to make something new for Taco Tuesday. This has produced some family favorites, like Tacos de Papas. However, once in a while something I think will be a big winner does not go over with my family. That was the case with these Battered Shrimp Tacos.

All four of the people living in my home eat shrimp during a normal food cycle. Let me explain what that means in my  household.

I do not eat red meat, occasionally eat chicken, and eat seafood. I am particular about the source of poultry and seafood, so even they are not daily occurrences.

Daughter Number Four has been a vegetarian off and on since she was born. When we tried introducing meat to her as a baby she did not like it. She would take it out of her mouth and throw it. Then, as a toddler when our older girls were in the cheeseburger stage she would ask if she could just eat the burger salad off of The Hubs burger. We finally discovered that meant the lettuce, onion, and tomato that he always got on his cheeseburgers. To this day she goes in cycles where she eats no meat. I believe that she is just that tuned in to her body, or her body communicates that well with her that she knows what she needs. On this day she was eating seafood.

Daughter Number Three has grown to like shrimp. She is my pickiest eater out of four, and typically a meat, potatoes, pizza, and macaroni and cheese kind of teenager. Normal, I would say. However, within the last few years she has discovered that she likes shrimp. So I just knew that Battered Shrimp Tacos was a good meal for her.

The Hubs is not picky. He eats all types of foods from Liver and Onions to vegetarian lasagna; from tuna noodle casserole to Chicken Shawarma. I cannot think of a food that he refuses to eat.

With all of the being said when no one liked the Battered Shrimp Tacos I was surprised. The feedback as to why they didn’t like the tacos was valid. In the past when I have made shrimp tacos the shrimp was fried or grilled, with a taco-style blend of seasonings. These were not seasoned and the family thought the coating was more geared toward Asian-inspired cuisine; especially the sweetness of the puffy batter.

Lesson learned. I will not make Battered Shrimp  Tacos again and stick to my previous methods for shrimp tacos.

However, I think I have found a good Battered Shrimp recipe for Sweet and Sour!

Battered Shrimp Tacos

  • Vegetable oil (for cooking)
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¾ cup unflavored seltzer water
  • 1 egg white (beaten)
  • 1 pound large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • Tortillas or taco shells for serving

Optional garnishes:

  • Slaw
  • Shredded cheese
  • Queso fresco
  • Diced onion
  • Lime wedges
  1. Pour oil into a deep fryer or large heavy-bottomed pan, at least 2 inches depth of oil. Heat over medium high heat to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine cornstarch, flour, salt, and chili powder in a medium bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour and cornstarch mixture and whisk in seltzer water and egg white until just combined.
  4. Dredge the shrimp in the batter, allowing excess to drain off. Take a few of the shrimp and place carefully into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Deep fry the shrimp, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through; about 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from oil to a paper towel lined plate or a wire rack to drain.
  6. Repeat until all shrimp have been cooked.
  7. Place shrimp in heated tortillas or hard taco shells and garnish with your favorite taco garnishes.
  8. Serve warm with lime wedges, if desired.

 
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Posted by on August 18, 2018 in Dinner Recipes

 

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Whiskey Wednesday

Whiskey Wednesday

This Whiskey Wednesday Post is going to the heart of the matter.

Wisdom

Today I am giving a bit of the history to the origin of the word whiskey (whisky).

Uisce beatha in Irish or Uisge beatha in Scottish is the literal translation in Gaelic for “water of life”. Uisce Beatha was translated from the Latin aqua vitae, used to describe spirits.

You can see why so many with Scottish or Irish heritage feel compelled, nearly obligated, to drink Irish or Scotch Whiskey. It is, after all, The Water of Life!

Wit

Home is where the Whiskey is

Home is where the Whiskey is

So, today when you pour a dram, make sure to toast to Life! Have a wonderful Usquebaugh Dé Céadaoin!

Sláinte

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2018 in Drinks

 

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Whiskey Wednesday – Wit

Whiskey Wednesday – Wit

This week i’m sharing a little bit of health advise in the form of whiskey wednesday wit.

calories matter

calories matter

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2018 in Drinks

 

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Roasted Summer Vegetable and Black Bean Tacos

Roasted Summer Vegetable and Black Bean Tacos

This time of year is one of the best for fresh produce. Here in Kansas late July and early August bring fresh corn, peppers, summer squash, and tomatoes. Roasted Summer Vegetable and Black Bean Tacos are a perfect way to use fresh summer vegetables.

I love roasted vegetables because roasting brings out the natural sweetness and a roasty caramelization. Plus, the nutrients of vegetables don’t get thrown out with the cooking water or steam out.

One of the downsides to roasting vegetables in the summer is the typical heat. Yesterday was an unusually cool day for the end of August, so it was perfect for turning on the oven to make Roasted Summer Vegetable and Black Bean Tacos.

I will admit that my family was not nearly as thrilled as I was. They are generally polite about Meatless Monday, but three people groaned when I told them what was on the men for dinner. I asked them to give it a chance and I would make it up to them later this week.

They did. The Hubs seemed to like the Roasted Summer Vegetable and Black Bean Tacos. D4 definitely liked them. D3 was a solid no. She ate the corn and the beans and didn’t eat anything else, unless you include the queso fresco and sour cream.

Later, I took a dish of the filing, some queso fresco, and some cilantro down to my mother. She thought the Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean tacos were excellent. I think she is hoping I will make them again soon.

Roasted Vegetable Tacos

Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Tacos

These Roasted Summer Vegetable and Black Bean tacos are a perfect vegetarian taco. They are full of flavor and protein. I can imagine pairing these with the Tacos de Papa for the ultimate vegetarian Taco meal!

What is your favorite taco filling? What is the taco filling that the people in your world would question if you served it for them? I can say that even though my family wasn’t as excited as I was, they enjoyed Roasted Vegetable and Black Beans more than the time we tried chapulines tacos in DC. In case you do not know what chapulines are, they are grasshoppers. That was one food adventure we won’t try again.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2018 in Dinner Recipes, Vegetarian

 

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Whiskey Wednesday 3

Whiskey Wednesday 3

Happy Whiskey Wednesday! Let’s start with a bit of Whiskey Wisdom.

If you have ever seen wine drinkers swirl their glass and take a sniff of their wine before drinking it, it isn’t just because they are pretentious snobs.

Whiskey drinkers are also, occasionally, seen swirling the glass and sniffing it prior to drinking. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First, after a good swirl of the first pour (careful not to spill any) hold the glass up so that light shines through. You can see the liquid run down the sides. The lines of running liquid are referred to as legs. The legs on whiskey are thicker and slower, which indicates higher alcohol content. Compare your whiskey legs to wine legs sometime and you will see the difference. Trust me, my whiskey legs are definitely thicker and slower than many of my wine drinking friends legs!

Next, take a small and gentle sniff of the liquid in the glass, with your mouth slightly open. Do this directly after the swirl. This allows you to smell the alcohol, and also allow the evaporating alcohols to take their first dance on your taste buds.

While it isn’t necessary to do this, it does give you an added level of enjoyment to drinking whiskey. Plus, it looks kind of cool.

So, when you go out or stay in this Whiskey Wednesday, give a swirl and a light sniff.

Whiskey Wit

Whiskey is a solution

Whiskey is a solution

Cheers!

 
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Posted by on August 1, 2018 in Drinks

 

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Butterscotch Brookies

Butterscotch Brookies

For six months or more I have wanted to try my hand at making this delicious decadent dessert called Brookies. Brookies are a layered dessert with a brownie bottom and a cookie top. When I was doing some grocery shopping the store was having a sale on butterscotch chips, so I decided that I was making Butterscotch Brookies.

As is my way, I read dozens of recipes to find the perfect recipe for Butterscotch Brookies. Also, as is my way, I didn’t find a perfect one. There were so many recipes that called for box mix brownies and cookie mix. Honestly, I did not even know that there was such a thing as cookie mix. Why does cookie mix exist?

There were several recipes that were close, but none were exact. While it threw me a curveball I did not let my disappointment in not finding what I wanted stop me. My ingenuity kicked in and I used pieces of my old stand-by brownies and a traditional bar cookie recipe. Additionally, I adjusted the baking time to account for the thickness of two layers.

Then I waited. About two-thirds of the way through the cooking time D3 looked up from a book she was reading in the living room. “Hey, Mom. What are you making? The smell just woke up the dog.” I look in to see Princess the Chihuahua standing on D3’s lap, nose in the air. That’s a good sign that the Butterscotch Brookies were going to be good.

Not 10 minutes later The Hubs comes to the kitchen and asks what I was making. I told him that it was a surprise and it wasn’t done baking. He started guessing; cake, cookies, pie… Nope. At that point I told him that although whatever I was baking was supposed to cool for 20 minutes before eating if he could guess what I made I would let him eat it whenever he wanted to. With that, he started inspecting the pan and checking out the smells in the air. More guesses: butterscotch goodness, brownie butterscotch cookies, brownie scotch cookies, butter brownies, scotch cookie brownie. D3 and I laughed as he guessed. Finally he got some hints and he guessed Brookies.

Butterscotch Brookie

Butterscotch Brookie

With that, he got out a knife to cut them. They were still very hot, but also very delicious. Once they had cooled I cut some to take to my mom and one of my brothers. Actually, I was thinking that his wife might like them, so he got Butterscotch Brookies because of her.

They were so incredibly good that I have already been asked to make them again. D4, who was spending the week with her oldest sister, missed out altogether. This morning she told me that she could not believe that I made one of her favorite desserts and she didn’t even get any. Really? I wasn’t even aware that she’d ever had Brookies.

Have you ever had Brookies? Were your brookies Chocolate Chip or Buttersotch Brookies? If you haven’t tried them yet, I recommend you make these.

Butterscotch Brookies

Brownie Layer

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cu granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup dark semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

For butterscotch cookie layer

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line it with parchment. Spray parchment with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add butter to a large glass bowl. Microwave until butter is melted, at 30 second intervals. When butter is melted add vegetable oil.
  3. Whisk in sugar.
  4. Add eggs, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth.
  5. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined.
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Pour batter into prepared 9 X 13 and sprinkle top with sea salt.
  8. Set aside.
  9. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars.
  10. Add the vanilla and eggs. Mix well.
  11. Add the flour, baking powder and salt.
  12. Mix well.
  13. Fold in the butterscotch chips.
  14. Gently drop the batter over the brownie batter. Spread the batter carefully.
  15. Bake in preheated oven for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
  16. Remove from the oven to a wire rack. Cool for 10 minutes. Carefully remove from the pan, using the parchment overhang. Place on wire rack to continue cooling.
  17. Cut while the bars into 2 X 2 squares while they are still slightly warm.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2018 in Baking Recipes

 

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Vegetarian Tamale Pie

Vegetarian Tamale Pie

Many years ago I had a recipe for Vegetarian Tamale Pie that I absolutely loved. I have no idea where the recipe went, but I was hungry for it last week. The two obstacles that I needed to overcome were recreating the recipe that I loved and making it slow cooker friendly. We had another very hot week in Kansas.

You might have thought that I was going to say one of the hurdles was getting my family to eat it, but I wasn’t concerned about that. I didn’t tell them that it was Vegetarian Tamale Pie. Wink.

I had a rough idea of what had been in the inside of the Vegetarian Tamale Pie that I loved; black beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, and green chiles. The topping was a relatively standard cornmeal topping. I was unsure if the topping would adapt well to the slow cooker so I looked to find a few slow cooker tamale pie recipes. There were several, but they all called for a box of cornbread mix. That wasn’t what I wanted.

Finally I found a recipe that had a homemade cornmeal topping and I adapted it. When the time came to put the topping on my Vegetarian Tamale Pie I became concerned. The recipe that I used to make had a thick topping and this was a thin and somewhat runny layer. Well, we would just have to see what happened.

I also had a few concerns about the cooking time. Set on low I was pretty sure that it would not take 8 hours to warm through, allow the flavors to meld, and cook the cornmeal topping. I checked in around lunchtime and was informed that it was definitely done.

The only thing remaining was to taste it and see how it turned out. By the time I got home from work and running a few errands the Hubs and D3 had already eaten. The comments were mostly positive. D3 said that it was very spicy, but she liked it in spite of that. The Hubs, not knowing that it was Vegetarian Tamale Pie, said that if it had shredded pork in it then it would taste just like tamales. I informed him that it was called tamale pie and that it was 100% meatless. He was impressed with the flavors, the texture, and the topping. He agreed with D3 that it was a little spicy.

I served myself a plate of it, and was so happy. The topping had risen to at least an inch thick, which was just what I wanted. The flavors were spot on and the black beans definitely gave the dish a texture that was close to ground beef.

The Vegetarian Tamale Pie was a huge success. I will definitely put this in the rotation. It is easy to make, doesn’t heat up the house, and it tasted great.

Do you have a recipe that you used to make and have lost? You should try to recreate it! You might just stumble on a way to make it even better.

Vegetarian Tamale Pie

Filling

  • 2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can whole kernel corn (drained)
  • 1 can Fire Roasted Salsa Style Tomatoes (drained)
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • 1 teaspoon chili seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 2 tablespoons green chiles (diced (optional))

Cornmeal Topping

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese (grated)

Additional Toppings, optional

  • Cheddar Cheese (grated)
  • Sour cream
  • Jalapeño (sliced)
  • Cilantro
  1. Spray the inside of the slow cooker crock with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, onion, and seasonings to the slow cooker. Add green chiles, if desired. Stir gently to combine.
  3. In a small bowl add the cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup add milk and egg. Whisk gently.
  4. Pour milk and egg into cornmeal mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Stir in cheese.
  6. Pour cornmeal topping over the filling, covering the entire top.
  7. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours, or until topping is crusty and beginning to brown slightly on the edges.
  8. Serve warm with optional garnishes, if desired.

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2018 in Dinner Recipes, Slow Cooker, Vegetarian

 

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