Chocolate Zucchini Cake

So yesterday when I was googling whether or not I could freeze shredded zucchini, I read a post from a mom who was raving about chocolate zucchini cake. I was telling Matthew, and he asked me to make it. I was a little hesitant b/c he doesn’t really like cake, but I thought it was worth a try. I could always take to school and someone would eat it, right?! Especially because I didn’t think it sounded good AT all!

Boy, was I wrong! I love it when that happens That never happens!

The cake is chocolaty, but not too much, and moist…oh so moist! So good with a big glass of skim milk. You can’t even tell that zucchini is in it. And it doesn’t taste anything at all like the zucchini muffins I made  yesterday.

Here’s the recipe I adapted from mommysavers.com thanks to mommy2mercedes:

1/2 c butter
1/2 c applesauce
1 3/4 c sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 c cocoa
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2
c zucchini, grated
3/4 c
chocolate chips

Cream butter,add applesauce and sugar,mix.

Add next 8 ingredients; mix well.

Fold in the chips.

Put in a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan.

Bake at 325 for 1 hour or til done.

I still have 2 cups of the zucchini left from the one I shredded yesterday…what will I do with that? Not to mention the other two HUGE zucchini that I picked yesterday!

Zucchini Bread or Muffins…Whatever!

Who would have thought that the zucchini plants we planted would grow such humongous zucchini! The one I shredded today ended up producing six cups of shredded zucchini. I have two even bigger ones on my counter waiting for their turn!

Tony and I love zucchini bread–or boys still haven’t quite decided. Anyway, since I’m back at school I thought that making muffins would be easier to eat and travel with then loaves of bread. I started shredding one of them and couldn’t believe how much it produced. Good thing you can freeze shredded zucchini!

The recipe I used was from Paula Dean, gotta love her. I didn’t add the walnuts though–not a fan of nuts in my muffins! It takes a lot of flour, sugar, and eggs and requires getting  quite a bit of dishes dirty, but the end result is worth it. I think her secret is just the right combination of nutmeg and cinnamon. The muffins taste almost like Amish Friendship Bread. Out of the 36 muffins I finished making 30 minutes ago, we’re already down to 30. So much for not overeating!

I’m definitely going to freeze the shredded zucchini though. Homemade zucchini muffins sure do taste better with the zucchini that you grew in your own garden!  Okay, I’m proud of my garden. Give a girl credit! I’ll stop harping soon.

Back in the Kitchen Again with Items from Our Garden

School started on the 17th. I headed back to my classroom the week prior.  Getting the room ready + lesson plans + first week of school = no cooking for two weeks. Burgers, pb and j sandwiches, easy mac, and eating out don’t count!! But tonight I went back to what I love doing–cooking! And it feels good! Especially cooking next to my husband (thank goodness for fenced in backyards)!

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that Tony, me, and the boys planted our first garden this spring. Well, the tomatoes are starting to get ripe so we decided to make a tomato sauce for pasta. Not as thick as we would have liked, but besides the white wine, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and an onion from my aunt Terri’s garden, everything in the sauce was from our home grown, organic garden!! And it tasted DELISH!

Using my new favorite tool, the alligator, we chopped two of our green peppers and three of Aunt Terri’s onions. Tony sauteed them before adding them to some olive oil, six or seven home-grown tomatoes, garlic, white wine, salt and pepper, and chopped up rosemary, basil, and oregano from our herb garden. We brought it to a boil then covered and simmered for about a half hour.

Meanwhile, we decided to also make pork sausage meatballs with the left over pork sausage from our morning breakfast, biscuits and gravy (a recipe I’ll never reveal!). I added some more basil, a handful of bread crumbs, and an egg before Tony lightly fried them in olive oil. For an after thought of an idea, they were really good!

Penne pasta, topped with meatballs, and homemade tomato sauce made for a great meal. One that Matthew said, “Oooohhh, I don’t like it. It smells really good but looks bad!” Of course, after his first bite he immediately liked it and only ate three servings!

Man, does it feel good to eat something that you grew in your own garden! Rewarding as well as delicious! YUM-O!

Destihl

So Tony and I met friends out for dinner on Saturday night at one of my favorite restaurants in B/N–Destihl. It was amazing!

Tony, of course, got this:
Gaucho Skirt Steak
Grilled Skirt Steak topped with Ranchero Sauce and served with Grilled Red Onions and a Grilled Jalapeño over Ancho Rice.

It’s his favorite and was amazing!

I tried this: (not sure why the font changes here–can’t seem to fix it either)
Green Chile & Cavatappi Pasta
Cavatappi Pasta with Ancho Chicken, Roasted Corn, Green Chilies and Black Beans, tossed in a Light Corn Cream Sauce and topped with White Cheddar Cheese.

I had been wanting to try this for a while, but the last time we went the waiter told me that he would absolutely not let me order that. So I tried again this time. This time our server said it wasn’t very good, but recommended that I get it with the mac-and-cheese sauce b/c it’s melted cheese rather than just shredded cheese on top and broth as the main sauce. Anyway, it was really good! I don’t usually order pasta when I go out to dinner, but I would definitely order this again. Too bad they are taking it off the menu!

Our friends ordered these dishes:

Stuffed Roasted Poblano Pepper(s)
Fire Roasted Poblano Pepper(s) stuffed with White Cheddar
Cheese and Mashed Potatoes, served on Ancho Rice & Beans and a Roasted Red Pepper Sauce with Basil Oil and Chili Oil

Top Sirloin
Grilled 8 oz. Top Sirloin served with Mashed
Potatoes and Sautéed Green Beans

They ate them up, too!

Besides the food, the other great thing about Destihl is the beer and their drink menu. Tony loves their Redbird Ale while I really like their more fruity beers! Saturday I got the Raspberry Wheat Ale which is really good! A very light beer, not as strong as Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss, but similar.

Seriously, if you haven’t been here, you really should go!

Pork Pot Stickers

My kids aren’t picky eaters, but they do tend to favor certain foods over others. For instance, Daken LOVES mac and cheese. Matthew on the other hand goes more by the looks of food as to whether or not it’s good! I love when I find an easy recipe that both Tony and I like that boys like as well.

Pork Pot Stickers fit the bill! Remember last week when I cooked that pork shoulder to make Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sandwiches then used some left-overs to make Hawaiian Pizza? Well, tonight I used the rest of the pork and the rest of the Hawaiian sauce to make Pork Pot Stickers. YUM-O!

All I had to do was add some garlic, a scallion (instead I used a very tiny red onion that was the only surviving onion in our garden), some cilantro, and a pinch of salt and pepper to the pork, which I chopped up. I then put about a tablespoon of that mixture on the wonton wrapper, and folded it up (she has a video to show you, but I didn’t watch it!). Tony then lightly fried them in a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil.  The recipe calls to make 12, but I had more meat than that, so I ended up making as many as it took to use up all the meat mixture.

We served the pot stickers with brown rice that I added a little pineapple juice and chunks of pineapple to. And of course, little bowls of the Hawaiian Sauce to dip the pot stickers in. I didn’t do any fancy presentation or anything, but it would have been easy to do with this meal if you want to impress someone!

My boys ATE THEM UP!! As did Tony and I. They were soooooooooooooo good! It would be a great appetizer or hors d’oeuvres–just set them on a platter with a bowl of the sauce. I know that I would be going back and back and back to that tray! Again, a 5 out of 5 on my scale. Easy, good, and a family pleaser!

So if you make the Hawaiian Pulled Pork, definitely keep some pork so you can make these later in the week!

Birthday Dinner

No cooking for me tonight. Instead we went to my favorite family friendly restaurant–Famous Daves. For none other than…guess…you’re right…barbecued pulled pork! It wasn’t like the Hawaiian Pulled Pork I made the other night, but really good nonetheless. And the best part was–I didn’t have to clean up afterwards!

Tomorrow night my hubby and I, along with a friend and her husband are going out to my other favorite local restaurant, Destihl. There food is definitely classy and upscale, but it still is a brewery so it’s a little laid back. Hard to describe, but FANTASTIC. Everything on the menu that we have had has been terrific! I’ll let you know what I decide to have tomorrow. But what I can tell you is everything on their menu makes my mouth water! If you haven’t been there yet, and are in the area, you must GO! One word, okay two words I’ve learned from Rachael Ray, describe it–YUM-O and DELISH!!

Hawaiian Pizza (A Round 2 Recipe)

Two of my favorite types of pizza + my favorite sandwich all rolled into one = HEAVEN!

My two favorite types of pizza are barbecue chicken and Hawaiian (pineapple and ham).  This one adds my favorite sandwich, barbecue pork.

Tonight we used the left over pork from Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sandwiches along with the left over Hawaiian Sauce (I also made another batch) to make a Hawaiian Pizza. I only had to get pizza dough and mozzarella cheese. The recipe calls for onions too, but my boys aren’t big fans of onions on our pizza so instead I used two sweet peppers (grilled them first) from OUR garden! AWESOME!  Well, except for the fact that I didn’t realize I bought a different kind of pizza crust than I usually do so it got a little crisp, but it was still REALLY good.  The pineapple and peppers gave it just enough sweetness to complement the tangy Hawaiian Barbecue Sauce.

Of course, my youngest didn’t eat any–he’s only into eating “mac-nee-cheese.” Seriously, that’s all the kid wants: morning, noon, and night! “Mac-nee-cheese” was the only thing I could get him to eat for breakfast besides a fruit roll up and gushers. At least the “mac-nee-cheese” that he ate tonight was the homemade one that I made on Tuesday night. Silly kid!

The rest of us enjoyed our pizza. My oldest ate a small piece before downing the rest of the macaroni. I added broccoli to it: that kid LOVES broccoli.

Anyway, another 5 out of 5 meal. Delicious and easy. Just make sure you read the directions to the specific crust you buy: don’t go from memory! 🙂

Let me know if you try it and what you think.