Chocolate Banana Zucchini Bread

Dessert for breakfast is ALWAYS a good idea.  Your ten year old self was correct…ice cream does taste best before noon.  As does chocolate cake.  And icing.  And pie.  And sometimes liquor, but that is more your 29 year old self talking, not the pre-adolescent peep squeak sneaking cookies for breakfast.  I don’t think I was the only kid sneaking ice cream on Sunday mornings before church.  Mom always knew….hollering down the hall that ice cream was not to be eaten before noon.  Such a party pooper…but as an adult, I have come to realize that she too wanted ice cream for breakfast, but had no way of rationalizing its consumption.  At least in front of her children.  An upside to having no children….I don’t have to hide when I am eating ice cream at 8am.

Thank goodness as adults we have learned to sneak these forbidden foods into acceptable breakfast fare.  Phew!

Muffins, especially those made by Otis…are just breakfast cupcakes.  Who are you kidding?  Oh, everyone.  That is right.  Awesome.

Pop Tarts…You are not fooling me.  You are a hand held pie.  Smooth move.  I applaud you.  You think you fool moms and dads alike, but you just brainwash them into thinking it is okay to feed their children pie for breakfast…and it is.  Golden.

Syrup….  Syrup = icing for pancakes and waffles.  Liquid sugar.  I adore thee.  My brother doesn’t like syrup.  Or popcorn.  Or ketchup.  I don’t think we are related.

And pancakes…ahem, cake?  I think so.  And thanks for making it acceptable to eat chocolate chips before the sun rises.  Oh and whipped cream.  You and waffles are to thank for that.

Mimosos and tequila sunrises and bloody mary’s…Thanks for hiding champagne, tequila, and vodka in tasty pre-noon acceptable beverages.   You make brunches on lazy weekends worth waking up for and bridal/baby showers a lot more giggly.   My ten year old self knew nothing of you…My adult self may know you too well – the one upside to being an adult…well, that and no bedtime or curfew.

And we are off…

Zucchinis….they keep finding a home in my fridge.  And those lovely brown eggs…all thanks to my CSA.  Have I mentioned how much I love this program.  I am hooked!

Shredding zucchini is a messy situation….

The usual cast of characters….plus zucchini and banana – ya know, so we can eat this for chocolate bread for breakfast.  Because fruits and veggies allow that bowl of sugar ooookkkkk to eat for breakfast.

Let the mixing begin.  That zucchini adds a crazy amount of moisture to the bread.  Not a whole lot of flavor…that is where the banana and chocolate take over.  Of which I didn’t capture on film (or memory card) because a bowl of chocolate batter, while it tastes glorious, it looks, well less glorious.  So, use that imagination of yours…and lets jump to the baked goodness.

And…voila!  That was easy, right!?!  Totally…minus that zucchini shredding.  I will be picking zucchini shreds off my counter for some time.

So, lets get this straight…add a vegetable or fruit to the mix and you are 98.76% guaranteed to have a possible breakfast food on your hands.  I used this rule of thumb for chocolate banana zucchini bread.  Dessert for breakfast, I am all for it….be it hidden in chocolate banana zucchini bread (making those parents happy ) or in plain sight, straight from the Ben and Jerry’s pint container.

Chocolate Banana Zucchini Bread
 
Ingredients
  • ½ Cup Dark Chocolate Cocoa
  • 1 + ½ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ½ Cup Vegetable Oil
  • ½ Cup Granulated White Sugar
  • ½ Cup Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups Zucchini, shredded and patted dry
  • 2 Medium Very Ripe Bananas, mashed
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper or grease bottom and sides, set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together oil, vanilla, and both sugars. Stir in eggs, bananas, and shredded zucchini. Stir until well combined.
  4. Fold in dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for about 45 – 60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean with a few moist crumbs sticking to the toothpick. You may need to tent the bread with tinfoil toward the end of the baking.
  5. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

 

 

 

 

Zucchini zucchini zucchini.  this is hilarious.  I like #5 and #3.

Just as I finish a batch of zucchini, I find that they are quickly replaced with more.  ’Tis the season.

Peach Crumble Pie

Man, are we in the dog days of summer.  And if I were a dog, I would be begging and pleading to be shaved.  And as the person hearing a dog talk,  I would oblige, because all that hair has to be hot and I have always wanted to shave an animal.  I can’t explain it.  It is like I should have been a sheep farmer.  They get to shave/sheer animals all the time.  I bet they don’t even enjoy doing it.  I think I missed my calling.

Did I just really confess my desire to shave animals?  Oy.  If you don’t believe me, my mom will tell you stories of me growing up pleading with her to let me shave our dog.  Poor Winston.  I did, however, hit him in the head with a bat and he had seizures the rest of his life.  Oh brother…I am not looking very good in the eyes of animal lovers.  Or anyone.  It was on accident…swear.   He was chasing the same ball that I was trying to hit.  Can we blame my grandma?  She is the one that was pitching.  Oh geez…now I am hitting dogs with bats and blaming grandmothers…I am just going to stop.

Peaches anyone?  Nice sagway right?

These peaches are from my CSA bag last week.  After a few days on my counter, they were ready to eat…at the same time, all in one day.  Argh!  Don’t you love how that happens?  The only way I know how to use 7 ripe peaches in one day is to make a pie.  And seriously, why do I have 7 peaches?  I definitely know how to feed an army, but for one?  I wonder if I will ever figure that out.  Until I do…sweet ripe fruit will be finding its way into flaky pie crusts and sometimes, if I am feeling funky…crumb topping will be piled sky high.  Butter and sugar atop ripe summer fruit, all wrapped up in a buttery flakey pie crust…need I say more?  No.  I don’t.  Never.  Ever.  Again.

You are gonna need pie crust.  This, you can do.  I have total and utter faith in you…Be bold.  Get to it!

And ripe juicy peaches.  Pit those suckers and don’t bother peeling.  That is a pain in the arse and not necessary if your peaches are thin skinned.  Being thin skinned has its perks…if you are peach.

Slice.  Toss.  Do it with a gentle hand…no mashing those delicate peaches.  They are dainty…how southern of them.  Yes, I assume most things that are southern are dainty.  Never said I was right in the head.

Pile those peaches high.  Pack them tight.  Leave no wiggle room.  We are making peach pie, not air pie.   Seriously, this is why I love summer.

And now the tricky part…crumb topping without making a mess.  Ha!  Handful by handful, pile it high.  Those lost crumb pieces…they were delicious.  But again, it is butter mixed with sugar…

Pie complete.  Well, almost.  It has a date with the oven.  A hot date.

PIE!  Peach crumble pie…Oh I want to curl up in this pie and eat my way out.  Have I mentioned my love for pie?  Because I LOVE pie.

Peach Crumble Pie
 
Ingredients
  • CRUST
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, very cold
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Shortening
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Granulated White Sugar
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Ice Water
  • FILLING
  • 6-8 Medium Peaches, pits removed and evenly sliced
  • 1 Cup Granulated White Sugar ( can cut down to ¾ Cup if peaches are sweet)
  • ⅔ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ Teaspoon Almond Extract
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • CRUMB TOPPING
  • 1 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted and slightly cooled.
Instructions
  1. Prepare Crust. I prefer making pie crust in a food processor. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse several times to combine ingredients. Add very cold butter and vegetable shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 seconds.
  2. With food processor running, slowly add ice water in a steady stream until the dough starts to form a ball. You do not want the dough to be wet or sticky. The amount of water needed can vary each time dough is made. It is best to add water slowly, tablespoon by tablespoon until the dough starts to come together.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape in a round, flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour before using.
  4. Preheat oven to 400F.
  5. One hour later…Roll dough out into a circle, 12 inches in diameter. After a few strokes with the rolling pin, rotate the dough, making sure it isn’t sticking to the work surface. Carefully, fit dough into a pie plate (don’t stretch) and crimp edges. Place in freezer until ready to use.
  6. Prepare crumb topping. In a medium bowl, combine 1 Cup oats, 1 Cup flour, ¼ Cup white and brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 stick melted butter. Mix to combine and place in fridge until ready to use.
  7. Prepare filling. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, ⅔ cup flour, ¼ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon coriander.
  8. In a larger mixing bowl, toss sliced peaches with ½ teaspoon almond extract and the juice of 1 lemon.
  9. Sprinkle dry ingredients over sliced peaches and toss carefully to coat peaches.
  10. Remove pie crust from freezer and evenly place peaches in pie crust.
  11. Carefully top pie with crumb topping. You will need to gently press the crumb topping onto the peach filling, ever so carefully.
  12. Place pie onto a cookie sheet (will catch any drippings) and transfer to preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 375F and bake for an additional 45-60 minutes until the crumb topping is golden brown and the juices are bubbling. The crumb topping will brown before the juices begin to bubble. Wait for the juices to bubble! If the crumb topping or crust begin to brown too quickly, tent with a piece of tinfoil.
  13. Remove from oven and place on wire rack and a let cool completely before slicing.
  14. If it is humid out, the crumb topping my begin to soften within a day or 2. Do not cover pie until completely cool to avoid crumb topping from softening.

 

Blueberry Muffins

Working the weekend…kinda sorta stinks.  Like dirty socks.

It is hard.  And cruel.  And unfortunately, necessary.

Wanna know what makes them easier?  Blueberry muffins and a decent Pandora station.  Fact.

Oh! and coffee….lots and lots and lots of coffee.  Which, thankfully goes very well with blueberry muffins and good music.  It is like they knew weekend mornings spent at work would be hard…they joined forces to make the whole situation bearable. Because if you have to work the weekends, you might as well make them easy breezy and enjoyable.

 

 

You can probably guess what I did this weekend….oh yeah, I worked.  And it was awesome.  Well, mainly because of the coffee, muffins, and music.  The actual work bit was a bit overrated, because lets be real, it was the weekend and no one likes to work the weekend, including myself.  But I am all about doing what needs to be done…and so I did it.  In yoga pants and a ponytail.  Did I mention the constant flow of coffee?  Or how about the music?

What is your favorite Pandora station?  Currently, I am stuck on Ryan Bingham.  That voice, serioiusly!?!  I can not get enough.  But this weekend, I mixed it up with a bit of The Boss and The Avett Brothers…and whatever else Pandora thinks I should listen to.  Which included some Paul Simon and The Stones.

And to add a bit of sweetness to the whole bitterness of working weekends ( you can tell I am a fan of weekend work!)…muffins are a must.  I knocked out some blueberry muffins this time around.  Oversized muffins, nesteled in rustic parchment paper muffin cups ( rustic = forgot to buy actual liners), bursting with blueberries, doused with a  heavy coating of crunchy sweet struesal topping.  These are weekend muffins.  Destined to make your co-workers love you.

Dry ingredients.  Wet ingredients.  Muffins are that simple.

    POUR.

MIX.

Ever so gently.

BLUEBERRIES!!!!

And into the muffin tins.  No paper liners?  No biggie…parchment paper to the rescue!

Top with streusel.

 

Blueberry Muffins
 
Makes 1 dozen muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 + ⅓ Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • ⅓ Cup Cornmeal
  • ⅓ Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1 Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Pint Blueberries
  • Streusel Topping
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter, melted
  • ¼ Cup White Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ Cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • ¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line muffin tin with liners.
  2. Make topping first. In a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of melted butter, ¼ Cup sugar, ¼ cup oats, and ¼ Cup flour. Mix well and place in fridge until ready to use.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cornmeal, old fashioned oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a smaller bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract.
  5. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and with a rubber spatula, gently mix ingredients just until everything is incorporated. Do not over mix. Fold in blueberries.
  6. Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, about ¾ full. Remove streusel topping from fridge and press about 1 to 2 tablespoons of streusel on top of each muffin.
  7. Place in preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Can be stored in an air tight container once completely cool. Will keep at room temperature for a few days.

 

 

 

One A Day … Week #7

Week #7.

This week, while I took a few pictures each day, I kinda forgot which day each was taken.  So these are in random order, for the most part.  I need to find a better organization method besides ‘ I will remember that I took this picture on Tuesday’, knowing darn well that come Sunday…I will not remember.  Whatsoever.  At least, I haven’t yet.

Here we go….

I couldn’t find matching socks … so this happened.  I felt like I was keeping a secret all day long at work.  It was kind of fun.  Weird, right?

What is a week without Stan.  Such a ham.

Work watermelon.  I was pleasantly surprised by the black seeds and I had this urge the entire time that I was eating, to spit the seeds across the pharmacy.  I didn’t. But boy did I want to.

Blank canvas.  At this point, I realized that I had forgotten to transfer the pictures from the memory card to my computer before deleting them entirely.  Doh!  The page remained blank for a few days longer…

Day lilies surround my patio … they are hearty little suckers.  Which is a good thing, as I am not a faithful watering gardner.

And of course I have weeds, but at least the weeds are pretty.  Queens Anne Lace, which I just googled and it is also known as wild carrot in the UK.  That my friends, is a random fun fact.  That, and did you know that Chipper Jones’ real name is Larry.  Yeah, Chipper is way better.  Sorry if your name is Larry.

 

I had to remake the farro salad.  Therefore, I had a super healthy and filling lunch on Friday.

Saturday’s big decision.  I went with the strappy navy blue ones.  I have a bit of a shoe … well, I don’t like to call it a problem.  Collection?

Target clouds via Instagram.  Oh Target…some day I will walk through your doors and only buy the one thing I was looking for, instead of 20 random items.

All in all, week #7 was good.  And onto week #8 we go!  Have a great week friends!

Roasted Vegetable and Caramelized Onion Farro Salad

I stood at my kitchen sink yesterday, elbow deep in hot sudsy dish water, cleaning the dishes that couldn’t be stuffed into the dish washer, no matter the configuration of the other dishes already piled in there.  I had just turned the dish washer on and it was rumbling along and I was above it clanking along, we were in harmony.  Note:  A single gal should not have as many dirty dishes as I end up with on a daily basis.  I think someone is sneaking in when I leave and dirtying all of my forks and spoons and cups and wine glasses and plates….sigh.  I wish they would clean up after themselves.  Anyway…there was double duty dish activity happening and I was tapping my foot (and a bit of sporadic all out dancing) along to the playlist I had created the night before, which consisted mainly of Zac Brown Band and Ryan Bingham.  All in all…I could not have been happier.  I was in my element.  Not so much the dishwater and dirty water, but the kitchen.  Moments earlier, I had dirtied those dishes making muffins and then a salad.  And they would need washing again later when I tried my hand at hummus and then a salad dressing and so on and so on …. My apron would not be hung up until late evening.

Pretty much the perfect day off.

The salad bit was not in my original game plan, as I had planned to post the recipe days ago.  Imagine my horror Wednesday evening when, as I was eating the last morsels of farro from my dinner plate, the very last tidbit of the salad itself, as in no more leftovers remained hidden in my fridge…I realized that I had deleted the pictures of the salad that I had just finished devouring.  Doh!

I had planned to make it again, just not twice in one week.  But since I am an avid salad eater, repeating this dish wasn’t exactly a problem.  To waste, it would not go.  Plus, too much salad is probably better than too many cookies or too many muffins or too many brownies…OK, I lie.  Too many brownies isn’t possible.  Never.  Ever.  God, I love brownies.

 

We are gonna need some veggies.  Duh, it is a salad after all!  Round up some green beans, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions.  Done.

 

A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper … all ya need for magic.

Well, not real magic.  I can’t even do card tricks.  I just roast vegetables.  Kinda like magic.  It feels like magic.

 

Oh!  And onions.

We are gonna cook these down until they become sweet and down right, melt in your mouth good.

But seriously, they will melt in your mouth.

 

 

It takes time.  Time we have.

Oh caramelized onions are glorious things.

 We could stop right here and pile these puppies atop goat cheese slathered on a crusty thick cut baguette and call it a day.

But hey, we have a salad to finish.

 

Now comes the tossing.  I am a terrible salad tosser.

More on the counter than in the dish.

I am messy.

Don’t tell, but after I ate the small bowl, I took my fork and continued right onto the skillet.

I have no manners.

Roasted Vegetable and Caramelized Onion Farro Salad
 
Ingredients
  • 1 large bunch green beans (about 2 cups), ends trimmed
  • 2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes, a mixture of red and yellow
  • 8 ounces Mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Medium Yellow Onions, medium slice
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Farro, uncooked
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread out green beans and tomatoes on baking sheet. Drizzle with 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat vegetables. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in preheated oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until tomatoes begin to split open.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a pot water (about 4 cups worth) to a boil and then add farro. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until al dente. Drain and set aside. (when this is ready, everything else should be close to finished)
  4. While the vegetables are roasting and farro is cooking, start the onion and mushroom caramelization. Place a cast iron skillet (or any heavy bottom skillet) over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil and butter. Once the butter is melted, add sliced onions and mushrooms and toss to coat. Let cook, untouched for 5 to 7 minutes. Toss. Let cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, untouched. At this point, add a pinch of salt and toss. Remove skillet from heat, add balsamic vinegar, and toss to coat. Return skillet to heat and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until onions are browned and broken down (another 10 to 15 minutes).
  5. In a large serving bowl, toss together the roasted green beans, tomatoes, caramelized onions and mushrooms, and farro. Serve warm.