Thursday, July 28, 2016

Spiced Zucchini Sheet Cake

Raise your hand if you have an extra zucchini or two laying around right about now... Anyone? Yea, I thought so:@) May I recommend this Spiced Zucchini Sheet Cake which was a big hit at dinner on Sunday! I chose to cut the recipe in half and use my 9x13 sheet pan but please do-not-hesitate to make the full version in a regular baking dish. This is a very nicely spiced cake folks and of course the cream cheese frosting pairs with it perfectly.

My pics are of the last piece (which I wrestled from my sons:@) and just happens to not show the green flecks of the skin. But believe me, the green is in there. If you don't want folks wondering what that "funny" stuff is, peel the squash first. For a variation: There's a Chocolate Zucchini Cake HERE.
This is a very tasty way to use up some summer squash, you could use green or yellow.
All that's needed now is a cup of coffee or tea...

Spiced Zucchini Cake-adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch
2 C A/P flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt-I just added a little pinch
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 C sugar-I used 1/2 C
3/4 C brown sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 C applesauce
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 C sour cream
2 C grated zucchini-I let mine sit on paper towels to drain a bit while I mixed up the cake

Icing:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
6 Tblsp butter, softened
2 1/2-3 C powdered sugar-I recommend sifting it
1 tsp vanilla
  1. Grease 9x13 pan.
  2. Mix flour, powder, soda, salt and spices and set aside.
  3. In large bowl mix sugars, oil and applesauce. Add eggs, vanilla and sour cream, mix well.
  4. Stir in zucchini.
  5. Add flour mixture, mix until just combined.
  6. Pour into baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Cool completely.
  8. Icing: Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until fluffy. Ice cake.
Have a sticky sweet happy day:@)

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Soy Sauce, Dijon, Garlic and Rosemary Marinade for Pork Tenderloin (or Chicken)

"This is my new favorite marinade, is it on the blog?" Words to warm a mother's heart:@) Marinades that start with soy sauce always have big flavor, add in mustard, garlic and rosemary ~and~ a nice char from the grill... Oh Momma, this was great! I let mine marinate for over 5 hours, I see no problem letting it go longer. The only thing I did differently was, instead of adding slices of garlic into the meat, I minced it and added it to the marinade.
Important note to self: Always oil your grill grates well.
I've added the chicken label, I think this marinade would be great with that too.

Soy Sauce, Dijon, Garlic and Rosemary Marinade-adapted from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
1/4 C soy sauce
2 fat garlic cloves, minced-the original calls for 4 cloves, sliced and inserted into the meat
2 Tblsp whole grain Dijon mustard
4 Tblsp honey
2 Tblsp orange juice
1 Tblsp fresh rosemary, minced
freshly ground black pepper
3 Tblsp olive oil
1 pkg pork tenderloins (2 tenderloins, about 2-1.5 lbs)
  1. Mix everything except pork in large zip top bag (I smoosh it around with my hand). 
  2. Add pork and let marinate in fridge for at least 5 hours, flipping often.
  3. Put bag of pork on counter while grill heats up.
  4. Grill over medium/high heat with lid closed, for 4 minutes per side (think of the tenderloin as being square, flip it four times).
  5. Place on cutting board, cover with foil, let rest about 10 minutes, slice and enjoy!
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Christmas In July-(Philadelphia Eagles) Sports Nut Squirrel Pipe Cleaner Ornament

Christmas in July always tickles me! I stop by the thrift stores and watch QVC hoping to find something fun. As for crafts, my thoughts turn to ornaments because I'll be setting up my Eagles tree soon... This year's addition is a cute Sports Nut Squirrel Pipe Cleaner Ornament:@) The Eagles have been a little squirrely the last few years... Hopefully things get better soon!

These little guys can be personalized with any saying and any theme. Whatever someone is a "nut" about:@)

My squirrel looks like he's been eating pretty well... A few too many tailgating acorns perhaps???
You may want to make the head a little smaller and belly a little thinner.

  I didn't find a really good tutorial this time, just played around with what I saw on Pinterest HERE.
My ornament ended up around 2" and took almost 3 pipe cleaners and one bump chenille for the tail.
He's just hanging out waiting for football season to start... and he's not the only one!

Happy Christmas In July Folks-Stay Cool:@)

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday Snippets-Flavored Iced Tea, Lemon Pasta and Hot and Spicy Oregano

Iced tea and summer go hand-in-hand and I wanted to remind everyone of an inexpensive way to create flavored teas, I add one herbal tea bag to the pitcher with my regular or decaf tea bags. Add boiling water and I let the herbal tea steep for 5 minutes then remove it from the pitcher (let your regular tea bags steep for however long you normally would). My absolute favorite flavor is peach but raspberry is a close second:@) A fruit tea sampler, for around $2.20 at Walmart, is a great way to find your favorite.

 Do you have an Aldi near you? It's a fun place to stop every once in a while and I hear it's related to Trader Joe's. 
I found these lemon bow ties and think they'll be great with some garlic butter and a sprinkle of fresh basil for dinner tomorrow-
love the stripes! 

My coworker added a new herb to her garden this year, Hot and Spicy Oregano. 
It's a nice strong oregano that does bring a little heat in the background, great for Mexican dishes and salsas!
 
The write up from Bonnie Plants and you can click HERE for more detailed information:
Hot & Spicy oregano blends the easy-growing traits of oregano with the heat of a mild chile pepper. Flavorful leaves make a great addition to Mexican dishes. Plants form a nicely rounded mound with multiple trailing stems. Leaves boast a traditional oregano flavor, but with greater pungency.
I dried some in the microwave (instructions HERE) and once dry, we felt it still had that great oregano taste but did lose the heat.

Try to stay cool and have a great weekend everyone:@)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Cajun Honey Lime Chicken Wings

These sticky ~sweet with a little spice~ Cajun Honey Lime Chicken Wings would be a fun variation to add to your wing repertoire. I decided to make them when I found Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning at Dollar Tree... Been testing that out on several goodies lately:@) All the flavors worked well together and I loved the lime in these wings, it was really different.

My wings didn't get as dark as those in the original post. I'd either make the oven hotter, or more likely opt to bake my Crispy Wings with Cornstarch and just toss them in the Honey, Lime, Hot Sauce mixture once out of the oven. They'd be great grilled too-tailgating season is coming up-woo hoo! :@)
This is a tasty treat any way you cook them folks!

Cajun Honey Lime Chicken Wings-from Must Love Home
3lbs chicken wings
1/3 C creole seasoning-homemade here
1 C BBQ Sauce
2 Tblsp honey
1 Tblsp sriracha-I used Crystals Hot Sauce
Zest of one lime, save a little for garnishing
juice of lime, 1/2 for the sauce, 1/2 to squeeze on wings once done cooking
  1. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Liberally coat wings with creole seasoning and place on baking sheet, do not crowd them.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  4. Mix the sauce, reserving a little zest for garnish.
  5. After 30 minutes, baste the chicken with half the sauce. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Then baste with the other half of the sauce and bake for another 10 minutes.
  6. Place wings on serving platter and squeeze on reserved half of the lime juice and sprinkle with reserved zest.
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Lime-Mint Freezer Pickles

I'm making hay while the sun shines folks... And that means pickles in July. These Lime-Mint Freezer Pickles got a big thumbs up from everyone that tried them, and we all agreed pulling a jar out of the freezer in January or February would be a beautiful thing:@) Salt, lime and mint all tickle your taste buds in succession, this was a really great pickle! I've broken the recipe down to half pint jars in case you only have a few cukes and want to tuck one or two jars away for later. I promise this is really different and will be a fun conversation starter.

My second batch with red pepper, pic before it went into the freezer:@)
 I'll list the full recipe and my scaled down one below. 

 Lime-Mint Freezer Pickles-from The All New Ball Blue Book of Canning
Makes approximately 6 half pint jars.
2 1/2 lbs 3 to 5" pickling cucumbers, sliced 1/8" thin
4 Tblsp Ball pickling salt
1 Tblsp lime zest
1/4 C lime juice
1 1/2 C sugar
1 C chopped red bell pepper-I only had green pepper
3/4 C white vinegar
1/2 C sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/4 C mint, finely chopped-I used spearmint
2 garlic cloves, minced

Lime-Mint Freezer Pickles-One 1/2 Pint Recipe
Pickling cucumbers, sliced 1/8" thin, enough to fill 1/2 pint jar
2 tsp pickling salt
1/2 tsp lime zest
2 tsp lime juice
1/4 C sugar
1/6 C pepper, preferably red, but green is fine
2 Tblsp C white vinegar
2 tsp mint, minced, loosely packed
1 very small clove garlic, minced
  1. Toss cucumber slices and salt in large glass or non-metallic bowl. Cover and let stand for 3 hours. Drain and return to bowl.
  2. Add everything else to bowl, mix well. Cover and chill for 8 hours.
  3. Pack cucumbers into jars with large slotted spoon leaving 1" head space. Pour liquid over cucumbers leaving 1/2" head space. Add lids and store in freezer up to six months. 
  4. Thaw in refrigerator, refrigerate after opening and use within three weeks.
Preserve a little bit of summer and have a happy day:@)

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Pepperoni Pizza Zoodles

Wow, I enjoyed this one folks! I'm pleased to report that my planter has been producing zucchini:@) Pepperoni Pizza Zoodles is a great summer meal that comes together in no time. Zoodles love soaking up the flavor of onion and garlic, really do have a nice al dente bite and are fun to eat. Add in anything you like on pizza, I kept mine pretty simple, just pepperoni and cheese.

And if you have room in your diet for some carbs, go ahead and make this a Zoodles-N-Noodles dish. 
I just didn't want to heat up the kitchen with boiling water this time.

The sauce I used, no sugar, 40 calories per 1/4 C and very tasty! 

Pepperoni Pizza Zoodles
No real recipe, for each serving:
drizzle of olive oil
a little onion, sliced
a clove of garlic, minced
a big hearty handful of spiralized or Julianned zucchini
pinch of S&P
slices of pepperoni, as much as you'd like:@)
a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese
a couple spoonfuls of your favorite pizza sauce
a sprinkle of Parmesean cheese
  1. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add zucchini and salt and pepper, cook for a few minutes to heat through but don't let it get mushy. Toss the pepperoni into the pan during the last minute or so.
  2. Pour into pasta bowl, sprinkle on mozz, top with sauce and sprinkle on parm.
Eat well and have a happy day:@)

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