The One With A Zucchini Bread Fail

In my last post, I showed you what I got in my CSA box this week. Well, it included two huge zucchini. These remind me of the summer between working in DC and starting business school. My Aunt Melinda and Cousin Nancy decided to do a big garden and sell their produce at a couple of local farmers markets. Well, it was usually me and Emily that ended up having to do the early morning selling. We definitely have some interesting stories from that summer. Here’s a few pictures from that Summer:

The Garden

Macomb Square

Flowers

Now back to the reason I’m here. Yesterday, I went to my dad’s house and we made some kabobs with some marinated steak and the green bell peppers, tomatoes and some crimini mushrooms I picked up at the urban harvest market yesterday. I didn’t take a picture, but I should have because they looked so pretty with all the colors. We also grilled the corn, my dad had this method he read in a bbq book where you wrap the cob in a damp paper towel then cover with foil. Some pieces got a little over done, but it was still tasty. Then we sliced two of the zucchini lengthwise and added a little olive oil and S&P. The whole meal was fantastic.  I still had some zucchini left so I decided to make some bread. I shred it up using a cheese grater and added it to the following recipe:

Fruity & Nutty Zucchini Bread

“Wet”:

1 Good Sized Zucchini, Shredded

3 Eggs

3/4 Cup Oil (you can sub apple sauce for 1/2 cup, then use 1/4 oil, but if you do the whole thing with oil it gets a little spongy)

2 Cups Sugar

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Crushed Pineapple

Dry:

3 Cups All-Purpose Flour

2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Nutmeg

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 Cup Red Currants or Raisins (Optional)

1/2-1 Cup Chopped Nuts (Optional)

Mix the “Wet” ingredients until incorporated. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients except for nuts and currants. Slowly add dry mixture to wet and stir until just incorporated. Add nuts and currants. Pour into at least two loaf pans or 24 muffin tins. Bake at 350 for around 40 or until an inserted knife comes out clean or the top isn’t jiggly.

Here’s where I made my mistake, I poured it all into one giant loaf pan because I was too lazy to make a batch of muffins. Well, it ended up taking like 2 hours to bake and then i couldn’t get it out of the darn pan. This is a warning, it looks really gross, but tastes awesome.

FAIL: Half stuck in bottom of pan

It still tastes yummy though!

What’s in the Box Wednesday

Not much to say today, but thought I’d share my most recent CSA box. This week I have a huuuuge watermelon, sweet corn, kale, zuchinni, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, micro greens, banana peppers and okra. I’ll be honest, I have no clue what to do with the peppers and okra. I’ve gotten about this many of the peppers the past couple of weeks and have been sticking them in a bag in the freezer until I come up with an idea. I also have several peaches, jalapenos and an eggplant from last week.

Playing Ketchup

Well, the worst thing you could do when you start a new blog is not blog for a whole month. Honestly, it hasn’t felt like a month. I guess time truly does fly when you’re having fun…or something like it. I’ve been pretty busy and had to stay late a few weeks at work, then I went on vacation for 9 days and last week I was straight up lazy. So now I’m playing ketchup…(You’ll get my clever play on words shortly).

So, where did I go on my vacation you ask??

 

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Just kidding, I went to Roseville, IL – which is equally awesome. [That photo is from my Cali (specifically, La Jolla) trip a few summers back. ]

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That’s more like it…but this photo is actually in Peoria. Close enough!! It was a good time, we had a fiesta for my mom’s birthday which included our annual cupcake war. Sadly, I was dethroned… by ONE point. I’d really like a recount. Apparently, my cupcakes didn’t look good, but they tasted amazing. Personally, I think taste should be the most important factor. But I am the all time champ, just saying…I made a caramel apple cupcake which was an apple-y flavored vanilla cake and a caramel fudge frosting. It’s based on a recipe I found while making a family recipe cookbook for my cousin Josh’s wedding last year.  We also danced, grilled out, danced, saw some fireworks (it had like 20345 grand finales, according to Russell), danced, played some board games, and we did A LOT of dancing.

And of course, we had to make the trip to the Club for some of those “world famous” shoestring onion rings. Seriously, best onion rings ever. I decided to branch out and try something new but don’t even remember what it was, but I enjoyed it later because I was so full from the onion rings.

Club 41 also got some new menus a few years ago and it now includes cocktails, this is a shout-out to my China people – ZOMBIES!!!

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We also did a little gambling in Bloomington, IA…They had “my machine”. Sadly, I didn’t win anything.

 

ImageIt was a good time and I was sad to come home.

So when we got back, I decided to do a Whole30. For 30 days, you don’t eat grains, added sugar (artificial or natural, but fruit is okay), dairy or legumes (beans or peanuts). It wasn’t as hard as I thought…I support any kind of “diet” that lets you eat a boatload of avocados and olives. Those are 2 of my 3 favorite things… If cheese was allowed, I’d be set for life. We’ll see how it goes, I already feel like I have so much more energy…At 4PM, I don’t want to crash. And, my cravings for chocolate are pretty much gone, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still want to go to Chic-Fil-A everyday (i blame my co-worker Renee for that addiction 🙂 ) So now that brings us to the ketchup portion of this post, I decided to make my own ketchup and it was super easy. 

Easy Homemade Ketchup

12 Oz Tomato Paste (look for something where the only ingredient is TOMATOES)

1.5 C Water

2 TBS Distilled Vinegar

1/2 tsp Garlic

1/2 tsp Onion Powder (I used Onion Salt, b/c that’s what I have)

1/4 tsp All Spice (Note, all spice is it’s own thing, it’s not a conglomeration of other spices as some often thing)

– Stir over low heat until desired consistency is reached. Then pour (hopefully you have a funnel, unlike me) into your container of choice. This stuff is good. Really good.

I got the recipe from here:  http://notinmoderation.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/nailed-it-ryan-wilders-wicked-easy-paleo-ketchup/

I enjoyed a nice steak and some homemade baked matchstick sweet potato fries.

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Travel Notes a.k.a “bitching”: The trip started off on the wrong foot, at 10 AM on Friday morning we got an email saying that our flight at 4PM flight to Chicago was cancelled so they rebooked us on a noon flight. Umm… what? So we called back and they couldn’t get us out until 530PM. Sweet, well the guy didn’t mention is was 5:30 PM on Saturday, a full 24 hours after we were originally supposed to leave. So I called back again, and was able to get an earlier flight. Everything seemed to go smoothly, we got into O’hare early and were able to stop at Starbucks because our gates were about 4 apart. Skip to me standing at baggage claim in the Quad Cities, slowly I realize that I’m the only one still waiting. I go to the service desk and the guy says my bag is still in Chicago and it won’t get there until the next flight which gets in a 430 (It’s around noon at this point). Ok, that’s fine, can you deliver it b/c I’m driving an hour away. Then he looks it up in his notebook and says that it’s going to be $68. Umm, no it’s not. I will say this, they ended up waving the fee and the delivery guy was super nice, but United SUCKS. I won’t even get started on the lack of empathy and just general lack of service provided by customer SERVICE. We did have flight issues that put us behind schedule by about 8 hours on the way back. Neither were weather related. Honestly, I understand that stuff happens, but when just about everything that can go wrong does and you don’t apologize that’s where I lose my patience. I can’t imagine how i’d react in this situation: http://abcnews.go.com/US/united-passengers-stranded-days-china/story?id=16784289

Movin To The Country, Gonna Eat A Lot Of Peaches…

Millions of peaches, peaches for me…

Millions of peaches, peaches for free…

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me

Any time I hear the word peaches, I immediately sing that President’s song in my head. That song was IT in middle school. So were the Spice Girls and Cake. In retrospect, we  had a very interest taste in music.

Anyways, the past few weeks I’ve gotten peaches in my CSA box, but I’m not the biggest fan. My mom told me to make muffins but I was lazy & out of town on the weekends so I let them go to waste. However, today I was craving pancakes and decided to make peach pancakes. I slightly modified a basic pancake recipe from Martha Stewart. It turned out great – tasted like a slice of fresh peach pie. I served it with some maple syrup, eggs and thick cut bacon. Yum!

Fresh Peach Pancakes

1 C. all-purpose flour                        1 Tbs sugar                    1 Tbs brown sugar

2 tsp baking powder                         1/2 tsp milk                    dash nutmeg

dash ground cloves                           1/2 tsp vanilla               1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 C. milk                                              1 large egg                    1 tbs oil/melted butter

1 C diced fresh peaches

(1) In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.

(2) In medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients (except peaches). Slowly add dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated.  There may still be some lumps and Martha says that’s okay.

(3) Add diced peaches to mix and give it a quick stir. Then cook as usual. However, be sure to push down to make sure batter cooks around the peaches. You can press down to see if they are done inside. It’s like a cake, if it springs back it’s done.

I’ll post pictures, but I should warn you that I make ugly pancakes. Also, I either severely burn or undercook them. Despite their ugly looks, these pancakes tasted awesome.  Make these ASAP!

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My First Post!

Back the in the Summer of 2009, I was between 1st and 2nd Year in Business School and without a job. I spent those few months traveling for the most part with two weeks in China, Illinois, a week in California (LA & San Diego), D.C., NYC and then Wisconsin.  While in Wisconsin, I stayed at my aunt’s house and she “subscribed” (for the lack of a better word) to this thing called a CSA. It was a box full of different veggies that got delivered to their door. So, what is this CSA thing? CSA = Community Supported Agriculture. Essentially, you buy a “share” in a local farm and in return get a weekly delivery of fresh and locally grown produce.

So a few months ago, I decided to see if there was anything in my area. Come to find out, there is! I signed up for this wonderful farm called “Wood Duck Farm” in Cleveland, TX. It’s not far from where I grew up and has pick up locations all across Houston.  It’s $240 for a partial share and $350 (I think) for a full share which is for the full 10 weeks. So that breaks down to only about $24 for all this wonderful produce. Plus, it stays longer than stuff from the grocery store because it’s much fresher. So far, I’ve loved everything I’ve gotten. This includes: broccoli, kale, cucumbers, peaches, lots of greens (in the winter), cabbage, radishes, tomatoes (multiple kinds), potatoes, strawberries, lettuce, micro green, bell peppers, onion (I haven’t bought an onion at the store in a month or two and these taste fantastic), scallions and much much more! As is typical in agriculture, some weeks are bountiful and some weeks you are like “MORE KALE?! NOOOOOOO!!!!!”. I’m now finishing up my second season with the farm and look forward to what summer will bring us. I will definitely share the different things I make on here.

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