Zucchini Bread

I have always loved zucchini bread. I’ve never been too good at gardening. I should restate that. I can grow weeds very well! Its the things I want to grow…zucchini being one of those things…not so much. I am always appreciative if I am offered some of the fresh stuff and will never say no! 

I use a very simple recipe. First, the ingredients: 

  • 1 cup Oil
  • 3 whole Eggs, Slightly Beaten
  • 2 cups Grated Zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Salt

I often times add other things like walnuts or raisins. Have even grated some carrot a time or two. But this time it was just as the recipe says!

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans (this makes a double batch of bread).

First things first: grate the zucchini! 


In a large bowl, combine oil, slightly beaten eggs, grated zucchini, vanilla and sugar.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.


 Gently add the dry flour mixture to the egg batter, stirring until completely combined. Once fully incorporated, pour batter into prepared loaf pans and bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.




Serve warm with butter! Very simple and delicious!

Pickles

I’ve never canned pickles before. For whatever reason I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the whole process. That includes the growing of the veggies (or whatever) to can. Did I mention I am the anti-green thumb? I think this is why Farmer’s Markets were created! What a deal I got on a ton of canning pickles!

So…first thing I did was make sure I washed the jars, rings and lids. I made sure to put them on the sanitize cycle and had it finish about the time I was ready for them so the jars would be nice and hot. Put the new lids (I also put in the rings) into boiling water to prepare them for dealing.

After I scrubbed the cucumbers (see the picture above) it was time to cut them. Whether you slice them or not its a good idea to get that stem end off. If left on it can release enzymes that will make for mushy pickles. Blech! I decided to do a variety…sliced, speared and left whole.

I nearly forgot to mention! As I am doing this I have the pickle juice on the stove and am bringing it to a boil. Once at a boil it will be kept on simmer. At the end of this post will be the link to the recipe so you’ll get the nitty-gritty ingredient details.

Time to pack the heated jars. A side note: I do these one jar at a time…in the following picture it isn’t looking like that but trust me – in the end its what I done did!

Packing goes like this: fresh garlic clove on the bottom, cucumbers packed in tightly, fresh dill head and finally the boiling pickle juice filled leaving 1/4 inch head space. You don’t want air bubbles so I gently (and I do mean gently) tap the jars on the counter. Take out a lid that you have in boiling water and put on the jar and use a ring to tighten down.

This is what it would look life if you wanted to put them in a boiling hot water bath. You don’t need to do that necessarily with this method as long as you have sanitized everything and used HOT jars and lids and juice…but in case you want to really make sure the jars seal you can do it in a hot water bath for about 10 minutes. Sometimes the pickles turn out a bit mushy because you are essentially cooking them more.

Once the canning process is done it is important to let them cool in a draft free area. Being that I don’t have a draft free area I lay down a bath towel, place the finished jars on it and then cover the jars with another towel. You can kind of see that in the next picture of the final products.

I usually just ignore them over night – and jump with every POP of the jars’ sealing themselves – and in the morning check to see if they have sealed. You can tell if they have by pressing on the lids. If there is NO give they are sealed. If there is some give put them in the fridge and eat first. they are still okay to eat. Mark the date you made them on the top and you might want to notate which kind of pickles they are. The longer they sit the more pickley the become.

I can tell you that my youngest daughter has given these a 2 thumbs up (and apparently has been coming over and nabbing even more jars).

Click here for the Sweet Garlic Dill Pickle recipe – Enjoy!

I have never tried the African Flower before but have always wanted to. I’m thinking of an upcoming raffle that might be the perfect place for me to donate it to. So, Let’s begin…
I’m using an “H” or 5.00 mm hook for this project along with a variety of colors. Kind of a fun way to use of some of the extra yarn I seem to always have stuffed away.
Chain 5 and slip stitch at the first chain to form a ring. 
Chain 3 (this is going to be counted as the first double crochet).. 1 double crochet. *Chain 1, 2 double crochets – repeat from the * 4 more times. You should end up with a total of 12 double crochets in groups of 2 separated by a single crochet. Join with a slip stitch to the top of the first chain 3. Change colors.
Slip stitch in the the space to the right of the chain 3 in the previous ring. In the same space double crochet, chain 1, 2 double crochet. In the following 5 chain 1 spaces on previous row: 2 double crochets, chain 1, 2 double crochets. Slip stitch to the top of the first chain 3. When you are done there will be 6 sets.
Slip stitch into the next chain 1 space. Chain 3. 6 double crochets in the same space for a total of 7. In each of the next chain 1 spaces 7 double crochets. Change colors.
Single crochet in the top of each of the next 7 doubles form the previous row. At the space created by the sets of double crochets make a long double reaching down 2 rows to form the flower. (7 singles, 1 double, 7 singles, 1 double, etc). Change color.

Double crochet in the next 4 – the 4th should be the middle of the petal. 1 single crochet and double crochet in the same space. Double crochet around until you get to the middle of each petal. In that do 1 double, 1 single, 1 double. Finish off.
If you would like to add another round of color repeat the previous row.
Weave in ends and sew hexagons together using a whip stitch.
Once I have more progress I will update this post. 

Rerun

Interestingly enough, the last time I was able to post it was a snow day! And, yet again, here I am posting on a snow day! Those of you that may have grown up going to one of the schools in the Anoka-Hennipen School District you will realize that 2 snow days in one season must mean hell has frozen over!

As usual, I woke up a bit early to check out the weather reports. Looking at the seemingly 3 feet of snow on the top of my van (OK, so maybe it was more like 9 inches) I just knew school was going to be cancelled. But I wasn’t seeing the district listed so I pouted my way into the bathroom to shower and get ready for work. Soon enough the van is warming up (hoping to melt the snow off rather than scraping windows) and I am grabbing my stuff to head out…the phone rings and I get the news that, indeed, the school district had closed and we had a snow day. Good news! Of course they could have decided that before I’d downed 3 cups of coffee. No crawling back into bed for me!

Even though I’m a bit irritated with the whole snow at the end of April thing it was kind of pretty!

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