Tag Archives: garden

MORE Zucchini Bread

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MORE Zucchini Bread


A few weeks ago, I made zucchini bread and shared my recipe.  I neglected to mention that my mom uses a similar recipe and instilled the love of zucchini bread in me at an early age.  My mom and her mom are both wonderful cooks and taught me well.  

This past Saturday, I had three large zucchini from my mother-in-law’s garden and decided to bake a few batches of bread and give it away to my terrific team of greeters at church.  I had no idea how much bread I would end up making!

I used my food processor’s grating blade to shred the zucchini.  Once I had it all shredded, I had about 18 cups of shredded zucchini!  My recipe only calls for 1 1/2 to 2 cups per loaf.  


I made four double batches and then one single batch, putting two cups of zucchini in each batch.  I was able to make 32 mini loaves (equivalent to 8 regular loaves) and a dozen muffins.  I borrowed my mother-in-law’s mini loaf pan and temporarily reclaimed the one I had loaned her.  (I love baking in/on Pampered Chef stoneware!)


I had plenty to give to every person on my team Saturday night, and then my husband took a few to his coworkers on Monday. We still have plenty left for our family to enjoy until we get another zucchini and make some more bread in a few days. 

Zucchini Bread

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Zucchini Bread


My mother-in-law brought me a huge zucchini from her garden yesterday morning, and she had already given me a small one, so I decided to make zucchini bread yesterday.  I used my food processor to shred the zucchini and ended up with seven cups of shredded zucchini!  I was able to make 2 1/2 dozen muffins and a large Bundt-shaped loaf of bread.  


I thought we had enough to share with a friend, but my girls decided they liked zucchini bread and ate almost a dozen muffins yesterday!  When I was mixing up the batter, they weren’t sure about the green stuff going in the bowl, but once they smelled the muffins, they all wanted one. Big Sister is my pickiest eater and said, “This is good, Mom,” and asked for more!  The little girls were so cute with their praise that I had to video them. 

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Zucchini Bread

2 1/4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 cups zucchini, shredded

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add all other ingredients and mix well.  Pour batter into greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean–about 20 minutes for 18 muffins, 35 minutes for four mini loaves, or 45 minutes for one regular loaf or a Bundt pan.

I use this same recipe for banana bread, replacing the zucchini with three mashed bananas.  Zucchini is my favorite though. Just look at those beautiful, green flecks. 

Summer Berries

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Summer Berries

Is it just me or do berries from your own garden taste better than any others?  We planted a thornless blackberry bush three years ago, and we got several berries from it last summer, but we are getting at least two cups a day now!  

There are only three of us who like blackberries (Big Brother, Little Sister, and me), but we have been able to eat most of them the day we pick them. However, we did not eat all the blackberries Saturday because we ate dinner out after church, so we had twice as many as usual by Sunday evening. I decided to make a small blackberry cobbler with them. I forgot to take photos, but I’m sure I’ll be able to make another one soon!

Our blackberry bush has grown so much that it was covering the end of one of our raised garden beds, and I couldn’t pull weeds under it or get to all the berries. My husband and I constructed two side fences to drape the vines over, so the vines stay off the ground, the berries are easier to find, and I can weed under the vines. It is working pretty well. 


 The only problem is that the fence is so tall that I can hardly reach some of the ripe berries in the back, but I couldn’t reach them before either.  It would probably help if we hadn’t put the blackberry bush between the garden and the wood rack or three feet from the pasture fence, but we are making it work.  Now if I could just stay on top of those weeds!

Wiggle Worms

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Wiggle Worms

Last week, my little girls’ preschool teachers brought live worms to class, and they both held the worms, but some of the little boys in their class didn’t want to touch the worms.  We (the moms) had some laughs about that.  


This evening, the girls were helping me pull weeds in our garden when we found a good-sized worm.  Both of the girls wanted to hold it and fought over who got to put it back in the dirt.  


This worm was more wiggly than any we have found in our garden before, and they had to use both hands to keep it from getting away from them.  

These girls love nature and being outdoors.  They enjoy getting dirty too as you can see from Little Sister’s hands and the smile on her face.  

Just in case you are wondering, they DO have shoes and gardening gloves.  They would rather go barefooted and get their hands and feet dirty than mess with silly contraptions like shoes and gloves.  

No-Spend Month: Day 27

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  • The kids and I stayed home all day and ate our meals at home.  I let Big Brother eat the leftovers I had planned to eat for lunch, and I made myself some nachos with diced tomatoes and jalapeño peppers from our garden.  I sure will miss having fresh vegetables.   I used up all of the sour cream and the girls helped me finish off my bag of Food Should Taste Good tortilla chips. 
  • My husband thinks he has a cold now, so he bought some more medicine today ($5).  If we could have kept everyone healthy this month, we could have saved even more money!
  • The kids ate shells and cheese for dinner.  I had leftovers, and my husband ate another corn dog.  He had a meeting this evening, so I didn’t try to cook dinner. 
  • Tomorrow, the teachers and staff at our school are having an “eat day,” where people sign up to bring various dishes or items to go with those dishes.  The theme this time is Mexican food, and I signed up to make a version of chicken tortilla soup.  I had all of the ingredients except the salsa verde, but I found a recipe for homemade salsa verde.  I only needed to buy tomatillos to make the recipe, and I had my husband buy those when he went shopping over the weekend.  I only spent a couple dollars to make enough soup to feed a dozen people!  I’m beginning to think I might still have too much food in my pantry and freezer.
  • I planned our menu for November this morning.  I tried to plan meals that require little to no extra ingredients, so that I can use up more of what we already have.  I’ll share my November menu as soon as I have time.  

No-Spend Month: Day 17

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Before we started this month, I posted on Facebook that we were about to start a no-spend month. Someone replied that it would be hard with the holidays. My first thought was that this would help you prepare for the holidays. Later, I realized she must mean Halloween. We don’t really consider Halloween a holiday at our house. We used to join our neighbors in trick-or-treating but decided to quit a couple years ago when we moved out of a big neighborhood. My husband has always thought it was ridiculous for parents to dress their children up and then send them up to strangers’ houses to ask for candy. We tell our children not to talk to strangers, but then we tell our kids it’s okay on Halloween?  My husband would much rather we buy our kids some candy ourselves than take them to ask strangers for it, and now that we have four kids, I have to agree with him.  I bought a bag of Starbursts last month for our girls to have as treats this month and to eat on Halloween, and a very dear friend at church keeps our son supplied with Bottle Caps candy. (She also gives Big Sister Starbursts, but Big Sister eats her candy much faster than Big Brother.) We will be at church the night of Halloween this month, so our kids probably won’t even miss going trick-or-treating.  

  • We had breakfast and lunch at home today.  
  • My husband worked in the yard while I did a few things in the house.  He picked all of these bell peppers for me, not realizing I was waiting for them to turn red.  Oh well.  Green bell peppers are good too.  
  • My husband picked up his clothes at the dry cleaners and paid $22.90 cash.  
  • I sold something for $3, so we went to Sonic for happy hour and spent $2 on drinks for my husband and oldest daughter. 
  • We went to church tonight, and Big Brother had to be there two hours early to serve, so we were away from home even longer than normal.  We bought dinner after church and spent $21.

I know now why red bell peppers cost more than green. It takes much longer for them to ripen to red, and they are more likely to get eaten by something or get a bad spot before they fully ripen, especially when you don’t use any pesticides in your garden.  I had several red bell peppers that I didn’t get to use this week, so I diced them and froze them (8 cups!) to use all winter.  I took 14 green bell peppers to church and shared with friends.  I kept 10 peppers to dice and freeze tomorrow.  I still have several on my plants, so I’ll use fresh ones as long as I can and dice up some more to freeze.  I’m hoping I won’t need to buy any bell peppers for several months.  

No-Spend Month: Day 16

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Well, we have made it over halfway through the month.  Woohoo!  We still have over $200, but we are running out of things.  I’ll have to buy dishwasher detergent soon because I can hardly keep up with the dishes with the help of the dishwasher.  There is no way I’m going to try hand-washing all of our dishes for the rest of the month.  We have sold $163 worth of items and spent a total of $226, so we are only down $63 for the month.  Oh, I forgot about the doctor’s fees.  I forgot to take cash to our appointments, so I used our debit card, but we did have my little paycheck from last month in there to cover gas, and I’ve only filled up once so far, so we still haven’t dipped into my husband’s paycheck. 

  • Breakfast was leftover bacon and waffles from last night. 
  • The kids and I packed lunches for school, but my husband ate out to celebrate Boss’s Day.
  • I took money from our Christmas fund and bought books from our book fair for Christmas presents for the kids.  It was fun to do some shopping today, especially knowing that this money had already been set aside for this purpose and wasn’t coming out of our monthly budget. 
  • Our kids had a fall carnival at school this afternoon.  We were able to prepay for tickets last month and pick them up today.  The kids had a lot of fun and won candy and prizes by playing games.  

    The little girls had a blast in the bounce house and got to stay in a long time because no one was waiting to jump.

     
  • I put a pork tenderloin in the crockpot when we came home around 1:00 pm.  After the carnival, I cooked some pasta and green beans and sliced some tomatoes that my little ones picked this afternoon.  They went out by themselves and came back in with a bowl full of tomatoes, a cucumber, and a red bell pepper, and they were carrying a ripe cantaloupe!  I was too busy making last minute preparations for a carnival game to think about taking their picture with their harvest.  They were so proud of themselves.
  • I sold a few more things on our online garage sale for a total of $15.  I almost feel bad charging people for helping me clean out stuff that has been taking up space in my house.  I love all the free space I have now, and I don’t miss anything that I’ve sold.

No-Spend Month:  Some More Recipes

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I was looking at our menu for the week and realized I had not shared these recipes yet.  Most of the ingredients come from the freezer or pantry.  Of course, the bell peppers are fresh (and free) from our garden, but the filling is good by itself, so you could make it without the peppers.

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Mexican Skillet Casserole

16 oz chicken broth

1 cup long grain brown rice

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

2 cups frozen corn

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (or less) Rotel, drained

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Optional toppings:  shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, jalapeños, diced avocados, etc.

Cook rice in chicken broth according to package directions.  Brown ground beef in large skillet, adding chopped onions to cook with beef.  Add spices and mix well.  Add frozen corn and cooked rice.  Stir well and cook until heated through. Add beans and Rotel (to taste) and stir well.  Remove from heat when everything is hot.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa, diced avocado, etc. if desired. 

The little girls and I picked these beautiful red bell peppers from our garden yesterday. I’m saving them to use this week for stuffed peppers.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 – 2 bell peppers for each person, depending on size of peppers and appetite of individuals 

1 pound ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, diced

1 cup long grain brown rice

16 oz chicken broth or water

1 can diced tomatoes

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp oregano

1/2tsp garlic powder

Optional topping:  shredded cheese

Cook rice in broth or water according to package directions. Brown ground beef, adding chopped onion and bell pepper when beef is about halfway done.  Stir in remaining ingredients, including cooked rice.  Remove from heat.  Rinse bell peppers and remove stem ends; remove seeds and membranes.  Trim bottom of peppers slightly if they won’t sit upright.  Fill each pepper with ground beef mixture.  You can top with a little cheese if you’d like.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

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Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin, 1 – 4 pounds

2 – 3 cups chicken broth 

2 – 3 TBSP Worcestershire Sauce

Seasonings to taste:  salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, etc.

If you have time and the inclination, you can heat some oil in a skillet and sear the seasoned tenderloin on each side before putting it in the crockpot.  If you are like me, you can dump the half-frozen tenderloin in the crockpot and add the remaining ingredients on top.  Depending on the size of tenderloin, cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.  It will be very tender and fall apart when done.  This can be used for pulled pork sandwiches or eaten with barbecue sauce or gravy.  For gravy, stir a little cornstarch in some cool water until dissolved.  Add some of the broth from the crockpot to a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat.  Add the cornstarch-water mixture, stirring constantly until gravy thickens.  You can also add some milk to this if you prefer creamy gravy.  

No-Spend Month: Day 11

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We love having the option to attend church on Saturday night.  It leaves Sunday for a true day of rest (Sabbath) and family time.  Now if my kids would just let me rest!

  • Hubby fixed a water leak in our sprinkler system.  I’m so glad he is handy.  This repair job cost us about $2, and it will save us money on our water bill in the future.
  • We ate lunch at home:  leftover spaghetti sauce (for me) and fresh-cooked pasta for me and the girls.  My husband ate a corny dog from the freezer.
  • I invited a friend to come over and cut back my basil.  She likes to dry it and use it all winter.  We have way too much as you can see from this photo.  I have invited others to come cut some, but this is the only friend who has taken me up on my offer.  I have cut some and taken it to church to share a few times, but I still have too much.  Oh, and I only planted one basil plant this year.  These all grew on their own from seed dropped by my three basil plants last year. 
  • I’ve had a big crockpot full of pinto beans going all day, and I’m about to bake some cornbread.  I used this recipe for the beans because I plan to mash some for my son, who loves refried beans and bean burritos.  While I was finishing the cornbread, Little Sister got very quiet.  I found her asleep at 5:00!  I woke her up and fed her dinner.  She’s awake now, but I think I’ll put them to bed early tonight, since they were up late last night.  I’m tired too.  I have been staying up too late trying to finish my daily no-spend posts.  I’m planning to go to bed earlier tonight.
  • I almost forgot that we sold some things through our online garage sale today.  We made another $22.  If we keep selling things, we should have no problem making it through this month without spending any of our regular income.  

No-Spend Month: Day 2

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No-Spend Month: Day 2

Wonderful fall weather has finally come to our area, and we are enjoying it!  Playing at the park is free, so we stopped by on our way home from school this afternoon. 

 

  • Hubby had a breakfast meeting, which means he ate a big breakfast and wasn’t hungry for lunch, so there was no money out of our pocket.  Yea!
  • Big Brother ate a hot lunch at school that we paid for last week.  Big Sister packed her own lunch.  The little girls and I ate leftovers and fresh fruit and veggies.  I’m hoping our garden continues producing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and cantaloupe through the end of the month. 
  • We are having chicken fajitas, chips and salsa, and cantaloupe for dinner.  I need to share my October dinner menu.  Maybe it will help someone. 
  • I have always hated any kind of shopping, and it has only become more loathsome with children, so I am enjoying staying home and not going to any stores.  Keeps me from being tempted to buy unnecessary items too. Win-win. 
  • I almost forgot to mention that I sold something else for $2, so we netted $2 today.  So far this month, we are making money.

This doesn’t have much to do with our no-spend month, except that I was craving bread this morning, and we didn’t have any in the house.  I created a new bread recipe based on this French bread recipe that I have made so often in the last six months that I have it memorized.  The original recipe is so versatile, and I have made it with all white flour, with half white and half whole wheat, and once I even added a few oats.  I have formed the dough into one large French loaf, two smaller loaves, dinner rolls, garlic knots, and cinnamon rolls.  This morning, I wanted to try making a multigrain bread, and it turned out wonderfully delicious.  The little ones loved it too! 

  

 The girls had flattened their bread by the time I was able to get this picture of Little Sister.  All the other photos were blurry because they were too busy eating to let me take a photo. 

Honey Multigrain Bread

1/3 cup honey

1 1/2 TBSP yeast or one packet

1 1/2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 tsp salt

Combine honey, yeast, and water; stir and let rest for ten minutes.  Add remaining ingredients and mix with a stand mixer or by hand several minutes until dough is no longer sticky and pulls away from the bowl.  You may need to add a little more white flour if your dough is sticky.  Turn dough onto a floured surface and lightly dust dough and hands with flour.  Form dough into whatever shape you choose (I made rolls) and place on a lightly greased baking sheet or dish.  Place baking sheet in a warm location and preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Let dough rise about 15 minutes; then bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on size of rolls/loaves.  Melt a tablespoon of butter and brush over tops after removing from oven.  Enjoy!