Posted in Baking, Dessert, family, Food, Maine, Recipe, Recipes, Uncategorized

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread


My news feed has been filled with things about “Self-Care” lately.  Now, admittedly I’m not the most open-minded person I know.  But, it just seemed so ridiculous for a new mom to concern herself with any sort of “Self-Care”.  “How selfish”, I thought.

We had a rough week last week with the baby being sick.  It’s totally thrown his whole sleeping schedule out of whack.  He wakes up very early, doesn’t like to nap, and gets bored easily.  I have been exhausted to a point that I’ve never felt before. My husband asked me last night if I wanted him to take the baby to daycare in the morning. I hesitated, and then said yes. I immediately felt guilty.  I had to work the closing shift today. I went in at 4 and didn’t get home until 2am. I knew I needed sleep but it didn’t matter.  Guilt of a parent is palpable at times.

As my husband pulled out of the driveway this morning, our son in the backseat, I almost ran after him.  I didn’t want the baby to go to daycare. I missed him the second they were out the door. But he needed to.  For all of us.

I had a list a mile long of things that needed to be done today.  Clothes put away, closets cleaned out, carpets washed. Yada, yada, yada. I didn’t get the carpets washed.  That’s on the docket for tomorrow.  Instead I did something I love.  Something I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t had the energy or time in several months.  I tried a new recipe and made something from scratch.

Hello Self-Care

It came out of the oven looking like absolute perfection.  And all was right in the world. It centered me, inspired me, excited me.  I guess this whole Self-Care stuff isn’t such bologna after all.

Tomorrow I’m going to buy a book. Maybe a new cookbook. Reading is another thing I love that I haven’t taken the time to do. And if that isn’t the epitome of optimism for a new mom, well then, I don’t know what is.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 pinch Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Canola oil
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain
  • 1 cup Shredded Zucchini
  • 1 Egg

Recipe:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, both sugars, greek yogurt and vanilla extract until combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold gently. Do not over mix.
  • Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
  • Take the loaf out of the pan and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack.

If any of you would like to share how you “Self-Care”, I’d love to read it.  Or if you have a good book to recommend, I’m all ears.  Well… Eyes.

Find the original recipe here!

Advertisements
Posted in Baking, Dessert, Easy Meals, Food, Recipe, Recipes, Uncategorized

4 Ingredient​ Almond Joy Cookies

These have to be the easiest and most delicious cookies I have ever made.  The most important thing to keep in mind is, to use exactly what the recipe calls for.  Now, this isn’t my normal way of cooking.  I like to improvise. And I tried to a couple of times with this recipe and was disappointed with the outcome each time. So, with that in mind, are you ready?

Ingredients:

2 cups milk chocolate chips

1, 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

1, 14 oz bag of sweetened coconut flakes

2/3 cup of slivered almonds

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  You HAVE TO use parchment paper.  Not wax paper. If you do, they won’t come out right.

Mix all ingredients together well.  If you’re like me, and second guess things sometimes.  This will be one of those times.  I guarantee you’re going to think “this can’t possibly be enough milk.  It’s too dry!”  I hear ya.  But, don’t add any more. They’ll still taste good but will look weird if you do.

Size doesn’t really matter when arranging them on the pan whereas the cookies don’t spread out during baking.  You can use either a tablespoon or teaspoon.  I like mine to be smaller, so I generally use a teaspoon or a pampered chef cookie dough scoop.

Put in the oven for 12-14 minutes or until the coconut starts to turn a light brown.

And that’s it.  Like I said, super easy recipe.  I hope you love them!  Whats the easiest recipe you know?

IMG_4365.JPG

Posted in Dessert, Easy Meals, Food, Inspirations, Maine, Recipe, Recipes, Uncategorized

No Churn Homemade Maine Blueberry Ice Cream

When I was wracking my brain trying to come up with blueberry recipes, I remembered making ice cream in a bag back in my 10th grade biology class.  Unfotunately, that may have been the only thing that stuck with me from that class. But,  I thought that the recipe was would be  perfect to share here.  Now, the recipe itself is easy, but you may want to skip arm day at the gym before making this.  You are about to get one hell of a workout.

Ingredients:

2 Cups half and half

4 Tbs sugar

1 Tsp vanilla extract

2 cups of blueberries

You will also need:

Ice

1/2 Cup kosher salt

1 Gallon size Ziplock bag

Several plastic shopping bags.

Instructions:

Fill one of the shopping bags about half way with ice.  Keep in mind, it’s going to leak so I highly recommend double or triple bagging it.  Pour the kosher salt over the ice and let sit while making the ice cream mixture.  In a food processor, pour in the half and half, blueberries, sugar and vanilla and mix on high for a few minutes.  Pour mixture into ziplock bag and seal tightly.  Place the ziplock bag into the shopping bag with ice.  Shake for 10 minutes.  You’re arms will get tired, and time will go by slow, and you’ll worry that you did something wrong when it doesn’t harden.  Keep shaking.  I found that tying the shopping bag and rolling it on a table worked well too.  Once you feel the consistency get harder, pour mixture in a freezer safe container.  And there ya have it. Enjoy!

 

 

Posted in Baking, Dessert, Easy Meals, family, Food, Maine, Recipe, Uncategorized

Blueberry Lemon Freezer Jam

When we found the blueberry bushes in our yard, my mind immediately started racing.  I don’t really care for the texture of most fruits, blueberries included. So I needed to be a little creative in what I made out of them.  My first thought was jam.  I had already been on a toast and jam kick for a while, so it was perfect.

A few months ago, my grandfather spent some time at our house.  In the morning, I would ask him what he’d like for breakfast.  It was always the same thing, toast with jam and coffee.  Normally, at home, he’d tell me, he would only have one piece.  But, since he was at our house, he’d have two pieces of toast. I don’t know what it is about our house.  Maybe because it’s a few hours away from his, he felt like he was on vacation?  He wanted to let loose a little bit. I know when I’m on vacation I usually eat more than I do normally. Anyways,  because of that, a breakfast of two pieces of toast is now known as the Bampie Special at our house.

I have never made jam.  Initially, the process seemed daunting. Just the set up alone was intense.  I knew there had to be an easier way.  I just had to find it.  And luckily, I did.  It’s called Freezer jam. It’s delicious.  And this is how I made it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups blueberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  •  Half a lemon
  • 1 package of fruit pectin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6, 8oz ball mason jars

In a bowl, combined blueberries, sugar and juice from the halved lemon.  Use a potato masher to smush (that’s very technical kitchen lingo) the ingredients together.  Once sufficiently smushed, let sit for 15 minutes.  While that’s doing it’s thing, pour water and pectin packet in a small sauce pot and heat to boiling while stirring constantly.  Boil and stir mixture for 1 minute.  Combined the pectin mixture with the blueberries and stir constantly for 3 minutes.

Pour into mason jars and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours or until the mixture has set.  Then, put in freezer for up to 6 months.

 

Also, I bet this mixture would be amazing in a homemade pop-tart.  Check out my homemade Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart recipe to get started.  Just put this blueberry lemon jam inside instead of the brown sugar cinnamon mixture.  And instead of adding cinnamon to the icing, use lemon zest.  Man, I’m already super excited to try this out later this week.  If anyone makes either of these recipes, I would love to hear how they turned out!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Baking, Dessert, Dinner, Easy Meals, family, Food, Health, Maine, Recipe, Uncategorized

Foraging Our Little Lot of Land

I found some blueberry bushes on our property a few weeks ago. We only have 2 acres.  But those two are filled with apple trees, blackberry bushes, a pear tree and several blueberry bushes. Most of which we didn’t know about before we bought the house.

A few weeks ago, when we found the blueberries, we had already missed out on the first round to ripen. Hundreds of blueberries littered the ground.  But that didn’t matter much. Our first haul garnered six and a half pounds of some of the biggest blueberries I have ever seen.
img_4242

I don’t even really like blueberries. I mean, they’re alright.  But finding them, picking them and cleaning them has brought something out in me that I didn’t know was there.  A foragers instinct that I’ve never explored.  Every few days I’ll go and survey the land.  I’ll take my colander just in case anything is ready to be picked.  I’ll stop by my pear tree, check on the one pear that still hangs.  At one time there were 2 pears on it, but something got one of them.  After I confirm that the pear, is in fact, still in the tree, I move on to the blueberry bushes.  I pick what I can.  Trying to contain my excitement at the bounty so as to not pick any before they’re ready.

Next, I move on the apple trees.  When we did our home inspection before we bought it last year, our inspector was pretty impressed by how old the trees appeared to be. Upon inspection of the apples, some research, and a professionals opinion we have concluded that these are Baldwin apples.  One of the oldest types of apples there is.  First introduced to Maine in the late 1700’s.  They are great for making pies, apple sauce, and cider. A couple of friends came over for dinner the other night and they tried some of the apples. The smaller one they tried was still tart, but the bigger one was sweet.  They should be great for baking.

image

 

I told my husband the other day that I wanted to be a farmer.  He looked concerned.  I assured him that I meant as a hobby, not a profession.   We are going to work our way up to getting some chickens next spring, I think.  In the meantime, I wanted to make sure I could keep something alive, other than humans and dogs.  So I started a herb garden.  So far so good.  Much better than my succulent garden last year.

 

image

 

image

As the weather changes and fall creeps in, the thought of all the baking and cooking possibilities with these provisions gets me even more excited for fall than I usually am.  I’ve already tried out a few recipes that I’m excited to share here soon.  So keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Blueberry Lemon Freezer Jam
  • Homemade No-Churn Blueberry Ice Cream
  • Tomato Basil Bisque

More will be added as soon as the apples ripen.

 

 

Posted in Baking, Dessert, Food, Recipe, Uncategorized

Elephant Ear Cookies

My mom is staying with us for a little while and for those of you who know her, you know her baking skills are on point.  Our counter has been covered in homemade desserts since her arrival.  Last week I had to put my foot down.  I said, “Mom, seriously we cannot possibly make one more thing until what we have is gone.”  She looked a little disappointed. But, in just a few short days, what we had, had been devoured and we are on to the next sweet treat.

This cookie has been a constant in my mothers’ repertoire from the very beginning.  She told me yesterday that this is the first thing her mother let her bake by herself.  I’ve always wondered where the name “Elephant Ear” came from and finally got around to asking her.  She has no idea.  But they are delicious nonetheless, and the curious consistency is unlike any other chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had.  In an amazingly good way.

 

The Recipe

 

FullSizeRender 4

Normally I’d type out the ingredients and instructions, but there was something about this recipe card in my mom’s handwriting that made me want just to post it like this.  I hope you try them and absolutely love them like my family and friends have through the years.