Category Archives: breakfast

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

An overabundance of zucchini in the summer is a very common first world problem. I’ve heard stories of people leaving bags of zucchini on their neighbor’s door, and sneaking away to not give the poor unsuspecting neighbor a chance to politely decline the bag of summer weeds. I found myself with a boatload of zucchini last summer and was getting tired of my usual sauteed zucchini with garlic (which is delicious btw) and zucchini soup, so I went to facebook. One of my facebook friends came through for me in a big way and sent me this recipe, which I’ve since been making at least every 2 weeks ever since. I even froze enough shredded zucchini last summer to get me through the winter without giving up my beloved chocolate zucchini cake. Thank god for breastfeeding, because I would never have lost the baby weight while continuing to eat this on a regular basis otherwise. 
Here is the recipe so that you can enjoy too:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 4×10 inch loaf pans and set them aside. 
  2. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until well mixed. Add the eggs, mix well. Next add the vanilla and mix well. 
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder and whisk together. 
  4. Add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on medium-low speed. When the dry ingredients begin to incorporate, add another 1/3 and mix again (you don’t need to wait until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated to add more). Repeat one more time. 
  5. Next mix the yogurt into the batter, then the zucchini. The zucchini should moisten up the batter significantly. Finally, add the chocolate chips and mix until they are well incorporated. 
  6. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 50-60 minutes. (Check after 40 minutes, since ovens can vary widely. This cake usually bakes for 55 minutes in my oven, but the original recipe calls for 40-45 minutes of baking). 

Enjoy with coffee as an afternoon pick me up. Or, if you prefer, do what I did- ignore the 2 sticks of butter in the recipe, change the name to Chocolate Zucchini Bread instead of cake, and have it for breakfast. The calories are negated that way. It’s scientifically proven…or something.

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Lemon Curd and Scones

Here is our dwarf Meyer Lemon tree. It is currently weighed down with delicious Meyer lemons. It’s a small tree, though, so “weighed down” for this little guy probably equals about 30 lemons. The thing is, this isn’t our only lemon tree. When we bought our house last year, there was a big Eureka Lemon tree in the back yard. Now THAT tree is a big producer.

In the fall, Trevor pruned it because there were branches touching our roof. He pruned it quite heavily, but there were still plenty of lemons left on it. We couldn’t let all those great lemons go to waste, so we picked them off of the pruned branches. When all was said and done, we had 70 pounds of lemons. What did we do? Make limoncello, of course! Here is a funny picture for you: It’s 10:30 am. Quentin is 10 weeks old, and I’m pushing him in the stroller. We stroll into BevMo in search of Everclear to make limoncello. This BevMo is new to me, so I have to ask where the Everclear is. With my 10 week old. Seeing as I have 70 pounds of lemons, I’m forced to make plenty of limoncello, so I buy 4 bottles of Everclear and a handle of Vodka. With my 10 week old. I swear I’m a fit mother.

Anyway, tangent over. This time when I went out to the backyard and noticed the Eureka lemon tree heavy with lemons, I decided to make lemon curd. You know, for a more “proper” use of my lemons. And what lemon curd would be complete with scones and tea (only on this occasion we actually had espresso…Her Majesty the Queen would surely disapprove).

Trevor and my good friend C has close family ties to the UK and his mother and aunt were kind enough to share their lemon curd recipes with me. I checked with him to make sure it would be okay to share the recipe here and he gave me the go ahead. So here it is!

Lemon Curd:

Ingredients:
4 large lemons
5 large eggs
1/4 lb butter
1 lb sugar


Directions:
1. Wash and dry lemons. Grate the rind and squeeze the juice of all 4 lemons.
2. Beat the eggs in a medium saucepan.
3. Add the rind, lemon juice, butter and sugar to the eggs.
4. Stir over low/medium heat until all ingredients are combined.
5. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens. Do NOT allow to boil. This may take 10+ minutes.
6. Once thickened, pour the lemon curd into warm jars and cover the top of each with a circle of wax paper.
7. Seal tightly and refrigerate. Keep for 1 week in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer.

For a printable recipe, click here.


I used some butter I made a little while back for both the curd and the scones. Lucky for us, there was some left that we got to enjoy on the scones.

Unfortunately, I used a different recipe than I normally do for the scones and they weren’t quite up to par in my book. So I’ll have to share my usually recipe another day. I’m sure the problem was that there wasn’t enough butter in the scones. A mistake I will not soon repeat.

Cranberry Scones


Today I got a chance to relax a little bit and do some baking. This was nice for me because I took a much-needed break from schoolwork, and it will be wonderful for our breakfast tomorrow! I decided to incorporate a seasonal ingredient- cranberries! I’d been meaning to make scones for a few days now, so why not make cranberry scones?

I adapted the recipe from a Cream Currant Scone recipe in my William Sonoma-Baking cookbook. The only change I made was to include the fresh cranberries instead of dried currants. They turned out great! Just a warning though…these are not diet scones (not that diet scones actually exist). But they’re very tasty. Here is the recipe I used:

Ingredients:
For the scones:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp grated lemon zest
6 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream

For the topping:
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. milk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.

In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Pulse the food processor 2 to 3 times, until the ingredients are mixed. Add the butter and pulse until the ingredients form coarse crumbs. Add the cranberries and cream. Pulse until the dough is barely mixed. Do not overmix!!

Take the dough out, place it on a floured surface and form a ball. Flatten the dough until it’s about 6 inches in diameter. Cut the dough into 6 wedges, and place the wedges on the prepared pan. Brush the top of each scone with milk and sprinkle the cinnamon mixture on top.

Bake the scones for 13-15 minutes, until they are golden. Place them on a wire rack to cool.

These are best served warm with a bit of jam and a spot of tea. Very posh 🙂


Hope you enjoy!

Banana Oat Bran Muffins


I’m starting to wonder how many more times I’ll begin a blog post with an apology for how much time has elapsed since the previous post. I think 2 to 3 more times, which is not too bad. This means that I can see the light at the end of the grad school tunnel. I only have 5 more weeks until I’m completely finished with my coursework! All I’ll have left are my 2 semesters of student teaching/externship. Yay!

Even though I haven’t had a tremendous amount of time to cook lately, there is one recipe that I’ve been making pretty often these days and I thought I would share it with you today. It’s a recipe I created myself for Banana Oat Bran Muffins. These came about because I love banana bread, but wanted to make the recipe a tad bit healthier. I ended up re-vamping my original banana bread recipe completely and came up with something quite tasty. They break from my usual attempts at eating only local produce, since bananas are basically never local in the US. But, in the fall and winter, when we don’t have the plethora of summer fruits, I am okay buying bananas now and again.

Oh, and I posted the recipe for these on sparkpeople.com and so far have received 8 ratings on it! The average rating is 4.9 out of 5, so apparently other people think they’re good too. According to the sparkpeople.com calorie calculator, these are 130 calories, 1 gram of fat, 30 grams of carbs, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and 3 grams of protein.

Ingredients:
3- 3.5 Medium bananas, mashed
1 Egg
3/4 c. Unsweetened apple sauce
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Crushed Kashi Autumn Wheat cereal (it takes about 1 cup cereal to yield 1/2 cup crushed)
1/2 c. Oat Bran
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 c. Whole Wheat Flour

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash the bananas thoroughly and combine with the egg. Stir in apple sauce, followed by the sugar, (EDIT: Also add vanilla extract here), crushed Kashi Autumn Wheat, and Oat Bran. Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda, and add these dry ingredients to banana mixture. Divide into muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins.

You may find the use of crushed Kashi Autumn Wheat strange, but it actually works quite well. I initially decided to include this because we regularly have Kashi Autumn Wheat for breakfast and I didn’t like throwing away the crumbs from the bottom of the bag. If you don’t have this cereal on hand, you could use any brand of shredded wheat instead.


Since 12 muffins is a lot for 2 people to consume in a short period of time, I usually throw half of them in a freezer bag and keep them frozen. When I want a muffin I microwave one for 30 seconds and then toast it for a few minutes. They’re great for breakfast with a bit of almond butter!