Lemon Zest Zucchini white Chocolate Mini Loafs

Lemon Zuchini white chocolate mini Loafs

Lemon Zest Zucchini White Chocolate Mini Loafs 

It is 40 days before  Fall and who is counting right? Summer time I love to savor the fresh fruits and vegetables  that I get from our local small business grocery stores.  I have a thing for Lemons I put them in my drinking water with fresh mint leaves from our back yard as well as cucumbers. I also love to drink lemonade, and eat lemon Meringue Pie, Tarts I can go on and on.

I am the type of person who does not like to waste food, and if you lived in my generation of parents who said ,”Eat what you have on your plate before you leave the table there are starving children out there that would want your food.”  Then you would totally understand.  I recently had bought Zucchini and totally forgot about it since the middle drawer of my refrigerator seems to get forgotten of those hidden buys.  I was going to make Zucchini bread, but thought why not try something a little different lets add some zest to it and see what happens.  Now a little hint about picking the best lemons always look for ones that are very bright in color, and a little soft when you squeeze it that tells you it is nice and juicy. Now I had added the white chocolate chips to this recipe because I have learned that the white chocolate chips when they melt inside they actually give a nice sweetness, not to sweet just right.  These loafs are great for gift giving, parties and events, small bites they just fit in the palm of your hand bon appetit!

Recipe:

4 cups flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

4 eggs

1/2 cup of oil

1/2 cup of butter ( Soften)

1 1/3 cup of sugar

1 cup of sour cream

4 table spoons of fresh lemon juice

1 table spoon of lemon zest

2 cups of grated Zucchini

1/2 cup of white chocolate chips

Combine all dry ingredients, white chocolate chips, set aside. In separate  bowl beat eggs, oil, butter, sugar until creamy . Add sour cream, lemon juice and lemon zest stir until combined. Fold in Zucchini and add dry ingredients.  Don’t  over mix just stir until combined. Grease and flour the mini loaf pans.  I get my mini loaf pans from Wilton bake products.  Scoop the batter evenly in the mini loaf pans, make sure you do not over fill them or else they will rise over. I usually scoop to fill half way. bake at  350 degrees for  25 min, of course I usually set at 20 min and take a look to see does it need more time because I do not like to set it to long or else you are going to get a burnt mess.  Everyone’s Oven is different in baking .  Put a tooth pick in the loaf to see if it comes out clean if so then you are done, ready to take them out of the oven. Cool in the pan for ten minutes, then remove and place on paper towel or a cooling rack.  After they are cooled, top them with lemon glaze.

Glaze:

1 Cup of powdered sugar

2 tsp of lemon juice

Mix ingredient in a bowl until all lumps are removed.  pour over the loafs and spread with a spoon. let glaze set up slightly.

 

 

A Mickey Happy Birthday

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I love to help out with event planning or just help out if someone asks me to  it’s  my passion. So a few months ago I was asked to help a co-worker of mine to do a few things for her sons first birthday.  I was delighted to help and totally honored since I love kids.  She told me that it was going to be a Mickey Birthday party for her son, and that she wanted a banner made to hang up at the birthday party table to show his pictures from New born to 12 months. I have to be honest I was a little nervous to do this since I have never made one of those before, and I wanted to make it perfect. So Of course I had to go on pinterest to get some ideas and think of what I really wanted to do.  I remembered that I had tons of felt from some previous projects that I have done in the past so I was going to use my Cricut , but we recently had a terrible storm that it was not working right ( I got it to work now thank Goodness!) I got a tracing of Mickey from the internet printed it up and traced it on Freezer parchment paper.

I swear by this stuff Just trace what ever it is you need to trace and then use a iron on low heat.  You want to make sure you lay the shinny side of the trace paper facing down on the felt fabric.  Just iron over the paper and you have it stuck to the felt.  Once that is done just cut around the tracing and you get your patterns.  mickey-felts

Once you have all the patterns cut out you can use a glue gun to attach the felt together. The process takes awhile, but it is easier than to sew the whole thing.  I was thinking of doing that, but realized that would take to long. The next step was To stencil the Patterns which was pretty easy to do. I had some stencils and fabric paint. When you use the fabric paint just remember it sometimes takes 24 hours for it to completely dry on the fabric.   The next idea I was thinking  was how is she going to attach the photos on this banner??  I thought I can just add to the banner tiny cloths pins which I had, but realized they were a little to big for the banner.  So I went out to Joanns and bought some tiny wooden cloths pins. the results are in the next photos.

 

I had so much fun doing this, that I realized I think I need to make more of these especially for one of my friends who is having a baby soon. She is a HUGE Disney fan so Finding Nemo is my next project.

 

Besides making the banner for the party I was asked to make my sugar cookies and she wanted me to make Mickey Mouse Cookies. Once again I have never made Mickey Mouse Cookies so I did go and buy a Mickey mouse Cookie Cutter to do this for the party ( One awesome Cookie Cutter to add to the rest of my other Cookie Cutters). I found them on Amazon and got them for a really reasonable price.  mickey-sugar-cookies

I had bought the Food Coloring gel online through Amazon as well,but I would prefer to use Wilton cake Decorating gel.  The Gel that I used was a little Glossy to me and that was not what I wanted to do, but in the end I think they turned out.  So I am thrilled that I got to do this for a little one’s first birthday it certainly turned out cute.

Christmas has ended but a New year will begin.

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hard to believe Christmas has come and gone, and now we wait to celebrate the New Year.  The last few months has been a busy time for Chris and I. We recently bought a house of our dreams, and got to celebrate our first Christmas in our new home. We wanted to get to know our new neighbors and welcome them in our new home. Chris and I made gift bags for each neighbor along with a get to know us letter. I of course did some baking to share with them, and one Sunday morning we walked to each house and introduced ourselves to them. Chris and I were thrilled to meet most of our neighbors, and invited them to an open house the following weekend. It was a success for sure and we truly enjoyed everyone. Chris and I were thrilled to meet them and feel blessed to live where we live now.

Of course we had to have our little niece stay over that night, and it was her first night over in our new house. Chris bought her a cute reindeer made out of wood to put together and paint, and then we all made a gingerbread house with her. I love doing crafts with her when she is with us . claire-and-chris-making-gingerbread-house-2

I usually like to make Christmas gifts for my friends and family, but this year I did not have a lot of time to do so, instead I baked away for everyone. I decided to make some gift boxes of baked goods and then a little package of Teriyaki Jerky that my husband made. My boxes were a hit because all I could see was smiles. I love doing that stuff and seeing people smile it is a gift to me knowing that I did my job to make someone smile. In my gifts I made red velvet whoopee cakes, Peppermint Rice crispy treats, Bourbon balls. Just the simplest things are more than anything.

Of course I had to make my famous Sugar Cookies for my workers  cookie exchange party.  These are not just any sugar cookies they are the kind that melt in your mouth and are so light they are absolutely amazing.  I actually learned how to make these from a woman named Jenny Keller when I lived in Washington state. Please check out her website and Blog Jennycookies,   and her new website Jennycookies bakeshop.  I would give  the recipe out, but I think this one I will have to keep a secret.sugar-cookies-roses-2

Besides doing all the baking, for Christmas one of my nieces had mentioned that since the whole family was gathering for Christmas we should all wear Pajamas. I actually thought that would be a fun and cool idea so I was totally in. After hearing that the whole family was in on this idea I thought why not get the whole family together in a photo shoot. It has been a long time since we had a family photo, and our family is growing . I wanted to do this so I can get the photos  copied and give to my family members as memorabilia.

This holiday has come and gone, but I have to say it was a fun time with family and friends. I certainly enjoyed everything this season, and I hope next year we can do this again.

Bourbon Balls Recipe

Ingredients

1          box (12 oz) vanilla wafer cookies, finely crushed
1          cup chopped pecans or walnuts
3/4      cup powdered sugar
2          tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2      cup bourbon
2 1/2   tablespoons light corn syrup
Additional powdered sugar

Directions

  • 1 In large bowl, mix cookie crumbs, pecans, 3/4 cup powdered sugar and the cocoa, stirring well.
  • 2 In small bowl, mix bourbon and corn syrup, stirring until blended. Pour bourbon mixture over cookie mixture; stir until blended. Shape into 1-inch balls; roll in additional powdered sugar. Store tightly covered at room temperature up to 2 weeks

Red Velvet Whoopee Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.5-oz) box red velvet cake mix
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or see Note)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (3.9-oz) box instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 (16-oz) can cream cheese frosting

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Combine cake mix, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and pudding mix in a large bowl. Mix on low speed with an electric mixer until ingredients are just blended, then on high 1 minute.
  • Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until set.
  • Let cookies cool 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting:

  • 2 cups of imperial margarine
  • 2 tsp of clear vanilla
  • 5 table spoons of coffee creamer I usually get sweet cream creamer
  • 2 lbs of C&H Powdered sugar

Directions:

Blend the Margarine together with the vanilla, and Creamer once that is mixed well then add the powder sugar by cups one at a time. If the Consistency is still not stiff enough I usually add more powder sugar to get it fluffy.

Note: Make your own buttermilk by blending 1/2 cup milk and 1 1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice.

You can also get my Peppermint Oreo Cookie Rice Crispy treats recipe from one of my latest blogs the red velvet Oreo cookie white chocolate Rice Crispy treats by clicking onto the link.

Brazilian Chocolate Truffles (Brigadeiros)

 

Two years ago I came across these unique truffles and wanted to make them. They were simple and easy to make. I wanted to share them to my Co-workers and they were a hit. These truffles are a Brazilian treat, and since the Summer Olympics are being held in Rio I thought let’s get a little taste of Brazil.

Brazil is one of the largest Countries in the world and the wide varieties of food available in different regions reflect that. Ubiquitous touches include rice, beans, vegetables and fruit. Brazil produces more fruit than almost anywhere else on Earth, including avocados, oranges, pineapples, papayas, guavas, acai berries and more . Brazilians love their desserts for sure especially Chocolate.

These truffles are fun to make, you can cover them in sprinkles, powdered cocoa, Cinnamon. One of the things I like to do is make mine with a little kick. I sometimes add to the mix a little crushed red peppers. You get the sweetness with a little sneak of heat. It is a quick idea and great for parties, wedding favors. One thing to remember though when you make them always keep your hands lathered with plenty of butter because if your hands are dry the mix is very sticky and messy. Go team USA win the Gold !

 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons of butter, plus extra for hand-rolling.

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

1 cup sprinkles you can use chocolate or multi color or both

 

Directions:

Put butter, cocoa powder and condensed milk in a saucepan and heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly as the butter melts. Reduce heat and continue to stir for 5 to 7 minutes as contents thicken.

turn off heat and cool mixture to room temperature -about 15 minutes. lightly butter your hands, scoop up a tablespoonful of the mixture and roll it into a ball. Coat the ball in a plate of sprinkles. Repeat then store in a sealed container for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. Makes 5 to 6 servings.

Happy Fourth of July

Fourth Of July Wreath

Bandana Wreath for Fourth of July

Fourth of July holiday always makes me remember those great childhood memories being with my big family at my grandparents farm. We would all get together either in the back yard area near the garden that they had or inside depending on what the weather was like. Living in Washington state you would never know if it was going to be hot or not. My family was huge 14 Aunts and uncles all together with their own children each couple had either 2 to 4 kids so add that up in your head. We would have three big picnic tables full of food which would turn out to be a great big potluck. All of us kids would play outside around the barn or out around the land. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken on the BBQ grilling away hmmmmm smelled so good. The best part was eating the water melon and having water melon fights messy yes, but so much fun.

Then when the sun went down it was time for those fireworks, and kids running around with the sparklers. The Ohhhhs and the awwws when the bright colors would appear in the sky. Best Memories ever, but we would not have those memories if it wasn’t for the men and women in service who fight for our Country, for our freedom, for us to enjoy life. They are the true hero’s who are so selfless and signed themselves up to do the hardest job ever. So this blog message is for them, Thank you for everything I salute you.

 

So I have a couple of things that I wanted to share this holiday how to make a wreath for Fourth of July, and  instead of apple pie the traditional treat I made a caramel apple cake. For something light to start off with I made some zucchini bites  horsd’oeuvres.

To each and everyone of you Happy Fourth of July!

Carmel Apple Cake (2)

Caramel Apple Cake

 

Zucchini Bites  (2)

Zucchini Bites

 

How to make a Fourth of July Wreath

1 18 inch floral wire wreath

6 red bandanas, 6 white bandanas, 6 blue bandanas

stars you can get paper stars or wood stars

Glue Gun to glue the stars on the wreath.

Cut all bandanas in half then tie them on the wreath

 

How to make zucchini bites

Yield: Makes 2-3 dozen zucchini bites

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups packed shredded zucchini (no need to peel the zucchini)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 – 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup panko or regular bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon dried basil (or 1-2 teaspoons fresh)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly coat with cooking spray or lightly grease an unlined baking sheet.
Place the shredded zucchini in a clean kitchen towel and wring out all the excess water over the sink until the zucchini is really dry.
Place the zucchini and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until combined.
Drop the mixture by tablespoonfuls on the prepared baking sheet and lightly press the mounds with your hands to flatten slightly.
Bake for 16-20 minutes until the edges are golden.

Recipe Source: adapted from this recipe at Skinnytaste (used more zucchini, omitted the onion, added basil and garlic, changed the type of bread crumbs, increased oven temp, etc.)

Caramel Apple Cake

1 Box of Pillsbury Caramel Apple cake mix

3 Apples- I used Fuji  Apples

1 8oz cream cheese  Softened

1cup of Granola

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1 cup of sugar

1 table spoon of cornstarch mixed in 2 tsp of water

1 table spoon of lemon juice

caramel sauce

 

Directions:

start with the cake mix and follow directions by mixing all ingredients set aside.

Next Cut up all the apples thin slices and stick them in a pot over medium heat on the stove, add the lemon juice and the 1 cup of sugar and cook down. Mix corn starch in 2 tsp of water make sure the mixture is blended in the water before adding it to the Apples. Once the corn starch is added then stir that in the apple mixture and once it starts to bubble stir. Once the apple mixture has gotten thicker set aside.

Poor the cake mixture in the pan use half the mixture first  then lay the apple mixture on top of the cake mixture. Last poor the remainder of the cake mixture on top of the apple mixture. Now bake as directed on the cake mix box.

Once the cake is done baking let it cool before putting the frosting on top.

 

While the cake is cooling mix the cream cheese with 1 cup of sugar if you have caramel sauce add some to the frosting mix and mix. set aside

 

Next take a cup of Granola and cook it over the stove in 1 cup of brown sugar. Let the sugar mixture melt down and the granola get brown color. To let the Granola mixture cool down before putting over the frosting set it aside on wax paper.

Once the cake is cool then add the Frosting to the cake, and last but not least add the granola mixture on top ( make sure it is complete cool before adding to the frosting).

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Twas a Nightmare before Christmas Theme

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Twas the nightmare before Christmas oh I mean Twas the night before Christmas! I am one who loves the movie, “A nightmare before Christmas” I guess you could say obsessed with good old Jack, so this year  went all out.

I made some of my ornaments out of salt dough which really is not hard at all to do follow this website on how to make them http://www.beingspiffy.com/blog/diy-salt-dough-ornaments

Then the other ornaments are actually from a coworker of mine her and her daughter made the bows, and the cute Styrofoam Jacks. Such talent her daughter Emily has. So I want to say thank you to Sharon and Emily for the hard work they put into those ornaments.  Now I have to say the lights well they  were suppose to be purple, but I realized oops they look pink from shinning against the white of the tree .  😦 My husband says next time to buy LED lights because they will light up purple. For the Skirt I could not find a black one that would go really well with the tree, so I found a Nice small plush blanket from Steinmart under 20 dollars it worked out well.

 

As for the dinning table well all of that is what I have had through the years so I just reused the stuff. The pine cones I actually spray painted with Silver glitter paint and white. Then I used left over faux pearls and crystal beads that I have been keeping since my wedding. Never know when you are going to use those things for decorations. For the bottles well those are recycled bottles of mine I just frosted them with  Martha Stewart frost paint in white.

The moss is from Michael’s  I used it last year and was able to save it.  All in all the table decor was all under 20 dollars. the Vases I got at a Dollar store a long time ago  as you can see I never really get rid of stuff .

 

A thanksgiving idea to cherish with your family

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I love family Traditions and I use to have one with my dad’s family before my parents divorced. I have such a big family on my fathers side that every year we would get together at Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Loved those memories with all my Cousins getting together playing while the adults would hang out and shoot the breeze talk about what has been going on in their lives or occasional Politics would get brought up. My Grandparents would literally have three tables full of food, due to the fact everyone would bring a dish or two. Just love those memories and I truly Cherish those moments. I think sometimes we deal with so much in our lives we forget to stop and think to ourselves What am I thankful for in my life.

As time goes by we get older traditions change because we start our own families, Thanksgiving should be a time to be with family and enjoy the moments instead of shopping or waiting for Black Friday. Two years ago my husband and I were talking about this , and we thought what can we do each year for Thanksgiving with the family a new tradition to cherish with all. My husband came up with a brilliant idea why not get Christmas ornaments that are blank, bring them over to who ever is having the Thanksgiving gathering. Each person gets to choose an ornament and gets to write on it what they are thankful for and when they are done the whole family gathers together and hangs their ornament on a tree or if you do not have a tree a plant. our family fell in love with this idea, and I have to say we all had fun, and enjoyed doing it together. Not only did we stuff ourselves with good food and wine, but we enjoyed the moment of just being with family, and taking that little time together and giving thanks, and sharing why we give thanks.Now this is a new tradition that we do every year, and I absolutelyThanksgiving idea love it.

I hope everyone takes a moment in their lives and just capture those special moments with family, and friends this Thanksgiving, and future ones. Life is to precious so remember Holidays should not have to be presents, and shopping for those specials cause you can always replace those, you never can replace the greatest moments with family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone