Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Zucchini Madness

Every Thursday this Summer, I head over to our local farmer's market to pick up a large box of veggies. Stephanie and I split a share of veggies and thank goodness we split a share. It's too much! Every week, there's a pretty good variety of vegetables and some fruit, but I've picked up several varieties of zucchini over the past couple of weeks and I needed to find some creative uses. First, I made a loaf of zucchini bread which turned out pretty tasty, but I still had more zucchini to use up. Stephanie picked up some yellow zucchini to grate into cheese quesadillas for the kids. She's her own sneaky chef. The kids can't even taste it and it blends in with the cheese! Well, she has been looking for some creative uses for zucchini as well and she found this cake recipe from the Fanny Farmer Baking Book. I actually googled the recipe and I found it here, but Steph made a few changes and it might be my new favorite cake. I thought I'd share the recipe here in case you find yourself with a lot of zucchini as well.

preheat 350 degrees

12 TB butter, softened
1 C sugar (the original recipe call for 2 C of sugar, but Steph made it with 1 1/3 C and I made it with 1 1/4 C and I think it could be reduced further to 1 C)

3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

zest from 1 orange

2 C grated zucchini (Okay, I grated the zucchini in my food processor, but Steph took it one step further. After grating the zucchini, she put the blade attachment in the food processor and pulsed it to make the zucchini even smaller. In the cake, you can't even see the zucchini this way!)

2 3/4 C flour ( I used 1 C of whole wheat flour and AP flour for the remaining flour. Next time, I might increase the amount of whole wheat and reduce AP.)

1/2 C cocoa powder (I used Droste Dutched cocoa.)

1 1/4 tsp baking powder (double this for low elevation. I live at 8600 feet!)

3/4 tsp baking soda (double this for low elevations.)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cloves ( The original recipe calls for cinnamon, but I just don't like chocolate and cinnamon together. I think the cloves give this a nice deep spicy flavor.)

1/2 C milk

1. cream butter and slowly add sugar
2. add eggs
3. add vanilla
4. add orange zest
5. add grated zucchini
6. blend well!
7. mix dry ingredients in a small bowl.
8. alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to batter.
9. mix 1 TB melted butter and 1 TB cocoa powder and brush completely over a bundt pan. (I swear by this method. I used to have my bundts stick to the pan, but not using this method. I actually do this first before I start making the batter. Make sure you coat every crevice of your bundt pan with the butter/cocoa mixture!)
10. 50-60 minutes until fork comes out clean.

For the glaze

Whisk together 1 C powdered sugar, 3 TB orange juice and zest of one orange.

Pour over the completely cooled bundt. ( I believe that the glaze makes this cake plenty sweet.)

Enjoy with a tall glass of milk!!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Scenes from July

I've been meaning to upload a couple of pics from the recent
Rocky Mountain Catholic Home Educators
Conference July 9-10, but I know that I've been
neglecting my blog this summer.  I finally got to meet
the super sweet Meredith Henning of Sweetness and Light.  We've been blog buddies for a few years now and
now we are IRL friends!  I also got to meet the very talented
and quite funny Danielle Bean of Faith & Family as well.
Wow, I sure look super pregnant, don't I?
I can't seem to get my blog to work the way I want to today.  So, I'll just write everything here instead of putting a caption for each photo.  I like that second photo of me and Meredith because you can't tell that I'm pregnant!

Okay, it was truly difficult trying to pose two toddlers wearing their Haltermelons!  This was the best that I could do.
I made a Haltermelon for Evelyn's 2nd birthday and of course, I thought it would be fun to get both Little E and Little T together in their matching knits!  Anyway, it's clear that Evelyn loves her wearing her Haltermelon in that second pic!

The next few pics are from our day on Evergreen Lake.  We took the kids out on the peddle boats and walked around the Lake.  I think little T really enjoyed being out on the water.  She looks like she's ready for a snooze. 

Yesterday, Paul and Luke were outside sanding down a small rocking chair.  This chair belonged to both me and my siste when we were little girls and we've been meaning for years to sand down the two coats of paint and repaint it.  I thought this would be a good summer project for Luke and Paul.  I remember this bright yellow chair from my childhood.  My sister Kat admitted to painting it gray at some point.  So, there are two coats of paint to remove.  That yellow paint is pretty stubborn, but they'll get it!  Little T sat in the Radio Flyer while the boys worked on her chair.  Yes, she's a princess!

Of course, what post would be complete without a little knitting?  I finished this pair of socks using merino sport from Sunshine Yarns in the colorway Victoria this month.  I had finished knitting the first sock several months ago, but I  got a case of Second Sock Syndrome and neglected  it while I knit Haltermelons.  At the Rocky Mountain Catholic Home Educators Conference this month, I started knitting the second sock during many of the talks.  I find that I listen so much better when I keep my hands busy!!  I've now started another pair of socks (that's the pic using the blue self-striping yarn) using the Sock Recipe found in Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  This is the first time I've actually used sock yarn to knit socks.  I'm using 2.5 mm needles and so far, I think that I enjoy knitting socks with sport weight yarn more.  This new pair seems awfully thin and flimsy, but I suppose I'm not used to working with sock yarn yet.  I'm really enjoying the blues in Berroco Sox.  I think it's good to have a pair of socks on the needles at all times. 

I've really neglected my little corner of cyberspace this Summer, but I think it's been good to disconnect a little.  I haven't been in the blogging mood of late, but I think I really wanted to soak in my summer and enjoy it all.  Next up??
The Zucchini adventure!  I hope you're all making wonderful Summer memories!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Please tell me why

Little T will shun perfectly delicious food, but I'll find her playing on the deck with a mouthful of tiny rocks? Yesterday, I fished out a small handful of little pebbles.  That was the third time.  I figured after the first time, she'd discover that rocks taste nasty.  I'm freaked out that she's going to swallow them or worse, break a tooth! Why? Why? Why?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Where did June go?

Sammy and his BFF Ella on the last day of pre-school
Here's little T riding Sammy's rocket.  It's really faded in the sun.  I remember we gave Sam this rocket for his 2nd birthday.  Now, he's 5.  Things like this make me realize that time just moves way too fast.
Little T must be pondering something!
Little T is a little chef.  She's spent the better part of June outside on the deck "cooking".
I seem to have tons of pictures of the kids on the deck.  Here they are again.
Luke and Cheyenne
Thi picture made me realize that I don't have a baby girl anymore.  She's getting so independent.
Luke and Cheyenne at the dog park
Here's Paul with the kiddos on Father's day
Luke loves his little sister so much.  They are already great friends!
Little T in the baby swing-  She's pretty content while swinging.
I had to get a picture of Little T with that crazy felt flower stuck to her hair.
Out and about with the boys
Little T in her new $5 dress
I'm already planning to knit a little cotton summer sweater for her to wear with this dress!

So, where did June go?  Seriously, I just don't know.  We finished up our school year the first week of June and the week after, I sent the boys to VBS. I've had a couple of ultrasounds in June and I expect to have at least two ultrasound appointments each month until they are born.  Since we are having identical twins, my doctor monitors them very closely since they could develop twin-to-twin transfusion at any time during the pregnancy.  So far, they are doing great and amazingly, my anxiety levels are much lower with this pregnancy compared to when I was pregnant with Little T.
Paul took a week off to hang out with us and to get some wok done around the house.  Although we don't have plans to re-do the basement bathroom at this time, he gutted it.  He ripped out the old tile, bathtub, toilet and vanity.  It's nice to know that now it's a clean slate and we can get going on the bathroom at any time.  It's hard to believe that after living in this house for almost five years, we've had two non-functioning bathrooms.  The boys technically have their own bathroom, but they've been sharing with us since we moved in early 2006.  Since they're getting so big and the family will expand again with the arrival of the twins, I stopped stalling and finally chose tile for both the tub surround and floor.  All this time, we just kept the door closed to the unfinished boys' bathroom.  It's really nice getting some momentum going on knocking out these home projects.  We wish that daddy could take the rest of the summer off and hang out with us because it's just nice having daddy home all the time. 
We joined a CSA this summer and so we've made a weekly visit to our local farmer's market each week.  I'm amazed at all the produce I bring home each week. It's becoming a challenge to eat it all.  We had several tomatoes left over from last week and Paul cooked up a batch of homemade pasta sauce with fresh basil.  I took the kids just this morning and we loaded up on corn, English cucumbers, more tomatoes, onions and a cantalouple.  Last week, I got a watermelon that we still haven't eaten yet.  I think we'll cut it up and have it on the 4th of July along with all the corn.  I think we'll grill the corn. 
As for our own little home garden, we've got some Mammoth sunflowers, carrots, and pumpkin pie pumpkins coming up.  So far, I don't see any kale or lemon cucumber seedlings.  It's so difficult to grow things at this elevation, but we keep trying!  I think I'll plant some more seeds this weekend and just see what happens!
We've taken the kids to get ice cream a couple of times which is something that we normally just don't do.  Paul and I aren't really big ice cream eaters.  I like my ice cream in the form of either a chocolate or strawberry malt!  I still have plans to make some homemade ice cream this summer since ice cream shop ice cream just can't compare.  I love the vanilla ice cream recipe found in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook, but I'd like to make strawberry this summer.  I have to make ice cream at least once during the summer. 
I haven't thought about school plans much, but I did just finish reading this book and it put me in the mood to begin thinking out Luke's 6th grade year.  I'm thinking we'll start in August this year instead of our normal September since the babies are set to arrive sometime in October. 
I've also been knitting and I'm almost ready to begin a new project, but I can't decide what to start yet.  I just got a cheap spindle and I'm excited about learning to make my own handspun yarn.  I can thank Jenn for that!  I don't have any roving yet.  I wanted to order some roving from Sunshine, but I forgot to check in last Tuesday and well, they yarns go fast there.  By the time I remembered, there were only a couple of roving colorways left.  I guess I'll have to wait until the next shop update!

We are enjoying a slower pace this summer and we have some plans for some swimming in the next few weeks.  We're going to take the kids to see Toy Story 3 this weekend.  I'm looking forward to that.  Luke practically wore out our copy of Toy Story 2 when he was younger.  Now, he and Sammy both watch it.  Time moves so quickly.  I remember the first Toy Story came out the year before Paul and I were married and we'll celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary this month.  So much to celebrate!
Enjoy and savor your Summer, friends!  I hope to pop in more this month.  I can't believe that I only posted twice in June.  Like I said, where did June go?? I guess I needed a little blog break.