"Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children." Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Friday, December 2, 2011

Zucchini Bread

When we were in Utah this summer, we went to Park City with my mom, sister and her family.  My sister brought with them some zucchini bread that her friend, Jenny Williams had made.  My kids went crazy and I'm pretty sure ate the whole thing.  Sorry, Suz.  So I wrote to her and begged her for the recipe.  It is pretty amazing.

3 Eggs
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Applesauce
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Zucchini, grated
3 tsp. Vanilla
3 cups Flour
3 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
If you have any Flax Seed throw some of that in, too

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.  Beat eggs until frothy.  Mix in oil, applesauce, and sugar.  Stir in zucchini and vanilla.  mix in flour, cinnamon, soda, powder, salt, and flax seed.  Divide into 2 pans.  Top with a cinnamon streusel.  Bake for 60-70 minutes.

Cinnamon Streusel:
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed in
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 T. Butter, melted

Combine all ingredients with fork until well mixed.  Place on top of whatever you wish!

Posted by Picasa

Chicken Tortilla Soup

One of my friends, Stephanie, brought me some of her Chicken Tortilla Soup.  I loved it!  One night, I was desperate to make it but didn't have her recipe.  So I googled it and the first one I came to was The Pioneer Woman's recipe.  Of course it would be awesome, so I did it.  Kind of.  Since it was so last minute, I didn't have all of the ingredients so I made it my own.  And I loved it.  Plus she cooks hers for a really long time and I am not that patient.
Now, there are a lot of ingredients but it's not that hard.  Don't be deterred, just do it.  You'll thank me later.

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 T. Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt

1 T. Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, diced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 clove of Garlic, minced
1 can Rotel Tomatoes & Green Chilis
32 oz Chicken Stock
1 can Black Beans, drained
1 can Pinto Beans, drained
4 Tortillas, cut into strips
1/4 cup Cilantro, finely chopped

Garnishes (optional):
Sour Cream
Red Onion
Pico de Gallo

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt.  Drizzle 1 T of Olive Oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of your spice mix onto both sides.  Use about half of it.  Set aside the rest of the spice mix for later.  Wrap the chicken in foil to make sure it is perfectly moist.  Place wrapped chicken breasts onto baking sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.  Use 2 forks to shred then set the chicken aside.
Heat 1 T of Olive Oil in a pan over medium high heat.  Add onion, peppers and garlic.  Stir and then mix in the rest of the spice mix.  Then add the shredded chicken and stir.
Pour in the tomatoes, chicken stock, and beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add more spices if needed.  At the very end is when you will want to add your tortilla strips and cilantro.  Stir in and serve.  Top with any garnishes you might like.  I only added cheese to mine but that was mostly because of lack of ingredients.

Posted by Picasa

Pomegranates, Cranberries, & Artichokes

For decorations of course!

Not only are these all delicious, but they are awesome holiday decos, too!

Here's a quick trick to getting the pomegranate seeds out.  Soak the pomegranates in water first.  It's much easier getting the seeds out if you do this.  Trust me.  I soaked mine for a full 24 hours first.  Not on purpose, I just didn't have time to get to them before that.  I'm not sure what the least amount of soaking time would be.  But it's worth it.  My kids LOVE to snack on these.  I guess I do, too.  They are really yummy
Posted by Picasa

Roasted Green Beans & Mushrooms

For Thanksgiving, one of my friends, Christi and her family celebrated with us.  She brought roasted asparagus topped with mushrooms. And another time when we had dinner together, she brought roasted green beans.  So I combined both of her ideas and did this.  I've only ever done green beans not out of the can once other than this and failed miserably.  I never thought to roast them or to top them with mushrooms.  They were delicious, easy, and they look super elegant.

Green Beans
Mushrooms - out of can or fresh, I used canned
Olive Oil

Snap ends off of green beans and wash them.  Place on cookie sheet and cover in olive oil and salt and pepper.  Cook at 400 for 15 minutes.
This time, I first sauteed the mushrooms in a little olive oil and then also roasted them when the beans were about halfway through.  I don't know if the sautee-ing was necessary. Next time I might skip that.  I wasn't planning on roasting them at all and then it hit me that it would be a good way to do it.  So I did and it was awesome.
Posted by Picasa