SewThankful Triple Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Moist, dense and DEEEEElicious! It’s got nutrition too.

Tis the season for zucchini. LOTS and LOTS of zucchini. This year, after several bountiful harvests, I was inspired to create a Triple Chocolate Zucchini Bread to help use up some of the “bounty”. Needless to say, it has been one of the most popular things I’ve ever made with Zucchini. Jeff asked me to make at least 10 more loaves to put in the freezer–yes, it freezes fabulously.

Recipe yields 2 loaves

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
  • 1.5 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3.25 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • OPTIONAL INGREDIENT: 1 teaspoon espresso powder OR instant coffee. NOTE: Espresso powder OR instant coffee is OPTIONAL – but this ingredient adds another level of subtle, uniquely rich deliciousness. You can purchase espresso powder or make your own if you wish. There are lots of instructions online for how to make your own espresso powder. Choose your favorite browser and search away.
  • 4 cups shredded zucchini, packed (a little extra is OK)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips, your preference)
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS:

Prepare 2 loaf pans using your preferred method. (I use non-stick spray or butter depending on what I have on hand.)

Preheat oven to 350.

Melt butter until just barely melted (microwave or stovetop methods are both fine). Pour melted butter into a large bowl. Use a whisk, fork or wooden spoon to add brown sugar and stir well until the mixture is smooth. Stir in eggs, adding one at a time until each one is well incorporated.  NOTE: Do NOT add eggs before combining butter and brown sugar. Once you have combined the butter and brown sugar, make sure your butter/sugar mixture has cooled enough so that it does NOT cook the eggs. Stir in vanilla. Is everything evenly combined and smooth? If not, stir gently until it is.

In a medium size bowl, add all dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and espresso powder/ instant coffee. Use a fork or whisk to evenly combine all dry ingredients.

Pour dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients. Stir with wooden spoon or spatula until all ingredients are evenly combined but do not “over” stir. This mixture will be quite thick. Add zucchini, chocolate chips and white chips. Stir with wooden spoon or spatula just until evenly mixed.

Divide batter into the prepared loaf pans. Bake for 55 – 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean and batter-free. Note: melted chocolate chips can/will stick to the toothpick even if the loaf is done so pay close attention if your toothpick does not appear to be clean.

Allow loaves to cool for 10 – 15 minutes before turning them onto a cooling rack.

The bread tastes delicious when warm; but be advised that slicing it before it has completely cooled may result in lots of crumbling!

These LOAVES FREEZE very well and are good for up to 3 months or so. If you want to freeze your loaf/loaves, allow to cool completely then wrap snugly in plastic wrap then either place in a freezer bag and press out air or wrap foil securely over the plastic wrap.

Want to print print this recipe? Click here for the PDF

Fresh from the Garden: SewThankful Zucchini Breakfast Hash with Scrambled Eggs

My Favorite Summer Breakfast that’s also delicious for lunch or dinner!

INGREDIENTS:

1 or 2 small zucchini quartered length wise and chopped

1/4 cup diced onion

1 clove minced garlic

1 Tablespoon olive oil or butter

Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional: 1 or 2 slices of previously cooked bacon, crumbled

1 or 2 prepared scrambled eggs

Optional: 1 Tablespoon grated cheese (choose your favorite)

DIRECTIONS:

Heat oil or butter in a medium to large size heavy skillet over medium high heat.

Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic (don’t let the garlic burn).

Add chopped garlic.

Add chopped zucchini. Allow zucchini to cook until you see the edges turning golden brown then flip and allow the other side to cook just a couple minutes.

Add the OPTIONAL prepared, crumbled bacon. Allow to warm through .

Turn heat to low. Place previously prepared scrambled eggs on top of the hash. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover with lid for a couple minutes to allow eggs to come up to same temperature as has and for the cheese to melt.

Serve it up and enjoy!

OPTIONAL IDEAS: If you’ve got garden fresh tomatoes, dice one up and add it just before you put the bacon in. Toss lightly, allow to warm and then add bacon. Fresh/tender green beans and sliced mushrooms are also a nice addition. I like to cook my green beans and/or mushrooms with the onions and allow any liquid to cook off and them to begin caramelizing before adding the zucchini. The same goes for cabbage, kale, spinach or broccoli.

SewThankful Calabacitas (Zucchini) With Yellow Squash, Corn & Green Chile

One of our family’s favorite veggie dishes and it’s super easy to make. You may easily adjust up or down in quantity or tweak ingredients to suit your needs.

Ingredients:

2 or 3 Medium Size Zucchini sliced into 1/8th inch discs.

1 Medium Size Yellow Squash sliced into 1/8th inch discs. If you don’t have yellow squash, just add another zucchini.

1 small onion, diced

1 – 2 cloves of garlic smashed and finely diced (depending on how much you like garlic)

1 – 2 Medium Size Ears of COOKED Sweet Corn — left over grilled or flame roasted sweet corn is best but steamed or boiled is fine too–slice the corn off the cob(s), you’ll want to have approximately 1 – 1 1/2 cups. OR use approximately 1 – 1 1/2 cups of frozen sweet corn that has been cooked (microwaved corn works fine). Make sure the corn has been drained and is relatively dry.

1/2 cup chopped roasted green chile that is drained/relatively dry — you can substitute roasted bell pepper of any color if you don’t have green chile or don’t care for the heat.

OPTIONAL: 1/8 – 1/4 cup fresh grated Romano/Parmesan Cheese (or use your favorite cheese!)

2 Tablespoons Butter OR Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste if desired

DIRECTIONS:

In a large, heavy skillet (I like to use my largest cast iron skillet) heat butter or olive oil.

Saute onion until it begins to brown/caramelize. Add garlic and toss lightly. You don’t want to burn the garlic.

Turn up the heat a bit and add zucchini and yellow squash. You want to quickly brown the squash on one side before turning, tossing or stirring with out allowing it to become mushy. Once you’ve got a nice golden brown, turn, toss or gently stir to brown the other side of your zucchini & yellow squash.

Add the prepared corn and green chile or bell pepper. Keeping the heat up, quickly toss/stir gently to distribute all ingredients evenly. You just want to heat the corn & green chile (as it has been cooked previously) to the same temperature as your squash.

Remove from heat. Add Salt & Pepper to taste. Sprinkle the top with cheese and allow to melt.

Serve & ENJOY!

Got leftover cans of pumpkin? Make DELICIOUS Brunch Pumpkin Pancakes from Scratch

Ingredients:
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup packed brown sugar, placed into small bowl and loosened with fork until no clumps remain
2 1/4 cups pumpkin
4 eggs, beaten
3 cups whole milk + 2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup real butter, melted
Optional: 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
First, combine milk with lemon juice in a glass measuring cup or glass bowl. Set aside at room temperature for 10 minutes or so (while you are preparing the other ingredients).

Next, in a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Mix until all ingredients are well evenly distributed. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a whisk or fork, combine pumpkin with beaten eggs. Mix until smooth. Sprinkle the loose brown sugar evenly over the pumpkin/egg mixture and stir in, mixing well. Add the milk/lemon juice mixture (it should be thick and clumpy as you pour it in). Add vanilla and melted butter.

Add the dry ingredients (previously set aside) to the wet ingredients in 3 separate additions, stirring lightly and mixing well but not over-mixing. The batter should remain slightly lumpy. If chocolate chips are desired, add them now and mix until evenly distributed. Hint: I pour about 1/3 of plain batter into small bowl then add chocolate chips to the large bowl so we can both have plain and chocolate chip versions. Set batter aside to rest for approximately 5-10 minutes or so.

Prepare your griddle, preheating it to approximately 350 to 375 degrees. You will know your griddle is hot enough when you finger drip water over the griddle and it immediately sizzles up. I use a cast iron griddle and butter as my lubricant, but you may choose to use your favorite griddle or pan and lubricant (butter, coconut oil, or cooking spray, etc.).

Depending on how large you like your pancakes, pour 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup (or whatever size/amount you prefer) into puddles on the griddle. Allow to cook until golden brown on one side, then flip and allow the other side to cook until golden brown.

The number of pancakes you get will depend on how big you make them. This recipe feeds our family of 2 large and hungry teenage boys + 2 adults and leaves quite a bit of leftovers.

The leftover pancakes freeze beautifully. Simply let them cool then place in freezer bag(s). I use quart size freezer bags and put 4-6 pancakes in each bag so the boys can pull out a bag and finish it the same day. Be sure to remove as much air as possible when you close the bag. Place in freezer. Reheat pancakes in toaster.

POPCORN AWESOMENESS–make your own microwave popcorn!

Mind blowing…that’s what this was for me.

Made in the microwave…no fuss…no muss…no nasty preservatives.  You control the salt and all your favorite toppings!

I have a weakness. Yes, quilts, fabric, threads, sewing and bicycles.  But no, that’s not what I’m talking about now. I have a major weakness for popcorn.  I always have. Salty, crunchy, (sometimes spicy) and always delicious. POPCORN.  Make it sweet.  Make it spicy. Make it buttery.  Make it any way you want.

I. LOVE. POPCORN.

Air popped popcorn just doesn’t cut it for me and who wants to clean up that funky machine?

I love microwave popcorn…ummmmm. Have you ever checked out the ingredients for that stuff?  Uggggh.

Stove-top popcorn is awesome, but the cleanup is a hassle.

I need something fast, easy, inexpensive, relatively healthy (and OK…sometimes not so healthy if that’s what I choose) and inexpensive.

So, when I discovered I can make my own microwave popcorn I was…BLOWN AWAY!

Here’s what you need:

  • Microwave
  • 1 brown paper bag (lunch sack size)
  • 1/4 cup popcorn kernels
  • OPTIONAL toppings:  salt, butter, coconut oil, pepper, spices, caramel or any topping of your choice

THAT’S IT! Can you believe it?

Here’s HOW you do it…OMG it’s too easy:

  • Place 1/4 cup popcorn kernels (I prefer organic of any brand, but use your favorite type and brand) in a brown paper lunch bag.
  • Fold the bag down about 3 times with approx. 1 inch each fold; creasing firmly with each fold.
  • Place in the center of the microwave and close the door.
  • Press the “popcorn” button if your microwave has one.  If your microwave doesn’t have a “popcorn” button, set it for 4 minutes and LISTEN CLOSELY.  After your popcorn has started popping, it will be done when it goes approximately 3 – 5 seconds without making a pop. If you get to the end of 4 minutes and your popcorn hasn’t even started popping you either need fresh popcorn or a new microwave.
  • Once popped, pour the popcorn into your favorite bowl and add your favorite toppings.

Enjoy…amazing popcorn. Healthier. Tastier. And at a fraction of the cost.

 

 

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