Saturday, August 25, 2012

Getting ready for Fall

I'm feeling Fall-ish. It's mid-August and my love of Summer is fading. Quickly. VERY quickly.

Of course I'm stretching it by saying "love" when I actually barely tolerate Summer. I love the fun things that Summer brings - family vacation, added time with Kaitlyn and neon pink toenails (what??). But Summer is honestly something I could pretty much do without.

It's too DAMN HOT.

I think I could handle the 90's for a few months but when it peaks in the 100 to 105 range I just want to hurt someone curl up and cry. It is so completely miserable. And then add almost NO RAIN and it gets to the point of unbearable. I don't want to be outside or go anywhere that requires me to be outside. And working outside? Forget it. My front flower bed looks absolutely AWFUL because I just can't bring myself to get out there and work. I even try to get my shopping done in the morning on Saturday because I don't want to be out after Noon. That's pretty bad. And it limits my fun too!

Bring on Fall.

Honestly it probably won't even being to really FEEL like Fall until October, possibly November, but I can create Fall inside the house. I am trying to get rid of my Summer smelling candles and once they are gone I will put away all remnants of Summer. I have to admit that my Easter stuff is still in the front room. Not packed. That's embarrassing. Maybe since I have confessed I will make myself pack it all up for Preston to put away. I mean, before I know it I will be pulling out the Halloween stuff!! OMG!

So before Fall gets under way I should wrap up Summer.

Little pink cupcakes.

Literally bite size for an adult but perfect for for a pretty two year old.
A sweet, pink Happy Birthday to Baby O! She's growing up super fast!
We had birthday celebration (early) and good time with family.
Kaitlyn is back home with her Mom and getting ready for 4th grade. We had a GREAT summer and miss her!!

Back to Fall.....Chocolate Zucchini Bread.

I have been making this for YEARS and it's one of my favorites. The zucchini reminds me of Summer but the cinnamon in the bread makes it feel Fall-ish so it's a great transition bread. As I was making it today I couldn't help but think that it didn't seem very chocolatey - until I mixed it and remembered how deliciously brown and chocolatey it gets.

First mix your dry ingredients: flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Then your other ingredients (in a separate bowl): sugar, eggs, canola oil, vanilla and grated zucchini.
I know, it looks like a wet mess - but wait for it.

Now, add the dry ingredients to the zucchini wetness.
And mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.
Spread (because it's so thick you can't pour) the batter into your pans.
Bake and let it cool.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Splenda sugar mix for baking OR 2 cups regular sugar or Splenda
3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350. Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar and eggs; beat until well blended. Add oil and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in zucchini. Add flour mixture and stir just until moistened. (Batter will become VERY thick) Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Divide and spoon batter evenly into loaf pans.

Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then cool completely on a rack.

I made two loaves and they are delicious. Once cooled you can stick a piece in the microwave for about 30 seconds and it tastes like it's fresh from the oven!!

On the future agenda....pumpkin recipes. First on the list are Pumpkin Spice Donuts with Cinnamon Glaze...keep your eyes open!!

In the mean time, keep cool and think Fall!!
Hugs & kisses....

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