Monday, September 15, 2014

Zucchini Bread

For the past month or so, I had been seeing a lot of zucchini recipes on Pinterest. I guess because it was zucchini season. It sounded weird to me that zucchini was a main ingredient for something sweet. I always thought it to be used in a savory dish. So I wasn't too interested in any of the different versions of zucchini bread that popped up all over Pinterest. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely LOVE zucchini. Just not in a sweet form.

Well one day, an old co-worker brought in some freshly baked banana and zucchini breads for her last day in our office. She suggested I try the zucchini bread. I hesitated a bit, but I went for it. Let's just say that I went back for thirds and fourths. It was delicious. Not too sweet and you don't even taste the zucchini! It was just like eating a spice cake. And since I had been seeing a lot of zucchini bread recipes lately, like this one from Oh My! Sugar High, I decided to give it a go. I wanted to make this for my family, especially for my girls, to try out. Its a great way to sneak in some of their veggies. And they LOVED it. In fact, my older daughter has asked me to make more. I also gave some for my folks and they also loved it. This will definitely be made frequently at home. Serve it warm with some butter, or at room temperature. Yum!

3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (with some of the liquid squeezed out)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1) Preheat oven at 350 deg F. Grease and flour 2 8-inch or 9-inch loaf pan and set aside.

2) In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg (if using). Set aside.

3) In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients and beat until well combined. Batter will be thick.

4) Fold in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour in prepared loaf pans and bake for 40-60 minutes, until toothpick test comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes. Then cool completely in a wire rack.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Bacon Ranch Pinwheels

We're getting a new employee at the office tomorrow, and to welcome him, the boss wanted to have some refreshments set up for his welcome. I was more than happy to bring something in. But what? For the 10 months I've been in this new office of mine, I've come to learn that my co-workers are not huge fans of sweets. Bummer. Its my favorite thing to make. So I guess I just have to be more creative with the goodies I bring in.

One of the supervisors is bringing donuts. I think there will probably be enough sweets there as it is, so I decided to bring something savory. I remember eating this yummy appetizer my sister-in-law made one New Year's day celebration and thought it would be a perfect thing to bring at the office. A quick text to her lead me to a search on Pinterest and found this recipe for  Chicken Bacon Ranch Pinwheels from In the Kitchen where I Belong. I wanted to keep it simple, so I omitted the chicken, but will definitely add it in the future. I think they'll like these at the office. Thanks for the idea, Deby!

2 tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
ranch dressing
1/4 cup diced onions
10 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
shredded cheese

1) Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets and set aside.

2) Unroll each tube of crescent rolls. Pinch the creases together to seal and make a rectangular dough. Spread a few tablespoons of ranch dressing on each dough. Top with with equal amounts of diced onions, then bacon, and shredded cheese.

3) Roll the dough (from the long side) tightly and cut equal amounts of slices (I was able to get about 12 slices per dough). Place pinwheels on prepared cookie sheets and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about a minute. Serve warm.