Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mom's Zucchini Squash Bread

Mom does not have a concrete recipe for her bread, or anything else really, which is why I also have the habit of estimating all the ingredients by scooping with my favorite measuring cup. Lucky for me, my estimated measurements work out most of the time. Here is mom's recipe, with more exact measurements, including the specific ingredients that I use.

If you are new to growing zucchini, you will soon learn that the squash grows quite large as long as you water it. When I have more zucchini than I can use or give away, I grate it into a very large bowl. Then I measure out about 2 1/2 cups portions into Ziploc freezer bags and toss in the deep freezer for future use. Let it thaw before using in this recipe. Water will separate from the meat in the freezer, so draining the extra liquid will help maintain the quality of the end product.

Mom's Zucchini Squash Bread

1 C. Oil (I use Canola)
3 Eggs
2 C. Sugar (I like using raw sugar, available in the bulk section of the grocery store)
2 C. Grated raw zucchini
3 tsp. Vanilla
3 C. Flour (I like to use Wheat Montana, Gold, it's even available at Walmart)
1 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon (I usually add a little extra)

Optional ingredients:

*1/2 c. nuts, your choice.
*pinch of Nutmeg – something I like to add for winter baking.
*1/2 c. or more crushed pineapple, drained

If you are making 2 standard bread size loaves, preheat the oven to 325.
For half loaf pans, preheat the oven to 350.

Combine oil, eggs, sugar, zucchini, and vanilla in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until well blended.

Oil your bread pans. Fill each about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way. Full size pans bake for about an hour, half-pans for 45 minutes. Cooking times vary, and will be done when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 - 15 minutes.  Remove from pan and let cool completely on a rack before storing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lena’s Oatmeal Peanut Butter Brownies

A few weeks ago, I promised my son he could choose a treat, he decided on an inexpensive, boxed brownie mix. When I baked them, I realized that nothing is as good as brownies made from scratch. That inspired me to come up with a new chewy brownie recipe. I like putting a new spin on the classics, making my recipes a little bit healthier whenever possible.  Tonight the oven was on  so I could make a pasta bake for dinner; when the oven is on in the summer, I try to give it as much use as possible.

Note that although I use specific brands; feel free to substitute with more readily available ingredients.  I have found that cocoa powder comes in a variety of flavors, and switching it up will change the flavor of your brownies.  I also like to finish up items in my cupboard instead of throwing it out as I switch to healthier and organic options.

The best photo I could get with a camera phone.

Lena’s Oatmeal Peanut Butter Brownies


• 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup butter, melted
• 2 tablespoons water
• 2 large eggs
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup cocoa powder (I used medium dark cocoa from The Prepared Pantry)
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 2/3 cup Quaker Quick Oats,
• 1/2 cup creamy Skippy peanut butter, melted.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13x9-inch baking pan.

2. Combine sugar, butter and water in a large bowl. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Stir into the wet mixture and blend well.

4. Stir in oats.

5. Spread into prepared baking pan.

6. Melt Skippy  using a coffee cup in the microwave for approximately 30 seconds.

7. Drizzle peanut butter over the brownie mixture, using a butter knife to swirl it to the bottom and edges.

8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Tips and suggestions to try:

  • Toss some crushed peanuts in the final mixing stage, or use chucky peanut butter to drizzle on top.
  • If you are using the butter and flour method in the pan, switch out flour and use cocoa powder instead.
  • Add a handful of your favorite flavor of baking chips, or crushed cookies during the final mixing stage, or sprinkle on the top during the last few minutes of baking.*
  • During the last few minutes of baking, remove the pan. Cover the top of the brownies with mini marshmallows and return to the oven until lightly brown (usually only 2-5 minutes).*
  • Add some melted peanut butter to the mix during the final minute of mix time.
  • After brownies are removed from the over, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top.*
*With these options, you can make a design on the top of the brownies for a special treat; stripes, hearts, initials, etc.