The Baker's Sheet

The baking and cooking adventures of a wannabe culinary student

Zucchini Bread

IMG_7059When I think of zucchini, I am always brought back to my childhood memories.  My mother would always have a couple zucchini’s towards this time of year and she would always make zucchini bread, and guess who was the lucky ones that got to shred all of the zucchini by hand, it was always us kids.  We tended to always jump at the chance, until we were a quarter of the way through the first one and we were bored to death.  Mom always gladly took over and ended up making us zucchini bread for us to enjoy.

But this recipe is not the one that my mother would make us, this one is much sweeter, and I like it so much better.  It is not that my mother’s recipe was a bad one, it is just that this one has much more flavor I think.  This recipe comes from a cousin of my grandmothers, and I changed it up ever so slightly.  The original recipe just calls for 1 cup of oil, I am sure traditionally canola or vegetable oil is to be used, but I substituted it for coconut oil and it turned out great.  I also left out the nuts, because I am not the biggest fan of them.

Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 teaspoons pineapple juice
  • 1 cup drained, crushed pineapple
  • 1 cup nuts(optional)
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare loaf pans by spraying with cooking spray and coating with flour.  Mix together sugar and oil, add eggs one at a time. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking power.  Add vanilla and pineapple juice to sugar mixture.  Add part of flour mixture and beat after each addition.  Add pineapple, nuts and zucchini and mix thoroughly.  Divide into two regular loaf pans or 6 mini loaf pans or muffin pans.  Bake full size loafs for one hour, mini loafs for about 45 minutes and muffins for 20 minutes.

Adapted from a Dotzert family recipe
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Beach Cupcakes

Beach CupcakesSo my roommate decided that she wanted to enter the Relay for Life Cupcake War that her place of employment was hosting.  I of course was more than willing to help with the assembly of these super cute cupcakes!

Beach Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix prepared per package instructions as 24 cupcakes
  • vanilla frosting, tinted blue
  • 1 package gummy lifesavers
  • 1 box honey teddy grahams
  • 1 box vanilla wafers, crushed
  • 1 pacage drink umbrellas

Directions:

  1. After the cupcakes have been baked and allowed to cool completely, frost with the blue frosting for the “water”
  2. Gently press on the vanilla wafer crumbs on half of the cupcakes.
  3. Take one Teddy Graham and place one lifesaver around the teddy graham.
  4. Place the teddy graham in the remaining frosted portion of the cup cake.
  5. Insert drink umbrella.

 

White Chocolate Chip Blondies

white chocolate chip blondes

Hello there, I back with some great new recipes to share and to start off I have the wonderful White Chocolate Chip Blondies for you all.  I happened to be raving something sweet, that included chocolate and one of my coworkers asked if there was such a thing as white chocolate brownies, so I just had to rush home and make some Blondies.

These Blondies are great, with tons of white chocolate in them.  I liked them best served slightly warm still, but they were just as good cold too.  So good that I quickly packed them up and shipped them off to work with the boyfriend for them to vanish almost instantly.

White Chocolate Chip Blondies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly butter a 9 x 13-inch pan and line with parchment paper, allowing enough overhang on the long side to lift the blondies from the pan.
  2. Place the butter and 1 cup chocolate chips in a small saucepan over the lowest possible heat and cook until almost all the chocolate has melted. Off heat, stir until smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Place the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip until lemon-colored and thick.
  4. Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle and add the flour, salt, and remaining 1 cup chocolate chips and beat on the lowest speed until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the cooled chocolate mixture, and beat until just combined.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan, smooth with a knife, and transfer to the oven. Bake until the top is just beginning to brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Be careful not to over bake. Cool in the pan slightly and then cut into 24 bars
Adapted from: Relish

Chicken & Rice Vegetable Stew

ImageThere are very few things that I see and want to make that very second that I am reading through the recipe for the very first time, and this stew was one of them.  All of the vegetables and chicken and and the rice make it very hearty, and quite delicious.  This recipe was originally posted on Iowa Girl Eats, and I did make some slight adaptations.  My lovely small town grocery store happens to not carry kale, nor barley so I let the brain wander and and came up with some substitutions.  In place of the kale I used some baby spinach, and swapped the barley for brown rice and it turned out great!  The next time I make it though, I will make sure to add the spinach closer to the end of the cooking time as to not cook it to the point of near nothingness, but this is a recipe that I know I will be making more and more.

Crock pot Chicken & Rice Vegetable Stew

Ingredients:

  • 48oz chicken broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 small chicken breasts (about 12oz)
  • 3/4 cup brown rice(Not quick cooking)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 large regular potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes 
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced

Directions:

  1. Add chicken broth, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and bay leaves into the crock pot then stir to combine. Layer in chicken, barley, onions, potatoes, and carrots. Do not stir. Press veggies down to cover with chicken broth then cook on low for 5-6 hours or until barley is tender.
  2. Add the baby spinach in the last hour of cooking, and press down.
  3. Remove bay leaves then discard. Remove chicken breasts, shred, then return to the soup and stir to combine.
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Italian Veggie Stuffed Bell Peppers

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Long time no blog, how is everyone??  I am so so sorry for the lack of posts in the past almost two months.  I have been so busy since starting classes this semester.  Apparently the working a 40 hour work week while taking 13 credit hours of classes on 4 days a week is taking a toll, and add in the fact that my workouts have pretty much been nonexistent for the later part of January and that makes for one unhappy me.  I even took a week’s vacation from work in the time that I have been away and still have not managed to get back on track, but I think this week has been the best week yet since the start of the semester with getting everything that I want accomplished.

Did I tell you all that I tried out CrossFit in December and absolutely LOVE it??  Cause I really do love it, but I haven’t been able to go in over a month because of all my stuff due for school.  But I do believe that this is going to change in the near future.  All of my classes seem to be calming down, and I have finally gotten to where I can get most of my homework in on the weekends so that frees up some extra time throughout the week for me, which means a much more happier me.

Now back to the recipe, I have been trying to incorporate much more veggies in my diet along with other good for me foods(like eggs, I ate an egg a couple of weeks ago for the first time since I was probably 8, and I liked it!).  So far so good, I think one week I ate a pound of broccoli for lunch for three days straight.  Which is a whole lot of broccoli eating.  This recipe is a goo one for getting in the extra veggies, with the peppers of course, sweet potatoes, zucchini and spinach it is great.  Roasting the peppers before stuffing them gives them the added flavor, and extra tenderness.  I know that this will be going into my list of must make again recipes!

Italian Veggie Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 2 bell peppers, halved and cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped and divided
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

  1. preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. Place halved peppers on baking sheet, face down and bake for 10-15 minutes or until softened.
  3. While the peppers are cooking, heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add diced sweet potatoes.
  4. Sauté sweet potatoes until just tender.  Then add green onions, zucchini, and garlic continuing to sauté for 1-2 additional minutes.
  5. While the veggies are cooking, brown beef in a separate skillet until fully done.
  6. Add browned beef to the vegetable mixture along with the spinach, half of the basil and the tomato paste and stir to combine.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Remove the peppers from the oven and spoon the beef mixture into the inside of the peppers.
  9. Serve with additional basil.
Adapted from: Paleo Recipes for Every Day: 70 Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle

 

 

New Year’s things and a Green Smoothie!

ImageSo it’s a new year already, and I can’t believe it!  2012 had its ups and downs for me, but was a pretty awesome year.

I started this blog, made some pretty amazing foods, joined an awesome gym and absolutely love CrossFit, I ran my very first and second 5k races, and completed my first year of college courses.  I discovered that I really do love running and all of the benefits that come with it, and that broccoli is amazing and I want to eat it every day.

I made a lot of changes in 2012 that I am proud of, but this year I want to make more changes, and all of them are for the better!

I don’t know if you noticed or not, but I added a new page to the blog for Fitness & Health.  Here I plan on sharing my daily workouts and meals.  To me sharing what I do to workout and eat cleaner makes me want to continue to do it more frequently, and stay committed.  Another thing that helps me stay focused is to set a goal to work towards.  I currently am planning to run the Bridge the Gap Half Marathon in May, so now is the time to start working towards that goal.

Another goal I want to work towards would be to reduce the amount of sugar that I consume.  I know that I eat way to many things that contain large amounts of sugar in them, and I want to change this.  I have already cut the brown sugar out of my morning oatmeal, and it isn’t too bad so I am sure that this is something that is doable for me.

I also want to be more committed to blogging.  I truly do love it, but sometimes finding the time to blog can be frustrating.  This current semester I will be taking 13 credit hours of college courses along with working a 40+ hour a week full time job, add this together with my daily workouts and kitchen time and you have one tight schedule.  In 2013 I want to have at least one blog post a week, hopefully more.

I decided to kick my New Year off right by joining the 7 Day Green Smoothie Challenge hosted by The Real Food Runner  The rules of the challenge are simple, just add one green smoothie to your daily eats for the next 7 days, and help to jump start your year into a year of good health!  I made my first ever green smoothie this afternoon and it was delicious!  I’ll have to admit, although I am a major fan of baby spinach, I was a bit skeptical of adding it with some fruit and ice and drinking it up but it was a great way to get some more greens into my diet.  Here is the recipe I used for my green smoothie!

Strawberry Banana Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup milk (I used 2%, but use what ever kind you like or even water)
  • 1 medium banana, mine was frozen
  • 1 large handfull fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • Ice

Combine the milk and spinach in the blender, and blend until processed thoroughly.  Add the banana, and strawberries and blend once more.  Once blended check the consistency and add ice if needed.  Enjoy!

Adapted from The Real Food Runner

Veggie Quinoa

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A couple weeks ago while browsing around on Pinterest I came to the realization that although I had pinned a ton of recipes that called for quinoa in them, I had never tried it.  So, shortly after this on one of my next grocery store trips I picked up a box of it and decided to make this quick and easy quinoa mixed veggie bowl of sorts.  I really had no idea what exactly I was wanting for dinner when I walked into the kitchen, but I came up with this and it was delicious!  I had browsed around and looked at several recipes involving both quinoa and veggies, and came across a honey lemon vinaigrette that went with this dish wonderfully.  I will most definitely be making some other versions of this dish as well as this again because it was just that good!

Veggie Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1, 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1, 12 ounce can corn
  • 1 cup frozen peas, cooked following package instructions
  • 1, 10 ounce bag frozen broccoli cooked following package directions
  • freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, for topping

For Vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a sauce pan.  Add rinsed quinoa, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium low.  Cook until the liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 25 minutes.  Fluff quinoa with a cork and let cool slightly.
  2. Make the vinaigrette by combining the lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper and giving it  good whisk.  Set aside.
  3. Place the drained and rinsed corn and black beans to a large skillet and heat until warm.  Add in the cooked broccoli, peas, quinoa and the vinaigrette and stir to combine.
  4. Top with some freshly grated  parmigiano-reggiano cheese and serve.

Serves 6

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

My Grannies Peanut Butter Fudge

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Making fudge in December has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. My sisters and I would always be way to excited to help granny make fudge and Christmas cookies to the point of we always managed to get kicked out of the kitchen each and every year we tried to help. Up until the last five years or so. I always make it a point to come over on fudge day, and stir my little heart out while my granny has the watchful eye and tells me just by looking at it when it’s done, and this year was no exception.

Peanut Butter Fudge
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 7 ounce jar marshmallow creme
1 12 ounce jar creamy peanut butter

Spray a edged cookie sheet with cooking spray(I use a half sheet pan) and set aside, place your jar of peanut butter and marshmallow creme in bowl of hot water to make removing them from the jar easier. In a heavy bottomed pan, combine the sugar and evaporated milk in the pan over medium high heat stirring until it comes to a boil. Boil constantly while stirring for 10 minutes, making sure to scrape the sides of the pan to not let the sugar crystalize. Once the 10 minutes of boiling is up remove from heat and immediately stir in the marshmallow creme and peanut butter until throughly mixed. Pour into to prepared pan and let cool before cutting into one inch prices.

Makes approximately 75 one inch pieces

McClure family recipe.

White Chocolate Cherry Chunckies


IMG_6765This year I decided to participate in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  I thought long and hard about what new cookie recipe that I wanted to try and for the longest time I couldn’t decide at all, because I wanted to make them all!  But, I ended up on deciding on this recipe from Paula Dean, and everyone loved it.  Filled with bits of white chocolate, macadamia nuts and candied cherry pieces it was full of flavor.

This happens to be a rather simple recipe too, and comes together very nicely.  It will be added into the rotation of cookie recipes that I make often, that is for sure.

White Chocolate Cherry Chunckies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup white chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2   large eggs 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened 
  • 1/2 cup candied cherries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium bowl, with electric mixer, cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Set aside.  Sift together flour, soda, and salt.  Add milk then add flour, soda, and salt to butter mixture.  In another bowl, combine nuts, cherries and white chocolate.  Then add to mixture, stirring only to blend.  Drop by heaping tablespoons onto a greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.  Bake for approximately 11-13 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Note: I used my large cookie scoop(2.5 inch scoop) and this recipe made about two and a half dozen large cookies.

Adapted from Paula Dean

Bagel Pizza

The other day I went to the grocery store to gather the things from my what seemed like endless grocery list for my Thanksgiving baking.  Among that list was a crazy amount of butter, along with cream cheese and eggs and other baking staples.  But, what was not on the list was everything that was needed for bagel pizzas but everything that was needed for them somehow wound up in my cart.  As a teen my best friend and I seemed to almost live off of these bagel pizzas.  They are simple, and very easy to make and I must have been craving them because I have had them two more times since this time last week.

When we made them in out teenage years though, we just used the microwave.  More than likely because we were highly impatient, but I decided to use the oven and my pizza stone this time and the result was perfect.  A slightly crusty bagel that gives a nice base and does not get soggy from the pizza sauce and toppings.

Pizza Bagels

Ingredients:

  • Bagels
  • Pizza sauce
  • shredded mozzarella or pizza blend cheeses
  • Pepperoni or any other desired toppings

Directions:

  1. Cut bagels in half and place on a pizza stone.  Place pizza stone, with bagels on the bottom rack of the oven,  turn oven on to 350 degrees and leave bagels and stone in oven until preheated.
  2. Once the oven has preheated, remove bagels top with sauce desired toppings and a generous amount of cheese.
  3. Place bagels back into oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  4. Enjoy!

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