Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Marbled Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I found a recipe on RealSimple for a Marbled Chocolate zucchini bread.  Here's my own modified version.  Mine did not really marble much for some reason.  I also used brown sugar instead of white sugar.

Marbled Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Serves: 8


1/2 cup canola oil + 2 TBS oil(to mix with melted chocolate chips)
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
5 ounces mini semisweet chocolate chips melted
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup brown sugar (packed tightly)
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 packed cups shredded zucchini


1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Oil a 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch pan and dust with flour, tapping away the excess flour from pan.
3.  Mix together the mini chocolate chips and the  canola oil) and melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish until melted and let cool until at room temp.
4.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Set aside dry ingredients.
5.  In another bowl combine the wet ingredients: 1/2 cup canola oil, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
6.  Stir in the Zucchini to the wet ingredients.
7.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Whisk until combined (about 1 min)
8.  Pour half the batter to the loaf pan, then add half of the melted chocolate.
9.  Add the rest of the batter and the remaining melted chocolate.
10.  Use a butter knife to create a marble or swirl pattern.
11. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (60-70minutes)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Banana Blueberry Bread

I was planning on making some banana bread with the ripened bananas I had but realized I also had some leftover organic blueberries so I figured I might as well make some Banana Blueberry bread. I had only about 1/4 cup of berries on hand.

Banana Blueberry Bread

1 1/2 cups Unbleached All purpose Flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4-1 tsp Cinnamon
3 medium ripened bananas
1/4-1/2 cup blueberries (add last)
1/2 cup butter or margarine melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar (packed down)
2 large eggs
1 tsp real vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil the sides and bottom of a loaf pan.   Mash bananas in medium bowl.  Add brown sugar.  In another bowl add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and mix together, set aside.

2.  Add eggs mix well.   Melt butter or margarine in microwave just until melted.  Add slowly to wet mixture.  Add vanilla extract.

3.  Slowly incorporate dry mixture into wet mixture.  Fold in blueberries.  Pour into loaf pan.   Bake for 55-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Copycat)

My favorite soup to eat at Olive Garden is the Chicken and Gnocchi Soup and even though its so hot outside I had a taste for soup.  I found the recipe for the soup on another blog called Copykat Recipes by Stephanie  Manley.  She has many other copycat recipes on her blog also.

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup Recipe (Olive Garden Copycat from

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes 
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes 
Serves:  8


4 Tablespoons Butter (1/2 stick) (We used Unsalted)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil  (We omitted this in error)
1 cup finely diced onion  (We used 1/2 a cup red onion, and 1/2 cup sweet white onion)
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1 tsp minced garlic ( about 2 cloves garlic minced)
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 quart half-and-half (or milk if you prefer but it will be thinner consistency)
1 32 oz can of  Low sodium Organic Chicken Broth (original recipe called for two 14 oz cans of regular sodium chicken broth.
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional:  original recipe 1/4 tsp as optional amt)
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped spinach
1 cup diced cooked chicken (used  meat from a rotisserie chicken)
16 ounces of Gnocchi  either fresh ready to use or frozen (we only found frozen so we had to cook them)


1.  Melt  butter and olive oil in a tall stock pot over medium heat.  Add your onions, celery and garlic and cook until the onions are clear in color.

2.  Whisk in the 1/4 cup of flour and let the flour cook for around a minute.  Make sure you don't  burn your flour.

3.  Whisk in the half-and-half.  Bring the soup to a simmer and allow to simmer until thickened.

4.  Add in the chicken broth and simmer to thickened.

5.  Stir in  salt, thyme, parsley, nutmeg, carrots, spinach, chicken and gnocchi.

6.  Simmer until soup is heated completely.

Top with Parmesan or Romano Cheese, Salt/Pepper to Taste and of course Bread sticks or some nice crusty Italian Bread and Butter!

Tastes just like the restaurants and smells so good cooking in the kitchen, plus a great comfort food to make when the winter rolls around again.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The boys hanging out over the holiday...

The dog did pretty well considering they were letting off huge fireworks practically in the backyard.  His thundershirt and a few natural calming pills helped him relax somewhat.

Pico de Gallo...Tostadas

Saw some recipes in a magazine for Tostadas and Pico de Gallo, so I made my own.  I forgot to take a picture before I ate half of the Tostada! Whoops!

Pico de Gallo

2 Jalepeno (ribs and seeds removed)
2 Roma tomatoes
Romaine lettuce shredded
1/4 cup red onion
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and Pepper to taste

**Make sure to wear gloves when handling peppers the oils stay on your hands and will burn your eyes if you touch them **

For my tostadas I added refried beans and some shredded cheese.   You could also add taco meat or leftover rotisserie chicken for some added protein.