Sunday, August 18, 2013

100% Whole Grain Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Zucchini's on!!! It's that time of year, isn't it?  Let me guess... you found this one in your frantic hunt for  squash recipes.  You are trying to think of ways you can sneak in the green goodness, aren't you?  Well, here is a healthy one... at least as far as cake is concerned.  Be forewarned that it is very filling!  It's 100% Whole Wheat by-cracky!  I was stuffed after one slice.  It tasted {how do I say it?} healthy... but that can also be good. :)

Note: She used a Greek Yogurt Honey Chocolate Ganache that sounds lovely, but I didn't make because I was missing some of the ingredients. I made this "Creamy Yogurt Frosting" and it was pretty terrible.  It didn't work at all- super runny and the butter got all chunky.  It was weird.  Would not recommend it.

100% Whole Grain Chocolate Zucchini Cake (Texanerin Baking)
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Ready in: 55 min
Yield: 12-14 pieces

Zucchini cake:
¾ cup (177ml) olive oil or canola oil
1 cup (320 grams) honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
¾ cup (177ml) Greek yogurt
290 grams whole wheat flour (this was about 2 cups or 2¼ cups)
1¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
90 grams Dutch-process cocoa powder (about ¾ cup cocoa)
3 cups (for me, this was 340 grams) grated, peeled zucchini
1 cup (180 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Grease a 12 cup bundt pan or 6 cup if you want to make half. Preheat your oven to 350°F / 176°C. For the cake, combine the honey, oil, and vanilla in a large bowl. At first it'll be difficult to get the honey incorporated, but it'll work. Stir in the eggs and then the Greek yogurt. Set this bowl aside.
In another large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Sift the cocoa powder into the bowl if it's lumpy, or just use a fork to get rid of the lumps. Add the wet mix to the dry mix and stir, just until combined. Fold in the zucchini and the chocolate chips.
Bake the full recipe for 40 minutes, or if using half, bake for 30 minutes. When you insert a toothpick in the middle, the toothpick will not come out dry, or even with crumbs, but it'll come out covered in sticky batter. If you insert it, and it's just normal batter, it's not ready. Sticky batter is what we're looking for! It'll continue to cook once it's out of the oven.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then flip out onto a wire rack to cool. Cool completely before icing.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Kale Chips

Honest and truly, I never pictured myself even putting a bundle of leafy kale in my grocery cart.  Yes, I know... I too have heard of all it's miraculous nutritional healing powers, but what the heck do you do with the stuff?  It is simply not edible!  (I've tried it in green smoothies and it is what I call a disaster! I can't even pretend it is palatable.  Good for you if you think otherwise.)  I am just not the torture-your-taste-buds-to-go-green type... although I have lots of friends who are, and I will certainly cheer you on.
I am probably a bit more like the lady at the end of this {hilarious} clip. (I love Studio C.)
That being said (and watched), I like being healthy and when "healthy" and "practical" meet up... that is where I stand.  Here is a lovely sample of that marriage.  I had a friend, Becky, tell me how she makes kale chips from the kale she grew in her garden.  She said her kids eat it like popcorn or Doritos.  She often serves it as a snack during movies.  I smiled, nodded, and agreed that that was pretty awesome... however, in the back of my head I was guilty of laughing and saying to myself, "RIIIIGHT. Of course they do."  Then she gave me a sample.  I was shocked... literally eating my words.  EUREKA!  There IS a way to make kale taste good! (And it is incredibly easy!!!) 
Even my 4 year old anti-anything-green boy will eat these.  He proudly announced when dad got home from work that, 
"Er made chips a'day.  Er made them with leabs.  Like in the trees."
And that's just what we did.

Kale Chips
Fresh kale (about 4 stalks)
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt (or regular)
Lemon juice
*You could also add other seasoning if you feel brave. i.e. garlic or onion powder, Parmesan, season salt, etc.)

Rinse kale.  Peel the kale away from the stems. (This is a great job for little kiddos.)  Pieces can be small or large.  Put the kale leaves in a large bowl.  Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. (More or less as needed.)  Add a little drizzle of lemon juice (if desired) and toss the leaves to coat.  (Sometimes I rub the oil with my thumbs.)  Add salt and toss.  Spread on a large baking sheet.  (I like to have it up on a rack for even baking.)  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the kale turns brown and gets crispy.  Cooks quickly, so watch it close. (I like mine more crispy, so I usually go longer, but it doesn't taste good burned. :)
Allow them to cool and munch away!  Be prepared to make another batch soon, because the go fast!
*If they don't get gobbled up (which is rare) I have found the the best was to store them in is a Tupperware in the fridge.  They are pretty delicate/crumbly, so be careful.)

I feel like I just saved the world.... one kale chip at a time.
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Friday, August 2, 2013

Crockpot Potato Soup

I just couldn't bare the thought of posting a hot soup recipe in July, so I've been holding out on this one.  August is still hot, but somehow it just sounds more "autumnish."  Well, it doesn't get much easier than this folks!  (Nor much creamier.  Not the healthiest. :)  This is a super easy recipe that you can throw in the crockpot, or... do like me, and speed things up even more by doing it over the stove.  You basically just throw it all in and heat it up.  This was a hit with my whole crew... which is saying something, seeing as how I served it up in 100 degree weather. :)

*Lyd's Tip: Rather than use the flavorless, overpriced store-bought hash-browns, just pull out a few of your left-over baked potatoes and grate them up.  (I use my food processor and it takes no time!) The cook up better and make a much smoother, creamer texture anyway! :)

Paula Dean's Easy Potato Soup (Raining Hot Coupons)
1 Bag of frozen hash-brown potatoes – squares, not strips (30 oz bag) (Or grated baked potatoes)
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped onion (depends how much you like onion)
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 Cans of chicken broth (14.5 oz each)
1 Can cream of chicken soup
1 Package Cream Cheese (softened)
Cheese for the top!
Combine all the ingredients (except for the cream cheese and cheese) and mix well then cook on medium to 4-5 hours.
Add the cream cheese (softened) at the end and cook for another 20-30 minutes.
Add some cheese to the top (optional)
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