Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Trip to the Farmer's Market

You would not believe the massive zucchini squash I found at the local farmer's market this weekend.  Although I had no idea what I would do with it all, I knew that I needed to get some (if nothing else, for the photo opportunities!!).
As you can tell in the photo of the zucchini next to my arm, it is obviously not something you find in the grocery stores!

I decided to make a batch of zucchini bread.  This was another first for me.  I have made plenty of banana bread (which I made more of yesterday as well while I was at it!), but it was time to try something new.  The recipe I used comes from Hoosier Homemade.  I found it after looking around on Pinterest.

Zucchini Bread

3 Eggs
1 Cup white sugar
1 Cup brown sugar
1 Cup vegetable oil
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1/4 Teaspoon baking powder
3 Cups flour
2 Cups zucchini, grated

(makes 2 large loaves or 6 mini loaves)

After preheating your oven to 350 degrees, you will want to grate your zucchini so that it can sit and drain a bit while you prep the other ingredients.  I used my handheld cheese grater to grate the zucchini, but you could use a food processor as well.  Once your zucchini is grated, lay it out on a paper towel to absorb some of the moisture.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until they become foamy.  Add sugar, oil and vanilla and mix well.  Then add cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder and again mix well until combined.  Before adding the zucchini, dab the top with another paper towel.  Next, add the flour and zucchini, alternating between the two and mixing in between steps (I added one cup of each at a time).  

Lightly grease and flour your bread pans, then fill with batter.  Bake bread for 40-50 minutes.  Bread is done when you can stick a toothpick (or fork) in the middle and it comes out clean. 

To see some of my other finds from the farmer's market, go check out Produce at My Mind's Lens. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Strawberry Blueberry Streusel Muffins

After making the blueberry topping for my cheesecake this weekend, I still had some blueberries leftover.  Once I started making the blueberry muffins as planned, I decided to add the remains of the strawberries that were in the fridge as well.  They turned out pretty tasty!!

Strawberry Blueberry Streusel Muffins

1 1/2 Cups flour
3/4 Cups Splenda 
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2 Teaspoons baking powder
1/3 Cup vegetable oil
1 Egg
Approx. 1/3 Cup 1% Milk
1 Cup blueberries
1/4 Cup diced strawberries

1/4 Cup Splenda
2 Tablespoons & 2 Teaspoons flour
2 Tablespoons butter, cubed
3/4 Teaspoons cinnamon

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, Splenda, salt and baking powder.  Pour vegetable oil and egg into 1 cup measuring cup, then fill the measuring cup the rest of the way with milk.  Add this to the flour mixture and stir until combined.  Fold in blueberries and diced strawberries (you want fairly small pieces of strawberries).

Fill 8 muffin cups to the top with batter.

For the topping, mix all ingredients in a small bowl with a fork until crumbly.  Sprinkle over top of batter.

Bake muffins at 400 for 20-25 minutes.  Once muffins are done, cool until touchable, then move to wire rack until completely cooled.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Blueberry Cheesecake

It has been awhile!  I have not been doing much cooking or been very crafty lately.  Instead my focus has been on my camera and developing my photography.  However, this weekend we had family over for a BBQ and we needed to have some dessert of course!

I was a little nervous to try making was a first.  After baking it, I was even more nervous as the top did not look like I expected.  Instead of being smooth and silky like you normally see in a restaurant, it was had a crackled look.  I have a bad habit of always licking the beaters when I am done mixing up something tasty, so I knew it probably tasted fine.  But I knew I wanted something to cover the top.

I found a recipe for a blueberry topping that sounded tasty, so I decided to give it a try.

Blueberry Cheesecake

Cheesecake(adapted from Better Homes & Gardens cookbook)

1 1/2 Cup crushed graham crackers
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 Cup butter, melted
3 8-ounce packages fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1/4 Cup milk
3 Eggs, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  For the crust, combine graham crackers, 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon.  Once mixed together, stir in melted butter.  Press mixture into the bottom of a springform pan and set it aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, remaining sugar, flour and vanilla until combined (you should use an electric mixer).  Add milk and continue beating until smooth.  Finally, stir in eggs.

Pour the mixture into the crust-lined pan and make for 35-45 minutes.  It is done when there is about a 2 1/2 inch area around the edge the appears to be set when gently shaken.  Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then gently loose the edges with a small knife.  Cool for another 30 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.  

Blueberry topping:

1 Cup fresh blueberries
1/4 Cup water
2 Tablespoons Splenda
2 Teaspoons corn starch
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

In a small saucepan, heat water, Splenda, corn starch and lemon juice.  Heat and stir until mixture thickens, then add blueberries.  Continue to heat until blueberries soften and mixture begins to bubble.

Cool mixture in refrigerator until chilled, then spread over top of cheesecake.

Fortunately - despite the look of the cake when it came out of the oven, it actually turned out pretty good.  My family members were impressed and that is all that matters!!
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