Quick Zucchini Oatmeal Bread

While most of you are busy creating deliciously crazy desserts with some of my most favorite summer fruits, I’ve been busying myself in the kitchen trying to make good use of our garden veggies.

So far, we’ve had fresh spinach salads, I have packaged frenched yellow beans, grated zucchini, and diced green and purple peppers for the freezer.  I’ve made sweet refrigerator pickles and preserved 4 quarts and 2 pints of dill pickles, and I still  have a quart of sweet banana peppers that I have to do something with.  And if that’s not enough, I made a chocolate zucchini cake, and of course, this deliciously moist zucchini bread.  Our garden is bountiful and I’m thankful.

This bread is awesome.  It’s not overly sweet and it’s super moist.  The oatmeal in it makes it slightly hearty and will leave you wanting just one more slice.  If you have an abundance of zucchini and you’re asking yourself what to do with it; this is the answer!

Quick Zucchini Oatmeal Bread

2 c. grated zucchini

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. granulated sugar

2/3 c. olive oil

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. old-fashioned oatmeal

(Makes 4 mini loaves)

Grease mini loaf pans.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, add all ingredients except flour and oatmeal; mix with electric mixer.  Stir in flour and oatmeal and beat on medium speed until all ingredients are completely blended.  Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake for about 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool completely in pans before removing. 

Do you have a garden?  Or, do you give the farmers market your business?

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Getting Pickled

I have no room to complain about the abundance of veggies we are getting from our garden this year, especially since last year was a total wash.  The only thing that I might say is that when life has you going a hundred different directions, your garden doesn’t wait for you to catch up; it just keeps growing.

The vegetable drawers in my fridge are packed full of zucchini and cucumbers.  And now our jalapeno peppers are coming on strong.  Yes, it’s time to make homemade pepper jelly.

My mother was a domestic wonder woman, and truthfully I think she enjoyed it just as I do.  She made it all look so easy and I know that isn’t always the case.  My daughter just bummed homemade strawberry freezer jam from me (just as I did my mom), and she even asked if we could make my mom’s recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce (together) this year.  Could it be that she looks at me as a domestic wonder woman too?  She does tell me that I make blue ribbon deviled eggs and that makes me laugh every time she say’s it.  Of all the things to be admired for, it all boils down to eggs?  No pun intended.

Today, I want to share one of my mom’s recipes with you.  This is my favorite refrigerator pickle recipe.  You won’t believe how easy they are to make, and if you like sweet pickles, you won’t be able to stay out of them.  They are not overly sweet in my opinion, and they are super crunchy for a refrigerator pickle – yum!

Sheila’s Sweet Refrigerator Pickles

Makes about 2 quarts

8 medium sized cucumbers, sliced thin

1 large sweet onion, sliced thin

1/2 c. salt

In a large bowl, place cucumbers, onion, and salt.  cover with cold water and let stand 2 hours. 

Drain and lightly rinse cucumbers with cold water.  Add the following:

2 c. granulated sugar

2 tbsp. mustard seed

1 tbsp. celery seed (I used 1 tsp. of celery salt)

1 c. vinegar ( I used 1 1/2 cups of apple wine vinegar since the recipe didn’t specify)

Mix all ingredients well; cover and place in fridge. Stir a couple times a day for a day or so.  These pickles keep in the fridge for several weeks.

These pickles make a great snack, go great with a hearty sandwich, and are delicious with hamburgers or pulled pork sandwiches too. 

So, are you a sweet or dill pickle fan? 

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Creamy Harvest Tomato Soup

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With an extremely hot summer, our garden was didn’t fair so well.  It’s much quicker to tell you what we actually harvested, than what we didn’t. Tomatoes…

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With that said, I am not a huge tomato fan.  I love pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce,tomato soup, sun-dried tomatoes and ketchup.  I actually can’t imagine life without those foods.  I just don’t care for fresh sliced tomatoes. Odd? Probably…

So what does one make when they have an over abundance of sun ripened tomatoes that they don’t particularly care for?  They make a delicious, creamy tomato soup and serve it with gooey grilled cheese sandwiches.

Creamy Harvest Tomato Soup 

9 medium-sized ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1 medium onion, diced

1 tbsp. olive oil

4 c. chicken stock

1 tsp. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

1 tbsp. white wine

1/2 c. sour cream

Pinch of salt

2 dashes of black pepper

In a large stock pot, add olive oil and onion. Cook onions until soft and tender, stir often to make sure they don’t overbrown. Add chopped tomatoes, chicken stock, wine, sugar, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a full boil on high heat, reduce heat and simmer until liquid has reduced about 1 quart. Cool for 20 minutes.

In a blender, puree soup stock in small batches and return to large saucepan.  Add sour cream; cook on low heat until soup is re-warmed and sour cream is completely mixed in.  Add salt and pepper.

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What’s your favorite thing to make with fresh tomatoes?

 

Summer Vegetable Bake

We have a small garden and some things grow successfully (like our cucumbers and radishes), and some things don’t grow well, or at all.  This year there is no sign of the green peppers we planted, or the brussel sprouts that I got all excited about growing.    So when our neighbor came over bearing yellow squash, zucchini, red onions and green bell peppers I graciously accepted them.         

      

I don’t think I’ve ever made anything with zucchini other than breads, or a chocolate zucchini cake.  This year I decided it was about time to live on the edge.  Maybe, I should actually use the vegetable in a vegetable dish – a novel idea.  And here it is – Summer Vegetable Bake.      

1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash and some baby carrots cubed – (approx 1 large) onion, diced – 1 green bell pepper – 1 tsp. Italian seasoning – fresh garlic, crushed -1/2 c. margarine -1 can of diced tomatoes – grated Parmesan cheese      

Bring the squash and carrots to a boil for 3 minutes in salt water and then drain.  Melt margarine in skillet.  Add onion, green pepper and garlic and simmer until soft.  Add diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning and squash to skillet.  Cook until mixed well, and tomatoes start to soften.  Pour into a greased baking pan and cover liberally with parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes (veggies should be tender but not mushy)       

Squash and carrots after bringing to boil

 

Onions, peppers and garlic cooking in skillet

 

All the veggies in the skillet

 

In the pan ready for the oven

 

Out of the oven

 

Served and ready to eat!

 

With all said and done I would have to say this is one light and tasty summer vegetable dish.  I’m not a vegetarian but with a dish like this I might change my mind.  No disappointments here.  Enjoy!