Friday, September 30, 2011

Operation Write Home - BLOG HOP

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Christmas Card Blog Hop today!

Here is a showcase of some of my creations from
the Otter Hill Design Studio.

All images were found at The Graphics Fairy.
She has such a wonderful collection that provides
free downloads of any of her vintage images.  I often grab
old postcard images, like those above, to incorporate
into my handmade cards.

Making cards for our heroes overseas is such a small thing but has a big impact on our brave soldiers and their families.  Have you done something to bring a little 'surprise and delight' to a military hero? Leave me a comment and share your story?


Monday, September 26, 2011

Zucchini Treats - Bundt Cake

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Photo courtesy of

The August 2011 edition of Martha Stewart Living (my all time favorite magazine) featured this bundt cake.  With a dozen zucchini sitting in the harvesting basket, I baked up this scrumptious treat for some very special guests.  It was the perfect sweet ending to a sunset dinner featuring everything harvested from our garden and beach!

My version

Zucchini Bundt Cake
(from Martha Stewart Living.  Recipe can also be found here.)

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
Coarse salt
2 medium zucchini (about 8 ounces each)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice

Orange Glaze Orange Glaze (recipe below)

Candied Zucchini Strips (optional) Candied Zucchini Strips (Instructions below)


1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush a 6-cup Bundt pan ( with butter, and dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt.
2.Grate zucchini on the large holes of a box grater, then squeeze dry in a clean kitchen towel or press in a ricer. (You will need 2 1/2 cups.)
3.Stir together eggs and sugar, then stir in melted butter, zucchini, and orange zest and juice. Stir in flour mixture. Transfer batter to pan.
4.Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour (cake will rise quite a bit over the top of the pan but should not run over). Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cake cool for 10 minutes. Run a paring knife around edges of cake to loosen, and turn out onto wire rack. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.
5.Brush several layers of orange glaze evenly over cake, and garnish with candied zucchini before serving.

Cook's Note:
Unglazed cake can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 1 day, or frozen for up to 1 month.

Orange Glaze

1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 pinches of ground cardamom (optional)
¼ teaspoon finely grated orange zest, plus 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Whisk together sugar and cardamom. Whisk in orange zest and juice, and whisk until mixture has the consistency of thick honey. If mixture is too thick, whisk in milk 1 teaspoon at a time.

Candied Zucchini Strips

2 ½ cups sugar
2 cups water
2 medium zucchini very thinly sliced lengthwise (preferably on a mandolin)

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add zucchini. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer, with a round of parchment placed directly on the surface, until zucchini are translucent, 15 to 20 minutes. Let zucchini cool in syrup.

Arrange zucchini in a single layer on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Let dry for 1 hour. Use immediately.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

More Papertrey Fun

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This week's Make It Monday challenge from Papertrey Ink
was to use the Frosted Image technique.

This is the little lovely that I created for my
Send Love Today assignment.

Papertrey Ink also has a Blog Hop contest going on today.
The challenge is to create something with inspiration from
this photo.

This is my creation for the Operation Write Home basket.

Have a great week!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Zucchini Treats - Cookies

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Zucchini is one of my favorite crops from the garden
because of all of the ways it can be used in the kitchen.
Fortunately, the plants are fabulous producers and every year
I just can't wait to harvest them.

My favorite way to cook with zucchini is to use it
in baking.  When grated, it makes for a lovely moist base
for cookies.  I picked up this recipe years ago and modified it
to my liking - lots of healthy goodies. 
You can't feel guilty about eating these lovelies.
Some might even call it a breakfast cookie.

Zucchini cookies are a favorite of our youngest grand-daughter who
squirrels them away in her cheeks just to make sure
her daddy doesn't take them away before she's finished!

Zucchini Cookies

1 cup butter (room-temp)

1 ½ cup sugar

2 large eggs (room-temp)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups grated zucchini

2 cups all-purpose flour (You could mix whole wheat flour with regular flour for an even more healthy treat.)

1 ½ cups rolled oats

¼ cup ground flaxseed (optional)

¼ cup chia seed (optional)

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup mini-chocolate chips

½ cup raisins

1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350deg. Cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in zucchini. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour, oats, seed, baking powder, cinnamon, salt), then add to the zucchini mixture. Stir in the goodies (nuts, choc. chips, raisins, coconut); you can add whatever goodies you like such as other dried fruit or nuts). Drop by tablespoon onto cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden brown. The cookies will have a cake-like texture and store well in an airtight container or frozen for future enjoyment.

What are your favorite ways to cook with zucchini?  I have a dozen sitting in my harvesting basket just ready to bring pleasure.
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