Friday, September 30, 2016

Skating Fridays

A Quick Look Back


Skating is such a frustrating sport at times. As Coach B says, progress is measured in millimeters, and you will not see results right away. Through lots of hard work, diligent practicing (and many inevitable falls), you should make progress.

Sometimes it's hard to remember where I started from. One skater at my rink likes to comment about how my skating is "magic" and that elements appear easy for me. What he doesn't know are the number of hours I've practiced and how many bruises and other injures I've endured along the way. Magic isn't what caused my progress - but if you happen to find a magic wand, please let me borrow it (paging Mr. double salchow)!

It's important to remember that skating is a journey. I've struggled with many elements, particularly the axel. This element took me a full year of practice before I landed one. Several years later, it's finally made some improvements.

I thought it would be fun and eye-opening to see how this jump has progressed throughout the years. I hope you enjoy this short journey back on memory lane with me.

Here is an axel attempt (I fell on this one) from 2013, so it was only 3 years ago.


And here is one from last week (September 2016). What a difference 3 years makes!


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Chocolate covered (eggless) cookie dough truffles

These beautiful chocolate truffles contain a decadent (and eggless) cookie dough inside. Whether they're for a friend or for yourself, just make sure you make them!
My family and I were walking through the mall one day when we passed the Godiva store. I have to admit - I love their truffles. Thankfully, I don't eat them very often because I am pretty certain that I would eat an entire box in one sitting.

This quick mall encounter gave me the urge to make some truffles at home. I remembered that I owned a copy of The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook and could make a batch of eggless cookie dough and dunk them in a layer of chocolate. Yesssssss.
The cookie dough took no time to create, and the dipping chocolate was just as easy. The hardest part of this recipe was waiting for the chocolate to set. I placed mine in the freezer so they'd set up faster for me to eat.

I'm pretty sure each family member has been sneaking at least 1 truffle a day. I kept these in the freezer since the chocolate tended to melt during the warm daylight hours. I'd recommend that you keep yours in the freezer too, but make sure that they're hidden in a deep, dark corner that only you know about. Otherwise, you'll have to deal with truffle thieves like I do!

Chocolate covered cookie dough truffles
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (can substitute with canola oil)
Directions
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the milk and vanilla. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the flour and salt. Turn the mixer off and fold in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and oil together in the microwave. Mix until everything is uniform.

Using a pastry brush, brush a layer of chocolate in your candy mold. Repeat with other molds. Place the molds in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Remove the molds from the freezer and add a bit of cookie dough into the candy molds. Press down on it so the tops are flat (I found it helpful to shape the dough into a small ball and then putting them in the molds after that). Then using the pastry brush again, paint another layer of chocolate on top and enough to cover the cookie dough. Return the molds back to the freezer for another 10-15 minutes.

Unmold the candies and enjoy. Leftover cookie dough cups are best stored in the freezer. The chocolate tends to melt quickly so I don't recommend keeping these at room temperature.

Yield: About 20-30 cookie dough balls

Source: An Eva Bakes original; cookie dough from The Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook by Lindsay Landis



Sunday, September 25, 2016

Copycat Krispy Kreme donuts

Craving Krispy Kreme donuts but don't want to drive to the nearest location? You can try making them at home! These are perfect to share with friends and family!
We are a donut-loving family. We've sampled all the donut places in the area and have our favorite (a little mom and pop stand at the local farmer's market). As much as we love our donuts, we don't eat them very often. Once in a blue moon, we'll treat ourselves to a donut topped or filled with our favorite items. I'm a cream/custard fan, in case you're wondering.

One brand that I never tried until college was Krispy Kreme. My college friends drove me to the nearest store and we waited until the "Hot Now" sign lit up to go inside. We got to watch the donuts being made and doused with something we lovingly called "sugar lard." Oh, that was the best part.
Although it has been years since I've set foot in a Krispy Kreme store, my heart still has a fond place for it. There is nothing like a fresh warm donut hot off the assembly line. I wanted to try and recreate it at home so I tried it one weekend.

I was a bit disappointed that my donuts didn't turn out as good as the real thing, but I was proud to have attempted them in the first place. My dough was extremely sticky so I had to add a lot of extra flour to them. As a result, they didn't fry up as soft and airy as I had hoped. As always, I attribute this to user error since the original recipe claims to have been tested countless times.

Regardless, these donuts were still really tasty, and our neighbors enjoyed them as well. Nothing will ever be the same as the Krispy Kreme original glazed donut, but these are a nice homemade alternative. I hope you enjoy these.

Copycat Krispy Kreme donuts
1 cup warm water, 105-115 degrees 2 packages (0.25 ounce each/4½ teaspoons total) active dry yeast 4½ cups flour 1¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter 1¼ cups sugar 3 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1½ teaspoons salt 4 cups vegetable shortening or vegetable oil if you would prefer, for frying 2½ cups confectioners' sugar ¼ cup milk ¼ cup light corn syrup

Read more at: Krispy Kreme Glazed Doughnuts (Copycat) http://dinnerthendessert.com/original-krispy-kreme-glazed-doughnuts-copycat/
1 cup warm water, 105-115 degrees 2 packages (0.25 ounce each/4½ teaspoons total) active dry yeast 4½ cups flour 1¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter 1¼ cups sugar 3 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1½ teaspoons salt 4 cups vegetable shortening or vegetable oil if you would prefer, for frying 2½ cups confectioners' sugar ¼ cup milk ¼ cup light corn syrup

Read more at: Krispy Kreme Glazed Doughnuts (Copycat) http://dinnerthendessert.com/original-krispy-kreme-glazed-doughnuts-copycat/
1 cup warm water, 105-115 degrees 2 packages (0.25 ounce each/4½ teaspoons total) active dry yeast 4½ cups flour 1¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter 1¼ cups sugar 3 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1½ teaspoons salt 4 cups vegetable shortening or vegetable oil if you would prefer, for frying 2½ cups confectioners' sugar ¼ cup milk ¼ cup light corn syrup

Read more at: Krispy Kreme Glazed Doughnuts (Copycat) http://dinnerthendessert.com/original-krispy-kreme-glazed-doughnuts-copycat/
  • 1 cup warm water, about 110-115 degrees F
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (about 4 and 1/2 teaspoons total)
  • 4 and 1/2 cups flour, divided
  • 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups vegetable shortening (can substitute with vegetable oil)
  • 2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
Directions
In a medium sized bowl, add the warm water and yeast together. Allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes. Then add 1 cup of the flour and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 45 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Then add the vanilla and salt.

Add the yeast mixture and the remaining flour and mix until everything comes together. Transfer the dough to a large, greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow it to rise for about 2 hours. Then deflate the dough by punching it down and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.

Divide the dough into two and roll each half on a floured surface out to about 1/2" thick. Use a donut cutter to punch out 12 donuts (alternatively, if you don't have a donut cutter, you can use two different glasses with large and small diameters). Place them on a sheet of wax paper and allow to rise again for at least 45 minutes.

Heat some oil to 375 degrees F. It is important to note that you don't want your oil too hot here, so make sure you use a thermometer. Fry each side for 90 seconds and then transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet.

While the donuts are cooling, make the glaze. Microwave the powdered sugar, mil and corn syrup in a small bowl. Dunk the donuts in the glaze and make sure to flip them over so they are coated on both sides. Allow the donuts to cool slightly before eating.

Leftover donuts should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will only last 1-2 days before they start to lose their texture.
1 cup warm water, 105-115 degrees 2 packages (0.25 ounce each/4½ teaspoons total) active dry yeast 4½ cups flour 1¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter 1¼ cups sugar 3 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1½ teaspoons salt 4 cups vegetable shortening or vegetable oil if you would prefer, for frying 2½ cups confectioners' sugar ¼ cup milk ¼ cup light corn syrup

Read more at: Krispy Kreme Glazed Doughnuts (Copycat) http://dinnerthendessert.com/original-krispy-kreme-glazed-doughnuts-copycat/
1 cup warm water, 105-115 degrees 2 packages (0.25 ounce each/4½ teaspoons total) active dry yeast 4½ cups flour 1¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter 1¼ cups sugar 3 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1½ teaspoons salt 4 cups vegetable shortening or vegetable oil if you would prefer, for frying 2½ cups confectioners' sugar ¼ cup milk ¼ cup light corn syrup

Read more at: Krispy Kreme Glazed Doughnuts (Copycat) http://dinnerthendessert.com/original-krispy-kreme-glazed-doughnuts-copycat/

Yield: About 24 donuts

Source: Dinner, then Dessert

Friday, September 23, 2016

Skating Fridays

Funny Things My Coach Says


One thing that I appreciate about Coach B is her directness. She doesn't beat around the bush and give me fluffy compliments. I've told her that if something looks wrong, then she needs to tell me so I can fix it. I don't want to be treated any differently because I am an adult.

Coach often has funny things to say to me about my skating but I had to share this gem that she muttered during our lesson yesterday.

I was showing her the footwork from my new freestyle program when she called me over to the boards. "You look like you are skating with a loaded diaper and you're trying not to any get on the ice." OMG. I just started laughing.

I'm not sure if most coaches would have given that visual image of a loaded diaper, but it sure was funny. And yes, I got the point and made sure I corrected my mistake.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ultimate fudgy frosted brownies

Looking for another brownie recipe to add to your repertoire? These brownies are it - chewy, fudgy, and topped with a generous amount of frosting! There's almost a full pound of chocolate in them!
We have some of the best neighbors. The family that lives across the street are amazing. Their two boys adore Addie, and one of them is a regular babysitter. The boys' mom told me that they always wanted a sister, so I guess they have adopted Addie as their sister in a way.

The neighbors invited us over for dinner one evening, and I knew I had to bring something that everyone would enjoy. I remember seeing these brownies on Ashley's blog and thought that they would be perfect to share.
I was astonished to see that the brownies used almost an entire pound of chocolate in them. Not that I had an issue with that, of course, because I love chocolate. The boys across the street did too, as I saw each child eat one after dinner. They even had a choice of dessert - brownies, ice cream, cake and pie. They all chose the brownie. Smart kids.

I loved how chocolate-y these brownies turned out. The brownies alone were decadent and fudgy enough on their own, but once I slathered a generous layer of chocolate frosting on top, it took the brownies up a level. Don't skimp on the chocolate in this - by using a good quality chocolate, your brownies will also turn out irresistible.

Ultimate fudgy frosted brownies 
Brownies
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
Frosting
  • 1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 and 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoon heavy cream
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously line and grease a standard 9"x13" baking pan and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the chopped chocolate and butter in 30 second increments. Stir until the mixture is uniform and glossy. Add in the sugars and mix well. Then add in the eggs, one at a time, until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Then add the vanilla and honey and mix until just combined. Do not overmix this. Gently fold in the dry ingredients.

Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center yields a few moist crumbs.

Allow the brownies to cool. Prepare the frosting in the meantime.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and add in the salt and cocoa powder. Then add in the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and cream and beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. If the frosting looks too thick, add more cream; if it looks too runny, add more powdered sugar.

Frost the brownies by spreading on a layer of frosting on top of the cooled brownies.

Leftover brownies (if there are any!) should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and will last for about 3 days. 

Yield: One 9"x13" pan; about 24 brownies (or more, depending upon how big you slice them)

Source: Baker by Nature

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Chocolate breakfast muffins

Need an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast? Look no further than these chocolate breakfast muffins. With no butter or canola oil, this is a healthier alternative to store-bought muffins!

"Chocolate... chocolate... chocolate." That was the chant I was greeted one morning when I asked my family what type of muffins to make next. No subtle hints there. So chocolate muffins it was.

I made these slightly healthier than the original version and recommend that you add a bit more coconut oil or applesauce if you follow my recipe below. The whole wheat flour makes the muffins drier than I like them, so they were slightly crumbly.

Despite that nit-picky criticism, these were still solid chocolate chip muffins. The coarse sugar made for a crunchy topping and the muffins were soft and chocolate-y. These would be perfect packed in a lunch box for school days or a great after-school snack.

Chocolate breakfast muffins
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (can substitute with all-purpose)
  • 1 and 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (can substitute for applesauce)
  • coarse sanding sugar for sprinkling, optional
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a standard muffin pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda cinnamon, salt and chocolate chips.

In a small measuring cup, measure out the milk and mix in the vinegar. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla extract. Add in the milk/vinegar mixture. Transfer this and the melted coconut oil to the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until everything just comes together. The batter will be extremely thick.

Transfer the batter into your baking pan, filling each well about 3/4 full. If desired, sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar. Bake in your preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Muffins should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will last for several days. They can also be frozen and thawed.

Yield: About 15 muffins

Source: Slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour

Friday, September 16, 2016

Skating Fridays

Forgotten


My home skating club hosts a pretty big figure skating competition each year. Skaters from up and down the coast come into town to compete. It's a pretty big deal around here.

The club officers sent a note to the members saying that the registration link was open. I went online, looked for my events, and added it to my cart. I hadn't pushed the button to actually "check out" yet, so the items were still sitting in my shopping cart.

The next day, our skating director came up to me and said that there had been a huge mistake with the competition. I was curious to hear what had happened. She said that the competition organizing committee, which was brand new this year, inadvertently left out the Adult Silver and Adult Gold freestyle events. I found that odd since I was able to add it to my cart the night before.

When I went back to look at the competition announcement, I realized that the skating director was right. The announcement clearly left off the Adult Silver and Adult Gold levels. The organizing committee had been scrambling to work with the competition referee, the US Figure Skating headquarters and other officials to fix the issue. Unfortunately, it was too late and there was nothing they could do.

Yes, I was disappointed about this news, but it was also good news in a way. While I normally use this competition as a litmus test to see where I need to improve, it gives me an additional few months to polish things up before the adult competition season begins in January.

Surprisingly, the local organizing committee reached out to me this week to offer a free exhibition after one of the judges' breaks during the competition. I was touched by this gesture, since I am fairly certain that they felt bad for accidentally excluding my group.

I'm looking at this omission as a positive thing so I can continue to focus on improving. As a famous ice princess once said, "the past is in the past... Let It Go."

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

No-bake Nutella s'mores bars

Still too hot to turn on the oven? These no-bake s'mores bars will satisfy your dessert cravings! With pantry staples, you won't need to make a trip to the store to enjoy these indoor campfire treats!

The past few weeks here have been unbearably hot. I got in my car after work one day and the temperature gauge said it was 106 degrees F. Ugh. It's days like these where the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven.

But, my sweet tooth doesn't calm down despite the heat. It almost has an opposite effect, where I want something cold and sweet to offset the gross heat and humidity outside.

On one of those disgustingly hot days, I made these no-bake bars. Because they are no-bake, the texture won't be quite as solid as a normal bar dessert. They're a bit on the softer side and easy to eat with a fork.

Addie was so smitten with these bars that she ate hers in about 2 seconds flat. Miraculously, she didn't get any on herself (definitely a first). My husband normally isn't a big fan of marshmallows and even said that these bars were excellent.

So if it's still hot at your house and you don't want to give your oven a workout, make these bars. It's a great way to bring the outdoorsy s'mores indoors, but without turning on the heat.

No-bake Nutella s'mores bars
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chocolate hazelnut spread (I used Nutella)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 and ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows
Directions
Generously grease a standard 8"x8" baking pan and set aside.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and Nutella together. Whisk in the sugar until it dissolves. Allow the mixture to cool slightly.

Add in the eggs and beat until they are fully incorporated. Add in the vanilla.

Fold in the graham cracker crumbs. Then fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows.

Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Chill in your refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until the bars set.

Slice and serve once hardened. Leftover bars should be stored, covered, in the refrigerator and will last at least a week.

Yield: About 16 bars

Source: Barely adapted from Mom on Timeout

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Cinnamon roll muffins

Why spend hours making cinnamon rolls when you can make them in muffin form? This Cooking Light recipe will make you think you're eating a real cinnamon roll!


My family and I were in Colorado last month for a quick vacation before school started. While we were there, I received a text message from my friend E. Since she knows that I am a muffin fiend, she immediately thought of me when she saw this recipe in Cooking Light.

I bookmarked the recipe and vowed to bake it upon our return and made true on my promise. I loved the idea of cinnamon roll muffins. My family and I go crazy for cinnamon rolls but they take some commitment to make. These do not require any yeast, rolling or slicing so they're super easy.

A few things to note about this recipe... the muffin wells will look only about half full since there isn't much batter or filling to start with. I was super worried about short, dense muffins, but they puffed up nicely while baking in the oven. They'll create a flat muffin top, which you can decorate with some drizzle.

Also, these were a tad on the dry side for me, so I'd recommend upping the buttermilk or adding a few additional teaspoons of oil or applesauce to the muffin batter. They will start to dry out after the first day so these are best enjoyed on the same day.

Thank you, E, for finding this recipe and sending it to me. If you all have any recipes you'd like to see me tackle, please send them along!

Cinnamon roll muffins
Filling
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons butter, melted 

Muffins
  • 2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
Directions
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Generously grease a standard muffin pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix all the filling ingredients together. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda together.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, mix the buttermilk, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs together on medium speed until well incorporated. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Do not overmix.

Place about 1 Tablespoon of the batter in the bottom of each muffin well. You may want to use the bottom of a spoon to spread it out. Evenly distribute the filling and add it to each muffin. Top with the remaining batter. You can try to spread the batter out to cover most of the filling.

The muffin wells will look only about halfway full, but they will puff up in the oven. Bake in your preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool before serving (although warm muffins are always awesome). If desired, you can create a glaze to drizzle on top. I used about 1/4 cup of powdered sugar with about 1 teaspoon or so of milk and used a fork to decorate the tops.

Muffins should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. They will last a few days at room temperature but longer in the refrigerator. You can reheat them in the microwave.

Yield: 12 muffins

Source: Barely adapted from my friend E, who saw them in Cooking Light and found the recipe here

Friday, September 9, 2016

Skating Fridays

Improvement on Split Falling Leaf


I've been taking ballet lessons for a few months now, and one of the things I asked my instructor to help me with is my split falling leaf. I can do the splits on the ground but had a difficult time translating it onto the ice.

My timing was off, and I wasn't getting a good split position in the air. We worked on grande jetes during ballet class, and it improved while we were on the ground. The true test was trying to see if it would transfer on the ice.

I videoed this during a freestyle session one day and was pleased to see that my split position was much better. It's not 100% there yet, but hopefully with little improvements here and there, I can get a full split position. All it's going to take is some hard work and determination.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Greek yogurt chocolate chip zucchini bread

Got more zucchini than you know what to do with? Then make this Greek yogurt chocolate chip zucchini bread. It's adult and kid-approved!

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Ever heard that saying? Well, it definitely rings true in my house, as we tend to be creatures of habit. We've been making these eggless zucchini muffins throughout the summer, but it was time for a change.

We love our breakfast quick breads, so I made a zucchini one instead. I was hoping for the best, but preparing for Addie to protest and demand that we bring back the zucchini muffins that she adores so much. Thankfully, she loved this bread.

I made a few small tweaks to the original recipe to suit our family. I swapped out the oil for applesauce and used white whole wheat flour. I also upped the amount of zucchini. The resulting bread was soft yet dense, and jam packed with zucchini with a sprinkle of chocolate chips. We've been eating this for breakfast, and it's been a huge hit. Addie likes her slightly warm so we heat it up for a few seconds in the microwave and let her enjoy it with a fork.

I'm so happy that zucchini is a well-loved ingredient in our house. It doesn't go over as well if it's grilled and in plain sight, but if it's added to baked goods, it's almost always a hit.


Greek yogurt chocolate chip zucchini bread
  • 1 and 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour (can substitute with all-purpose)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (one small container) plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Directions
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Generously grease a standard loaf pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together the yogurt, vanilla, egg, coconut oil, honey, applesauce and brown sugar.

Transfer the wet mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix until a few dry streaks remain. Add the grated zucchini. Fold in the chocolate chips. Do not overmix the batter.

Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and bake in your preheated oven for 40-50  minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Bread should be cooled before serving.

Bread should be stored in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator and will last for about a week. If left on the counter, it will only last a few days and will most likely get soggy.


Yield: One 8"x5" loaf; about 8-12 servings

Source: Ever so slightly adapted from Chelsea's Messy Apron

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Bittersweet chocolate sorbet

Craving a frozen chocolate treat but don't want ice cream or frozen yogurt? Then make this creamy, bittersweet chocolate sorbet. It'll satisfy your chocolate craving in no time!

You know the feeling when you really, really, really want something and then don't get it? Yeah, well, that happened to me a few weeks ago.

One of our favorite ice cream places in town hosted a sweepstakes where the winner would get a full hour of free ice cream for them and 50 of their closest friends. I entered the sweepstakes and hoped to win, but alas, I never got the email. Boo.

My husband and I even began listing the people that we'd invite to our ice cream party and wondered if we even knew 50 people who would be in town for the celebration. While we never got to finish our guest list, my craving for ice cream remained strong.

Another bit of disappointing news was that I didn't have any heavy cream in the house. What's a girl to do when she craves ice cream but has no heavy cream in the house (and driving to buy some or going to an ice cream parlor were not viable options at the time). Well, I decided on something else that was equally as satisfying - chocolate sorbet.

Sorbet feels like one of those forgotten cousins of ice cream. It's usually icy and not that awesome. Don't get me wrong - there are some amazing sorbets out there, but they are far and few between.

This recipe from Joanne Chang starts off with caramelized sugar, which actually lowers the freezing point of the sorbet and prevents its from getting so icy. Genius, right?

Bittersweet chocolate sorbet 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 and 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark)
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (62%-70% dark), finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Directions
Place the sugar in a medium saucepan. Pour 1/2 cup of the water over the sugar so it moistens it. Turn the stove on high and allow the mixture to boil vigorously (this will take several minutes). Whatever you do, do not mix it! If you must, you can swirl the pan. After several minutes, the liquid will start to turn an amber color. Continue swirling the pan around until the liquid is a dark amber color and you can smell it.

Take the pan off the stove and very slowly start to pour in the remaining 3 cups of water. Be careful, because the water will splatter once it touches the caramel. Stand back while you do this so you don't get burnt sugar on you. The caramel will harden on the bottom. 

Put the saucepan back on the stove over high heat and return it to a boil. Now, using a spatula, keep mixing the liquid until the caramel completely melts. This may take a few minutes. Then add in the cocoa powder and keep stirring until no powder remains. Turn the stove off.

Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Gently pour the hot caramel mixture into the bowl with the chopped chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate has melted.

Then place a fine mesh sieve over another large bowl (preferably one with a lid or can go in the refrigerator). Pour the chocolate mixture through the sieve into the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix. Allow to cool and then refrigerate overnight.

Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and store in your freezer. It will last for at least a week.

Yield: About 1 quart

Source:  Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston's Flour Bakery + Cafe

Friday, September 2, 2016

Skating Fridays

Three Broken Bones


Before you all start to get concerned, this post is NOT about me (whew).

Last weekend was weird. And then it got even weirder.

I ran into one of Coach B's former students (she is in college now), who was back at our rink for a few short days. I had just seen her the day before, but on the following day, she was in crutches. I asked her what happened, and she said that she fractured her foot. Apparently, she had injured herself earlier in the summer but didn't get it checked out until that day. This was broken bone #1.

The next day, I got a message from a skating friend. She said that she ran through her freestyle program that morning and it went well. After the run-through, she attempted a jump and fell down. She had it looked at, and she fractured a bone in her leg. That would be broken bone #2.

The day after that, my other skating friend sent me a note saying that her boyfriend broke his collarbone during the day. Friends, that is broken bone #3.

So yes, 3 broken bones by 3 skating friends/significant others. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everyone heals quickly.


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