Saturday, July 28, 2012

Zucchini Raisin Bread

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This is the first year we don't have our own garden :(.  It's kind of sad.  I miss going out there everyday looking for new fruits or veggies that are ripe and ready to eat.  One of the things we planted every year was zucchini.  I learned very quickly that I needed to have a good zucchini bread recipe, because we would get A LOT of zucchini.  I found this recipe a long time ago, and over the years I have experimented with it, and changed it.  Thank you to my father-in-law for giving us some zucchini from his garden so I could make some yummy bread!
Warning:  I lost the charger for our camera, so all these pictures were taken with my phone, sorry about the quailty...

Zucchini Raisin Bread
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c. applesauce (I like to buy the no sugar added applesauce in the individual serving cups, and one serving cup is a 1/2 c.  Also, if you don't have any applesauce on hand, you can use 1 c. vegetable oil instead. The applesauce just keeps it a little more healthy).
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 3 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 c. grated zucchini
  • 1 c. raisins
Directions:
Combine oil, applesauce, eggs, vanilla, and sugar.  (My son always helps out with the mixing, so I wanted to take a picture for you).
 Next, add the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Mix well.
 Batter will be slightly thick.
If you don't already have shredded zucchini, that's the next step...two small zucchini's are about 2 c. shredded.  
*Here is a huge helpful tip:  If you get a lot of zucchini from your garden at once, I like to put it all in the food processor, and then place 2 c. in Ziplock freezer bags and freeze them.  That way the zucchini will last a long time, and when you're ready to make bread again, you pull out a bag, defrost it, and you have the correct measured amount for the recipe.*
Cut off the ends, and then cut them into sections so they will fit in the top of the food processor.  Use the grater attachment.
Next, add the shredded zucchini and the raisins to the batter and mix well.  Pour into two greased bread pans.
 Bake at 325 for 55-60 minutes.
Let the bread cool for about 10 min. in the pan on a cooling rack, then run a spatula around the edges and turn over, and the bread will come right out.  You can eat the bread right away, or wrap it up in tin-foil and save for later!
Hope you enjoy!!

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Coconut Crusted Chicken

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I've made this YUMMY recipe a couple of times now, we are big fans here!  Sorry about the pictures, my camera is still getting fixed :(

What you'll need:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c. coconut milk (it comes in a can, and it can be found in the Oriental aisle at the grocery store)
  • 1/2 all purpose flour
  • 1 c. Panko bread crumbs 
  • 1 c. shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • vegetable oil
  • sweet and sour sauce for dipping*
Directions:
Cut off any fat on the chicken, then slice the chicken into strips, about a 1/2 inch thick.  You'll need 3 bowls for your 'dipping station'.  In the first bowl, whisk together the eggs and coconut milk.  In the second bowl, combine the salt and flour.  In the third bowl, mix together the shredded coconut and the panko bread crumbs.  Dip the chicken in the flour/salt mixture first, then the eggs/coconut milk mixture, then finally the shredded coconut/panko bread crumbs mixture.
After the chicken pieces are 'coated' wash your hands :).  Pour oil into a medium sized skillet, and turn it medium.  You can test the oil to see if it's warm enough buy sprinkling a tiny bit of flour in it, if it's ready it will start to sizzle a little.  Once it's ready start frying the chicken, yay!  It only takes a couple of minutes on each side.  About half way through your chicken you might start running out of oil in the pan, just add some more and let it warm up a little before you start cooking again.
Place two paper towels on a plate, and once the chicken is done cooking, place it on top of the paper towels.
*For the sweet and sour sauce, we've just used what's in our fridge.  These are the two sauces we had this time.  These two are both more on the sweet side.  We've used a chili sauce that's VERY spicy, only a small amount mixed in with give it that sweet and sour flavor.
I did bake them once as well, just to give people that option.  If you're going to bake them, preheat the oven to 375, and lightly spray the chicken with cooking spray.  Bake for about 15 min, turning over once about half way through.  They will not have the same brown color as the fried ones, they will look kind of white still, but they will be cooked through.
I prefer the fried ones :)
If you want a printable version of this recipe click below
Printable recipe

Recipe adapted from here.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

DIY Captain America Shield

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My son has become OBSESSED with superheros!  It's kind of sad, he went from toddler to BOY overnight.  
I'm still adjusting.  
Something fun that has come from this new obsession is we now get to play superheros, A LOT.  We switch back and forth between them, usually playing Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk.    
In order to play we've come up with different things we use.  My son got a little hammer/screwdriver toy set, maybe 2 years ago, so we use the hammer as Thor's hammer.  For Hulk he just runs around and 'Hulk smashes' things :), and for Iron Man he pretends to shoot 'blue lasers' (is what he calls them).  We had a birthday party to go to a couple of weeks ago, so I took my son to the toy section at Wal-mart.  
 He wanted to buy EVERYTHING!  Afterwards the one thing he kept talking about was this Captain America shield he had seen, and how badly he wanted it.  It was like $15, and it was just basically a frisbee with a little hand strap, so it gave me an idea!
We were out of milk, so I made a trip to Costco, (I could have gone to Wal-mart, but I knew if I went to Costco the milk would come in this box, and it is the perfect size).
We first cut out a circle...
I then drew the pattern on with a pencil.  I wanted my son to feel like he made it himself, so that's all I did, the rest was up to him...
 I told him which colors to use where, and try to stay in the lines, look how good he did!!
 There was A LOT of concentration going on here :)
 I put dots of the color inside the lines, just again to let him know where the color goes.
 The finished product!!
There were a couple of times where I wanted to jump in and help him fix the edges or lines, but I'm glad I held back and let him do it all be himself, he felt very accomplished.  This specific box we used came in handy because he liked the 'handle' part so he could hold his shield.  
What do you think??

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Baking Soda and Vinegar

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I found this awesome idea and wanted to try it out with my little guy, he LOVED it!!  He calls this his 'science experiment'.  Great for a rainy day, it kept him occupied for over a 1/2 hour!
What you need:
  • a pan of baking soda
  • bowls with vinegar 
  • food coloring
  • and something to squirt out the vinegar.  I used one of those baby medicine syringes.  (see picture further down).
 We took the syringe and pulled up the back to suck up some vinegar, my son then squirted it into the baking soda.  He loved the reaction it made!  It foams up, and then down and turns into this soft feeling almost moon sand texture.
I love being able to spend time like this with him, and watch him learn and grow.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Another laugh-out-loud moment...

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Ha ha ha, I had to share this awesome find today

Is this only me??  Or does anyone else feel this way?  :)
Found this gem here.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

How to Clean Car Mats

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Another post about cleaning!  Yay!  This post actually coincides with my previous post about cleaning my couches.  (Here's the link if you missed that post).  I've had my cute little car for about 3 years now, and while I've vacuumed it, plenty, I've never cleaned the car mats.  They were dirty.  Since we'd had success cleaning our couches with Resolve, I figured I would try it out on the mats.  I am going to be bold and show you what they looked like...remember I have a 3 1/2 year old, no judging here!
 So, I took my same 3 items that I used for the couches, Resolve, bowl of water, and scrub brush, and went to work.  I sprayed the mats with the Resolve, submerged the scrub brush in water, and scrubbed away.  Again, I let my son help by scrubbing with a little toothbrush.
 Since we were outside, I also let my son rinse them off with the hose, that was his favorite part!  We then laid them out to dry in the sunshine.  Look how clean and perfect!  It made me so happy that it worked.
 We have a little field/empty lot next to our home, and while the mats were drying, we walked through the field and my son picked me flowers.  He is the sweetest thing ever.  It totally made my day!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How to Clean Your Couch

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A long time ago we paid to have our couches cleaned professionally.  It was pretty pricey, and took a VERY long time.  After a while they started to get dirty again, surprise!  Well, one day I came home, I don't even recall where I was, and I was greeted with a wonderful surprise, my husband had taken it upon himself to clean our couches.  He had what I considered a genius idea.  He took Shout, a scrub brush, and hot water and cleaned the couches completely.  It was amazing.  It's been almost a year or since then, and the couches again were looking like they needed some TLC.  I didn't have Shout, but I did have Resolve, since they are both stain removers for laundry, I figured they would have the same end result.  (The toothbrush is so my son could help me clean the cushions, he loves to do what we're doing).
I tried to get good pictures of how dirty the cushions looked...

 So, you take your stain remover and spray all over the cushions, then dip your scrub brush in the hot water, and start scrubbing!
 Here is my son in his pj's demonstrating for us :) 
Scrub until the cushion looks like the one pictured below.  After scrubbing I put the cushions outside in the sunshine to dry, (I only do that so it will be done faster).  Once it's dry you're done!  For the remaining part of the couch, the armrests and back, which you can't obviously take off, do the same thing, just spray and scrub.  It won't dry as quickly because it's not outside, but it still works beautifully!
My son wanted to take a picture of the couch all clean, here it is...
P.S. our couch is suede fabric.

You might also like my post about cleaning your car mats found here.  I used the same method on the car mats as I did for the couches.

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