Thursday, June 3, 2010

Zucchini Bread-Straight From The Garden!

zucchini bread a
See that beautiful basket of gigantic zucchini?  Right by my zucchini plant?  Yeah, I guess you can tell that zucchini did not come from my garden!  Well, they are not from mine, but they are from my little sister’s garden! 

Erika Erika How does your Garden Grow?  Hers is growing so well that we had a BBQ and ate corn on the cob from her garden last weekend!  Loved it sooo much!  I go visit her garden more than once a week to get my produce from her garden (peas, beans, lettuce, carrots, green onions, herbs, and zucchini are what I’ve gotten from her)!  This weeks bounty is zucchini.
zucchini bread b
This summer I am baking and cooking daily with my children.  I’m having them do complete recipes where I’m just the helper (they are reading the recipe and telling me what to do).  This was perfect other than heating up my house in the summer time!  I am finding that using produce from our own garden (or from my families garden) gets them even more excited about the whole process of gardening and baking!

My kids and I shredded about half of those zucchini (by hand)!  I always shred extra so that I can freeze it in one cup increments (my zucchini recipe needs one cup of zucchini, so I find this easiest).  I always try to have enough shredded zucchini (from my garden) to last me all winter.  I add shredded zucchini to everything that I cook and bake, from muffins, to pancakes, sauces, casseroles, etc.

The kids and I spent the whole day baking up 4 double batches of zucchini bread.  Actually, we took half the batter and froze it.  Then, the rest we cooked up in various forms.  Half of the actual bread (or muffins) we also froze. 

I like to have variety so I varied the recipe with each batch.  We also cooked up each variety in three different forms; bread loaf, muffins, and mini muffins.

I love the recipe from my old Betty Crocker cookbook, though I haven’t found a zucchini recipe that I haven’t liked.  Here are some fun, and healthy variations that we tried this time(and loved):

I always cut the sugar and oil in half.  Then, I add applesauce to replace the loss of oil (exact amount). 

I play around with the amount of whole wheat flour to regular flour.  We don’t like the texture once it gets past 3/4 whole wheat flour to 1/4 regular flour.  I’m working on that though, as I’d like to have it eventually be 100% whole wheat flour. 

I always add wheat germ and flax-though I add these to everything as I cook and bake and when I make our smoothies to go with our meals (I make smoothies for 2 meals a day).  I probably added 4 TBL of each to each double batch. 

One of the batches we added Fage Yogurt.  Yum, and so healthy (I get the fat free and get the large tub from Costco-I add it to many things as well)!  I will do this every time now!

We made one batch with chocolate chips and drizzled chocolate on the top of one of the loaves of bread.  Another we sprinkled a brown sugar and flour mixture on.

My recipe also includes lemon zest.  My Mother has lots of citrus trees so I zest up the citrus that I get from her and then freeze it.  It’s so easy to use this way.  I always add extra!

I would love to try other variations!  What have other people done?  I’m thinking of adding shredded carrots or other veggies (I’ve done apple muffins with the same recipe and loved it).  Maybe even other fruit like strawberries? 
tomato plant
These last pictures are just a few from my garden.  My tomatoes are finally starting to produce.  I think only about 5 plants are really going to produce though.

cucumber planttOne day when I own my own home again I will definitely be gardening in the front yard with fruit and veggies.  I find these plants to be so beautiful!  This is one of my cucumber plants with white and yellow beautiful flowers on it!

Unfortunately, other than my herbs and strawberry plants, much of my garden I just put in too late and will not be producing for me.  Since I just moved in and had to build my own garden boxes, I’m ok with this.  I started the seeds early enough, just didn’t build the boxes soon enough and those seedlings have struggled!  If I can just keep these plants alive through the summer, then I’ve always had luck with tons of produce through the autumn and winter. 


I’m already looking ahead to autumn planting.  I’ve never done a winter garden, but since I live in Arizona it should be easy to do!  Lots of my plants that I put in this year wont produce for 2-3 years anyways and they are all growing very well!  Those would be my blueberry plants, and my three citrus trees.

I’m also going to be planting my pumpkin seeds next week.  I plant in two week increments to try to get pumpkins to carve for Halloween!

Hope all of your gardens are growing well!



LollyChops said...

How completely wonderful! I did not get my veggies in this year. I had too much going on. I do have my herbs going strong, so I should have plenty to freeze for winter!

HUGS and thanks for sharing your recipe variations and gardening!

faith buss said...

Great post! We'll be getting our pumpkins in the week too. I've never done fall crops...I'm excited!

Becky said...

I was planning on making some zucchini bread today, so I was excited to see your post! I'm impressed with how much you plant and would love some gardening tips! By the way, what is fage yogurt? Does it taste like regular yogurt?

The author said...

Your recipe leaves me drooling and wishing zucchini was ready in my part of the world. How fun to be able to raise a fall/winter garden.

Cathryn said...

Great post! We love baking zucchini bread here as well.

If you plant sugar pumpkins or cinderella they make the best pies. The jack-o-latern ones are not tasty. The small sugar pumpkins are just the size for two pies, just cut into fourths, scrape out seeds and steam until soft. (about 20 minutes) When cool, scrape the flesh off the peel into a blender and blend. I add all the ingredients for the pie into the blender, give it a pulse or two, then pour into the crust. Easy.

If you grow the cinderella- it is huge and beautiful and takes hours to process, unless you have a few large pots. But I did it and froze the extra in 2 cup measurements to pull out later for pies. Also, I throw pumpkin and spice into my pancake and waffle batter---wow, I guess I should do a post on my blog about this!!

Thanks for your pics-they are fun!

RootsAndWingsCo said...

Hey Becky,

I have a tip for you. A day or two before you plant your pumpkin seeds soak them at least 24 hours. You can soak them a little longer if you wish but this will help get them started. I did this with my corn and pumpkin plans and they came up faster. You can do this with beans as well.

I am so excited I have a pumpkin as big as my fist already!!!!

Sorry about your plants.

I have another use for your zucchini. Well actually it is another muffin variation. Try banana-zucchini muffins. Use your basic banana bread recipe and replace one of the bananas with grated zucchini. You will have to add a little more flour because the zucchini has a higher water content than the bananas. Picky kids will never know the zucchini is even in there. Mine didn't notice the difference and that is saying a LOT.


Anonymous said...

Corn? Zucchini? Already? Oh - I almost forgot - you are in the hot desert!

Love all the options for zucchini bread! We are growing our own for the first time this year and if it ever stops raining up here in the PNW they might actually produce zucchini! And when they do - I will be trying out your variations!