Author Archives: nancyc

Yellow Squash Muffins

Yellow Squash Muffins @ NancyCYellow squash in a muffin? I know that may sound a little strange, but believe me, these muffins are deliciously moist and sweetened just right with honey and brown sugar! I thought about trying yellow squash in muffins after using zucchini in quick breads and cake. So why not yellow squash in baked goods? I found a recipe that I tweaked a little at Taste of Home and wasn’t sure what to expect, but I love the way they turned out!

YELLOW SQUASH MUFFINS by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes 11-12 muffins

  • 2 1/3 cups (about 1 lb.) sliced yellow squash, cut into 1/2″ slices-cut larger slices in half or quarters)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey*
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar*
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line muffin pan with 12 paper liners; set aside

Fill a medium size saucepan with 1″ of water; add squash and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Drain water from pan and mash the squash. In same pan, blend in the butter, honey, brown sugar, and egg.

In large bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the squash mixture to this flour mixture and stir just until moistened.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 375˚F for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes, then remove from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

NOTE: Instead of using honey and light brown sugar, you can substitute 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.

This recipe made 11 muffins for me. If you’re all out of yellow squash from your garden, you’ll have to keep this in mind to try next summer, or just buy some at the grocery store! What kinds of things do you like to make with yellow squash?

Also, Happy Fall to all of you! It’s hard to believe it is autumn already! I have some great apple recipes I’ll be sharing with you soon!

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck.

Cheesy Zucchini Cornbread

Cheesy Zucchini Cornbread @ NancyC

I had one more cup of shredded zucchini to use up, and this is the recipe I made with it. During this time of year when summer gradually turns into fall, I think of cornbread for some reason. And savory cornbread sounded good–so savory cornbread it was. Speaking of summer turning into fall, I usually am sad to see summer end, since I really enjoy the warm weather and long days. But this year I’m focusing on all the things I love about autumn–the pretty fall leaves, apples and pumpkins, fall craft fairs, candlelight, and baking cinnamon-flavored treats.

But back to the cornbread. Not only is this is a savory cornbread, flavored with Italian seasoning and a hint of garlic and onion, it’s also cheesy. Cheddar cheese is mixed in the batter and sprinkled on top. Savory and cheesy flavors are hard for me to resist–I love that combination! The shredded zucchini and corn kernels make this cornbread moist and hearty, too. You could serve this instead of rolls with a meal and it would be great with a bowl of chili!

CHEESY ZUCCHINI CORNBREAD by NancyC

Makes an 8×8″ pan

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels
  • 1 1 /2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease an 8×8″ pan; set aside.

In large bowl, blend cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In medium size bowl, mix eggs, honey, melted butter, and plain Greek yogurt. Add this mixture to the flour mixture in the large bowl, stirring just until blended. Mix in Italian Seasoning, minced onion, and minced garlic. Fold in the shredded zucchini, corn kernels, and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese (save the other 1/2 cup cheese for sprinkling on top).

Spoon batter into prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese evenly over the top. Bake at 350˚F for 32 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

This cornbread tastes great with or without some butter–it definitely has enough flavor to stand on its own! Are you a fan of cornbread? And are you looking forward to autumn?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck, Inspire Me Monday, Create With Joy.

Frosted Chocolate Chip Mocha Brownies

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I’m a big mocha fan-how about you? I’m a big brownie fan, too, so you’d think I would have made mocha brownies a long time ago. When I communitycoffeereceived some complimentary samples of Community® Coffee, I knew it was time to try making some mocha brownies! The coffee flavors I received were The 5 Star Hotel Blend, Pecan Praline, French Vanilla, and French Roast. My favorites were Pecan Praline, a great flavor for fall, with a lightly sweet, nutty pecan taste and the 5 Star Hotel Blend, which has a nice smooth flavor. But the French Vanilla and French Roast were also good.

I used the 5 Star Hotel Blend in this brownie recipe. There’s a recipe on the Community® Coffee Blog called Grandma W’s Extra Chocolaty Frosted Mocha Brownies, and I modified that recipe slightly. I added mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter and made my frosting a little thicker. They turned out soooo good! These brownies are so rich and very chocolaty, with a great hint of coffee flavor! The perfect dessert for all of you chocolate and coffee lovers out there!

FROSTED CHOCOLATE CHIP MOCHA BROWNIES by NancyC, adapted from Community® Coffee

Makes a 9 x 13″ pan

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons strong brewed coffee, cooled (I used Community® Coffee 5 Star Hotel Blend)
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

MOCHA GANACHE FROSTING:

  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup strong brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 300˚F. Grease or spray a 9×13″ baking pan, or line with parchment paper; set aside.

In  large bowl, blend melted butter and sugar, then add cocoa powder, salt, and coffee, stirring until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Stir in flour just until combined, then fold in mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared  9×13″ pan. Bake at 300˚F for 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean (don’t overbake or brownies will be dry). Cool completely in pan.

For frosting, in microwave-safe measuring cup, heat coffee to a simmer in microwave, then add in the chocolate chips and stir until completely smooth (if mixture is still lumpy, heat in microwave an additional 30 to 45 seconds, then stir until smooth). Let mixture cool for 1 hour. Pour over cooled brownies, spreading frosting evenly, then let set (you can put your frosted brownies in the fridge to have the frosting set more quickly). Cut into squares.

I liked these brownies so much, I’m inspired to try more coffee recipes! Do you use coffee in your baking or cooking?

Featured on Meal Plan Monday

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Weekend PotluckInspire Me Monday.

Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake

ChocolateZucchiniSnackCake@NancyCIf you are a chocolate-lover, here’s a recipe for you to try! This Chocolate Zucchini Snack Cake is a cross between a cake-like brownie and a chocolate cake. It’s so simple, it just has semi-sweet mini chocolate chips sprinkled on top instead of frosting. The zucchini makes the cake so very moist–and I think it’s amazing that you can’t even tell there is any zucchini in this! The mini seem-sweet chocolate chips make this cake extra chocolatey, too–there’s lots of chocolate chips in the batter and more on top of the cake. It has plenty of chocolate, so you don’t even miss the frosting! Everyone I shared this cake with really liked it, so I think this recipe is a keeper!

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI SNACK CAKE by NancyC

Makes a 9×13″ pan

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (for batter)
  • For sprinkling on top: an additional 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 9×13″ baking pan or line with parchment paper.

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well, then add in yogurt and vanilla extract.

In medium bowl, blend the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

Stir the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture. Fold in the shredded zucchini and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed in batter.

Spoon batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly in pan and bake at 350˚F for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and sprinkle the top with the additional mini chocolate chips (the chips will gradually get soft and melty as the cake cools). Let cool completely, then cut into squares and serve.

After my last 3 zucchini recipes, I still have a little more zucchini left! Probably just about one cup’s worth. So I may post one more zucchini recipe…we’ll see!

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Inspire Me Monday.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread @ NancyC

After I made those Blueberry Zucchini Muffins, I still had some zucchini left, so here’s another zucchini recipe for you! This Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread is so moist and has some yummy ingredients like brown sugar, a little honey, and best of all, a whole cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips! That’s a pretty good amount of chocolate. The grated zucchini is probably the healthiest ingredient in this (well, there’s also some canola or olive oil in there, too).

This bread is very chocolatey and has a hint of cinnamon flavor. Have a slice for breakfast if you like having chocolate in the morning, or have it as a snack or dessert later in the day!

CHOCOLATE CHIP ZUCCHINI BREAD by NancyC

Makes one 9×5″ loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup canola or light olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.

In a large bowl, blend light brown sugar, honey, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Mix until everything is blended.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix just until everything is combined. Fold in the grated zucchini, then the mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, mixing until these ingredients are evenly distributed in the batter.

Pour or spoon batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350˚F for 50 to 54 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove loaf from pan. Serve warm or let loaf cool completely, refrigerating any leftovers.

I think there still may be one more zucchini recipe I’m going to make before summer is over. What kinds of things do you like making with zucchini?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday. Weekend Potluck, Create with Joy.

Focusing on Truth

When I saw this quote from a new book coming out soon (see shereadstruthbook.com), the words truth and eternal stood out to me.

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Truth and eternal. These two words helped me get through a very difficult time I experienced earlier this summer. A few posts ago, I shared with you that my mom had died. Losing someone close to you totally changes your world. There’s an emptiness you feel when they’re gone. A friend told me, “It’s never easy and we are never ready.”

The day after mom died, I was feeling this emptiness. And cutting through all the swirling emotions in my mind, the Lord spoke, telling me to focus on the truth of the situation. “Focus on what is true,” He said softly. “The truth Is your mother is alive and in heaven.” It was a gentle reminder of what I already knew to be true–a reminder of what John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Although I miss mom, I know our separation is temporaryand I’m happy for her, knowing she is very much alive in her eternal heavenly home.

Knowing and focusing on Truth makes all the difference.

 

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins @ NancyCI don’t have a veggie garden of my own this summer, but friends and coworkers have been so nice to share from their gardens with me! That’s how I ended up with some zucchini. Since I also had fresh blueberries just waiting to be used, I decided to make these muffins that I first made several years ago. The zucchini and blueberries make these muffins really moist and the cinnamon gives them a great flavor. If you like, you can top the muffins with a homemade cream cheese frosting and fresh blueberries (you can use fresh or frozen blueberries in the batter). You can also try substituting blackberries, raspberries, or chopped strawberries for the blueberries.

BLUEBERRY ZUCCHINI MUFFINS by NancyC

Makes 24 to 25 regular-size muffins or 12 to 13 jumbo muffins

  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup light olive oil or non-GMO canola oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line two 12-cup regular muffin pans or two 6-cup jumbo muffin pans with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini.

In large bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

Add the egg mixture from the medium bowl to the flour mixture in the large bowl; stir all ingredients together until moistened. Gently stir the blueberries into the batter.

Spoon batter into the muffin cups, about 3/4 full. Bake regular muffins for 22-24 minutes and jumbo muffins for 32-34 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean (if using frozen berries, your baking time may be a few minutes longer).

If you want to get a little fancy, you can top these muffins with some cream cheese frosting and garnish with a few fresh blueberries. Here’s a frosting recipe I’ve used with these muffins before:

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 1 8-oz. block of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • fresh blueberries for garnish

In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and butter together, then add the powdered sugar a cup at a time. Blend well. Using a rounded scoop about the size of a tablespoon, put a dollop of cream cheese frosting on the center of each muffin. You should have enough frosting to put big dollops on if you want to. Then add some fresh blueberries to the top of each muffin.

That’s pretty easy, isn’t it? If you’re not going to eat these until later, store in a covered container in the refrigerator to keep the blueberries fresh. This recipe is a great way to use your garden zucchini! Are you growing zucchini this summer?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Meal Plan Monday, Weekend Potluck.

Ricotta Pound Cake

Ricotta Pound Cake II @ NancyCHello there, friends! Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers these past few months–your comments on my last post were so thoughtful and encouraging. I have spent a lot of time resting and recharging during this time and it was just what I needed. I’m doing much better now. So I’m back from my blogging break with a pound cake recipe to share!

I don’t use ricotta cheese very often, but I did use it for something recently and I had some extra ricotta in my fridge. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but then I came across a recipe for Ricotta Pound Cake at Epicurious. It sounded like the perfect thing to try! I made a few small changes to the recipe and thought it tasted really good. A few things to note: The top of the loaf browns a little, and the sides of the loaf brown a lot–but the dusting of powdered sugar covers the top and the deliciousness of the slightly crispy edges are a nice contrast to the moist, buttery texture and flavor of the inside. And thankfully, the dark edges do not have a burnt taste like I thought they would. I fully expected them to, and it’s a mystery to me why the edges don’t taste burnt. My loaf also sank just very slightly in the middle–maybe because I had taken it out of the oven a little too early and put it back in–but that little indention was the perfect place to add in a few strawberries!

RICOTTA POUND CAKE by NancyC, adapted from Epicurious

Makes one 9″ loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk or part skim ricotta cheese (drain any excess liquid)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar for dusting on top
  • Optional: fresh strawberries for garnish

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 9″ loaf pan.

In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter, ricotta, and sugar until smooth. Beat eggs in one at a time, then blend in the vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture to the butter/ricotta mixture, blending everything well.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, smoothing evenly with a spatula.

Gently whack the pan on the counter to remove air pockets. Bake at 350˚F for 46 to 50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (you shouldn’t have to bake it more than 50 minutes). Cool in loaf pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then invert onto a serving plate and let cake cool completely. When cooled, dust top of loaf with powdered sugar and add some strawberries in the center of the loaf, if desired.

Ricotta Pound Cake @ NancyCIf I hadn’t had that extra ricotta in my fridge, I may never have tried making this pound cake! I’m so glad I did–I love the rich buttery flavor and how the ricotta makes the cake so good and moist. Do you use ricotta in any of your dessert recipes?

Linked to Fiesta Friday, Weekend Potluck, Meal Plan Monday.

Catching Up

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Image from Pinterest

It’s the middle of summer already. Summer is one of my favorite seasons. I love the warm, even hot, weather and the long days. I’m usually outside quite a bit during the summer, enjoying the sunshine. This summer has been a little different, though. My last post was in early June, and I wanted to catch you up on why I haven’t posted in awhile.

During the middle of June, I came down with what I thought was the flu–I had a cold and fever, and normally, since I’m pretty healthy, I get over something like that fairly quickly if I get lots of rest. Well, this fever and cold went on for a week and I was feeling worse, so I went to the doctor. It turned out that I actually had pneumonia, and a pretty bad case of it, so I ended up in the hospital for 4 days. After getting out of the hospital, I was supposed to finish recovering at home, continuing to take antibiotics to clear up the pneumonia.

As I was at home recovering near the end of June, I found out that my dear mom, who lives quite a distance from me in another state, had been taken to the hospital. Initially, we thought she would be okay, but as the days and hours went on, her condition continued to worsen. And then, after just 4 days, she passed away. It was quite a shock, having happened so quickly. And such a sad time for those of us who loved her so much. She lived a good long life, but you’re never really ready to say goodbye to those you love and hold close.

The wonderful comfort I have though, is that this is not a final goodbye. I know mom is in heaven with Jesus and with other loved ones who have gone before her, and I know I will see her again. She is very much alive, enjoying all the beauty and wonder of heaven, and when I think of that, it makes me happy for her. It’s also a comfort knowing the Lord is near to me, covering me with His peace.

So I’m continuing to rest and take the last of my antibiotics. I don’t expect to post anything for at least another few weeks or maybe longer, until I get more of my energy back. Thanks so much for visiting my blog even though I haven’t been posting, and for the comments you have left–I appreciate all of you!

Easy Cherry Almond Coffee Cake

Easy Cherry Almond Coffee Cake II @ NancyCI had a can of cherry pie filling sitting on my pantry shelf just begging to be used in something. And then I found a coffee cake recipe at BettyCrocker.com that seemed perfect for this cherry filling–it sounded quick, easy, and looked really yummy! I made a few changes to the recipe and was able to whip up a tasty coffee cake one Saturday morning in a short amount of time–it really was pretty easy to put together and tasted great!

This coffee cake is perfect when you want to make something simple, but also want something a little different! And it’s nice for a weekend breakfast or brunch, when you can linger a little longer over a nice large square of this coffee cake with a mug of your favorite coffee or tea!

EASY CHERRY ALMOND COFFEE CAKE adapted from BettyCrocker.com

Makes a 9×13″ pan

  • 4 cups baking mix (like Bisquick™)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling

GLAZE

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or Half & Half (light cream)
  • Optional: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • Optional: 2 Tablespoons sliced or chopped almonds, toasted or untoasted, for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease bottom and sides of a 9 x 13″ pan with butter or cooking spray.

In large bowl, mix the baking mix, sugar, melted butter, milk, and almond extract. Then add the eggs and mix everything well. You’ll end up with a very thick batter.

Spread 2/3 of the batter in a 9 x 13″ pan. Spoon pie filling over batter and spread to about 1/4″ from the edges of the pan. Drop remaining batter by heaping 1/2 tablespoonfuls onto pie filling.

Bake 23 to 24 minutes, until top batter and edges of coffee cake just start to turn lightly brown (don’t overbake, or coffee cake will be too dry).

While coffee cake is baking, make the glaze: stir  powdered sugar, milk or Half & Half, and almond extract until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.

Drizzle glaze over warm coffee cake, then sprinkle with sliced or chopped almonds. Serve warm or cool–I think it tastes best warm!

Easy Cherry Almond Coffee Cake @ NancyCI do like the added touch of having almonds sprinkled on top of this coffee cake!

Easy recipes like this really come in handy when you’re short on time. Do you have any easy coffee cakes you like making?

Linked to Fiesta Friday.