Monthly Archives: June 2015

Chocolate Zucchini Cake (Brownie)

This original recipe (see below picture) is called a Chocolate Zucchini Brownie but once you bake it you will realize why I changed the name and frosted it for good measure.

As I mentioned in my last post this morning, I had a bit of a water spill on my scanned copies of my grandma’s zucchini recipes. This one I should know by heart as many times as I have baked it. This one is probably the most requested zucchini recipe I have. Even my previous boss used to request this for his birthday cake at work several years ago.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and friends do.

One of the things I like most about this recipe is that it is typed by a typewriter! Also that it doesn’t have directions just ingredients.

Grandma’s Ingredients: 

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup oleo

1/2 cup oil (grandma used vegetable; I use canola)

2 1/2 cups of ap flour

3 eggs

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 Tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 TB cocoa

3 cups of finely shredded zucchini

1/2 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup chocolate chips

Grandma’s Directions:

Save chips til last, when batter is in the pan, put chips lightly on top. 9 by 13 pan, 350 deg, 45 minutes.
My Ingredients with a few modifications:

1 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup of ap flour

1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup applesauce unsweetened

2 TB flaxseed ground

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 cups finely shredded zucchini

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

4 TB Dutch Processes Cocoa

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp baking soda

3 eggs

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 ground allspice



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Set aside. 

1. Whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, oil, applesauce, and both sugars in large mixing bowl. Set aside.
2. In a seperate bowl sift together cocoa, both  flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Make sure all ingredients are well incorporated.

3. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until combined. Make sure not to over mix. Fold in the zucchini with spatula and lastly fold in the chocolate chips. Bake for 38 to 40 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean). I used a dark pan which can effect the bake time.

Fudgy Frosting optional: 
(yields 2 cups of frosting)
1 stick of butter (unsalted) (1/2 cup), room temperature
2/3 cup Dutch processes cocoa
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups of powdered sugar
1/3 cup skim milk

Beat the butter with paddle attachment on high and decrease speed to low and add cocoa and mix to incorporate. Gradually add powered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Beat until fudge smooth consistency appears.

Frost the cake and cut a piece already.

Grandma Harper’s Zucchini Bread

As a child I can remember grandma always had a homemade treat at the house. My sister and I would always look forward to one of her homemade baked goods. We would often spend many of our summer breaks playing at grandma and grandpa’s whether it was mowing the lawn (playing school bus), playing with our cousins on the trampoline, swimming, or picking berries in the garden.

One of my absolute favorite treats was her zucchini bread (or cookies). Her bread was always so moist and tasted so flavorful. Each bite was always rich with cinnamon goodness and had the right crunchiness with the chopped walnuts. My sister and I would slather “I cannot believe it’s not butter” on top and dive in. We would have 2 or 3 slices just for breakfast.

Years ago I was on a zucchini kick (when we had an abundance in the garden) and grandma scanned her zucchini recipes for me. Accidentally one day a water spill got to the majority of them. I am able to make out the recipes with only a few guesses to the quantities. I can honestly say every time I make one of her recipes I get several requests for the recipe.

This is not the first recipe of her’s I have posted and after today I will start a file just for her. If you knew my grandma you would know she loved to bake and try new recipes. She always shared her recipes as well as new recipes as she came across them. She’d email me a recipe weekly if she thought I’d like it.

We said goodbye to her yesterday and I couldn’t think of a better way to honor her memory then to make breakfast with one of her recipes  today. I know every time I make a zucchini dish, see a cardinal or water my flowers I will think of her. All those things she’d shared a fondness for.  I will deeply miss her and her passion of sharing love through recipes.

Today I made some modifications but I will list her recipe as it reads in case you cannot make out the water marks (above).

This recipe yields two standard (8.5″) bread loaves or one bread loaf and 10-12 muffins.

Grandma’s original :

2 cups of AP flour

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup nuts, chopped

2 cup grated zucchini (the best is from the garden)

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt


Beat eggs, add oil, sugar and vanilla, mix well. Add zucchini with dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

Grandma recipes were always simple and delicious.


Now for the changes, I have to admit I couldn’t allow for 1 cup of oil! 


1 cups of AP flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1-1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup canila oil

2 TB ground flaxseed

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 baking powder

2 cups of finely shredded zucchini (not peeled)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat bread loaf with cooking spray. Also line muffin tins with paperliners and spray with cooking spray.

Beat eggs, add oil, applesauce, sugar, vanilla mix well. Add zucchini with dry ingredients. Fold in nuts. Mix well. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans at 350 for 38 minutes. Or bake one loaf at 350 for 38 minutes for the bread and 23 to 25 for the muffins. ***Use scoop size 16 for perfectly sized muffins. Place 3 cups of batter in one bread loaf pan. **

Rhubarb Pie


We have oodles of rhubarb and I have been very antsy to try a whole pie made of rhubarb.   This was a home run. I made it for my husband’s Grammy. She just moved into a new house and I wanted to make it as a house warming gift. Plus I found out it was also her birthday! She told me once when she was a child her mother would make her rhurbarb pie and it was her favorite. She always makes everyone pie but she never makes her favorite so this one is for you Grammy Ulam! 


5 cups of chopped frozen rhubarb thawed

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

3 TB flour

1 tsp quick tapioca 

1 egg (lightly beaten)

1-2 TB skim milk 

1 TB unsalted butter

Pie crust for a double crust 9 inch pie (either use your favorite or try this one)

I used joy of baking crust and it was a good recipe for this pie. I like that it weighed everything out. 


1. If you are using frozen rhubarb thaw it in a colander and allow for excess water to drain. Once excess water has been removed place rhubarb in sugar, cinnamon, tapioca, flour mixture and mix to incorporate.

2. Allow the rhubarb to set for 15 minutes in sugar spice bath.  Add in egg and mix to incorporate. In meantime preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

3. Place prepared pie crust in pie dish. Pour rhubarb mixture in prepared pie dish. 

4. Cut pieces of butter and spread evenly on top of rhubarb. Cover pie with second pie dough. 

6. Trim and seal dough as you wish. Make sure to cut slits in dough to allow steam to release. Lightly brush pie with milk. 

7. Bake pie at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then decease the tempature to 350 degrees and bake for 45 to 50 additional minutes. Or until crust is golden brown and filling starts to bubble.

8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on wire rack.

Old Fashioned Shortcake 


We celebrated Father’s Day today with a family picnic at my mom and dad’s. My mom requested I bake a shortcake to pair with my grandpa’s amazingly delicious homegrown strawberries. I can honesty say this was always a favorite growing up! My sister and I would swim all day long in our grandparents’ pool. We would really work up and an appetite and after swimming my grandpa would fix us a bowl of strawberries and vanilla ice cream on shortcake. Yes that is what summer tastes like to me. Today I thought I’d share the memory with you. 

I like this dessert because I was able to decrease the sugar by 66% and add cinnamon to naturally sweeten the dish. Plus I add some whole wheat pastry flour without anyone noticing. I substituted the butter for a heart healthy alternative as well. I challenge you to do the same when you are following old passed down family favorites. 

Yields: 18 servings 


1 1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 cup ap flour

4 large eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

2 TB canola oil

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt 

1/2 tsp ground vienmesse cinnamon 

Predirections preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9 by 13 pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking.


1. In a stand mixer beat eggs for 3 minutes on medium speed. Gradually add in sugar, vanilla, and oil to incorporate. Set aside. 

2. In a seperate bowl mix together flours, cinnamon, salt, baking powder. Whisk together well to incorporate throughly. Set aside.

3. On low speed, gradually add one third of the flour mix to the liquid batter and mix until incorporated then add1/3 of buttermilk and mix. repeat until no ingredients remain. Mix well enough no dry residue remains. 

4. Pour batter into the 9 by 13 baking pan. Make sure to pound the pan on the counter 1-2 times to release the air bubbles. I used a dark pan and baked it for 25 minutes at 350. When the timer went off my cake was done. A toothpick came out of the center clean. 


5. I made this cake a day before the party and it turned out very well. I let it cool completely then wrapped it with saran wrap. Prior to plating the cake, we cut the cake in half and stuffed it with homemade whip cream, strawberries, and our favorite local ice cream store’s vanilla.  

Banana Bread Scones


I thought about making banana muffins and then it hit me why not make some banana scones. I had a few really ripe bananas and decided I needed to use them fast (or freeze them but where is the fun in that?). This is a very fast breakfast treat and perfect for the weekend ! 

This recipe yields 16 scones using a # 16 scoop. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.


1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 cup ap flour

1/3 cup of sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 TB baking powder

2 TB coconut oil

2 TB canola oil

Pinch of nutmeg

1 tsp pure vanilla

1/2 cup buttermilk 

1 large egg

3 small bananas (1 heaping cup mashed)


1. Whisk in a large bowl both flours, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and sugar. 

2. Add to the flour mix the coconut oil and using hands cut the coconut oil into the flour until evenly distributed. Almost like wet sand. Set aside.

3. In a separate small bowl mix together canola oil, milk, vanilla, and egg. 

4. Add the wet batter into the dry ingredients and mix with wooden spoon. Batter will appear dry but not for long. Fold in mashed bananas. Mix until no dry residue remains. Be careful not to over mix.

5. Use a # 16 scoop to portion out on parchment paper lined 1/2 sheet baking pan. Place 6 to a pan. 

6. Bake at 400 degrees for 14 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. 

7. Remove the scones from pan right away and allow to cool on wire rack or serve warm. 


Pictures below for steps:








Mini Pineapple Rhubarb  Upsidedown Cake

Today is my husband and I’s 8 year anniversary and one of his favorite desserts is pineapple upsidedown cake. When I asked him what dessert he wanted for our anniversary (which I already knew the answer)  he requested pineapple upsidedown cake. I am not fond of making the same recipe twice, so of course I had to take the original recipe up a notch and add some homegrown rhubarb and whole wheat flour. Since it was just us two today, I made a mini 6 inch cake for sharing. 

Yields 4 pieces 


Top ingredients:

1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)

2 TB melted unsalted butter 

1 (8 oz can crushed pineapple) juice removed and saved for something else) keep 1 TB 

2 fresh stalks of rhubarb (cut down the center) and as desired to fit into cake pan

Cake batter ingredients:

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 TB canola oil

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract 

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp kosher salt 

1 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup sugar

1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper in cake pan. Set aside. 

2. Melt butter in glass bowl, add brown sugar and whisk. Place evenly on the bottom of the baking pan. Lay the rhubarb down first on top of butter mixture ( I regretfully didn’t do this but will next time). I was hoping to have the rhubarb shine though in the end result but as you see above it is a hidden jem.

Place crushed pineapple on top the rhubarb evenly and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together allspice, flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside. 

In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, sugar, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk. 

Add in dry mix of ingredients into the wet and use spatula to incorporate.  

Pour batter over top the rhubarb and bake for 25 to 28 minutes. Or until toothpick comes out clean from the center. 

Allow to cool on wire rack for 5 minutes in the pan. After the time has elapsed remove from pan into dish. 



Hot Pepper & Cheese Bread


One of my husband’s favorite foods is pizza. I love bread so this is the perfect marriage of the two. This a super quick recipe but very satisfying. I also love this recipe because I get to use the canned peppers we grew last year in the garden. See the link below for the recipe.


2 teaspoons yeast

1 ½ cups warm water

3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 ½ tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup canned hot peppers in oil

1/3 cup chopped pepperoni

4 cloves of chopped garlic

1/2 cup yellow bell pepper chopped

1/2 cup black olives diced

1/4 cup green onion chopped 

1 TB pizza seasoning or Italian seasoning

1/2 cup Asiago cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella or Italian blend reduced fat

1 tablespoon canolia oil ( I used the oil from the canned peppers)

Cornmeal for dusting

Optional marinara sauce for dipping


1.In a small bowl place yeast in warm water and left proof for 5 minutes. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl mix AP flour, sugar, & salt. 

3. Pour yeast mixture over flour mixture and mix with wooden spoon until combined. The dough will be sticky. Sprinkle pepperoni, peppers, olives, cheese, garlic, green onion, and pizza seasoning over top the dough and using hands fold the ingredients into the dough until incorporated.  


4. Cover the dough in the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for one hour. 

5. After one hour has elapsed place in refrigerator and allowed to continue to rise for one hour.

6. Preheat the oven to 450°. Dust pizza stone with cornmeal to prevent dough from sticking. Place dough on pizza stone in a rectangle form approximately 11 by 17 inches. 


7. Brush dough with canolia oil. Bake for 30 to 32 minutes. 

8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on wire rack before slicing. 

Enjoy !


Banana Oat Cookies


I picked up a 1970’s cookie cookbook at a local loved flea market. I was reviewing the recipes this past weekend. I found many that peaked my interest. I found one in particular that I just couldn’t wait to try since I have an abundance of ripe bananas. I made many modifications to make the recipe more up to date and less sugar and transfat. I also added more whole grains as well. These cookies are crisp on the outside and light and fluffy in the inside.

1 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana

1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 3/4 cup 100% old fashioned oats

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil 

1/4 cup canola oil 

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 chopped walnuts

2 TB grounded flaxseed

1 egg

1 tsp kosher salt 

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground vietnesse cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place parchment paper on 1/2 sheet pan and set aside.

2. In a medium to large bowl, mash bananas, coconut oil, and canola oil together. Add vanilla and egg to mix & whisk to incorporate. Set aside

3. In a separate medium bowl whisk together oats, flaxseed, flour, salt, soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet batter. Use spatula to fully incorporate the ingredients together leaving no dry residue. Lastly fold in walnuts until evenly distributed thought cookie batter.

4. Using a number 60 scoop portion out cookies 12 to 14 to a pan. Place the pan in oven for 10 minutes or until cookies form a light golden color on the exterior.

5. Remove from the pan immediately and cool  the cookies on wire rack.