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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Simply Scrumptions Zucchini Brownies!!!

 This dessert is heavenly! AND the best part is you don't feel guilty letting your kids eat it! With 2 cups of zucchini, applesauce and whole wheat flour- you are secretly feeding your household veggies with no complaints as well as fiber and antioxidants!!! The semi-sweet chocolate chips do a wonderful job of hiding the veg taste and the texture of the brownies comes out fluffy and moist! I ate a brownie every night until the were gone and didn't feel the least bit bad about it. Simply yummy is all I can say!!!

Here's what you need:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup / 200 g sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup / 60 ml applesauce (I made my own- you will need one apple, steamed)
  • 1 cup / 150 g whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup / 45 g unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups (about 300 – 320 g) grated zucchini
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.

In a bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, and the applesauce.

Sieve the flour and the cocoa powder into another bowl.  Add the baking soda, the cinnamon.  Mix well.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and combine until the dry ingredients are mixed in well.

Add the grated zucchini and the chocolate chips. Mix once more.

Pour the brownie batter into a greased 8 x 8” / 20 x 20 cm baking pan.

Bake at 350°F / 175°C for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center doesn't have gooey, raw batter on it.
Cool in the pan and serve with Madagascar vanilla ice cream. You will never know that it's healthy!!! 

~Simply Scrumptious~
I made homemade applesauce for the recipe since I couldn't find canned applesauce in the store. The kids loved the applesauce with a sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar for a snack. Simply steam them until they are tender and a knife easily pierces the center.

Scoop the skins off of the apples. Mash to make applesauce for the kids or use to replace oil in baking recipes like this one.

Two cups shredded zucchini.

Sieve the flour and the cocoa powder into bowl.

Add the baking soda, the cinnamon.  Mix well.

In a bowl, combine eggs, vanilla extract, sugar, salt, and the applesauce.

Pour the brownie batter into a greased 8 x 8” / 20 x 20 cm baking pan.

Kid tested...

Kid approved!

Got this recipe from this wonderful blog:

Roasted Tomato Soup:

Roasted Tomato Soup:

Love, love, love this simple- healthy and all natural soup!!! If you've ever been to La Madeline, this is like their creamy tomato basil soup. All you need is...

  • 2 pounds tomatoes- You can use whatever you like and mix them up
  • 1-2 onions- depending on how much you like them. Remember, onions get a lovely sweetness when you roast them :)
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic
  • Olive oil to drizzle
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh Basil
  • Chicken broth 
  • Heavy cream OR blue cheese for an added touch. 

Slice tomatoes in half and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper- Place in the oven on BROIL
While the tomatoes are roasting, rough cut the onions and garlic. 

Take the tomatoes out when they are lightly blackened and sizzling.

Pour olive oil and S&P on the onions and garlic and broil for about 10 minutes until the look like this.

Once everything is broiled, pour it into a large pot, add enough chick broth to cover the tomatoes. You can adjust to your likeness. For a creamier soup, use an emulsion blender or a regular blender to liquify the tomatoes and onions. I blew the fuse in both of mine, so my soup is a "chunkier" version. Bring to a boil and simmer until you just can't take it anymore- or until you've had enough time to make a salad and heat up the bread!

Add a handful of fresh basil and a splash of cream to each soup. This time, I left out the cream and added a few chunks of blue cheese. It adds a nice surprise to the soup. 

Simple Side-note:

I love serving this with a fresh loaf of whole grain bread and a simple salad with basalmic vinegar and olive oil. Now, for a heartier dinner, take a roasted chicken (store-bought if you are short on time) and shred in on top of the salad. This soup is better the next day and freezes well! 
A simple, fresh dinner that will last for two servings for under $15 total.

~Super simple~

Monday, January 23, 2012

Simply Balanced

My prayer this New Year was for God to make me balanced, simply balanced. 
balanced in prayer, 
balanced in parenting, 
balanced in love, 
balanced in money, 
balanced in pleasure and 
balanced in eating and drinking. 
There are no huge goals to reach, no steep hills to climb- just a daily awareness of balance in my life. 

As part of my balancing act I am going to start utilizing the backyard garden. The compost is started, the ground is just about ready. My mission is to provide my family with at least 80% of a natural diet and successfully grow our own fruits and veggies in the back garden. Lots and lots of new recipes to try out and share!

My reasons to stay balanced...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Please pray...

A precious girl and a tragic accident.

Lauren Scruggs Tragedy: Parents Speak Out After Model's Propeller Accident - ABC News

Please pray for Lauren. This family has overcome huge obstacles before but prayers always help!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A little Turban love

Alright... Alright. I don't know what hurts worse, my ego, the horrible first impression I made or the terrified Turban wearer on a street corner in London, England.

So the story goes like this...

I just stepped off the London Underground and made my way onto the bustling streets of London.

Myself, and 6 other women- half American's and half Canadian's were on our way to a formal tea at a beautiful hotel in London. We all had on our Smart Casual Dress, which translates to Business Casual Wear in America, anyways, as we excitedly make our way to the hotel we decide to stop and take a picture with the hotel in the background.

You know how it goes with a group with cameras... someone is always left out of the picture because they have to take the shot of the group.

Well, that's not a problem because as we are preparing to get a photo I decide that I'll take it upon myself to find someone to take out group picture.

I look around and see two men in Turbans getting their picture taken in front of the hotel. Perfect!

So... I ask the young man with a mini-turban on his head that was taking the picture if he wants me to take a picture of all three of them together. 

It turns out he speaks English, though not very well.

And yes, he would like me to take his picture with the other two men. 

Okay, good, little turban dude speaks English. Not very well, but well enough.

So, I think, that's a nice offer-to take a picture of all of them and then he can take ours after that.

So I ask him,

"Do you mind taking our picture afterwards?"

Where he proceeds to inform me,

 "NO... I am married man."

What the heck? Am I being accused of hitting on half-pint turban guy. How? What? Wait...

"Noooooo." I say, " You must not get it, I just want you to take our picture- I don't want to take a picture with you." I'm married too- I think we have misunderstanding."

Well, my convincing went nowhere. I'm still not sure if it was a language barrier, a sexist barrier, or a religious barrier. All I know was this poor little guy looked as if I was about to jump on top of him and devour him. He was absolutely terrified of me. Maybe it was my brash American independence. Or maybe it was my lack of intimidation by his tiny turban.  I don't know. All I know is that when I turned around to look at all the ladies that were with me they had a look of complete shock at what I had just done.

I mean really, who am I to fault a man for not wanting to take a picture of a group of women, that is actually quite respectable. I think I'm just embarrassed that I looked like a total American idiot!

How was I supposed to know that this was some uber traditional, women are for mating and should be locked away other than that kind of man with a turban.

And really, turban dude- why was it OKAY for me to take YOUR picture and not for you to take mine. What? What your wife doesn't know won't hurt her? Oh my. OH my. I really need to learn to THINK before I ACT. For some reason, when you are a foreigner in a country, it's 100 times more embarrassing when you mess up b/c you feel like it faults not only you but also your country.

I have no clue what impression I left on the women with me because I know none of them would have DARE done that. They are much smarter then that- much more controlled.

And none of them would ever say "fanny-pack" either. Oh, YES. Fanny-pack my lady friends, in England means pu$$y. And I belted out, right after my photo-snafu.

"I think fanny-packs should make a comeback. "

The old man in the street on his bike almost died. And the ladies with me quickly informed me why you never say fanny-pack in England.

Tata for now!

Keep your distance from men in turbans and never say fanny-pack... NOTED!

Here's the picture from in front of the hotel. And note, I'm left out. I lost on the picture taking solution. But it turns out that it wasn't even the nice angle of the hotel.

But this was.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm a crack head

I don't know what's worse...

Having a kidney infection. Or taking the medicine that gets rid of it.

I kind of feel like a crack head right now.

Friday, October 7, 2011

How does this happen?

 From the time she goes to bed, until the time she wakes up- what is she doing to make her hair look like this in the mornings???

Vida BEFORE bed...

Crazy Vida hair in the morning!!!