Zucchini Bites

Well, it's that time of year again.  The time where I start figuring out creative ways to use zucchini.  I personally love zucchini, but not everyone in my family does.  So sometimes I have to figure out how to hide it, but still use it.  This recipe hit the nail on the head.  I could easily eat a hundred of these in one sitting.  My son, the pickiest eater in our household and not a huge veggie fan, even loved them.  Dip them in some ranch and you'll have the yummiest veggie based treat this side of the Mississippi!  Here's the DL...
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray.
In small pan melt butter.  Add the onion and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until onion is translucent.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
While onion is cooking grate the zucchini and squeeze out the excess water.  Set aside.
In medium bowl mix the eggs, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and cooled cooked onions.  Add zucchini.
Place tablespoon of zucchini mixture into muffin cup or until cup is filled to the top.  Press down lightly with the back of the spoon.  Repeat until mixture is gone.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the top is browned.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
Serve with ranch for dipping and enjoy!  (makes about 24 bites)

Horses & Such

We recently spent a few days at The Ranch entertaining some out of town guests from Mexico.
They were in for a real treat because we have a three day old baby colt.
He's the sweetest little guy and our first colt ever to have blue eyes.  Chances are his eyes won't stay that color, but for now it is such a cool feature.
He was still dirty from being born.  So, being the mom I am I couldn't resist giving him his first bath.  He didn't enjoy it so much, "but at least you're clean" I told him.  Honestly, I don't think he cares if he's clean or not.  
We also have a colt who is a couple months old.  The hot weather really tuckers him out!
And of course the sky at the ranch was not disappointing.  And of course I had to snap a photo.  And of course I had to share it with you.
Finally, I have to brag on my oldest girls, who happen to be twins.  They competed in their second horse show ever and did a great job.
At age seven they were the youngest riders at the show and most of their competitors were teenagers.  
Nonetheless, the twins came home with ribbons and the satisfaction of competing well.
A big shout out to their Grandpa Buck, who also happens to be their coach.  He's really helped them to become amazing little horse women.  
Great job girls!
And a good job to their horses Best 
and Itchy.

Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread

It's no secret that I love banana bread.  But sometimes I end up with so many bananas that need using up that after a week of eating plain banana bread I'm ready for a change.  I'm not one to waste, so throwing away brown bananas because I don't feel like regular banana bread isn't really an option.  I was thrilled when I found this recipe for chocolate marbled banana bread.  
How can you make banana bread better?  Add chocolate of course, this pretty much works for most things in life.  What's great about this recipe is that it really doesn't take that much more time to make that a normal batch of banana bread.  Eat hot out of the oven with a big ol' slab of butter and you will be happy.  Here's the DL...
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (wait till those naners are soft & really brown)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a large bowl combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside.
In medium bowl combine vanilla, eggs, mashed bananas, sugar, melted butter.  Gently fold into flour mixture just until moistened, batter will be lumpy.  Transfer about a third of the batter to a smaller bowl.
Using double boiler method or the microwave melt the chocolate chips.  Add melted chocolate the the third of batter you set aside and mix well.
Place alternating sections of plain batter and chocolate batter into the prepared loaf pan.  
Use a butter knife to  cut through the batter and marble it.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes and then serve with butter.  Enjoy!

Tomato, Basil, & Goat Cheese Pizza

I love making pizza.  And tomato, basil, and goat cheese is by far my favorite pizza combo.  Something about those three things put together just brings out their best flavors.  I've had many people be skeptical of this pizza combo, but once they taste it they can't get enough.  This is a great pizza to make during the summer when tomatoes & basil are fresh from the garden.  Here's the skinny...
Get yourself a batch of pizza dough ready.
I like to make this pizza smaller, about 12 inches, & with thinner crust.  If you do a whole dough recipe you'll  need to divide the dough into fourths, roughly.
You'll also need to make some sauce.
Ingredients (for one 12 inch pizza)
pizza dough
1/3 cup pizza sauce
1/2 medium tomato, thinly sliced
2 sprigs of fresh basil
3 ounces goat cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 550 degrees.
Spread out fist size portion of pizza dough onto greased cookie sheet or parchment paper into a 12 inch circle.  
In circular motion spread pizza sauce onto dough leaving about an inch un-sauced dough  around the edges. 
Lay tomatoes on top of sauce spreading them out to cover most of the pizza.  Place small spoonfuls of the goat cheese on top of pizza.  Pull off fresh basil leaves and spread them out on top of pizza.  
Sprinkle mozzarella over the top of everything.  
Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until crust is golden around the edges.  Serve warm and enjoy!

Fourth of July Treat

I saw this idea for a fun Fourth of July dessert and thought you should know about it.  Super easy and super cute!  I simply got a box of ice cream bars from the store.  Cut them in half and then let them sit at room temperature for a couple minutes.  Once the sides are a little soft (but not melting, don't let them sit out too long) insert a popsicle stick into the bottom end.  Then sprinkle the edges with your favorite festive sprinkles.  Return the ice cream bars to the freezer and allow to freeze completely again before serving.
Then eat them all up, yum.  Have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July!