Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Carrot Zucchini Bread

I hope you enjoyed your Carbs-giving.  I certainly enjoyed mine.  Mashed taters, praline yams, crescent rolls, stuffing.  Leftovers.  Wash and repeat.  

Apparently the turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving table, but you wouldn't know it by the way I load up my plate.  A thin slice of white meat turkey drowns below a spoonful of cranberry sauce, like a purply-red watering hole in the middle of my starchy desert.

After last week, I have been trying to eat more vegetables, and this bread has been making it a whole lot easier.  I've made a few salads since last Thursday, but coming off my bread-high, I've been having withdrawals with every bite I take of shredded cabbage doused in vinaigrette, even though I usually find veggies delicious. 

With this bread you can mask the necessary nutrients in sugar and flour and still feel healthy while eating it.
It's basically like the drugs given to addicts to get them off of the drug to which they're addicted.

How do you mask your vegetables?

Carrot Zucchini Bread

Yield: 1  9"x5"x3" loaf

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 each of coarsely shredded zucchini and carrot
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c raisins

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.  Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of a 9"x5"x3" loaf pan.

Mix flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center of the mixture.  Set aside.

Mix egg, sugars, shredded zucchini and carrot, oil, and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Add this wet mixture to the flour mixture.  Stir until just moistened (batter should be lumpy).  Fold in raisins.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan.  Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (not wet).  Cool loaf in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove loaf from pan and cool on rack completely.  Store for up to a week wrapped tightly in aluminium foil.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Court's Clicks: 11/25/11

Just a short post this Friday, coming off of the food coma that is Thanksgiving, I have been extra sleepy and have not scoured the internet at my usual pace this week.

A few of my favorites:

In case you didn't have enough butter yesterday on your mashed potatoes, rolls, and everything carby in-between, consider making this super easy Butterfinger Pie.

As we transition into the Christmas baking season, start your morning off right with these Gingerbread Cinnamon Roll Pancakes.

And, for my fellow art-history buffs, a non-yummy but still interesting site: photographic remakes of famous paintings.  My favorite has to be the new American Gothic, with skateboard replacing pitchfork.  Scroll through the novel designs here.

I leave you with a picture of autumn on campus:

Saturday, November 19, 2011

So-Easy Sugar Cookies

I am the notorious stressed-out girl.  Sometimes I wish I could just take a deep breath and relax.  I'm starting to learn how to do that, and these cookies sure help.

It's that time of the quarter where midterms have just finished and finals aren't for three weeks, so I can breathe a little bit now.  

The week I made these cookies though, I was in a pulling out my hair/crying in a fetal position/eating lots of chocolate sort of mood.  I had two papers to write, a big test to study for, and I was turning twenty and feeling like I have no plans for my future after I graduate.  Gahhhh!

As I left my teen years and childhood behind, I realized their was one part of my youth I needed to reincorporate if I were to maintain my sanity.

Do you remember when you were a kid, and your mom would serve you milk and cookies or some other after-school snack when you came home from class?  You would talk about your day: the kid that stuck the pencil up his nose; your 100% on the spelling test; the nasty scrape you got from falling off the twirling bars at recess.  That half-hour would help your mind to recoup from the exciting, disappointing, and commonplace events of the day and transition you into the evening (and hold you over till dinner).

Look, Grown-ups--we need this too.  Make yourself some coffee or some tea, and these cookies.  Take a deep breath, and a big bite, and just relax.

These ingredients will help.

Put them in a big bowl.

Pour the batter out onto your pan, and bake until golden brown.

Cut into bars whatever shape you like. (eat a few--it's a laborious job cutting cookies, after all)

Now, wasn't that easy?

What do you do to relax? (I need tips!)

So-Easy Sugar Cookies

Yield: 48 cookies


3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup softened butter
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 TB milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 TB sugar (for the top) 


Preheat oven to 375 deg. F.  Beat sugar, butter, oil, milk, vanilla, and egg in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Mix in flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt until well-blended.

Spread mixture evenly on an ungreased 15x10x1 inch baking pan (like a jelly roll size).  Sprinkle with 1 TB of sugar (or more...).

Bake at 375 deg. F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes and cut into cookies.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Court's Clicks: 11/18/11

Last week I somehow had a lot of time on my hands.  This week, not so much.  I finished one paper, but still have another to go, plus some reading, and a film to watch.  Can it be Thanksgiving yet?

All the same, I managed to waste a little time and find some yummy links (or rather links to yummy recipes, that would be weird if I could actually eat links).

These Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookie Caramel Brownies look like a delicious dessert to drown my homework sorrows in with a big tumbler of cold milk.

To make up for that indulgence, I should probably eat some vegetables.  Would you believe that my favorite vegetable is a Brussels sprout?  I think if you ate them this way you would like them too.

I'm going to make the link list short this week, but I leave you with a final fun and frilly website.  One of my new favorite things to do to relax is paint my nails and listen to some music or a podcast.  Please excuse the name, but here is some great inspiration.

Expect a new recipe from me next week.  In the meantime, feast your eyes on the delicious breakfast of Eggs Benedict that I ate last weekend for my birthday.

Even the sky gave me a present for my 20th birthday.  Best.  Weekend.  Ever.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hasselback Baked Potato

I am so indecisive.  Part of the problem is that I don't really plan ahead, or if I do, I don't stick to my plan.

After a long day of classes or studying I'll come home to my cozy apartment and find myself faced with the dreaded question: What should I fix for dinner?

I thought only stay at home moms had to deal with that dilemma.  And no offense to SAHM's out there--what you do makes marathon running look like a walk in the park--but, I can remember the days when my dear Momma would turn her eyes to the heavens (i.e. the white kitchen ceiling bordered with a flowery wall paper) and groan, "What should I make?  What should I make?!"  

But no, college students face this problem too.  

That's when I begin to miss the dining hall of the previous two years of my college eating experience...that salad bar of freshly washed, chopped, organic veggies; the freshly baked bread; the never ending fount of fro-yo.  Simply imagine the Hometown Buffet, except with fewer desserts, and no french fries to mix into your mac n' cheese, and you have that dining hall.

Truth be told, the cupboards had been looking pretty bare around here lately.

So, I take stock.  Eggs, bread, salad, peanut butter, Kraft mac n' cheese, canned soup.


Usually, I end up eating a PB&J sandwich with a bowl of salad.  It's not that I don't like PB&Js, in fact, they are one of my favorite foods.  But, a PB&J definitely doesn't satisfy my meat and potatoes craving after a hard day.

I guess I could buy a Hungry Man frozen dinner.  One problem: I'm a lady.

And so, friends, I present you with my solution.

What do you make when the cupboards start to look dark and dusty?

Hasselback Potato
Recipe adapted from Seasaltwithfood

Yield: 1 serving (but you can double, triple, whatever for more)

1 medium sized baking potato with skin on
1-2 cloves of minced garlic
1/2 Tb. butter
1-2 tsp. olive oil
Coarse ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 deg. F.  

Slice potato from one end to the other, almost all the way through (about 1/2 centimeter from slicing all the way through).

Insert minced garlic between slits.  Dab butter along slits and on outside of potato.  Drizzle potato with a little olive oil, and top with a few dashes of salt and pepper, or any other spices you like.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until inside flesh feels soft and the outside is crispy

Friday, November 11, 2011

Court's Clicks: 11/11/11

11/11/11 at 11:11 am! I will admit that I purposefully set my post to schedule for then, heheh.

Since I've set a goal to post at least two times a week (but hopefully more!) on here, I thought I'd add a little fun Friday post in which I will share with you my favorite blog posts, recipes, and laugh-inducing/girly/cat things I discover on my quest around the web throughout the week.

Basically, anything that I would bookmark or email to a girlfriend or my lovely Momma may find its way on to here.

And so, friend, I present you with my very first Court's Clicks.  Enjoy!

This gal is pretty much the reason why I even wanted to start this blog in the first place, and this post is the encouragement that I needed to hear to get back into it.

My 20th birthday is this Saturday, and I sure would love it if RecipeGirl sent me this cake.

As I enter a new decade and leave my childhood behind me (though I can't deny I'll always be a kid at heart), these peanut butter cup fluffernutter blondies remind me of one of my favorite sandwiches I had as a kid that my mom would sometimes make for me as a special lunch-time treat.

So, if you didn't already gather that I am an abnormal college student from the fact that I like spending my weekend nights blogging about recipes, the fact that I am now exposing myself as a cat-lady-at-heart with this thing I check almost daily for laughs will surely do the trick.

Case in point: my favorite pillow sitting atop my bed.

Now that you have the evidence of my procrastination at your fingertips, I invite you to waste time with me by checking them out.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Soup

Time for some honesty: I am a liar.  But I vow that in this post you will find nothing but truth!

I don't lie to other people, save for maybe the little white lie every now and then.  

Friend: "Would you like to come to such-and-such event tonight and hang out with such-and-such people?" 

Me: "You know, I am realllllllllllllly tired.  And I have A LOT of homework and studying to do."  (In case you didn't know, those are the top two lies for college students to get out of things.)

In reality, I just want to wear sweat-pants around my apartment and watch horrible (yet irresistible) Lifetime movies online while eating chocolate and peanut-butter.  These are my fall-back excuses.

So what does this have to do with soup?  Well this Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Soup, a favorite family recipe, is a liar just like me.  But, as my friends and family still love me (I hope) despite my little fudges, you will still love this soup despite it's lie:

"Hey!  Look at me!  I'm a pretty, hearty, made-from-scratch soup that's delicious and nutritious!"  

The little white lie:  This soup starts with condensed soup to make the process a whole lot easier for you, and the best part is, nobody needs to know.

Grab some condensed cheddar cheese soup and your other creamy condensed soup of choice (cream of chicken, cream of potato, cream of broccoli--whichever you lie like.

But first, cook up some chicken and try not to be grossed out by raw chicken flesh like I was.  *This was the first time I ever cooked chicken.  Does the gag-reflex of cutting through that pink, slimy skin get any easier?  Please say YES!*

Next, chop up some veggies.  I like zucchini, carrots, onion, and celery.

Make the house smell like Thanksgiving stuffing by sauteing in butter till tender.

All that's left is to add in your lies condensed soup, some tomato juice or watered down tomato sauce, a can or so of water, and a shake of hot sauce.  

Easily freezable in an airtight container, and easily reheated, you know, for those nights when you need to tell a little lie and stay warm in bed and eat soup.  Crusty bread accompaniment recommended.

So, what's your fall-back little white lie?  Share in comments.

Cheesy Chicken Vegetable Soup

Yield: 6-7 cups


1 cup sliced zucchini
1 cup sliced carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 small onion, sliced
1 tsp. oregano
2 Tb. butter
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 can condensed cream soup (cream of chicken, cream of potato, etc.)
1 to 1 1/2 cans of water
3/4 cup tomato juice (or tomato sauce diluted with a little water)
1 1/2 cup cubed cooked white meat chicken
1/2 tsp. hot sauce (or if you don't feel like buying a whole bottle like me, add in a little vinegar and cayenne pepper or chili powder)


In a large covered pan cook zucchini, carrot, celery, onion, and oregano in butter until tender.

Add in remaining ingredients. Heat, stirring frequently.

Serve immediately, or store in air-tight container in fridge or freezer.  To reheat from the fridge, microwave in a covered bowl for 2-4 minutes, stirring once.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cornbread and Chili Bake

"Bake" is such a nicer word than "casserole."  Yet, I must admit, that's probably what your grandma would have called this dish had she been cooking it up for her family of four in the 1950s, in high heels, no doubt. 

"Bake" makes me think of flavors melding together and sending their spices floating through the warm kitchen air.

"Casserole" makes me thinks of cream, and Campbell's soup, and noodles, and coagulation. You won't find those things in here, but you will find a tasty, easy, quick and nutritious meal.

As a college student cooking on a budget of both limited money and time, I tweaked a somewhat fancy recipe to the essentials, but kept all of the taste. 

Now that's something 1950s grandma could appreciate!

Cornbread and Chili Bake
Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book 15th Edition, Three Bean Tamale Pie

Yield: 8 servings


2 cans of chili (I like Stag's Vegetarian Chili)
1 can of stewed tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 4 oz can diced green chile peppers with juices
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
1 8 1/2 oz package corn muffin mix
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro


Preheat oven to 400 deg. F.  Grease a 13x9 baking dish.

In a skillet, cook onion and garlic in oil until soft.  Stir in chili, stewed tomatoes, diced green chile peppers, ground mustard, and paprika.  Stir together and heat all the way through.  Pour mixture into baking dish.

Prepare cornbread mix according to package.  Stir cilantro into batter.  Spoon corn muffin mixture evenly over chili mixture.  Sprinkle liberally with shredded cheese.  I had some extra corn nibblets that I sprinkled over the top too for some nice texture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cornbread mixture is golden brown.  Top with salsa, sour cream, or for the adventurous--hot sauce.

This re-heats really well!  Just cut into portions and freeze individually in Tupperware.  Re-heat in microwave for 2-4 minutes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Double Chocolate Banana Mini Muffins

I buy bananas.  I buy them, and then I don't eat them fast enough.  There is only so much banana bread one girl can eat though.  I had 2 bananas sitting in my freezer for a month, and finally I got sick of opening the door and seeing their disgusting brown, mottled skins. 

Banana bread is good, but banana bread with chocolate is even better.  And, who can deny the fact that mini muffins are just darn good (and easily poppable into the mouth)?
This is a basic banana bread recipe (but my favorite) with a little tweaking because of the extra cocoa powder and muffin size.

Double Chocolate Banana Mini Muffins
Adapted from rachelray.com

Yield: About a pan and a half.
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (like Hersheys, or the store brand)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2-3 bananas, mashed
1 cup chocolate chips (I suspect that peanut butter chips would be tasty too!)


Pre-heat oven to 350 deg. F. 

Grease and flour your mini-muffin baking tin.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda and salt.  In a separate bowl, mix together beaten eggs, bananas, and oil.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir it up!  Stir in chocolate chips, but be careful not to overmix the batter (it should be fully wet, but stop immediately once you don't see dry bits anymore).  Spoon batter into muffin tin about 2/3 of the way up the side.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, shake the pan a bit, and then carefully take muffins out and allow to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Serve warm with a generous dollop of peanut butter, or plain with some milky tea!