August 30, 2018

Old-fashioned zucchini pie

A cream pie blended with cooked zucchini makes for a unique dessert that will probably surprise your family and friends when they find out the secret ingredient. I made this pie along with my sweet potato pie for my husband's birthday this year. The zucchini taste is very subtle in the pie; mostly it tastes like a cream pie with a bit of cinnamon. We didn't tell anyone what kind of pie it was before serving it and no one could guess what it was, but everyone really enjoyed it and my husband said it was one of his favorites (and I make a lot of pie). I found the recipe here and I knew I had to try it before zucchini season was over. I love trying out old-fashioned recipes like this one. I also enjoyed the pie a lot and it's super easy to make. After you cook the zucchini, everything for the filling is whizzed together in a blender and ready to pour into the pie shell to bake. Super easy and super yummy!

August 27, 2018

Turkey and summer vegetable soup

Ground turkey, diced tomatoes, fresh garden herbs, and summer vegetables make a scrumptious and hearty summertime soup. I know, soup is for cold weather, right? Not for me! I definitely prefer soup in the fall and winter, but I eat it all year round. Soup is something my toddlers generally enjoy as well, though they do prefer smooth soups and the broth over chunks. They have been really into green beans this summer because we have them in our garden and pretty much every day they go over to check to see if there are any beans they can eat. I can almost guarantee if I put a raw green bean on their dinner plate, they would not eat it... but getting to pick it outside and eat it at their picnic table makes is so much more exciting! They helped me pick the beans for this soup and were excited about it. They ate the soup well (one pretty much scarfed it down) and we have had it a few times this summer already. It makes a lot, so we get leftovers each time as well. This soup, like most, is pretty adaptable. You could leave out one of the vegetables, add more of less of one, or even add others like peas or cubed yellow squash. I used ground turkey, but ground chicken or beef would probably also be very yummy. We had this soup with a side of garlic bread for a full meal. It will serve about 6 people as a main dish.

August 21, 2018

Bread and butter refrigerator zucchini pickles

Quick refrigerator pickles are a go-to for me when summer garden vegetables get a little out of control. If you have zucchini, these sweet and tangy pickles are a delicious way to use some up and extend their shelf life a little while. I'm usually more of a dill pickle person, but there are definitely times when a sweet and tangy pickle compliment a meal very well (tuna sandwiches, anything with barbeque sauce). These pickles though, I could (and would, and do) eat straight out of the fridge just walking by for no reason. They are super yummy! I love the turmeric in them because it adds a hint of color as well as flavor. Give them a little shake every once in a while to keep the spices distributed. You can add some garlic or a pinch of red pepper flakes if you would like. I wanted to keep the pickles on the sweeter side.

August 14, 2018

Vegetable and mozzarella mini turkey meatloaves

Individual turkey meatloaves with grated carrots, yellow squash, and zucchini and stuffed with mozzarella cheese are sure to be a family favorite. Meatloaf is one of (if not my all-time) favorite comfort foods. I love a plate of meatloaf with mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans! I wanted to make a bit lighter version of meatloaf for the summer and one that contained more vegetables for the kids. Sometimes when I was a kid my mom would make mini meatloaf and put mozzarella cheese in the middle, so I wanted to do that for my kids as well. Using dark meat turkey and adding a bunch of vegetables keeps the meatloaf nice and moist. It's a delicious way to get some more vegetables into your family and also to use up some of those summer garden vegetables. I made four meatloaves with this recipe and our 2 year olds split one. One really gobbled it up and the other ate most of what she had, so I call that a win!

August 8, 2018

Cinnamon basil shortbread cookies

Sweet buttery shortbread cookies are infused with fresh cinnamon basil for a unique cookie. Have you ever tried the herb cinnamon basil? My mom gave me one this year and it's been growing in my herb garden while I wonder how to use it. It's a pretty herb that reminds me of Thai basil or Holy basil. Cinnamon basil has a purple stem and its leaves are sweet and warm and definitely have a bit of cinnamon flavor to them.

I often make rosemary shortbread during the holiday season so when I was reading up on cinnamon basil and saw this recipe for a shortbread cookie using it I was inspired to give them a try. They are amazing. And I mean it fully. They were like nothing we've ever tasted before. The flavor of the herb is so unique and goes so deliciously in a sweet application. My husband was floored by them - a simple shortbread, but filled with a sweet, delicate, slightly cinnamony flavor with a hint of herby basil taste. Plus they smell so good! What a terrific flavor combination. I'm looking forward to trying the cinnamon basil in more recipes now. I'm thinking stir fries and maybe an ice cream next time. 

August 2, 2018

Whole wheat blueberry zucchini muffins

Seasonal blueberries and zucchini collide in this summery muffin giving you fruit and vegetable in each bite! This past weekend our twins turned two and I still can't believe how quickly they are growing and how much they change all the time. We had a small birthday party with family and the next day we went blueberry picking. They really love fruit and blueberries are a favorite. We went last year with them as well, but this year they were able to walk and help. One did a terrific job with picking and carrying her bucket! She was so focused and had a lot of fun. The other did a really good job at eating the blueberries as fast as he could! He also had fun. Plus they got to visit with chickens, goats, a donkey, and more. They've also really been enjoying helping me lately with things like washing dishes and measuring/dumping ingredients for cooking and baking. They helped make these muffins and also helped with eating them, too!