Sunday, July 20, 2008

Zucchini and Chocolate Chip Cake

I got this recipe from someone at our local farmer's market. He gave me a piece of this cake and it was wonderful - that was when he told me it had zucchini in it. I told him I HAD to have the recipe because we sold produce at the market and I could use that recipe for my customers. Everyone who has tried it has loved it. Just a word of advise - if you use frozen zucchini, make sure that you use whatever liquid is in the bag with the zucchini - the cake definitely needs that moisture and if you do not use it, the cake is very dry and crumbly. Been there, done that.

1/4 c. butter AND 1/4 c. shortening
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. oil
1 egg
1/2 c. sour milk
1/4 c. cocoa
2 c. shredded zucchini
12 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 deg.

Cream together butter, shortening, oil and sugar with an electric mixer. Add vanilla, egg and sour milk (sour milk: 1/2 c. milk less 1 T. of milk. Replace that one T. milk with 1 T. white vinegar). Mix well. Add all dry ingredients and mix well again. Add all but about 1/2 a cup of the chocolate chips. Add the zucchini last. Stir until all is well mixed. Pour into greased 9x13 pan. The batter will be very thick, so you will need to spread it out with a spoon. Bake at 325 for 45 - 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Icing ideas: Dark chocolate or peanut butter icing. Personally, tho, I like Cool Whip.

Zucchini Lasagna

I came up with this recipe on my own. I can't say it's perfect and I am constantly working on making it better, but I really do like it and so does my family. Just a word of advise - it's so much better the day after. I guess letting all the flavors blend together is why. I hope you like it and please be forgiving if it isn't perfect. It's kind of like me - God's not finished with me, yet and I'm not quite finished with my lasagna - we're both a "work in progress".

1/2 c. chopped onions
1 large can tomato sauce
1 c. frozen broccoli, cut up
2 cans sliced mushrooms, drained, or 1 lb. fresh mushrooms washed and sliced
1 small can tomato paste
3/4 c. TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
1 c. frozen, chopped spinach
2 c. shredded zucchini
1 c. water
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
2 T. olive oil
1/2 c. red wine
salt, pepper and garlic to taste
1 pkg. no boil lasagna noodles
grated mozarella, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 deg

Saute onions in olive oil until clear. Add tomato sauce, seasonings, wine, water and tomato paste. Stir well. Cook until heated well. Add all vegetables and the TVP. Cook until the sauce is thickened - approximately 30 minutes. If it gets too thick, add more water.

Spray a 9x13 pan with PAM. Layer the sauce, noodles and cheese in the pan until you run out of the sauce. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is browned and the lasagna is bubbly.

My Mom, my life and my God.

It's been a while since I have posted on my blog - not that I haven't wanted to, but rather, I just didn't know what to write and when I thought of something, I didn't know how to put it into words.

In case you can't tell by my page, I am a Christian. I became a Christian in 1990, but never knew what it really meant. Yes, I realized that Christ died for my sins and I knew that I had turned my life over to him and that I accepted Him into my life, but I never really knew the extent of what that meant. That is, until last year when my mom passed away. I have always felt that God has been in my life, but that I just kind of kept Him on the sidelines, calling on Him only when I needed Him. Not anymore.

I spent a lot of hours by my mom's bedside the week she died. I read my bible out loud to her, not knowing if she heard me or not, but I felt that I was supposed to do that. The day before my mom died, I was sitting in her room alone with her. She hadn't been awake for well over 12 hours and we had asked the staff to give her morphine for the pain she was in. I was sitting there holding her hand and she started talking about Jesus and the lights. I started shaking. My mom never opened her eyes and nothing moved, except for her lips. I was scared and excited at the same time. I called my Pastor to come down right away and talk to my mom, but after he got there she never said another word. After he left, I told her I loved her and I was shocked when she opened her eyes and told me that she loved me too. I asked her then if she loved Jesus and the answer I got floored me - she responded in a language I did not understand. I tried again. I told her I loved her and I had a very important question for her. She opened up her eyes and told me she loved me very much and said ok when I told her about needing to ask her a question. So, I asked her if she loved Jesus, again. Again, I got the same response - a language I didn't understand. I was shaking. I talked to my husband and a Christian friend and they both said the same thing - my mom wasn't talking to me, but rather to God.

Up until that point I was very worried about my mom and where she would be after she died. I am still worried, but not like I was. I believe that my mom is with God. Being human, however, I struggle with the worry that maybe God didn't want her, but I can't, in my heart, believe that.

When my mom passed away, it was the worst experience in my life. It's one of those times that you wish someone would have sat you down and told you what to expect. Now, whenever I hear someone has cancer, I think of how my mom died.

Throughout this experience, the one thing that kept me going was my Bible and my faith in God. I know He was with me during that time. He had to be because I couldn't have done everything during that time without knowing He was there to carry me thru the pain and struggles of losing my mom.

One of the things that got me thru was a song by the Christian group Selah. The song is "You Lift Me Up". I listened to that song throughout the night during that week to get myself to sleep and keep me asleep. It was my life line. I wrote in a journal everything I could think of about my mom and what she taught me and what people didn't know about her. She was a wonderful lady.

Since my mom's passing, I have gotten more involved in reading my bible, getting involved in a ladies bible study and helping some of the seniors in our church with things they need. I feel that God is leading me towards this ministry and I absolutely love doing it. Do I wish my mom was back with me? All the time. She has been gone almost a year and I miss her so much = more on some days than others, but I think about her constantly. On the other hand, I'm so grateful to God for allowing her to be with us as long was she was. My daughter got to know her Nana and has wonderful memories of her and for that I thank God every day.

Mom's anniversary is coming up and I am already stressing about it and I really don't know why. I realize, finally, that something a dear friend told me is very true. This is not the anniversary of my mom's death, but the anniversary of celebrating that fact that she is in heaven with God and happy. Nothing could possibly make that day seem special, except for that. So, thank you Leslie for that thought to hold on to. You are a special lady and I know that God put you in my life just when I needed you.

I love you mom and I can't wait for the day I get to see you.

I love you,