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Monday, November 7, 2011

zucchini-apple bread

oh my. November?


I am not sure I was actually here for the month of October, because I don't really remember it.

I have been busy busy busy. There were Halloween Parties for all three kids in their classrooms, which meant some baking, shopping, prepping, and playing.

There were three Halloween costumes to create.

There was a school carnival (for which I somehow got in charge of two booths), testing for the next belt level in kung fu for two kids, and oral surgery for one.

There were Halloween parties to attend, to drop off and pick up from, and to help out at, and of course there was trick-or-treating.

There were many many fundraisers for Breast Cancer awareness month. I am leaving in just two weeks (egad!) for San Diego, where I will be walking 60 miles with seven of my very best friends in the whole wide world. It's no coincidence that they make up more than 50% of my blog readership. Without these people I would truly be lost. One of them is Jason of The Jason Show. If you didn't come to my blog from him, you should head over to him. He can tell you more about my besties in his post after the 3-day walk last year, and you can read about some of our fundraisers in his post from last week. So there, my alibi for why I haven't been blogging has a witness.

The one that was probably the most fun was the Goodwill Truck... Goodwill paid us to collect junk previously loved objects from our friends and fill up a truck with them. For a few weeks, we sought and received lovely items from just about everyone we know, and then for one long day we made trips back and forth, emptying our garages and filling up that truck. Doesn't that sound like a good time? Okay, you would have to know my friends to understand why a day of driving, loading, carrying and hauling other people's crap is fun. They are the funniest, warmest, kindest, happiest people I know. Spending a day shoveling dog poop would be okay by me if I was with my team.

One of our other fundraisers was a bake sale. We have a local pumpkin patch/farm that is the coolest place around at Halloween time. For a city girl who grew up getting a pumpkin from the local grocery store, Lombardi Ranch feels like a wonderland to me. The kids get to wander through acres of pumpkins of all different shapes, sizes and colors, to find just the right one. They get to climb on antique farm equipment, scale towers of hay bales, visit the animals, take a wagon ride, make their way through a corn maze, and check out Scarecrow Alley. It's no wonder that just about every child in our city makes his or her way to Lombardi Ranch at least once during the month of October.

Lucky for us, the owners of the joint set up a booth and allow one charitable group per day to host a bake sale, and to keep all of the profit. Since we were lucky enough to sign up for the last Friday before Halloween, we had a busy day and sold over $700 of cookies, brownies, cupcakes and breads. Going for $1 apiece most often, that translates into lots of baking beforehand!

I spent the last two days before the sale baking:
10 loaves of zucchini apple bread
3 dozen mummy pops
2 dozen brownies
2 dozen cupcakes
7 dozen cookies

It was exhausting! But my house sure smelled good!

Here are the mummy pops I made:

Aren't they cute? Hop over here to my very cute baking friend for the details on these guys. She is amazing! She actually let me invade her kitchen for the morning, gave me a private tutorial, and didn't laugh at all my mistakes. A good friend, indeed! While you're there, check out everything Kirsten does... she's ten times the baker that I am.

And here is the zucchini-apple bread.

 It is not as cute, but it is very delicious. The apples and the applesauce give it a nice density and make sure it isn't too dry. It actually lasts a few days, because all the zucchini and apples help it not get stale the by the morning after you bake it.

Zucchini Apple Bread          
I got this recipe here, before I changed bits and pieces of it.
(this makes two loaves... but it doubles and even triples easily!)

The zucchini and apple can be grated in a food processor. You don't even need to peel the apple!

butter (for the pans)
1 cup grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
1 cup grated apple (about 1 apple, cored)
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup apple sauce (I used my own, but a jar of apple sauce form the store works just as well)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat 2 standard loaf pans (or more smaller loaf pans) with butter.

Combine the zucchini, apple, brown sugar, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl. Add flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix well.

Divide the batter between the loaf pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean... about 50 minutes for a standard loaf pan, about 40-45 minutes for a smaller loaf.

Remove the breads from the loaf pans and let them cool on a wire rack.