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Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread

The gardening gods have seen to it that this summer I have more zucchini than I knew what to do with. Fortunately for me, that’s led to finding all these awesome new recipes, and I’m constantly, and pleasantly, being surprised by all the wonderful ways I’m discovering this summer that zucchini can be used. And for someone who does not particularly like surprises, that’s saying something. Flecks of zucchini give a delicious third dimension to the popular lemon and quick bread combination in this moist, breakfast/dessert hybrid. Seriously, lemon and zucchini are a match made in flavor heaven. Who knew?!  This little loaf is easy to make. Quick breads are a perfect starting point for non/new bakers and an easy, old faithful recipe for those who’re already in the ‘fold’.

Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread

4 Sons 'R' Us: Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread 2

recipe adapted from Lil Luna

2 cups cake flour*
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup grated zucchini
 
For The Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp milk
 
*To make your own cake flour: for each cup of all purpose flour, remove one tablespoon of flour and replace by adding one tablespoon of cornstarch

4 Sons 'R' Us: Glazed Lemon Zucchini Bread

Directions

In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir to equally incorporate and set aside.
Add eggs to the bowl of a mixer and beat well. Continue mixing and in the oil and sugar until evenly combined. Next add in the lemon juice, buttermilk, and zest to the batter and blend until combined completely.
Gently fold/blend in the zucchini until fully incorporated.
Add the dry ingredients to the batter and blend together until evenly combined.
Add the batter into greased 9×5 loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until done.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool some. While still warm, make glaze and spoon over the bread. Allow the bread to stand for a bit so that the glaze ‘sets’ before serving.

Sweet & Salty Banana Chips

We don’t usually have any problem going through a Costco sized bundle of bananas before they start turning all spotty, but occasionally there’s that rouge that hides or a son is gone and not eating his rations, and I find myself stuck with a couple spotted bananas that no one will even contemplate eating. Usually I will peel them and freeze them for baking, but this one time I went to put them in the freezer and realized I’d been doing that for oh, you know, a little bit and there were pleeeeeeeeeenty of the frozen fruits all ready in stock. What to do, what to do. I was in a pickle (or maybe stuck in a banana?). The hubs suggested banana chips. A sweet snack that’s easy on the hips, AND that all the sons love? We were in business.

These do bake  for a while, but the long baking time is necessary, because at this temperature the oven will act more as a dehydrator than an oven. Plus, you will love the sweet banana and cinnamon aroma that will fill your house! Baking times will vary some depending on how thick you slice your bananas and how crispy you prefer your banana chips to be. Some people don’t like the additions of salt. I don’t like cinnamon. And all that’s ok. Even plain, with no toppings whatsoever they’re still great. Also they’re diet and diabetic friendly :)

Sweet & Salty Banana Chips

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Banana Chips

bananas
lemon juice
water
cinnamon
kosher salt

Directions

1. Slice bananas thinly (1/8″), and then brush with the lemon juice mixed with just a little water. Sprinkle with cinnamon and kosher salt.
2. Bake at 250 degrees for about 90 minutes, then turn the slices, and continuing to bake another 30 minutes.
3. Let cool (the longer they cool the crispier they become) before eating.

How To Piss Off Your Teenage Son Who Knows Everything

How To Piss Off Your Teenage Son Who Knows Everything

-Tell him he has to get a job
-Make him create a resume and take him around for a month gathering applications
-Make him call ahead to be sure a manager is there whom he can speak with and hand his application to
-Make him dress appropriately (i.e. dress shoes, slacks, dress shirt, belt, and tie)
-Take him to deliver applications

Watching him walk out of stop # 2 with an immediate offer of employment: PRICELESS.

Blackberry Lemonade

As a kid, I remember there was nothing better on a hot Summer’s day than an ice-cold glass of fresh lemonade. As an adult, I still crave a glass whenever the heat arrives, and this blackberry version is my favorite new twist on the classic version. It’s simple, sweet, and just a bit tart. It’s my new favorite Summer sipper. Make it as-is, or add in a splash of vodka for a tasty cocktail, because (let’s be honest) nothing quite beats the heat like a bright, refreshing, and flavorful adult beverage.

Blackberry Lemonade

Blackberry Lemonade

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 1/4 cups lemon juice, fresh squeezed or store-bought
1 cup blackberries, plus more for garnish if desired
1 3/4 cups water
mint leaves for garnishing, optional

Directions

1. Prepare a simple syrup by combining the cup of sugar and the cup of water in a small pot on the stove. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar. Allow to cool completely and then set aside.
2. Add the blackberries and lemon juice to a blender and blend until the blackberries have pureed.
3. Strain into a clear pitcher. You’ve got to strain it to remove any chunks of blackberries left and seeds.
4. Add the remaining amount of water to the pitcher. Stir to evenly combine.
5. Add simple syrup, to taste.
6. Serve over ice, or chilled, and garnish (if desired) with mint leaves and a blackberry.

Sloppy Joe Tacos

Did you ever start to make sloppy joes and halfway through realize you didn’t have hamburger buns on hand? Yep. Totally happened to me you guys. (And, sadly I can’t say this is the first time either. Don’t get the sons started on how many nights we’ve had to have bunless hotdogs and hamburgers.) And so sloppy joe tacos (what??!) it was. I was weary that this would just end up tasting funky, but it didn’t. It is everything you love about a sloppy Joe along with the comfort of taco shells and all the fixins.

Now: calling all napkins!!! Who am I kidding?! Forget the napkins. I just need a hose. Especially with all four sons in the house eating these. For real! Seriously though… they rock. Grab a bib (and a hose) and dig in!

Sloppy Joe Tacos

Sloppy Joe Tacos

1 lb ground beef, or ground turkey
half a medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
shredded cheddar cheese
shredded lettuce

Directions

1. Brown and drain ground beef (or turkey). Place cooked meat back into skillet and saute the onions and pepper until onions begin to turn clear. Add in the ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and garlic powder. Cook until heated through, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from heat.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Line taco shells in a 9×13 pan and evenly divide the meat mixture in the shells. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, and place it in the oven for 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is melted and shells are warm.
Divide lettuce evenly between taco shells.

Sous Chef Sunday: Snickerdoodle Crescent Rolls

While I could go on and on about these perfect little pastries, I’ll get straight to the point for you guys. Today the sons and I are bringing you peanut butter, cinnamon, and sugar wrapped up in crescent rolls for an easy breakfast, snack, or even dessert. Be sure to sit down with a glass of milk, then pile up a gorgeous Snickerdoodle mountain of them. Eat your way to the top one crescent at a time!

Snickerdoodle Crescent Rolls

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Snickerdoodle Crescent Rolls 2

1 tube Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
4 teaspoons peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

4 Sons 'R' Us: Snickerdoodle Crescents

1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
2. In a small bowl combine the cinnamon and sugar.
3. Unroll the crescent dough and carefully seperate into individual triangles along the perforated lines. Spread 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter onto the top side of the crescents, starting at the wide end and leaving a little space along the edges. Sprinkle each with a pinch of cinnamon sugar. Roll into crescents.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, until golden brown. While still hot carefully roll them in the cinnamon and sugar.  Roll again after they’ve cooled.
5. These can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Can also be frozen for up to one month. Then you’ve got a quick, on-the-go breakfast or snack for busy days!

Stuffed French Bread & Swiss Mushroom Stuffed French Bread

The sons love sub night. We have it at least once a month. They’re always putting their heads together to try and come up with new filling ideas and combos. We love hot or cold subs, but sometimes I just want to have an uber hearty, hot sandwich for my meal. This fit the bill perfectly. Literally, this giant twist on your average sub-sandwich is great. A quick & easy, ready-in-under-30-minutes meal, that’s every inch of sandwich perfection. Crisp on the outside, hearty and tender on the inside. I do love a good crunch to my bread. Both versions taste great, but if you get any ideas feel free to play around with your ingredients. Add in some extra veggies, change up the cheese. Heck, change up the meat. I seriously doubt you can go wrong with stuffed french bread.

Mmm, can’t you just picture it? Smell it?? Go ahead, try it and taste the delicious-ness.

Stuffed French Bread

 4 Sons 'R' Us: Stuffed French Bread

recipe adapted from Life In The Lofthouse

1 loaf french bread
1 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 Tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)

Directions

1. Slice the french bread in half, lengthwise, so you’re left with two equal pieces. Scoop out the bread in the center of each piece, making two bread ‘boats’. Place the extra bread in a large bowl and tear it into very tiny pieces. Trust me, you want them tiny. Place both halves of  bread onto a large baking sheet and set it aside.
2. In a skillet over medium high heat, brown both the beef and the onion until fully cooked. Strain the grease and return to the skillet. Next, add in the celery and garlic. Cook until the celery is tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the soup, milk and Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cook another 5 minutes, or until the meat mix is heated through, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the meat to the bread in the bowl, stirring to combine. Pour mixture into the center of one half of the french bread and spread out evenly. Spread out evenly. Sprinkle the meat mixture with the cheddar cheese. Top with the other half of bread to make it a sandwich.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. When done cooking, let your bread sit for 5 minutes so everything ‘sets’, before slicing and serving. Then, eat up!

Swiss Mushroom Stuffed French Bread

1 loaf french bread

1 lb lean ground beef
2 tbsp diced onion
1/4-1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 tsp minced garlic
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 tsp beef bouillon
2 tbsp milk
2 tsp Worcestershire
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Directions

1. Slice the french bread in half, lengthwise, so you’re left with two equal pieces. Scoop out the bread in the center of each piece, making two bread ‘boats’. Place the extra bread in a large bowl and tear it into very tiny pieces. Trust me, you want them tiny. Place both halves of bread onto a large baking sheet and set it aside.
2. In a skillet over medium high heat, brown both the beef and the onion until fully cooked. Strain the grease and return to the skillet. Next, add in the mushrooms and garlic. Cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the soup, milk and Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Cook another 5 minutes, or until the meat mix is heated through, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the meat to the bread in the bowl, stirring to combine. Pour mixture into the center of one half of the french bread and spread out evenly. Spread out evenly. Sprinkle the meat mixture with the cheddar cheese. Top with the other half of bread to make it a sandwich.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. When done cooking, let your bread sit for 5 minutes so everything ‘sets’, before slicing and serving. Then, eat up!

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