Thursday, August 4, 2011

Garden Glory


We must have had the right mix of weather in the last week because our garden is overflowing with vegetables.  We have so many beans, squash, and zucchini that we have to give them away so they don't go to waste.  Blackberries have also come into season, and they are dark and plump and perfect.  As nice as it sounds to just be bombarded with fresh (and free!) fruits and veggies, there is always a downside.  It means extra work for me and my mom.  Everything has to be picked and then eaten, cooked, canned or frozen.  Every day there is always a new produce-related project. 
Mother and daughter pre-blackberry picking
As wonderful and supportive as my friends have been the last few days, I can't help but feel drained and knocked down by my family.  My grandma has been a real piece of work, my grandfather increasingly demanding with his food and dessert orders, and my uncle and cousin never have one positive thing to say to me.  No matter how hard I work, nothing is ever good enough for these people. 

The Blackberry Peach pie from Monday is already gone (the one my uncle scoffed at for looking like a "vegetarian pie" and then proceeded to eat nearly half).  Everyone keeps dropping their not-so-subtle hints that the desserts are gone.  "There's no more blueberry pudding left, huh?" and "Oh, the pie's gone," or my personal favorite, "Hannah, there's nothin' to eat in this house, what've you been doin', layin' around all day?

I am sick of making pie crusts and am sick of eating blueberry pudding, so I decided that it was time to make effective use of all this pesky zucchini and make zucchini bars.  I can't seem to find my favorite recipe for it, so I tried out this one here, with a few adaptations (less sugar, more cinnamon, adding nutmeg, and a different frosting).  It's not quite what I normally make, but there's plenty of zucchini left so I'll keep trying.

Zucchini Bars

Ingredients
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups fresh zucchini, peeled, shredded, and squeezed
1/2 cup raisins (soaked)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Peel and grate one extremely large or several small zucchinis (this can get messy)
Beat together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well combined.
In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients.
Mix wet and dry ingredients together.
Fold in zucchini, nuts, and raisins.  Then pour into a well-greased baking pan.
Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top.
Allow to cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
Beat together 8 oz cream cheese, 3 cups confectioners' sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.  Spread on bars.
Store pan in refrigerator.  Cut into triangles before serving.
The official countdown for going back to Wesleyan is now under one month, (I go back September 3rd), and the days can't possibly go fast enough.  Don't get me wrong, I do love my family, and am glad I was able to help out this summer, but this is not my life.  I miss my friends, my routine, and being productive.  One month left.  I can do this.

Wishing you a better summer,
Love and cookies,

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