What's Baking: For the Gods Carrot Cake


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Dani from Cloud 8½ is the host of this month's What's Baking, and chose the theme A Family Favorite.  This immediately sent me to my Grange cookbook (circa 1975) which was a cookbook used by both sides of my family growing up.  Even though my handed-down copy is falling apart, and although I don't picture myself ever making roast pigeons or squirrel pot pie, I still treasure this cookbook and make several recipes from it.

It was hard for me to choose just one recipe, but I decided on For the Gods Carrot Cake since that was the first recipe I remember helping make from it and it was a childhood favorite of mine.  As you'll see from the ingredients, this is in no way healthy, but it's definitely the most moist cake I've ever eaten.

Here is what you'll need:
  • 3/4 vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded carrot
  • 1/2 raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)
  • Confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease bundt pan and set aside.

Beat oil, eggs, sugar, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together for 5 minutes.  Add carrot, raisins and nuts, and mix well.

Pour into bundt pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool in pan before turning out onto serving plate.  Dust with confectioners' sugar.  Serves 8-10.

    Source: National Grange Bicentennial Year Cookbook

    Crockpot Italian Drip Beef


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    I'm sure by now you've heard of Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman.  I don't know much about her story, other than she's married to a cowboy, but she's made quite a name for herself.  Recently she premiered in her new cooking show which I haven't seen yet.  Have you?  What did you think of it?

    I've only tried one of her recipes, her Italian Drip Beef.  Both times I adapted it for the crockpot and it's worked out beautifully.

    We ate this as sandwiches twice and still had leftovers.  I didn't want the leftovers to go to waste but I wasn't interested in having another sandwich or freezing it this time either (we are terrible about eating meals we've frozen).  I ended up sauteing an onion, added the leftover beef with peppers, and then added a packet of brown gravy with 1 cup of water.  I let it come to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes and served it over white rice. 

    Here is what you'll need:
    • 3-4 lb beef top round roast 
    • 1 can beef broth
    • 4 Tbsp Italian seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 8 oz. jar of pepperoncini peppers, including juice
    • sandwich rolls
    • toppings of your choice (we use cheese and/or arugula)
    Place all ingredients in a crockpot and cook on low 10 hours.  

    Remove roast and shred meat.  Add meat back to liquid and combine well.

    Serve on rolls with your favorite toppings.  Serves 8-12+ depending on the size of your roast and size of your sandwiches. 

    Source: The Pioneer Woman

      Foil Packet Summer Squash


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      If I had to choose a favorite vegetable it would probably be summer squash.  I find it incredibly versatile; there are so many options to prepare it and it goes well with just about everything.  I don't think I could ever tire of it.

      You may still be getting summer squash or zucchini from your garden, and you're probably still grilling, so I thought I'd share my favorite way to prepare it with you.  This is just as easy to make for 8 people as it is for 1.  Actually when I first started making this I was living on my own, and I ate this more than I'd like to admit.

      Here is what you need for each packet (1 serving):
      • 1 medium summer squash or zucchini, chopped
      • 1 small-medium green or red pepper, chopped
      • 1 small onion, chopped
      • salt and pepper
      • juice of 1/2 lemon 
      • 1 1/2 tsp butter
      • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
      • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
      Take 2 pieces of foil and layer them crosswise.  Place chopped vegetables on tin foil.  Salt and pepper to taste.

      In a coffee cup, place lemon juice, butter, red pepper flakes.  Melt in microwave 40 seconds.  Add olive oil and stir to combine.  Pour over vegetables.  Wrap foil to make a completely enclosed packet. 

      Place foil packet on hot grill.  Cook 8 minutes, flip and cook another 8 minutes or until squash is cooked to your desired tenderness.

      Source: Adventures In My Kitchen original

      Zucchini Corn Fritters


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      Are you still getting zucchini from your garden?  Do you still have access to local corn?  Are you looking for new ways to prep both?  Does this sound familiar?  I thought so, because this happens to me too, every year.  Enter this Zucchini Corn Fritter recipe.


      I found this recipe when I was looking for a new way to use up zucchini.  Although I didn't get many zucchini from my garden this year, I wanted to try a new recipe, preferably something savory that was not a bread or muffin.  I made a savory zucchini muffin last year that ended up in the freezer and disguised as stuffing (trust me, they were not good!).

      These fritters on the other hand did not end up in the freezer, there were none left, nor did they require a disguise.  Served with a fresh garden tomato salad, these made a great light summer meal.

      Here is what you'll need:
      • 2 medium zucchini
      • sea salt
      • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
      • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
      • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
      • 2 ears corn, kernels cut off 
      • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
      • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
      • 1/4 tsp baking soda
      • Freshly ground pepper
      • 3/4 cup buttermilk
      • 1 large egg
      • Canola oil, for frying
      • salt 
      Shred zucchini on grater.  Set in strainer, salt and allow to drain for 10 minutes.  Squeeze remaining liquid from zucchini.

      Meanwhile in a small fry pan over medium-high heat, melt butter and saute onion and garlic until softened, stirring occasionally.  Add corn and saute about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

      In a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking soda and pepper.

      In a separate large bowl, beat buttermilk and egg together.  Add corn mixture and zucchini and mix well.  Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix.

      Coat bottom of fry pan with canola oil and heat to medium-high heat.  Using 2 soup spoons, scoop batter and place in hot fry pan.  Cook 3-4 minutes until brown, flip and brown other side another 3 minutes.  Remove from fry pan and place on paper towel.  Salt immediately and allow to cool slightly before serving.

      I was able to get 11 fritters using this method.

      Source: Food Network Magazine via Food Network

      Berry Iced Tea


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      This Summer was HOT!  I shouldn't complain, because I know the South is experienced (is still experiencing) a brutal heat.  I'm sure they would appreciate sipping on this refreshing Berry Iced Tea.

      I love iced tea and I tend to drink it quite often, especially during Summer.  Usually I buy those little packets that you just mix with water.  You know the ones that are made of mostly chemicals?  Yeah, those.  It's really a matter of convenience for me, because I don't like to consume sugar in my beverages.  So I buy the sugar-free stuff and call it a day.


      It's really a shame that I don't take more time to make brewed iced tea more often, because it's very good and so much better for you than the chemical packets.  I didn't follow a recipe for this, you really don't need one, this is just a starting point and you can adjust to your preference for strength and flavor.

      If you're fortunate enough to freeze berries when they are at their peak, you can make this all year round.  Or, you can buy frozen berries at the store and keep them on hand for when the urge strikes.

      Here is what you'll need:

      • 2 quarts water
      • 8 oz. frozen mixed berries 
      • 5 black tea bags 
      • 3 raspberry herbal tea bags
      • 1/3 cup agave syrup (or more to taste)
      Combine water, mixed berries and tea bags in stock pot.  Heat over medium heat until liquid comes to a simmer.  Turn off heat and allow to set for 5 minutes.  

      Pour mixture through fine mesh strainer into juice container.  Press berries to extract all their juice.

      Add agave to liquid and stir.  Chill before serving.  Serve over ice with a sprig of mint.  Serves 8.

      Source: Adventures In My Kitchen original