Category Archives: Kitchen

Win a free copy of Zucchini Houdini!

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If you need some delicious ideas for using zucchini this summer, you could try this one here, or you could win this book that is sure to help! Win a copy of Zucchini Houdini by entering the contest below! Contest ends August 30th at 12:00 a.m.!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Fantastic Zucchini Lasagna

I’ve been seeing recipes on Pinterest for Zucchini Lasagna, and since zucchini is a heavy producer for most people that plant it, I thought I’d take a shot at it. It turned out SOOO good. Let me just say, I didn’t even miss the meat. I’ve been wanting to bring more DELICIOUS plant-based recipes into our lives, and I have to say, this fits the bill. And it’s a great way to use your fresh summer garden vegetables!

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Zucchini Lasagna

2 medium zucchini

1 large onion (I used a red)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 jar or large can (23-24 oz) of tomato sauce

1/4 cup water

2 – 3 T. balsalmic vinegar

1 egg

1 cup ricotta cheese

Approx. 1 cup mozzarella cheese (or whatever you have on hand)

1 cup (packed), sliced swiss chard

About 8-10 large leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced

Salt

Pepper

A little oil of your choice

Cut the ends off of the zucchini, then slice thinly long-ways with a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer. In a large bowl, thoroughly salt both cut sides of the zucchini noodles. The salt draws water out of the zucchini so your final product won’t be so soupy. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. This is what mine looked like:

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All of that liquid in the bottom of the bowl dripped off the salted zucchini. Can you imagine that extra liquid in the lasagna? Unless you like to drink your lasagna, I strongly suggest salting the zucchini!!

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Saute the onion in your choice of oil. When mostly softened, sprinkle garlic powder and saute for another 40 seconds. Add pasta sauce, water and balsamic vinegar. Mix and cook together until slightly thickened (approx. 5 minutes), then salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the ricotta and egg in a small bowl. Put half of the basil in the ricotta and egg mixture. Mix the other half of the basil with the sliced swiss chard, just on the cutting board.

After the 30 minutes is over, rinse the salt off of the zucchini and pat dry.

Put a little pasta sauce in the bottom of a 8×8″ pan. Layer zucchini, pasta sauce, swiss chard/basil leaves, ricotta-basil mixture, pasta sauce, zucchini, sauce, swiss chard and basil leaves, sauce and then mozzarella.

Bake for about 30 minutes covered with foil, then about another 20 minutes uncovered. The cheese should brown beautifully in lovely golden spots. When you take it out, let it cool about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

P.S. Yay for cell phone food photography!

Inspired by lots of pins, particularly the recipes here, here, and here.

TIPS:

Chop the basil and swiss chard finely. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to roll the smaller leaves up tightly in the larger leaves, then slice thinly across the roll.

Serve with a crusty bread!

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Cherry Tomato Tasting 2014

It’s well known that store bought tomatoes just can’t compete with the rich, sweet, complex flavor of home grown. I find this holds true with cherry tomatoes too.

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These beauties are Sun Sugar, Black Cherry, and the red ones, I’m fairly positive, are Super Sweet 100s. This particular batch grew in Bryce’s “office” raised bed garden.

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Sun Sugar and Black Cherry won the taste contest for me, with Sun Sugar in first place. They are sweeter than the reds, especially the Sun Sugars, and I love the bright gold and subdued purplish colors. However, everyone seems to have their own idea as to what makes a great cherry tomato.  My father in law prefers the more classic, less sweet tomato flavor of the Super Sweet 100s.

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Do you have a favorite cherry or grape tomato? I’d love to try some new varieties next year! And last but not least, anyone have a great recipe that highlights cherry tomatoes? Suggestions please and thank you!

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Fresh Apple Juice

Bryce’s friend Bevan built a heavy duty juicer/press using a garbage disposal to crush the apples, and a car jack to press out the juice. Pretty ingenious, I would say. We have great intentions of building one or two apple presses of our own in the near future, but Bevan was kind enough to let us borrow his in the meantime. The night these photos were taken, we were at Spencer and Shanille’s house. Baby Boy wasn’t quite sure what to think of the puppies, but they sure seemed to like him!

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I was loving the sunset light, and the effect it was having on his fly-away hair. (He still hasn’t had a first haircut!)

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Watching the action happening up in the apple tree!

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In the tree, shaking and throwing apples down to the “gatherers”.

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Now for a game of “Where’s Baby Boy?!”

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There he is!

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Considering how much time his parents spent in the trees as children, I guess he comes by his interest in climbing honestly.

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Since the apples were unsprayed, they had a few worm holes. We cut out the bad parts of the apples, and used an apple slicer to cut them into smaller pieces so that the disposal could be more efficient.

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This cutie stopped gathering long enough to give me a smile!

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Observing…something.

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Baby Boy helping to gather apples.

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Enjoying the sunset…and the homing pigeons.

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A quick trampoline break!

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Feeding apples into the disposal! Our process went something like: Collect the apples, cut/core/deworm-hole the apples, put apple slices into BYU bucket, fill the bucket with water and rinse the slices, drain water out of bucket, feed apple slices into the disposal, collect apple mash in a mesh lining, press the juice out using a carjack with a round wooden piece attached, collect juice in the bottom tray and finally dispense juice into the clean buckets.

Ta dah! Apple juice!

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Bryce hauling the apple cores out to the animals.

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Overseeing the apple press.

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The outcome of our labor! Fresh apple juice! Hooray!

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I didn’t get photos of the buckets filled, but we divided the apple juice into BYU creamery icecream buckets. The buckets are large, 3-5 gallons I think, but it’s possible to fit at least one into our refrigerator. Since we intended to drink the juice fairly quicky, we didn’t bottle or freeze any. That will be an experiment for some other time.

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