Monday, September 27, 2010

More than just words on a page...

I read a book! To many this statement probably seems dull and not very thought provoking. To me it is monumental. I don't enjoy reading; at least I don't think I do? I much prefer a glossy magazine with pictures and short descriptions. This is obvious from the cluttered stack of magazines next to my side of the bed that drives Jake CRAZY! But I love them and hate to throw them away. I mean really; you never know when you are going to need to re-read the article on how to effectively remove those stubborn stains using regular household products that you already own. Or how else would I have learned that you can use the plastic coated tip of a bobby pin as a device to push back your cuticles while giving yourself an at-home pedicure? This is good stuff! Jake however disagrees.

As for the book element of this post, my husband loves to read! If you know him, this little fact is not a secret. In fact, for his birthday this year I bought him a Kindle. He's a fairly traditional guy so I was worried that the use of an electronic device to read when compared to actually holding the book and flipping pages might leave him missing the real thing. Thank goodness I went with my gut because he LOVES it! His birthday was August 8. It is now September 27 and he has read 37 books already! I think I got my monies worth on that. Even better, all of those books with the exception of three were free downloads. Not only did we save on buying books, we saved on late fees to the Library because while Jake does read quickly, I can never get them back to the Library by the due date.

Jake grew up always reading books; a fabulous passion to have and one we hope to pass to Clayton. However I know it has always bothered Jake just a little that I do not enjoy reading. So I decided that I was going to give reading more than just Cooking Light magazine some effort but I knew I was going to need some incentive and I quickly found one. As luck would have it, I joined the Chico Mothers Club after Clayton was born on the recommendation of a friend to take advantage of the message board the group maintained. As luck would have it, they also have a book club that meets once a month. While I really did not want to add one more thing to my already jam-packed schedule, I knew this one hour each month could be just what I was looking for to encourage me to start and finish a book. And it worked!!

The current book, The Next Thing on My List, by Jill Smolinski was selected and the choice communicated to the group via email. I ran out and bought it because I knew I only had a month to read it. You are probably thinking, "Good grief; a month; that's an eternity." But for me - a high gloss mag reader - I knew I would need every minute.

Shockingly I was wrong. I finished it last night; 10 days before the Book Group meets. Yeah for me!! However now I have to wait for the next book to be selected. Oh well, I got a whole pile of glossy magazines just waiting for me to flip their pages. Thanks for reading about my corny saga. ~mrs. c

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Great Day with Great Minds

Many of my work days include meetings. Today was no different in that regard. However today's meeting was productive! Not that all my other meetings are not productive. Don't fool yourself. I am confident the Smart Phone was invented by someone sitting in an unproductive meeting wishing they could be physically in the meeting but mentally completing other tasks. I have the privilege of attending these type of meetings occasionally. Everyone does. It's just part of the job.

Today however, there was no time to respond to any emails, BB messages or Facebook posts on my Smart Phone. This meeting was all business. Today, great people with brilliant minds sat around a table and crafted lists, priorities, suggestions and recommendations that will positively influence the continued success and growth of the California Farm Bureau Federation and its membership. And I was part of it. What a great feeling. ~mrs. c

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Bread - Yum!!

As requested, here is my Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe

Just so you know, this recipe will make two 9x5 loaves, or 24 muffins. You can also use a mini muffin tin but I warn you, this one recipe will make a lot of mini muffins. And my favorite tip - top these luscious muffins with cream cheese frosting and call them cupcakes! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Note - I am not a food photographer obviously. The above picture looks like a dry brick of a cupcake but trust me, this is not the case.
2 (1 ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate
3 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2-3 cups fresh grated zucchini*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips**

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans or line 24 muffin cups. You don't have to use the muffin papers/liners but if you don't, make sure you spray the muffin tins. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate until melted. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth.
2.In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and chocolate; beat well. Stir in the flour baking soda, salt, cinnamon and chocolate chips**. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.
3.Bake loaf pans in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean. Bake cupcakes in a preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into muffins comes out clean.

*If you are using frozen zucchini, squeeze all the liquid out after you defrost it and before you add it to the batter.

**I highly suggest you mix your dry ingredients separately before adding to the batter and include the chocolate chips with the flour mixture. The chocolate chips will drop to the bottom of the muffins if you don't. I have even left them out of the batter and sprinkled a few on the top of each muffin before I bake them. This method works fairly well too.

So there you have it. While it was not a blue ribbon this year, I am not going to give up. I will enter it next year too. Maybe the judge was just having a bad day. Thanks for reading. ~mrs. c


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