Let’s start with a riddle. What’s worse than a mouse in your house? Think about it. Really, it’s bad. Okay, ready?
A mouse in your car.
Am I right?
I’ll get back to that. But first: this.
We came back to the house family style this weekend, much to Bunky’s distress. She thought her friend from last week would always be here with us. She was rather heartbroken and pissed when we told her it wasn’t the case. Luckily her dad had this nifty trick up his sleeve.
After an exhausting 3+ hour Friday afternoon drive, we arrived in the dark, witnessing what would’ve been a gorgeous pink sunset framed by purple tinged mountains, if Little Guy wasn’t screaming his brains out.
He was very happy to get out of the car. As were the rest of us, shattered eardrums and all.
Saturday was a beautiful day, brisk temperatures with cerulean blue skies. Perfect for pumpkin buying (does anyone actually pick them from the patch anymore?) and the requisite tractor pull. Plus these festive (um, scary) hay bales.
It was lots of fun. Piles of tractor tires to climb on, a hay bale and corn maze, plus plenty of picturesque photo ops for us city folk.
But as we’re learning, getting anywhere in the country is a drive. Thirty minutes at least. Which was good on the way for Little guy’s nap, but not great for the ride home’s dual screamathon (LG) and whine-athon (B). Maybe it was PTSD from the day before.
Sunday started in the dark, a 6am wake up for all since my man had to return to the city to work, bummer since it was pouring. Thank goodness for DVDs. By the time LG had napped, the sky was clearing. B and I made good use of our time, though, using the biggest zuchinni I’ve ever seen for zuchinni bread. Barely made a dent in that giant, but it tasted great.
Here is the recipe, slightly adapted from Pamela’s Baking & Pancake mix, which was convenient to travel with (as opposed to packing up my flour and xanthan gum). I know some people balk at P’s mix but I love it for pancakes and quick breads. It’s fast and easy, which is totally my style. Baking, people, I’m talking about baking.
Double Chocolate Chip Zucchini Loaf Cake
- 2 cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix
- 2 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg (or a bit less if you are not a big nutmeg fan)
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray a loaf pan and set aside.
2. Grate zucchini. Try not to lose feeling in your arm in the process. Enlist a four-year-old to assist if necessary. It won’t help with the grating, but it will give your arm time to rest. Then use paper towels to wring out excess liquid from zucchini, or get your kid to do this. Set aside.
3. Whisk together Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, and the white and brown sugars. Use your arm power or an electric mixer if your arm feels like it might fall off from grating the zucchini. Stir in vanilla. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients to form a batter. Fold in grated zucchini along with chocolate chips. Pour into loaf pan.
4. Bake for about 50-55 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Beware of hitting a chocolate chip. If this happens, insert again until you can access the done-ness. Let loaf cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to cool on a wire rack.
Variation: For muffins, fill greased or paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full and bake in 350° oven for 30 to 35 minutes.
Now, can we talk about something? If you recall in my last pumpkin obsessed post, my excitement over roasting my own pumpkin. How easy those bloggers promised it would be. So worth the homemade-iness. Well. With all due respect, perhaps those bloggers weren’t trapped in a house with a 4 year old and an almost one year old baby who can’t be left alone for a moment without eating dirt clumps or other unappetizing goodies found on the floor. It took me all day to complete the mission, plus some serious arm crampage to scoop out the stringy pulpy innards. (And this was after grating a giant zucchini.)
However, it did make the house smell nice, but hands down the best part – parents of small children hear this – it kept my kid busy for an HOUR, at least. Warning, it could be very messy with kids of certain dispositions. B is rather fastidious so we had some seed scattering and water splashing, but no major spillage, though that could have just been beginner’s luck.
She first attempted to scoop out the seeds with a spoon (25 minutes, maybe more) until she got frustrated. She tried really hard. I was impressed. Then after I finished scooping, she played with the seeds and pumpkin halves in a big bowl of water on a tray for a long time, making soup, pretending the seeds were fish, etc. We only stopped because little guy needed a nap.
Now we have fresh pumpkin, which LG already enjoyed with a dash of cinnamon for his dinner. I am thinking of making these insane looking white chocolate pumpkin butter cups.
Despite being solo with the kiddos for nearly 12 hours in the house, it was a pretty nice day. We even got outside after LG’s nap and did some swinging and a nature walk.
I have to say, it was kind of fantastic nursing him outside knowing we were entirely alone. I’m not crazy modest by any means, but I try to keep things G rated out in the world if I can help it, but here it was a non issue. Bunky took some really beautiful nursing pictures, which is nice because I have none (!) and since he is definitely our last kid I’m starting to feel a little nostalgic.
The next day it was time to return to our city life. Fortunately for us (though not so fortunately for our little furry hitchhiker), the mouse trap in our car worked. One critter down, many more to go, I’m sure.
Welcome to the country, right?
I’ll deal with it, as long as the bears keep their distance.