This Ain’t My Grandpa’s Zucchini Bread!

My clearest memory of my grandparents’ house is the smell. My grandfather was a bread baker in his retirement, and he made everything from sourdough bread to brownies from scratch. My grandmother had been a Home Ec teacher and between the two of them the house was always refreshingly clean and full of amazing smells. My grandmother, years ago, put together a family cookbook, and I’m eternally greatful. I can bring back some of my happiest memories by simply reading over the recipes. A couple of years ago I decided to make my grandfather’s zucchini bread from the family cookbook, and I was SHOCKED at the amount of sugar in it. His recipe called for THREE CUPS OF SUGAR. No wonder we loved it so much! I played with the recipe a bit and after a while perfected my version. Enjoy!

3 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1/4 cup applesauce

1/4 cup crushed pineapple

1 3/4 cup sugar

2 cup grated raw zucchini

2t cinnamon

1t baking soda

1.5 t baking powder

3 cups unsifted flour

1 cup nut pieces

1 t salt

Grate unpeeled zucchini and set aside. Beat eggs until foamy, gradually adding oil and sugar. Add zucchini, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. mix well with an electric mixer. Gradually blend in flour, then fold in the nuts. Grease a loaf or Bundt pan and fill 3/4 full of batter. Bake at 350 for one hour.

*This recipe is also delicious with a quarter cup of flax meal mixed in, and I love using roasted and salted pecans as my nut of choice! I always make a couple sans nuts for my son.

Jello Playdough

Store bought playdough is so boring compared to what you can do at home! Homemade playdough can be scented, texturized, and in other ways personalized. Not to mention the bonding experience!

1 Cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup warm water
1 three ounce package of jello – flavor of your choice. *Note, the flavor you choose will be the scent of your playdough. In our case we used lemon, so the final result is lemon scented and yellow.

Combine ingredients.
Couldn’t be simpler. Get a big mixing bowl and start measuring, scooping, dumping, and pouring.

The young lady in the photo is almost five and is able to do most of this with only minimal assistance. We couldn’t fit our tablespoon into the cream of tartar container, so i filled the spoon for her to dump, and I poured the oil – that’s a mess you don’t want to have to clean up, ever!

Homemade playdough is also fun as they can taste test the ingredients. Don’t let them scoop a big bunch of salt into their mouths – they might throw up. More of a reaction than you’re probably looking for. Its interesting to taste jello before its turned into its more recognizable jiggly form.

If you’re doing this with a smaller someone, I suggest premeasuring ingredients so the ingredients are ready to be dumped into the big bowl. Also, be ready to help guide younger hands so the ingredients don’t get dumped before reaching the mixing bowl!

Cooking – this is a mommy job, not a kid job.
Pour into a saucepan. I prefer a teflon coated saucepan to reduce sticking.

*This scalds easily, so use a medium (not high) heat.
Stir continuously. It will gradually begin to thicken, first becoming thicker, then lumpy, then clumpy, then just one big ball!

Work it!
Once the dough begins to clump don’t let it remain over the heat. Dump the hot ball of dough into something where it can sit, away from little fingers, for a minute to cool. This doesn’t take very long. When it is cool enough to touch, put some flour down and dump the dough ball out and start to knead! Do this for a couple of minutes, taking turns (mom/kid/mom/kid) to ensure the elasticity is built up properly.

If you want to alter the color, or enhance the color, add some food coloring. Glitter is a grrls best friend, so don’t hold back!
Craft stores sell a fine, brightly colored craft sand that adds nice texture, and using a contrasting color can really make the playdough fun. Pretty much the skies the limit when it comes to add-ins, just beware organic add-ins can mold!

There we have it folks. Let it cool completely before storing. Makes an awesome gift, especially if you include the recipe!