Thursday, November 10, 2011


If you're like me...

Sierra--  She loves loaf, too. may occasionally find yourself asking,


with the leftover half of zucchini
your granny gave you.

The answer-- clearly,

shred that bad boy up
and get your bake on.

Enter: Chocolate Zucchini Bread, loaf, surprise,

Delectable & moist, I promise you my friends.

Hence, today's recipe compliments of 'Joy of Baking'.


1 1/2 cups shredded raw zucchini from granny
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder*, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 cup safflower or canola oil
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

*you may opt to replace 2 tsp of the unsweetened cocoa powder with the 'secret ingredient'
I'll be incorporating further on in the directions below.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F & grease your loaf pan.

Get started grating your zucchini.

Who knew grating could be so much fun?!

Set grated zucchini aside.

In a large bowl, measure out your flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon & allspice and set aside.


         Here's where I switch things up.


You may recall, way back when,
my uncontainable excitement regarding my purchase of McCormick's Cocoa Chili Blend?!

Well, I happened to be feelin' particularly adventurous this day and decided this would be the perfect recipe to add a little heat to.

Baker's Confession: I added way too much heat.

So much so, one bite of my loaf could put hair on your chest.

       .......Or burn it off.

Spicy.  Very spicy.

According to my 'newly revised' calculations, replacing 2 teaspoons of the cocoa chili blend with the unsweetened cocoa powder should make for the perfect subtle hint of warmth.
(so, 115 ml unsweetened cocoa powder & 2 tsp cocoa chili powder)

And there you have it.

Lesson learned.

The hard way.

Carrying on,

get all your dry ingredients blended together in a large bowl and set aside.

In yet another bowl (plenty of dirty dishes leftover after this recipe), use your electric mixer to thoroughly beat the oil, eggs, sugars, and vanilla extract until well blended. About 2 minutes.

Mm'yesss, a good time to get some reading under your belt...

Once well mixed, fold in the grated zucchini.

Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.

And lastly, fold in the chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 55- 65 minutes.

Once removed from the oven, let the loaf cool on a baker's rack for 10 min and then remove from the pan.

Continue to let the loaf cool completely.

Other than the fact that my loaf was hotter than two goats in a pepper patch, it was deliciously rich and delectably moist.

I do say, it's good to spice things up every once in a while :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

I solemnly swear I've been up to no good.

What say you we ignore the fact that it has nearly been a month & a half since I last posted...

And instead, gaze upon this photo of myself holding a cheeto.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Excuse me while I have a mommy moment....

Aaron, all of two years old

I nearly melted into a warm gooey puddle of mommy-mush
when I stumbled across this photo today.

                                      Those golden curls get me everytime.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ava's first day at dance

I thank the dear Lord everyday for blessing me with a beautiful, bubbly baby girl.

Who else could I dress up in all-things-pink,
tutus, sparkles & tights?!


Must Like Spice: Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Sure Signs & Symptoms It's Fall:

Sunday, I ceremoniously hung my 'Autumn Blessings' placard
just outside the front entrance of our home
& pulled out all the browning overgrown petunias in my garden.

Yesterday, I made like Betty and whipped up
a delightfully spicy batch of Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

(recipe to follow)

And this morning, I was regrettably forced
to turn on the heat for the first time in months;
hauled out me ol' Uggs for the wearing
& enjoyed a toasty warm Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks with my granny.

Warm woollies, obsessive baking & brilliant autumn foliage.

Yes, please.

About that Pumpkin Whoopie Pie recipe...

Did I mention it comes complete with a dreamy cream cheese filling?

We can all thank Matt Lewis from Baked bakery for that perfectly nummy pairing.

Recipe from Matt Lewis of Baked bakery


For the Pumpkin Whoopie Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Cream-Cheese Filling

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.

We begin with the making of the whoopie cookie, which essentially is a mini cake.

Generous amounts of warm spices in these beauties

Measure out all your dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl.

Whisk together and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and vegetable oil 'til well combined.

Then add your pumpkin puree and whisk s'more..

Add your eggs & vanilla to the party while you're at it.

Whisk, whisk, whisk..... 

Pumpkin mixture

Gradually sprinkle your spiced-up flour mixture over your pumpkin batter and mix until well incorporated.

Well incorporated.

A well equipped baker comes prepared with a small icecream scoop to dish their batter out with.

I, however, am not one of those.

Therefor, I used a tablespoon to pan-out my cookies.

An icecream scoop would come in tres handy when making your pies
as conformity is key.

~You want them all to be the same nice round shape and equal size~

They are after all named 'whoopie' pies, not 'wonky' pies...

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes
{I made my pies a bit smaller and found that 10 minutes was all they needed}

Carefully, with a spatula, remove cookies from the baking sheet as soon as they're out of the oven and let cool on a cooling rack.

Next, Filling.

In a medium sized bowl, cream the butter with a mixer until smooth and lump-free.

Add your cream cheese and continue to mix, again 'til smooth.

Gradually add the icing sugar to the mix, as well as vanilla.

Mix real' well.


Once your cookies have cooled COMPLETELY,
generously dollop filling onto the flat side of the cookie.

I find a piping bag or even a large Ziploc freezer bag with a hole snipped at the tip to be much more tidy with this task as opposed to just spooning it on.

Plus, I think piping is fun.

Sandwich your frosted cookie with another cookie
and there you have yourself a Whoopie Pie!

Recipe found at

These are seriously delicious.
I kid you not.

Autumn blessings, friends : )

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Woe is me

Ava's first full session of Kindergarten today.

I think I might just mayybe kinda sorta possibly

        ....miss her just a wee little bit.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Challenge.

Photos of my bestie-pal, Ramie & her cute li'l fam

My personal challenge: NO SHOOTING IN AUTO.

This was a tough one for me.

I've always relied on the trusty ol' Auto setting to get me through
as mentioned in previous posts.

But lately, I've been making like a padawan
and putting forth an honest effort to
study-up in Manual mode.

The ultimate goal,
to get to know my camera inside-and-out
and utilize it to its maximum potential.

So I figured, as Ramie is my friend--

Professionalism was Null and Void.

Her and her brood, patiently stuck with me
while I constantly fidgeted with dials & settings,
more-often-than-not sporting a look of pure bewilderment.

It was intensely sunny out,
which gave me mad grief
as shadows tended to be an issue.


So, I scavenged for shady areas
and managed as best I could
with the challenge at hand.

As dreadful as I like to make it sound,
(I've been known to have dramatic tendencies) was actually loads of fun.

{Thank heaven for good-natured friends}

Of the nearly 500 photos I took--
some fantastical, and some not-so-fantastical...

The above would be the gems of the bunch!

                 Love, sweet love


Motha, the winged wonder

How fabulous is Martha,
or rather-- Motha,
on the cover of MARTHA STEWART Magazine
Halloween edition?!

I don't even typically buy magazines.
But this- I could not resist.

If you're a lover of all things
autumn inspired, like myself,


Chalk full of spooktacular ideas, I tells ya.

Feathered eyelashes, Mauled Cider & Pumpkin Whoopie Pies?!!

Have mercy.....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Behind the scenes

Lovely rolling canola fields

I had the best time Monday evening sitting in on an engagement photo shoot for my sister, Kirsten, and her fiance, Scott.

Karey, the photographer and previous owner of ma'baby(Nikon D90),
thought it might be fun for me to tag along with my camera and grab a few shots of my own.

You know, get a little 'schooling' under my belt.

Which, indeed, is long overdue as I've been strictly shooting in 'Auto' the whole time due to my lack of know-how with ye' old 'Manual' setting.



At the same time, arrangements were made to snag a couple pics of Karey as she's a glowing 35 weeks pregnant with her third child, and--

Get this...

Never had maternity shots taken of herself.

This to me is shocking because Karey is, in my opinion, one of the most talented, self-taught photographers I know, especially in the avenue of maternity and newborns.

She nails it every time.

But, you know what they say--
Always the photographer,
never the photographed.

--'k, I'm not even sure that's an actual saying...
In fact.  I'm certain it's not.

You know what I mean.

Always behind the camera and never in front of it.

Bride & Groom to-be

Between Kirsten, Karey and myself--

The golden hills were alive with the sound of
camera shutters forever snapping.

Ridiculously cute...

So, yeah...

These are the few gems I gathered from that particularly glorious sun-kissed evening.


Check out Karey Wood's Photography & Design blog, here!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dippity Don't

{Yesterday at the spray park}

Have I ever told you about the time I accidentally
applied Dippity-Do hair gel to James' sunburn,
instead of Aloe Vera?

Think Steve Carrell in 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin',
whilst getting his chest waxed.

....Much like an 
                sorta situation.

Poor guy.

Yesterday, was another scorcher--
not unlike the previous incident.

Not a cloud in the sky.

And likewise, we find ourselves in the same predicament--
James with a toasty, roast-y red backside.

It's a good thing for him I've learned
a thing or two from my previous misgivings.

Like how to read the label.

--Now, if only he'd learn to read the label 'sunscreen'?!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's been a long-ish while....

....since anyone's asked me to take photos for them.

So I guess you could say I was pretty jazzed when Dan & his lovely wifey Nichole summoned my assistance in taking photos of their highly anticipated new addition, due this September.

It was a beautifully sunny evening.

The mosquitoes were vicious.

And we had all but less than an hour to muster up a couple good ones.

Keep in mind my amateurity,
M'kayyy, thanks!

Enjoy :]

Congratulations Dan & Nichole