Sunday, September 9, 2007

Why God created zucchini

The photo is me and my sis-in-law, Gloria, during her recent visit. We are the same age and both grew up in Denver, but never knew each other in those days. And due to distance and other demands, we are only getting acquainted now. The relationship makes me feel bereft for never having had a sister.

Gloria retired from a 20-year career with the Post Office, but she is such a dynamo that she simply hasn’t slowed down all that much since. Despite both heart and knee surgeries she has completed a number of charity walking marathons; she’s learning to bead, taught herself soap making (a supply of which she mercifully provides, enabling me to survive Arizona’s parched winters). She works diligently at maintaining a network of friends, church congregants, and Red Hat acquaintances.

If I retired, I suspect I would be likely to adopt a more slothful approach to life: Reading, coupon clipping, napping….And after more than 50 years in the workplace, I don’t know if I could even set a personal agenda for the day that wasn’t dependent on the demands of other people. Horrible thought, eh?

While Gloria was here she said a friend was urging her to enter her Chocolate Zucchini Bread in the Oregon State Fair. Last week I received an email from her hubby, Tom, who hijacked Gloria’s email address book. Not only did she enter, she won the blue ribbon!

With her permission, here it is:

Gloria’s Blue Ribbon Chocolate Zucchini Bread

(1st place winner, Oregon State Fair, August 2007)

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon each, baking soda, baking powder & cinnamon

¼ cup cocoa

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup oil (this is correct, says Gloria)

½ cup buttermilk

3 eggs

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup chopped nuts

Grease and flour 1 loaf pan (not a bread pan)

Bake @ 350 deg F for 50-60 minutes after mixing as follows:

(1) Mix dry ingredients together (flour, soda, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa and salt) and set aside.

(2) In large bowl or mixer beat eggs, oil, and buttermilk. Add zucchini. Add dry ingredients gradually and stir until well blended. Add nuts and stir in evenly. Scoop into pan and bake.

(*Special note: make high altitude adjustments as necessary. Gloria lives at sea level.)

For people like me who are calorie obsessed, this is a rather reasonable treat due to the small amount of oil. But, if you want to cut calories even more, Consumer Reports just did a review of sugar substitutes and reported that Splenda for Baking (not regular Splenda) worked decently in their test cake (not as good as sugar, of course, but it reduced the calories by more than half). Just remember though, if you try, the result will be just a pale substitute for the genuine Oregon State Fair 2007 Blue Ribbon winner!

I talked to Mom this morning and she said with all the end of summer festivities and the kickoff of fall party season at her rockin' senior citizen hi-rise that she has gained three pounds. (You may remember I bragged on her for losing 35 pounds and keeping it off for the past couple of years.)

I asked her when she was going to start on a little diet.

“Oh, to heck with it. I’m 89; who cares?"
To which I had no good reply.

E-you later, darlings
Aunt Rose

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