We’ve had a busy start to the year. I’ve mentioned how I have brought some treats into work this fall to thank others for their work and recognize the ways in which their efforts are improving the campus experience for our students. One particular department was treated poorly by a student with whom I was working, and so I decided snacks would be in order. And, I knew some of the folks in the department are particularly health-conscious, so what makes that better than making a sweet treat with vegetables and fruit in it? I decided to go with this recipe for zucchini raisin bars that I had written down on a recipe card, but never had made.
The recipe provides both a frosting option and a powdered sugar dusting option. I went with the powdered sugar option for ease of time.
Zucchini Raisin Bars
1/2 c oleo, soft
1 1/4 c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 c shredded zucchini
1 c raisins
1/2 c walnuts
Cream oleo, sugar, egg, and vanilla until real fluffy. Mix dry ingredients. Slowly add to butter mixture. Stir in zucchini and raisins. Spread into greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool.
Frost or sprinkle with powdered sugar
3 c powdered sugar
1/3 c butter
2 Tbsp orange or lemon juice
Whip together until thick enough. Spread
One day this summer, my parents were lamenting that they couldn’t find red pepper jelly at their local grocery store. Also being from a small town like mine, our grocery stores are pretty similar. I was disappointed for them, and so when it was time to harvest peppers, I thought I should find a recipe for red pepper jelly to bring to them. Canning for a New Generation had the perfect recipe, and it made a few half-pint jars, so I put it together and brought it to them last month when I saw them.
When I made cookies to take into some folks last week, I also saw this recipe my cousin Katie had put into our family cookbook. At our start of the year kickoff meeting at work, we were celebrating ten years of a meeting where our campus staff get together and share the “news you need to know.” To celebrate, I volunteered to make some “sweet treats” for door prizes and one of the departments had said oatmeal raisin cookies might be what they wanted for their prize. This recipe that had a little twist — golden raisins and bits of heath bit-o-brickle — added a little bit of fun to the traditional oatmeal raisin cookie.
Generally, when I’m making cookies, I don’t spend much time worrying about putting parchment paper down before baking. However, with the bit-o-brickle in here, it added another level of sticky to the cookies and I found the parchment paper to be a necessity.
These cookies get pretty sweet. That added toffee adds another dimension of sugar to the already-sweet cookies. I also thought they spread better when I rolled the cookies into balls instead of really dropping them onto the pan to bake.
Earlier this month I wanted to bring some treats to some of the staff at work who are working really hard, but who are not always noticed as putting in long hours and helping our students succeed inside and outside of the classroom in all the ways they are contributing. So, I decided to bring some cookies into the office to share with them. When I was looking through our family cookbook, I was intrigued by this recipe for Cinnamon Jumbos. The cinnamon flavor is very subtle in the cookies — I’m curious how to strengthen it in the future.
For those who like kringla, but don’t want to go to the work of rolling them out, I found this recipe to taste very similar to the taste of traditional scandinavian kringla that we eat at the holiday season.
For the dinner for first years I mentioned earlier, I made honey lime chicken enchiladas, squash enchiladas, and these pineapple black bean enchiladas. The recipe was a winner in the Pillsbury Bake Off several years ago and it was especially fun to make it for some students because I made for some students in my first job outside of grad school 11 years ago. It’s been so great to watch those students succeed and take on new challenges — as I was cooking, I kept thinking about those students and where they are now.
The folks who were at dinner this week had a similar reaction to most people I’ve served them to in the past: “I didn’t expect this to be good, but it is…” This is another vegetarian recipe, which I also appreciate as a way to cook these easily and have most folks be able to eat them without issue — enhanced if you use corn tortillas, although I’m unsure how to swap out the cheese for something that isn’t using dairy to help bind things together.
We have been working on different ways to outreach to our students and build community across the campus. A couple weeks ago, the first year students on-campus were invited to have dinner at different faculty and staff households. One of my friends from admissions, his fiance, and I co-hosted a dinner at my house. As we discussed different options for the dinner, we decided on enchiladas as the option we wanted to make for the first years. It was an easy way to make some vegetarian options, and could be done without a lot of last minute preparation.
These Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas are delicious. First seen on the Dinner on a Dime web site, I made them once during new recipe Tuesdays a couple years ago, but had never documented the recipe. Of course, I’m picky about my green enchilada sauce as well and insist on using Frontera Green Enchilada sauce, if you can find it. It comes in packets, as opposed to jars or cans.
As I was digging through the recipe box, I was searching through the “Cookies and Cakes” section to find the appropriate treat to bring to some colleagues at work and came across this recipe for Honey Mounds, which according to the notation, was first placed in Woman’s Day Christmas Issue in 1963. While the article calls for the baker to use red and green sprinkles, I had to show a little school pride and use purple sprinkles!
The note on the recipe card stated, “rather a chewy cookie with good honey flavor.” After I tasted them, I have to agree that this is an apt-description.
I was surprised at how little they spread when baking. Mounds is a really perfect description for them. Had I known this, I might have made the cookies a little smaller. But, the folks I brought them to at work thought they tasted great, so the recipe is definitely worth keeping around.
1/3 c soft butter or margarine
1/3 c sugar
2/3 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Cream butter, sugar, egg, and honey. Add vanilla. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well. Chill. Roll into 1″ balls. Then roll in sprinkles. Place on cookie sheet and make in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.