Thursday, July 21, 2016

#BundtBakers ~ Spiced Zucchini Bundt Cake


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme.  Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page. For July we were invited by Sue of Palatable Pastime to make a "Secret Garden" themed bundt cake: "cakes with flowers, herbs or summer vegetables as an ingredient or theme".

Just to be sure I did a quick "summer vegetables" search and "What's In Season" gave me a TON of ideas; including zucchini! I love zucchini in baked goods, and have used it in quick bread and muffins many times (even in brownies) but not yet in a cake. So that seemed like a good ingredient for me to work with for today's reveal.

This cake is dense, moist, lightly spiced, a touch sweet from the glaze and a wonderful snacking cake. It would work for just about any time of day and is packed with 2 cups of zucchini, just to take a little bit of guilt away when you say you're enjoying cake. :) This summery cake is a keeper, and I will definitely be using it again. You can opt for milk instead of apple juice in the glaze, but I liked the touch of additional flavor the apple juice provided. You could even sub a grated apple in place of one of the zucchini in your cake for something different. I might have to give that a try next time!

Take a look at all the beautiful garden inspired cakes being shared today!

Spiced Zucchini Bundt Cake from Dishes and Dust Bunnies

2 cups zucchini (equal to about 2 small zucchinis), finely grated and some of the moisture squeezed out
¾ cup  butter, melted
¼ cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
1 TBS + ¼ tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground ginger
1 ⅓ cups sugar

For the Glaze:
1/2 cups confectioners sugar
2 TBS apple juice


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Generously grease a 10" bundt pan with baker's joy spray or butter. Set aside.
  3. Prepare the zucchini by grating into a mixing bowl.
  4. Dump the zucchini into a strainer and press to squeeze out some of the moisture; you don't have to get all of the liquid out, just some. Once drained, return the zucchini back into the mixing bowl.
  5. Add the melted butter, milk, vanilla and eggs to the zucchini and mix to combine.
  6. In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and spices. 
  7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix only until combined - do not over mix.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth if necessary, so batter is evenly distributed.
  9. Place the cake in the oven to bake for about 45 minutes, or until golden brown and beginning to pull away from the edges. Use a toothpick to confirm it is no longer wet in the center.
  10. Leave in the pan and allow to cool completely.
  11. Once ready to serve, place a plate on top of the bundt pan and flip over. The cake should easily come out of the pan (mine stuck a little, but with one good "thump" it released in 1-piece).
  12. Combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl; whisk to combine. Microwave for about 20 seconds and whisk again (will help with any small pieces of powdered sugar that don't combine easily). Pour glaze over the top of the cake. Allow to soak in. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

Good morning and happy Sunday! I have so many recipes I've made and photographed and not managed to get onto the blog over the past few months and when I made this recipe last night I was determined not to let this be another casualty! So, it was whipped up last night, baked, set to cool in the refrigerator and this morning. First thing. I cut it, and photographed it. And here we are! That has to be about the quickest turnaround for me on picking, making, and sharing something... it doesn't usually work out quite like that around here.

This one is just too good not to share, now, though. Amazing creamy and smooth layers of peanut butter layered over perfectly rich, fudgy, chocolatey brownie... this is an amazing dessert and it's beautiful and certainly company worthy! The best part is it's really not that difficult either. A little bit time consuming, and you get 2 bowls and one pan dirty (ok and a bunch of measuring cups and spoons) and then voila! You have a sinfully rich, and decadent treat that is sure to impress.

It's looking to be another beautiful morning here and Georgia and I think I'm going to run my daughter over to Stone Mountain for a little while before it gets to warm to enjoy the day. Have to cram a little sunshine and fresh air in over the weekend while I can! Enjoy your day!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies from Crazy for Crust

3/4 cup unsalted butter
11-oz bittersweet/dark and / or semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate baking chocolate
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
5 large eggs, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prep a 9x9” square pan with a generous coating of nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Make the brownie batter: place butter and chocolate in a a medium nonstick pot, stirring with a spatula over low heat until chocolate and butter is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Stir in 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, then mix in 3/4 cup flour, cocoa powder, and salt and combine until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Make the cheesecake batter: beat cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer (scrape down sides at least a few times) until smooth and creamy. Add in the peanut butter, 1/4 cup sugar, and sour cream. Blend again until smooth.  Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon flour, and remaining 2 eggs. Beat until smooth without lumps, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl at least a few times to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  4. Spread half the brownie batter in the prepared pan using a spatula. Next, place half the cheesecake mixture over the top and spread carefully. Top with remaining brownie batter and then the remaining cheesecake to create 4 total layers.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes until the edges are golden and the center is set. Cool completely at room temperature. 
  6. Chill to set, at least 2 hours or overnight. Cut into small bars and serve. These are very rich treats, so cut into small 3 - 4 bite pieces. 
  7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

#GuacSquad12 ~ Grilled Corn and Bacon Guacamole

Some very amazing guacamole recipes are being shared with you as part of #GuacSquad12 to introduce Casabella's new Guac-Lock (and give you some fantastic ideas on ways to spruce up your next batch of guacamole)!

When I was brainstorming ideas for which recipe to make and share today I stumbled across a roasted corn and bacon recipe and was hooked. I grilled two juicy ears on the grill over high heat for about 20 minutes, rotating once. I baked my bacon in the oven, and when everything was cooked and cooled, combined the ingredients and voila! This recipe comes together very quickly and is incredibly tasty! I love the addition (and the convenience) of the lightly dried herbs from Gourmet Garden. Their products are seriously incredible. I've been lucky enough to work with them a few times over the years, and love having their products in my refrigerator and freezer at all times!

The Guac-Lock allows you to keep your batch of delicious fresh guacamole... well, fresh! It has a unique system that allows you to push the guac up and flush to the lid, pressing all the air out, then sealing it shut to keep nothing but freshness in. It's a fantastic product, and makes a good serving dish as well!

Melissa's Produce provided some amazingly delicious and ripe avocados for our event as well - they were devoured pretty much immediately in my house.

I am envisioning a healthy spread of this guac on a piece of toast - soon, very soon. It only seems right... maybe with a fried egg on top... oh the fun you can have with this yummy and versatile dish!

Grilled Corn and Bacon Guacamole adapted from Garnish with Lemon

3 medium ripe avocados, mashed
2 ears corn, grilled and cut off cob
4 thick cut pieces of bacon, cooked crisp and diced into small pieces
2 TBS Gourmet Garden lightly dried cilantro
1 1/2 TBS lime juice (more / less to taste)
Salt (to taste - I used about 1/8 tsp)

  1. Mix avocado, corn, bacon, and cilantro in Guac-Lock. Squeeze lime juice over the top and stir to combine. Salt to taste and adjust lime juice as necessary. 
  2. Serve with chips (or just eat with a spoon).
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The Giveaway...
Our generous sponsors have contributed prizes for this event. 

Click for details about the giveaway here!

*Disclosure: Bloggers received complimentary products from sponsors for the creation of this event. This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. 
Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are our own.*

Friday, July 15, 2016

#FishFridayFoodies ~ Maple Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

Welcome to our "Seafood on a Stick" reveal day! This month our hostess is Sue from Palatable Pastime. Would you like to join Fish Friday Foodies?  We post and share new seafood/fish recipes on the third Friday of the month.  To join our group please email Wendy at 

This is a quick, easy, and easily adaptable recipe that combines two flavors I love together. Shrimp and bacon. Then you add a sticky sweet sauce? Lovely! I used medium sized shrimp and thick cut bacon and would definitely recommend using extra large and thin cut bacon if you give this dish a try - the ratio will be better and you'll be more likely to get nicely crisped bacon.

I loved the addition of the maple with the sweet chili sauce as a glaze on these delicious bites of shrimp. Smoky, sweet, shrimpy, and baconey... yes. Those are words. I think. These make wonderful appetizers, or could be an entree served with something like a pineapple rice (or add chunks of pineapple to the skewers and grill... mmm...) Thanks for joining us today and make sure to take a look at all the amazing recipes shared below!

Maple Bacon Wrapped Shrimp adapted from Inspired Taste

10 pieces thinly sliced bacon (if using thick cut, increase cook time to 15 or 20 minutes in step 3)
20 extra large (16/20) shrimp (about 1 pound - peeled and deveined)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
* for a little heat add a dash of cayenne pepper or small sprinkle of red pepper flakes if desired


  1. Add skewers to a baking sheet with enough water to cover and set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with Reynold's nonstick aluminum foil.
  3. Place bacon slices, in one layer, onto the lined baking sheet. Bake about 10 minutes or until the bacon has rendered some of its fat, is starting to brown on the edges, but is still soft. Remove from the oven and transfer to paper towels to drain excess fat. Remove foil sheet and wipe the baking sheet clean if necessary to remove any excess grease.
  4. Season the shrimp with the salt.
  5. Combine maple syrup and chili sauce in a small bowl along with a dash of cayenne or red pepper flakes if desired.
  6. Once cool to the touch, remove bacon from paper towels then use a brush to coat both sides with the maple-chili glaze. Cut the bacon in half, crosswise.
  7. Wrap each shrimp with a half slice of bacon
  8. Skewer and place on baking sheet - coat with any remaining maple / chili sauce.
  9. Bake 5-8 minutes (or until cooked through, if bacon has not crisped to your desired amount, set broil to hi and cook for an additional minute or two, be careful to watch the shrimp so they don't overcook). Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Monday, July 11, 2016

#SecretRecipeClub ~ Apple Crisp Mix-In the Pan Bars

Welcome to the July 2016 Group B reveal day for Secret Recipe Club. I hope you will take a moment to visit the Secret Recipe Club if you've never heard of it before - it is a wonderful group of food bloggers who are given a secret assignment of another member's blog each month and our goal is to pick ANYTHING from their blog to make and post about on our designated reveal day.

This month I was assigned to A Spoonful of Thyme. I limited my search to "apples" because I have a refrigerator full of them still and because they're granny smiths I will only bake with them - eating them causes too much puckering for me! There were sooo many good options to choose from! Apple CrostataApple Crisp Mix In The Pan BarsFresh Apple CakeUpside Down Apple Pie were my finalists since not only did they all sound fantastic, they all used a fair amount of apples in the recipe. 

These Cobbler Bars are amazing. Seriously a keeper! The flavor of these is wonderful - so sweet loaded with perfectly tender apples, the oat mix on top is seasoned just right. The brown sugar and cinnamon is balanced so well. Everyone who tasted this recipe loved it, and I will absolutely use this one again and again. And you can eat it for breakfast - because oats and apples, right??! :) Definitely save this one and give it a try soon the next time you have a handful of granny smith apples ready to use. 

Apple Crisp Mix-In the Pan Bars from A Spoonful of Thyme

2 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, divided
3/4 tsp salt
3/8 tsp baking soda (1/4 plus 1/8 tsp)
12 TBS salted butter, melted
6 cups (appx. 6 large apples) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, halved and sliced thin (about 1/8-inch thick), divided
2 TBS granulated sugar, divided
1 TBS fresh squeezed lemon juice 

  1. Place the oven rack in the middle. Preheat to 375° F.
  2. Combine the oats, flour, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon, the salt, and the baking soda directly into a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.  Add the butter and stir until moistened.  Reserve 1 cup of the crumbs and set aside.  Firmly press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Spread half of the apple slices evenly over the crust.  Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of the sugar, the lemon juice, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon over the apples.
  4. Layer the remaining apples and then sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top.  Scatter the reserved oat mixture over the apples and cover the pan tightly with foil.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes to start to soften the apples.  Remove the foil and continue to bake until the oat topping is golden and the apples are tender, about 30 minutes longer.
  6. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool.  Cut into rectangles.

Friday, July 08, 2016

#GuacSquad12 ~ Get your Guac On!

It's summertime! And that means ripe avocados and lots and lots of guacamole. Do you adore guacamole? If so, then #GuacSquad12 - a multi-day, multi-blogger event - is for you. Follow the conversation on social media with our event hashtag and visit the participating bloggers for some amazing twists on guac.

A dozen bloggers have come together to share fourteen different guacamole recipes during the month of July. Whether you're a guacamole purist - think avocado, cilantro and lime - or you get a little more creative - think of some fabulous fold-ins such as pineapple or olives - the #GuacSquad12's creations will make your mouth water.

Here's are the GuacSquad Bloggers...
listed alphabetically by blog name

Here's the blog tour schedule...

Join Us On Twitter...
Join us for a live Twitter chat on Saturday, July 16th at 7am Pacific/10am Eastern. We'll be talking guac for an hour!

Here are Our Sponsors*...
and how you can find them around the internet

on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Pinterest

Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram, on Google+

Melissa's Produce
on the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Pinterest, on Instagram

Here are Our Prizes...
We are giving away a dozen - yes, twelve! - Guac-Lock™s from Casabella.

And we have an amazing prize package from Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices that includes their entire collection of stir in pastes and their lightly dried herbs.

The Giveaway...
Our generous sponsors have contributed prizes for this event. The giveaway runs from July 8th through July 25th when we will select thirteen winners who will be notified by email. The first twelve winners will receive the Guac-Lock™ by Casabella; the thirteenth winner will receive a generous prize package from Gourmet Garden Herbs & Spices. No purchase necessary. Winners will have 48 hours to reply with contact information or new winner will be chosen. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: Bloggers received complimentary products from sponsors for the creation of this event. This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.
Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are our own.*

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

#FoodieExtravaganza ~ Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts

Foodie Extravaganza
Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you're a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

July has arrived and that means it's time for another #FoodieExtravaganza! Each month we take turns hosting and selecting a foodie holiday associated with that month. Somehow in all the planning July was overlooked so in a mad dash in the second half of June, Lauren of From Gate to Plate told us to celebrate the doughnut. If anyone is keeping score, National Doughnut Day is actually the first Friday in June, but none of us are complaining to be celebrating one of America's favorite breakfast treats today. July is National Culinary Arts month so let's just go with that. Also in July: Fried Chicken Day (today, the 6th), Blueberry Muffin Day (the 11th), and Junk Food Day (the 21st).

I have a pinterest board dedicated to donuts. I love donuts. I rarely eat them. But I love them! I thought this would be a good chance to step out of my comfort zone a little and try something extra special.

I very rarely fry food in my house, but this recipe looked so incredibly tempting I couldn't pass it up. Plus it finally gave me the chance to cross an item off my culinary "to-make" wish list - lemon curd! Oh my, oh my... it's ahhhh-mazing. I don't know what I was waiting for. With a bit of elbow grease I created one of the best things to come out of my kitchen in awhile last night. Yumm.

Look at these incredible options that are being shared today:
Gluten-Free Matcha Doughnuts - Three Ways! by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Raspberry Cookies n Cream Baked Doughnuts by Baking in Pyjamas
Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts by Making Miracles
Chocolate Snickerdoodle Doughnuts by Sew You Think You Can Cook
Baked S'mores Doughnuts by Tara's Multicultural Table
Strawberry Shortcake Donut Tarts by Fearlessly Creative Mammas
Breakfast Donut Burger by From Gate to Plate
Cake Mix Donuts by I'm Hungry
Doughnut Trifle by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Watermelon Doughnuts by The Freshman Cook
Baked Cherry Lemon Donuts by Caroline's Cooking
Orange Glace Donuts by Basic N Delicious
Medhu Vada - Savory Lentil Doughnut by Sneha's Recipe

Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts adapted from A Happy Food Dance
1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
⅔ cups milk, at room temperature
3½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
⅓ cup sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 eggs
7 tablespoons butter, at room temperature, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
canola oil, for frying
Lemon Curd
zest of one lemon
1¼ cup sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
pinch of kosher salt
Poppy Seed Frosting
1¼ cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast and milk. Stir together briefly, then let sit for about 1 minute to dissolve the yeast.
  2. Add the flour, ⅓ cup of the sugar, the salt, and the eggs and mix on low speed for about 1 minute, or until the dough comes together. Then, still on low speed, mix for another 2 to 3 minutes to develop the dough further.
  3. Next, begin to add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to mix for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is soft and cohesive (add additional flour as necessary to make sure dough maintains a soft ball consistency so it will mix correctly in the bowl).
  4. Lightly flour two baking sheets. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch by 9-inch rectangle about ½" inch thick. Using a 2" round biscuit cutter, cut 24 donuts (re-roll dough out as needed until it is all used up).
  5. Arrange them on the prepared baking sheets and cover with kitchen towels.
  6. Place in a warm spot to proof for 2 to 3 hours, or until they are about doubled in height.
  7. When ready to fry, line a tray or baking sheet with paper towels.
  8. Pour the oil to a depth of about 3 inches into a large, heavy bottom saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees on a fry thermometer.
  9. Working in batches, place the donuts in the hot oil, being careful not to crowd them. Fry them for 90 seconds to 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
  10. Gently flip and fry them for another 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the donuts to the prepared tray and let cool completely.  
  11. Check your donuts - if they are not cooked all the way through in the middle, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place donuts on clean baking sheet and cook in 5 minute increments until cooked all the way through.
Lemon Curd
  1. Peel a lemon, leaving peel in large chunks.
  2. In a large bowl whisk the eggs, then add in remaining curd ingredients. Set over a pot of boiling water. Whisk together over the heat until the lemon curd thickens and coats the back of a spoon. This will take 15-20 minutes.
  3. Once thickened, discard lemon zest and strain through a fine mesh sieve.
  4. Refrigerate until cool.
Poppy Seed Frosting
  1. In a small bowl, combine the frosting ingredients and whisk till smooth.
To Assemble
  1. Once the donuts and lemon curd are completely cool, poke a small hole in the side of each donut and create a little space in the middle of the donut for the curd (a child's medicine syringe works really well for this - about 2 tsp of filling seemed about right per donut for me).
  2. Fill donuts with desired amount of curd.
  3. Set donuts on top of a wire rack and spoon poppy seed frosting over top.
  4. Let set just enough for frosting to harden and then serve. These are best served immediately after frosting. (If you are not going to eat immediately, do not fill and frost until ready to serve).