Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chocolate Zucchini Bread & Pregnancy Makeover Voting

Two things I love right now...Being Pregnant and Baking! I am currently five months along with a beautiful baby girl. Now that I am in the second trimester I am feeling so much better and baking so much more. At a recent playdate, one of my close friends reminded me of the zucchini bread that I made for her family over a year ago. She said that her son loved it and she loved that he was getting veggies in his tummy :). So, I pulled out my recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Bread and make a double batch-with plenty to enjoy and some to share with my friends.

To shred the zucchini, I peeled and chopped up one zucchini in small pieces and then stuck the pieces in my mini chopster and let it do the "shredding" work for me. So easy! The zucchini can not be seen or tasted so you will definitly "succeed" in sneaking the veggies in your child's dessert :). I hope you enjoy the recipe! It is super yummy-loved by adults and kiddos!

After you stick your loaves in the oven, would you do me a favor and click over to this website: and click on the vote tab above my picture an story. Our local paper is sponsoring a Mommy Makeover Contest for moms who are pregnant now. You can vote once per hour. I would love to win the spa day package that they are giving away. Thanks so much!! Feel free to spread the word to everyone you know. Voting ends March 15th.

God Bless you my Friends! You are prayed for and loved dearly by your Heavenly Father!!

Psalm 127:4
"One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple."

Chocolate Zucchini Bread


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature

1/2 cup canola oil

3 eggs

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 cups grated zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray or grease 2 (9x5) inch loaf pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a mixer, cream the brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and oil until light, about 2 minutes. Mix in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and buttermilk. Mix in the flour mixture, then stir in the zucchini.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the oven for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the loaf comes out dry.

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert the bread onto a wire rack and turn right side up to cool completely. Enjoy!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Toasted Almond & Cashew Granola

I recently came across an Almond Granola recipe on Joy the Baker's website and decided to tweak it a little. She initially tweaked it from Martha Stewart's website so I figured I was allowed to do a little creative expression myself :). I used a mixture of cashews and almonds, but you could try any of your favorite nuts and I am sure that it would turn out great. I also adjusted the spices and used canola oil instead of vegetable oil. If you would prefer using Joy's recipe, you can find it here: (,

I made a huge batch of my version of the granola recently and packaged it in cute little Valentine Sealable containers. I sold the containers at a local craft fair for $5 apiece to raise money for our adoption. The Granola was loved by the attendees so much that I have already had repeat customers! It is very easy to make and would make a great breakfast cereal or as a topping to a yogurt parfait. You could even put some on top of ice cream to make your dessert semi-healthy or use it as a tasty trail mix :). Enjoy!

You are Prayed for my friends!!

Psalm 147:11
"The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. "

Toasted Almond Cashew Granola
Makes: 8 cups
(Adapted from joy the baker who adapted from martha stewart :))

4 cups old fashioned oats, not instant
1 cup slivered raw almonds
1 cup whole cashews

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place a rack in the upper third and middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Line one large or two small baking sheets with parchment paper (PLEASE NOTE: Parchment paper is not the same as Wax paper-make sure you use PARCHMENT ONLY) and set aside.

Whisk together oats, cashews, slivered almonds, sweetened coconut, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt together butter, oil, honey and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to boil. Carefully whisk together so it's well incorporated. Add the vanilla extract. Pour the warm mixture over the oat and almond mixture and toss together with a wooden spoon, ensuring that all of the oat mixture gets moistened by the sugar and oil mixture.

Spread mixture onto prepared baking sheet(s) and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, removing the oats to stir and toss on the pan twice during baking. Be careful not to over bake. Remove from the oven, let cool and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Serve as cereal, with yogurt or ice cream, or as a tasty trail mix.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Adoption Auction and Fundraising Opportunity

My wonderful friend, Elizabeth from Elizabeth Engelhardt Creations, is hosting an auction for an adorable girl's tutu and leggings with the proceeds going towards our adoption costs. Check out this link and place a bid :). We are so thankful for Elizabeth and her cousin's generous donations.

We have been so blessed to have Elizabeth Englehardt helping us raise money for our adoption costs.

Elizabeth has become a dear friend of our over the past two years. We were first put in contact with her when we were pregnant with Savannah and she made Savannah's birth announcements. You can see just how beautiful and special they were by clicking here:

Not only is Elizabeth hosting an auction for us, but she has so kindly offered to give all proceeds of orders that you place directly to us for our adoption. She does amazing work-thank you cards, baby books, birthday invitations, baby announcements, scrapbook pages, bookmarks, postcards, etc... Every order is custom made and she will make them exactly the way you would like them. So, hop over to her website and take a look. If you decide to place an order then please put "Emma Burrell" in your order notes. And, while you are there, take a moment to pray for her sweet family that God's love will be poured out in abundance on them as they seek to serve and help others. Elizabeth's button is on the corner of this just click it and you will be taken directly to her website. If you have any questions then just email me at .

We are so thankful for Elizabeth and her cousin's generous donations. I continue to be amazed at the generosity of people who have never met us yet are so willing to help us bring our Emma home. God's love is shining through people like Elizabeth and her cousin!
If you would like to get updates about our adoption process, then just go here to our adoption blog:

Praying her home,
Darin, Christina and Jaythan

Monday, February 7, 2011

Nothing says Happy Valentines Day like Double Chocolate Muffins for Breakfast!

Another New Muffin Favorite of ours and a HUGE HIT in our Sunday School class at church are these DOUBLE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS. These would be a delectable treat to serve to your family for breakfast on Valentines Day :). Everyone knows that Chocolate is the food of LOVE :).

I am not sure where I came across the recipe, but I love that you use Self-Rising Flour instead of All-Purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. It just makes things so much easier. I also love the way the muffin tops have a nice shine to them when you use self-rising flour. In case you are new to baking, self-rising flour eliminates the need for baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a recipe. It is often used when making fruit cobblers.

When I make these muffins, I use white chocolate chips which gives the muffin a slightly sweet flavor and makes them look especially pretty when baked :). You could also use regular chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, butterscotch chips, or the Reeses Peanut Butter chips. I am sure all of the above would taste delicious. These muffins are best served warm with a big glass of cold milk. They are loved by kiddos and adults.

So, show some love this Valentines day, bake a batch of these yummy treats, and serve them on a heart-shaped plate. Your Valentine will surely reward you :)! Enjoy!

You are prayed for and loved!

Double Chocolate Muffins


2 Cups Self Rising Flour *
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Milk
3/4 Cup Cocoa Powder (I use Hersheys Dark Chocolate Cocoa)
1 Egg
1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine or butter, melted
1 -1/2 cups chocolate chips (white, chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, etc..)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In large bowl combine flour, sugar, and cocoa powder. In separate bowl mix together melted margarine, egg, milk, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir to mix well. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter among greased muffin cups or a muffin tin lined with muffin papers. Bake at 400 degrees for twenty minutes. Makes about 18 regular-sized muffins or 8 jumbo muffins.