You've heard of summer reading programs? When my kids were younger, we did a lot of them. One year we did programs at 3 different library systems in the DC area. Plus the one at Barnes and Noble and also through their elementary school. That was a busy reading summer.
You think keeping track of library books from one library is hard? Triple it! Boy do I love borrowing ebooks from the library and reading them on my Kindle these days.
Now that the kids are older, the summer reading program has morphed into a summer reading/cooking program. Once a week in the summer the kids are choosing a cookbook and fixing a recipe from it. They are welcome to search through my cookbook shelves, scan food blogs (I'm doing it, they may as well join me) or try our library. So far this summer we've had cake, grilled shrimp tacos, ice cream, and grilled chicken thighs. Now that I type that out, I can see a definite trend towards desserts and grilled meat. No wonder the fridge is bursting with vegetables! Good thing I'm also busy in the kitchen.
Just a shout out here in praise of public libraries: when we move to a new home, like we tend to do every 3-4 years on average, one of our first stops is the local library. We're lucky here--our library is less than 3 blocks from home and carries an amazing selection in a lovely old building. Hooray for the Wright Memorial Public Library!It was during such a summer recipe search that the kids came across the Cake Mix Doctor® books by Anne Byrn. I love how there's a color photo of each cake at the beginning of the book and I can honestly say we've loved every cake we've made from her books. And this is an unsolicited/uncompensated review! Making a Cake Mix Doctor® cake is about as easy as following the directions on the box--so, a good learning tool for my kids--but the result is so much better.
It was with this idea in mind that I set out to the library one morning. I needed to bring a dessert, had seen this recipe, and had shredded zucchini (I put up my extra by shredding and freezing, for use year round) thawing on the counter. Tragically, I didn't have the key ingredients (namely, I was out of all purpose flour and unsweetened chocolate). While looking in the pantry for a box of cake flour, I came across a box of forgotten spice cake mix and remembered the Cake Mix Doctor®. Fifteen minutes later I was on the floor in the library with 3 Cake Mix Doctor® books spread open in front of me, debating the merits of 4 different cake recipes involving shredded zucchini.
I ended up checking out The Cake Mix Doctor Returns! by Anne Byrn, and adapting her Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake recipe based on what I had on hand. The folks at work, as well as my family, agreed it was delicious.What's not to love about a library?
Zucchini Triple Chip Spice Cakeadapted from The Cake Mix Doctor Returns!
hot chocolate mix and oil spray to prepare the pan
1 box spice cake mix (18.25 oz)--the original recipe calls for German Chocolate cake
1 box vanilla instant pudding mix (3.4 ounces)
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Penzey's Baking Spice (original recipe calls for cinnamon)
2 cups shredded zucchini, squeezed dry
1 cup chocolate chips (original recipe calls for mini chips, I used a combination of 1/4 cup mini chips, 1/4 cup Special Dark chips, and 1/2 cup 51% cacao chips because I was using up bags of chips)
confectioner's sugar for dusting--I'll ask my daughter how much she used
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a Bundt pan and shake some hot chocolate mix into the pan for dusting (I was out of flour, remember?). Tilt the pan to get the hot chocolate mix all over the pan, then dump out the excess. In a large bowl (my stand mixer) dump all the ingredients except zucchini, chocolate chips, and confectioner's sugar. Mix on low speed until the ingredients are combined. Stop and scrape the bowl, then continue on medium speed for another 1 1/2 minutes longer. Use the same scraper (spatula? My kids give me such grief over the proper terminology) to fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes until the top springs back when you press it, then set the pan on a wire rack to cool for another 15 minutes. Flip the pan over onto the rack, and leave it alone for a minute to loosen the cake from the pan. Remove the pan and let the cake cool completely. Transfer to a large plate and
Do you participate in a summer reading program? Do you deliberately read outside your favorite genre? As soon as the book arrives, I'll be participating in the Summer Book Club on HOMEGROWN.org and reading Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.
This post is shared with the Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up, What's Cookin' Wednesday, the From The Farm Blog Hop, What I am Eating, What's In The Box, the Clever Chicks Blog Hop, and Tasty Tuesdays.