Monday, June 27, 2016

Home with Hyer Wools

Last week was a special week for us as we got to go home. Home to Cameron's parents house. Home to where I spent my childhood. Home to where we were married. Home with people we love.


When my family moved from Edgewood, I thought for sure I'd never find home again. My 14 year old heart was broken. Through the years and the moves though I've learned that home isn't just a place, though it can be. Home, for me, is where my loved ones are. Home is where my heart is. So now home for me is Northern AZ with my little family of 4. Home is my memories of EAC. Home is visiting my parents. Home is being with Cameron's parents. Home is The Ranch. Home is all over. And that makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world to get to call so many places Home.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tried it Tuesday: The Great 2016 Zucchini Bread Catastrophe

While we have expanded the scope of our blog to more than just "Pinterest Projects Gone Wrong", we definitely don't want to get rid of those all together! We still have them. We know some of you still have them! 

Most of the crazy pins have been debunked...but sometimes, despite best efforts, even these normal pins turn on one of us every now and again. 

Today, we have a Pinstrosity for you from Rachel in the Sonoran Desert!

"There are so many places where I could start this story, but I guess that I'll begin it at the point in which my friend Liz gave me like eight zucchini from a stash she bought from a local non-profit called Produce on Wheels - Without Waste (POWWOW) which sells 60 pounds of produce for $10 each Saturday in rotating locations in Central and Southern Arizona. There are many mass production farms here in Arizona and over the border in Mexico, and POWWOW "rescues" the extra produce from these farms, sells it to individuals, and then uses those funds to supply food for Borderlands Food Bank. This produce is close to expiration, so you have to use it quickly. Liz saddled me with lots of zukes, so I needed to come up with something quick.

Flash backward about a week when, at my work's end-of-year (school teacher, here!) potluck, a colleague made the most delicious zucchini bread EVER. I mean, I had to physically restrain myself from eating too much of it. It had the perfect level of spice, and sweetness, and it was moist and...I could go on.

When Liz gave me the zucchini, I had a certain level of excitement usually reserved when one finds a $10 in the pocket of a pair of paints that just went through the wash. I didn't have my colleague's recipe, so I headed to trusty Pinterest. No one's ever had a pin go bad from Pinterest, right?! ;-)

I looked through a bunch of recipes and found this one. The lady literally calls it the best - even better than her own mother's recipe. I don't know about you, but there are few people who can only come close to recipes my mother (grandmother and aunt, too!) perfected. After reading through everything - even the comments - this seemed fairly fool-proof, as I'm an adept baker (I worked in a bakery for five years in high school and college). 

I double and triple checked the ingredients and method. I tasted the batter, and it tasted delicious! I set my timer for 30 minutes, though the recipe calls for 45, because oven times vary. I wound up resetting the timer for the additional 15 in five-minute intervals. I did the toothpick test, and it came out clean. The bread looked set, there was no jiggling. I thought I had serious success. And I clearly did not anticipate failure because I took no pictures along the process.

I let the bread cool on the counter while I packed up the kiddos and went grocery shopping, daydreaming of the zucchini bread I was going to try to sneak while my kids weren't looking (because, let's be real, it should be called zucchini cake not zucchini bread).

We got home from shopping about the same time as my husband from work, and as he's helping to bring the groceries into the house, he made an off-hand comment being sorry. I thought he meant about not being able to go shopping with us.

What he really meant was the Grand Zucchini Canyon."


That is a straight-up cavern. The ENTIRE center of the bread collapsed on both loaves. It was as hollow as my zucchini-bread-desperate heart. I tasted a piece of the baked, non-deflated portion, and it did taste delicious. 

I have no clue what happened, as I followed the recipe verbatim. I will not let this deter me, though, as I'm on the hunt for a new, fool-proof recipe (please send them my way!).


I'd never had this happen to me either! So I took to Google and found a number of excellent articles about why quick breads may fall in the middle!

For a great "diagnostics" on a zucchini bread that just kept falling, check out this link!

The three main culprits I'm reading about for sinking quick breads are:

  1. Too much moisture. 
  2. Too much batter in the pan
  3. Over mixing the batter. 
1. Too much moisture

This can come from the zucchini itself, or from too much sugar in the recipe! Again, check the link above for a great conversation about this very topic. Try pressing the zucchini between paper towels to reduce water content, and reducing sugar (1 1/2 cups for 2 loves often does the trick). 

2. Too much batter in the pan. 

As the bread rises, it clings to the sides of the pan and then forms the top crust from there. If the rising bread runs out of pan to cling to too early in the baking, it won't have strong enough sides to support the middle an you'll get a bread canyon. 

3. Overmixing. 

Hand mixing or slow mixing until the ingredients are just combined is the way to go. Too much air introduced into the batter makes for uneven rising and can cause a collapse.

But, as Rachel said...even though it's not pretty...they usually still do taste great! You know what I'd do with that cavern? Fill it with a cream cheese or custard filling like that was the point all along. ;) 

Thanks Rachel for sending us your Pinstrosity!