Choco-Zucchini Cupcakes

Here's the recipe from Better Homes & Gardens. They turned out so yummy, I just had to share! The frosting is especially tasty!

Nonstick cooking spray (optional)
2 cups shredded zucchini (8 oz.)
3 eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup cooking oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup milk chocolate pieces (optional)
1 recipe Peanut Butter Frosting (below)

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line twenty-four 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with a double or single layer of paper bake cups or lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl stir together zucchini, eggs, granulated sugar, oil and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and, if using, chocolate pieces; stir until combined. Spoon batter into prepared cups, filling cups about half full. Bake about 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from cups. Cool completely. Frost with Peanut Butter Frosting. Makes 24.

Peanut Butter Frosting Beat 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup softened butter, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, beating until combined. If necessary, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons additional milk until desired consistency.

Do you have any fun zucchini recipes? Please share if you do!



We have inherited a vegetable garden with our new place, and I'm convinced that the zucchini plant is on the verge of a hostile take over! I need to tame it soon or else our cherry tomato plant may die from lack of sunlight as well as our bell peppers! So, the other night I went out to get some veggies for dinner and found these two HUGE zucchinis...if I owned a machete, I would have used it! Instead, I just sawed thru the stem with a large knife. We ate half of one with our dinner and Brad made two loaves of YUMMY (did I say YUMMY?) zucchini bread with the other half. We have yet to eat the other one! It is taking up quite a bit of counter space so I hope to use it soon. I found a recipe for chocolate zucchini cupcakes with peanut butter frosting in my Better Homes & Gardens magazine...it was award winning...so maybe we'll give that a try. Until then, we will just admire that huge vegetable on the counter top. Here are a couple pictures of Jakob holding them...just so you can get an idea of how big they were!

Hmmmm...I see a "World's Strongest Man" competition in his future!!!!!!! (By the way...that is one of my favorite things to watch! Those guys are AMAZING!)


Our Utah Trip

Well, we got all moved in to our new place, and then took off on a trip to Utah 5 days later! We left on Thursday night (June 28th) a little later than we had planned...but isn't that how it always goes? We drove to Mesquite and spent the night, well actually morning since we didn't get into our room until after 3am! Then we woke up and were back on the road on Friday by 10am. So we made it to Lehi by the afternoon and overall the boys did really well. Needless to say Brad and I were exhausted after the drive, but we were grateful to have made it safely. When we arrived we were very pleased to find out that we would be having Cafe Rio for dinner! (that is a MUST for us when we go to Utah...) All the cousins played together and then we went to bed.

Saturday morning we drove up to Layton, and went swimming at the Layton Surf & Swim with my brother Joe, his wife Lisa, their boys Taylor & Hunter, my sister Sonya, my brother John, my Mom and my sister Heather's kids: Cameron, Hannah, Emma and Brynna. Those waves were so cool and Jakob and Joshy loved it. All the kids had a blast. After that we went back to my mom's house (a.k.a. Joe & Lisa's) for a BBQ. That was really fun to be together with everyone...Heather & Curtis made it up to Layton in time for dinner and some visiting. (They just moved into a new house! I guess moving is the cool thing to do these days!) :) After dinner we had a scare when Hunter (2 yrs old) was nowhere to be found. Everyone was frantically searching and about 20-30 minutes later my little brother John found him up on the mountain...that little RASCAL! Every terrible and horrifying thought was going through my head while we were looking...and I admit I was panicked. I just kept praying that he was alright and that we'd find him safe and sound -- as I'm sure everyone else who was looking for him was doing too! Thank goodness he was fine and we all were so relieved when we saw him again!

Monday (July 2) we went up to the Bingham Copper Mine. I went there almost 10 years ago and was amazed at what I saw...so now that I have 2 little boys who love dump trucks and anything to do with digging/construction I knew they would love it. It was really fun and Jakob still says that was his favorite part of our trip! I guess we'll be going back there again next time we venture up to Utah! That afternoon we went down to BYU to go bowling. (It was nice to be in the A/C !!!!) The kids had fun and so did the adults...I can't remember my score but I know it was around 115 or 120. I was proud of myself! Joshy was pretty funny to watch because he would put his ball on the ramp, push it and then run away. He didn't even care to watch how many pins were knocked down! Jakob on the other hand was pretty aware of the fact that the more pins knocked down the better...so he was more into it.

Tuesday (July 3) I went to the Mt. Timpanogos Temple with Joann, Sara and Evaly. We had a really cool experience meeting a girl who had recently returned from her mission to Croatia and knows a family that we know. It was so awesome talking to her and hearing about her feelings and experiences over there. That particular family is special to us because not only did Brad baptize Lidija, but she is a relative! I loved being in Slovenia and I love the people there...I love hearing about them and how valiant they are! Later that afternoon we went to the Dinosaur Museum at Thanksgiving Point. This is a favorite activity of alot of the grandkids/cousins and so it was one of the required activities for our trip. One of the other required activities was fishing... So, Uncle Curtis was nice enough to teach Jakob how to fish. I think Jakob loved it and was so thrilled to catch his first fish! (Even if it was TINY!) Thanks Curtis! Jakob told me that we can't fish in California because there's no water. That crazy kid! So, we'll have to take him fishing down here sometime and show him the water!

Wednesday (July 4) we woke up bright and early to go see the hot air balloons launch in Provo. We got there just in time...however Brad and Heather (or should I say the chauffers) weren't lucky enough to see the launch. They were circling around looking for parking. It all happened so fast and I think we were done within 20 minutes. The kids loved it and especially loved the Piggy Balloon. I personally would love to go on a ride someday...but we'll see if that ever happens! The 4th of July happens to be my nephew Cameron's birthday! So we all met at the Scerra Pool to celebrate and have fun swimming. Jakob and Joshy were in heaven, they loved it! Then that night we had a BBQ and lit fireworks. It was fun but I was pooped and ended up taking Josh inside to go to bed. So we didn't get to see the grand finale. Oh well...there's always next year! (Or Big Bang Friday at the Angels' games!)

Thursday (July 5) morning we went over to my sister Heather's new house in Lindon. They just moved in, but have been remodeling it for months. Since I never saw what it looked like to begin with, I can't really appreciate all the work that went into it, but I was VERY impressed with how nice everything was and am proud of my sister for all of her hard work! It was good to visit with her and my mom again and to let the kids play together for a while too. That afternoon was the official start of the Hanson Reunion. We went to the Temple and then to dinner at Los Hermanos (in Lindon) that night. It was fun to see everyone and to eat some yummy food. Then later that night we went to see Transformers...at 10:20pm. Not a good idea for me...I was so tired and couldn't stay awake. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't boring at all, I was just exhausted!

Friday (july 6) I went to visit my good friend Carrie who I used to work with at Continental. I hadn't seen her in quite a long time...so it was great to visit and let our boys play together. I hope we can visit again soon! That afternoon we went to the Veterans Memorial Pool in Provo. That was great...another really cheap ($3) pool that the kids love. My sister in law, Maria has a waterproof digital camera that she took pictures on...so I hope to get copies soon! That night we went to Rock Canyon Park for a BBQ with all of the Hansons...it was SO hot and we were all so drained from a day out in the sun. THe kids did have fun playing with water balloons and attempting to have a balloon toss. Jakob didn't quite understand that you're supposed to throw it softly underhand to your partner...not pitch it to them! Oh well, they had fun and it's always great to spend time with family.

Saturday (july 7) we met at a church building for the reunion and had lunch while the kids played volleyball (or something like it) and ran around acting crazy. It was fun to visit a little bit and to see all the kids together. Then we went home for naps and came back that evening for dinner and more visiting. That was really nice too and I thought it was especially nice to hear John (Bruce's cousin?) read some of his poetry. I need to get my hands on the one about a visit from Santa. When/if I do, I will post it. I loved it! Well that was the end of the reunion and I guess we'll be having another one in 2 years??? We'll see. It didn't seem like as many people were there this year...so who knows.

Our plan was to drive home on Sunday (July 8) but when we heard about I-15 being closed because of wild fires we decided not to chance it. So we waited to drive home until Monday morning and had a nice easy, relaxed drive home. We had a lot of fun seeing everyone and are very grateful to Brad's parents for a comfortable place to stay while we were there!!! Now I'm just wondering when the next Mortensen reunion is??????

Becoming Jane

This movie comes out in about a month...I'M SO EXCITED!

Check out the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYViBfUvSOA

Any of you out there interested in going with me for a girls' night out? (Brad would NEVER go see this with me...)


Tagged again!

1. Discovery Zone - Birthday Party Hostess (Jr.-Sr. years in H.S.)
2. Carousel Flower Market (Sr. Year)
3. Gallup Organization (Public Survey company - Sr. Year)
4. Continental Airlines - Ramp (IAH) and Reservations (SLC)

1. Pride and Prejudice - A&E version OR Keira Knightly version
2. The Cutting Edge
3. The Saint
4. Billy Madison

1. Danville, CA
2. Littleton, CO
3. Spring, TX
4. Tempe, AZ

1. So You Think You Can Dance
3. Medium
4. pretty much anything on HGTV or Foodnetwork

1. Fresh fruit - ANY kind
2. dark chocolate
3. Zucchini
4. cheese

1. hotmail
2. myspace
3. my blog & friends' blogs
4. craigslist - i love to browse!

1. at a salon getting a new hair style
2. on a cruise
3. in bed taking a nap
4. the container store or somewhere like it shopping for things to organize my stuff!


I just tagged some people on that last one...so I'm not going to tag anyone this time! 2 tags in one day just wouldn't be fair! But if you want to repost this with your answers, feel free!

7 Random Facts About Me

Ok Carrie -- I know it took me a while, but I finally got around to it!

Instructions: These are the rules…. each player starts with 7 random facts about themselves on their Blog. People who are tagged need to blog 7 facts about themselves and post the rules as well. At the end of their blog list 7 people you are tagging. Let them know that they are tagged by leaving them a comment.

1. I have freckles in weird places, one on the bottom of my foot, one on my ring finger (palm side), and one on my lip - like literally ON my lip - the pink part.

2. Most of you probably know this, but I played rugby for two years while I was in college. I loved it and I miss it. I'd love to play again, but I am not in shape (AND I'm pregnant!), my husband forbids it (I got injured alot!), and I don't want to be around all the swearing, beer and people with lifestyles that I don't agree with. (How's that for PC?)

3. If I wasn't a mom, I would be traveling the world right now. (don't get me wrong, I LOVE being a mom...but I've always dreamed of seeing the world and that dream never included toddlers tagging along!) :)

4. I have my fair share of pet peeves, but one that encourages me to set a good example for my kids is to always be polite and courteous. I can't stand rude people - you know, the ones who are rude just because they are rude. The ones who never say "please" or "thank-you" or who throw trash on the ground when there is a trash can 5 feet away or the ones who stand right outside your living room window (which is open) and smoke every 20 minutes....Ok, so there are a lot of pet peeves that can fall into the "rude" category...but you get my drift. I just feel like it IS important to always be considerate of other people if you expect people to be considerate of you.

5. When I was 8 years old I was carrying my little brother on my back running down a hill with a creek at the bottom. A few feet from the creek the grass became very wet and soggy/muddy and I slipped and fell and hit my head on some rocks. Blood was gushing everywhere and I was rushed to the ER where I watched in a mirror overhead as the doctor shaved my hair, and put stitches in. (I used to think I had 75 stitches, but for some reason I think that was exaggerated...) Anyway, the result is that I now have 2 inch scar on my head - and oh yeah, there is a freckle/mole on it. see, I do have freckles in weird places!

6. Another one of my dreams has been to own a harley - or to have a souped up car like the ones on the fast and the furious. When I had my old honda I used to imagine it getting pimped on "Pimp My Ride" and how cool that would be. I don't know about street racing, but just having the cool car would be so much fun! Can you imagine one of those cars with 2 carseats in the back? HA!

7. I have a collection of about 80-90 menus. It started in high school -- some of my friends used to collect them, so I started it too. Well, I still have all of those menus and hope to do something cool with them some day!

Ok, I don't know 7 people with blogs, so I am only tagging these 4:

1. Jodi
2. Evaly
3. Jennifer B.
4. Kay


Similes and Metaphors

A friend emailed this to me and I got such a kick out of it I wanted to share it with all of you.

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual similes and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement ofteachers across the country. Here are last year's winners:

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the countryspeaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other fromTopeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.
18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are known to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
23. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.


My 1st Baby

(This was taken from my friend Carrie's blog...I just wanted to fill it out too!)

1. Was your first pregnancy planned? yes
2. Were you married at the time? Yep
3. What were your reactions at first? I was excited and nervous!
4. Was abortion an option? Nope
5. How old were you at the time? 24
6. How did you find out you were pregnant? Home test
7. Who did you tell first? Brad--who was almost immediately on the phone with his mom
.8. Did you want to find out the sex? Yes
9. Due Date? January 3, 2003
10. Did you deliver on time/early/late? 1 day late - although when he was born the doctor and nurses said he looked about a week late!
11. Did you have morning sickness? yeah, but it wasn't terrible and only lasted about the first 15 weeks
12. What did you need most during delivery? food, sleep and water!
13. Who irritated you the most? probably stupid people at work
14. What was your first child's gender? Male
15. Did you wish you had the opposite gender? no way
16. How many pounds did you gain during your pregnancy? about 45
17. Did you have a baby shower? Yes
18. Was it a surprise or did you know? I knew
19. Did you have any complications during labor? i had a fever, but felt OK I guess
20. Where did you give birth? St Marks
21. How may hours were you in labor? 18 1/2 hrs
22.Who drove you to the hospital? Brad
23.Who watched? Oh wow...EVERYONE! Brad, my mom, his mom, both of my sisters, my brother & his wife...I'm not sure if anyone else was there, but that room was packed!
24.Was it natural or c-section? Natural
25.Did you take medicine to ease the pain? yeah, it's called an EPIDURAL!
26. How much did the baby way? 10 lbs 1.4oz.
27.Did your baby have any complications? b/c of my fever his heartbeat was really fast for a while...and he was sunny side up...but then he flipped and delivered normally
28.What did you name him? Jakob Bradley.
29. How old is your first born? 4 1/2