Sunday, May 25, 2014

Zucchini cupcakes and carrot bread

We had a big neighborhood BBQ today. One of the upsides of living in an apartment complex is the sense of community.  I imagine it is what it was like when my mom and grandmother were young - neighbors all enjoying the afternoon, lounging and chatting while the kids run around. I'm sure that still exists in some neighborhoods, but it hasn't been the case for most of the ones I have lived in. Nor, ironically, most of the apartments I've lived in. I mean, sure we knew one or two neighbors, but it wasn't a real strong sense of community.

Mr. River is really good at building bonds and socializing with neighbors. He's just a likable guy and is very friendly and helpful to everyone. So that was a catalyst to getting to know some of our neighbors.

Plus, this year, we have several more neighbors with kids. So when I'm outside playing with the girls, the neighbors will trickle out and come play with us  (their balconies overlook the common lawns between our buildings). Previous years we have lived here, our neighbors had kids much older than ours or no kids at all. So our kids have become another catalyst to getting to know each other.

So today we had a big "block party" style BBQ. We had pollo asada tacos, cinnamon raisin couscous, fruit salad, and I made zucchini cupcakes and carrot bread. I hadn't ever used these recipes before but they turned out amazing :)

The zucchini cupcakes were made with this recipe. A few changes I made based on another reviewer - instead of 2 1/4 cup sugar, I used 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown. I used 3 cups of zucchini and barely blended it in. I also added about 2 tbsp of lemon zest because I wanted a bit of lemon to it. Then, I poured it into 12 muffin tins and 2 mini-loafs. I cooked at 350 for about 17 minutes for the cupcakes and 22 minutes for the mini-loafs. I added a bit of icing to them.

The carrot bread I made using this recipe. 

Well they were all gobbled up by the end of the BBQ, which is a sure sign that they were good!

The kids played during the BBQ.  A kiddie pool was set up, though it wasn't quite warm enough to swim. So the kids just splashed and played with toys in it. They also played on the slide, did sidewalk chalk, and of course lots of bicycle riding. There are a lot of paved sidewalks throughout the complex, and since they run through lawns - and not streets - you don't have to worry about cars or anything :) It was really a very very nice afternoon! We had about 8 different apartments come out and stay and various apartments and friends coming and going throughout the afternoon. I'm going to miss this when we move!

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