Sunday, January 11, 2009

Love, Ruby Lavender

"Good garden of peas!"

Ruby is a barefoot tomboy with a hankering for mischeif and a love for chickens. She and her grandma, Miss Eula, live in the sleepy town of Halleluia, Mississippi, where everyone knows each others' business and nothing exciting ever happens. When Miss Eula leaves for Hawaii, Ruby's world turns upside down. Ruby is left to fend for herself against the horrible Melba Jane and to raise two baby chicks on her very own. I loved reading the hilarious letters Ruby and Miss Eula write back and forth to each other and found myself yearning to live in Halleluia by the end of the book. If you find yourself speaking Ruby-lingo with a Southern accent, wearing overalls all day/every day, and plotting ways to steal chickens DO NOT FEAR. It happens to everyone who reads this.

Recipe to Read By:

Ruby's mom's Zucchini Bread (makes 2 loaves)

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice. Mix wet ingredients into dry, add nuts and fold in. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean.

Ruby's notes: Don't get any notions about sharing one of the loaves. They are GOOD and you'll eat 'em up quicker than you can say Halleluia, Mississippi. (For those of you priss-pants picky eaters: you can't taste the zucchini--I promise! Just eat it and quit your foolin'!)

*Recipe courtesy of Ruby's mom (who got it from Paula Deen of the Food Network--shhh, don't tell!)

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