Archive for September, 2010

  • The Marriage Prayer

    Date: 2010.09.27 | Category: faith, marriage | Response: 0

    I came across this marriage prayer on a blog today and loved it so much I personalized it by inserting our names into it.  I would love to begin praying this with my husband and see how God answers our prayers.  The prayer came from http://lysaterkeurst.com/ which I found through today’s (in)courage post http://www.incourage.me/2010/09/things-that-seem-so-small.html#comment-37709 which I loved!  (If you haven’t been reading the (in)courage posts I recommend you skim through the site.  I am really enjoying the encouragement and challenges here.)

    The Marriage Prayer

    Father in Heaven, thank you for our commitment to Christian marriage. As we look ahead, we pray that our future will never lack the convictions that make a marriage strong.

    Bless my husband, Chris. Bless him as provider and protector. Sustain him in all the pressures that come with the task of stewarding a family. May his strength be my boast and pride, and may he so live that I may find in him the haven for which my heart truly longs.

    Bless my wife, Melody. Give her a tenderness that makes her great, a deep sense of understanding, and a strong faith in You. Give her that inner beauty of soul that never fades, that eternal youth that is found in holding fast to the things that never age. May she so live that I may be pleased to reverence her in the shrine of my heart.

    Teach us that marriage is not living for each other. It is two people uniting and joining hands to serve You. Give us a great spiritual purpose in life. May we seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, knowing that You will sustain us through all of life’s challenges.

    May we minimize each other’s weaknesses and be swift to praise and magnify each other’s strengths so that we might view each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes. Help us every day to be kind and gentle, more like Thee. Give us a little something to forgive each day, that their love might learn to be long-suffering.

    Bless us and develop our characters as they walk together with You. Give us enough hurts to keep us humane, enough failures to keep our hands clenched tightly in Yours, and enough of success to make us sure we walk with You throughout all of our life.

    May we never take each other’s love for granted but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims. “Out of all this world, you have chosen me.” Then, when life is done and the sun is setting, may we be found then as now, still hand in hand, still very proud, still thanking You for each other.

    May we travel together as friends and lovers, brother and sister, husband and wife, father and mother, and as servants of Christ until He shall return or until that day when one shall lay the other into the arms of God. This we ask through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, the great lover of our souls. Amen.

    Pray with me and see what God has in store for your marriage!

    melody

  • The Terrible/Terrific Twos

    Date: 2010.09.26 | Category: parenting | Response: 2

    Ok, I admit it.  I was getting cocky.  Up until now my babies have both been easy.  Maybe it’s the combination of natural maternal instincts and babies with an easy temperament, but I thought I had this mothering thing pretty well under control.  I wasn’t too worried about the toddler years either.  After all, I watched my sister’s three boys during their toddler years.  I babysat neighborhood kids all the time.  I worked in the 2 1/2 to 3 year old classroom in the church nursery for years!

    And then my son turned two.

    I swear- someone must have sat him down on his birthday and laid it all out for him.  “Ok JT, now that you’re two things are going to have to change around here.  This sweet disposition isn’t going to cut it anymore.  Here’s what I want you to do.  Ask your mom for something and then as soon as she gives it to you start crying and whining that you don’t want it.  When you’re frustrated don’t use your words, just throw yourself down and start screeching and screaming.  When your mom is busy with something else you need to push your cousin and steal his toy or get into the dog food or empty the whole kitchen pantry or beg to be picked up.  Insist on drinking from a big cup and proceed to dump water down your shirt, then cry until someone changes your clothes.  Run away from your mom when she calls you.  Ask to sit on the big boy potty and then refuse to get off.  Wake up at 5:30 in the morning and kick the door until someone comes to get you.”  And then I can just imagine this person giving him one more piece of encouragement, “I’m sure you can come up with things even more horrible than these.  I have faith in you!”

    Is it just my imagination or did someone steal my darling little boy and replace him with another model?  But more importantly, why does it frustrate me so?  Rarely is any one act that bad.  Really, even when I look back over a day, there are very few that I would say had more than 30-60 minutes of bad behavior (although there have been several days in which I’m sure the misbehavior started before dawn and didn’t end until the sun went down).  And yet there are moments when I can not handle it!  I just can not take one more moment of his attitude or whining or screeching.  (Oooooh, and it’s the screeching that really gets me the most- good golly you’d think he was driving a needle into my ear!)

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this the past few weeks.  And praying.  And talking with friends.

    I wonder if part of it is that I can’t control him anymore.  He’s no longer my little baby to dress up and parade around and show off for the amusement of others.  He has free will and lots of it!  He’s developing his own preferences and ideas and routines.  His plans don’t necessarily have anything to do with my plans.  I’m in a hurry to get to church?  Well he’s in the mood to pick out his own clothes and sit on the potty and lollygag over breakfast!  I need a moment of peace to feed Kate?  Well he needs me to help him build a tower using every block we own- right that minute!  My hands are full and I can’t carry him up the stairs?  Well JT doesn’t want to walk, he wants to be carried too!

    I think there is also an element of fear.  I have to let him grow up.  I have to let JT go out into our big scary world and learn things for himself.  Now is the time when he’s going to start picking up bad habits at school and trying them out at home.  Now is the time when he’s realizing that he is completely independent of me.  He is not just an extension of me, he’s his own being.  He’s a big boy!  Just because I say that dinner is yummy doesn’t mean he thinks so anymore.  He has to decide for himself what he wants and likes and will do.

    Then there’s the fact that things are awfully busy around here.  Last year we were over scheduled.  I’ve had to make some adjustments this year for everyone’s sanity.  We all needed a few mornings a week to play in our pajamas for an hour before breakfast.  We needed the flexibility to schedule a last minute play date with our friends.  The freedom to take a 3 hour nap in the afternoon.  Even with our downsized schedule he goes to gymnastics and preschool and church and auntie’s house every week.  He spends 3 days a week with his 3 year old and 1 year old cousins and every day with his 7 month old sister.  It’s hard for him to capture my full attention and keep it for more than a few minutes.

    I know that by definition toddlers are curious and impulsive and easily frustrated and lack good reasoning skills.  I know this.  But man it’s frustrating to spend 20 minutes cleaning up the dog food and water that my toddler dumped out on the kitchen floor only to have him dump out his Cheerios 2 minutes later.  Two days in a row.  It makes me crazy when I’m trying to get us all out the door and my son won’t lie still for a last minute diaper change.  It infuriates me when my son grabs a toy from my nephew and then pushes him and knocks him over- only minutes after receiving a time out for the very same infraction!  Or when he grabs my water cup and then runs away with it when I tell him to hand it back to me and then dumps water all over himself and then whines and cries until I put dry clothes on him.  These things make me crazy!  They really do.

    I never really understood it when other moms would complain about these things.  They just don’t sound like a big deal, really.  And it’s not a big deal really.  But it’s so very frustrating!

    I wonder if the bottom line is my relationship with God.  Would I have more patience if I spent the first 30 minutes of my day in communion with MY Father?  Would I be able to extend more grace if I meditated more often on the grace that Christ extends to me?  Would I see beyond the behavior to the source of his frustration if I were listening for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit?  I think the answer is yes.  I suspect that if I would realign my priorities with those of God I wouldn’t be in such a hurry for nap time to come around.  If I would be intentional in my time with my son I would connect with him on a deeper level.

    Maybe it’s time for an experiment.  Perhaps I can set my alarm for 10 minutes earlier and go back to having a daily quiet time.  Maybe I can set aside 30 minutes a day to play one on one with my son and really pay attention to him.  Maybe I can stop and put myself in his shoes when he is acting out.  Try to understand what it feels like to be 2 and have someone else be the boss of me.  Maybe I can laugh instead of yell.  Join in instead of checking my email.  Slow down instead of hurrying on to the next thing.

    I think I’m going to give it a try this week.

    Maybe you can join me.

    melody

  • A living testimony

    Date: 2010.09.23 | Category: faith, friends | Response: 0

    Last night was the launch of a new women’s ministry at my church.  I am super excited about this for several reasons-

    1. My girlfriend Tricia is the main speaker and organizer
    2. I LOVE my girlies and can’t get enough time with them
    3. I would love to develop relationships with more women at my church
    4. I need to get out for the evening and laugh and talk and eat dessert once in a while
    5. What a great way to invite pre-believers to a low key event where they can hear about Jesus and meet other women in a non-threatening way

    For this first meeting we needed a woman to give her testimony.  I volunteered.  I was chosen.  Now I knew this was coming up for at least 3 weeks.  I literally did not start thinking about it until the night before.  That’s how I deal with public speaking- I pretend that it’s not going to happen until the last moment possible!  Lucky for me I have given my testimony a few times in the past year, so I had it all in a Word doc and just needed to review it and tweak it a little bit for my audience.

    Last night as I was laying in bed it occurred to me that those of you out there in the world wide web might like to hear how God redeemed my life almost 20 years ago and some of the things He’s done with me since then.  So here it is- out there- for the whole world to see.  Me.  (and more importantly, God)

    Hi, my name is Melody Benschoter.  I’m married to Chris and have the two most adorable children in the world, JT who is 2 years old and Kate who is 7 months old.  I’ve been attending South Fellowship since we moved to Colorado 3 years ago.  Tonight I want to share my testimony of how God has redeemed my life and how He’s spoken to me over the years.

    My mom would tell you that even as a very young child I never seemed to get enough attention or affection, and I was the type of kid who always had to learn each lesson the hard way.  Although I grew up in a Christian home and I knew better, I began to look to boyfriends to find my approval and to get my fill of acceptance.  I became very rebellious- especially through middle and high school.  I became sexually active at 14, experimented with alcohol and drugs, cut school frequently, lied to my parents constantly, and generally did whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to do it.  During my sophomore year in college my boyfriend of 2 1/2 years (and the guy I thought I would marry) broke up with me and moved in with my best friend.  At that point I was about as miserable and empty as possible.  As I was praying one night in desperation I heard God clearly say to me “You have chosen to fill your life with the wrong people and activities for all these years, and now you have nothing left.  You can either choose the same type of people to fill your life with again or you can choose ME.”  Starting that night I chose to cling to God and try things His way.  My sister had been urging me to attend a college bible study at our church and it just so happened that I was suddenly free on Wednesday nights.  On a whim I decided to go and found myself crying in a room full of casual acquaintances!  These girls welcomed me and were willing to walk with me on my new path and encourage me as I began my Christian faith.  Over those first few years I developed deep friendships and mentoring relationships that helped me find value in who I am in Christ and showed me that true joy can be found in Him.

    One of the things I started doing was praying and journaling my prayers.  I used these journals as a way to keep my prayer time focused- to prevent my mind from wandering- and to give me a way to look back and see how God was answering my prayers.  I was coming from a place of real bitterness and heartache, and I also recognized how foolish I had been for the first 19 years of my life.  One of the things I prayed for daily was that God would bless me with inner peace and wisdom.  I knew that God had honored Solomon’s prayers for wisdom and hoped that He would honor mine as well.  I also claimed Philippians 2:14-16 as my life verse.

    14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

    I really liked the reminder to become someone who does things pleasantly… without complaining or arguing and that it would lead to me being a child of God who is blameless and pure!  I also loved the picture of shining like a star in the universe while holding out the word of life.  I felt that this was the person I should aspire to be in my new faith and prayed these verses for myself often.

    During this period I also spent some time thinking about who I wanted to be someday as a woman and as a wife.  I recognized that my old character was unhealthy and that I was not who I wanted to be.  I began to study what the bible had to say about Godly character and to pray over the characteristics that I wanted to embrace.  I also used scripture to develop a list of attributes I was looking for in my future husband.  I really thought and prayed a lot about this and came up with a list of about 20 character traits and values that were important for my husband to possess.  Now I need to say… because of the types of sin I was struggling with and the changes that I was trying to make in myself I didn’t date for quite some time after dedicating my life to Christ.  In fact when I met my husband I had been single for 10 years to the month.  Although I went on a handful of dates during those years, I was careful to avoid getting involved with any man who did not meet the criteria on my list or who I did not clearly feel God was bringing me to.  In fact after my first date with my future husband I told him that we should just be friends.  It was during this period of friendship that my eyes were opened to see that God was drawing me to him as my husband.  I pulled out that old piece of paper and was amazed to see that he met EVERY SINGLE CRITERIA that I had written over 9 years before.

    Speaking of my husband actually brings me to the second time that God clearly spoke to me.  I had been involved in a women’s bible study for 5 years when my mentor encouraged me to transfer to the young adult class.  I had reached a point in my life where most of my girl friends had gotten married and were having children and I was lonely for good female friends.  At the same time I was happy with the bible study I was attending and didn’t want to transfer to the other class for fear of looking like I was going just to meet guys.  My mentor really challenged me on my stubbornness and unwillingness to change, and after some prayer and consideration I agreed to try the other class.  When I transferred my membership, the leader of the new class asked me to join the leadership team.  I had been asked to join the leadership at my previous class 4 years in a row, and each year I declined because leadership meetings were held at 6:55am on Saturday mornings.  If you know me, you know I love to sleep.  So when the new class leader asked, I told her that I didn’t think I could do it, but that I would pray about it.  Now when I said I would pray about it, I have to admit, I didn’t really think it would change anything.  I had no intention of getting up so early every Saturday morning for the next year.  But when I prayed, God said yes.  I said no and God said yes again.  And again.  He and I really had it out for several days before I finally gave in to Him and agreed to do it.  I can remember telling my coworker that this was going to ruin my life.  And I meant it!  2 days later I showed up to my first meeting and met the rest of the leadership team.  There happened to be a young man there who I had heard quite a bit about from my sister who had wanted to set me up on a date with him the year before.  I had never met him, but I recognized his name and knew a lot about him through her and through a girlfriend of mine who was good friends with him.  Being on leadership threw us together quite a bit, and within a month we went out on a date.  Then I told him we should just be friends, and then I realized that he was the man I was going to marry!  I quickly told Chris that he could ask me out again and 3 months after that we were engaged.  I really believe that by obeying God’s call to that leadership team- which also built my leadership skills and taught me discipline and many other good things, God brought me to my husband.

    And that brings me to the third and final time God has clearly spoken to me.  I was raised in California and Chris and I lived about 20 minutes from the town where I grew up.  For our first anniversary Chris and I came out here to Highlands Ranch to visit my brother and sister in law.  One day in the car Chris said to me “Wouldn’t this be a great place to live?”  to which I replied “Absolutely not!”  A few days later we were flying home when I heard God say to me “If I asked you to move you wouldn’t go.”  I knew in my heart that that was true.  I loved my hometown- I had lived in the same zip code for my entire life until I married and Chris dragged me 20 minutes away.  My parents still live in the same house where they brought me home from the hospital.  I had never wanted to leave the Bay Area or my family and friends and never planned to.  God and I really wrestled with this over the course of several months before I finally told my husband what was going on.  At that point I still didn’t want to ever move, but I was finally able to tell God that if He ever called me someplace else, I would go.  Sure enough, about a year later my husband completed his Master’s degree and was looking for a new job.  We were also ready to start our family and knew that financially we were going to have to make some major changes to afford children.  After months of discussion we decided that he would send out resumes both in California and in Colorado.  And don’t you know the only job offer he got was here in Highlands Ranch!  I held out hope for a CA job and resisted committing to the move until 2 weeks before we put the house on the market (which left me scurrying to get things packed, let me tell you!).  But once the decision was made, I knew that I had to embrace it wholeheartedly.  I never looked back, but instead decided to make the best of the situation and love my new home.  And I do!  I can’t imagine how we would have made ends meet if we had stayed where we were.  But God provided my husband with a job he absolutely loves, and I am able to work one day a week and stay home with JT and Kate the rest of the time.  God has put us in a home that is far nicer and less expensive than what we had in California, has placed us in a wonderful church, and has given us the opportunity to grow closer to my brother and his family.  I wouldn’t trade where we are for anything.  But I do hope I never move again!

    I want to close by making sure that you know- I am by no means perfect in my prayer life.  God hasn’t spoken to me because I’m extra holy or prayerful. I want you to know that God can and will speak to us- it may be with a clear voice, or He may use someone else’s voice to speak into our lives.  Clarity has come to me through scripture and through my own conscience.  Being open to hearing Him is the key- even if you have to wrestle with Him before you find acceptance!

    Oh- and in case you’re wondering we had a great TIME (pun intended- our new name is It’s about Time… True, Meaningful, Inviting Encounters) last night!  We had about 35 women, a wonderful talk by Tricia, lots of yummy dessert, and plenty of TIME (pun intended again!) to talk and laugh and get to know each other.  What a blessing it is to live in community.  Come and join us in October!

    melody

  • Crescent Roll Quiche

    Date: 2010.09.12 | Category: recipes | Response: 4

    8 eggs

    1 can cream of mushroom (or other cream of soup)

    1 cup shredded cheese

    1 cup diced ham

    1 cup chopped spinach

    1 package crescent rolls

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9×13 baking dish and spread crescent rolls in bottom.  Mix all other ingredients and pour over crust.  Bake 1 hour 10 minutes or until eggs are set.

    (The crescent rolls give this quiche a wonderful buttery flavor and the cream of mushroom soup adds a nice richness too!  You could easily add more eggs and ingredients for a thicker quiche to serve more people, just increase your baking time accordingly.)

  • Jesus loves the little children… all the children of the world.

    Date: 2010.09.12 | Category: faith, parenting | Response: 0

    I love my children so very much.  I want to provide the very best for them.  An opportunity for them to know and love Jesus and to walk with Him.  An education.  Good health.  A proper diet.  Love, laughter and the making of happy memories.  I hope to provide them with a childhood that will enable them to grow into intelligent, content, thriving adults.  With few exceptions, isn’t this really what all parents want for their children?

    I’ve been thinking the past few days about how fortunate I am that I can provide these things for my children.  That we have enough money to buy them shoes and books and food.  That we have a happy and stable home environment.  That we are safe when we leave our home.

    So many parents cannot say the same thing.  I cannot imagine living in a neighborhood in which we had to skirt drug deals and prostitutes.  Or not being able to afford shoes so that my children could attend school.  Or watching my children’s stomachs grow, not from a healthy meal but from severe malnutrition.

    Don’t all mothers have the same hopes and dreams for their children?  Doesn’t every mother want to provide their children with everything they need to grow into a healthy and successful adult?  What makes my family any more deserving of good things than those families?  Is it a blessing or a curse that we have so much abundance that we are not wholly dependent on God’s provision to make it through each day?  Maybe a little bit of both?  Does Jesus love those children less than He loves mine? How do I reconcile the reality of their poverty with my abundance?  Not just abundance of wealth, but of opportunity and safety and health care.

    I recently read a blog about Compassion sponsored children in Guatemala.  http://www.incourage.me/2010/09/if-you-like-your-dreams-and-miracles-explained.html It made me think about how slim the difference between hope and despair.  Life and death.  It put faces to three boys who have hope for the future… who have the very possibility of a future because someone was willing to share out of their abundance.  Their sponsors wrote a check for $38 and these boys received life.

    This morning my pastor told of the laws in place to keep the people of the Dalit caste in India downtrodden.  The very term “Dalit” means “those who have been broken and ground down deliberately by those above them in the social hierarchy.” (www.dalitnetwork.org)  Parents were required by law to give their children only one name- and it must have a derogatory meaning.  Can you imagine being forced to name your child Ugly?  or Stupid?  or Unwanted?  Can you imagine knowing that your child will never rise above extreme poverty- that he or she cannot legally do so?  Can you imagine knowing your child will never be educated, never get out of the slums, never have access to medical care?  Can you imagine the shame and the crushed dreams of these mothers?  Mothers who are just like me and you?

    One of my favorite blogs is written by Katie who was so moved with compassion during a mission trip to Africa as a high school student that she cancelled her college plans, left her family and her boyfriend, and moved to Africa to serve the people there.  She has given up everything she hoped for herself to be Jesus to people who desperately need Him.  She has opened up her heart to the children of Africa.  She has adopted 14 girls.  Yes!  A single woman, living in a foreign country with 14 adopted daughters.  She started Amazima Ministries to provide the tuition and materials needed to send hundreds (yes hundreds) of children to school.  On top of all of this she opens her yard, her home and her shower to every single one of the children she sends to school.  She provides them with a meal and a place to shower and use a real bathroom with plumbing.  Every day.  She regularly takes in, cares for, feeds, and provides medical treatment for people in her community- in addition to her own children and the hundreds of children she supports through Amazima.  You can read more about this amazing woman and her life and her ministry at http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/.

    I just interrupted the writing of this post to get my son up from his nap.  I took advantage of the fact we’re the only two awake right now to hold him and play with him and share snack time with him.  How many mothers never have that luxury?  Ever?  How many mothers are never able to provide a snack for their hungry child?  How many never have an extra hour of time to spend playing and being silly with their children?  Ever?

    I have been challenged by this question: “What is the opposite of poverty?”  Is it wealth?  Plenty?  Abundance?  No, the answer is enough.  The opposite of poverty is enough.  This makes me realize- I have wealth.  I have plenty.  I have abundance.  And there are so many who do not have enough.

    In so many ways I wish I were 19 and had the freedom to sever my ties with my comfortable life.  Jump on a plane and spend my life for Jesus in Africa or India or Guatemala.  Of course this is wishful thinking.  Even if I were in that life stage I would find it extremely difficult.  And just because I am married with children and a mortgage doesn’t mean that I couldn’t do it tomorrow.  But it seems so hard.  It’s so painful to say no to all of the things I want.  The things I want for my children.  The comfort that is so darned comfortable.

    I feel God stretching me and nudging me and challenging me, but I don’t know where to go or how to start.  I keep praying that He will open the doors for me.  That He will show me the way He has for me.

    Matthew 25:31-46

    31“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

    41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    melody

  • A whole lotta zucchini

    Date: 2010.09.05 | Category: recipes | Response: 0

    My husband brought home a zucchini from work the other day.  In fact, it was this zucchini-

    Now that’s a big zucchini.  It took me a few days to figure out how to use it to it’s full potential.

    Here’s what I came up with thanks to allrecipes.com

    Zucchini Cakes

    4 cups grated zucchini (drain off liquid)

    4 beaten eggs

    1/2 cup potato flakes

    1/2 cups bread crumbs

    1 cup parmesan cheese

    1 cup shredded cheese

    1 tsp onion powder

    2 tsp cheesy garlic cheese sprinkle (this stuff is THE BEST and we order it from www.garliccapitalproducts.com in bulk.  Seriously)

    1 tsp salt

    Mix all ingredients until blended

    Heat oil or cooking spray in skillet- drop mixture into skillet and cook until golden brown.  (This takes longer than I expected, don’t flip too early or they fall apart.)

    Serve with marinara sauce or sour cream- or both!

    Chocolate Ripple Zucchini Cake

    2/3 cup applesauce

    2 2/3 cup sugar

    4 eggs

    3 cups grated zucchini

    2/3 cup water

    2 tsp vanilla

    3 1/3 cups flour

    2 tsp baking soda

    1 tsp salt

    1/2 tsp baking powder

    2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

    6 TBS cocoa powder

    2/3 cups mini chocolate chips

    Mix first 11 ingredients in stand mixer.  Pour half of the batter into two greased 9×5 loaf pans.

    Mix cocoa and chocolate chips into remaining batter.  Pour chocolate batter over first layer.

    Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

    (Note added after original post- increase baking time, perhaps another 10-15 minutes is needed.  I frosted mine with cream cheese frosting, but this cake is very sweet.  Perhaps decrease the sugar next time?)

    After making both of these super yummy recipes I still had enough zucchini to make 1 1/2 ice cube trays of zucchini puree for baby food and to toss into other recipes.

    Now that’s a lot of zucchini!

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