Lemon Zucchini Bread with Lemon Glaze

I’ve been on this obsession to cook bread lately. When I moved into our new place a little over a month ago, the previous tenants had left a bread dish in the cupboard. Being still a young college student without many cooking utensils and baking equipment in the kitchen, I’ve never owned a “fancy” bread dish. Well I took advantage of someone’s trash and made it my treasure. Yes, if you’re wondering, I washed it first! ๐Ÿ˜›

I’ve utilized the bread dish by making several loaves of the best banana bread ever, and by request from a room-mate zucchini bread came to life. To be honest, I had never had zucchini bread. Do not ask me why, but zucchini + bread just did not seem like a compatible match to me. But, my room-mate insisted so of course, I gave in.

So, I browsed through a couple of recipes online until I stumbled upon a Lemon – Zucchini Bread. YEah, that sounds amazing doesn’t it? I was like…fresh? YEAH! Lemons = Fresh. The perfect way to spice up a traditional Zucchini bread. This also gave me the opportunity to let me rely on natural ingredients for fantastic flavor. There is so much flavor in lemons. The juice..and the ZEST! Zesting a lemon can be a wonderful experience. Not only does it bring beautiful bright color to your dish but it also brings a pleasant lemony aroma to your kitchen that is beyond refreshing.

Overall, this is a recipe I am so glad that I stumbled upon and will definitely be making it in the future. Oh, did I fail to mention it comes with a lemon glaze that is the perfect icing on the cake to this wonderful dish? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Enjoy.


  • 2 Cups – Flour
  • 2 Tsp – Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp – Salt
  • 2 – Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup – Vegetable Oil
  • 2/3 Cup – Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup – Buttermilk
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Cup – Grated Zucchini
  • For the Glaze: Juice of 1 Lemon/ 1 Cup – Powdered Sugar


  • Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees & Grease your bread pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix your flour, salt, and baking powder.
  • In a medium bowl, beat 2 eggs then add in oil and sugar. Blend well.
  • Add in your buttermilk, lemon juice, lemon zest. Blend well.
  • Then fold in your grated zucchini!
  • Add this mixture to your dry ingredients and mix well, but don’t over-mix!

  • Pour your batter into the bread pan and bake for 45 minutes.
  • Cool in pan for 10 minutes.
  • While the bread is cooling, make your glaze.
  • In a small bowl, mix the juice of 1 lemon with a cup of powdered sugar.
  • Let the glaze set and then serve.


Cilantro Lime Rice

The perfect side dish to any Mexican meal – this Cilantro Lime Rice really packs the punch with flavor. Many think of the traditional Spanish rice as the side dish of choice, but the Cilantro Lime is sure to become a new favorite. It has a fresh and exotic taste, with the cilantro and lime taking control of flavor, but not too over-powering. I paired it with some black beans for side dishes to my wonderful Chicken Tortilla Soup – what meal will you pair it with? ๐Ÿ™‚


  • 1 Cup – White Rice
  • 1 Tsp – Butter
  • 2 – Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 1 Can – Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Cup – Water
  • 2 Tsp – Lime Juice/ 1 Tbs – Lime Juice (Divided)
  • 2 Tsp – Sugar
  • 4 Tbs – Fresh Chopped Cilantro


  • In a medium sauce pan, combine rice, butter, garlic, water, lime juice and broth.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Cover and cook on low or until rice is tender. Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together cilantro, sugar and tablespoon of lime-juice.
  • Mix into rice..all done! What an easy side-dish with great flavor!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

In honor of this years Cinco de Mayo I cooked the amazing – Chicken Tortilla Soup. While this dish has always been a favorite of mine, I’ve never actually made it! You have to remember that I am still a cook in training (training myself ;), there is a lot of recipes I have not cooked! But to add another delicious creation to my list is what I am all about these days. This dish is not only one of my favorite soups, it is one of my favorite meals..period.

To properly make this recipe, was to use no short-cuts. I wanted a somewhat complex recipe that used a variety of ingredients; I wanted the best flavor. As a guideline, I somewhat followed the Pioneer Woman’s recipe (from The Cooking Channel), but with a few of my own variations.
Here is the link: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/01/chicken-tortilla-soup/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pwcooks+%28The+Pioneer+Woman+Cooks!%29

I made absolutely no short-cuts with this recipe. I spend a good couple hours on my feet in the kitchen, doing what all those true domestic divas do around the world everyday. While my feet were aching and hands sore from chopping, I loved every minute of this long process in the kitchen.

I also had a little liquid assistance ๐Ÿ˜‰

While cooking this delicious recipe, I realized that cooking soups is probably one of my favorite types of dishes to make. I’m not sure why! Maybe it is the combination of various spices, herbs, and ingredients. Or maybe the smells that fill the household that just warm your soul and electrify your taste-buds. Or it could be the hearty warmth and taste..ya the savory taste of the soup could have a lot to do with it. Chicken Tortilla Soup does NOT disappoint on taste. Especially with this recipe!

Lets take a minute and talk about taste. Oh my. First off, it comes down to the spices. I will never buy another pre-mixture taco seasoning for the rest of my life. A combination of Cumin, Chili Powder, & Garlic Powder does the trick and packs a much better punch then whats in the packet (it’s also a much healthier option without all those added salts/sodium/& artificial flavors!). The heat and flavor that comes from this combination is so perfect.

Your chicken for the soup will love you when your rub them down with these spices!

As I make another soup I recognized that I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. For instance, ingredients like onion, garlic, or green pepper (fresh veggies ingredients) are like your foundation for flavor within a soup. Your spices and dry ingredients are your friends; use them when necessary and accordingly. Also, the lower the heat and slower the cooking..the better the taste!

Either way, my first effort at Chicken Tortilla Soup was a fantastic success. The mixture of spices, beans, herbs, veggies, and chicken bring a flavor that is really something. With this recipe I learned that with certain dishes..don’t make the shortcuts, taking the long way will bring the benefits (well, at least to your taste-buds!)

Oh, and P.S. Do not forget the toppings on this dish, they really add something to the flavor!


  • 3 – Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 1/2 Tsp – Cumin
  • 1 Tsp – Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp – Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp – Salt
  • 1 Cup – Onion (chopped)
  • 1/4 Cup – Green Pepper (chopped)
  • 3 – Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 1 Can – Tomatoes and Green Chilis
  • 3 can – Chicken Broth
  • 3 Tbs – Tomato Paste
  • 3 Cups – Hot Water
  • 2 Cans – Black Beans (drained)
  • 5 – Corn Tortillas (cut into strips)
  • Garnish with: Tortilla Chips, Sour Cream, Cheese, & Cilantro


  • Preheat your oven to 375, we gotta cook our chicken!
  • In a small bowl, mix together your cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.
  • Season your chicken breasts with the mixture and drizzle them with vegetable oil on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Now, chop up your onion, green pepper, and garlic.
  • In a large pot, heat a tbs of vegetable oil over medium heat.
  • When your chicken is done, shred it with two forks.

  • Add your onion, green pepper, and garlic with your seasoning mixture to your pot.
  • Cook them up until your veggies are tender.
  • Add in your chicken.
  • Pour in your tomato & green chili, chicken broth, tomato paste, water, and black beans.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for a little over an hour.
  • Turn off your heat and allow your soup to sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. You want all those flavors to mix!
  • About 5 minutes before serving, add in your tortilla strips.

  • Let those tortillas soften up, then spoon your soup into bowls.
  • Like I said, don’t forget the toppings!

Served with Cilantro-Lime Rice and Refried Black Beans!

The Best Banana Bread Recipe

Now, I am not lying when I say it is the best. It really is! There are several…more like hundreds, of different variations when it comes to making banana bread. Being a lover of bread in general, I have used several different banana bread recipes.

Now, I know everyone believes that their recipe for banana bread is the best, but let me tell you.. I think I’ve got you beat! There is one special ingredient that goes into this recipe for fantastic banana bread..sour cream. This special and surprising ingredient brings this moist flavor and texture to the bread that makes it truly delicious!ย  With just one special added ingredient..it makes this recipe for banana bread by far, the best!

Whether you serve it as a dessert, for breakfast with a little melted butter (I also add cinnamon & sugar), or just as a snack..this delicious loaf of banana bread is great to have on your counter. I also love this recipe because all of the ingredients are usually what you already have within your pantry, then just add some sour cream!


  • 1/2 Cup – Butter (Melted)
  • 1 Cup – Sugar
  • 2 – Large Eggs
  • 1 Tsp – Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 Cup – Flour
  • 1 Tsp – Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Tsp – Salt
  • 1/2 Cup – Sour Cream
  • 2 Medium Bananas – (Mashed!)


  • Preheat your oven to 350 Degrees.
  • In a large bowl, mix together your melted butter and sugar.
  • Mix in your eggs and vanilla.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, and salt (in separate bowl), then add into wet mixture.
  • Mix until smooth, then add in your sour cream and bananas.

  • Put batter into a 9 by 5 bread dish that has been greased.
  • Bake for 60 Minutes.
  • Let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Spread with a little butter and cinnamon & sugar! Yum!

Fresh Lemon Pepper Chicken

I had originally made this dish with the Apple Gorgonzola Salad I previously posted. It was weird because I was trying to craft a main dish to go with my side dish or appetizer. Now, the Apple Gorgonzola Salad was beyond amazing in flavor and had a fresh taste and look. I needed a dish that mirrored those qualities. I need fresh with flavor..Lemon Pepper Chicken? Sounds great! I also thought I would go my own way with this dish, instead of following a recipe (which I usually tweak and twist anyway because it just makes it more fun!).

I had to add Fresh to the title of this recipe, because that is simply what you think of with every bite. I guess juicy, zesty, and delicious would be appropriate too! Another reason why I added Fresh to the title is because I actually use fresh lemon zest and juice as a marinade for the chicken..not only will these fresh ingredients come out great in the chicken but they will make your kitchen smell lemony fresh! The chicken turned out to be a fantastic success.

Simplicity + Amazing Taste = Great Recipe for me!

Fresh Lemon Pepper Chicken is the answer to the equation above..I’ve never been any good at math but this makes perfect sense to me!
Wow your guests with this amazing, flavorful dish, with little effort from you in the kitchen! Enjoy!


  • 1/4 Cup – Vegetable Oil
  • 2 – Lemons
  • 3 to 4 – Garlic Cloves (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 Tsp – Ground Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • 3 to 4 – Chicken Breasts


  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees (or your grill).
  2. In a large bowl, mix your oil with the zest of your lemons and the juice of one (reserve the other).
  3. Mix in the chopped garlic and pepper. Whisk together well.
  4. Salt your chicken then toss into the bowl and marinade for at least 15 minutes (the longer the better!!).
  5. In a skillet heat about 2 tbs of oil over medium heat.
  6. Sear your chicken in the pan for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until it starts to brown.
  7. Place chicken onto a baking sheet and then into the oven and roast for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Do not overcook because you want to keep that juicyย  and lemony chicken flavor.
  9. If grilling, cook for about 8 to 10 minutes on each side.
  10. Squeeze the juice from the remaining lemon over the chicken (add a dash more of pepper), and then serve!

Served with Apple Gorgonzola Salad.

Apple Gorgonzola Salad

Apple Gorgonzola Salad, easily one of the best dishes I have ever eaten. I recently ordered this dish at Italian restaurant Buca Di Beppo in Los Angeles.. oh! Was I pleasantly surprised by this delicious creation! There is an explosion of flavors with every bite ranging from apples, berries, cheese, nuts, and zesty dressing.
As soon as I experienced this wonderful salad I knew I wanted to cook it up at home and add my own little twists to it. Which is exactly what I did! I made several variations to the original recipe to simplify it. For example, I substituted Granny Smith for Fuji Apples (I feel they have much sweeter notes and have a more exotic taste). I also simplified the somewhat complicated dressing included with the dish for a simple Italian Dressing straight off the shelf from the supermarket (this dish might also be good with a Raspberry Vinaigrette!). The other alteration I made was with the nuts, which I quickly roasted and candied instead of using their somewhat complicating spicing recipe.
I guess you can say that I somewhat simplified Buca Di Beppo’s recipe for Apple Gorgonzola Salad, but included the same, if not better, great taste! Let me tell you, the substitution of Fuji Apples and candied walnuts really added something to the taste of the salad.ย  I strongly recommend anyone to skip out on Buca Di Beppo and make this delicious dish in the comfort of your own home with this simplified recipe!


  • 1 – Fuji Apple (Or apple of your choice)
  • 3/4 cup – Walnuts (candied..we will get to this process in a bit)
  • 3 Tbs – Gorgonzola Cheese
  • 3 Tbs – Dried Cranberries
  • Romaine Lettuce (amount desired)
  • Italian Dressing (amount desired)


First, you need to candy your walnuts! Now..I may sound a little lame here but I’ve never candied nuts before. I also didn’t know how easy the process was! Come on..it’s not like I’m Paula Deen!?

But seriously, all you need is the nuts of your choice and sugar. Yep, that’s it.

Here is the simple process to Candy Walnuts (which I’m sure many of you already know, this is just for my fellow blondes out there ;):

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Throw about 1-1/2 cups of nuts onto a baking sheet and cook for about 5 minutes (do not let them burn).
  • Let them cool for a bit.
  • Heat about 1/3 cup sugar over medium heat until melted and golden brown.
  • Throw your nuts into the melted sugar and cover all of the walnuts.
  • Remove from heat and back onto baking sheet then begin breaking apart nuts with a spoon.

That's it!

Now let’s get back to the salad!

  • Chop your lettuce, apple, and crumble your cheese (if needed).
  • Throw all ingredients into a large bowl.
  • Toss with dressing.
  • Garnish with remaining apples, cranberries, cheese, and walnuts.

So so good! Btw, doesn't this picture remind you of Twilight? Hehe..

Baking For Life

It is always a good feeling when you give back. One day I told myself that great things would come from this blog. Well, I guess you can say that it is already happening.

Our team!

My dear friend Lacey Smith, knowing of my blog, had recently approached me wondering if I would like to bake goods to sale and fund-raise for our local Relay For Life. Of course I could not say no, especially for such a great cause. It was such a good feeling to bring all of the work that I poured into this blog towards something that is so meaningful. I was first very touched and then honored to be involved in something as wonderful as the Relay For Life. Also, it is nice to know that my blogging is finding its way out into the community.

Of course, the big question was..what am I going to bake for the event?? I really wanted to bake some of my best goodies and sweets from Delightful Discoveries that would for sure sale. I needed sweet, tasty, colorful, & creative..so I settled on my:

  • Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes
  • Soda Can Cupcakes
  • Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

The sweets for sale!

Well, I ended up baking about 100 items total while borderline exhausted. Of course I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I was assisted by my wonderful gal pal Lacey, who was very helpful with the baking and frosting of cupcakes. She was the sprinkle master and container engineer behind the project! Let’s just say, we had to get creative! Anywho, everything sold great! As far as I know, everything that I had baked sold! The Oreo-stuffed cookies were sold-out right as they hit the table and the cupcakes were quick to follow! I even had to go home during the event and bake another batch! But, like I said, it was really no trouble when you’re working towards such a good cause! It was such a delightful experience!




Lately, all I hear is how people love my blog! So wonderful! But, I can honestly say it has taken time to get noticed and still has a lonnnnnnng way to go! I am encouraged by all the support and still surprised that I am still going forward with this blogging project and I hope to continue! Also, I will for sure be baking and participating in the Relay For Life in the future..:)

Photos by Christopher James Sigman.

My Week as a Vegetarian

Delightful Discoveries is Vegetarian Friendly!

A class project led to something I once believed would be the ultimate challenge – a vegetarian diet; let’s just say, it didn’t turn out to be much of a challenge at all. Coming from a former lover of meat – that juicy flavorful porterhouse or a zesty lemon pepper chicken – as I’ve grown, my desire of meat has depleted somewhat. As I grow older I notice my strong desire for fresh. I’m quite sure how to explain it; I desire fresh foods from fresh ingredients. Meat lately just seems to be lacking the ability to pack that special punch to my taste buds. Who knows, maybe I’m turned off by the unhealthy facts surfacing and surrounding red meat?

A vegetarian diet was never something I really considered. A past fear of mine always would resurface. . .could I really live without meat? As I’ve grown, of course my fear has decreased.

A class project led to the challenge of a vegetarian diet. I was assigned to either stop, start, or change something within my life for the course of 7 days. Food seems to be a primary factor within my life, why not try a vegetarian diet?? I did allow myself the exception of dairy because I cannot live without cheese and it as my main source of calcium.

Well I went forward with my challenge and guess what?! I was successful! I breezed through my week as a vegetarian, dodging any bothersome obstacles. I was able to really reflect on my diet and eating habits – some of my findings were pretty surprising! I really had no strong desire to consume meat products and I feel great!

While reflecting on my diet and eating habits over my week as a vegetarian, I was able to learn some fascinating facts about myself. Most significantly, the fact that I do not really consume that many meat products. The only meat I really consume is chicken breast; white meat is always better than red meat! For the most part, I was basically already living a semi-vegetarian lifestyle!

The question is now that I’ve experienced a vegetarian lifestyle, should I stick with it? Could I give up meat forever? This is a question that I do not yet have an answer for. When you’re a cooker and an eater like myself, giving up meat may end up with a lack of experiences. So, maybe I am not ready yet? After my week of change, I know that I no longer have a fear of lack of meat, and could possibly consider a vegetarian diet in the future!

Some Helpful Tips:

Either way, my week as a vegetarian was very beneficial. From someone who has experienced this type of diet to someone who may be considering it, here are a few tips I learned while eating a vegetarian diet, as well as some healthy alternatives to your everyday diet:

  • The importance of protein – The only issue I felt during my week as a vegetarian was my small problem of feeling full. Be sure to stock up on your beans and nuts. Protein is your friend. Trade in those burgers & try my delicious Veggie Black Bean Burgers. Also if you are looking for a fun chili, trade in the traditional for my delightful Veggie Black Bean Chili. Whatever it may be, remember to eat your beans!! Also, go to your local market and buy yourself a good large can of mixed nuts.
  • Overload on your Greens – Veggies, Veggies, Veggies! If you’re looking for that fresh that I love, go to your produce section at the market and load up on those greens! Pick yourself up a head of broccoli, bag of carrots, several green bell peppers, cucumbers, etc. A great tip is to substitute your chips for chopped cucumber with a side of ranch.
  • Trade your sweets for fruit – Fruit is your friend kids. It truly is. Nature’s candy is truly much better than mans. Try cutting up your apples and sprinkling them with a dash of brown sugar and cinnamon. Whenever you feel your sweet tooth going nuts, go cut yourself up some fruit. My best tip here is to go to your local market and buy whatever is in season. If you absolutely cannot live without the sweets, add a few semi-sweet chocolate chips to your bowl of apples or other cut of fruit.
  • A Vegetarian Diet can be inexpensive – Coming from a college student on a budget – this diet can be done without breaking the bank! Many people shy away from healthy foods because of high prices, they do not realize that some healthy foods are really cheap! Like I said before, buy your produce that is on sale! Also, many name brand products are available generic for much cheaper with the same great taste.

I had a great experience eating a vegetarian diet and applaud anyone who lives this lifestyle. I have posted several tasty vegetarian recipes on Delightful Discoveries and trust me, you can expect to see many more! I also plan to add aย vegetarian category to my recipe selection so those dishes can be easily accessible.

If you are looking for some tasty Vegetarian dishes check out these recipes on my page:

  • Broccoli & Cheddar Soup with Macaroni
  • Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
  • Black Bean Veggie Burgers
  • Randy’s Veggie Pizza
  • Black Bean Soup
  • & Many many more ๐Ÿ™‚

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup with Macaroni

A recipe inspired by rainy days while wandering the market – Broccoli & Cheddar Soup with Macaroni will be the perfect remedy to your rainy day. While this has always been my favorite soup, the added ingredient of macaroni really does something wonderful to this dish. The cheesy goodness mixed with the flavorful broccoli & other ingredients will not only satisfy your taste buds, but warm you up on those cold & rainy days. Also, an added bonus of this recipe is the health benefits; it is very low in fat and calories and is also vegetarian friendly!

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup with Macaroni:


  • 8 Oz – Dry Elbow Macaroni
  • 1 1/2 Cups – Onion (Chopped)
  • 2 – Carrots (Chopped)
  • 1 – Celery Stalk (Chopped)
  • 3 Cloves – Garlic (Chopped)
  • 1 Tbs – Butter (Melted)
  • 2 Tbs – Flour
  • 3 Cups – Vegetable Broth (You can also use Chicken Broth)
  • 1 Cup – Milk
  • 2 1/2 Cups – Broccoli Florets (Chopped)
  • 2 Cups – Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Tbs – Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste


  • In a large pot, begin melting your butter.
  • Begin chopping up your celery, carrots, onion, & garlic.
  • Begin sauteing in pot over medium low heat for 5 minutes or until soft.
  • Boil your macaroni in salted water until tender; Drain, set aside.

  • Add in flour & pepper and stir until smooth.
  • Slowly add in your broth & milk while whisking constantly.
  • Set to medium-high heat until it comes to a boil then cover and cook on low for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add in broccoli and parmesan cheese; stir well. Cook uncovered until broccoli is cooked & soft.

  • Add Cheddar mixing well until cheese melts, then immediately remove from heat.
  • Add in cooked macaroni and add salt & pepper.

Garnish with cheese & a side of cheese bread! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Now, I am not a vegetarian but I do cook a lot of vegan friendly recipes. I always find them as tasty and healthy alternatives. I also love me some black beans, so that is why you are seeing yet another post containing black beans. This Black Bean Chili recipe could not be more perfect and it’s a simple & healthy alternative to a regular chili recipe. It is simple, fast, healthy, cheap, & oh so tasty. It will only take you about 30 minutes total to make, but will have amazing flavor like you have slow-cooked this meal for hours. Literally, the flavors are explosive, mouthwatering, and delicious! Take my word for it! This recipe also includes easy ingredients you will commonly find are already inside your pantry. It is also perfect as a quick meal for those super busy days when you do not feel like cooking. Either way, I highly recommend it!

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili:


  • 1/4 cup – Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 – Onion (Chopped)
  • 1 – Red Bell Pepper (Chopped)
  • 5 – Garlic Cloves (Chopped)
  • 2 Tbs – Chili Powder
  • 2 Tsp – Dried Oregano
  • 1 1/2 Tsp – Cumin
  • 1 – Bay Leave
  • 2 Tsp – Hot Sauce (Or you can use 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper)
  • 3 Cans – Black Beans (Reserve 1/2 cup liquid)
  • 1 16 oz Can – Tomato Sauce


  • Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add onions, bell pepper, & garlic then saute for about 10 minutes (or until tender).
  • Mix in Cumin, Oregano, Chili Powder, Bay Leave, & Hot Sauce (or Cayenne Pepper). Stir for 2 minutes.

  • Add in beans, reserved liquid, & tomato sauce.
  • Bring Chili to boil while stirring occasionally. (This is all going to smell so good!!)
  • Reduce heat to medium low to simmer and to allow flavors to mix for about 15 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt & pepper. Top with cheese and other toppings of your choice!