Zucchini Time!

 

zucchiniIt is that time of year again!  Zucchini are everywhere.  If you have a garden, you may be inundated with these beautiful green vegetables.  If you know a gardener, you may be the recipient of one or more of these beauties.  I can remember one summer when we were kids that our garden supplied us with more zucchini then we knew what to do with.  We literally had wagon loads! We gave a lot of them away but even so my mom had to make some very creative recipes to try and use up our supply before they went bad.  Zucchini soup, zucchini casserole, zucchini pizza … and the list goes on and on!  Needless to say, I am sure we were not the first family to be so sick of zucchini by September that we never wanted to see another one again…well at least until the next year.  There are a million ways to use a zucchini but the recipes below are made especially for that zucchini that was hiding underneath the leaves and is now the size of a small baby.  These are not the ones to use in a recipe that requires a tender vegetable.  These are better served peeled, de-seeded, grated and then baked into all kinds of fun recipes. I will often grate and measure the exact amount required for my favorite zucchini bread recipe, bag it and freeze it to use mid winter.  I am sure that everyone has their favorite zucchini recipe.  Here are just a few of mine.  Enjoy!

Paleo Friendly Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 cup shredded, unpeeled zucchini

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray or grease 2 mini loaf pans or muffin tins.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Place the wet ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, then beat on medium for 1-2 minutes until frothy and fully combined. Add the zucchini and beat again just enough to incorporate.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients with the mixer running, until all of the flour mixture has been incorporated.
  5. Spoon the batter into 2 mini loaf pans. You can also use this batter to make muffins.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the middle is set and a toothpick comes out clean.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup blanched almond flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini, moisture squeezed out
  • Optional add-in: ¼ chopped walnuts, ¼ cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease two mini loaf pans or one large loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Stir in the nuts or chips if using.
  3. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Whisk in the maple syrup and oil, then stir in the squeezed zucchini.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Transfer batter to the prepared pan(s). Bake for 28-30 minutes for the mini loaf or 35-40 for the large loaf.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 medium)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 whole eggs (preferably medium in size)
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1-2 tablespoon coconut oil for frying

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, place the shredded zucchini and 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Stir gently and let set for 10 minutes to allow zucchini to sweat. After the 10 minutes, transfer the zucchini to a flour sack towel, cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Squeeze as much liquid out as possible so you don’t have soggy fritters.
  2. While the zucchini is “sweating,” in another bowl combine the eggs, oregano, basil, additional sea salt, black pepper, almond and coconut flours.
  3. Combine the squeezed shredded zucchini with the egg mixture and stir to combine. If the zucchini still holds a lot of moisture or eggs were on the larger side, you may need to add additional flour to achieve that pancake-like consistency.
  4. Place a medium/large skillet on the stove over medium heat. Add coconut oil to the skillet. When the skillet is very hot, drop 1/4 cup portions of the zucchini mixture onto the pan. Press down gently so they’re about 1/2-inch thick.
  5. Cook on each side for 3-5 minutes. Flip carefully so they don’t fall apart. When done, transfer to a wire rack or plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat until zucchini mixture is gone, adding more coconut oil to the pan between each batch. Coconut oil spray will also work well between batches.
  6. Serve with apple sauce or sour cream, or eat them plain. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Kitchen Experiment: Crispy Gluten-Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free Waffles

Every Sunday morning when we are home, my husband and I have breakfast together and our favorite thing to eat is waffles.  I have been on the search for a fantastic, crispy waffle for a long time and I finally found the recipe. I have made some other great waffle recipes, but this one not only tastes great, but it makes the crispiest gluten-free, dairy-free waffles that I have ever eaten.  What I love about this recipe is not only how easy it is to make, but how versatile.  I have added and changed the recipe almost every time I have made it and each time the waffles are just as delicious and just as crispy.  I forewarn you, if you are not one of those people that enjoys a crisp waffle, then these are not for you.

(The original recipe comes from the Real Food Dieticians and if you go to their site, you can find some great reviews and comments about this recipe.  )  The recipe below has a few of my own changes.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Crispy Waffles

  • 2 cups finely ground almond flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch/flour
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. flax meal + 6 Tbsp. warm water or 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dairy free milk (flax, almond, soy, coconut)
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup liquid sweetener (maple, agave, coconut nectar) [or milk or water if you want it to be sugar-free as well]
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup oil (coconut, melted; olive, grapeseed, sunflower)

Instructions

  1. Preheat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, tapioca starch and baking powder. Whisk or stir to combine well.
  3. In a small bowl or coffee cup, whisk together flax meal and warm water. Set aside until thick and egg-like.
  4. In a small bowl, add milk and apple cider vinegar. Allow to sit while you melt the coconut oil (if you are using it) on the stove.
  5. To the milk mixture, add flax meal, maple syrup, vanilla and finally, the melted coconut oil. Whisk well to combine and quickly add to dry ingredients (because coconut oil will start to harden and clump if you don’t).
  6. Stir batter just until combined. Using a ¼ cup scoop (or size recommended by manufacturer), pour batter onto preheated waffle iron and cook until golden brown.
  7. Layer on your favorite toppings and enjoy!  (My favorite – almond butter, banana, cinnamon and maple syrup)

Note:  when I first made the waffles, I thought that there was something wrong with the batter. You can see how the middle is brown but the edges do not seem to be cooked?  I have determined that it is all of the tapioca starch that makes this happen because that “uncooked” part seems gooey.  I flipped that waffle and cooked it on the other side for 30-60 seconds and then they seemed fine.  The other side looked fine:

I sprayed my waffle iron with coconut oil before cooking.  I did not have an issue with them sticking but I did see some comments with the original recipe where people complained about having that issue.

Here are some of the changes and additions that I made to the recipe:

  1. The first time I made them, I was out of coconut oil, so I used olive oil.  The consistency of the batter was a little but thinner than it is when you use coconut oil, but the waffles cooked up the same.
  2. I have been trying to go without sugar in recipes, so I made them without the maple syrup and added 1/4 cup more milk and again they tasted a little bit less sweet but they cooked up exactly the same.
  3. I made the batter with 1/4 cup maple syrup + 1/4 cup milk and 1/4 tsp. monk fruit powder and the waffles were just a little more sweet like the original recipe.
  4. I am always trying to add more vegetables into my diet so I have added:
    1. grated carrot – I made the batter in my vitamix so the carrots really were more pulverized then grated and the waffles cooked up fine with a lovely orange hue.
    2. grated zucchini – I added one small zucchini to the batter and cooked them up like normal and you would have never know that there was zucchini in there.
    3. I purchased powdered beets and kale from Earthlight and I added a tsp to the batter.  It changed their color a little but the flavor was basically the same once I added all of my toppings.

I hope you enjoy these waffles as much as I do.  It makes about 8 waffles depending upon the size of your iron.  I freeze the extras for a mid week treat!  Bon Appetite!

Breakfast Time …. Part 4

It’s kind of funny, but actually breakfast was never my “favorite meal of the day”.  Growing up I rarely ate breakfast and it carried into my early adulthood. That was until I went to Bastyr University to study nutrition. I learned the value of eating in the mornings but I still had to work really hard on my metabolism so that I would be hungry in the morning.  I am not as good as my husband who can wake up at any time and be ready to eat breakfast, but I will say that almost everyday I wake up with a small pang of hunger.

Breakfast is still not my favorite meal of the day.  I like breakfast foods, but not really early in the morning.  I like omelets but I would prefer to eat them at 10am rather than 7am.  Most days I don’t eat breakfast food but prefer to eat soup or leftovers, especially when I am at work.  However, for the past several months, Sundays have been my day to make waffles.  I am kind of obsessed with them honestly.  I keep trying all different kinds – always gluten free – coconut flour, almond flour, rice flour, bean flours …. you name it.  It’s been fun.  Here is the recipe for my latest waffle – I hope you will enjoy them as much as me!

waffles

Healthy Oatmeal-Nut Waffles

2 c. milk (cow,almond,soy,etc.)

4 eggs

1 ½ c. almond flour

4-5 Tbs. coconut flour

1/3 c. butter melted, or oil

1 Tbs. baking powder

2 Tbs. coconut nectar

1 c. gluten-free oats

1 c. chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)

Put milk, eggs, almond flour, oil or butter, baking powder and coconut nectar into a blender or food processor. Process until blended. Add 4 Tbs. coconut flour and process again. Check for thickness. The batter should be thick but not overly thick like cooked oatmeal. If it does not seem thick enough, add another tablespoon of coconut flour and process again. Add the oatmeal and nuts and stir to blend or pulse a few times in the blender to combine.

batter

Bake in preheated waffles iron until waffle stops steaming and is golden (approximately 5 minutes depending upon the waffle iron). Enjoy with jam, honey, maple syrup or fruit syrup.

The first day I made them I put almond butter on top, then blueberry puree, topped it with chopped walnuts and pecans, and drizzled on some maple syrup.  Just delicious!

This morning before tennis I had a waffle with almond and pumpkin seed butter, topped with bananas, chopped walnuts and pecans, cinnamon, and coconut nectar.  That was pretty tasty as well.  The toppings are endless….

Open House 2015 Cookie Recipes

Candied Orange and Ginger Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone who tried these cookies raved about the orange and ginger flavor.  The only thing that I changed in this recipe was the amount of sugar.  I almost always find that there is too much sugar in cookie recipes for my taste so I always decrease, sometimes by a little and sometimes by almost half.  For this recipe I decreased the amount of sugar to just shy of 1 cup instead of 1 1/4 cup.  I could not find the candied orange in the store.  I was actually not sure where to find it other than the grocery store, so instead of running all over the place, I ordered it from Amazon.  I have made it in the past and it is very simple, but this year I just did not have the time.  I found this recipe in the December issue of Oprah magazine. Enjoy!

Makes 35-40 cookies

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups almond flour
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. candied orange peel, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. candied ginger, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

    Directions

    Active time: 30 minutes
    Total time: 1 hour (plus freezing overnight)

    In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, puree almond flour, sugar, egg whites, candied orange peel and candied ginger until smooth. Add cranberries and pulse twice, until just combined. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover and freeze overnight.

    Preheat oven to 350°. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

    Put confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1″ balls, leaving half in the freezer while you work the first batch. Coat each ball in confectioners’ sugar, then arrange on prepared baking sheets, spaced 2″ apart. Repeat with remaining dough.

    Bake until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet 10 minutes before serving. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks or freeze, wrapped in plastic in an airtight container, up to 1 month.

  • Read more: http://www.oprah.com/food/Candied-Orange-and-Ginger-Cookies-Recipe#ixzz3u1Fch1Kq

Kitchen Experiments – Almond Flour Pancakes

Breakfast has never been my favorite meal.  As a teenager into my early adulthood I always skipped breakfast.  I always thought it was a good way to control my weight and I was never hungry anyway.  Since then I have learned how wrong I was on both of these counts. Breakfast or break fast is when we kick our metabolism back into gear after a night of rest.  If you do not eat something first thing in the morning you are wasting valuable time when you should be burning calories.  And yes, I have heard all of the excuses of why you don’t eat breakfast, and I am still going to tell you, EAT SOMETHING!  If you are not hungry in the morning, that is just another sign that your metabolism is not working.  If you don’t eat breakfast because then “the rest of the day I am hungry”, please, stop that self talk and listen up.  You WANT to be hungry.  When your body signals that you are hungry it means that your metabolism is working and that you are burning up the calories that you have eaten.  This is perfect.  This is how you maintain your weight without gaining or how you actually lose the unwanted weight that has been hanging around all these years that you have been skipping meals.

Breakfast for you does not have to be what the media tells us – it does not have to mean cereal, eggs, bacon, oatmeal, or toast.  It can be whatever you want it to be.  I often eat soup for breakfast because it is satisfying and warm and delicious.  I think that because I never liked the normal breakfast foods, I avoided eating it all together.  Now I eat whatever I feel like eating that day.   Leftovers from dinner, rice cakes with almond butter, a wrap with lettuce and turkey, eggs, and then sometimes on a Sunday I just feel like pancakes.

My husband likes pancakes and waffles on the weekends when we can have a slow morning and a relaxed meal together.  I enjoy that as well.  So several Saturdays ago he asked if we could have pancakes in the morning.  I was happy to oblige, but I am not eating many grains and carbohydrates at the moment, so I went searching for something different. I love the internet because no matter what you are looking for, you almost always find something.  I found this almond flour pancake recipe that seemed to incredibly easy to make, so I had to try it.  These are so delicious.  The next weekend I went to my parents and I made them for again because I just thought they were great.  Enjoy!

pancakes

Almond Flour Pancakes

~ So you might be starting to notice something about me and cooking.  Even if I have never tried a recipe before, I almost always make some kind of change to it, well, just because.  In this recipe, you can use water instead of milk and add any fruit you like, or none at all.  The first time I made it I did not add the baking soda but the third time I did.  I think it helped to lighten them up just a bit, but that is optional as well.  The first time I made it I did not have enough almond flour so I used some coconut flour as well. The batter is very thick and the pancakes take a little longer to cook than normal flour pancakes.

1 c. Almond flour

1/4 c. Unsweetened Almond milk (or milk of your choice)

2 Eggs

1 Tbs. Maple Syrup or sweetener of your choice

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

1/4 c. Blueberries

Spray or oil for pan or griddle

1. Heat a pan or griddle over medium heat.  Just before cooking the pancakes spray or place a teaspoon of oil in the pan and coat evenly.

2. Whisk all ingredients, except blueberries, together in a bowl until batter is smooth. Stir in the blueberries.

3. When the pan is hot, drop batter onto the grill with a large spoon and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry, about 3-5 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the other side, about3-5 minutes more. Repeat with remaining batter.

4. Add the toppings of your choice and Enjoy!

Kitchen Experiments – Gluten Free Carrot Cake

Happy Birthday to me!  Yes, it was my birthday this past week, plus father’s day, plus my nephew’s graduation from high school, plus my niece’s graduation from 8th grade.  This gave me the perfect excuse to bake the carrot cake that I had made for my sister’s birthday. I told you about it in my last post, but I don’t think I mentioned how delicious it was!

If you know me at all, you can imagine how picky I am when it comes to my birthday dessert.  I think that I have been baking my own birthday desserts for years now, and actually I would not have it any other way!  You know, it has to be gluten-free, no white sugar, nothing too sweet, and it has to be healthy enough that I can eat it for breakfast!  I think that this carrot cake fits that description. Gluten free – yep, it is made with almond flour.  No white sugar – yep, I use the coconut nectar which has a very low glycemic load ( which basically means that the sugar is not absorbed quickly into your blood stream making it a good choice for pre-diabetics or diabetics).

cake2

It is definitely not too sweet and with the addition of carrots and pecans, plus the almond flour and eggs, it is packed with protein plus it has some vegetables, which fits my description for a healthy breakfast! OK, not everyday, but on my birthday – you bet!

f5

Carrot Cake

3 c. almond flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 Tbs. cinnamon

¾ tsp. nutmeg

5 eggs

½ c. coconut nectar

¼ c. sunflower oil

2 c. grated carrots (about 3 medium carrots)

1 c. pecan pieces

1.       Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Prepare either 2 9” round cake pans or a 13”X9” baking pan with cooking spray.

2.       In a large bowl, mix together almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.

3.       In a separate bowl, beat eggs, coconut nectar, and oil.

4.       Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined.

5.       Add the carrots and pecan pieces to the batter and mix together.

cake4

6.       Pour batter into pan(s).

cake3

7.       Bake for 40 minutes.

8.       Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing.

carrot cake

9.       Cool to room temperature and spread with Coconut Cream Frosting.

10.   Serve and enjoy!

Coconut Cream Frosting

1 can Coconut Cream

2

2 tsp. maple syrup

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1.  Empty contents of coconut cream into a mixing bowl.

frosting1

2. Beat on high slowly adding the maple syrup and vanilla.

f3

3.  Beat for 2-3 minutes.  It should be light and fluffy at the end.

f4

Now, the best part … Slice the cake and enjoy!

cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kitchen Experiments – Pancakes anyone?

I must say that being grain free has presented a challenge for breakfast if you are thinking about typical breakfast foods.  Most mornings when I am ready for breakfast I end up staring at the refrigerator thinking about what I can eat. Cereal? Out! Rice cake with nut butter? Out! Oatmeal? Out!  Oh boy!  What else is there? Hmm, how about pancakes?  No, not your typical pancake made with flour but pancakes made with nut flour!  Oh yes!  Thank goodness!  I love soup and I can eat it anytime of day all year round, but sometimes you just want something else.  It’s actually pretty amazing all of the things that you can make with nut flour.  The only stipulation is that most recipes call for eggs and lots of them!  As you might imagine, nut flours are a lot heavier than grain flours and therefore need something to give them a little lift.  I have made pancakes with and without eggs and while both of them are good, the egg free pancakes are just a tad denser than the ones made with eggs.  My new favorite egg replacement is 2 tablespoons chia seeds soaked in 3 tablespoons of water.  That equals one egg.

Keep checking back for more grain free recipes because I found a delicious carrot cake recipe made with almond flour that I would love to share with you.  It made the perfect birthday cake for Anita!

pancakes

Hazelnut Flour Pancakes

1 1/2 cups hazelnut flour (I made my own in my vitamix but you can use the nut flour variety of your choice)

1 tsp. arrowroot flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 eggs

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

1 tsp. vanilla

  • In a small bowl, mix applesauce, non-dairy milk, vanilla and eggs and set aside.
  • Mix hazelnut flour, arrowroot, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a separate bowl.  Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  Mix together.
  • Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat.  Lightly coat with cooking spray or oil of your choice. Drop 1 1/2 tablespoons of batter into pan and spread out slightly for each pancake.  Cook pancakes 3-4 minutes, until bottoms have browned, then flip and cook 1-3 minutes more.  (Note: Do not wait for bubbles to appear on top of the pancake like you do when cooking regular pancakes.)
  • Spray the pan again and repeat with remaining batter.  Top with your favorite fruit, nuts and syrup and enjoy!