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!

 

 

 

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….

Kitchen Experiments – Strawberries with Coconut Whipped Cream

Have you been hearing non-stop now about coconut oil, milk and water?  Even coconut flour and sugar have found their way to the shelves! It seems like not long ago when coconut anything was a definite no-no.  Well, not anymore. It seems the more coconut the better!  Actually, when I went to school to get my masters in nutrition at Bastyr University in the 1990’s they were already talking about how good coconut oil was for you, it just took the mainstream community a few more years to catch on.  Basically the fats that are found in coconut are made up of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which do not get processed the same way that the short or long chain triglycerides do and therefore are able to be used directly for energy.

Well, honestly, the “good for you” part is nice, but I just love the versatility of coconut and of course the taste.  I was looking for a recipe for whipped cream made from something other than heavy cream when I came across this recipe for coconut whipped cream.  It looked so easy so I just had to give it a go!

straw and whipped creamIsn’t it beautiful!  Now, it does not taste like the whipped cream that you know, so don’t expect it to, but boy is the flavor delicious.  The best thing about it is that you need very little sweetener to make it taste good.  It was really the perfect pairing for these strawberries.  I think it will replace regular whipped cream in my house.  I can’t wait to make pumpkin pie!  I will let you know how that turns out!

COCONUT WHIPPED CREAM

1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight

1-2 Tbs. maple syrup 

1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Place the coconut milk in the can in the refrigerator and let sit for at least 3 hours, but better overnight.  When removing from the refrigerator, try not to agitate the can. Open the can of coconut milk and scoop the top layer of white, fatty goodness into a decent sized mixing bowl (discard the coconut water or save it for smoothies). Blend the chunks of coconut milk with a hand mixer on high-speed for 15-20 seconds, just until the mixture turns to liquid. Add the maple syrup slowly (amount depends on how sweet you like it) and mix until combined. Add the vanilla extract and blend on high-speed for 1-2 minutes, until light and creamy. Whipped cream is best served immediately, but can be stored in an air tight container for up to three days. It will harden in the fridge, so when ready to serve, simply blend with a hand mixer on high-speed until creamy again.

Yield: about 1 1/4 cups