Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread (vegan)

30 Aug

If you read my last post, you know I have been drooling over the delicious produce at the farmer’s market recently. I was sad to see farmers putting out the last of their zucchini crop last weekend. I definitely got greedy and snatched up more than my fair share.

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I felt a wave of guilt wash over me as zucchini after zucchini was unloaded from my bag…it was like the Mary Poppin’s version of a bottomless grocery bag full of zucchini.

I had to get rid of the guilt somehow…concocting this zucchini bread (and lots of it!) was just the way…in addition to zucchini pancakes, steamed zucchini, and zucchini omelets (more on that later)!

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Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread (vegan)

Makes 1 loaf

Note: I tried this recipe with varying amounts of sugar. I settled on 3/4 cup which was the minimum amount I could use while still having the loaf taste like zucchini bread. A 1/2 cup of sugar was still satisfactory but not the preferred version among tasters. 

1lb zucchini (1 large or 2 medium), shredded

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided

1/4 cup apple sauce

5 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tablespoons water

1/4 cup zucchini juice (see below)

1. Combine shredded zucchini with 2 tablespoons sugar in a fine mesh strainer. Place over bowl and allow to drain for 30 minutes. Next, wring out the zucchini with a clean dish towel.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the juice.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a bread loaf pan with cooking spray.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice.

4. In a separate medium bowl, combine sugar, applesauce, vegetable oil, apple cider vinegar, flax eggs, and zucchini juice. Add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in zucchini. Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 

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Tomato Tart for Two (or more)

28 Aug

I have been like a little kid in the candy store lately.

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I literally cannot wait until Saturday mornings. My recent Saturday morning routine has been as follows:

I wake up at the crack of dawn (sans alarm) like a kid on Christmas morning. I sip on a cup of coffee while I map out my strategy for the farmer’s market (when you stop at the vendor with the plump juicy peaches and then continue on to the vendor with  your favorite 5 pound bag of potatoes which are placed on top of your peaches, you no longer have edible peaches…lesson learned the hard way). Next, I jump into the car as the butterflies build in my stomach…I’m almost there! As I make my way through the farmer’s market, my game face is on. I tend to do a once (or twice) over to figure out what I want to get. I begin drooling as I head from vendor to vendor looking at the fresh picked blueberries, the crisp red apples, the bountiful flowers, and the tomatoes! Oh, the tomatoes! I can’t take my eyes off of them! I giddily go up to each vendor, chat about the new crop, make my purchases, pick up some flowers with any cash leftover, and head home to unload the goods. I usually spend the better part of my weekend creating dreamy dishes with my #farmersmarketfinds.

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I ended up with a surplus of tomatoes this past week. Surprisingly, I went through them all and I need to restock this Saturday. That’s in part because of this delicious tomato tart I made over the weekend. This tart is three things:

1. Easy on the eyes.

2. Simple.

3. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.

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This tart is the perfect example of using good quality ingredients to get a tasty result.

Tomato Tart for Two (or more)

Adapted from Taste of Home

Note: the portions listed below are for a 4×4 casserole dish. You can easily fit this into an 8×8 dish or a 9×16 dish; just adjust the size of your sheets of phyllo and increase the amounts of other ingredients. The portion sizes in parenthesis are for a 9×16 pan. 

7 sheets of phyllo dough, cut to fit the size of your pan

2 tablespoons olive oil (1/3 cup)

3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (1/2 cup)

1/4 sweet onion, sliced very thin (1 onion)

3 small tomatoes, sliced thin (about 10 small tomatoes, or 4 larger tomatoes)

1 teaspoon fresh chives, minced (1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon fresh basil, minced (1 tablespoon)

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)

Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush casserole dish with olive oil to prevent tart from sticking.

2. Begin layering the phyllo dough and goat cheese. Place one sheet of phyllo dough in the bottom of the pan, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with goat cheese. Keep remaining sheets of phyllo dough covered with a clean damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo dough.

3. Top final layer of phyllo dough with parmesan cheese, sliced onions, tomatoes, chives, basil, salt and pepper. Fold over any phyllo dough that is hanging over the edge of your dish.

4. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, until tart is browned (baking time may be longer depending on the size of your tart).

 

Cucumber Mint Refresher

22 Aug

I can usually take or leave summer. I am one of those people who thrives in the fall. I don’t mind winter. Spring is pretty great. After about a month of the stifling hot summer weather, I’m ready for the cool crisp air of fall.

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Notice how I said “usually”. I think all of us here in the mitten state are still recovering from this past winter. After the below zero temperatures and record breaking snowfalls, I was ready to embrace all of the sticky, humid heat that summer had to offer. This cocktail helped me embrace summer nights. It is crisp and refreshing…perfect for sipping on with friends and family during a breezy summer evening.

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Cucumber Mint Refresher

The amounts below are to make one cocktail.

Note: I used this vodka infuser to make cucumber vodka but EFFEN Vodka makes a delicious cucumber vodka works as well.   

8-10 fresh mint leaves

1/2 lime

1/4 cup lemonade

2 1/4 ounces cucumber vodka (1 1/2 shots)

1/2 cup club soda

Ice

Cucumber slices, for garnish (optional)

1. Muddle together the mint and lime and a glass.

2. Add lemonade, vodka, club soda, and ice. Stir together. Garnish with cucumber slices (optional).

3. Sit back. Sip. Enjoy. 🙂

Blueberry Donut Holes (vegan)

20 Aug

Hello! It’s been a while. I promise it’s not you, it’s me. This summer completely slipped away from me.

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That’s not to say I haven’t been whipping up some delicious treats in the kitchen, I just haven’t had a chance to share them all with you!

I have been meaning to post these vegan Blueberry Donut Holes for a while now.

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This is BY FAR my favorite time of year at the farmer’s market. This past weekend I was lucky enough to score some juicy peaches, crisp apples, and there was still an awesome selection of blueberries. Is it really possible that all of these amazing fruits were available at the same time?!

Blueberry season is reaching its end (tear). You shouldn’t let it pass you by without whipping up these bite sized treats.

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Blueberry Donut Holes

Makes 20-24 donut holes

Note: I have a Bella donut hole maker. The cooking times indicated in the recipe are an estimate, depending on how you are preparing them and what type of maker you have, they may need to bake longer. I have not made these using a donut hole pan, but other donut hole recipes I’ve come across call for baking them in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes and then allowing them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing. You could also use a mini muffin pan if neither of the other options are available to you; baking time may vary. 

Ingredients

Wet:

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

4 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water

Dry:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup blueberries

Glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1-2 tablespoons liquid of choice (I have used both light coconut milk and unsweetened vanilla almond milk with good results)

 

1. Preheat donut hole maker or preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

3. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl and set aside.

4. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine almond milk, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil until warm. Add cornstarch mixture and stir to combine. Off heat, stir in vanilla.

5. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix just until combined. Fold in blueberries and coconut.

6. Spray donut hole maker with cooking spray or grease donut hole pan. If using donut hole maker: Put 1 tablespoon of batter into each donut hole cup. Close and allow to bake for 3 minutes or until lightly browned (see note). Open maker and allow donut holes to sit for 30-60 seconds. Gently remove donut holes from maker using a spoon and place on a cooling rack.

7. Once donut holes have cooled, combine powdered sugar and milk of choice. Dip donut donut holes in icing and allow to set on parchment paper.

8. Enjoy! 🙂

Roasted Grape Farro Salad

22 May

This salad is inspired by a recent trip we took out west.

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I know what you’re thinking…”she just got back from visiting wineries in Sonoma and has this new appreciation for grapes and wine and came home ready to get her grape on in the kitchen.”

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As much as I wish that were true, it’s not. This meal is a recreation of an airport meal that I had on our way home. I know, so anticlimactic. I can promise you that this dish won’t be anticlimactic for your taste buds, though.

This would be the perfect side dish to contribute to your next “bring a dish to pass” gathering or can easily act as the main star for a light lunch or dinner. You can make it ahead of time and keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Did I mention that it’s also packed with fiber and healthy fats?

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If you’ve never been to the San Francisco airport, you should go. Seriously. Not only do they have awesome food selection (inspiration for this salad), but they have a yoga room! And yes, I practiced in it! And no, I wasn’t the only person in there!

After getting my “om” on and having a delicious lunch, I was ready for the long flight ahead!

Roasted Grape Farro Salad

Serves 4

For the Grapes:

3 cups red seedless grapes, detached from stems

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

For the Pesto:

1 cup arugula

1 clove garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

For the rest:

8 oz farro

Juice of half a lemon

1/2-1  tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted (to toast a small amount of pine nuts, place in a non stick skillet over medium heat for 5-8 minutes until lightly browned)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss grapes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Roast at  30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until grapes start to burst and release some of the juice.

2. While the grapes are roasting, make the pesto. In a food processor, pulse together arugula, garlic, parmesan cheese, and salt to taste. Scrape down the sides. With the food processor running, gradually add olive oil until pesto reaches a smooth consistency. (the pesto could be made a day in advance)

3. Cook farro by adding it to a pot of boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain.

4. In a large bowl, combine farro, roasted grapes along with any juices on the pan, arugula pesto, and pine nuts. Toss with lemon  juice and olive oil.

 

Mexican Roasted Chickpeas

4 May

Hello hello. I have been MIA and I apologize. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks with another whirlwind week ahead. I had some quality family time over Easter and some quality sister time soaking up the sun in Florida. The hubby and I head on a West coast adventure later this week. All exciting things that have left me with very little time to cook or blog!

I thought I’d sneak in a quick post just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

I love roasted chickpeas. They satisfy the need for a crunchy snack and are full of protein and fiber. You can easily season them how you like. These Mexican roasted chickpeas are the perfect healthy way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

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The inspiration for these chickpeas came from these delicious lentil tacos. I tossed a can of chickpeas with the spice mixture from the tacos and some vegetable oil, popped them in the oven and waiting while they roasted to perfection.

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My favorite way to enjoy these was atop a clean version of a taco salad. I tossed together some romaine, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced green onions, crushed Beanito chips, avocado, and topped with some olive oil and lemon juice…yum yum yum.

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Mexican Roasted Chickpeas

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

2. In a small bowl, combine spices. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, toss chickpeas with vegetable oil. Add spice mixture and toss until chickpeas are well coated.

4. Spread chickpeas into a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast in oven for 35-45 minutes until crispy, tossing or stirring chickpeas every 15 minutes.

 

Cardamom Shortbread

12 Apr

We’ve almost made it through the most brutal winter of my lifetime. I say “almost” because according to the 10-day forecast on my phone, there is still one day with a high of only 39 degrees. I’m crossing my fingers that a) the high doesn’t drop any lower than that and b) a wintry mix doesn’t decide to tag along with the cooler weather. You just never know when you live in Michigan.

In the event that one more snowy morning finds its way into our lives this spring, I have just the thing for you: cardamom shortbread.

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It’s the perfect thing to munch on as you snuggle up under a blanket with a hot cup of coffee and a good book as one last cold spell passes through.

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The original recipe comes from ATK’s Baking Illustrated.

Cardamom Shortbread

Makes 16 wedges

1 3/4 cup (8 3/4 ounces)

1/4 cup (1 1/3 ounces) cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

2/3 cup (5 ounces) superfine sugar (if not available, process granulated sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds)

1/4 teaspoon salt

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter

1.Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line an ungreased 9-inch round cake pan with a round piece of parchment paper and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set both aside.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flours, cardamom, all but 1 tablespoon of the sugar (reserve for sprinkling), and salt at low speed until combined, about 5 seconds. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes and toss with 1/4 cup of the flour mixture in a small bowl. Add the butter and any flour remaining to the flour mixture in the bowl. Mix at low speed until the dough is pale yellow and resembles damp crumbs, about 4 minutes.

3. Remove the bowl from the mixer and toss the mixture lightly with your fingers to fluff and loosen; rub any remaining butter bits into the flour mixture with your fingertips.

4. Turn half the crumbs into a 9-inch parchment-lined cake pan and even lightly with the fingers. Press the mixture firmly into the pan using the bottom of a cup. Add the remaining crumbs and even lightly with fingers. Working quickly, smooth the top of the dough with the back of a spoon. Insert a paring knife between the dough and the pan. Leaving the knife stationary, rotate the pan counterclockwise to free the edges of the dough. Unmold the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Peel the parchment round from the dough; smooth the edges if necessary. Place a 2-inch biscuit cutter in the center of the dough and cut out the center. Place the extruded round to the side, the replace the biscuit cutter.

5. Place the shortbread in the oven; immediately reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. Bake 20 minutes; remove the baking sheet from the oven. Score the top surface of the shortbread into 16 even wedges with a thin knife. If desired, pierce a design with a sharp skewer. Return the shortbread to the oven and continue to bake until pale golden, about 40 minutes longer.

6. Slide the parchment with the shortbread onto a cutting board, remove the biscuit cutter from the center, sprinkle the shortbread evenly with the reserved 1 tablespoon sugar, and cut at the scored marks into wedges. Slide the parchment with the shortbread onto a wire rack and cool to room temperature, at least 3 hours.

 

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