Zucchini Muffins

 

 

gluten-free ~ dairy free ~ refined sugar-free ~ vegan option

I don’t know about ya’ll but back to school pandemonium is still in full swing at my house. A prime example, would be this blog post and how ungodly late I am in posting it. It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is to get of a routine and how fucking hard (pardon my french) it is to get back into one! And again….borrowing from the French…..I say c’est la vie! 

Now, let’s get down to business and talk muffins! More specifically, zucchini muffins! My mom is a master gardener and always has a plethora of zuchinni. And if she lets them go long enough on the vine, they are HUGE! Those are the ones we want to make these muffins. This recipe is so simple that you can make two batches in no time.

The best part about this recipe is that there is no zucchini shredding involved! Just peel off the skin, scoop out the seeds and you are ready to go! I like to make one pan of muffins, which are great for school snacks and two mini loaves to either gift or snack on at the house. This recipe also freezes great so i can pull out as many muffins as I need and keep the rest fresh! Now, go find that monster zuchinni and get to baking! Your kids will love you and you can secretly smirk that they are eating veggies. Enjoy! nom nom

I made a few minor tweeks to a recipe I discovered on  There Is Life After Wheat blog  

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of oil; I like avocado or canola
  • 3 large eggs or flaxseed eggs if making vegan
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  •  3 cups of peeled and largely chopped zucchini
  • 2 cups coconut sugar; or sub 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce for 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 cups gluten-free flour mix; I like Cup4Cup or Bob’s 1:1 GF flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup of chopped nuts; I like pecans or walnuts (optional)

 

  1. Grease or place muffin liners in tins. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In your blender, add oil, eggs and vanilla and blend until incorporated.
  3. Add in zucchini and blend until completely smooth. You should end up with 4 cups of liquid.
  4. Add in sugar and blend.
  5. Add in remaining ingredients, except the nuts and blend. If you are using nuts, remove the blade and stir them in at this point.
  6. Pour batter into your prepared muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes.

*If you would rather make mini loaves, bake for 22-28 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

 

Fruit Cobbler

gluten free / dairy free option / refined sugar free

 

The top three reasons I love summer in order are; 1) warm weather 2) fruit cobbler 3) fresh produce, and trust me, the only reason warm weather comes before fruit cobbler is because without the weather we would not get the fruit. And that my friends, would be a huge bummer. Here is a little cobbler 101…….

Cobbler refers to a variety of dishes, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. They consist of a fruit or savoury filling poured into a baking dish and covered with a batter, biscuit, or dumpling before being baked. Some cobbler recipes, especially in the American South, resemble a thick-crusted, deep-dish pie with both a top and bottom crust. Cobblers came into existence with the British American colonists because they were unable to make their traditional suet puddings due to missing ingredients and cooking devices. This particular recipe is my great grandmother’s and uses a simple pie crust as the topper. I significantly decreased the sugar in the filling, and also switched it to an unrefined sugar.

Cobblers are also great for beginning bakers! A fruit pie typically has two crusts and takes a little patience and dexterity to assemble. A cobbler only uses one crust and has a more rustic appearance to it, which makes it easier to hide any flaws in your pie crust. And trust me pie crusts can be tricky. You simply roll out one pie crust, lay it in the baking dish, pour in the filling and fold over the edges of the crust. Serve warm with your favorite ice cream!!  Our personal favorite is blueberry cobbler with a vanilla coconut ice cream.

Enjoy!! nom nom

Ingredients:

3 cups of sliced peaches or other fruit such as blueberries or blackberries

1/4 cup of organic natural cane sugar

3 TBS butter/ vegan butter

1 TBS.  gluten-free cornstarch

Gluten Free Pie Crust

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened. Set aside.
  2. Follow this link to make the  Gluten Free Pie Crust. Roll out the dough to be 1/8 inch thick.
  3. Place the pie crust into a 9×9′ baking dish. Make sure the crust in set down into the pan and the extra pie crust is hanging off the sides.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust. You can trim some of the dough that hangs over the side or you can leave it as is! Fold each side of the pie crust over the filling and make sure to pinch closed the corner flaps once all the sides are folded over.
  5. Brush the crust with milk (we use almond milk) and sprinkle with a small amount of sugar.
  6. Bake at 400 F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly

 

Side Note: If you roll the dough out to be an 1/8 inch thick you will have a good amount of dough hanging over the edges. If you decide to trim the pie crust, then here is what I do with the extra.

  1. Put all the scraps of dough together and form a ball. Roll out the dough, in can be anywhere between 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Cut into strips.
  2.  Melt 1 TBS of butter and brush both side of the pie crust twigs. Sprinkle each side with sugar and cinnamon. Throw them on a baking sheet and put them in the same oven as the cobbler. Bake for 10-15 minutes, flipping once in the middle. Remove them from the oven and either serve as a garnish for your cobbler or they are a slightly sweet treat all by themselves!

 

 

Biscuits

Take it from a girl from Kansas, where biscuits are pretty much a daily occurrence, these gluten-free biscuits are the bomb!!!!!! Warm out of the oven with a little butter and honey (or jam) and you will be in heaven.  They are flaky and moist with a beautiful golden brown top thanks to the melted butter you brush the tops with both before and after baking. These biscuits have also become a weekly staple in our house so that we can make breakfast sandwiches. They are a breeze to whip up taking only 20 minutes from start to finish. If you want to warm them up from room temp, just pop them in the microwave for 15 seconds or in the toaster on the lightest setting. Enjoy!!! nom nom
2 1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour; I use the Cup4Cup brand
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon raw cane sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 tablespoons cold salted butter  or vegan butter
2 tablespoons melted butter; divided
1 cup buttermilk or non-dairy buttermilk substitute
flour for rolling out dough; I use rice flour as the GF flour is more expensive
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Place a piece of parchment on a baking sheet
Stir together the dry ingredients. Cut butter into small cubes and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter. Work in until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk by hand.
Dust clean surface with rice flour. Roll out dough into a disk that is about 3/4-1 in thick. Cut out dough with a 2-in round cookie/biscuit cutter and place rounds on prepared baking sheet.
Brush the tops of the unbaked biscuits with about half the melterd butter, reserving the rest to use once they are removed from the oven. And sprinkle with salt.
Bake biscuits about 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Serve warm.

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

gluten-free / refined sugar-free / dairy free option

Words cannot begin to express how AMAZING this pie is. So to honor that this is going to be a blissfully short post. The key to making this pie unforgettable is very simple. All you need are local, freshly picked strawberries, some rhubarb which grows rampant in most areas, and a bit of orange zest to tie it all together! There is no doubt in my mind that this pie would still be good in the dead of winter with store-bought produce but it would definitely be the ugly step child in comparison. So much so, that now that I have had the real deal I would NEVER be able to make it otherwise. And because I hate depriving myself of anything this good, I’ve decided I will just have to pick enough berries this season that I can freeze a bunch and make this pie year round!!!

If you are local to the Milwaukee area and want to go pick I highly recommend going to Barthel Fruit Farm. They are located near Mequon, WI and are hands down the best farm in the area!! In addition to strawberries, they also offer a variety of plants and herbs to buy, sugar snap peas which are available now, and apples and pumpkins coming in fall!!

Rhubarb is naturally a bit bitter to taste so the sweetness of these strawberries balances out that flavor profile with ease. And because these berries are SO sweet you can literally cut the sugar down by at least half without even blinking an eye, which appeals to the healthy side of my brain! The orange zest I added to the filling gives you just a hint of that citrus tang through the sweetness of the berries. It definitely gives your taste buds a little zing and gives the pie a more elegant finish.

The only other advice I can offer is to make two pies, because one is definitely not enough!!

Enjoy! nom nom

P.S. AS always, if you do not need to be GF feel free to just sub in your eveyday all purpose flour!!!!

Ingredients

2 cups fresh rhubarb; cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 cups sliced strawberries

1/2-3/4 cup raw organic cane sugar

1/2 tsp. grated orange peel

1/3 cup GF all purpose flour

2 TBS butter

1/4 tsp nutmeg

pinch of salt

1 recipe for Gluten Free Pie Crust; makes (2) 9 inch crusts

 

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Prepare the pie crust by following the link above!
  2. Mix rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, orange peel, flour and nutmeg in a large bowl. Turn into prepared pie shell.
  3. Cut the butter into small pieces and dot the filling with them.
  4. Place the second pie crust over the filling. Cut 3 slits in the center to allow for ventilation. Seal and crimp the edges.
  5. Brush with milk or egg whites and sprinkle with sugar.
  6. Cover the pie’s edge with 2-3 inch of aluminum foil to prevent the edges from burning. Remove for the last 15 minutes of baking.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until crust is a golden brown.

 

Quinoa Blondie Bars

gluten free / dairy free / refined sugar free / vegan option

So, last week was my daughter’s last day of K4. It was an emotional week for everyone. I’m talking tears everyday, this is the worst thing to happen to her EVER kind of emotional. And I honestly wasn’t much better…..Amira has been blessed for the last two years to attend the Schlitz Audubon Nature School outside of Milwaukee. It is a truly unique program where they spend the majority of their day out in nature learning about our world and the skills they will need to become active members of our society. To put it in perspective, they spend more time outside in the 9 month preschool program than they will cumulatively until they graduate highschool. This program has taught her to respect all that nature offers and to see what a small but integral part she plays in our world. They learned multiple languages through song, learned how to identify plants and animals and learned all the basics of a preschool program through the lens of nature. Needless to say, she was beyond sad to be done, as was I. So, like any good southern born girl does when she is sad I baked up a storm! And these quinoa blondie bars were one of my faves. The recipe below is based off a traditional blondie bar recipe I picked up years ago. Each time I made them (4 times to be exact) I made an adjustment to make them a healthier dessert option. Whether it was changing the sugar or eliminating the butter and eggs they turned out moist, gooey and delicious!!  And since vegan is the most earth friendly way to eat, they are a perfect way to end our nature school adventure! Enjoy!! NOM NOM

Ingredients

2 large eggs or flax seed eggs if making vegan

3/4 cup almond butter, room temperature

1/4 cup butter or butter alternative, softened

3/4 cup of coconut palm sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup quinoa flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup of dark chocolate chips, I use Enjoy Life Vegan Chocolate Chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment paper or foil. The paper should overhang a bit on opposite ends. Coat with butter or cooking spray.
  2. Whisk quinoa flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat butter and almond butter in a stand mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs, coconut sugar and vanilla.
  4. Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it, 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely before removing from pan. Once it is cool lift the parchment out and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Should be approximately 16 bars.

 

 

 

Lavender Cookies

Spring is officially here! And that means crazy indecisive weather that in one breath makes you put on your parka and rain boots, grab your shovel with one hand and your umbrella with the other. Those days are punctuated by beautiful sun filled days where you throw open your windows, smile and run with (or without) your kids to the nearest park. For me, there is also a dramatic increase in the amount of socializing or entertaining once spring arrives. Mostly because with two young kids we spend most of the winter months huddled in our houses battling one illness or another or waiting out the current snow storm.  But also because for this foodie spring also screams BRUNCH! Mimosas, quiches, fresh fruit and beautifully light and delicate desserts like these lavender cookies. This recipe came from my mom by way of the Herb Society she belongs to. They are buttery soft with a lovely undertone of lavender. They are perfect for bridal showers, baby showers or just brunch with friends! Oh, and they are SO good I recommend doubling the recipe! Enjoy!! nom nom

2 cubes of softened butter

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 egg

1 tsp of grated fresh lemon zest

1/4 cup culinary lavender buds

pinch of salt

2 cups GF all purpose flour; I am still perfecting my all purpose blend so I used King Arthur’s GF all purpose flour.

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix butter, sugar and egg with mixer on medium speed. Add dry ingredients and stir to make very stiff batter.
  3. Drop by the spoonful onto parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes until cookies are slightly brown around the edges. They are best if slightly underbaked. Let cool for a few minutes then move to wire rack to cool completely.

 

 

Chocolate Coconut Cookies

gluten free / dairy free / flour free / grain free / refined sugar free

In the excitement of Easter and the beginning of spring break last week, I completely forgot to post the recipe for these amazing chocolate coconut cookies. I was introduced to these cookies by a girlfriend of mine and they are my go to cookies when I am jonesing for a sweet and have no time to bake. Enjoy! nom nom

Prep Time: 10 minutes       Bake Time: 12-15 minutes

Makes 12

1 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, shredded

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 egg or flaxseed egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup chocolate chips; I prefer dark chocolate but any type will work!

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together coconut, coconut sugar, coconut oil, egg and vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Roll dough into golf ball size balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Lightly flatten with your palm or flat side of a measuring cup.
  4. Bake until edges are golden brown, 12- 15 minutes. Let cookies cool before handling.