Carrot Zucchini Muffins

So… I was scanning Pinterest for way to use vegetables in breakfast. Specifically zucchini. I came across this recipe and decided to try it. It was really perfect… with my tweeks of course! 😀

  • The original recipe calls for A WHOLE CUP OF SUGAR. What the what?!! … I reduced this by half (that would be 1/2c. of sugar). It was very lovely. Enough sweetness to tell you it was a muffin, but not so sweet that gave me a tummy ache.
  • I used coconut oil instead of canola oil. It did not make the muffins taste like coconut. ^_^

I have more zucchini and carrots in my fridge, so I might make another batch this weekend as they are disappearing fast. Two thumbs up from me!

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Biscuits

The biscuits that I grew up with consisted of three ingredients: self rising flour, vegetable shortening, and buttermilk. Good ole southern buttermilk biscuits.  They were delicious! … Aaannndddd NOT very good for you. I’ve tried lots of different ways of making biscuits as I’ve gotten older and more health conscience. In my mission to healthify one of my favorite southern foods, I’ve made two discoveries that I believe have brought me to a place of biscuit zen: Pinterest, and whole wheat pastry flour!

This is the recipe that I have settled on as my favorite biscuit recipe. I haven’t even had to tweek it very much. The only thing I did differently is to shred the cold butter into the dry mixture with a box grater. Oh, and I did all the mixing by hand. These tweeks are really only because I don’t have a stand mixer that is suitable for mixing dough. Also, per my new usual, I used half ww pastry flour, and half all purpose flour (depending on what I’m making, I might use more of the ww pastry flour than that). I have made this recipe twice and it has been well loved by the family. 🙂

The shredding the butter into the flour trick comes from this recipe, my second favorite. When I made this, I used store bought buttermilk instead of making my own like the recipe suggests. I had trouble with the method of rolling the dough out into a rectangle and then cutting the biscuits into squares with a knife/pizza cutter/bench scraper.  I guess that was my anal retentive side. Hah! I found it MUCH easier and less frustrating to roll out the dough and use a round cutter, as in the first recipe.

Anywhoooo…. if you need biscuits in your life like I do, I think you’ll be happy with these two recipes. It really warms the cockles of my heart to know that I have found a relatively healthy way to reintroduce this nostalgic food item into my life. Yay! 😀

 

Yogurt Parfait Thingy

So, I tried this combo on a whim yesterday… it was GREAT! I’m eating it for breakfast for the second day in a row as I type this. 🙂

First… strawberries. I like them chopped small.

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Next… some nice PEACH greek yogurt.

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Then… top with one of these, finely crumbled. (There are two in one package… I just used one of them. So, half the package.)

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Mmmm-mmmm! It’s so yummy! And it makes me feel kinda healthy. 😀

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Chicken Spanikopita Burgers

Who doesn’t love a good burger?! But sometimes making the same old grilled burger at home can be BORING. I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest and knew it would be a great way to get out of that burger boredom. After all… we love feta over here! Of course we had to try it! However… I found that the original recipe had WWAAAAAYYY too much sodium! So I am trying a few tweeks. 🙂

  • I used an even 1 pound package of ground chicken
  • I used about 1/3 – 1/2 of a HUGE red onion, finely minced.
  • 1/4 t. of garlic powder instead of real garlic (sue me ^_^ )
  • I used organic frozen chopped spinach. Once thawed, squeezed of excess moisture, re-chopped, and put into a measuring cup… it was a heaping 1/4 c.
  • 1/4 c. finely crumbled feta cheese.
  • 1 t. Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 t. oregano (original recipe says 2 t. divided, but I only see 1 used in the directions. *shrug*)

I cooked the onion and garlic powder in a medium skillet using 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a few sprays of cooking spray. I also added a few tablespoons of water about half way through. I cooked them for about 5 minutes. Then I transferred them to a bowl and let them cool. Once cooled, I added everything else (note that I didn’t add olive oil to the mix as the recipe indicates) and mixed and stuck it in the fridge. I was prepping this at about 11am, so it kind of “marinated” for a little over 5 hours. Then I formed the patties and cooked them according to the recipe directions.

So… I guess my main tweeks to reduce the sodium is only 1 teaspoon of grill seasoning, and half as much feta. It was pretty perfect. Hubby loved it… went back for seconds. Two thumbs up on this one!

Blueberry Croissant Puff

My hubby loves bread pudding. So I’m always on the lookout for a yummy, unique bread pudding recipe. I found this one on Pinterest and tried it last week. Holy mackerel! It was AMAZING! I made this pretty much exactly as the recipe states… except that I sprinkled on 2 tablespoons of flax meal with the blueberries. Because… fiber. Also, I think next time I make this, I’ll let the croissants sit out for a while to dry out. I also made a lemon glaze to drizzle on top. That was just your basic glaze that I didn’t really measure… oops. I think it was probably about 1/2 – 2/3 cup of powdered sugar and the juice of half a lemon. Hubby said he would like it without the glaze. I also thought this recipe might be good with a little maple syrup drizzled on top. Anyway… here’s the recipe link . I will definitely be making this again!

 

A simple smoothie

There are about a million and one smoothie recipes out there. Everybody loves them… am I right?! Well I made one for me and my wee lad this morning for breakfast, so I thought I’d share my method. I like to use greek yougurt for the added protein, and a little flax meal for the omega-3’s. I also prefer to use frozen fruit instead of ice cubes.

Your Basic Smoothie

  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 c. frozen strawberries (organic if you can find it)
  • 1/4 c. frozen blueberries (organic if you can find it)
  • 1 T. flax meal
  • 1 5.3oz container of vanilla greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. OJ
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • honey to taste

Put it all in the blender and blend it up! Yum! This whole recipe is about 7.5 grams of fiber… something most Americans need more of. It was two servings for us… so that’s about 3.75gm per serving. You could always add another tablespoon of flax meal if you want more fiber. Hehe… sorry guys. I’m a little obsessed with this stuff. To me, natural fiber content is a good way to judge a food’s healthiness.

Zucchini Pancakes

This week I was in the mood to cook a different vegetable than my usual broccoli or green beans. So I just picked up a few zucchini, having no idea what I what make with them. I again pulled out “How To Cook Everything Vegetarian” by Mark Bittman. I found a nice little vegetable pancake recipe. It suggested that you could use lots of different vegetables… turnips, zucchini, winter squash, sweet potato, carrots, etc. I picked the zucchini or course. One cool thing about this cook book is that there are always a few (or several) variations listed. For this recipe, there was a Cheesy Vegetable Pancake variation which I chose. There’s also a long list of ways you could serve vegetable pancakes and fritters. It’s a really useful cook book that I would recommend to everyone!

ANYWAY… These things were soooooooo fabulous! I believe my husband described them as “amazing.” There’s not a whole lot of flour in the recipe, so they ended feeling and tasting kind of like quiche on the inside. Which I subsequently discovered is because I accidentally used 2 eggs instead of 1. Oops… might just make that mistake again next time. I will most definitely make them again!

Cheesy Vegetable Pancakes

  • About 1 pound of turnips, zucchini, winter squash, or sweet potatoes, peeled if necessary (alone or in combo. should be 2 cups packed)
  • 1/2 onion grated (I used about 1/4 c of finely minced green onion)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 c flour, more or less (I used half ww, half ap)
  • 1 c shredded cheese (I used 3/4 cheddar, and 1/4 grated parm)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • milk, half-and-half, or cream as needed
  • 2 T melted butter or EVOO, plus more for the pan

Grate vegetables by hand or with your food processor. Mix the vegetables, cheese, onion, egg, and flour together. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then add just enough milk so that the mixture drops easily from a large spoon. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of melted butter or EVOO. Put a little butter or oil in a large pan and heat over medium heat. When the butter melts or oil is hot, drop in spoonfuls of batter; use a fork to spread into an even layer. Cook turning once until nicely browned on both sides, about 15 minutes. Work in batches, and keep them warm in the oven (warm setting or 275) until they are all cooked. Serve hot or room temperature.

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As you can see, I served them with a nice, generic, horseradish shmeared salmon, and some broccoli (yes, the broccoli found it’s way into the meal anyway). We heated leftover veggie cakes the next day in the toaster oven. They were still yummy, but not nearly as good as when they were fresh (duh, right?).