Zucchini Muffins

We have an abundance of zucchini and summer squash in the VH garden right now. I wanted to make Zucchini bread, but . . . I couldn’t find any bread pans. I now know where they are for future endeavors (I actually made whole wheat bread yesterday!), but ended up making muffins instead. Cooking and baking with foods grown in our backyard=healthy, cheap, and seemingly part of a movement that makes us alternative and awesome.

Zucchini Muffins
2 cups grated zucchini (two small zucchini or one large)
1 medium sized banana
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons chia seeds (flax seed meal should work as well)
1 cup organic whole can sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp iodized sea salt
1 tsp allspice

1. Process zucchini in food processor, using grater attachment.

2. Preheat oven to 325; mash banana and combine with zucchini.

3. Make chia “egg” by combining the water and chia seeds. By the time you add them to the mixture, they’ll look like this:

4. To zucchini mixture add honey, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add chia egg.

5. Mix together dry ingredients. Fold wet into dry.

6. Spoon into muffin cups; bake for 26 minutes at 325.

You know what would be absolutely delicious mixed into this baby? Walnuts. Unfortunately . . .

And apparently there is a sale on Zyrtec for those of you who have allergies!

Have you made anything from your garden? 

This post is shared on Fight Back Friday over at Food Renegade!

Everything in the Pantry Milk

Since I’ve been interning on the farm and going to the farmer’s market every weekend, I think I’ve been to a grocery store . . . once? Maybe twice? I love cooking up all the goodies I bring home from work, and I desperately want to avoid the supermarket as long as I can. I ran out of almond milk last week, and my recent reticence to run to Publix (and the ingredients in my pantry) prompted this lovely, non-dairy milk.

I’ve made almond milk in the past, but don’t do it often because it’s cheaper (and easier) for me to simply buy it. I wondered though if I could get the same results with some of the other nuts and seeds in my pantry!

Everything In The Pantry Milk
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
4 3/4 cup water
2 1/2 tbsp local honey
1/4 tsp iodized sea salt

1. Place the nuts and the seeds in a bowl and cover completely with water (not the water listed on the ingredients list )

2. Place a towel over the bowl and soak overnight.

3. The next day, drain off the water and rinse thoroughly. The cashews looked a bit discolored, so make sure to rinse well.

4. Blend the nuts and water together.

5. Add the honey and sea salt, continue blending. Don’t be alarmed if it starts to froth out a bit!

6. Strain with a fine wire mesh strainer. If you want to ensure there is no pulp, strain with a cheese cloth.

Quick taste test:

And then I added some to my chai tea!

It definitely has an interesting taste I wasn’t expected–you can pick out notes of cashew and pumpkin which I really like! Next time, I may have to do a chocolate milk and add cocoa powder, some stevia, and some cinnamon.

Check back tomorrow to see what I made with the nut/seed pulp . . . I think I may like that even better than the milk!

Do you make your own “milk” or other items most people purchase in the store (bread, yogurt, cheese) ? 

This post is shared on Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade and the Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead!

Flavorful Flourless Fiberful Chocolate Brownies!

Can you say yum? Because I can, and it sounds a lot like eating a gooey, warm, chocolatey brownie . . .

These special brownies have a secret ingredient (not that) that adds protein and fiber! When I served them to friends and asked them to guess, they speculated love and happiness. How sweet. Well, they have plenty of love, but the special secret is black beans! I’ve made these once before with my sister, but re-stumbled upon the recipe at Practical Stewardship. Though most of my recipes are vegan, this does use eggs. I used eggs from my internship at the farm, so they are from truly free-range, happy, heirloom chickens. Farm fresh eggs have less fat, less dietary cholesterol,  more vitamin A, more vitamin E, and more protein (source).

Per serving, these brownies have about 5 grams of dietary fiber,13 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein. Compare that to a Betty Crocker Brownie Mix Supreme with 1 gram of dietary fiber, 32 grams of sugar, and 1.5 grams of protein. Actually, they really don’t compare 😉 In other news, I’m still struggling with my alliteration problem . . .

Flavorful Flourless Fiberful Brownies
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed
3 farm fresh eggs
2 Tbls Earth Balance
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbls vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Blend all ingredients (except chocolate chips) in a blender or food processor.

2. Pour into a greased 9×9 pan.

3. Sprinkle with dark chocolate chips, or other desired toppings (I think walnuts or pecans would be simply divine).

4. Bake in a 350 oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Mine were cooked thirty minutes and were still veryyy gooey, so if you’d like them a bit firmer I suggest cooking 32-35 minutes.

5. Let cool as long as you can before eating one (or two)!

Do you ever sneak “healthy” ingredients into indulgent foods? 

Spring Cleaning

Often at meals my peers will look at my plate and exclaim something akin to, “you’re so healthy!” Or, “What are you eating?” I do follow a vegan diet (with slip ups here and there) and so I tend to place a heavy emphasis on vegetables and other plant based foods. When I’m at school and following a schedule, I find it’s easier to eat healthy at lunch and dinner. Breakfast is a bit of a struggle for me, being a vegan at college I have the option of processed cereals (often laden with hidden sodium and sugars), soymilk sweetened with “evaporated cane juice” (read: sugar), peanut butter (with hydrogenated oils and therefore trans fats as well as added sugar), or oatmeal. Obviously, oatmeal is the obvious choice, and I’m trying to learn to love its slimy, congealing consistency. Learning.

The past few months, however, other foods have been slipping in that I previously avoided all together. “Food” isn’t an accurate description: I’ve been indulging in much more candy and processed food, made entirely of sugar, artificial flavors, and artificial dyes. These had no draw for me in the past, but I think that now that I am vegan when I am in a situation with less than ideal food options I’ll eat anything that’s non-animal based, whether it is healthy or not.

I need to prepare in advance rather than feel remorse looking in hindsight. It is difficult, however, because I find that if I pack food for myself (even if it’s healthy food) I eat it when bored, whether I’m hungry or not. I love the way my body feels when I feed it good, whole foods. I’m energetic and eager to exercise, I feel confident and competent. When I eat poorly, I feel lethargic, unmotivated, and guilty (though food should never inspire feelings of guilt. Ever.)

Time to spring clean my diet and return to my high standards! They may have been mocked, but they make my body happy. No more artificial flavors. No more artificial dyes. No more aspartame or other fake sweeteners. No more partially or fully hydrogenated oils. No more candy that I don’t even like, but that I’m eating because it’s vegan so I technically “can.” No more food that isn’t food. Scientifically, I know it is damaging to my health. Empirically, I know it does nothing to nourish me and only leads to a life I don’t want. I desire energy and clarity, not lethargy or unwarranted feelings of regret.

I eschew the idea of deprivation, and this list of “No’s” seems to be full of that. Rather, I’d prefer to view it instead what I’m encouraging in my life. Vitality. Strength. Self-assurance. Good food. Appreciation. Regularity, if you know what I mean.

The hardest part of this? Sugar free flavors in soy lattes…*

What do you not like in your diet?

Are you going to do any “spring cleaning” in your food choices or exercise regimen? 

*in the interest of full disclosure, I’m probably going to still have some soy lattes, on occasion, as a treat. Everyone needs some “fun foods” in their diet, and those are mine!