Aug 202014
 


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Seriously, it’s coming out of our ears. SO MUCH ZUCCHINI. The plant has taken over the raised bed and every day there is more zucchini. I guess the heat wave we had recently made our plant flourish. I needed some creative ways to eat the zucchini. With so much, just having it as a side dish with every dinner gets old quick. By the end of summer I plan on shredding a bunch of zucchini and freezing it like I did two summers ago. It was nice being able to make zucchini bread in the winter.

Zucchini Boats

This was the first recipe I tried. I went off this recipe from Skinny Taste, Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats, but really just used it as cooking instructions. At some point I will try the actual recipe because it sounds delicious. But I had some leftover cooked ground beef and onions and homemade spaghetti sauce that I just mixed together and used for this recipe. It made it a quick and easy meal.

I cut the zucchini and used a spoon to scoop out some of the seeds and innards. Then I boiled the zucchini for about 2 minutes.

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In a bowl I mixed together the spaghetti sauce, beef and onions. I added a little bit of salt and pepper to it and then put the meat in the zucchini “boat.” I topped the meat with shredded Colby Jack cheese (it was all we had). I baked them at about 425 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Michael and I split one large zucchini for dinner and it was plenty of food. It was so filling and I love that it was low in carbs. We both agreed that it definitely needed some spice to it. Next time I’ll add some red pepper flakes or maybe use spicy ground sausage instead of beef.

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Yum! Yum! Love the concept of this recipe and will definitely try it again.

I’ve done a couple other dishes using zucchini, but not really using a recipe. One of my favorites was gnocchi topped with homemade spaghetti sauce and sauteed zucchini. I love the combination and it was really delicious and filling!

Low Sugar Zucchini Bread

I used this recipe for zucchini bread. Even though it was low in sugar, it was still a little high for my liking. I reduced the amount by using 1/2 a cup of Splenda and 1/2 a cup of unsweetened applesauce. By doing that I reduced the calories per serving by over 100 calories. I also used Trader Joe’s Gluten Free flour.

Zucchini Bread
 
From: http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Low-sugar-and-whole-wheat-chocolate-zucchini-bread-309432
Ingredients
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Stevia In the Raw Granulated Sweetener, Splenda, or other sweetener
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (or use 1/3 cup more sweetener, but I like a small amount of brown sugar in this)
  • 6 T grapeseed oil or canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/175C. (I used a toaster oven so it didn't heat up the house.) Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, sweetener of your choice, brown sugar, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk. Stir in the grated zucchini.
  3. In a slightly larger bowl, mix together the white whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, and salt.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir just enough to combine. Then fold in chopped walnuts or pecans. Scrape the batter into loaf pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. (I also used the rubber scraper to spread the batter to make the top of the loaf even.)
  5. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. Let bread cool in the pan, then slice and serve.

 

The batter was a little on the soupy side and I was a little worried but it turned out great! I baked them in my mini loaf pan (which I absolutely love) for about 35 minutes and pulled them out. I was really surprised at how light and fluffy the loaves were considering they were gluten free. Usually gluten free baking is really dense and just not great…

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This recipe was great! Michael had it for breakfast a few times, it worked great for that because it wasn’t overly sweet. I had skipped the nuts and I think next time I will add some. The bread needed a little bit of texture to it.

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I was impressed with the subtle flavor and the airy texture. I would definitely make this recipe again and it was a great use of zucchini! I might even add a little more zucchini than the recipe calls for. With my alterations and using the mini loaf pan, I estimated about 18 servings…so that makes the calories around 129 per serving.

Do you have a tried and true recipe to use up zucchini? Pass it on to me!

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Aug 182014
 

My friend Star came over for dinner and to help us write our wedding ceremony. She’s the officiant and we both have been working on the ceremony and vows for a bit now on our own. It was time to come together and make it all fit.

Since she’s a vegetarian, I wanted to make a recipe that was veggie friendly and that also used up some of the zucchini from our garden. I found a few different frittata recipes and decided to make one of them. I used two different frittata recipes to make my own. I liked the spicy ingredients in this recipe, but I also liked that the other recipe called for ricotta cheese (which I needed to use up).

Zucchini Ricotta Frittata Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 2-3 servings

Calories per serving: 410

From: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/zucchini_ricotta_frittata/

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 small zucchini, or one larger one, washed and sliced into thin rounds (about 3/4 pound)

Instructions

  1. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Add the ricotta and Parmesan and beat to combine. Add the salt, freshly ground black pepper, basil and thyme and beat to combine. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch oven-proof stick-free skillet on medium high. When the oil is hot and begins to shimmer, add the zucchini slices. Stir so that the zucchini slices are all coated with some of the oil. Cook, stirring only occasionally (if you stir too much the zucchini won't brown), until the zucchini slices are lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove zucchini slices from the pan with tongs or a slotted spoon to a bowl. Let cool for 30 seconds or so, and then stir the zucchini slices to the egg mixture.
  3. Reheat the skillet. There should be a couple of tablespoons of oil left in the pan, if not, add some. When the oil is hot, pour the egg mixture into the pan. Do not stir it. Reduce the heat to medium. Let the egg mixture cook. Run a spatula along the edge of the frittata, separating the cooked edges from the pan. Let the egg mixture cook until the bottom is golden brown and the top is beginning to set, about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Set the top rack 5 inches from the heating element in the oven. Preheat the oven broiler. Once the top of the frittata has started to set in the pan on the stove top, remove the pan from the stove and place it in the oven. With the broiler on, the door of the oven needs to be open. You can let the pan's handle stick out from the oven through the open door. Cook under the broiler until the top starts to become lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
  5. Alternatively, instead of using the broiler, you can place a plate face-down on top of the skillet. Flip the skillet over to release the frittata on to the plate. Then slide the frittata from the plate back on to the skillet. Let cook for a couple of minutes more until the bottom side gets browned.
  6. Slide the frittata out of the skillet onto a serving plate. Let cool for a minute or two and serve.
http://www.110pounds.com/?p=44018

The recipe called for 6 eggs and said it fed 2-3 people. I think it actually fed more like 5 people. We each had a fairly large serving and there were two more servings left over (which I had one for lunch the next day). I put most of the spicy jalapenos on one side of the frittata and used the banana peppers on the other because they are less spicy and that was for Star.

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The recipe called for cooking the frittata on the stovetop for 5-6 minutes. I ended up cooking it for more like 10 I think. It was really jiggly and a little too wet still. This was the first time I made a frittata so I used some of Michael’s experience to figure out when it was ready to be baked. Perhaps using a cast iron skillet is why it took longer…? Who knows.

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It was looking much better. I put it in the oven under the broiler. Again, the recipe called for 2 minutes. I did more like 3-4 minutes. I took it out twice and tested it with toothpicks to see if it was done. It was pretty obvious when it was done. Here was the finished product:

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Star brought over  a loaf of olive ciabatta bread from New Seasons. It’s A-MAZING. Oh my gods, between the three of us we almost ate the entire loaf of bread. I can’t remember the last time I had this bread–maybe a year ago? It’s not something I eat very often and usually when I eat bread it’s the Costco gluten free stuff. So this was quite a treat! I also brought out some of the pickled red onions I made. Star LOVED them. :D

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We sat outside on the deck and listened to the kid’s football (or soccer) game going on in the distance. The crickets were singing nearby and the there was a lovely breeze that cooled down the hot day. I had a glass of the Trader Joe’s Coastal Sauvignon Blanc wine (it’s fabulous) with dinner and lots of water. Dinner was good but Michael and I both agreed that it needed a meat. Chorizo would have been nice. I think diced ham would be great, too. The dish would definitely be better with some salty, flavorful meat in it. Despite that, it was a decent vegetarian meal and Star loved it so that’s what counts.

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After dinner we worked on the ceremony. We ended up getting it done, a rough draft that still needs a little tweaking, but it’s done. One more thing to cross off the to-do list!

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I also printed out a bunch of poems I liked. One of my friends will be reading a poem during the ceremony. I narrowed it down to four and Michael read them all and picked his favorite. The runner up, that I still love, is this one:

TITLE UNKNOWN
~ By Carl Sandburg ~

I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be.

I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals.

I pray for your desires that they may be great, rather than for your satisfactions, which may be so hazardously little.

A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall.

The most beautiful rose is one hardly more than a bud wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desire are working for a larger and finer growth.

Not always shall you be what you are now.

You are going forward toward something great.

I am on the way with you and therefore I love you.

Isn’t that wonderful? Still love it. We ended up choosing something else for my friend to read. TBD. Star is Najavo and we are including a Native American blessing in the ceremony as well as some other elements that mean a lot to me. Michael seemed more interested in the words, as I was more interested in the symbolism, and he picked out things he liked for the vows from various print out examples. I liked all the ones he picked, as well as a few others. Despite what he says, there will NOT be the words “obey” in our vows. :P

On Sunday I went to yoga and then spent some time in the yard pulling weeds (god it’s been never ending this summer!). After that we went to Cartlandia for lunch. I got a buffalo chicken wrap in a spinach tortilla from the Good and Evil Wrap. I love that place and was craving it lately.

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SO GOOD. After lunch we had a dance lesson. The DJ we hired for the wedding also teaches dance. I brought the shoes I am going to wear for the ceremony (my grandmother’s shoes) and also my favorite pair of heels just in case. They had converted their garage into a dance studio. It was pretty nice. The private lesson was an hour and we got a discount due to hiring them for the wedding.

I have some dance experience. I took ballroom dancing classes but it was over a decade ago. At that class I learned the basics of ballroom dance–tango, salsa, box step, etc. I remember it being hard and a  really good workout. I was hoping some of that would come back to me once we started but…not so much.

dance

Lynn and her husband Mark taught us how to dance to our first song and showed us a few choreographed moves. It was so hard! It just didn’t come naturally like I thought it would and I felt like Michael and I were out of sync often. I also noticed that *I* try to lead too much. It’s just not in my nature to follow. LOL. We spent an hour with them and when we switched partners and I danced with Mark or even Lynn, I was impressed with how good they dance. I also noticed that I danced better with them because they were confident leaders. I think Michael and I need a LOT of practice still!

We may end up doing the typical prom dance sway if we don’t practice…

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