Tasty and mostly simple food for the whole family.

Tasty, healthy, simple, verstile, practical, seasonal, fun food for all to enjoy. I will endeavour to make things gluten-free, dairy-free (cow's milk only here, I'm not super-human), and low sugar as able. I hope others feel motivated to add their recipes to this collection so we can all try them. Thank you!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Zucchini Almond Muffins/Zucchini Almond Bread (Gluten-Free/Dairy Free)

If your garden runneth over with the bounty of summer zucchini, this is a great way to use them. I like to grate any extra zucchini as the season goes on and freeze it in 2- and 4-cup portions so it is all ready to go when I want to bake.  Also, that way I have garden zucchini muffins all year long! Zucchini also works great roasted and pureed into a zucchini sauce.  On the outside chance your family is a touch *particular* about green things, then using zucchini puree is definitely a good option.  As an aside, you can also substitute zucchini puree in lots of recipes where you would use apple sauce. 

I actually find that they work better with frozen/thawed zucchini because the zucchini releases so much water when it thaws.  That way these aren't all greasy like so many zucchini muffins and zucchini breads are with the water left in the mixture to repel the oil out of the muff.

Flour note: My favorite GF flour is a homemade combo of freshly ground buckwheat groats combined with any mix of garbanzo/brown rice/amaranth/sorghum/teff.  Of course you could use gluten/wheat flour of any kind here, just omit the ground chia. 

Recipe Sub notes: I have had great success cutting back oil and subbing in apple sauce, pumpkin or pureed squash and yam.  Also grated carrot works really well in place of zucchini if you like.  Any sugar will work but I love the caramel-y flavor that the coconut sugar lends. Coconut oil could be used in place of the olive oil but I'm just not a big fan of the flavor of coconut oil in my baked goods. You might love it!

Zucchini Almond Muffins (or bread)  
  • 2C  flour (any type you want- see note for GF) 
  • 1C  almond flour or almond meal 
  • 2Tbl  ground chia seeds
  • 1Tbl  baking powder
  • 1tsp  cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2tsp sea salt  
  • 1/2C  olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 3/4C coconut sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2C almond milk
  • 2C grated zucchini
 Optional: 1/2 cup mini choc chips, blueberries, nuts or the like

Preheat oven to 350deg. Grease either 4 mini loaf pans, 12 muffins or 24 mini-muffin tins.

In large bowl, whisk all dry ingredients together thoroughly.

In separate bowl whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs and milk- then mix in the zucchini.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, then fold in your optionals if using.  Scoop the batter into your pans or muffin tins and bake!

Mini loaf ~35 min
Muffins ~22 min
Mini Muff~12 min

This recipe adapted from Zucchini Almond Bread in Nourishing Meals; Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes for the Whole Family. 
Full size muffs with blueberries and grated zucchini

Mini muff with pureed zucchini and chips, also delish!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Almond Date Bars (gluten-Free/Dairy-Free)

These bars are so decadent tasting!  I am typically loath to deal with chopping and mixing dates due to the high-maintenance nature of the beast, but here I can't get enough.  I find that if I chop them and toss them in the dry mix a bit, then it is easier to use my hands to just break them up a bit.  Heck, this might even make a near-Paleo list if you wanted to get so ambitious to sub in coconut for the oats or something crazy like that.  I have played around with lots of variations in the wet ingredients and all are delish- subbing applesauce for part of the oil and/or part of the honey, agave or coconut syrup for honey.... all good!  Might have to try subbing in some pumpkin next with extra spices. 

These hold up well to freezing for later, but it is critical to make a double batch to allow for this practice, otherwise you wont have enough.  I am amazed at how many of those little crumbs keep needing to be pinched up and gobbled as I walk past the pan.  Suddenly there is only an odd sized piece left, and it always needs to be squared up....  I also imagine that this could be used as a mighty-healthy option for a crumble topping on an apple crisp.   

These have been adapted from a recipe by Deb Perelman from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for Almond Date Breakfast Bars.  A great cookbook cover to cover!

Almond Date Bars
  • 1 cup chopped dried pitted dates
  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats 
  • 3 Tbs flour (I use my AP gluten-free flour blend, any type will do)
  • 1/3 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced almonds
  • 1/2 tsp salt (scant tsp)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 oil (see note above)
  • 1/4 honey
  • 1/8 tsp almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 350deg and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper. 
2. Mix together all of the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
3. Whisk together all of the wet ingredients in a small bowl (I just measure them all together in a 2c glass measuring pitcher for ease of clean up).
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mix and stir very well to make sure all is well coated, then pour into your prepared pan.  Smash it down hard, pressing into all of the corners and such.  This will help it all stick together later so make sure it is well smushed.
5. Bake the bars 20-25 minutes until browned around the edges and top a bit, then cool completely on wire rack in the pan.

Note: It is best to completely cool before trying to lift out or they may crack a bit, forcing you to perform the aforementioned crumble clean up. Cut into squares and enjoy!