Move Over Potatoes – Zucchini Is Taking Over

Anyone who has ever grown zucchini squash knows how prolific it can be. After you’ve had your fill, and your pantry and freezer are well stocked and you have given your friends and neighbors all they could eat you’ll find you still have an abundance of left over zucchini. Short of using them for skeet shooting, what to do?

Well, it’s time we think outside the traditional zucchini box. When they ‘re young we sauté them and fry them, turn them into pickles, breads, muffins etc. but once they get too large the centers are stringy, the rinds are tough, what now? Compost?

Fall is the time for savory flavors so I vote we make some healthy zucchini fries.

 

HEALTHY ZUCCHINI FRIES
HEALTHY ZUCCHINI FRIES

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 large zucchini

Salt

Seasoning of your choice (I use Lawrys)

Cooking spray or olive oil to brush on fries.

 

DREDGE INGREDIENTS:

Buttermilk or kefir or egg

Organic flour (I’m sure gluten free flour would work if gluten is an issue)

Bread crumbs (panko or Italian or homemade, your choice)

 

Healthy Zucchini Fry Ingredients
Healthy Zucchini Fry Ingredients

 

DIRECTIONS:

Wash and slice the fleshy part of the zucchini into ¼ inch sticks 2-3 inches long. Compost the pithy center. Line the zucchini sticks on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt to draw out moisture. Leave set for about an hour. Pat zucchini sticks dry with another paper towel. Dredge the zucchini sticks in the flour, then the buttermilk, then roll in the bread crumbs and place them on a baking rack on a baking sheet. Bake at 375 or 15 minutes, then remove them from oven, spray lightly with cooking spray, turn the fries and lightly spray the other side. Return to oven for an additional 15 minutes, remove from oven and season with your preferred seasoning. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. I love these paired with my kefir ranch dressing. YUM!! Tasty and healthy and kid tested and approved.

375 degrees, 30 minutes.

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Attitudes are contagious, Is your worth catching?”

 

 

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“An Apple a Day in a Whole New Way” – Apple Pie Chia Seed Pudding

Last year was we had a beautiful summer but as much as I love the summer I hate the way cooking heats up the whole house, so I set out to find and/or create simple easy healthy no cook recipes for the summer months. Simple? Easy? Healthy? No Cook? And Tasty? Yup, I won’t settle for anything less on my blog. If it’s not tasty why bother making it. I’ve read so many recipes on chia pudding and how good it is for you but most were with nut milk. I didn’t have any of the ingredients around except the chia seeds. That said, I did notice the 5:1 ratio of liquid to seeds. So I thought, since I’ve got some left over apple juice I’d give that a try. It turned out delicious and it was so simple. If you can stir you can make it and a half cup makes a “stick with you” breakfast cup. It’s a great make ahead dish to grab when you’re in a hurry, just put it in little ½ cup jelly jars, cover and store in the fridge.

Apple Pie Chia Seed Pudding
Apple Pie Chia Seed Pudding

INGREDIENTS:

1 ¼ cups apple Juice (I make my own and preserve it in mason jars)

¼ organic chia seeds

2 tablespoons real maple syrup

½ teaspoon organic ground cinnamon

½ cup of applesauce or chopped apples or walnuts (optional) whatever you like

Whipped heavy cream sweetened with maple syrup (optional) (Omit for vegan)

Apple Pie Chia Seed Pudding Ingredients
Apple Pie Chia Seed Pudding Ingredients

DIRECTIONS:

Put the apple juice, chia seeds, maple syrup and cinnamon into a medium bowl and stir until there are no clumps. Cover and put in fridge overnight. Stir in optional fruit and/or nuts. Serve with maple whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Makes about 4 – ½ cup servings.

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

GLUTEN FREE CHEESEY SNACK CRACKERS

GLUTEN FREE CHEESY SNACK CRACKERS
GLUTEN FREE CHEESEY SNACK CRACKERS

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour mix (I make my own)

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground flax seed meal

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 1/2 cups (grated sharp cheddar cheese)

1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup ice cold water (add a couple of tablespoons at a time. You may not use all the water)

DIRECTIONS:

Put the flour, salt, and flax into the bowl and mix until the ingredients are well combined.

Add the cold butter cubes into the bowl and cut the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter or fork until about the size of peas.

Mix in the grated cheese and mustard and cider vinegar. Mix in 3/4 cup ice-cold water a few tablespoons at a time and stop adding water when dough ball forms.

Wrap the ball of dough in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight is best.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow it to warm enough to roll out but not as warm as room temperature.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Grab 1 ball of dough and put the other 3 back in the refrigerator.

Roll out 1 of the pieces of dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper to about 1/16 inch thick (the thinner the better I think).

Using a pizza wheel cutter cut out little cracker squares about 1 ½ inches square and put them on the prepared baking sheet.

GF Cheesy Snack Crackers
GF Cheesey Snack Crackers

Bake the crackers for 12 minutes, rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees in the oven. Bake until the crackers are firm to the touch and golden brown, another 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your oven temp and the thickness and size of your crackers.

Remove from oven and let the crackers cool.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Store in an air tight container. I don’t know how long they will keep as they disappear within a couple of days!!!

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

 

Giardiniera (Pickled Mixed Veggies)

Harvest season is almost a magical for me. I love to watch as my pantry shelves slowly fill with jars of all shapes and sizes and colors. It makes me feel “warm and cozy” inside. It’s kind of therapeutic. I have to admit that once all my “staple” canning and freezing gets done I like to make my “special” pickles and relishes. On the menu this harvest season is Giardiniera, a wonderful savory mixed veggie relish. This year I had a nice crop of Greek oregano that I dried so I will be using that even though Giardiniera is traditionally Italian.

Note: I found that pressure canning will cause the veggies to lose their crispness. Now I hot pack this and store in the fridge once cooled. If you make a half batch it stores well in the fridge in a covered container and tastes great even raw. Experiment! Send me your feedback I’d love to hear from you!

giardiniera
giardiniera

Giardiniera (Pickled Mixed Veggies)

 

Mix First Ingredients in Large Bowl

 

2 organic large green bell peppers (seeded and diced small)

2 organic large red bell peppers (seeded and diced small)

1 organic large yellow bell pepper (seeded and diced small)

2 organic jalapeno peppers (seeded and diced small)

2 organic stalks of celery (diced small)

1 organic large carrot (diced small)

1 organic medium yellow onion (diced small)

2 cups small organic cauliflower florets

1/2 cup sea salt

Enough Non-chlorinated water to submerge veggies

 

Submerge veggies below salt water, cover and refrigerate 24 hours. Drain water.

 

Mix in Remaining Ingredients

 

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper flakes

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 – 6 oz jar green salad olives with pimentos

1 cup distilled vinegar

1/2 cup expeller pressed extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup organic grapeseed oil

 

Directions

Mix well, cover and let marinate for a few hours. Transfer to large pan and bring all ingredients to a boil. Pack into hot 8 oz jars and wipe rims well. Seal jars with hot lids. (I cheat and use my dishwasher sanitize cycle to get my jars, rings and lids hot.) Store in fridge once cooled. Makes 9 cups.

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

Organic Berry Rhubarb Muffins

One of my favorite things about simple livin’ is seasonal menus. I don’t have to spend a lot of time planning what I will make because when the pears are ripe we will have things made from pears, when the tomatoes are ripe we will have wonderful tomato dishes etc. Well it’s rhubarb season at the moment and after making the traditional rhubarb dishes like rhubarb pie and rhubarb jam, and tucking some away in the freezer for a mid-winter rhubarb fix, I decided to do some experimenting. I started out with a traditional muffin recipe but…well, I just can’t help myself. I tweaked and substituted my way into a completely different recipe and these breakfast muffins are scrumptious as well as healthy.

 

Berry Rhubarb Walnut Muffins

 

Organic Berry Rhubarb Muffins

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups organic unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup organic stone ground whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup organic ground flaxseed meal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups organic brown sugar (or partially substitute some stevia to reduce calories)
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut oil (melted but not hot)
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups organic kefir or buttermilk

Fold in

  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh organic rhubarb
  • 1 cup diced fresh organic berries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with paper cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, flaxseed meal, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the brown sugar, coconut oil, egg, vanilla and kefir or buttermilk with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix by hand just until blended. Stir in the rhubarb, berries and walnuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, filling almost to the top. Sprinkle top of each muffin with raw sugar.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed, about 25-30 minutes. Cool in the pans before removing.

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

JUN the Champaign of Kombucha

Aged Bottled JUN
Aged Bottled JUN

JUN the Champaign of Kombucha

This wonderfully light, crisp, effervescent beverage has many health benefits, delicious and easy to make. I was recently on a long and strong course of chemotherapy and it did a lot of damage to my immune system and many other areas while it was eradicating any remaining trace cancer cells and I suspended my use of this powerfully beneficial beverage. Now that my treatment has ended I’ve resumed drinking JUN and feel much healthier and more energetic. I suppose it’s because it’s a simple drink made from simple ingredients that’s simply wonderful! Here’s how you can make your own.

Note: Unpasteurized JUN or Kombucha will continue to develop a new baby SCOBY so if you are squeamish about them floating in your brew just pour thru a nylon or high quality stainless steel tea strainer into your glass and put what it catches into your compost.

You can get a JUN SCOBY here or you can get a daughter from a fellow brewer. I use a 1 gallon glass jar as my fermenting vessel and a coffee filter to cover the top securing it with a rubber band or breathable cap.

 

JUN TEA

Ingredients:

3 ½ Quarts of non-chlorinated water

8 organic Green Tea Bags

¾ Cup Raw Honey (I use clover due to tree allergies)

1 JUN SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast)

2 Cups of previously brewed JUN that your SCOBY was stored in

(this is known as a SCOBY Hotel)

Jun Ingredients
Jun Ingredients

Directions:

In a large pan bring to a boil 3 ½ quarts of non-chlorinated water. Add 8 organic green tea bags and simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat, cover and cool to 117 degrees. Remove tea bags and add ¾ cup of raw honey and stir until completely dissolved. Continue to cool until it’s room temperature then pour it into your fermenting vessel. Add 2 cups of previously fermented JUN from your SCOBY hotel and your SCOBY. Cover with the coffee filter and secure with a rubber band or breathable cap. Leave in a cool place out of direct sunlight for 6 – 8 days. It will grow a daughter SCOBY on top. (This can be used to brew your next batch of JUN). Remove the mother and daughter SCOBY and 2 cups of brewed JUN and put them back in your SCOBY hotel and refrigerate until your next brew date. You can strain and bottle at this point or add flavorings like fruit or ginger root if you prefer. If you add flavorings put them in with the JUN and cover with coffee filter for a couple of extra days then strain and bottle. If you store the bottles in the fridge right away it will not become effervescent. I leave my bottled brew on the counter for 2 – 3 days before I refrigerate so that it has some carbonation.

Brewing Tea
Brewing Tea
SCOBY Hotel
SCOBY Hotel

 

Fermenting the JUN
Fermenting the JUN

 

Flavoring the JUN with Ginger Root
Flavoring the JUN with Ginger Root
Aged Bottled JUN
Aged Bottled JUN

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”

 

 

GLUTEN FREE BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES…. YUM!!! (Fussy Husband Approved)

GLUTEN FREE BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES

Gluten free Buckwheat Pancakes
Gluten free Buckwheat Pancakes

These can also be made vegan with a couple of substitutions.

 

Ingredients:

Dry

1/2 cup organic buckwheat flour

1/4 cup organic oat flour

1/4 cup organic tapioca flour

2 tablespoons organic cornstarch or arrowroot

1 tablespoon organic ground golden flax seed meal

1 tablespoon baking powder (Aluminum free)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon organic cinnamon

 

Wet

1/2 cup buttermilk or kefir (or nondairy milk if you are a Vegan)

1/4 cup non-chlorinated water

1 organic egg (or equivalent egg substitute if you are a Vegan)

2 tablespoons organic pure maple syrup or agave nectar

2 tablespoons grape seed oil or whatever oil you prefer.

1 teaspoon organic pure vanilla extract

Preparation:

In a large mixing bowl, sift together all dry ingredients including baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix well. Let the batter rest while you preheat (medium heat) a griddle or skillet. When the griddle is hot, spray it with cooking spray or brush it with oil. Stir batter between cooking pancakes. Pour the batter by 1/3 cupful’s onto hot griddle/skillet. The pancake will start to form little bubbles as it cooks, but won’t rise as much as conventional pancakes. Cook for about 3 minutes, then flip over and cook the other side for 2 – 3 minutes more. Brush more oil onto the griddle/skillet between cooking pancakes or they will stick to the pan.

 

Makes about 10 pancakes.

 

Enjoy! Here is one of my favorite quotes to start your day!!

 

“Peace is not the absence of turmoil but the presence of God”