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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Milk Kefir Grains Fermented Garlic

I usually do my lacto fermented veggies using whey off my kefir or plain yogurt but while I was stumbling around the world wide web I found this website called “The Crunchy Moose” that had a recipe for fermenting using Milk Kefir Grains, I saw a recipe for fermented garlic and thought what a brilliant idea, adding the health benefits of beneficial bacteria to a super food. WIN WIN…This is the website link to that recipe. http://thecrunchymoose.com/ferment-garlic-using-kefir-grains/. THANK YOU “The Crunchy Moose”

 

Fermented Garlic
Fermented Garlic

Milk Kefir Grains Fermented Garlic

Ingredients:

Enough peeled garlic cloves to nearly fill a pint jar

non-chlorinated water

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon Milk Kefir Grains (rinsed)

 

Preparation:

AS WITH ANY FERMENTATION PROCESS, CLEANLINESS CAN’T BE EMPHASIZED ENOUGH. KEEP IN MIND THAT YOU ARE CULTURING BACTERIA AND YEAST AND IT IS JUST AS EASY TO GROW HARMFUL BACTERIA AND YEAST AS IT IS GOOD.

Add the salt, milk kefir grains a some of the water to the jar and mix with a non-metal spoon. Add the peeled garlic cloves and top with water until 1 ½ inches above garlic. Weight garlic cloves down to keep submerged below brine. I use a plastic cottage cheese lid cut in a circle to the circumference of the inside of the jar. Put on a loose fitting non-metal lid (gas will form so it needs to escape). I prefer to retrofit plastic mason jar lids with holes and rubber grommets so that I can use a fermentation air-lock. Leave in a cool place out of direct sunlight until it reached the desired fermentation. Put in the refrigerator to stall the fermentation process when it is as fermented as you desire.  This is my first batch and I will be trying to reuse my grains in another batch of garlic. I never really have a shortage of grains as they multiply in my milk kefir pretty quickly. I’ll post the results in updates to this blog post.

Grains Fermented Garlic
Fermented Garlic

 

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

 

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

 

 

Just in Time for Christmas – Light and Flaky Butter Crescents

I’ve been on a mission for years to make Crescent Rolls like my mother made. She has long since passed and I wished I had paid more attention to her technique. I’ve tried dozens of recipes but none were quite right. Then I started taking the best features from multiple recipes and I think I finally have accomplished a very close approximation. Maybe even a bit better if that’s possible. Crescent Rolls are always a bit of work unless they come from a can but there are worth the effort. This crowd pleaser will make your Christmas dinner “Merry and Bright”

 

Light and Flaky Butter Crescents

 

light-and-flaky-butter-crescents
light-and-flaky-butter-crescents

 

Dry Ingredients:

3 cups organic unbleached flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon rapid rise yeast

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder

 

Remaining Ingredients:

2 1/2 sticks cold butter cut into pieces ( I used an olive oil/butter blend )

1 1/4 cups organic buttermilk or milk kefir (I used kefir because I make my own and always have it on hand)

 

Preparation:

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl with a whisk.

 

light-and-flaky-butter-crescent-ingredients
light-and-flaky-butter-crescent-ingredients

 

Cut cold butter pieces into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or fork until crumbly.

cutting-in-butter
cutting-in-butter
pea-sized-cut-in-butter-pieces
pea-sized-cut-in-butter-pieces

 

Add liquid and mix (it will look un-cohesive at this point). Turn out onto floured surface and knead until dough comes together but don’t overwork it or you will lose the flakiness.

 

before-gentle-kneading
before-gentle-kneading

 

Divide the dough in half and form each half into a rectangle. **Roll the rectangle out to approx. 8” x 10”. Fold rectangle in thirds and then in half the opposite way. Roll it out again and fold it again.

 

dough-divided-and-rolled
dough-divided-and-rolled

 

Cut the dough in half and shape into a round disk. Wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours (overnight is best). Repeat with the remaining dough from **.You should have 4 dough disks when you are finished.

 

dough-disks-wrapped-ready-for-refrigeration
dough-disks-wrapped-ready-for-refrigeration

 

These can be frozen for up to a month if you like. When you are ready to make the rolls remove the dough disk from the fridge or freezer and allow to come to room temp. Put on a lightly floured surface and roll disk into a 10 – 12 inch circle. Cut into 8 equal wedges (I used a pizza wheel to do this).

 

ready-to-roll-up-almost-there
ready-to-roll-up-almost-there

 

Roll each wedge into a crescent and put on a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rest for 3-4 hours depending on the temp of your home.

 

ready-to-raise
ready-to-raise

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 25 minutes. Brush with melted butter. Serve warm. Mmmmmm Mmmm Good.

 

light-and-flaky-butter-crescents
light-and-flaky-butter-crescents

 

NOTE: Each rolled disk section of dough makes 8 rolls. Wrap some dough up in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for later use. I pre-freeze mine in plastic wrap then vacuum seal them to store in the freezer for longer periods and to insure freshness.

 

saved-for-later
saved-for-later

 

Wishing you and yours many Christmas blessing

 

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

 

“Attitudes are contagious…Is yours worth catching?”

 

 

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”

 

 

Nanna’s Garlicy Onion Dip

Recently, the company who makes my favorite brand of French Onion chip dip stopped making it. I’ve tried several other brands but just can’t find one I like. Whenever this happens I just can’t resist trying to replicate the flavor. The recipe below is one of my best failures yet! This also tastes great as a spread on toasted bagels. Another Happy Accident!!! 

Garlicy Onion Dip
Garlicy Onion Dip

 

GARLICY ONION DIP

Ingredients:

2 medium organic yellow onions (finely minced)

2 tablespoons organic butter

2 tablespoons grape seed oil

½ teaspoon sea salt

 

1 1/2 cups Chobani greek yogurt

3/4 cup olive oil mayonnaise

¼ – ½ teaspoon garlic powder (this can be optional)

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Preparation:

Saute’ the onions in the butter and grape seed oil and ½ teaspoon salt until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool. Mix yogurt, mayo, garlic, salt and pepper. Add cooled onions to yogurt mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight to marry flavors. YUM!!!

 

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”