Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Welcome to mid-summer, hot weather, beautiful sunshine, and if you have a garden, well meaning co-workers or a CSA, lots and lots of zucchini.  I’ve received close to two-dozen zucchini in a three-week period.  This year I refused to plant any zucchini because I didn’t want to take the chance of having too much. However I didn’t count on my very nice co-workers also bringing lots of zucchini into work.  So I’m now going to start featuring lots of recipes featuring lots and lots of zucchini.  This is the first of hopefully many recipes.  Although this loaf of bread turned out so well that I may end up making ten or fifteen loaves to share with everyone else.  I brought the loaf to work and more then half of it was gone in the first hour. 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 loaves
15 min to prep
45 min to bake

·       3 Large Eggs
·       1 Cup Olive Oil (you can also use vegetable oil)
·       1 ½ cups Brown Sugar
·       2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·       2 cups grated Zucchini (This was only about 2/3's of a big zucchini)
·       1 Tablespoon Cinnamon (I added a little more, maybe ½ teaspoon)
·       ½ teaspoon Nutmeg
·       1 teaspoon baking soda
·       ½ teaspoon baking powder
·       ¾ teaspoon salt
·       2 ½ cups AP Flour
·       ½ cup of Hershey’s Cocoa powder
·       1 ½ cups of Chocolate Chips (You can add more, no one is judging)

Grease two 9x5 loaf pans, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grate the zucchini now if you haven't prepped it ahead of time.

In a mixer, begin mixing the eggs, vegetable oil, brown sugar, and vanilla until well combined.  After they’ve been thoroughly combined, begin to stir in the grated zucchini.  

Mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Then slowly begin to beat in the flour and cocoa in batches, mix it in slowly so the batter becomes uniform. 

Lastly stir in the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a tester can be inserted in the middle of one of the loaves and come out clean.  Let the bread cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Runner's Diet

Last year I tried out running, now I have a continual Love/Hate relationship with it.  I hate the pain and the sweat that comes with it.  I dislike blisters, loose skin, a sore back, and that my hair won’t stay out of my face.  I love the feeling afterwards, that blissful and clear-headed feeling you get when you’re finished. 
With trying out this new form of exercise I’ve made lots of runner friends, changed my diet around, and nursed a few injuries.  While researching this blog post, I asked my friends who are runners and enjoy exercise in general for what they love to eat afterwards. I tried to incorporate their ideas and the research I've done into three recipes that are easy on both budget and time for everyone.

I eat every recipe that I blog about.  This one took a few times to perfect.  The first time was a bit like drinking a glass of liquid grass, which is not enjoyable.  I then added the Agave syrup to the mix and it helped immensely.  This meal is great to have after an intense workout.  
Kale and Berries are great benefits for runners.  Kale is super packed with Vitamins C, A, E, and K, and also loaded with fiber. It’s also a great source of iron and calcium.  Berries, especially blueberries, help with inflammation and oxidative damage in the body. 

Vegan Smoothie

15 min to prep

·       1 Cup of Kale
·       ½ Cup of Blueberries
·       ½ Cup of Frozen Strawberries
·       1 Cup of Sugar Free Almond Milk
·       ½ cup of Ice (cubed or crushed)
·       2 Tablespoons Agave Syrup
Pull out Blender, combine all ingredients and pulse blender until everything is combined.  Pour out into a 16 oz. glass.

One of my favorite foods is an egg.  Scrambled, poached, over easy, soft-boiled, and hard-boiled, I love all of the different ways you can eat it.  The best part is it can go with pretty much any meal.  Eggs have wonderful health benefits for runners.  It can help maintain bone strength, fight inflammation, and slim down if you’re trying to lose weight.  Then you have Spinach, which is a powerhouse of vitamins and fiber.

Warm Mixed Green Salad with Egg

10 minutes Prep time
10 minutes Cooking Time

·       1 egg
·       2 Cups of Spinach
·       1 Cup of Radicchio
·       1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan Cheese
·       1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
·       ½ Cup Croutons (pick your fav kind)
Add oil to a heated skillet.  Add spinach and radicchio and cook for a couple of minutes.  Don’t cook it completely.  Remove from skillet and add to plate. Top with croutons and Parmesan Cheese.

Heat up skillet, crack open egg.  Try not to break the egg yolk.  Slowly tilt the skillet so the egg white cooks around the yolk and flip it over the yolk with spatula to create an over easy egg. Flip it so it cooks on both sides for a minute or two.  Add to salad.  With fork and knife, break over yolk and mix into the salad.

And last but certainly not least is my husband Tom’s favorite.  Sweet potatoes are a great anti-oxidant rich vegetable that’s easy to find and easy to make.  Aside from the traditional Thanksgiving favorites of a loaded up sugary side dish with marshmallows, it can be a great entrée or side to any dinner.  Sweet Potatoes contains Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and healthy carbohydrates.  It also contains Manganese, which offers some powerful health benefits, including the metabolism of carbohydrates (which can help keep down blood sugar).

Loaded Sweet Potato

10 minutes Prep time
2 Hours Cooking Time
Serves 4
·       2 5 in Sweet Potatoes
·       2 Cups of Spinach
·       3 cooked shredded Chicken thighs (this is just what I had on hand, please use breasts if you want to)
·       3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
·       1 Vidalia onion
Poke as many holes as you can in each sweet potato.    Wrap in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours or so. 
About 20 minutes before the potatoes are done, caramelize the onions in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil.  Wait until they’ve browned under low-medium heat.  

Then heat up chicken in saucepan with onions and another tablespoon of oil.  Lastly add the spinach, it will cook very quickly.  Turn off heat when spinach is cooked.

Pull out potatoes and check for doneness.  If a knife can easy cut into the potato, it’s done.  

Split each potato in half and dig up the center.  Spoon the veggie-chicken mixture into each potato. 


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Chicken Parmesan Meatball

This week I went in a different direction.  Instead of keeping up with the grilling recipes, I thought I'd bring you an easy to make recipe for any weeknight meal.
My husband loves both Chicken Parmesan and Meatballs.  In an attempt to create a healthier meal for him, I’ve combined them into this yummy concoction.  By adding the fresh basil it helps to give a pop of flavor to the dish.  This is also a great meal to make a day ahead of time and then make Meatball Sandwiches with.

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

15 min of prep time
35 min of baking time

·       1 lb of ground chicken
·       ¼ cup of fresh basil (chopped)
·       ½ teaspoon of salt
·       ½ cup of bread crumbs (I used panko)
·       1 egg
·       ¼ cup of Parmesan Cheese
·       2 cups of tomato sauce
·       ½ cup of shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees. Ready a 13 by 9 inch pan.

Prepare the meatballs by combining ground chicken, fresh basil, salt, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and egg in a large bowl.  Mix thoroughly.  

Make meatballs by measuring out about an ounce of meat mixture.  Roll mixture into a bowl and add to pan. 
Bake for 20 minutes.
Pull out pan and cover meatballs with tomato sauce and sprinkle cheese on top.  

Bake for an additional 15 minutes or so.

These are great with pasta and salad.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Grilling It Up!

In honor of the 4th of July, I thought I'd post about Grilling. I love Grilling, it keeps me from utilizing our oven and stove inside, which allows our house to stay cooler in the horrible hot weather.  So today's entry shows off two different recipes that go with grilling, Honey Mustard Chicken and Kohlrabi Asian Slaw.

I truly love grilled chicken.  My favorite part of the chicken is the chicken thigh. This is a pretty easy marinade that can be done on the fly.  Typically I'm able to grill up a bunch of these thighs for lunches for the week.

Also this week due to popular demand, I'm including recipe cards that you can right click and save for future use!

Honey Mustard Chicken

45 min of prep time
20-25 min of cooking depending on how hot the charcoal it

·       2/3’s cup of Yellow Mustard
·       1 Tablespoon of Mustard Seed
·       ½ cup of Honey
·       4-5 Chicken Thighs

Prepare the charcoal.  It should take about 30 minutes to heat up.

Use a large bowl and mix mustard seed, yellow mustard, and honey. Mix together and add chicken thighs to it Toss thighs in mixture and chicken will be marinating in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.

When charcoal is prepared, add marinated chicken to grill. Cook for 20-25 minutes, turning it so it cooks evenly.

It tastes great with grilled veggies.  

Right Click on above recipe card to save it and print.

Last week we received a serving of Kohlrabi in our weekly CSA delivery from Lancaster Farm Fresh.  I had never worked with Kohlrabi before, so I was a bit apprehensive.  Luckily I was able to utilize Pinterest (which may be one of my favorite recipe finders).  Unfortunately it only had a limited amount of recipes for Kohlrabi. One of the recipes was for Coleslaw, which typically I’m not a fan of, due to the mayonnaise in it.  (Not a fan of mayo….)  Luckily after a little research I was able to come up with something a little different.  

Kohlrabi Asian Slaw

10 min of prep time
1 hour to chill

Vegetable base
·       3 medium purple Kohlrabies
·       1 large carrot, peeled
·       1 cup of shredded cabbage
·       3 Tablespoons of Spring Onions
·       2 Tablespoons of fresh Parsley (I only used Parsley because I had it on hand, you substitute Cilantro or Basil)

·       3 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
·       2 teaspoons of Soy Sauce
·       3 cloves of Garlic (chopped)
·       2 Tablespoons of Water
·       1 teaspoon of Distilled White Vinegar
·       2 Tablespoons of Honey
·       1 teaspoon of Red Pepper Flakes

Peel and cut off the hard skin of the Kohlrabi to show the white flesh underneath.  Then grate Kohlrabi, carrot, and cabbage.  

I used a cheese grater.  If you have a food processor by all means please use it.  I also utilized this handy device while grating to help protect my hands. This is a piece I found along with my Mandoline Slicer.

Sprinkle spring onions and chopped herbs on top and chill for an hour.  

Then prepare dressing.  Whisk together vegetable oil, soy sauce, garlic, water, vinegar, honey and red pepper flakes.  Pull out chopped veggies and pour dressing on top and then mix thoroughly.  

This is a great recipe to serve with something like Honey Mustard Chicken or Hamburgers.