food

Zucchini Muffins (Vegan Possible)

I would definitely call my kids picky eaters and (if they could help it) vegetables would not be a part of their regular diet. We’ve been working hard at finding ways to sneak in healthy food into their meals and snacks. For example, I discovered if we cut Mila’s apples with a crinkle cutting tool, she’ll eat the apples. We also make smoothies (it’s a kale, berry blend) and I add vegetable powder, hemp seeds and acai berries.

Our biggest hit though, is the zucchini muffins. I started with a regular recipe and altered it (about a million times) until it was about as healthy as I could make it with them still gobbling them up. They seriously can’t eat them fast enough. And it’s been extra fun now that we’re growing zucchini in our garden because every time we have two, we get to make more muffins!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 eggs (or substitute, I just do 3 tsp of this egg replacer, dry)
  • 1/2 cup milk (or substitute)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 shredded zucchini

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Melt coconut oil in the oven, while the oven is warming up
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Mix egg, oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla in a separate bowl. Stir into dry ingredients until just moistened.
  5. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips
  6. Bake 22-25 minutes

I’d love to hear your tips on how you get picky eaters to eat healthy.

-Erica

ps. We found this book on picky eaters to be extremely helpful

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Yum, Yum, Yum. That’s all I’ve got to say about this recipe. It’s the newest recipe in our rotation and is getting eaten regularly because it tastes so good and is SO EASY!

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

I make this in our rice cooker so it literally takes about 5 minutes to prepare and then you press “cook” and then about 30 minutes later you have a delicious meal.

QUINOA BLACK BEAN TACOS:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn (warmed in microwave)
  • 15 oz can cooked black beans
  • Pico de gallo (we use store bought but if you’d like to make your own, I put the recipe below)
  • 1 medium avocado
  • Small corn tortillas

1. Put the rinsed quinoa in the rice cooker along with the clove of garlic (minced), salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, and 1.5 cups of water. Stir to combine. Start the rice cooker.

2. Rinse the black beans well in a colander and allow the excess water to drain off. Cook the frozen corn in the microwave.

3. When the quinoa has finished cooking, remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Add the drained black beans and corn; stir to combine.

4. Lightly toast the tortillas in a skillet over medium heat until each side is just slightly golden brown (tortillas should still be pliable).

5. Top tortillas with quinoa taco mix, pico de gallo and avocado.

PICO DE GALLO:

  • 1 large ripe tomato
  • 1/2 medium vidalia onion
  • 1 medium lime
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • to taste salt

1. Cut the tomato and onion into a very small dice. Wash the cilantro and shake dry. Roughly chop the cilantro. Combine the tomato, onion, and cilantro in a bowl.

2. Squeeze the juice from half of the lime over the mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt. Give everything a good stir and then adjust the lime and salt to your liking.

– erica

Asparagus-Potato Soup

Last week I was sitting on the couch waiting for Jake to get home from work. I was hungry. I made some tator tots but realized that I could not eat just tator tots for dinner. I started looking through our Forks Over Knives cookbook but couldn’t find any recipes that didn’t require me to go to the grocery store to buy something.  So, I altered a recipe and it was pretty darn good! I’ll definitely be making it again.

 

Ingredients:

1 yellow onion, diced

1 lb asparagus (1 pkg from Trader Joe’s) cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 large yukon gold potatoes, diced

4 cups vegetable broth (1 box from Trader Joe’s)

1 Tbsp tarragon

2 tsp thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Preparation:

1. Saute onion in a small amount of vegetable broth for about 10 minutes.

2. Add chopped asparagus, diced potatoes, vegetable broth, tarragon and thyme.

3. Bring to a boil and then cook over medium-low heat for 25 minutes.

4. Puree soup in food processor.

5. Season with salt and pepper.

Yum.

Kale and Brussel Sprout Salad

Jake and I had dinner with some new, great friends last weekend. Autumn made an incredible kale and brussel sprout salad. It was perfect timing as I was able to re-create the salad for Thanksgiving. And it was a hit, yay!

Try it, I bet you’ll like it.

-erica

One Lonely Jar of Salsa.

My failure with pickles wasn’t enough to deter me from trying to can again. I decided that salsa seemed easier.

This time I decided to go about canning differently. First off, I called my friend Kate to help me. Nothing better than having support when you start to get confused and overwhelmed! And then I re-watched the Lowe’s YouTube video on canning to remind myself of all the different steps (uh, there are a lot).

We have had so many tomatoes in our earthbox garden. We used mostly Roma tomatoes for the salsa, but added a few Jellybean tomatoes as well. The recipe called for 15lbs of tomatoes. I don’t have a scale, but I know we didn’t have 15lbs.

Kate boiled the tomatoes for 30 seconds and then put them into ice cold water to “skin” them. I made a mixture of onions, jalapenos and spices which we cooked on the stove with the diced tomatoes.

I put the lids into the boiling canning water to sterilize them (forgot to do that last time, whoops!) and then took them out with the awesome magnetic wand.

Now I understand why you want to use 15lbs of tomatoes. Here is my one, lonely jar of salsa processing in the water bath.

This recipe wasn’t quite spicy enough for me. If anyone has a recipe for CANNED salsa that they love, please share! I won’t give away your family secret!

-erica

Homemade Bread.

About a month ago I discovered homemade bread. I’d never tried making bread before, not even with a bread maker! I am following a lot of different blogs (love it!) and I saw a post on making homemade bread. She said it actually worked for her, so I thought we’d try it.

Of course it took a little investment (as all my little projects seem to these days). We had to buy the book, a baking stone, a bucket and a bread dough stirring spoon. Oh, and a thermometer to check the temperature of our oven- and by the way- it’s exactly, right on.

I was really excited when I got the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day and found out that it was written by two fellow Minnesotans. Now, I know I don’t live in Minnesota anymore, but I still have a very kindred spirit with fellow Minnesotans. And, one of the authors is also a doctor! How crazy! Maybe someday I’ll write  a book!

So, it’s super easy. You start out by mixing water, yeast, salt and flour in a bucket. Then you let it set out for a few hours to rise. You put it into the fridge and then take out the portion you need when you are craving bread.

So far we’ve made white bread, peasant bread (has rye and wheat in it), wheat bread, olive oil bread and pizza dough. My favorites so far are the peasant bread and the olive oil bread.

Speaking of Minnesota, I’m off to the airport right now to go visit my sister for the weekend. So excited!

-erica