moderately healthy

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins (GF)

Note: 

I usually don't bake, but I found this recipe on an old friend's blog, and the moment I saw it, I've been itching to make it!  My friend's version is gluten-free, but I didn't have all the right ingredients, so I altered the recipe a bit  to make them for myself, but I'm including the gluten-free exchanges in the ingredients.

I loved the idea of combining chocolate and one of the most underated, but prolific vegetables together, in one, delicious muffin!  I made them this morning, and I was not disappointed - not too sweet, but not too 'veggie', either!  If you like chocolate, and like me, know that you can never eat too many veggies, this is the treat for you!  And your kids, too, a la Jessica Seinfeld, huh?

Read about Erika's amazing life and family here.

Tools needed: 
hand mixer, muffin tin(s), muffin cups, whisk, rubber spatula, 2 mixing bowls
Time: 
1.5 - 2 hours
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
Ingredients: 
2 cups flour (for gluten free, use GF flour and 1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (I left out, used a little extra regular sugar)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce
3 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place paper cups in muffin tins, or spray two 8in. loaf pans.
  3. Place flour (and xantham gum, if GF version), salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in medium bowl.  Use wire whisk to combine.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, place oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla.  Mix with hand mixer until fluffy.  Stir in applesauce and shredded zucchini.  Stir in flour mixture until just combines.  Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Divide batter and bake for 50 minutes for loaves or 25-30 minutes for muffins or until a toothpick comes out clean.

TIP: Don't have any applesauce, but have an apple? Cut up 1 large apple into chunks, remove core/seeds, blend with some water until consistency you like, simmer on the stove for a few minutes...voila!  1/2 cup applesauce!  Or make more and save some for later - I like to put mine on pancakes or waffles in lieu of syrup. (Got that from Boyfriend's sister-in-law - thanks, Isabel!)

Serves: 
Many! Makes 18 muffins

Amaranth-Chocolate Chip Cookies

Note: 

We made, enjoyed, and gifted these unusual cookies as our Official Christmas Cookie this year.  Protein-packed, popped amaranth not only provides a hearty crunch and tantalizing texture, but a healthy excuse to make cookies, too!  But you're not losing any sweetness in the flavor department with the addition of chocolate chips.  Go ahead, you need your protein!

More about all the nutrition benefits of amaranth.

Tools needed: 
cookie sheet, non-stick frying pan with corresponding lid
Time: 
1.5 hours
Popped Amaranth Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients: 
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter or butter substitute
2 eggs
2 tbs vanilla
2 cups plus 2 tbs white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 cups popped amaranth (directions below)
1 generous cup chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Directions: 
  1. Cream together butter and sugars.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  3. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.  Add dry mixture to the above ingredients.
  4. Once beaten smooth, add popped amaranth, chocolate chips, and cranberries (if desired).
  5. Beat the mixture well.  Drop cookies 2 inches apart on a well-greased cookie sheet and bake to 7-9 minutes.  (If cookies spread out too much, add 2 tbs of flour.)

Directions for popping amaranth: (General rule is 1/4 cup unpopped produces about 1 cup popped.)  Heat frying pan.  Once hot, test 2-4 amaranth seeds to see if they pop quickly.  If so proceed by adding 1-2 tbs of amaranth to the pan.  It should pop quickly.  Cover and keep the pan moving, checking every 15 seconds or so.  Don't leave unattended, or it will burn.  Like popcorn, not every kernel will pop, but it'll will be just fine in the cookies!Enjoy!

Serves: 
Makes 60 medium-size cookies!

Egg-chiladas

Note: 

This amazing vegetarian enchilada recipe is courtesy of my friend, Charlene, who was kind enough to share her grandmother's meatless version of a classic Mexican dish.  What a great way to do enchiladas without having to use a soy meat substitute or overloading them with gobs of cheese filling.  I've, of course adapted them a bit to reflect my taste, so adapt away, and enjoy your version!

Tools needed: 
9 X 13 baking pan, large pot,
Time: 
1.25 hours
Enchiladas!
Ingredients: 
One large can of favorite enchilada sauce (I like Trader Joe's, which comes in a bottle)
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (rice or soy cheese works for dairy-free)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 dozen 6" corn tortillas
1 can pitted black olives, chopped (leave eight slices to decorate the top)
olive oil, enough to fry tortillas
1 medium (mild) pasilla pepper, deseeded and chopped
Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Open can of enchilada sauce (I like Trader Joe's) and empty into large post to simmer while you are putting the enchiladas together.  Sauce will thicken a bit.
  3. Put chopped eggs, onions, olives and 1 1/2 cups of cheese into a large bowl and mix all ingredients together, set aside.
  4. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil until hot.  Fry corn tortillas, one at a time until slightly crisp, remove and set on paper towels to absorb excess oil. 
  5. Carefully take fried corn tortillas and one at a time dip into hot enchilada sauce. (I found myself in need of assistance here!)
  6. Place dipped enchilada into dish and stuff with prepared filling, rolling the tortilla around the filling.  Continue until all tortillas are dipped and stuffed. 
  7. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over all enchiladas, sprinkle with remaining cheese, dot with remaining sliced olives and and bake for 45 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
  8. Allow enchiladas to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
  9. Serve with Girlbert's Guacamole and Black Bean and Corn Southwestern Salad
Serves: 
makes 12 enchiladas
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