Fat Free Zucchini Muffins

courgettesI’m a big fan of zucchini muffins.  They are great for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  Plus, they are easy to make.  Over the summer, I’ve made zucchini muffins more times than I can count and each time they were a little different.  My husband teases me and says that I never make something the same way twice.  I must agree.  I usually cook with what I already have in my kitchen.  It’s a great way to decrease cost and it helps prevent food from going bad.

My most recent zucchini muffins are very different than the rest.  All of the recipes that I have used call for oil and eggs to keep the muffins moist.  However, oil and eggs add a significant amount of fat.  I wanted to add some protein and try to decrease the fat content in my muffins.  I decided to use Greek yogurt instead of oil and eggs and the final product taste great.  Here’s my final recipe (which I think I will stick with for now on) and the links to a few other good ones.

Fat Free Zucchini Muffins

1 cup Fat Free Greek Yogurt

1 cup honey

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups white whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the yogurt, honey, and vanilla until fully combined.  Add the dry ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients have absorbed all the liquid.  Last of all, add the zucchini and mix well.

Pour the batter into lightly greased muffins tins and bake for 15-20 minutes.  You should end up with around 18 muffins.

The final result isn’t as sweet as other muffins, so keep that in mind if you have a sweet tooth.  Here are the other recipes that I have used and recommend.

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/06/25/recipe-zucchini-bread/

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/100-whole-wheat-zucchini-chocolate-chip-bread-recipe

Green Smoothies

100_2839 I have been trying to find new ways of adding veggies into our meals.  I’ve seen many post about green smoothies but always assumed they didn’t taste that great and were rather bland.  The idea of drinking a green liquid didn’t seem very appealing to me.  They reminded me of the toxic green goo from the Ninja Turtles.

But, I was having trouble incorporating veggies into our food everyday and decided to summon the turtle power within and try a green smoothie.  The result, well I didn’t turn into a ninja fighting mutant, which was slightly disappointing, but I did enjoy it.

I have tried a few different recipes and most have worked well.  The main ingredients are spinach (which you don’t even taste), a mixture of fruit, and a liquid.  So far I have used mangoes, bananas, blueberries, pineapple, and strawberries in different combinations.  I have made them with yogurt, milk, almond milk, and Kefir.  The yogurt and milk add plenty of protein but include lactose.  The almond milk and kefir are both lactose free, so they are useful for lactose free diets.  I also add Chia seeds.  These little seeds add some good fats and can keep you fuller longer.  The smoothies are best when all the ingredients are frozen or cold.  I recently bought 3 bunches of bananas on sale for 99 cents each.  They were really bruised on the outside, but perfect on the inside.  I peeled them and put them in a plastic bag in the freezer. 100_2841

I did need to buy a new blender for my smoothies.  I had had my old one for about 8 years and it didn’t work well pureeing frozen foods.

We now try to have a smoothie everyday.  They make for a quick breakfast or a nice afternoon snack.  I highly suggest you summon the turtle power within you as well.  I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.

Things I love about real food

I love tovegetable-heart  cook.  There is no doubt about it.  I always have.  But, my  love for cooking has changed ever since I started cooking real, wholesome food for my family.  This has grown significantly and I decided it was time to put it in writing.  So, here is what I love about real food:

I love…

1. the way real food taste.1100035_love_food

2. that my kids know and recognize the smell of fresh bread.

3. that my kids are learning the concept of taking turns when they help me cook.

4. that I can make over a dozen whole wheat muffins that contain no sugar on a Saturday morning and have more than 1/2 of them gone within a few hours.

5. that my sons are learning to enjoy fresh foods.

6. that my pantry is filled with ingredients and not processed meals in boxes.

7. that my kids will eat snacks that do not contain sugar without complaining.

8. that my kids ask for water instead of a sugary drink.

9. that my freezer is filled with food scraps because I know I can find a way to cook with them.

10. when my kids take a bite of a homemade meal and respond with, “Mmmm… Yummy!”

11.  that my kids eat food that is green. And red. And blue. And yellow. And orange.  And none of those colors are artificial.??????????????????????????

12.  when my kids get excited about picking out the organic bananas and want to eat them before we have paid for them.

13. that our organic fruit doesn’t turn brown 5 minutes after being bit into.  It usually take a whole day for the browning to begin.

14. that sometimes I cook something new and it is an “epic fail” because it means that I can learn from it and make something better next time.

15.  that we spend more money on organic produce and organic meat than on any other food.

16.  shopping at the farmer’s market in the summer.

17.  when we sit down for a meal and bless the food, that we are blessing food that is  fairly close to the way God created and intended for us to eat it.

18.  that the food we buy helps support small farmers.

19.  that my kids get excited when they see the mixer out on the counter top.

20.  And last of all, I love that every meal I cook for my family is made from real, wholesome, healthy, non-processed, fresh, and delicious food.

My goal for this post was to explain what I love about cooking real food.  My hope is that by sharing my love of real food, it can encourage you to make some changes in what you eat in order to experience this love as well.   The changes weren’t easy (and some still aren’t) and the love wasn’t immediate.  But in the end, it is all worth it.

Real Food Snacks – Ideas for food during the Big Game

Most people haveImage the notion that party food has to be junk food.  That is definitely  not the case.  Although we don’t have big plans for the big game, I do have plans for food to eat during the game.

I’m going to make some Loaded Potatoes Skins based off of this recipe:

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/potato_skins/

I’m going to use coconut oil instead of canola oil, and I’m leaving out the green onions.  I didn’t see the need in spending money on some green onions for just this meal.  Instead, I’m going to add more cheese and bacon, that sounds like a reasonable substitute to me.  Here’s what I bought in order to keep this meal real food friendly.

1 Bag of organic potatoes – these aren’t much more expensive than non-organic

Sour Cream with just cream, milk, and vitamin AImage

* Be careful, the generic brands usually add oil and other additives

Nitrate and additive free bacon

* This type of bacon tends to cost more, but it taste so much better!

The rest of the ingredients are real food friendly.

I’m also going to make some Buffalo Style Chicken Legs.  I bought some organic chicken legs at Kroger and will make this sauce to go with them.

http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/condiments/homemade-buffalo-wing-sauce/

I’m really looking forward to these dishes.  I’m a big potato fan and you can’t go wrong with adding bacon and cheese to most dishes.

My husband likes buffalo style chicken, so that dish is for him.

No matter who wins the game, I have a feeling these dishes will both be winners at our house.  I hope everyone enjoys the game tomorrow and enjoys some real food snacks as well.