Zucchini Cookies & Mini-Muffins

 

Zucchini bread, otherwise known as Z bread to some, is a delicious treat. The best Z I’ve had came from a good friend of mine last winter. A Miss Angela Walther of Pleasureville, Kentucky, baked each of her friends a gift box full of southern treats right before we all left for Winter Break. They were all too tasty, especially the Z bread, and I loved that she shared with us the best recipes of her culture.

In cookie form

I’m not sure what was in Angela’s bread that made it taste so good, but I imagine lots of butter and sugar. I’ve got nothing against those ingredients. I’ll admit they’re tasty. And when a friend offers them to you, of course you enjoy them.

But I’ve found a Z bread recipe that rivals Angela’s sweet southern one. It comes from a mommy blogger committed to clean eating, and I just can’t get enough of it.

Makes four good-sized cookies, mini-muffins, or two regular muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat or spelt flour
  • dash of cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla extract
  • 1/2 egg, mixed up
  • 2 T coconut oil (or vanilla yogurt or applesauce)
  • 1 T + 1 t honey
  • 1/2 cup grated zucchini
  • Optional: chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet, muffin tin, or small loaf pan (depending on what kind of bread you’d like to make.
  2. Blend the dry ingredients.
  3. Make a hole in the center and pour in the egg, oil, honey, and vanilla, but do not overmix.
  4. Fold in zucchini (and chopped nuts if using).
  5. Pour batter into baking dish or choice and bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the baked good. About 12-15 minutes.

    Are you feeling more mini-muffin or cookie-like today?

Enjoy each little treat thoroughly.

Or if you’d like to save some for later, these will stay fresh in the freezer for quite a long time.

 

Overloaded Oatmeal Cookies

Loaded is good. Overloaded is better.

Officially, it might not be fall, but we’re all in that mindset anyway. That’s why I whipped up a single-serving batch of overloaded oatmeal cookies. They’re a hearty dessert for a hearty time of year, and I love to combine them with other seasonal picks, such as crisp apples (sprinkled with a little cinnamon for the healthiest, blood-sugar friendly treat in the whole world! See my simple cinnamon apple chips).

Makes 4 small cookies.

Ingredients

1 t butter (softened)

1 t brown sugar or stevia

1 t sweetener (such as stevia or honey)

.5 t ground cinnamon

1 T whole wheat flour

1 T rolled oats

1 t flax seed (milled)

1 t wheat germ

pinch of salt, baking soda, vanilla, and egg (or flax egg)

a few chocolate chips, almonds, walnuts, raisins or whatever mix-ins you like

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a cookie sheet by greasing lightly, preferably with coconut oil for a sweeter taste.

-In a bowl, combine your dry ingredients: oats, flax, wheat germ, salt, baking soda, sugars, cinnamon, and flour. Don’t mix in the mix-ins just yet, though, i.e. chips, almonds, etc. Push to one side of the bowl.

-Then mix together the wet ingredients. Combine wet with dry and fold ’til a batter forms. Add your mix-ins. Divide into 4 small or 2 larger dough balls. Roll and pat in the palms of your hand until desired shape is reached.

-Place on cookie sheet and bake for about 7-9 minutes–the longer you bake, the crispier the cookie. Remove and let cool a bit.

Or you can be like me and dig into a super warm, super soft cookie. Patience in baking to eat never suited me well.

 

Pumpkin Dessert Parfait

I just can’t get over pumpkin, can I? 

This parfait recipe features a sweetened vanilla yogurt, pumpkin, and my healthified gingerbread cookie recipe. All are wholesome, good for you, and every time I lick the bowl I make the cookie dough in, I practically melt with delight. Seriously, that recipe is unbelievable, make-it-even-in-summertime good.

You could mix it up a bit and try a cream-cheese frosting layer, too! Or opt for a graham-cracker crumble instead of gingerbread. What’s not to love about those possibilities?

Ingredients

1 container plain organic yogurt (you can buy vanilla or sweetened, but I prefer to lower the sugar a bit by mixing in a lower lgi alternative)

1 T stevia

pumpkin

pumpkin (Photo credit: meerkatbaby)

.5 t vanilla

4 T pumpkin puree

heaping dash of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice

optional: gingerbread or graham cracker crumbles

Directions

Open the yogurt container. Mix in stevia and vanilla. Set aside.

-In a small bowl, add puree and spices. Mix in about half of prepared yogurt.

-In a parfait glass, layer the pumpkin yogurt with the vanilla yogurt as you like. You can also use the crumbles to make layers or top like I did.

For a special ice cream consistency, freeze the parfait for about one hour and mix up slightly. Freeze another 10 minutes or so. It’s delicious!

Apple Pie Cookies

Have you ever wanted more than one dessert at the same time?

Okay, silly question. I think a lot of us probably do, right?

Well, I know I do. That’s why I really like my healthy & downsized version of Family Kitchen’s Apple Cookies.

They taste exactly like an apple pie, but in cookie form.

And since I’m not a huge fan of fruit pies, this is a sweet breakthrough for me.

Makes 4 good-sized cookies!

Ingredients

1 t vegan butter, softened

1 T stevia

1 T nondairy milk

a little egg (1/6 of one or a flax egg)

6 T white whole wheat flour

pinch of baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, Kosher salt

1 t chopped walnuts or sliced almonds

2 T apple, finely chopped

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

-Combine all dry ingredients well (except nuts). Mix in wet ingredients, mixing in chopped apple last. At this point, if you want your nuts mixed in, do that. I pressed mine on top for garnish (and toasting).

-Roll into 4 or more balls. Press lightly onto cookie sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes or until golden brown and fluffy.

If yours turn out anything like mine. These were quite fluffy–almost like small muffins.

Hmm. Apple pie muffins? Sounds like another recipe to try.

Chicken Pot Pie

 

One very cool evening, I needed something that would “stick to my ribs.” I thought pot pie.

By now you know I wouldn’t cave in for a frozen Banquet pot-pie hockey puck. Oh, no. Like I said, I wanted something that would stick to my ribs, not the lining of my insides. (Yuck!)

So I adapted this chicken pot pie from Food.com because it didn’t require too much “healthification.”

It was very good.

Vegetarians, you could easily manipulate this for yourself by omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

A very good recipe, indeed. One to save for the colder evenings to come.

Ingredients

Filling

2 T onions

1/4 t garlic clove

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup veggies of your choice (potatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, etc.)

2-4 T non-dairy milk

1/2 T whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup cooked chicken breast (shredded or chopped)

Fresh parsley, basil, thyme, and black pepper

Crust

1/4 cup whole-wheat or spelt flour

pinch of ground sage, baking powder, and salt

1/2 T butter

2 T non-dairy milk

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a ramekin and set aside. Then, in a large saucepan, saute onions and garlic over medium heat until tender, about 5 minutes (use oil or cooking spray).

2. Add broth and veggies. Bring to a boil ’til about half of the liquid is absorbed, then reduce heat to low heat. Simmer for 1o minutes, partially covered.

3. Meanwhile prepare the biscuit crust by mixing all dry ingredients in a small bowl. Then cut in butter until you’ve made coarse, doughy crumbs. Stir in milk.

4. Form dough into a ball. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out to the size and thickness you like (or whatever will cover your ramekin).

5. Remove simmered veggies from heat. Mix in milk and flour along with chicken and herbs. Stir well.

6. Pour into ramekin and place dough on top of the chicken mixture.

7. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes. Enjoy warm.

 

The Big Wine-0: My Mother’s 50th Birthday and Wine-Getaway Weekend

Some things really do get better with age. Wine, cheese, and especially people become more robust with flavor. My mother is the perfect proof for this cliche.

My mother is one of those people who always does for others. So much so that it’s enough to make me feel guilty knowing I come from the most generous of persons, and maybe, just maybe, I should be more generous than I am.

The drawback to being overly generous, I think, is not knowing when or how to get what you need. Case in point, my mother does for others, and so I think she has a difficult time doing for herself. As you can imagine, this makes birthdays a little tricky. On my mother’s birthdays, she’ll deflect attention.

It’s endearing that she doesn’t need the attention, but for once I wanted her to have it. She’s so important to so many people, and I wanted all these people to celebrate her for a change–myself included.

So a few months out, we started planning a celebration for her. She was in on it, of course, but there were a lot of surprises to be had.

After dozens of internet searches, phone inquiries, and an awful lot of schedule coordinating, we were able to plan a short weekend getaway to Hermann, MO, a little German-immigrant establishment unknown to most of the world, but a favorite wine country retreat for St. Louisans.

We loaded up three cars with 12 of my mother’s favorite people: grandma, the aunts, old work friends, old neighborhood gals, and the daughters in tow. We drove around windy backroads ’til we happened across Oak Glen Winery.

That little winery was a nice, quaint way to start, but we had to venture out to bigger name winery due in large part to the fact that my mother’s group tends to be the rowdiest of crowds. By no means do I exaggerate when I say that my job was to play babysitter more than anything to a group of very loud, opinionated, wild women who received looks at every winery, bar, and restaurant we ventured into. They’re a little hard to handle. Fortunately, they tip well. 

So we made our way to Hermanhoff for more wine. This was probably my favorite spot visited because the old German architecture and history tug at my heart strings. I love all things German, and this trip brought me back to traipsing along the outskirts of Berlin. Plus, a little German ambiance mixes well with the chilliness of the season (oh, and wine).

Wined out for only a while, we made our way to our residence for the evening, the DeFlorin Cottage near St. George Church. From the outside, it’s the tiniest cottage you could imagine, but on the inside it has spindly staircases and hidden routes taking you through all three stories. It was sort of like a clown car of cottage sorts. We were amazed at how it could sleep 12 in 4 good-sized bedrooms with 3 baths. No bathroom fights ensued.

What did, though, came shortly after an outrageously loud meal of cackling at a local Inn. Karaoke followed. In protective summation, dancing, spirits galore, and even a chipped tooth ensued before ye olde Dammrich women made it back safely to DeFlorin for more rowdiness.

The details of the night are best kept with the group, but I will share with the bloggerverse is that these old women keep me young. I might be younger in age, but some of these gals might be younger at heart. I love that.

So does my mom. She had so much fun smiling the whole time and celebrating her 50 years that she didn’t have a second to be sad about 50. How could anyone be when they have a big group of friends and family with them to celebrate over half a century’s worth of living. “Living well” means different things to different people. But where I come from, the people you keep in your life define “living well.” My family is big, loud, Catholic, sometimes embarrassing  but always a committed, tight-knit bunch. It’s nice to come home and be reminded of this. It’s even nicer looking out from a back room in a restaurant trying to assauge other diners with apologetic looks, but knowing secretly that you really don’t care what they think. Normally, I would, but when I’m with these women, I don’t.

The next morning a lot of no-longer-imbibed ladies rolled out of bed and down to a local diner for hangover-curing comfort food. They recovered remnants of their evening, scratched their toasts with butter, and said their goodbyes. They were all so kind in how much they thanked us for planning this. Even though they see each other most weekends it seems, they still loved the getaway, the wine-themed goodie-bags, and the most wonderful lady who brought them all together, my very sweet momma, Ms. Donna Davis.

  

Pumpkin French Toast Bake

 

Good morning, Pumpkin!

Whatcha got in the oven?

Oh, pumpkin! How seasonal.

Remember my Pumpkin Spice French Toast? Well, here’s a new version. It’s baked and can be prepared the night before (ideally) or in just a few minutes (if you’re impatient like me).
And I post it the day after Thanksgiving (also my wonderful momma’s 50th birthday!) because if your family is like ours, you’ve got some pumpkin leftover, and lots of bread. Put it to good use with this delicious breakfast bake.

Ingredients

2 slices whole-grain bread

1 t cinnamon

1 t pumpkin pie spice

1 t stevia

optional: scant 1/8 t salt (I omitted)

1 T organic vanilla yogurt

2 T pumpkin puree

2 T nondairy milk

splash of vanilla

Directions

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a ramekin. Set aside.

-Slice bread into cubes. If you have time, let it sit out for a while to dry out.

-If you’d like to prepare the night before, which is recommended for a softer bake, then toss all dry ingredients together in a small bowl (bread + spices). In another small bowl, combine all wet.

-Layer ramekin with one layer of bread cubes. Pour part of the mixture over. Repeat. Once all cubes are covered, press down a bit.

-Bake for about 10-12 minutes, longer if you left in the fridge over night.

Serve right out of the oven with warm maple syrup or organic honey. Enjoy!

Mini Pumpkin Pies

For you…

Or for a group, perhaps?

You could use this recipe for either.

Dessert

Or pre-feast snacks.

This recipe makes 6 little pies.

Perfect for the season,

And sure to tantalize

any and every

lover of pumpkin.

Pie Dough Recipe

  • 1 T + 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 t baking stevia
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 t plain Chobani Greek Yogurt
  • 1.5 t vegan butter, diced at refrigerator temp.
  • 1.5  T non-dairy milk

Filling Recipe

2 T pumpkin puree

1 T organic vanilla yogurt

a splash more vanilla

1.5 t stevia

dash of cinnamon

1/2 t pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  1. Combine flour, stevia, and salt.
  2. Slowly add in milk and Chobani
  3. Cut in butter until thick. (You may have to add more flour if your butter is warm)
  4. Roll up dough and wrap it with plastic wrap.
  5. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.
  6. After all the filling is prepared (simply mix all ingredients together) take the dough out of the refrigerator and roll out into a thin crust. Cut into squares or use a biscuit cutter to make perfect rounds, which I forked on the sides. Or you can use a pretty cookie cutter to give your crusts a fun shape like the flower ones you see.
  7. Gently press the dough into a lightly greased mini muffin tin.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven. Using a spoon, carefully divide up the filling between the pie shells and return to oven for another 8-9 minutes or until slightly golden brown.

Remove and serve warm to those whom you are most thankful for.

Or just yourself. Either way, I hope you find much to be grateful for today. Have a very happy holiday.

Gluten-Free Ginger-Spice Muffies

I love fall baked goods, especially spice cakes, and Healthful Pursuit has lots of them. Many of hers are gluten- or grain-free.

I’m not paleo, and I definitely don’t have a gluten allergy. But there’s something about a sweet coconut flour that can’t be beat. I’ve noticed that the finish on coconut-flour cakes and cookies is never as smooth as spelt or regular wheat flour, but it’s so sweet. You have to try this one for breakfast one morning, a cold morning when you need a little spicy warmth.

Ingredients

1/4 cup spelt or coconut flour (coconut is sweeter)

1 t cinnamon

1-2 t ginger

dash of nutmeg, cloves, and baking powder

1 flax egg (1 t ground flax + 2 t water)

1 T organic yogurt

2.5 T applesauce

splash of vanilla extract and almond extract

Directions

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly greases a cookie sheet. Set aside.

-In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients; then blend in wet ingredients. Combine ’til well blended.

-Form into one muffie (dome-shaped) or two smaller ones. Note: If you make just one, it will be fairly large. Nothing wrong with that though, right?

-Bake for about 15-17 minutes or until a little springy. Remove from oven and serve warm with a little sweet yogurt drizzle, pumpkin pie spice, or coconut flakes.

 

Mini Spice Cake

Most people start baking spice cakes later in the season, closer to Christmas, but I love to indulge this seasonal cake as soon as possible. Maybe that’s because spice cake reminds me of my mom. We both love this kind … Continue reading