Feeling Fall

Today’s deliciousness happened by pure accident.  Well I shouldn’t say accident really.  More like two inconveniences that led to desperation that led to discovery.  The first inconvenience: all-day downpour leading to crazy cooped up kids.  Baking is always a good distraction on such days because these two little ones love to help.  But the one on the left is a little ipod obsessed and Aaron had taken it away from him earlier and gone to work with it, along with all the recipes on my mental list of things to bake soon.

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We still have gobs of zucchini, so I thought some of the Clean Eating Zucchini bread would be good…recipe on the ipod.  I had a pile of dried figs that I bought on a whim and a craving the other day at Winco, but my clean fig newton recipe??? On the ipod.  So I went to the kitchen feeling resigned to simply modify some less healthy recipe and for some reason reached for my least healthy, but most yummy baking cookbook.

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I looked up figs in the index and came across Oatmeal Breakfast Bread.  You know from my last post that I am a fan of oats…you can prob tell from my posts over time that I am a fan of breakfast breads!  But you probably didn’t know that I am a fan of Figs.  Figs are a great source of potassium, which helps lower high blood pressure, and dietary fiber, which aids in weight loss.  And they taste delicious!   I love the teeny tiny crunch in your mouth when you eat them.

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I was a big fan of Fig Newtons too until I started to detest packaged baked goods, first for taste reasons, but now for health reasons obviously as well.   This bread does not taste like a Fig Newton of course, but it does have a great Fall Figgy Flavor.  Let me know if you are interested and I can post a great healthy Fig Newton recipe too.  If for some reason you do not like figs, feel free to substitute apples, apricots, raisins, or dates.  I decided to go ahead and throw in the shredded zucchini I had leftover in my fridge, but feel free to replace that with some canola oil if you don’t have the overabundance that I have been dealing with!

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Oatmeal Breakfast Bread
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking From my Home to Yours”
Ingredients
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • 1/2 cup agave
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup dried fruit figs, apples, apricots or raisins
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 9×5 loaf pan by buttering and dusting with flour. Put pan on baking sheet.
  2. Whisk together eggs, applesauce, zucchini, and buttermilk until well blended.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Remove ½ tsp of the mix and toss it with the fruit, just to coat; set aside. Stir the oats into the bowl of dry ingredients.
  4. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and, using a large rubber spatula, stir just until everything is evenly moistened. Scatter the dried fruit over the batter and stir to blend.
  5. Chop 1/2 cup walnuts and
  6. Scrape the batter into the pan and sprinkle over the topping, patting it down very lightly with your finger so it sticks.
  7. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until bread is beautifully browned and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the bread to a rack to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pan and un-mold. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

Calories 187 / Carb 32 / Fat 5 / Protein 5 / Sugar 17

Serve it with some greek yogurt to add an extra protein punch.

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Overnight Oats

I thought I would share another favorite recipe that I have been eating for awhile without sharing.  Don’t hate me…I had so many months of no blogging that I am sure there will be a lot more of them to come!

I love oatmeal and usually eat it every other day, so it is nice to have a lot of options on ways to prepare it.  It probably goes without saying that Oatmeal is really good for you, but here are some of the reasons why.  They have been linked with:

  • reducing cholesterol levels
  • balancing blood sugar
  • helping to lower blood pressure
  • encouraging regular bowel movements
  • providing a valuable source of carbohydrates for athletic performance
  • promoting nerve health
  • assisting with weight management
  • and even as an important food for longevity

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There are tons of different versions out there, but the basic one I use is from Kath Eats Real Food…a great site you should check out if you haven’t already.  She has a lot of other versions on there you can try as well as tastier looking photography than my own.  And not to mention an interesting debate in the comment section on whether or not this counts as true muesli (which is what it reminded me of when I first had it).

Recipe

1/3 cup rolled oats (if you are a strong man like my husband, change all these 1/3 to 1/2)

1/3 cup milk

1/3 cup plain yogurt (I use Greek for the protein…but do I even need to say that these days??)

1/2 banana

1/2 tbsp chia seeds

Directions

Stir everything together in a bowl (I usually use a mason jar to keep it nice and fresh).  Place in fridge overnight. In the morning top with something crunchy and something with healthy fats – like nut butter or nuts.  Personally I like to add shredded apple or diced berries or some cocoa powder, but I have cheated and added these things the night before too to really simplify my morning.

What are your favorite ways to eat oats?

Zucchini Overload

Ever since we got married, we have talked about growing a garden.  The benefits of it go without saying, and I think the labor involved goes without saying as well.  So I don’t need to give you all our excuses for it taking five years to finally do it.  When we redid our backyard, my mom plotted out a little garden space, complete with really nice, fertilized soil, so we decided to finally get rid of our excuses and just do it.

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I shouldn’t really say we though.  This has been 95% Aaron and the kids.  Yes, I bought the seeds, and yes I harvest some lettuce when we are going to have salad for dinner, but otherwise they have been the ones putting in the work and doing an awesome job.

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Since we are such newbies, we didn’t know that one little packets of a few tiny seeds would produce so many zucchini.  This was just a couple of days worth.  We have had a few stacks like that on our counter over the last few weeks.  Not having enough mouths or enough stamina to eat it plain, of course I turned to Pinterest to find some other good ways to put it to use.

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With sliced zucchini, we grilled them up and made some yummy zucchini pizzas.  Keeping with the Italian theme, with shredded zucchini we made spaghetti.  Except I didn’t have one of those fancy tools, so I just did it in my food processor.  I think I am going to try this zucchini bread recipe tomorrow because so far, the sugarless ones I have tried haven’t been the tastiest.  I will let you know.

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My favorite trick of all actually didn’t come from Pinterest, but from an idea my sister in law gave me.  She said what she did last year with all her zucchini was puree it and use it in place of oil/butter for recipes.  So I took our favorite waffle recipe and tried it out…it was a little on the runny side so we turned them into pancakes and they were so yummy I made them again on Saturday and figured I needed to share the recipe with you.  And yes, my kids loved them too…they don’t turn out green or scary or anything.

Zucchini Puree

Zucchini Pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup white flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup pureed zucchini
  • ½ cup VERY finely chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS

  1. Puree zucchini in a strong mixer like a Vitamix.  Set over a fine mesh strainer to drain most of the liquid while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl (I use my Kitchen Aid, but the batter would not be difficult to simply whisk).
  3. If you feel like mixing all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl like most recipes love you to do, feel free.  Personally I am lazy, especially in the morning, so I just dump all wet ingredients in at once, then mix.  Then add the pecans.
  4. A good trick to great pancakes or waffles is letting the batter rest for 5 minutes before cooking.  This helps the dry ingredients soak up the wet for a fluffier final result.
  5. I’m pretty sure you know what to do next.  Nutrition information is based on making 16 pancakes, 2 pancakes per serving size.

NUTRITION: Calories 199 / Fat 7 g / Carbs 25g / Protein 10 g / Sugar 2 g