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

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Healthy Pizza????

I am not going to lie.  I LOVE PIZZA.  Seriously.  I see it, I want it.  I smell it, I want it.  Tell me I am not alone in this…I am salivating just thinking about it.  Papa John’s is definitely my favorite, though I’m not sure if it’s for their pizza or for the garlic dipping butter they give you just to make it extra nutritious.  Anyone remember those delicious Trixy Sticks from Pizza Pipeline in Provo…the cinnamon and sugar ones that you dipped in the cream cheese frosting?????

Yet I know it is not good for me.  It is a greasy pile of grease and if I’m going for longevity, I have to practice moderation or alteration.  So I make my own at home. with whole wheat thin crust, lots of veggies, and minimal cheese.  Though it is definitely not faster or more convenient (or as delicious), I don’t feel sick to my stomach after my indulgence and I still get to satisfy those cravings.  What are your favorite ways to healthify your pet indulgences?

Until last night, that is.  For inexplicable reasons, I tried a different recipe for my crust.  And oh my goodness, I could not get enough of it.  The recipe is so simple and I thought I must share it with you.   It comes from Cooking Light. I just adapted it to add some whole-grain goodness.

And then I got to thinking…was the secret to my amazing crust the newness of the recipe or the newness of the white whole wheat flour that I had just purchased??  Have you guys heard of this?  It has all the same nutrition as whole wheat flour, but it is made from white wheat instead of red wheat, giving it a milder flavor and lighter texture.  I am not kidding you that it was not heavy at all like the regular crust I make.  Has anyone tried it in baked goods?  I can’t wait to sneak it into some cookies after my dessert fast ends to see if you can tell.

 

Basic Pizza Dough

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 package active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons stone-ground yellow cornmeal

Preparation

Dissolve the honey and yeast in 3/4 cup warm water in a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes or until bubbly. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 2 cups flour and salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 6 minutes); add enough of the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel slightly sticky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If the indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.)

Roll dough into a 12-inch circle (about 1/4 inch thick) on a lightly floured surface. Place dough on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Bake according to recipe directions (I did 10 minutes at 450 degrees).

NUTRITION (for the full 12 inch dough): Calories 367 / Fat 11 g / Carbs 215g / Protein 38 g / Fiber 21 g