Hope you’re enjoying your weekend so far. I’m going to spend the rest of the day getting things together for my trip to Colorado! I always pack last minute- and up until now, not a single thing has gone in my suitcase! I have, however, made about 5 different lists.
I spent yesterday in the kitchen. We’re going away for a week, and my friend Justin is coming to house-sit. I wanted to make him a few goodies and use up some of our produce- so I killed two birds with one stone! First up, I made another huge jar of pickles, and used up the remaining handful of pickling cucumbers that were rolling around in my produce drawer. I also wanted to make some sort of baked goods that he could enjoy throughout the week. My friend Krista had given me two huge zucchinis from her garden last weekend, and one and half of them still remained. I also had a few apples hanging around and starting to wrinkle a bit (two of while I’ll bring for Greg and I to eat on the plane), so I put those ideas together.
I feel like I always say this, but I’ll say it one more time: I am not a baker. Unless it’s a single-serve protein muffin that I can “cook” in the microwave, anything involving the measuring of flour and baking powder usually turns out to be a disaster. But, I was determined this time.
I started throwing ingredients together and made a batter. I thought that instead of making a loaf of bread, muffins were the way to go.
And when they came out of the oven- they seemed to be okay!
Finally it was time to do a taste test (with a little butter, of course).
Hmm… maybe I am a baker after all?
Apple Zucchini Muffins
2/3 c. zucchini, grated
1 small apple (I used Braeburn), grated (should equal about 1/2 c.)
1/2 c pumpkin puree or applesauce
1/4 c agave nectar
1 T canola oil
1 T milk (I used flax- but any variety is fine)
1 1/2 c. organic pastry flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Pre-heat oven to 350˚ and line a muffin tin with 12 wrappers (or spray with non-stick cooking spray). Combine the grated zucchini, apple and all of the wet ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Stir together well. Sift the flour into a larger bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir. Pour the wet ingredients into the larger bowl and stir until everything is blended together well. Divide the batter equally amongst the 12 liners and place in the oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
I bet these would also be really good with almond butter. That was the other thing that I attempted to make yesterday, but ended burning the almonds, and even a little honey and salt couldn’t save them. It broke my heart to throw three cups of really good almonds away- but live and learn I guess.
I did have success putting my food processor to work for something else:
Greg and I went over to our friends Wayne and Kathryn’s house for dinner last night. I was really excited to see them, but also excited about the food and wine! They have excellent taste (and know a lot about good food and wine), and were responsible for introducing Greg and I to the amazement that is grass-fed beef two years ago. They also have two of the cutest dogs ever (who were occupied by their huge bones).
Wayne and Kathryn are both major foodies who also value staying fit, so I wanted to bring something that was “secretly” healthy, which still tasting incredibly rich. Naturally, I thought about my chocolate peanut butter mousse. I happened to have a pie crust in the freezer, so I decided to take the mousse up a level. I also changed the recipe a little bit- and made the “tofu” version, rather than the avocado (only because that’s what I had in my fridge).
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie (Vegan)
1 pie crust, thawed and baked according to directions
1 block light firm tofu
1/4 c almond milk
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 T agave nectar (or other sweetener of choice)
1/2 c. semi-sweet non-dairy chocolate chips, melted
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. peanut flour
1 T peanut butter
2 T ground chia seed (you can use a coffee bean grinder for this!)
Place the tofu into a food processor and blend for one minute. Add the almond milk, vanilla, agave nectar and melted chocolate and blend for 30 more seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until everything is mixed together well and place into a medium-sized bowl. Let sit in the fridge for one hour. After an hour, remove the mixture from the fridge and scoop into the pie shell. Let chill for at least one more hour before serving. Optional: garnish with shaved dark chocolate and whipped cream.
This pie is extremely rich and a little bit goes a long way. It’s also pretty low calorie (as far as desserts go) and high in protein, and won’t leave you feeling icky afterwards.
Rewind to before we dug into the dessert…
Wayne and Kathryn’s friends Bo and Rob (a girl) were also there, and made these awesome little appetizers for us to snack on.
The dip was spicy- and apparently Rob has an insane tolerance for heat (I think she said something about eating Siracha by the spoonful?!). The little stuffed peppers were to die for- I must make them immediately (I think they were stuffed with basil and feta…) There was also a cheese plate that we pretty much destroyed… and a lot of wine.
Then it came time for the main course: skirt steak in this marinade (which I will be making again and again- it was incredible!), along with forbidden rice and grilled corn on the cob. Wayne seasoned the corn with his [understated] pepper mill.
Everything was really good- but man, the beef…
Grass-fed beef just tastes so much better. And having someone prepare it perfectly also makes a huge difference, of course. I think I will be having dreams about this skirt steak for a long time to come.
After dinner, we headed downstairs to Wayne’s bar, which features an impressive selection of tequila and scotch (amongst other things). I am not a scotch fan- at all. But, I am interested in learning more about it. By this point, I had already had a bit too much wine (and it was pretty late), so it wasn’t really the best time to learn… but I did a little tasting. I also tried this, which was awesome.
It tastes just like a red hot!
And of course, we dove into the pie…
I was a little nervous about how it would go over (you never know how people are going to respond to tofu!), but it was a hit! Perfect way to end the night.
We had such a good time eating, drinking and laughing with our friends… but I am definitely feeling the effects today. Needless to say, I didn’t make it to the gym to do my bootcamp workout before teaching spin class at 8:00 this morning. When I woke up, I was definitely reminded of why I don’t drink much- I have zero tolerance! Even though teaching this morning kind of sucked, it was good to sweat it out. And I swear, my sweat smelled just like wine.
And now if you’ll excuse me, I have some packing to do…
Have a great Sunday!