Yesterday was Sunday. My favorite day of the week. No lunches to pack, no sporting events to race to, and no errands. It is my day to organize, clean, and prep for the busy week ahead. Sweat pants is the outfit of choice and if I am lucky, the kids go on their merry way and I am left, alone, to enjoy a nice quiet house.
Breakfast prep was on the agenda. Scones(a gluten free version using Cup4Cup and fresh blueberries) were shaped and frozen, mini chocolate chip banana breads were baked off, shared, and frozen, and a big batch of these zucchini muffins now reside in the freezer. I had no intention of making either the zucchini muffins or the banana bread, but when I saw the state my produce was in, I knew that if I didn’t use them up yesterday they were going to end up in the composter. I couldn’t let that happen. Waste is not in my vocabulary.
Two very over ripe bananas was just what I needed to make these loaves. Using a recipe I just read about in the latest Bon Appetit, I swapped our the AP flour for Cup4Cup, added mini chocolate chips, and half of a vanilla bean, scraped, adding seeds to the batter. DELISH!
The zucchini muffins are a modification of these and the zucchini, walnut, chocolate combo pleased almost everyone in my house. I say almost because Levi is such a visual eater. I think it’s time he starts eating his meals with a blind fold.
After making the muffin batter, I still had about a cup and a half of grated zucchini. By the time I figured out what to do with the remaining ingredients, it was almost lunch time. I created some pancakes using pantry staples. A couple of tablespoons of cream, an egg, about 6 tablespoons of my gluten free flour blend, 1 1/2 cups of grated zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. I pureed 1/3 of the zucchini and the cream in a mini Cuisinart and then combined all the ingredients. I cooked them in a hot cast iron skillet with a bit of coconut oil. A simple arugula salad, a slice of tomato, and a few of these, I was satisfied until dinner time!
5 Key Tips to taking stress out of weekday meals:
• Keep it simple. Using unprocessed, whole, and organic ingredients does not have to cost a fortune. When meal planning, make one meal a week that is new and interesting. The other 5 nights, do meals using prepped ingredients. Tacos – make your homemade seasoning in advance and dice your onions at the beginning of the week. Use leftover meatballs for a pasta bake. And eat breakfast for dinner. Omelets and strata’s make a great meal.
• Making tuna salad and egg salad are not only a great lunch but an easy after school snack. I try to have stuff like this in the fridge so when one child gets home from school as I am off chauffeuring another to their daily activities, snack time will be filled with protein rather than empty carbs.
• Soups are a whole meal, filled with veggies, legumes, grains, and/or protein. With prepped lentils on hand, whipping up a batch of lentil soup does not have to be an all day affair. Especially if your Mirepoix is prepped in advance. Add cooked barley to a pot of fresh vegetable soup and serve some roasted chicken on the side.
• I like to have grated cheese on hand. I store my cheeses in reusable, restaurant style containers. Cheddar, Gouda, Fontina, and Gruyere (not all at the same time, of course) translates into nachos, grilled sandwiches, and quesadillas. A super simple snack with no mess or fuss.
• Before putting anything into the freezer, label it. Once frozen, EVERYTHING looks the same. I use a small piece of masking tape and a sharpie. Once written, I place the tape on the top of jar and I am good to go.
Zucchini Brown Butter Walnut + Chocolate Chip Muffins – Gluten Free
5 ounces | 140 grams | 10 tablespoons unsalted, organic butter
5 ounces | 140 grams | 1 cup brown rice flour
1 3/4 ounces | 50 grams | 1/2 cup hazelnut flour
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 1/2 teaspoons Celtic sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large eggs
2 1/2 ounces | 70 grams | 1/3 cup light brown sugar
80 ml | 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (save pod and throw in a jar of sugar)
8 ounces | 225 grams | 2 cups grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini’s)
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
• preheat oven to 350*
• line muffin tins with 15 paper liners. place on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet.
• in a small saucepan, melt butter until the edges start to brown and the center turns a nice golden color. set aside to cool. once cool add scraped vanilla bean.
• in a small bowl, combine brown rice flour, hazelnut flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. set aside.
• in a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar and the eggs to combine. add the maple syrup and then the cooled butter. whisk to combine.
• using a rubber spatula, add the dry ingredients. mix to just combine.
• lastly, add the grated zucchini, chocolate chips, and walnuts. mix and scoop into prepared muffin cups.
• bake 20 – 24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in a few muffins comes out clean.
• let cool completely before freezing. once frozen, store in freezer safe containers or plastic bags.
• when ready to serve, take out from freezer and either let defrost on kitchen counter or if you in a hurry, wrap in foil and warm in a 300* oven for about 20 minutes.
yield: 15 muffins