Mocha Zucchini Muffins

First things first, Happy Easter!

Christ the Lord is risen today.
All creation join to say. 
Raise you joys and triumphs high.
Sing ye heaven and earth reply. 

Love's redeeming work is done.
Fought the fight, the battle won.
Death in vain forbids him rise.
Christ has opened paradise.

What a glorious day! When I think about all I have in Christ I am continually blown away by what I have been given, not because of anything I have done, I can take credit in no way for my salvation, I believe because God first chose me. How humbling is this truth. 

I this beautiful day, full of celebration and new birth I was inspired to create something new and delicious out of something old. I've had a bag of shredded zucchini floating around in my freezer since last summer. I keep meaning to do something with it, but I always say "next time". Well, not this time! I found a new zucchini muffin recipe, adjusted it for what I wanted, and finished off last years produce, finally! This was the perfect way to do it too. A light and healthy whole grain muffin, lightly sweetened and filled with one of my favorite treats; chocolate covered espresso beans!!

When I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it. I didn't have a go-to zucchini muffin but this one looked promising, and I was right. It's just rich enough to make it special, but not too rich to make it feel overly indulgent. The original recipe calls for a streusel on top which would be marvelous, but I skipped it this time out of laziness, but did chop up a handful of dark chocolate espresso beans for pizzaz. And chocolate. Come on. 

The final product came out as beautiful as I had hoped. Flecked with green from the zucchini, and chocolate from the espresso beans. I added some espresso powder for a little extra mocha flavor, and probably could have added more (I think I'll try 1/2 teaspoon next time!). They turned out light and satisfying. A perfect zucchini muffin. 

 
 


Mocha Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from The Almond Eater
Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1-2 tablespoons (12-25 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) milk
  • 2 tablespoons (37 grams) maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup grated zucchini
  • 1/4 cup chocolate covered espresso beans, roughly chopped

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners, set aside

Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and espresso powder in a bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and then add olive oil, milk, syrup and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients. Add the zucchini, and stir until combined. 

Transfer the batter to the prepared muffin tin. Bake in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Remove from oven, wait a few minutes for the muffins to cool before removing them from the tin.

Yields: 6 muffins

Buckwheat Oat Breakfast Bites

Breakfast bites; little mounds of oat-y goodness, something fun and different to dig into for breakfast, or snack in the afternoon. Full of whole grains, healthy fats, and unrefined sugar. Win - win - win! And chocolate, don't forget the chocolate on top. You can put the chocolate inside them if that's more your style, I just love how a little drizzle on top finishes them off. 

These are a wiz to throw together, everything into the food processor and you're set, in just a minute or two you have your cookie dough, ready for the cookie scoop and into the oven. I've made other variations on these cookies before, but for this version I went with one of my favorite combinations, tahini and honey. I added a little buckwheat flour for it's lovely hint of bitterness, and a little cinnamon to round it all out. Drizzle with chocolate once cool and breakfast is served!

 
 

Buckwheat Oat Breakfast Bites
Adapted from The Clever Carrot
Ingredients

  • 2 cups (160 grams) old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) whole wheat flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (64 grams) tahini, or your favorite nut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 6 tbs honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Chocolate, for drizzling (optional)

Directions
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. 

Add the oats, white whole wheat flour, and baking soda to a food processor. Run the machine until the oats look like 'flour.' It's okay to have a few big pieces in the mix.

Add the egg, tahini, coconut oil, honey and vanilla extract. Pulse until the mixture until it looks like cookie dough and holds together when pinched between 2 fingers.

Using a cookie scoop to portion the cookies onto your lined baking sheets. Bake for about 12-13 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool on the tray for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Afternoon Sandwich Bread

I've been quite busy over the last couple of weeks, I'm on my OB rotation right now which has been really good, but doesn't leave me a lot of free time. This means I don't get to spend as much time as I usually like to in the kitchen, making dinner and prepping lunch for the next day. For weeks such as these it's good to have a few things on hand that make it easy to throw together a delicious meal in a short time. Recently I've been really into making sandwiches for dinner. I  still have some leftover Thanksgiving turkey in the freezer (yes I do!), and some really good cheese hanging out in the fridge. Add a few additional condiments a few slices of good, homemade bread and dinner is served. 

This has been my go-to bread for the past few weeks. I've made 3 or 4 loaves recently and have been loving it. It's soft, tender and delicious. It's also really quick to make. There are times when I love spending 2 or 3 days make a complext loaf of bread with a long, slow rise. But often I don't have the time to spend doing that. This bread is super fast, yet still really really good. I can start making it around noon, and be pulling freshly baked bread out of the oven by 5! On a tight schedule, that is the way to do it!

The first time I made a version of this bread I made it pretty much as originally written, adding in a bit of whole wheat flour because that's how I roll. It turned out great. The next time however, I had some sourdough starter that needed to be used so I adjusted the recipe to include some of this starter. My sourdough version was also wonderful, and helped me use up my starter - a win-win situation! 

 
 

Afternoon Sandwich Bread
Adapted from Alexandra Cooks
Ingredients

  • 180 grams all purpose flour
  • 140 grams whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 110 grams warm water
  • 56 grams milk
  • 1 tablespoon (21 grams) honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 120 grams sourdough starter
  • 2-4 tablespoons mixed nuts/seeds/grains (optional): for this loaf I used a mix of coarse cornmeal, sunflower seeds, steel cut oats, and buckwheat groats, but use whatever you have on hand, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, millet, quinoa, etc. 

Directions
In the bowl of your stand mixer mix together the flours, yeast and salt. Add the water, milk, honey olive oil or butter, and starter.  

Using the dough hook, knead the dough until it begins pulling away from the sides of the bowl and clings to the hook, 6-8 minutes total.  Near the end of kneading, add in the mixed nuts/seeds/grains and continue kneading until evenly incorporated. 

Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn it over to coat all sides, and cover the bowl. Let it rise in a draft-free place until doubled, 1 to 2 hours. Turn the dough out onto the counter and shape into a loaf. Place dough in well-greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pans. Let rise until the dough domes an inch above the rim of the pan, another hour or so.

After the dough has been rising for 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 350°F. When the loaves are sufficiently risen, bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until nicely browned. Remove from the oven and tip the bread out of the pan. Place on a rack to cool completely before slicing.