Thursday, September 19, 2013

Banana & Zucchini Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chips

These muffins have it all: whole grains, fruit, vegetable and chocolate, what more could you want?? They are moist because of the bananas and coconut oil and they are tender and flaky because of the addition of a little sour cream, you can substitute yogurt but I needed to use up some, getting ready to expire, sour cream. The combination of bananas, zucchini and dark chocolate is perfect...sweet, a little bit savory with pops of rich, chocolatey goodness. I didn't add any extra sugar into these muffins, I used a bit of honey and the sweetness of the overripe bananas is more than enough, so they are super healthy and great "grab and go" breakfast option. Make a double batch and freeze them to eat all week or month long!

I adapted this recipe from another fellow blogger, her recipe is low fat (and I am sure just wonderful) but I personally don't like using low fat ingredients and I also hate using just the whites of an egg, what the heck do you do with the leftover yolk? I know you can make lots of things with yolk, but lets be realistic, after making muffins who wants to bother with something else, mine end up sitting in the fridge till they go bad. I did include a link if you are wanting a recipe that is lower fat, but these muffins are small so you will most certainly burn the fat off by mid-day, and they are loaded with so many healthy ingredients, the fat is really a non-issue for me. I prefer having a full fat (healthy fat) muffin that satisfies me rather than a lower-fat one that just ends up with me eating something else in 30 minutes, to satisfy cravings...just my opinion.

Makes 12 medium size muffins.
Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen, Skinny Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.


1 Cup unbleached, organic all purpose flour, mine has the germ on so it has more nutrients. Whole wheat flour can be substituted.

1/2 Cup wheat germ

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp organic ground cinnamon

3 Small, fair trade, overripe bananas, mashed.

3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted.

1/4 Cup local honey

1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

2 Medium, farm raised eggs, beaten.

1 Cup organic zucchini, shredded, about 1 medium one.

1/4 Cup pasture raised sour cream, yogurt can be used.

1/2 Cup dark chocolate, fair trade mini chips, I like mini because they distribute evenly in small muffins.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a muffin tin with liners.

In a clean kitchen towel, squeeze out the excess liquid from the zucchini, and then let hang over a bowl in a fine mesh strainer while you prepare the rest of the muffins, this is a critical step.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine and break up lumps.

In another bowl combine the bananas, honey, vanilla, eggs and sour cream. Mix well and then add wet to dry and mix just to incorporate, do not over mix. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips carefully.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the batter into the muffin cups evenly, it might overflow them, this is fine. Bake for 20 minutes or until they are golden brown and spring back to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before serving, they will fall apart if you try to remove them while super hot.

Serve with butter or a nice fall pumpkin butter would be wonderful!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Roasted Grape, Blue Cheese & Rosemary Focaccia

This homemade focaccia is crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and topped with a combination of flavors that is to die for! Roasted grapes provide a sweet burst to contrast creamy, pungent blue cheese and then a sprinkling of sea salt and rosemary rounds it all out. I ate it hot right out of the oven and burned my mouth, moaning with every single bite...not caring one bit! It was seriously the best, best, best bread I have ever made. The recipe is essentially a pizza dough that you allow to rise twice so that it makes a thick, fluffy bread. The outside is baked in lots of extra virgin, heart healthy olive oil for a sweet, crispy texture that, I liken to "french fry" bread. This bread is so perfect for anything: soup, salad, dipping in egg yolk or even giving it away as a gift...its a super special treat that every single person will love! The hardest part is waiting the 2 hours for it to rise, but I assure you it is so worth it.

This recipe makes one large loaf that will serve 10-12 people easily.
Adapted from Anne Burrell's focaccia recipe.


1 3/4 Cups warm tap water

1 Package active dry yeast, I used one specifically for pizza crust.

1 Tbsp fair trade, organic raw cane sugar

4 Cups unbleached, organic all purpose flour, more for kneading.

1 Cup wheat germ

1 Tbsp fine sea salt

1 Tbsp coarse finishing sea salt

1 Cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Cup organic green grapes

1 Tbsp fair trade, organic raw cane sugar

2 Tbsp fresh, organic rosemary, leaves only, chopped finely.

1/4 Cup blue cheese crumbles, I used Ewe's Blue from Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, a sheep's milk blue cheese.


Combine the warm water, yeast and 1 tbsp of sugar in a small bowl and set in a warm place for 15 minutes, it will be bubbly and aromatic when it is ready.

In a large bowl combine the flour, wheat germ and fine sea salt, whisk to combine well. Add in the water, yeast mixture and 1/2 cup of olive oil. Mix it with your hands for about 5 to 6 minutes making it into a dough ball. The mixture will probably be sticky, just add a little flour if it becomes unmanageable.

Flour a work surface and knead the dough on the floured surface for 4 minutes, adding flour as needed to get a soft, non-sticky dough.

Place the dough back in the large bowl, with a bit of olive oil, just to keep it from sticking, about 1 tbsp. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise, for 1 hour.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Lay out the grapes in one layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of sugar. Roast for 10 minutes or until they are browned and slightly charred. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Coat a large baking sheet, like one you use for jelly rolls with 1/4 cup of olive oil, place your dough onto the sheet and spread out with your fingers to make it fit the sheet, dimpling it with your fingers to make the signature "focaccia crags."

Top with the roasted grapes, blue cheese, rosemary and finishing salt, evenly. Drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and allow to rise for another hour, in the same warm place, I didn't cover mine but you can, if you do it very carefully.

Bake in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until it is golden brown and springs back to your touch.

Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting, I say this, but I ate mine right away and I don't regret it one bit!