Brownies! (w/ apples, bananas, zucchini)

“Healthy” Brownies… can it be done?  Ehh, not really, because this still has a cup and a half of sugar in it, but it’s all relative, right?  I mean, if I eat a medium-healthy thing instead of some ultra-unhealthy crazy confectionery from a store, then I’m still doing better health-wise; that has to count for something, right?

Anyway, this is a recipe for a “very moist, low-fat chocolate brownie alternative” … so I’m a bit suspicious, to be honest, but the ingredients sound like it’s worth a shot.  I already like zucchini as a vegetable, so I doubt I’m going to notice the flavor, and having applesauce and bananas contribute some of the sweetness is good, while still having enough sugar that I won’t mentally dismiss it as ‘health food pretending to be tasty food’ – so we’ll see what happens. 🙂

  • 1/2 c. applesauce
  • 2 small-medium bananas, mashed
  • 1.5 c. sugar (1 + 1/2 c.)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda (1 + 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c. finely shredded zucchini
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. nut pieces (walnut is recommended, but I’ll probably substitute pecans)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease and flour a 9×13″ baking pan.

In large bowl, combine applesauce, mashed bananas, and sugar.

Add vanilla and cocoa; mix well.

Add baking soda and salt; mix well.

Add zucchini; mix well.

Add flour and walnuts; mix well.

Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Bake 25 minutes, or until brownies spring back when gently touched.

Source:  http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=474935  Normally, I recommend going to the source website for pictures and stuff, but not this website; it’s full of pop-ups and it re-loads unexpectedly (and the re-loading of the page re-triggers the pop-ups) and there’s only one picture, so really, I can’t think of any reason to encourage you to check out that site. :/

Manjula’s (modified) Vegetable Curry

Manjula’s Kitchen is a cooking blog that actually has video explanations explaining how to cook Indian food (all vegetarian).  Unfortunately, I’m an enormous wimp about spicy food, and I loathe cilantro (and I don’t always have her suggested ingredients on hand), so I end up not trying a lot of her recipes because they would need too much alteration.  But this is one that I definitely want to try, so I’m recording my intended recipe here… I’ll update when I try it and see how it turns out.

  • 2 c. cauliflower florets
  • 1 c. green peas (frozen)
  • 1 carrot, sliced in 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 zucchini cut into bite size pieces (with skin)
  • 1/2 c. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (quartered if sprouts are gigantic)
  • 5 firm medium tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin (preferably whole seed)
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbs coriander
  • 1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1 Tbs corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala

(Begin cooking rice in the background if you want.)

Mix cornstarch with 1/4 c. water and set aside.

Cut tomatoes into large chunks, then blend with ginger to make a puree.

Chunk onion into large bite-size pieces.  Prepare other vegetables as well.

Heat oil in large saucepan.  (If you have whole cumin seed, test the heat by dropping one seed in the oil, and if it cracks right away, the oil is ready.)

Add cumin seeds, garlic, and onion to oil.  Once onion has begun to caramelize, add tomato puree, coriander, turmeric, sugar, and salt.  Cover pot and cook for ~5 min.

Add all the vegetables and 1/4 c. water.  Cover the pan and let cook for ~10 minutes over medium heat.  Stir occasionally.  Vegetables should end up tender, not mushy.

Add cornstarch mixture and let cook for 2 more minutes.  (If mixture is now too thick, adjust by adding hot water.)

Turn off heat and add garam masala.  Stir and cover the pan for a few minutes before serving.

 

 

I made several changes to this, so if you like spice, mushrooms, or cilantro, you should definitely check out the original recipe:

Source – http://www.manjulaskitchen.com/2012/05/23/vegetable-curry/

Zucchini – Sweet Potato Frittata

Fritattas are easy and fun and simple and good for leftovers.  I’m linking other versions of the all-purpose “fritatta” at the bottom, but this recipe is my own version. 🙂

  • sweet potatoes (3 small or 2 large)
  • zucchini (3 regular-sized)
  • onion (1 or 2)
  • shallots (2 or 3)
  • eggs (around 6)
  • milk (cow or coconut or almond or none at all if you don’t want any)
  • minced garlic (as much as you feel like)
  • rosemary (a big shake)
  • basil (a small shake)
  • salt & pepper (a bit)
  • coconut oil (some)
  • optional!! – meat (Italian spiced sausage is nice, or leftover whatever)
  • skillet and large glass baking pan (because I don’t have a cast-iron pan that works for stovetop and oven baking)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

(If cooking meat, then cook it now in a large skillet.)

Thin-slice zucchini and sweet potatoes on mandolin or other chopper (or do it as thinly as you can with a regular knife). Cut thin slices in half to make thin semi-circles.

Chop onion into medium-sized pieces; cut shallots into small chunks.  Chop garlic as small as possible.

In large skillet, heat coconut oil (or, if you cooked meat, re-use that skillet and grease).  Add onions, shallots, garlic, and sweet potato slices.  Let sit long enough to start to brown/caramelize, then stir/flip to allow other pieces to brown/caramelize.  Continue until most onions are browned and most sweet potatoes have turned from orange to a lighter orange-yellow.

In large glass baking dish, layer sweet potato / onion / shallot / garlic mixture, then zucchini layer, (and meat if you want) and repeat until all veggies (and meat) are used.

In medium bowl, scramble eggs with a splash of milk (optionally).  Add salt, pepper, rosemary, and basil to taste (and/or other available herbs — if you used flavored meat like Italian sausage or something, reduce quantity of herbs).  Pour eggs over vegetables in glass pan.  Tips of veggies should stick above the egg-line, but the veggies should be mostly submerged.  Add another egg if necessary, and stir it into the glass dish.

Place in preheated oven and bake 15-17 minutes, then crank the heat up and bake another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, and serve! 😀

This recipe can be modified all over the place – replace the veggies and meats with other things you have available.  Or use this recipe to utilize leftovers from other meals.  It’s all good.

Here are some other people’s frittata recipes:

http://nomnompaleo.com/post/1983505174/easy-paleo-frittata

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/frittata-recipe/index.html

http://culinaryarts.about.com/od/eggsdairy/r/spinbacchedfrit.htm

That thing I taught mom with Pine Nuts

  • 1 onion
  • 3 zucchini
  • 3 yellow squash
  • 1 bell pepper and/or jalapeno (optional)
  • 2 shallots (optional)
  • Italian sausage of preference
  • coconut oil
  • 1/2 – 1 c. pine nuts

Break sausage into bite-size pieces and begin cooking (no additional oil necessary).

Chop onion into medium chunks.  De-seed any peppers; chop peppers and shallots finely.  Mix with onion; set aside.

When sausage is fully cooked, move to a plate lined with paper towels.  Leave as much grease as possible in the pan.  Add onion mixture to greasy pan and return to heat.

Chop zucchini and squash into bite-size pieces.

When onions have started to caramelize, add zucchini and squash.  If necessary, add a small amount of coconut oil.  (If the volume is too much to fit in the original sausage pan, put half of the veggies in a separate pan and cook with coconut oil.)

Heat a small pan and add about a half-cup to a cup of pine nuts. Stir frequently; if you don’t stir, the bottom will char while the top still looks completely white. Stir fairly often, and when they start to turn toasty-brown, turn the heat off but leave them there until the last step.

When all vegges are cooked, add sausage for a minute to re-heat (if necessary), then combine veggies, sausage, and pine nuts in a big tupperware container and stir well.