When Life Gives You Zucchini…

…I say, make chocolate cake! Like many of you home gardeners can appreciate, the zucchini is starting to runneth over, so I have been very busy trying to find creative ways to use it in the kitchen.  First there were the zucchini fritters, shredded and fried until crisp and succulent.  Then came the zucchini bread, and now the most decadent (dare I call ‘healthy’) chocolate cake I have ever created.

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Flour Power

I figured if I’m starting a feature called “Savvy Substitutions” and it focuses heavily on baked goods, it might be advisable to explain different types of flour and their ratios in baking compared to the ‘other white stuff.’  Of course you know it begins with whole-grains, and organic whenever possible.  Wheat is one of the most pesticide laden crops in America, so it truly pays to buy the purest product available.  This way you can go right to your pantry when a recipe calls for spelt (a cousin of wheat) or another alternative and know how it might affect the taste and texture of your creation.

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Sweet Potato Brownies

Believe it or not, this picture represents a brownie which may look gi-normous, but is about the size of a post-it note (tablet🙂  It IS big on flavor, but low on sugar and actually quite healthy, as desserts go. It also contains a secret ingredient which will soon be a secret no more.  Guesses, anyone…? (Nevermind that I already gave it away:) Click to continue reading »

Spring Quinoa "Risotto"

No matter where you live (save south of the equator,) asparagus is in full ‘bloom’ right now and bursting with flavor at all the farmers markets. There are a zillion ways to prepare it (altho I haven’t found one for dessert – YET:) and it blends with so many complimentary vegetables.  I’ve combined asparagus with a few different ingredients to make up a creative version of ‘risotto,’ using quinoa.  But first – health bennies! Click to continue reading »

Beet Risotto

You can’t beat beets.  I think I have at least one almost every day.  They’re even good for dessert – yep, I made a chocolate beet cake for Valentine’s Day that was 2 DIE 4.  (Let me know if you want the recipe.)

I bet you guessed that beets are highly nutritious.  They are a super antioxidant and a special friend to the liver (in wine country, that’s a really good thing.) Other nutrients include free-radical scavenging manganese and copper; energy producing iron; and bone-building phosphorus.  And, according to Paul Pitchford, author of the fabulous book “Healing with Whole Foods,” beets strengthen the heart, sedate the spirit, improve circulation, purify the blood and relieve constipation.  Click to continue reading »