Real Food. Real Stories. Oh Yeah.

Posts tagged ‘zucchini’

Zucchini Hemp Muffins with Walnuts and Blueberries

Muffins that are bursting with goodness – sounds like a winning breakfast to me!

Zucchini Hemp Muffins with Walnuts and Blueberries

I am a recent convert to hemp, specifically hemp protein powder. I like hemp protein powder because I can add a protein boost to my smoothies without adding a bunch of gross processing ingredients found in the likes of whey protein or soy protein isolate, while adding more fiber (and less fat) than found in nut butters. I even use vanilla-flavored hemp protein and it still only has three ingredients – hemp, sugar, and vanilla flavor. Huzzah! Be it protein powder or hemp seeds though, hemp is something you should consider adding to your grocery list, as it is insanely good for you. It’s loaded with fiber, has both omega-3’s and omega-6’s, and is a complete protein. Hemp: it’s not just for rope anymore!

On the back of one of my hemp protein jars, they recommended adding the powder to baked goods for a nutritional oomph. I thought, what a great idea! So I decided to add it to some zucchini muffins. Zucchini is back in season here in VA, and it’s everywhere at the Farmer’s Market. I best enjoy zucchini when it’s baked in a bread, and I like muffins because it creates individual serving sizes (not to mention takes way less time to bake than a loaf of bread). Everyone wins!

To start, I grated two small/medium zucchinis, which yielded about 1 cup of grated zucchini. I always do this first because it takes forever and I don’t want the mixed batter to have to sit while I grate (and thus lose some of its rising properties). No zucchini bread is complete without walnuts, so I chopped some up and added them to the zucchini bowl, along with some blueberries (because these muffins weren’t already healthy enough).

I then sifted in my hemp protein powder, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. While I’ve often just thrown the liquids in directly after, this time I mixed the liquids separately, since muffin batter gets really dense really quickly; and mixing the liquids separately helps prevent overmixing. In a small bowl I whisked together almond milk, agave nectar, canola oil, and a bit of vanilla extract. I then added the liquid ingredients to the dry and mixed until moistened, folding in the blueberries, zucchini, and walnuts. New bakers, folding in is important because it allows you to mix in these ingredients without overmixing the batter!

Mm, batter

I then baked these bad boys at 350 F for 20 minutes. They rose beautifully and had a nice, fluffy texture – not too dense like some whole wheat muffins! These muffins are a nutritional powerhouse with minimal sugar, perfect for breakfast or a pre-workout snack!

Zucchini Hemp Muffins with Walnuts and Blueberries (Makes 12 muffins)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup vanilla hemp protein powder (you can use plain if you like, but this may affect the sweetness)

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup almond milk or other nondairy milk

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/2 cup canola oil

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchinis)

1/2 cup walnuts, measured, then chopped

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray, or lightly grease.

Sift together the whole wheat flour, hemp protein, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a slightly smaller bowl, whisk together almond milk, agave, canola, and vanilla extract. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened; don’t overmix! Fold in the zucchini, walnuts, and blueberries.

Fill muffin tins about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes, or until sides begin to brown and an inserted toothpick or butter knife comes out clean. Allow to cool inside the tins for about five minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. These can be eaten warm if you wish.

Welcome Back, Farmer’s Market!

Spring is almost over, and summer’s just around the corner. And in these parts, that means that the Farmer’s Market is back! *throws confetti*

Well, truth be told, the farmer’s market that I frequent is technically open year-round; but they spend the winter selling breads, cakes, tea, and pickles. While yummy, this doesn’t exactly constitute a well-balanced diet. So once the ground thaws and the plants start growing, I’m back at the Farmer’s Market faster than you can say “sweet potato.”

While sweet potatoes were not to be found at the market this week, I did find an amazing bounty. Anyone concerned that Farmer’s Markets won’t have everything you need produce-wise, look around. Today alone I purchased cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, spring onions, zucchini, yellow zucchini, kale, and miniature cucumbers. The market also had carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, yellow onions, basil … you get my drift. It’s well-stocked.

Not only are these markets well-stocked, but the produce is fresh and looks amazing! For instance, I found a head of cauliflower that was bigger than my own noggin. Check it out:

Attack of the 50 Ft Cauliflower!

Speaking of colossal, check out these spring onions. I’m just gonna laugh at the ones they keep in the store now, shipped in all the way from California. Hey CA, keep your minis – VA’s got the big guns!

What I’m most intrigued by, though, are the yellow zucchini. I’ve never had this variety of zucchini before, and while I have an iffy relationship with summer squashes (they sometimes make me nauseous), I couldn’t resist their pretty yellow color and the following description: “buttery taste.” I’m looking forward to trying some new recipes with these guys, and of course sharing my results!

Don't confuse yellow zucchini with yellow squash!

In short, my first 2011 foray to the Farmer’s Market was a success, and I look forward to getting local produce again through Autumn. To fresh and local eating!