Whole Wheat Zucchini Muffins Recipe

This recipe for whole wheat zucchini muffins is a recent invention of mine. It’s a flavorful and healthy variation on an old favorite. This recipe has no white flour and uses agave nectar instead of sugar or honey. The vegetables and whole wheat flour help provide plenty of fiber in my current low-carb diet. It’s a lifesaver for me right now since I’m monitoring my blood glucose levels like a hawk during pregnancy (gestational diabetes runs in my family). My husband doesn’t like most zucchini bread because it’s too sweet; but he enjoys this recipe.

You Will Need:

  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Electric mixer
  • Whisk
  • Spatula for scraping the bowl
  • 12 muffin tin
  • 12 paper muffin cup liners
  • Cheese grater

Preheat oven to 375

Mix together the following dry ingredients with the whisk:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • A dash of nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and cinnamon

Add and mix on low until all ingredients are blended:

  • 1 large carrot (grated)
  • 1 medium zucchini (grated)
  • ¼ cup pecan pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup agave nectar

The mixture will be thick and slightly gluey. Spoon into lined muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes. Since this recipe has no granulated sugar, the muffins won’t be quite as golden brown as you’re used to. That’s OK. Don’t leave them in the oven too long waiting for them to brown. Brush tops immediately with melted butter. Allow to cool to just warm before serving so the paper liners won’t stick to the muffins.

Serves 6

Image courtesy of CC license by Flickr user Joyosity

Freezing Herbs with a FoodSaver

Freezing herbs is one way to make sure you always have spices on hand to flavor your favorite vegetable recipes. Drying your herbs is great, but not everyone has the space, or the ability to control humidity and air circulation. There are many different ways to freeze herbs (such as the ice cube method and the pesto method commonly used for preserving basil). Some people lay out herbs in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them that way before putting them in baggies. This keeps them from clumping together in a solid mass. If that happened, you would have to thaw out the entire lump every time you wanted to use a few sprigs.

There is Another Way

I find that freezing herbs with my FoodSaver vacuum sealer is much easier than these other techniques. My parsley was past its prime and so tall it was shading out the other herbs in my garden. So, I figured I would sacrifice those plants to make this tutorial for you. I hope you find it helpful so these tender, leafy plants will not have been harvested in vain!

The Steps are Simple (See Bottom of Post for Photo Tutorial)

1. Pick the herbs and cut off the leafy sections you will be preserving. Compost the stems and any leaves that don’t look fresh. Rinse the remaining leaves to wash away any debris and pat them dry on a lint-free dish towel or paper towel. Don’t try freezing herbs while they are still wet.

2. Cut a piece of wax paper about 6” long. Fold it in half to set a crease and then open it back up. Spread out a small handful of herbs on one half of the wax paper rectangle. Fold the other half over on top to create a sandwich.

3. With the fold on the left, roll the wax paper square up from bottom to top in a loose “cigar”. Press down on the rolled paper gently to crease it again and help it stay rolled up. Do this with additional pieces of wax paper and handfuls of herbs until you have used up all the herbs.

4. Now, get out your FoodSaver and create a really long baggie. You will be resealing the bag every time you take out an herb “cigar” to use, so leave plenty of room to cut off the top and seal it again over and over.

5. Place all the herb-filled wax paper rolls in the bottom of the baggie. Set the FoodSaver on “dry” and press the “vacuum and seal” button. Voila! Your herb packet is now finished. The individual wax paper rolls keep the herbs from sticking together so you can easily remove one portion at a time as needed.

Note: Freezing herbs this way works best if you plan to use the herbs in soups, sauces, and other cooked dishes. When you defrost the leaves, they will be limp and discolored but should still have a reasonably strong flavor.

Step 1 Rinse & Dry Parsley

Step 2 Place on Wax Paper

Step 3 Fold Over Wax Paper

Step 4 Roll Wax Paper

Step 5 Finished Parsley Roll

Step 6 Roll All Parsley

Step 7 Make FoodSaver Bag

Step 8 Load Parsley Rolls

Step 9 Load Bag into Slot

Step 10 Vacuum & Seal Bag

Step 11 Freeze Herb Baggie

Parsley

Enjoy parsley any time!

The Pepper Juice…It Burns!

Attention all vegetable lovers! This public service announcement about pepper juice is brought to you by an amateur chef who found out the hard way that pepper sensitivity can happen to anyone, anytime. Capsaicin is the ingredient that gives hot peppers such as chili and cayenne their delicious heat. Unfortunately, it can easily cross over the fine line between pleasure and pain.

When we first started growing peppers in our garden, we would blithely pick and chop these veggies without wearing hand protection. For a while, that worked fine. We were always careful to wash up afterward to keep from accidentally transferring the hot juice to our eyes or nose with a careless rub. I have a very high tolerance for scalding hot water when I’m washing dishes, so I thought I didn’t need to worry about the “heat” in peppers. Boy, was I wrong.

The Capsaicin Curse Strikes!

One day, about half an hour after preparing some chili peppers for a recipe, I noticed the skin on my hands starting to heat up from the inside out. No matter how long I washed, the searing sensation of chemical burning didn’t stop. I went online to find a cure for this reaction to pepper juice. Since I type as a major part of my job, I really needed my hands to be back to normal fast. Here’s what I tried that DIDN’T WORK for me:

Lemon juice – No effect, but it did make my hands smell nice.

Ice packs – These barely even numbed the burning and the pain came roaring back as soon as I stopped icing my hands.

Olive oil – This was slimy and messy and didn’t have any effect at all.

Cetaphil® lotion – No help, just made my hands very soft and smooth.

What finally worked for me was aloe vera gel with Lidocaine – the kind of gel used to treat sunburn. It numbed the pain within minutes of application. I had to reapply an hour later and after that the burning didn’t come back at all. Other remedies various people report success and failure with include alcohol, baking soda, vinegar, milk, and hand degreaser. For most of us, it only takes one session of pepper juice torture to learn that an ounce of prevention (in the form of food preparation gloves) is worth a pound of cure!

Image courtesy of CC license by Flickr user _PaulS_