Carrot-Zucchini Muffins

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsI’m such an optimist when it comes to meal planning. I start every week with the best of intentions, picking up a ton of fresh produce. Tomatoes and avocados go quickly around here, being tossed with pesto or mashed into guacamole or served on toast. Greens go with fried eggs or are made into a huge salad with any odds and ends I have in the fridge. But no matter what I do, something gets forgotten.

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsLast week, it was nearly a pound of carrots and a few zucchini. I made some into hash browns (recipe coming soon!), but I can only eat so many of those in a week. Instead of letting good produce sit in the fridge for another day or two, I turned to my go-to Zucchini Bread recipe.

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsIn addition to being delicious, these Carrot-Zucchini Muffins are a little more nutritious than your average breakfast pastry. For one, they’re made with shredded carrots and zucchini—there’s a full 1/4 cup of vegetables in every serving!

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsThe batter can certainly be made with only all-purpose flour, but I like to use half whole wheat flour here. Where using all whole wheat flour has the potential to make things dry and crumbly if not handled properly, using it in a 50/50 ratio with all-purpose keeps everything nice and soft. The resulting muffins have a nutty whole grain flavor and fluffy interiors—the best of both worlds.  

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsCarrot-Zucchini Muffins are pretty low in sugar, coming in at less than a tablespoon per serving. While adding a few more tablespoons of sugar could certainly amp up the flavor, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg basically do the same thing without adding to the calorie count.

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsIf you’re looking to get some extra vegetables into your family this summer, this is one easy way to do it. These muffins have all that carrot and zucchini, a bit of whole grain, and with such minimal sugar, seconds are encouraged. Also, they freeze like a dream—just pop a frozen muffin in the microwave for 45 seconds or so. Served alongside a glass of Cold Brew, eating your vegetables has never been so delicious.Carrot-Zucchini Muffins

Carrot-Zucchini Muffins
makes 12 standard Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots, not packed (about 3 medium carrots)
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, not packed (about 2 medium zucchini)

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, or grease well. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients in two installments, mixing just until combined. Fold in shredded carrots and zucchini. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles.

Bake 5 minutes before reducing the heat to 350F for another 12-14 minutes. Muffins are ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

To freeze, place cooled muffins on a baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours. Transfer to a labeled freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to three months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight or microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for One

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneMost nights, I make myself a snack before bed. It ranges from eggs, to leftover cake and ice cream, to a salad bigger than my head. There are no rules except that it has to be delicious. My midnight snack is easily the best thing I’ll eat all day. That rings especially true for this past week–I’ve been all about these Whole Wheat Pancakes!

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhere most pancake recipes make enough for an army…er, family of four…the now-two pancake recipes on this blog make just enough for one person. That’s right! This recipe makes just three pancakes: enough to kick my craving without a ton of leftovers to crowd my already-packed freezer.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneBut enough about quantity and my single lady eating habits! These Whole Wheat Pancakes for One are absolutely delicious. They are lightly sweet with plenty of nutty whole wheat flavor. Where many of the whole wheat pancakes I have had taste too, for lack of a better word, “healthy,” these are balanced with a touch of sugar and a hint of vanilla. They are the perfect compromise between whole grain and decadence.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for OneOh, and the texture! A combination of buttermilk, baking powder, and oil keep these whole wheat pancakes just as fluffy and tender as your favorite buttermilk pancakes. This recipe doesn’t contain eggs, so these pancakes can easily be made vegan–just swap the buttermilk for a plant-based milk spiked with vinegar.

Whole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for OneWhole Wheat Pancakes for One are great with butter and maple syrup, but with all the beautiful fruit in stores right now, I recommend piling them high with strawberries, cherries, or anything else you like. This is a recipe for one, after all–serve it exactly the way you like it.Whole Wheat Pancakes for One

Whole Wheat Pancakes for One
makes 3 small pancakes

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
7 tablespoons buttermilk**
5 teaspoons neutral-flavored oil, plus more for cooking
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
butter, for serving, if desired
fresh fruit, for serving, if desired
pure maple syrup, for serving

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a liquid measuring cup, stir together buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry, and stir until everything is moistened. Some lumps may remain.

Heat 2-3 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pour batter in 1/4 cup increments for three small pancakes. Let cook 1-2 minutes, until some bubbles form on the surface. Flip pancakes and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove pancakes to a plate, top with butter and/or fruit and syrup, and enjoy.

Notes:

  1. If you do not have buttermilk, you may combine 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar with 6 tablespoons of milk. Let sit five minutes before proceeding as written.
  2. If you want vegan pancakes, use 1 teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar and 6 tablespoons of soy or almond milk in place of the buttermilk.

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteMy mother is not a baker. If the main ingredients in a recipe are flour, sugar, and butter, she’ll pass or politely ask someone else to make it. That’s why I found it so funny when Shari’s Berries asked me to pass along this Mother’s Day post featuring baking advice from the mothers of popular food bloggers, including Sally of Sally’s Baking Addiction and Michelle from Brown Eyed Baker. Their mothers impart some great advice–my favorite is “Don’t be afraid to mess up!” from Yossi Arefi’s mom. That’s great advice for life in general.

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteWhen I first got into baking, my mom was left scratching her head. She’s a great cook, but baking just frustrates her. How I grew up to be a baker, I don’t know. It’s probably some sort of cosmic middle child joke.

I have seen my mother bake exactly one thing: a classic cherry-pineapple dump cake. Except that my mother, ever a lady, would never serve something called “dump cake.” Instead she takes a tip from her mother, tops it with vanilla ice cream, and calls it “Simply Delicious.” That’s what it is, after all. I guess my mom’s lone piece of baking advice–besides “don’t”–would be that if you don’t like the name of your dessert, change it.

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteNo, my mother is not a baker. But when all is said and done, my mom and I, we’re not so different. For one, we’re both caretakers by nature. We express love in acts of service which, incidentally, is also the form in which we receive love. If you mention to my mom that you are struggling with something, she’ll be right there with you, trying to figure it out. If she perceives that you are overwhelmed, she’ll send you flowers or a goofy card. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t occasionally neglect her own needs and make herself crazy because she’s trying to help someone else–that’s something that her mother did before she did and a habit of mine as well. 

Just know that if my mom does you a favor or sends you a gift or calls at 11pm on a Wednesday just because she wants to say hello, it’s because she really values you. And if I make you a pie and put it on the internet for a holiday we can’t even celebrate together, know that it’s because I really value you.

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb GaletteAnother way my mother and I are alike? We both prefer fruit desserts over chocolate.* When I started planning what I’d make for my Mother’s Day post, I really thought about what my mom would like to eat. Strawberry rhubarb pie quickly came to mind, with a whole wheat crust, because my mom will take extra nutrition anywhere she can get it, even in dessert.

*Know that my little sister is rolling her eyes as she reads this.

Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteInstead of making pie, something that my mom would literally never attempt, I went for a simple, rustic Strawberry Rhubarb Galette. Free-form pies are definitely my mom’s style. There’s no crimping or anything–just lay the rolled dough on a baking sheet, pile the filling in the middle, and gather it all together with your hands. Bake it for 45 minutes and let it cool before serving.

My mom, a self-proclaimed vanilla person, would insist on a scoop of vanilla ice cream to go with her slice of this sweet-tart classic dessert. I would too. My mom and I–we’re more alike than we are different.Strawberry Rhubarb GaletteStrawberry Rhubarb Galette

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! I love you waaaaay more than chocolate. XOXO

Strawberry Rhubarb Galette
makes 1 galette, 8 servings

2 cups fresh strawberries, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 16 ounces)
1 cup fresh rhubarb, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1-2 stalks)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1/2 recipe Whole Wheat Pie Dough, or other good crust
milk, for brushing
1 tablespoon coarse sugar, for sprinkling (I used turbinado)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
vanilla ice cream, for serving, if desired

Arrange oven racks in the upper and lower positions. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine strawberries and rhubarb in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, ginger, nutmeg, salt, cornstarch, and lime juice. Stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon and let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Roll pie dough out until it is 1/8-inch thick. Trim scraggly edges, if desired. Transfer to prepared pan. Use a slotted spoon to remove strawberry rhubarb filling from the bowl, leaving behind excess liquid. Mound filling in the middle of the dough, leaving at least 2 inches of excess on all sides. Fold dough over the sides of the filling, to contain it. Brush exposed crust with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Dot exposed filling with butter.

Bake galette on the upper rack for 25 minutes. Tent galette with aluminum foil and move to the lower rack. Bake for 20-25 more minutes. Crust will firm up as the galette cools.

Let galette cool completely in the pan on a rack. Remove to a cutting board. Slice and serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Pie will keep covered at room temperature for three days, or in the refrigerator for up to four.

Whole Wheat Pie Dough

Whole Wheat Pie DoughI have a lot of feelings about pie crust. Namely, that it should be easy, homemade, have defined flaky layers, and be insanely delicious. No hard, crunchy, cardboard-flavored crusts for me, thanks.

Whole Wheat Pie DoughWhole Wheat Pie DoughNow, I have a pie crust that is all these things and more. Yes, my Cream Cheese Pie Dough is perfection, as far as I’m concerned. And what’s not to love? The dough is simple to make and never, ever tears during rolling. It goes well with sweet and savory applications. It has so many layers that I have had friends comment that it’s akin to having a pie wrapped in croissant dough. And it really is delicious.

I could go on and on about that crust all day. Really, I could. But as much as I love it, sometimes I just need a change.

Whole Wheat Pie DoughWhole Wheat Pie DoughEnter this Whole Wheat Pie Dough. It has all the ease, flakiness, and versatility of my beloved Cream Cheese Pie Dough, but with a rich whole wheat flavor. It might sound a little odd, the idea of a pie made with a whole grain crust, but trust me when I say that it’s shockingly good. The combination of sweet, jammy fruit and nubbly wheat crust–let’s just say it’s the dessert you never knew you wanted.

If you don’t believe me, just wait–I have a Strawberry Rhubarb Galette coming your way tomorrow 😊🍓Whole Wheat Pie Dough

Whole Wheat Pie Dough
makes two 9-inch pie crusts

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
2/3-3/4 cup buttermilk, very cold

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add cold butter, and use a handheld pastry blender to cut it into the dry ingredients until the smallest pieces are the size of large peas. Pour in 1/2 cup cold buttermilk and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until clumps form. Add more buttermilk by the tablespoon, as necessary. Put your hands* in the bowl to knead the mixture until it comes together. Form the dough into two discs, and wrap them individually in plastic wrap. Chill for one hour, or up to two days.

Flour a surface and a rolling pin. Take one disc of dough out of the refrigerator, unwrap it, and place it on the surface. Press the dough with the rolling pin. Roll it in one direction 3-4 times, and then turn it 90 degrees. Roll in one direction 3-4 times. Repeat rolling and turning until dough is at least 12 inches in diameter, dusting with more flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

Fold dough in quarters, and place in a pie plate with the scraggly edges hanging over the outside of the pan. Unfold the dough to fill the pan. Trim the excess to 1/2 inch. Fill crust with filling and chill for at least 15 minutes. From here, there are two options.

For a single crust pie, crimp the edges, and brush them with additional buttermilk. and bake at 375F for 45 minutes to one hour, covering the crust with foil halfway through. Let cool at least three hours.

For a double crust pie, roll out the top crust the same way that you did the bottom crust. Cut into strips for a lattice,* or leave whole to cover the whole pie. Trim the excess to 1/2 inch. Crimp the edges, then chill for 15 minutes. Brush the crust with additional buttermilk. Cut vents if the top crust is whole. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes to one hour. Let cool for at least three hours.

Notes:

If your hands are warm, run them under cold water for thirty seconds (and then dry them) before kneading.

Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Bars

Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip BarsOne of these days, I’m going to get some sleep. I’ve been up before the sun for the last three days to do volunteer work, and in addition to my work schedule and attempt to have a social life, it’s made me into a little bit of a zombie (the good kind, who can’t put sentences together but has cookies).

They say that if you want something done, you should ask a busy person. In my experience, this is absolutely true. I do well when I have an extensive to-do list, but once I get on a roll, I have a hard time saying “no.” When you work 12-16 hours everyday, what’s the harm in adding an extra cake order or volunteering to do service at 6:30am, even though you haven’t gotten a full eight hours of sleep in a month? The days and weeks run together, and suddenly you can’t remember the last time you took a full day off.

Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip BarsI have reached this point, and with nothing that I have to do this weekend (yet), I am really hoping to spend Saturday and Sunday eating takeout and watching Netflix. Will this actually happen? Who knows. But it’s giving me something to dream about while I skitter around Brooklyn checking things off my to-do list.

When I am super busy, I have to find ways to keep my energy up without consuming too much caffeine. I stick to two large coffees per day–if I have more than that, it will be impossible for me to sleep at night. Instead, I try to eat a lot of nutrient-dense foods throughout the day. Lately, it’s been a lot of huge green smoothies and small, high-protein meals. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been baking and eating treats–it’s my job, after all.

Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip BarsThese Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Bars are my new favorite thing. They’re soft and chewy, like a combination between a blondie and a muffin, with a pronounced banana flavor and chocolate in every bite! And they’re just the slightest bit healthier than your average cookie. These bars are made with white whole wheat flour and old-fashioned oats, so they’re completely whole grain. I also cut the sugar in this recipe, but rest assured that they still taste like dessert!

Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Bars are a wonderful way to end the day (I highly recommend having one warm with vanilla ice cream), but they’re also great for tucking into school lunches or carrying with you for a snack while you’re on the go. Just because you’re super busy doesn’t mean you can’t take two minutes to treat yourself, right?!

Looking for more whole grain recipes? Check out these Whole Grain Cranberry-Orange Snack Bars and Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Whole Grain Banana-Chocolate Chip Bars
makes one 9-inch pan, about 16 bars

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour (or regular whole wheat flour)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 very ripe medium banana, mashed
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch square pan, line it with parchment, and butter it again. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together white whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in dark brown sugar, followed by banana, egg yolk, and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture until completely combined. Beat in oats followed by chocolate chips.
Spread batter in prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Place the full pan on a rack and let cool completely. Chill bars for 30-60 minutes before slicing.

Bars will keep covered at room temperature for up to five days.