Summer is in full swing and so is my garden. So let's catch up a bit, shall we?
We planted zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, artichokes, beets, and some herbs (the legal ones). The tomatoes have taken over the garden with a ton of volunteers from last year's crop. The zucchini have been doing really well, and I've been pollinating them myself since I haven't been seeing too much bee activity, which makes me sad. Overall, I'm really, really enjoying having a garden and I've been preparing my patient husband for expanding our garden footprint for next year. (What I really want is a hobby farm, but first, orthodontics and college.)
I've been experimenting with my favorite muffin recipe (original recipe is Healthy Morning Muffins from marthastewart.com) and this time added shredded zucchini from the garden with the carrots.
Here's my version of the awesome recipe. This makes about 30 muffins:
3.5 cups organic rolled oats
5 1/4 cups organic flour
2 cups packed organic brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice or cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
3 tsp salt
2 cups organic raisins, golden raisins or dried cranberries (or mix it up!)
3/4 cup oil (I use avocado oil since it's pretty flavorless but olive oil works too!)
4 large organic eggs
1 1/3 cup organic whole milk
3 cups shredded organic carrots
3 cups shredded organic zucchini
4 medium ripe bananas, mashed (bananas don't need to be organic)
Preheat oven to 400
Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, salt and spices to a large bowl and combine with whisk. Be sure to remove all lumps! Add oats and raisins/dried fruit to dry ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk and oil until incorporated and add to dry ingredients. Add bananas, carrots and zucchini and combine all. Batter will be wet.
Add batter in 1/4 to 1/3 cupfuls to greased or paper-lined muffin tins. Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and muffins are golden.
Cool and store in an container, or freeze and thaw for enjoying later. Or even better, enjoy warm from the oven.
I make these with the organic ingredients listed, but can certainly be made with traditional ingredients. They're healthy and nutritious either way. We eat these for breakfast, snack, or dessert - the kids love them and totally don't mind that they're eating veggies (green veggies!) in a muffin. We like our muffins on the spicier side, but the spices can be pared down to suit your tastes. If you have pumpkin pie spice in a jar, use that in place of the individual spices listed.
These yummy muffins are relatively low in sugar - about 1T brown sugar per muffin plus the natural sugars from the bananas, fruits and veggies - and full of healthy oils and whole grains. If you'd prefer to use honey or agave syrup, add this with the wet ingredients. The amount of added sugar can be cut in half or even omitted altogether if desired.
Aside from gardening and cooking, we've been enjoying our cabin and visiting with friends. We're planning a road trip to California later this month. My cousin, the glutton for punishment that he is, volunteered to join us on our way out west. We'll hang around in San Diego for a few days, then head north through OC and LA before heading to Carpinteria for a week on the beach. I seriously can't wait to see friends and family and be with the kids as we spend some time in one of our favorite places.
In other news, I got to assist at a wedding, shooting with one of the best wedding photographers out there today. Robert Evans of www.robertevans.com is a celebrity wedding photographer who recently relocated with his family to my neighborhood. We met them on the day they arrived, noticing their California license plates. We stopped and chatted and realized how much we have in common in such a short conversation. Not only did they live in the same OC town my mother lived in for years, but Robert's wife and I went to the same high school just a few years apart. We each have three kids who go to the same schools and have classes together and we've gotten very attached to their family. And that Robert and I share a history in photography was just icing on the cake. I don't know exactly what role I'll play in his local photography business going forward, but I'm so happy have had the chance to shoot alongside such a legend. This photo was taken with my iPhone in front of the lovely historic Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Minneapolis where the wedding took place.
The reception was held at The Depot in Minneapolis, another amazing historic spot near downtown, a few blocks from the mighty Mississippi.
That's it for now, folks! Back soon. Hopefully. But probably not.