Posts made in July, 2011

sweet saturday: healthy whole grain zucchini bread

35

Posted on Jul 30, 2011 in Food

The more years I spend tending a garden, the more I’m starting to realize that gardening is definitely a long-term sport. Gardeners may measure successes in seasons (“This was such a great year for my tomatoes!”) but the true value of a garden’s skill isn’t defined over one six month period of time. The first year we had a garden, our tomatoes produced like gang-busters, but I only got one green pepper out of three plants. I thought to myself, “Wow, I guess it’s just that I can’t grown green peppers.” Now, with a few years of gardening under my belt, I’ve realized the correct sentiment is actually, “Wow, that was a really bad year for peppers.”

So thus goes the tale of our zucchini plants. Two years ago, in the exact same place in the garden, our vine-y zucchini plants produced pounds and pounds of fruit. We couldn’t keep up with it all. This year? We haven’t gotten a single zucchini off of our plants.

But the truth is, as much as you want to think you have control as a gardener, you are actually just one, teeny, tiny piece of a whole lot of other pieces that have to come together to make a successful vegetable. So, a few weeks ago, we stopped fighting the months-long fight against blossom-end rot and just ended up pulling out our zucchini plants.

Sad, but thankfully, our CSA has kept us fully stocked.

For those people who do have zucchini plants producing out the wha-zoo (wa-zoo? wa-zu?), it is just about that time of year where you start getting desperate. Drive-by zucchini drops start happening on neighbors’ front porches. And zucchini, in various forms, starts finding itself in each and every dish coming out of the kitchen. One of the more quintessential ways to use up a boatload of zucchini is tossing a few cups of the moist, shredded squash into zucchini bread.

Now let’s talk about zucchini bread.

It sounds healthy enough. First up, it has zucchini in it. Which, if you haven’t heard is a vegetable fruit. And even better than that, it is a green vegetable fruit. Super healthy! And then you have the “bread” part. Bread is good for you!

But honestly? Zucchini bread is just a spice cake with some zucchini thrown in.

In an attempt to actually make zucchini bread healthy, I pulled out all the refined flour and oil, packed it full of full o’ fiber complex carbs, and reduced the sugar dramatically. What you end up with is a decadently moist, slightly sweet, totally delicious bread. By using zucchini and applesauce, the bread has a nice, gooey, moist texture to it that is completely fantastic. Especially when served warm with a little swath of butter. Yum!

Healthy Whole Grain Zucchini Bread

These could easily be turned into muffins by just dividing the batter into a muffin tin. However, I haven’t tested this to check for cooking time. If you do try it out, report back and let me know how long it takes.

Makes 12 slices

Print This Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ (can sub in white flour)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups grated zucchini (with peel)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, flour through cloves.
  3. In a second, larger bowl, whisk together honey, egg, applesauce, zucchini and vanilla.
  4. In three parts, mix the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring well after each addition.
  5. Fold in pecans if using.
  6. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Spread evenly with a spatula.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until top center of bread feels solid to the touch (not liquidy). The toothpick test tends to not work on this bread because it is so moist.
  8. Let cool completely before slicing.

What is your favorite way to use up a zucchini surplus?

 

csa friday!

11

Posted on Jul 29, 2011 in Food

Happy, happy Friday, friends! Did you have a good day? I hope so. I had a blast today at our company picnic. There was a lot of yummy food (including a ridiculous amount of delicious desserts) and some fun activities. I may have even done the electric slide. Maybe. :D

It was an entire afternoon in 90°+ weather, so now that I am indoors in the A/C I am totally beat. We had thoughts of going to see the demolition derby at the fair, but staying inside sounds much more appealing. I’ll keep this quick. I have a date with some pizza and one of the Harry Potter movies.

Kale (yay, more chips!), chicken breasts, eggplant, eggs, cucumber, peppers, cherry tomatoes, honey, green beans and ground beef. Really interested to try all those different types of peppers and see what their story is.

Hey, look what else came today!

I’m like totes legit now, eh?


What are your grand plans for the evening? Anyone going to a demolition derby (ha!)?

 

fun friday: the archive of me

10

Posted on Jul 29, 2011 in Fun

I caught the meme bug with my seven links post and thought I’d do another one for Fun Friday! This one is a great way for you guys to get a little glimpse into my past and what I’m looking forward to in the future. Join in in the comments or post on your own blog!

15 Years Ago (July 1996), I:

  1. had just finished 7th grade.
  2. was going through a really rough/awkward time and didn’t have many friends.
  3. thought I would go to college on a volleyball scholarship.

10 Years Ago (July 2001), I:

  1. was getting ready to have a yard sale to make money to outfit my college dorm room.
  2. broke up with my high school boyfriend.
  3. was counting the seconds until I left my hometown.

5 Years Ago (July 2006), I:

  1. worked at a job that I hated.
  2. didn’t see Babyface for the entire month.
  3. moved back home with my parents to save up money for immigration fees.

3 Years Ago (July 2008), I:

  1. was laid off from my print graphic design job.
  2. was rehired at the same place as a web designer.
  3. had a terrible stomach flu that had me stuck in bed for four days.

1 Year Ago (July 2010), I:

  1. celebrated 4th of July with my sister for the first time in years.
  2. was trying to build up the courage to start a blog.
  3. bought a new (to us) car.

Yesterday, I:

  1. made cupcakes.
  2. watched 40 million episodes of Man vs. Food.
  3. braided my hair.

Today, I:

  1. am going to an office picnic all afternoon.
  2. will go pick up my CSA.
  3. am wearing my Vibrams.

Tomorrow, I:

  1. will go to the gym nice and early.
  2. would like to give myself a manicure.
  3. need to go grocery shopping.

In a week, I:

  1. will be in the midst of an epic BTHR birthday celebration.
  2. will be heading to my parents for the weekend.
  3. will be hosting a giveaway on the blog.

In one month (August 2011), I:

  1. will be prepping for students to come back into town.
  2. hope the weather is cooler.
  3. would like to go on some nice, long hikes.

In one year (July 2012), I:

  1. hope I’ll be done thinking about weight loss.
  2. will hopefully be bringing in a nice chunk of our income thanks to BTHR.
  3. will have been married for over 5 years.

In five years (July 2016), I:

  1. hope to have kids or at least be working on it.
  2. want to own a house.
  3. want to have lots of puppies.

Happy Friday, friends!

for the love of my muffin top.

21

Posted on Jul 28, 2011 in Motivation

I have a muffin top.

Now before you rush to say, “just wear looser pants” or “that’ll go away as you lose more weight” let me explain to you that I don’t just have a muffin top by proxy of bum-hugging denim (although I am a fan of a good pair of skinny jeans), no my friends, my standard body type is muffin top. I have a perma-muffin top if you will. It’s just what I am. Even wearing my old size 24s jeans—that were my pant of choice 50 pounds ago–the muffin top still exists. I imagine even if I was someday a size four, I’d be a size four with a round little belly (pear-shaped sisters, unite!) I’ve come to the realization over the past few years that short of plastic surgery, there is nothing I can do to rid myself of the ole love handles. They will always exist. And when I sit down? Any hope of being muffin-top-free all goes out the window.

For the vast majority of my adult life, my daily dressing routine has centered around disguising my perma-muffin top. Layering tank tops. High-waisted pants. Even my workout clothes were purchased strategically to obscure the sides of my tummy. Say I spend 10 minutes a day thinking about how to look “smooth”. I’ve been a legal adult for 10 years. That’s 36,500 minutes I’ve spent worrying about my stupid muffin top (even before the term existed).

One day this week, while I was getting ready for work, standing in front of our full length mirror, thinking that I should really put a tank top on under my shirt to help suck in the love handles, suddenly it clicked.

I think I actually like my muffin top.

Say what? A crazy thought. What woman likes something as universally hated as their muffin top? I must be crazy. But suddenly, as I was standing there, knowing in my heart-of-hearts that I am in a very healthy place both emotionally and physically, it occurred to me that my muffin top doesn’t represent all the negative things that women’s magazines suggest it does. I haven’t “let myself go”. I’m not wearing inappropriate clothing. I don’t need to spot train my obliques (which, by the way, are seriously on fire from my most recent core workout). No, my muffin top is just me. It isn’t a symbol of who I am or what I believe in.

If anything, flaunting a muffin top is a sign of strength and emotional health. Is the person that hides their flaws under tent-like clothing more emotionally secure than the person that lets their less-than-model perfect body spill out of a pair of tight jeans? I’ll tell you one thing, I know I have no desire to go back to my size 24s, just because someone doesn’t want to see my flaws. Does that make me emotionally stunted? Or unaware of my presence? No. It just means that I’ve accepted my body for what it is.

Now that I’ve pulled myself out of the society view of what a muffin top is and what a muffin top represents, I’m starting to see the beauty in them. Yep, you read that right—the beauty of a muffin top. Soft, smooth, womanly, organic, curvy. Those are rarely bad things. In fact, there is something a little bit sexy about a muffin top. Just a small glimpse (even if covered by cloth) of what must be a soft, round and feminine belly. Generally, as a society, we see any touch of body fat as unhealthy, lazy and disgusting, but a woman’s body is meant to carry much more body fat than a man (10-15% more). Having softness is a sign of health, fertility and femininity. There is something inherently attractive about a woman having a little junk in her trunk (and her sides).

Of course, everything in moderation. I’m not saying cancel your gym membership and start eating fast food daily to “grow” your muffin top (what a thought). But what I am saying is maybe it is time that as a society, we start to think of the muffin top as a symbol of something different. Maybe even beautiful. And I think I’m starting with feeling that way about my own.

Of note, finding muffin top demonstration pictures for this was mad hard. I guess I have a habit of deleting muffin-toppy photos? Well that stops now.


Do you have a muffin top? How do you feel about it?

seven links.

22

Posted on Jul 28, 2011 in Career

There has been a fun little blog meme going around for the past few weeks where bloggers ask their blog friends to compile a list of their posts that fall into seven categories. And well, since I’m never one to miss a ride on a bandwagon (remember the accent videos from a few months back?), when one of my favoritests bloggers, Gretchen from Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen! tagged me, you know I jumped all over this. So, without any more rambling from your’s truly, my seven links:

Most Beautiful Post

A Life-changing Hike in the Flatirons

Interestingly enough, Gretchen also picked a post about hiking in the Flatirons for her Most Beautiful (even though we there are totally different times of year, for different reasons and both live no where near Boulder). I love this post because, obviously, the scenery was spectacular, but more importantly, I think the realization I had while trekking through the snow was one of the more poignant moments of my life. And the post that explained that is really, very integral to understanding who I am and what motivates me.

Most Popular Post

Sweet Saturday: One Minute Peanut Butter Cake

Hands down. Not even a close second on this one. Not even my homepage can compare. I posted this recipe for the dessert-desperate only three weeks ago and already nearly 300,000 people have stopped by my little corner of the internet to check it out. I guess people are in serious need of quick desserts. The post went viral on StumbleUpon, Pinterest and Tumblr. For about a week, the traffic was so high on the post that the blog was moving at a crawl! Good problem to have. :D

Most controversial post

Warrior Dash Midwest Race Report

I don’t think I really have much controversy, and mostly I welcome lively discussion! So this post was the only thing I could think of. At first, this post seems tame as usual, but in the comments there was one bit of backlash that I never expected. I am proud of how I handled it, but it was really the first time since I started this blog that I thought, “Wow. People actually think they know everything about me. And think they get a say in my life.” It never even occurred to me that strangers blog friends would care about how I run my life (although, in hindsight, I guess that is kinda part of blogging and reading). It was controversial for me because it took a lot of poise to respond how I did when everything inside of me was screaming “DELETE! AND THEN GO CRY!” Thick skin, I have not.

Most helpful post

I seriously cannot pick just one on this, I love writing practical guides that I think are really helpful (and I even refer to them sometimes). Soooo, here’s a list of some of my favorites:

A post whose success surprised you

Any of the Good Reads posts

My first Good Reads post was really the first time I kinda stepped outside of the recipe/fitness content arena and I figured it would fizzle out without much pomp and circumstance. But everyone was so into talking about books! It still surprises me every month that people care to talk about reading on a food and fitness focused blog. Good Reads really helped me to realize that health and wellness extends way beyond the kitchen and the gym. The success of Good Reads gave me the confidence to write about other topics that I thought were important to my emotional health

A post you didn’t feel got the attention it deserved

Tutorial: Reusable Snack Bags

This post was my first time doing a DIY/craft tutorial on BTHR and it kinda bombed. Just like Good Reads, I didn’t know what to expect with the branch out, but it was still a bummer when it fizzled. I love crafting and DIY (it is a huge part of my free time), so I figured incorporating into the blog content was a no-brainer. But, alas, I haven’t written any crafting posts since. Maybe it was the wrong project? Or maybe this just isn’t the right audience for craft-posts (I’ve often thought about starting a separate, Young House Love style blog for DIY projects). Who knows? Maybe I’ll do more crafting posts in the future, but for now, they take a huge time investment and if no one likes them, then it isn’t worth it. I want to write content you want to read. :D

The post you are most proud of

There’s Gonna Be Some Changes Round Here

I started this blog to be a healthy living blogger, just like everyone else. But a few months in I realized I didn’t want to be just like everyone else. I didn’t want to post every morsel of food that went into my mouth. I didn’t want to photograph the same bowl of oatmeal every morning. I didn’t want to complain about how my 8 minute mile was slow. I wanted to be different. And more importantly me. So that post was the beginning of a still ongoing evolution of what this blog is about. And I’m proud of that.


That was FUN! I’ve only been doing this blog thing for 11 months, but it is definitely fun to look back and see how the blog and I have evolved, very cool.

And now, it is time to spread the fun, I’m supposed to tag five people. So, tag, you’re it: