The children planted their seeds in clear plastic cups with small drain holes in the bottom. They carefully watered and watched over them. They were rewarded with quick roots, and soon after came the first leaves. As the temperatures warmed up we carved out a small garden area, prepared the soil and planted their "little babies." Our veggies were a little slow to grow because they didn't get enough sun in our garden patch (note to self for next year). However in mid-August we finally harvested our first zucchini and some small carrots. We had our first one in a yummy shrimp stir-fry so the kids could see it in a more natural form. Once we had several squash at once and a small bunch of baby carrots it was time to make zucchini bread. I searched around for a healthier recipe and none of them seemed just right so I took a couple of different recipes and created one that worked great for us. We have been nibbling all morning.
To add some extra interest for the kids I decided to use my William Sonoma Railway Cake Pan. Once the twins saw me drag that out of the back of the kitchen cabinet I had their full attention.
I did all the grating for the muffins by hand because I do not have a food processor. I used two average size squash (approx. 9 inches). The kids can help grate the larger pieces under adult supervision.
Here is the recipe I used:
Harvest Healthy Zucchini Muffins
2 medium zucchini (about 2 cups) (optional we added a little carrot to fill the 2 cup mark)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I like King Arthur's)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup low fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
optional: chocolate chips or dried fruit
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking pan or muffin tins with non-stick spray or butter. Dust the pan with flour make them easier to remove after baking.
2. In a large mixing bowl add the zucchini, sugar, egg, oil, and applesauce. Mix throughly. Next add the flours, baking powder, baking soda and combine carefully. Add the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves and mix until blended.
3. Add your optional items if you wish. We didn't add any on this batch.
4. Pour the batter into your pans. It should be thin like cake batter. You will have to adjust your bake time based upon the pan you use. Our train pans bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Use a toothpick to check for doneness (should come out clean).
Our train muffins came out with tall rounded tops so we cut the rounded parts off and ate some of them so that the trains would sit flat.
These are so delicious and have so much less sugar than most of the recipes I reviewed. Enjoy your garden, farmer's market or grocery store veggies today!