Category Archives: Intuitive Eating

Sweetie’s Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Sweetie's Chocolate Zucchini CakeHi, sweetie pies! I hope you are all enjoying your weekend. Mine has been pretty laid back, but nice, so far. We have had a very mild summer up until now, and I think the month of August is going to be a hot one. I’ve been kicking it with the A/C as much as possible and laying low. It has been a perfect opportunity for me to spend some time in the kitchen.

My mom and I were talking on the phone the other day, and she mentioned that my dad had brought in a few “baseball bats” from the garden patch. The meaning of that statement was immediately clear– baseball bats are oversize summertime zucchinis! She was trying to figure out to do with them, and we laughed about one of our favorite ways to enjoy zucchini– in chocolate cake. 🙂 There is an old zucchini cake recipe that we used to enjoy that was pretty decadent. I started to wonder if I could get the same yummy result with a few tweaks. I love revamping an old recipe to fit the way I prefer to cook now. I am especially happy when I get a result that I deem to be just as good as the original. I’m happy to report that such was the case with this recipe. Mom, here you go– If you make it, let me know what you think!

Mmmm...Sweetie’s Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Ingredients:

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup apple sauce

1/4 cup egg beaters (or 1 egg)

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup grated zucchini

2 1/2 Tbsp. chopped pecans (or other nuts)

1/4 cup chocolate chips (I used mini chips, but any chips would work just fine. The minis just go further.)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9×9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Add the applesauce, Greek yogurt, and egg beaters and continue to beat the mixture until the ingredients are thoroughly combined (about two minutes). You can’t overwork this part of the mixture so don’t worry about just letting the mixer run for a bit.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the dry mixture to the mixing bowl, and beat just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture looks smooth. 

Using a spatula, fold in the grated zucchini. I used the small holes on my grater to make finer shreds of zucchini. Pour the batter into the baking pan.

Sprinkle the nuts and the chocolate chips on top of the mixture, and bake for 40-45 minutes. When it is done, the center should spring back when you touch it with your finger. Just be careful, and don’t try to touch your finger to the hot, melted chocolate chips. Not that I did that myself. Nope. I would never do something silly like that. 🙂

This makes 9 to 12 servings, depending on how hungry you are for cake! 

Being the farmer’s market junkie that I am, I was so excited to see a new vendor a couple of weeks ago. They had whole wheat flour for sale. Of course, I had to support my local economy by buying a bag. 😉

Local GoldI’m happy to have this bag of beautiful flour in the fridge. The Greek yogurt and the zucchini in this cake came from the market as well. My zucchini was on the plump side, but it was no baseball bat!

Zuke. E. KneeThe zucchini adds a lovely moistness to this cake, and it becomes virtually invisible (unless you know to look for a few flecks of green) in the finished product.

I swear, it's in there!See… it’s in there!

Sprinkles of GreenI substituted applesauce for the oil called for in my original recipe, and I will admit that the applesauce sub was the switch that concerned me the most. I feel like I’ve tried that trick before only to end up with overly dense and sort of gummy baked goods. That is no bueno in my book. I don’t know if the Greek yogurt somehow balanced it out (which wouldn’t be surprising since GY is my kitchen superstar), but I didn’t find this cake to be overly dense at all. In fact, it had nice crumbs, was lovely and moist but was rather light and fluffy as well. Just the way I like it! Check out the side view. Do you see any green (aside from the plate)? Subtle, right?

YUM!When I woke up this morning, I realized that the thing I really wanted for breakfast was… yes… you guessed it… a piece of this cake! It seemed perfect for a Sunday morning, and I savored it along with my yummy cup of coffee. Maybe I should make some in muffin form…? They would certainly be similar to the cake like muffins for sale at Starbucks.

I’m finding that one of the amazing things about intuitive eating is the fact that, if I have what I really want, it often doesn’t take a lot of it to satisfy me. If I’m satisfied, I’m not going to go rooting through the kitchen looking for something more (or trying my hardest NOT to do that). For example, I’ve realized that I prefer my morning coffee to have a little bit of half and half mixed with unsweetened almond breeze. The flavor is so rich and satisfying that I’m completely satisfied with one cup. I’m really learning a lot from this new approach to eating, and it gets a bit better each day. I’m not just eating cake all day long, but it’s nice to enjoy my cake without feeling guilty and like I’m cheating on my plan. 

Speaking of the cake, I made this cake last night, and shared it with a friend, Mr. T, who came over for dinner. The dinner I made last night was not enormous, but I was very happy at the end of the meal because the ingredients were good quality, very fresh and cooked the way I liked them. In addition to testing out this new version of the cake recipe, we also tried out Emeril’s Steak Rub. I received a package in the mail the other day, from the Foodbuzz tastemaker program, and it had several of Emeril’s products for me to try out. So far, I’ve used a couple of them, but I’m planning to tell you about all of them in one big Emerilicious post. Stay tuned for that! I already have plans for the other two items, so I expect to post about them very soon. By the way, Mr. T seemed to enjoy the cake. Good thing since I sent a big chunk home with him. 🙂 

Now, I’m going to brave a Sunday afternoon trip to Trader Joe’s. I haven’t been in awhile, and I can’t wait to see what I find. Unlike Whole Foods, Safeway and Giant, I have to actually drive to Trader Joe’s. As a result, I probably only go to Trader Joe’s once every couple of months. That may seem funny, since it is probably only a ten minute drive, but I love living in a place where I can walk to do errands, and I try to stick to that as much as possible. I love getting a little bit of bonus exercise, and I know that leaving my car at home is better for the environment too. Can you walk/bike to run errands where you live? Do you?

Growing up in the country with no sidewalks and not a lot of stores, walking or biking to run errands wasn’t much of an option. We often hopped in the car to go “to town” to get groceries at Kroger, Piggly Wiggly, Save-a-lot and, later on, the Wal-mart supercenter. The post office was really about the only thing within walking distance. Walking to run errands is one of my favorite things about the place I live now. TJ’s is always super crowded on Sunday, but the fun stuff I find usually makes getting in the car a worthwhile venture. Wish me luck!

Ciao for now, sweeties and I hope you all have a great week! 🙂

15 Comments

Filed under Baking, Cake, Chocolate, Farmer's Market, Food, Greek Yogurt, Intuitive Eating, Recipes, Weight Loss Success Story, Zucchini

New Food Finds

Hi, sweeties!! I want to thank you so much for your generous and kind comments on my previous post. The blog world is such a supportive place, and I have so much to learn from each of you. Hopefully, you can learn from my experience as well. Goodness knows, I’m learning from it. 🙂

While I haven’t been cooking a lot, I have certainly been eating. One of the things I’ve been doing while working on eating intuitively is trying to work more of the foods I’ve missed back into my life. For example, I ordered pad Thai last week from a nearby Thai restaurant, and I was delighted to discover that it didn’t take much for me to be comfortably full when I ate slowly and really savored my food. As a result of eating when hungry and stopping at the point of satisfaction (rather than at the point of empty plate…), I actually got four meals out of my one order of pad Thai! I would say I got my money’s worth out of that one!

I’ve also been doing plenty of shopping with an eye to finding things that will really satisfy me. I’ve found a couple of things I’d like to tell you about. I don’t know that these are exactly “new”, but they are “new to me.” Perhaps they will be new to you as well!

I really enjoy Yogi tea, so when I came across these granola crisps at my Safeway, made by the Yogi tea people, I couldn’t resist picking up a bag. I had the strawberry ones first.

Strawberry YumsThe photo on the bag doesn’t lie. The flakes really do have lovely seeds and bits of grain clinging to them. These had a nice strawberry flavor, and a very nice sweetness to them. The flakes are quite large, and make for easy snacking out of hand. They really are crisp and crunchy! Not surprisingly, they make a tasty addition to yogurt. I really find that I am most satisfied by a cup of yogurt when there is some crunch involved! To illustrate (with a somewhat off color photo)…

Crunchy, Yo!I obviously meant “off color” in the literal sense. I still have trouble with the lighting in my office. It isn’t made for photography! I loved the strawberry crisps so much that I decided to buy a bag of the Mountain Berry Flax crisps when I spied them at Whole Foods. 

Mountain Berry FlaxOnce again, I was not disappointed. The back of the package says that these little gems blend “the sweetness of blueberries with whole grains, heart healthy flax and a touch of huckleberry.” Huckleberries always remind me of Huckleberry Hound. Remember him? Blue dog? Southern drawl? Funny hat? I digress… Anyway, these have a lovely berry flavor, and the same lovely crunch as the strawberry gems. Speaking of the back of the pack:

VitalsI’ve had these in yogurt, mixed with other cereals in milk, and straight out of my hand. Check out the sturdy flakes:

FlaketasticI especially loved dumping the little crumbs from the bottom of the strawberry crisp bag into my vanilla Oikos at work today. So good! They are a new favorite food, and I’ll be restocking my drawer at work ASAP!!

The other new thing I’ve tried recently is the Old Country Style Muesli from Bob’s Red Mill. I have a friend who used to live abroad, and she once told me that she had a hard time finding a good unsweetened muesli. I think this one fits the bill!

Bob's MuesliAccording to the package, the ingredients are: Whole Grain Rolled Oats, Wheat,  Rye, Triticale and Barley, Almonds, Date Crumbles, Raisins, Sunflower Seeds, Flax Seeds and Barley. It doesn’t get much more basic than that! Here’s the link with more info, including a photo of the info on the back of the bag, in case you are interested in knowing more. Not bad, I must say.

I like to mix up a bowl of muesli, almond breeze, a splash of agave nectar and berries at night and let it sit in the fridge until morning. When I wake up, it’s ready to go. I’ve also mixed it up in the morning and let it sit while I shower. By the time I ready for it, the grains have had some time to soften up. The consistency certainly gets thicker after it sits overnight, but sometimes I forget to make it ahead of time. I think it’s good either way!! 

MuesliI haven’t tried it hot, which is another option. I love oat bran, grits and oat meal, as you know, but it is nice to have a cold super grainy cereal during the hot days of summer. That has been more appealing to me than a cozy bowl. I’ve really been enjoying this chilly breakfast, especially with all of the amazing local berries I have to add to my bowl. The blackberries really are as enormous as they look. SO good!! 

So now you know about a few of my recent purchases. I hope my little reviews are useful, and I hope you’ll keep an eye out for these products at your local store. I love telling you about the foods I enjoy! I’d like to start doing more review type posts, and I’m curious: What do you think makes for a good review? I’m learning as I go, and I’d love your feedback! 

Now, I have “The Red Violin” all cued up in the DVD player, and I think I’m going to watch it and relax a bit before heading off to bed. I’ve been meaning to watch this movie for years, and I think its time has finally come. I’m also feeling a little bit hungry, and, after writing about these granola crisps, I think I know exactly what I would like to eat! 🙂

Here’s wishing you a happy hump day! Ciao for now, sweeties!

9 Comments

Filed under Bob's Red Mill, Food, Intuitive Eating, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Success Story, Yogi Granola Crisps