What’s Cooking: Banana Zucchini Bread

It finally cooled down enough for me to test out the oven in the new apartment. I’ve been craving zucchini bread for a couple of weeks and thanks to a generous co-worker, I had plenty of zucchini to spare. But I also had some overripe bananas that promised to be a tasty banana bread. So I decided to combine the two. And the result was pretty much perfect. I highly recommend you try these ASAP.

Shopping List

1 cup grated zucchini
2 over-ripe bananas, mashed
just less than 1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup golden raisins

Step by Step

First, grate your zucchini. Then preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease either a bread pan or a muffin tin. Mash bananas in a large bowl and add zucchini, oil, sugar and vanilla. Stir until well mixed.

Next, add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Finally, stir in the walnuts and raisins. If making bread, bake for 1 hour. If making muffins, bake for about 35 minutes. (I was hungry so I went with muffins.)

Let cool just enough that you don’t burn your mouth as you devour this delicious hybrid. Mmmm…

What’s (barely) Cooking: Easy, No-Oven Meals

We moved into the new apartment over three weeks ago and I still haven’t turned on the oven. I really love the new space–but the high temps and humidity combined with big, bright windows and the fact that we’re on the top floor can make for a stuffy, uncomfortably warm apartment. And as much as I’d like to make some cookies or zucchini bread, I can’t justify turning on the oven and making the problem even worse. So I’d found a few super easy recipes that require very little heat and I’ve been keeping them on rotation.

Here are two of my favorites. Even better, they make good use of the delicious summer produce that I’ve been buying from a local farm.

Dinner Option 1

Falafel Salad

Shopping List
falafel balls (homemade, frozen, just-add-water version–it’s your choice. I love the frozen falafel from Trader Joe’s so that’s what I used.)
fresh salad greens
chopped avocado
sliced cucumbers
salsa
chopped almonds

Step by Step

Prepare the falafel according to the directions. Mine requires warming them in the microwave under a damp paper towel. Easy peasey.

Throw together your salad and add the falafel on top. I use salsa as a dressing because I don’t really like traditional salad dressings but you can, of course, use whatever you like or have on hand. I added some chopped almonds for a little crunch and used avocado and cucumber because it was right in front of me. Pretty much mindless, but oh-so-tasty.


Dinner Option 2

Pasta with sauteed veggies

Shopping List
whole wheat pasta
2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
small white onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, cubed
1 medium tomato, cubed (I picked up some gorgeous yellow heirlooms from the farm stand)
olive oil
salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, paprika and nutritional yeast

Step by Step

Start your pasta. While that’s going, pour some olive oil in a pan. Toss in the onion. After a few minutes, add the garlic and zucchini. Add a little more oil if there isn’t enough to coat everything. Keep cooking until the edges of the zucchini pieces start to brown.

Hopefully by this point, your pasta is close to being done. When you’re just a minute or two from being finished, add the tomato.

Drain the pasta and toss together. Season to taste–I used salt, pepper, an Italian blend, paprika and a little nutritional yeast. Fresh herbs would have been better, but I hardly ever have any if the fridge. I want to try growing some in the windowsill but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.


So there you have it. Not the most exciting or complicated recipes. But sometimes simple is better, especially in the summer heat.

Hope life is good.

Love,
A

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