Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemade Fruit and Vegetable Produce Wash

I once heard it said that by the time the produce we purchase gets from the farm to our table, it has been touched by more than a dozen people (who may or may not have washed their hands thoroughly).

Even if you buy organic produce, take heed: you should really clean your fruits and vegetables before eating. And not just a mere rinse with some water, but with a good cleaner that will:

*Kill germs*
*Remove dirt and other soil microbes*
*Limit bacteria*
*In the case of conventional produce, remove pesticides and wax*

If you use a simple spray of water, you are really aren't doing much to make your produce much cleaner. But don't use soap or other chemical cleaners, since most fruit is porous and absorb such products.

Instead, make your own Homemade Fruit and Vegetable Produce Wash, a simple, inexpensive and effective way to make sure when you eat your healthy produce, you aren't eating anything, um, unsavory.

This recipe is from my friend Laura. I made it for the first time in the fall and now use it regularly.

A couple things to remember about produce and produce wash:

1. Try to wash the produce immediately before you plan to eat or cook it. Some foods, especially delicate berries, lettuces and herbs will fade more quickly once washed.

2. On the other hand, thick-skinned items like oranges and apples can be washed as soon as you bring them home, so they will be ready to eat.

3. Spray each produce item liberally, and allow the wash to remain on the surface for a few minutes before rinsing, if time allows.

4. Do not use this on mushrooms. Mushrooms are like tiny sponges. Only use a dry, clean cloth to wipe mushrooms clean.

Ready? You will need a spray bottle and only a few simple ingredients:

Homemade Fruit and Vegetable Produce Wash

1 - 16 ounce or larger spray bottle
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water

Follow these steps to ensure your creation doesn't fizz out of the bottle (think: volcano science experiment using vinegar and baking soda):

First, funnel the baking soda into the spray bottle.

Second, add the lemon juice, taking care that no seeds or pips end up in the bottle (I squeeze the lemon in a bowl, then add to the bottle).

Third, gently swirl the bottle, to mix the lemon juice and baking soda. It will fizz.

Fourth, slowly, and in small amounts, add the vinegar. Once the vinegar reacts to the baking soda, it will stop fizzing and go flat. But if you add all the vinegar at once, it will bubble over and you'll lose much of your solution.

Finally, add the water. Swirl some more, and once the fizzing has stopped, put the sprayer on top. Voila, homemade produce wash at a fraction of the cost of store bought!

One last note: I like to shake my sprayer each time I use it, to redistribute the baking soda.

I keep this produce wash by my kitchen sink and spray everything before I eat or cook it. Even things like pineapple and kiwi, of which I obviously don't eat the skin, since anything on the fruit's skin will end up on my knife and cutting board...yuck.

Life is sweet,

Monday, February 27, 2012

An errant goldfish and waffle

This whole vegan thing is going pretty well generally...and I feel great. But honestly, it is tougher than our vegetarian challenge two years ago for two reasons:

1. cheese, glorious cheese
2. animal products are in almost everything

I promised to be forthright about my temporary veganism and therefore have to confess I mistakenly ate two non-vegan items on Saturday...a waffle and one single goldfish cracker. Oh the humanity!

We were trying to get out the door early Saturday to drive to a local ski spot and G didn't finish one of his waffles. He offered it to me. I ate it. Only about 15 minutes later I thought: "Ack! Dairy! Eggs!" An honest mistake...I blame the early hour and the fact that I was thinking of the 802 items I needed to make sure were in the car to avoid having to buy any gear once at the ski resort.

My second mix-up was when R offered me one of his goldfish. I took it and ate it before I thought "cheese!"

At this early point in the challenge, I cannot imagine being full-time 100% vegan. SO very many foods have animals items in them, you wouldn't believe. I thought I was a careful label-reader before, but now I am crazy careful.

This could be more of a challenge that I originally thought.

Here are our meals for the week:

Gardein Vegan Chicken (me)/Fish (boys), Asparagus, Roasted, Perfect Oven Roasted Potatoes
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
Spring Risotto, with Cashew Cream for me, Milk and Parmesan for the boys
Tofu and Veggie Stirfry
Falafel with Yogurt Tahini Sauce (sans yogurt for me)
Spaghetti and Meat-less Meatballs for me, Sausage for the boys

Life is sweet,

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Meatless Monday Grocery List: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

Took the boys skiing today, it was a lot of fun, but man, oh man, I am beat. More on the whole experience Monday, but for now, a quick post for this week's Meatless Monday Healthy Eating Challenge.

This week's recipe is (drum roll please)...

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili (click on the title for the recipe)

And here is the recipe for the award-winning recipe!

Grocery List:

1 onion
1 bell pepper
1 sweet potato
red onion (for a topping, optional)
cilantro (for a topping, optional)

1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 - 15 oz cans black beans -OR- 3 1/2 cups cooked black beans
2 - 15 oz cans Great Northern Beans -OR- 3 1/2 cups cooked white beans
2 - 15 oz cans Pinto Beans -OR- 3 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
1 - 12 oz beer (optional)

light sour cream (for a topping, optional)
reduced-fat shredded cheese (for a topping, optional)

chili powder
ground cumin
ground cinnamon
ground cayenne

Have a sweet rest of your weekend,

Friday, February 24, 2012

Simple Wild Rice with Rosemary and Cranberries

(Day 2 and 3 of the Vegan Challenge:

Yesterday, Vegan Carrot Cake Oatmeal for breakfast, homemade raw bars for a snack. leftover Edamame Caviar with Guacamole and Tortilla Chips for lunch, homemade trail mix for afternoon snack. A new recipe, Carolina BBQ Vegetable Soup for dinner (with shrimp for the boys).

Today, Apple, Walnut and Flax Oatmeal with Almond Milk for breakfast and a new Curried Quinoa and Chickpea Salad recipe for lunch. We're going to a potluck tonight for dinner, so I'll be having BBQ Baked Beans and a tossed salad with pecans, dried apples and some bell peppers.)

One of the early lessons of this Lenten Vegan Challenge is: plan ahead. Even as a long-time label reader, I have been amazed at all the seemingly vegan products have hidden dairy, butter or honey in them.


I'm always on the hunt for new ways to serve up side dishes. We love rice in the Sweet Pea family, but often it is served under something...beans, a stir-fry, soup or gravy. Here's a rice dish that stands quite nicely on its own.

Simple Wild Rice with Rosemary and Cranberries

1 cup wild rice
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Rinse and drain the rice. Combine the rice and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and cover. Let simmer, covered, for about 30-40 minutes. (Wild rice blends can vary in their cooking time, so you may want to double-check the recommendations of the packaging)

Once cooked, add the remaining ingredients and stir well.

Serves 4.

The nuttiness of the rice blend, coupled with the sweetness of the cranberries and earthiness of the rosemary creates a lovely trio of flavors!

Life is sweet,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Peanutty Stirfry

(Day One of the Vegan Challenge and I am feeling good. For breakfast I ate a big bowl of oatmeal spiked with ginger, coconut, walnuts and dates. Yum. Lunch today will be wild rice and Edamame Caviar. Dinner? Indian packs from Trader Joe's and Chana Masala, sans the yogurt for me)

I love making stirfry recipes, but often the ingredient list for these recipes is as long as my arm. Not so with this recipe, it is simple and succinct, but full of flavor.

We'll be making this recipe for dinner soon, since it is the perfect recipe to adapt for vegan/vegetarian diet. I'll cook tofu for me, chicken for the boys and SPH.

If you have a peanut allergy, you can use almonds and almond butter instead.

Peanutty Stirfry

1/4 cup water
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup peanut or other nut butter
3 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon EACH dried ginger, garlic powder and onion powder
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 pound extra-firm tofu, chicken or other protein
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup chopped vegetable (bok choy, carrots, bell peppers or pea pods would all work great)
cooked rice
1/2 cup roasted peanuts or other nut
red pepper flakes (optional)

In a medium bowl combine the water, soy sauce, peanut (or other nut) butter, vinegar, sugar, dried ginger, garlic powder and onion powder. Stir very well to combine.

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Once hot, add the tofu or other protein and cook 5-6 minutes, or until browned. Remove from heat. (*if cooking two different kinds of protein, add a wee bit more oil and cook the additional protein now and also remove from heat once done.)

Add the broccoli and other vegetable and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until tender, but not mushy. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and bring to a simmer, while stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low.

If doing two different proteins, serve the vegetables with sauce over the rice and add the protein separately and top with peanuts or other nuts. If doing only one protein, add the tofu or chicken to the vegetables and sauce, and toss well, then serve over the rice, topping with the peanuts or nuts and red pepper flakes, if desired.

Serves 4.

Life is sweet!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Lenten Reveal

(Confession Time: I am a bit scared to write my Lenten challenge for this year, since once I write it, then you will know, and then my accountability has increased about 1000%.)

Truth be told, I am not sure I can do it, but I am going to try:

I am going vegan for Lent. No animal products: no meat, no seafood (sigh), no dairy (no goat cheese!), not even honey, milk chocolate (thank goodness for dark chocolate) or most gummies or anything with gelatin.Link
All plants, all the time...until April 8.

Thankfully, I have a couple friends journeying with me, a vegan Mother-in-Law and another friend who is eats vegan year-round. I am in good company.

I am not making SPH (he may choose to anyway) or the boys submit to this vegan eating challenge, so I've been doing loads of research on adaptable, or some call them, flexitarian meals.

Until Wednesday, I have meals with bacon, goat cheese, seafood and chorizo planned. Nothing like going out with a bang, right? I even treated myself to some gelato this weekend, since as I passed the case at Market District had the realization that it was off limits real soon.

Why do I do this? A big part of it is I just love a good challenge. Another part is that I recently read:

LinkIn short, this book (and the movie Forks Over Knives, which recounts much of this book) advocates that a plant-based, whole foods diet can help prevent and reverse many of the health ailments in this country. Near the end of the book, Dr. Campbell challenges the readers: Try eating only plants for 30 days and see how you feel.

And so, here I go. I am not sure what to expect. When our family decided to try vegetarian two years ago, I realized how much better you feel eating less meat. The questions running through my head at I type:

Will eating vegan cause any noticeable daily improvements?

Will I have more energy or (yikes) less?

Will this have any lasting affect?

Oh, and if you're concerned about my protein, iron, B-12 and calcium, I'll be keeping a close eye on what I eat to balance out complete proteins and using products like nutritional yeast to ensure a complete, balanced diet.

***One last note: this website is not turning vegan. Sure, I'll share some vegan recipes, but I already have several recipes in the queue that will keep omnivores happy.***

So, what do you think? Do you think I can do it? I hope so...are you game?

And without further adieu, our meals for the week:

Pasta Carbonara, Broccoli
Lightened Gumbo
Chana Masala, Indian Sides from Trader Joe's, Brown Rice
Carolina Barbecue Vegetable Soup (new recipe), Whole Wheat Baguette
Lemon Caper Pasta, (without the cheese for me)

Have a sweet week,

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Topic: "How Bacon is Changing My Life"

When SPH began Business School several years ago, the tuition included a "free" subscription to the Wall Street Journal. Initially, this was not exciting to me. But as I learned, the WSJ is great newspaper. Why? Three reasons: the Page A1 bottom section story, "Off Duty" and "Personal Journal."

I am not a financial analyst nor someone who understands ETF (exchange-traded fund--I've been told) or hedge funds, but I certainly understand articles like this morning's headline:

with the subtitle:

Festival to Serve Up 3 Tons of Fatty Strips; 'Baconpocolypse Now'

In the article, it describes an annual bacon festival with lectures entitled: "How Bacon is Changing My Life."

Reading the article, I felt torn between two worlds: bacon lovers vs. whole foods plant eaters.

I've often thought I could give up all meat...except bacon. The article describes the growing tension between a group of vegetarian doctors and Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival organizers. The doctors have been advertising in this area of Iowa, with warnings about excessive bacon eating.

As much as I do love bacon, I am finding my lifestyle more and more following a vegetarian path. You know why? I feel better. I have more energy. It feels great to eat healthfully.

This coming Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, and two years ago our family went vegetarian for Lent. But this year I am trying something new, something a bit more challenging.

I'll share our Lenten challenge next week, but in the meantime, I found this quote from today's WSJ article particularly ironic:

"'I don't see...taking a bunch of Midwesterners who have eaten bacon all their life and turning them to a vegan diet.'"

Hmmm, really? We'll see...

Have a sweet weekend!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Meatless Monday Grocery List: Lemon Caper Pasta

The sun is shining.

It's been a great day.

And during volunteering at R's school's recess, I saw a group of girls jumping rope and singing:

"Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss a fellow. By mistake she kissed a snake: how many doctors did it take? 1, 2, 3..."

Oh, what memories this jump rope ditty brought to mind.

But I digress...

G and I were off to the grocery this morning and there was the most beautiful fresh asparagus. So for Monday's Meatless Monday, I am suggesting: Lemon Caper Pasta with Asparagus (hint: check out the post for a great kitchen time-saver tip!).

Grocery List:

1 lemon
1 pound asparagus -OR- green beans

1 pound penne pasta, preferably whole wheat
1/2 cup sliced black olives
1/2 cup capers
1 -14 oz can artichoke hearts
1/2 cup bread crumbs

4 oz feta cheese

olive oil

2 cups frozen peas (IF not using asparagus or green beans above)

Have a sweet weekend!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Chicken Sausage, Peppadew and Feta Pasta

Have you discovered Peppadew peppers? If not, run, do not walk, to your local grocery store. If you have an olive bar or salad bar at the grocery store, head there first and look near the olives and pickled items. You can also find them in jars, near the olives and relishes.

(they come in red, orange, yellow and green, much like bell peppers,
but just like bell peppers, I am not a huge fan of the green)

Peppadews carry only the slightest heat but have a sweet, yet tart flavor. They are delicious and my whole family can't get enough of them.

Here's a recipe that is quick and easy enough for a healthful weekday dinner, but also fancy enough for company. We served this at R and G's family birthday gathering, and it was a hit!

Chicken Sausage, Peppadew and Feta Pasta

1 pound pasta (spaghetti, linguine or any really), preferably whole wheat
1 - 12 oz package chicken Italian sausage, sliced in 1/2 slices
2 cups chopped kale, swiss chard or spinach
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped Peppadews
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Cook the pasta according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a skillet brown the sausage over medium high heat, for about 4-5 minutes:

Remove from the pan and add the greens and sprinkle with the salt and garlic powder. Cook until the greens have wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Add the water and let braise a bit, until the water has evaporated, about 4-5 minutes.

Drain the pasta. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil.

Add the sausage, greens, Peppadews and feta. Serve immediately.

Serves 6.

The sweetness of the Peppadews pairs beautifully with the other flavors in this dish. If you are vegetarian, by all means you can omit the sausage. And if feta ain't your thing, substitute another cheese!

Life is sweet,

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Naturally Pretty in Pink Frosting

Hope today is full of love, hearts, and sweet things of all sorts...

G's sweet preschool class includes a student with a food dye allergy. I love a good challenge! A little leftover beet juice from a jar of canned beets and the white dye I mixed up went from plain to pretty:

And then on to the cookies:

Naturally Pretty in Pink Frosting

4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 -2 cups confectioners sugar or more
1 tablespoon beet juice

Soften the cream cheese in the microwave on low for 30 seconds. Add the vanilla. Stir well.

Add 1 cup of the confectioners sugar. Stir. Add more sugar until the desired consistency is reached.

Add 1 teaspoon of the beet juice. Add more to increase the intensity of the frosting.

You may need to add a bit more sugar after the beet juice to return the consistency back to the desired thickness.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups frosting.

Life is sweet,

Monday, February 13, 2012

A new week, a good attitude

Last week I shared a great quote about the beauty of cooking. Today I have to share my all-time favorite quote, one shared with me by my mom when I was newly graduated from college.

I've been thinking a lot about this one lately:

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.

By Charles Swindoll

So I ask you:

How's your attitude? It's been an eventful week or so in the Sweet Pea family, and this quote usually keeps me on the right track.

And so, with a grateful attitude, I share my meals for the week:

Chicken-less Pot Pie, Salad
Pasta Puttanesca, Broccoli, Roasted Artichoke Hearts and Mushrooms
Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas, Green Chili Rice
Navy Bean and Smoked Sausage Soup
Barbecue Chicken Meatloaf, Green Beans, Cauliflower, Mashed

Have a sweet week,

Friday, February 10, 2012

Meatless Monday Grocery List (Flexitarian Edition): Chicken-less Pot Pie

Have you been thinking about trying my Meatless Monday Healthy Eating Challenge? This is a great week to jump in:

If there is an avowed carnivore in your home, this recipe might be one to try for your own personal Meatless Monday: Chicken(less) Pot Pie. Using white beans to replace the chicken makes for a delicious, hearty and amazing meatless main dish. But if you have a spouse, child or other family member that is digging in their meaty heals, cook some chicken on the side, add it to a smaller portion for them, and everyone is happy!

This recipe was an instant favorite from the first time I made it! We've had it both with meat and without, and either way it is gobbled up.

Grocery List:

3 carrots
3 celery ribs
1 russet potato

1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (or more all-purpose flour)
2 - 15 ounce cans Great Northern Beans -OR- 3 1/2 cups cooked white beans

1/3 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk or buttermilk

dried thyme
white sugar
baking soda
baking powder
vegetable oil

2 cups frozen peas

Go for it, you can do this challenge!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Easy Valentine’s Day Cookies

I wanted to share this post I did for FamilyEducation.com today on easy peasy ways to decorate Valentine's Day cookies:

Who says you need fancy cookie cutters or decorations to make sweet heart cookies? Click the link above for the simple steps to create these festive cookies!

Life is sweet,

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Silly Bands in the Kitchen

Got any of these in your home?

I vaguely remember about two years ago, when I was looking high and low for silly bands for R. They were all the rage. He wore them to school, to activities, everywhere, and traded them and collected them.

Today? R's silly bands sit in a seldom opened drawer in his room. Ahh...fads, the only thing timeless about fads is that each generation is sure to have one and for R, silly bands were big...two years ago.

Want a fun way to re-purpose those silly bands? Use them at your next gathering for drink markers:

They even work on stem glasses, the rubber actually grips a bit to the glass, keeping them in place:

I had fun looking through some R's silly bands and planning on how you could even match the silly bands to the theme of your party through shapes, color combinations or genres like sports, animal or food silly bands.

When R gets home from school, I may see if we can make a permanent home for his silly bands in our kitchen. Or maybe I should just start using them and see if he even notices they are gone?

Life is sweet,

Monday, February 6, 2012

A quote, a recipe and a meal plan

This weekend I had a rare treat.

A whole 24 hours to myself.


Without kids.

SPH, R and G went on a Cub Scout tent camping trip and as they pulled out of the driveway with enough camouflage in tow to open a mobile Army surplus store, I thought, "I haven't had a day to myself in more than 8 years." It was a sweet weekend.

I have three things to share today:

First, a quote from Alice Waters, chef from Chez Panisse and mother of the slow food movement:

"We've been told by the fast food industry that cooking is drudgery, but actually it is a relaxing, pleasurable activity that not only saves money but promotes good heath. Get the whole family involved. Kids like to be engaged and have responsibilities."

Love this quote.

Second, a recipe, from today's post on FamilyEducation.com, for a beautifully simple Senate Bean Soup:

Third, a meal plan:

Sweet Potato Enchiladas, Fruit
White Chili, Slow Cooker, Bread, Fruit
Northstar Cafe Burgers, Oven Fries, Real Deal, Broccoli
Pasta (still deciding frankly...)
Black Bean and Avocado Tostadas

Have a sweet week all!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

SOS: Save Our (Favorite) Spice!

I tend to get pretty excited about a lot of food things but spice blends don't usually make the list.

But the other day I was in Trader Joe's and as G and I approached the food demonstration area I said to him, "I think there is something cooking with bacon!"

Instead, there were hash browns with the most amazing spice blend on top:

Ladies and gentleman, if you are a bacon-lover like me, or even if you just love the flavor of smoked anything, this spice is your new addiction.

A blend of smoked sea salt, paprika, garlic and basil, this new seasoning blend has become our new staple at the meal table. We've ground on top of just about every savory dish we've eaten in the last few weeks and I have to say, it brings out the flavor of almost anything, even snacks like popcorn.

The word from my friends at Trader Joe's is that while it is still new, it really hasn't been selling well, and if you know TJ's you know anything that doesn't prove its worth is often discontinued.

So, please, for the love of all that is good and smokey-flavored, buy this seasoning blend!

You won't be sorry...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Meatless Monday Grocery List: Free-Form Style

It's been more than three months since I started hosting my Meatless Monday Healthy Eating Challenge and I wonder:

Has eating meatless one day a week affected your view of vegetarian food?

If you've been following along with Meatless Mondays, I am deeming this week's MMHE Challenge Free-Form Style. You decide what to cook, then I want you to let me know:

What is your favorite meatless meal?

Maybe your ideas will inspire a future MMHE Challenge recipe!

Have a sweet weekend,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (with a sweet topping)

So it is February and love is in the air.

Even when I was single, I loved Valentine's Day. All the hearts everywhere just make me happy.

Perhaps it is my inherent love of hearts that led me to do this but the other day I was experimenting with a recipe for chocolate zucchini muffins which taste fantastic on their own...

...but then I happened to have these strawberries in the fridge and voila! I had a moment of creativity and decided to add strawberries to the recipe and then top just like so:

Eating these muffins just made me happy inside...since they're so stinkin' cute on the outside.

Chocolate Zucchini and Strawberry Muffins

2 cups shredded zucchini, shredded*
pinch of salt
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (you can substitute all-purpose flour)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
about 10 strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the shredded zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Let sit while you combine the other ingredients, about 10 minutes, so the excess water in the zucchini is released.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, sugar, cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the applesauce, and stir well.

Gently press the zucchini in the colander to release any remaining excess liquid. Add the zucchini to the eggs, and stir.

Add the zucchini and egg mixture to the flour. Stir until just combined.

Line a muffin tin with muffin liners. Fill each muffin liner to about 3/4 full.

Take each strawberry, cut off the top, and then cut in half lengthwise.

Slice an inverted triangle out of the top of each strawberry to make a heart shape.

Gently press one half of a strawberry on top of the each muffin.

Bake for 22-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle (get as close to the middle as you can without stabbing the strawberry heart) comes out clean.

Let cool and enjoy!

Makes 12-16 muffins. You can also do mini-muffins, just reduce the baking time.

*you can also add extra strawberry flavor and substitute 1/2 cup of the 2 cups of zucchini with 1/2 cup of diced strawberries.

Life is sweet,