Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini

When I was a kid, my aunt came to visit, and she made us stuffed zucchini. The actual recipe is hazy in my mind now, but I remember this amazing squashy, meaty, cheesy goodness, with sweet bits of corn bursting through. We used to beg my mom to make it whenever we found a too-large zucchini in the garden. Which happened often at our place, thankfully :)

This is my latest makeover, inspired by nostalgia and this recipe by Sarah at Everyday Paleo. I kind of improvised, based on what I had around, and what I thought sounded good. So, here is a healthier version of stuffed zucchini.
Not the most appetizing picture, I know, but I was hungry!
Go to Sarah's link above for a more appealing representation. 

Stuffed Zucchini
Gluten free, dairy free, *mostly* grain free

Serves 4

2 large zucchini, halved
1 lb ground beef
1 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 large tomato, diced
1/2-1 c corn (omit for grain-free/Paleo option)
1/2 c fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
A splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt and black pepper
1/2 c spaghetti sauce (I added this to use up what I had, probably would be fine w/out)

Optional: Cheese/substitute to add on top (I sprinkled a little nooch-eez on half of my squash, and it was amazing!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scoop the insides out of the zucchini, leaving enough flesh to be a sturdy bowl. Dice, then set aside flesh. Line a baking sheet with foil, then place the zucchinis, "bowl"-side up on the pan. Drizzle the insides of the bowls with olive oil, then bake for 15 minutes.

While the zucchini is baking, brown ground beef in a skillet with onion and garlic powder. When the meat is mostly cooked, add the diced zucchini flesh and tomato. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add remaining ingredients. Cook for 5-10 minutes more.

Once meat is cooked, and the shells are baked, fill the shells with the meat mixture. Stuff them with as much as they will hold. Sprinkle with cheese/substitute, if using. Then return the baking sheet to the oven, and bake for 20 minutes.


And yes, it does kind of look like a lot to eat on your plate, but when you figure it's a meal-in-a-boat (meat and veggies all in one), it's not that much food. It is quite filling, and for some, may be enough. However, I was debating seconds just after having licked my fork clean. I settled for a brownie instead ;)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Favorite Summer Salad

Due to my current condition, gardening has not exactly been at the top of my priority list these days. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband!! A few months back, I dragged him to the Home Depot, and we picked out a handful of veggie and herb plants. He has labored over the garden this summer with diligence that I envy. And it has paid off. I swear I've never seen our garden look so good! So that's what happens when you actually water every day...lol.

Well, everything's growing nicely. The only problem is, I haven't been cooking as much. My herbs especially are exploding, and I am struggling to keep up with the weekly haul.

This salad has been a staple, since it is so fresh, easy, and doesn't require any heat! I must admit, this is one of very few ways that I actually enjoy cucumbers.

I adapted from this recipe over at The Food Lover's Kitchen, which is also in their fantastic cookbook. If you click on the photos on the recipe page, the salad is actually the second one that shows up, and it's gorgeous!

Because I'm a little OCD with my food, I measure out exactly equal parts tomatoes, cucumbers and olives, so I can have a bit of each in every bite, but you can do whatever you would like :)

Cucumber and Tomato Salad
Serves 1

1/2 cup each kalamata olive halves, cucumber chunks, and grape tomato halves
A handful of fresh basil, chopped thinly
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2-1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
A couple shakes of salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A dash of garlic and onion powder

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well. Serve, and enjoy!

This salad keeps for a few hours, but isn't quite as good the next day, so I make just enough to eat.

Anyone else experiencing an abundance of herbs? How about those zucchini? Get ready for that saga...coming soon ;)

Sunday, August 12, 2012


My dear friends,

I know, yet again I have been absent for quite awhile. I have a very good excuse, with two sub-excuses to back it up. Ready for it?

Family picture 2003

Our little family is growing...

Yep, come January, we will be having a baby!

Now, as to my sub-excuses. This is a food blog. A gluten free, largely grain free, relatively healthy recipe containing food blog. Right. Well, for the past four months, I have not been feeling my best. Or even my average... I have not been eating grain free or even relatively healthy most of the time. Do I have good reason? Absolutely! And no, I haven't completely gone off the deep end. I am still trying to eat as healthy as possible under the circumstances. But, overall, my diet the past few months has been very high in carbs and grains...not something I'm necessarily proud of, and not something I would condone for *myself,* given any other circumstances. However, given the choice between the only food that doesn't make me want to lose my lunch, and not eating...I will always choose eating. Even if that food happens to consist of rice krispies, french bread from my favorite local gluten free bakery, or half a bag of salsa verde doritos (that one I regretted quickly).

I have been dealing with severe morning sickness, as well as very intense aversions to almost all meat (making a Paleo diet extremely difficult to maintain). However, I have tried to eat as healthfully as possible despite these setbacks.

Maybe one of these days, I will be able to post about all of the great, healthy foods I am enjoying. Right now though, I'm just trying to survive.

So no, this is not one of those awesome blogs talking about how great I felt while pregnant and Paleo. Believe me, I would LOVE to be there right now. But I'm not. So, things may be a little quiet around here for awhile longer. Give me a year though, and I have great plans for documenting our transition into a fully gluten free household (yes, hubby has more bread and tortillas than ever in the house right now...he's pretty much fending for himself these days). I am also very excited to create nutritious, real-food based baby food for my little guy/girl to enjoy, and share my creations here.

In the meantime, send positive vibes my way, and sit tight. I do have a couple delicious garden-fresh recipes to share soon!

Much love,

If you care to, you can drop by my personal blog for more baby-related updates.