Kids in the Kitchen: Make a Zucchini Cookbook

Like the apple cookbook project, this is another great family or homeschool project that will teach children many skills. You would first need to research what elements you want to add to your cookbook.

Some suggestions are:

  • table of contents
  • this for that information
  • measurement information
  • information on zucchini
  • information on freezing zucchini, or the finished recipes
  • how to clean and shred the zucchini

If they grew the zucchini then they can also add gardening information, and summer and autumn harvest information.

They may also want to add a photograph of finished recipes, or of them making each recipe.  A nice two-page spread might showcase the recipe and picture on one page, and a journaled story about making or eating the dish on the next page.

You’ll want to have them use only favorite holiday/harvest zucchini recipes, so have them try them all out first. This can be a lot of fun. You will also want to make sure that they know how to prepare relevant recipes for the freezer.

When my daughters made theirs, they used construction paper and bound everything together with yarn.

Here are some zucchini recipe ideas:

  • bread
  • muffins
  • zucchini mashed potatoes
  • harvest salad
  • zucchini in stir-fry
  • chocolate zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting
  • soups
  • vegetable medley

Let us know what your children include in their cookbooks!

Shannon

Quick Tip: Freezing Zucchini

Buying zucchini when it’s on sale or cheap at farmers’ markets or stands, or growing your own and harvesting them at the end of summer and into autumn, can save a lot of money on your grocery bill. If you stock up when it’s cheap (or free), then you’ll save money throughout the year. This is a frugal way to add to your freezer stock.

This is how I freeze zucchini. I only use it shredded, and in things like breads, muffins and cakes, so I do this quickly and easily.

Rinse the zucchini well and cut off the ends. Do not peal it. Grate the zucchini, then put it into quart size freezer bags/containers in one cup measures. This makes it easier to take out only what I need.

Shannon

Shrimp Scampi Salad

Salads are common fare during the spring and summer months, as we try to eat lighter after a winter of hearty meals. Experimenting with different combinations of foods keeps our meals new and exciting. I don’t know about you, but I get so bored with food after a while I need to break out and try something different or I wont feel like eating at all.

This recipe is super-easy, and is so good. I use the same recipe for shrimp scampi that I used to make Lettuce Wraps: Shrimp Scampi & Veggies. As a matter-of-fact, I used leftover shrimp from the scampi made for that meal with no loss of flavor.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

What a beautiful salad! How about making one for yourself.

Ingredients

about a dozen shrimp from the scampi recipe (I used the one from Paleoplan.com) (Hot or cold. does not matter.)

2 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed, patted dry, and shredded

a little cabbage, shredded

3 slices cucumber, cut in fourths

3 slices zucchini, cut in fourths

7 or 8 sugar snap or snow pod peas

4 baby carrots, diced

  1. Layer the vegetables on your plate, however you like.
  2. Top with the shrimp scampi and a little of the sauce from the pan.
  3. Enjoy!

I try to use mainly organic vegetables when possible, though sometimes cost trumps everything.

This is a good-size salad, so I count it as a main meal.

Tips

  • Use whatever vegetables you can get affordably to save money.
  • Try different types of seafood.

Serving Suggestions

What are your favorite salad recipes?

Shannon

 

Lettuce Wraps: Shrimp Scampi & Veggie

In Lettuce Wraps: Keepin’ it Veggie, I mentioned I bought shrimp, and will be posting some recipes that use shrimp scampi as their base. I don’t often by shrimp, so this is a real treat. I get a bag frozen raw, deveined, tail-off, shrimp for $5.00, and it will last through multiple meals. I try to buy the small ones, that come at least 60 (or as many as 80) per bag, and make a half a shrimp scampi recipe, keeping the rest of the shrimp frozen for another batch later on.

I cook the shrimp scampi and use it up over the course of a day-and-a-half, because I am super picky about seafood and freshness. Maybe over-picky, I’m not sure. But I’m okay with it. I just need to eat the shrimp quickly.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

 

 

Don’t these wraps look delicious? Try them for yourself!

Ingredients

(For two wraps.)

8 shrimp from the shrimp scampi recipe (I use this recipe from Paleoplan.com) (Hot or cold, does not matter.)

2 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry with a towel

shredded green cabbage

4 cucumber slices

4 zucchini slices

  1. Place the wraps flat on a plate.
  2. Sprinkle shredded cabbage over the wraps.
  3. Cut the cucumber and zucchini slices into fourths.
  4. Top the cabbage with the cucumber and zucchini.
  5. Add 4 shrimp to each wrap.
  6. Enjoy!

It’s that simple. Give it a try!

Tips

  • Use different types of leaf lettuce each time you make these.
  • Try different types of vegetables, such as broccoli.
  • Try other types of seafood.
  • Use leftover veggies to lower the cost.

Serving Suggestions

Share your veggie wrap ideas with us.

Shannon

Lettuce Wraps: Keepin’ it Veggie

I’ve wanted to get away from eating the heavier foods of winter, and back into eating lighter fare. I’m switching things out as I can, now that the winter stocks are almost depleted. The last shopping trip netted me many fresh fruits and vegetables at a reasonable cost. I love it when I can pull that off. The only meat I bought was shrimp, and I have a few recipes coming up for that. (So come back often this month to see what else is on the site!)

But this recipe is strictly vegetables. If you’re wondering about protein, this recipe does provide that, and many other nutrients. Meats aren’t the only foods you can get protein from, thank goodness. I don’t always want meat. As a matter-of-fact, the reason I made these wraps was because I wasn’t into eating meat on that particular day.

I just wanted my veggies!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

Don’t these wraps look good? Try them for yourself!

Ingredients

(For two wraps.)

2 romaine lettuce leaves, rinsed and patted dry with a towel

shredded green cabbage

4 cucumber slices

4 zucchini slices

  1. Place the wraps flat on a plate.
  2. Sprinkle shredded cabbage over the wraps.
  3. Cut the cucumber and zucchini slices into fourths.
  4. Top the cabbage with the cucumber and zucchini.
  5. Enjoy!

It’s that simple. These wraps are so versatile they can be used as sides or snacks, or could even count as a whole meal.

Tips

  • Use different types of leaf lettuce each time you make these.
  • Try different types of vegetables, such as broccoli.
  • Add some sliced strawberry for a sweet kick.
  • Use leftover veggies to lower the cost.

Serving Suggestions

Share your veggie wrap ideas with us.

Shannon

 

Freezer: Using up the Winter Stocks

Since it is the time of the year when we spring clean, I thought it would be nice if we all considered our freezers for a few minutes. Do you have any leftover produce in the freezer? I know that I still have some frozen smoothie packs and berries in the freezer that need to be used. Here are some pointers for using up your winter stores:

* The eggs you purchased on sale and froze will need to be used. Since the yolks had to be broken to freeze, you cannot make boiled or fried eggs with them. You could make other things, though:

  • scrambled eggs
  • french toast with a hearty paleo bread
  • use them when baking

These can be frozen in snack size baggies, then put all the baggies into a quart or gallon size freezer baggie until needed. Freeze them one egg to a snack size baggie, or use bigger bags and freeze more than one  in each.  Take the eggs out of the night before  you need them.

* Use grated zucchini  to make:

  • muffins
  • breads
  • omelets
  • cookies
  • brownies
  • cakes

* Diced apples are great for breads and muffins, brownies, cookies and cakes.

* Sliced apples make great crisps, pies, sauces, and cobblers.

* You can make a great soup from (saved) leftover vegetables, meats, and liquids from cooking the veggies.

* Make smoothies using the smoothie packs you froze during the winter.

Happy eating!

Shannon

Successful Harvests

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015My parents had a successful harvest this year, and they always seem to plant enough to share with my siblings and me. It started with the cucumbers that mom brought over, a couple of times. Once, because she knew I was visiting with my daughter, she sent some for me to take to her. There was zucchini and kohlrabi as well. Then tomatoes. Huge beefsteak tomatoes. And kale. All this food, tasting so much better than what I would have bought in the store. Delicious!

I gave a few cucumbers, zucchini, and a squash to friends as well. Everyone loves the fresh produce!

I went to help my mother with the harvest one day. We got all the squash in, and the tomatoes (sadly, most were lost to blight!), the last of the kohlrabi, and a few plants for me to bring home.

And chives. When the girls and I lived in the apartments, back when they were still my precious little girls <3, there were chives growing in our little garden from the previous tenant. When I moved us to the trailer park, I brought them with me and replanted near the Day Lilies. They thrived. I gave some to my mother, and missed them when I moved again – for I can’t have a garden where I am. I harvested a bunch when I was visiting with my mother that day, brought them home, and froze them in water making ice cubes for soups and other recipes I’ll make this fall.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015After this all-important harvest, for we did not want the frost to harm the produce, mom sent me home with quite a bit of stuff. Two beefsteak tomatoes, a couple of bunches of celery, two kohlrabi, two more zucchini, chives, and two of each type of squash.

In the front, notice the mini squashes. They aren’t good to eat, but are perfect for autumn decorating. And notice the four potted plants. Two chard and two kale. We harvested all this, and much more, on September 23rd – the Autumn Equinox – and these four plants are still growing in my room. They are so good!

The food in this picture is quite the harvest for a single lady such as myself; imagine what else my parents harvested! For themselves, and for my siblings. And we all share with others, at least somewhat. Plus what they gave me before our harvest day.

And just yesterday my mother and brother stopped by, bringing me two more of each type of squash and some carrots. I do so love carrots, and I have experimented with stuffed squash recipes this year.

All-in-all, I would say my parents had quite the successful harvest this year. What do you think?

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015All I have left are the frozen chives, the four plants, six squash, and the carrots. The food was delicious, and I loved every bit of it. Harvest time is my favorite time! And it is a great money saver for me.

Did you grow food this year to help lower your food budget? How was your harvest? Did you enjoy the experience?

Let us know in the comments, or email me privately at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. I answer all emails.

Some of what I made with the harvested produce:

Harvest Salad

Four Meat Chili with Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash and Carrot Mash

You May Also Enjoy:Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015

September Baking Day

Have a wonderful autumn!!!

Shannon

Harvest Salad

My parents had a good harvest this year, and they passed some of their bounty on to me and each of my siblings. I love fresh produce from the garden. Mom was proud they weren’t using anything toxic on the food. Homegrown food tastes so much better than store-bought.

Of course, I had to make a salad. I just couldn’t resist. And it came out so good I wanted to share the recipe with you.

The ingredients from the garden were: Kale, kohlrabi, tomato, cucumber, and zucchini. Having these items on hand cut the cost of the salad significantly.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015

I also used leftover roasted squash and sweet potato to cut costs. I wasn’t sure how it would be with these items, but it turned out well. They had been refrigerated and were cold when I added them.

I started out by roasting 3 small turkey breasts, cutting them into bite size pieces when they were done, and letting them cool in the refrigerator earlier in the day.

The lettuce mix was organic, a find at Walmart. Four different kinds, unspecified. I used the whole thing.

I did’nt really measure things out, but knew I wanted it to last for the better part of the week. I just threw everything in together. As for vegetables, I don’t peel them all. For instance, zucchini and cucumbers are never peeled. I do take the ends off though.

Ingredients

lettuce mix, organic

kale

kohlrabi

tomato

cucumber

zucchini, chopped

leftover turkey

dried cranberries

leftover roasted squash and sweet potato

  1. Wash all the produce, patting dry with a clean towel.
  2. Chop the lettuces and kale into bite size pieces and place into a large bowl.
  3. Peel and chop the Kohlrabi, adding it to the bowl.
  4. Dice the tomato and put it over the lettuce mix as well.
  5. Cut the ends off the cucumber and the zucchini. Chop and place in the bowl.
  6. Cut the turkey into bite size pieces, and place in the bowl with the other ingredients.
  7. Sprinkle dried cranberries over everything.
  8. Cut the roasted squash and potatoes into bite size pieces and add to the bowl.
  9. Toss everything with your hands or tongs.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2015This made so much that it filled two midsize bowls. There was plenty to eat for five days. I had some with each lunch and dinner, and a small bowl as a snack every couple of days.

Tips

  • This is a great recipe in that you can use whatever is harvested at the time you make it. Things that are picked here in Maine may not be ready in your area, so it is okay to switch things up.
  • Depending on what leftovers you have and what items are available in the garden, this recipe might cost next to nothing. Buy what is affordable where you are.
  • Use coupons, if available, when shopping for what you need, but only if doing so will save you money over buying a different brand.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with a bowl of Easy Autumn Soup for a nice lunch.
  • This would also be a great side salad with your Mabon or Thanksgiving Meal.

Shannon

Don’t Like Vegetables?

Vegetables are such an important part of a healthy diet. They are essential and provide the body with, among other things, vitamins and provitamins, minerals, protein, and healthy carbohydrates.

I used to think I only liked a few: Corn, peas, white potatoes. Raw carrots, celery, and cauliflower. For the most part, that was what I ate for vegetables. Let’s face it, not all of it was truly even healthy.

Truth?

I just don’t like a lot of things cooked.

Yup. I prefer most of my vegetables raw. I kept trying all these cooked vegetables, and was not impressed. Cooking changes the taste too much for me. It took me years to realize that I just prefer to consume a lot of things without them being cooked.

For instance?

Carrots, broccoli, pickled beets.

There are others.

How did I find this out?

In an effort to eat healthier, I decided I must start trying new foods. This took place about five or six years back and, each year, I try a few new things. It’s not always easy, but it’s working well for me.

I have learned:

  • I do not like many things cooked, but will eat them raw.
  • If you mix half white potato and half sweet potato you will get used to the latter two more easily. Then start using 1/3 white to 2/3 sweet. Eventually, that sweet potato will taste fine on its own. I do eat them cooked, and will also eat white potatoes raw. I do not, however, indulge in white potatoes all that often any more. Mainly when I’m very strapped for cash.
  • I don’t liked cooked carrots, unless I make a mash of them with white or sweet potato, or squash. The tactic above has not brought me any closer to liking cooked carrots on their own.
  • Raw baby spinach tastes wonderful. I despise canned spinach, and have not tried fresh cooked (yet).
  • I love tomatoes, cooked or raw, but they do not love me. Sadly, I can only consume a little each week, or I end up with horrible heartburn. Cooked, they mess with my stomach.
  • Raw peas and green beans in pods are delicious!
  • I like salad mixes. The kind that include chard and kale, even. If I don’t care for a green or two, I know I can add it to a healthy smoothie to derive nutritional value from it. Interestingly enough, if I don’t pack in too much, I will not notice the greens in a smoothie at all.
  • Beans are good, and not just the navy ones! However, I only really eat these once in a great while. Maybe two or three times a year. They are a bit of a no-no.
  • I used to only eat iceberg lettuce, but now I eat a variety of different types. They are delicious!
  • Sometimes it will take a few, or a few more, tries of something to realize you do really like it. If you aren’t sure how you feel about it, try it another way. I have to do this with Brussels sprouts. I have had them once. Steamed, I think, with butter. They did not work for me, but were not horrible tasting. Just not real pleasing. I’ll be trying them another way.
  • I love cabbage raw. Hate it cooked. This is why I don’t like boiled dinners.
  • I do like zucchini and yellow squash, raw.
  • I love celery raw.
  • Cucumbers are delicious, and I like them pickled.

So, I have learned a lot. And there are still vegetables I have yet to try.

What about you? How do you like your vegetables?

Shannon

 

How I Prepare Food for the Beginning of My Workweek

It’s not likely I will ever get up early enough to make lunches, on mornings I have to go to work. Instead, I tend to spend part of my Sunday afternoons preparing for my first three-day stretch. You see, I work a mixed schedule every week: 8-3, 7-3, 3-10, Thursday off, and then 3-11 Friday and Saturday with Sunday off. Because of this, I like to be prepared for those first few days each week. I bring my 2 lunches and 1 dinner to work with me, and place them in the housekeepers refrigerator. Then I don’t have to worry about forgetting anything.

What I Prepared

lemon-honey waters

lemon iced tea

vegetable jars

applesauce

butternut squash and carrot mash

chili

zucchini chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting

As you might imagine, my place smelled amazing all day!

 

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

The first thing I did was start the chili. I always make this in a slow cooker. Find the recipe here. I used New York strip steak, ground sausage, ground beef, and turkey smoked sausage as my four-meat combo. I had a coupon for the sausage: Buy 1 get 1 free, and they were on sale at $2.50 each. So I paid $2.50 for both, and only used 1. Good deal!

While my chili was slow cooking, I made some applesauce. The chunky applesauce recipe is here, though you may enjoy an apple-pear sauce instead. For my sauce, I used 2 Red Delicious and 1 Granny Smith. They came in a bag of about 4 each, with some oranges, and were on sale $3.50 when I was at the store the other day. Another good deal!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Once the apples cooked down, I divided the sauce between three containers. I left them uncovered to cool, then covered and placed them in the refrigerator.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

While the chili and the applesauce were cooking, I filled a few jars with vegetables. In 1 jar I put cucumber rounds. The other two jars I filled with celery sticks and broccoli that I had leftover from the previous week. You can find more vegetable combination ideas here. With the broccoli and celery being left over from last week, and the cucumber coming from my parents garden, I did not spend any money to make these vegetable jars.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

I also made up a few water bottles of lemon-honey water. I keep these on my table, drinking one each morning. My first morning water is always room temperature. Supposedly, this is good for you. Simply place a few slices of lemon in the water bottle, add a teaspoon of honey if desired, and add water. Cover and set aside. A guest at the inn dropped off a couple of lemons at the front desk, indicating they couldn’t bring them across the border. Free for me!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Using the other half of that lemon, I made lemon iced tea. Considering the tea bags were leftovers from the previous winter, I did not really pay anything to make this either.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck Copyright 2014.

The butternut squash and carrot mash was easy to make. Because the squash came to me fresh from may parents garden, and the carrots were left over from last week and figured into that budget, I did not spend anything to make this recipe. Another freebie!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

The squash and carrot mash was more than enough to cover dinner, 2 work lunches, and a work dinner. Notice how I used the rest of the cucumber for my dinner.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And I had leftovers.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

I topped the squash with chili. Look at that healthy dinner! It was delicious. And already my work meals are taken care of. I had more leftovers.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

My 2 lunches and 1 dinner for the beginning of my work week. Squash and carrot mash topped with chili, vegetable jars, and applesauce. Yum!

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And the leftovers? Enough for dinners at home Monday and Tuesday. I will have some cucumber and zucchini rounds on the side.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Next, I used my moms recipes to make dessert. A chocolate zucchini cake with cream cheese frosting. I know people tote the separating of wet and dry ingredients, then combining them, but I just don’t do that. It would only mean more dishes to wash. I combine everything into one bowl. For the cake recipe, I used zucchini from my parents garden.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And it is easy to mix everything together.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Because I rent a room, I only have a toaster oven for baking. I made small cakes in mini bread pans, and 6 cupcakes.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

I frosted these cup/cakes with the homemade cream cheese frosting, and I kept just a couple small pieces of cake for myself. The rest I gave away to people at work.

As you can see, I had a very busy day of cooking. I also cleaned and did the fall decorating. I was one busy lady.

Shannon

NOTE: (January 2017) While I am eating much healthier these days, and this blog is going to be reflecting that, I am not above having something sweet once-in-a-while, especially a family favorite such as this cake. I make it once a year.

Every so often you will see a recipe that is not healthy but, for the most part, this blog is now going to be about eating as healthy as possible on a budget,