Zucchini, Tomato, and Cheese Pie

Zucchini Tomato and Cheese Pie

I have had this recipe scribbled down for a good three years, and have finally gotten around to trying it out. (I’m glad your birthday falls in the summer when all these ingredients are in season, Kristina, and that you requested breakfast for dinner!  Otherwise this recipe may have gone another three years in my “to try soon” pile…)

It was a tiny bit involved, but was worth the effort. It was stellar!

Pie Crust

  • 10 Tbsp butter
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt

Gradually mix butter into flour until butter is broken up into pea-sized bits.  Beat the egg and add to the mixture along with salt.  Mix until it is well-combined.  Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Roll out on a floured surface.  Place in a buttered/oiled 10 inch deep dish pie plate, working with fingers until it fits evenly. Prick with a fork, and cover with foil. Weigh down with dried beans or rice. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is set and the bottom is just about cooked through.  It will bake further when filling is added.

Zucchini, Tomato, and Cheese Filling

  • 1 large zucchini or 2 small ones, sliced into rounds (I used my food processor to slice them)
  • salt
  • 3 medium ripe tomatoes, halved horizontally with seeds removed
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 9 slices Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1 Tbsp fresh basil
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Salt, drain, and pat dry the zucchini. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp oil. Lightly brown zucchini on both sides.  Drain on paper towels.  Then, lightly brown the tomatoes until they soften slightly but do not become limp.  Cool.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks.  In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites. Fold the whites into the yolks.

Place half of the zucchini into the pie shell.

Lay 3 slices of Swiss on top, along with half of the feta.  Dot with 1 Tbsp butter, sprinkle with salt, pepper and half of basil.

Spread half of egg mixture over cheeses.

Slightly flatten the halved tomatoes and arrange across pie.

Lay 3 slices of Swiss on top, along with the remaining feta and basil.

Top with remaining zucchini slices. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread remaining egg mixture over the zucchini.

Top with remaining 3 slices of Swiss.  Dot with remaining butter.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until eggs are set. Cover pastry edges with foil if they are getting too brown.


Fudgy Black Bean Brownies

A friend sent this to me and it looks positively intriguing!  With how much our family and friends love the black bean cupcakes, I have no doubt that this could be another great healthy go-to treat.

Serves: 6
Preparation Time: 15 minutes (active prep time)


2 cups cooked or canned no-salt-added or low-sodium black beans, drained
10 pitted medjool dates or 1 1/4 cups domestic dates
2 tablespoons raw almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup natural, non-alkalized cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground chia seed


Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Combine the black beans, dates, almond butter and vanilla in a food processor or high-powered blender. Blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again. Spread into a very lightly oiled 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Cool completely and apply topping if desired. Cut into small squares.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator up to one week.

Optional Topping:

1 ripe avocado
1/2 cup of water
4 tablespoons natural, non-alkalized unsweetened cocoa powder
5 medjool dates
Splash vanilla extract

Blend topping ingredients in a high powered blender.

Interesting Bread Recipe

In a post on Rodale.com that I happened upon just now, I saw an interesting bread recipe.  I wanted to save it here to try out at a future time. Rodale was quoting from The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home:

Add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of untreated, nonchlorinated spring water to a large bowl and mix well. Add a little more flour and water every day for about 2 weeks. (The sour smell means it’s working.) Add about 2 cups of the mixture to 1 cup of water and enough flour to make a moist dough. Then, add 1 tablespoon of sea salt and knead thoroughly for about 15 minutes.

Cover in a bowl and let sit for 2 hours, then knock down and form into a round ball. The dough will take 8 to 14 hours to rise (overnight is ideal). When you’re ready to bake, crank up your conventional oven to 550° F and splash water inside to create steam. If you’re baking the bread free-form (without a loaf pot or pan), slash the loaf several times on top. Bake until brown and crusty. Let cool.

Whole Wheat Challah

For the last several months, I’ve enjoyed making challah bread as part of our meal to welcome in the Sabbath.  After we bless our heavenly Father who alone brings forth bread from the earth, we pass the loaf around, each breaking off a piece and remembering that He provides for all of our needs.  This includes our most pressing need of a Savior.  Yeshua is our ultimate bread of life (John 6:48).

Unfortunately, I can’t find any pictures of the challah I’ve made, but I did find something that looks close:

This is a simple, easy recipe that I tried out early on and have stuck with because of its success. My version is closely based on the challah recipe in the book A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays.

Two Loaves

The following recipe will make a double-decker loaf that will feed 8-10 people.

The fact that there are two loaves reminds us that when the children of Israel were in the wilderness, the Father provided a double portion of manna on the sixth day so that his children would be able to enjoy rest on the Sabbath day (Exodus 16).

If you have a small family, and don’t want leftovers, you may want to halve the recipe.

The Recipe

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 packages of Rapid Rise yeast (or 1 1/2 Tbsp instant-active bulk yeast)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 2/3 cups very warm water (120 degrees to be exact.  If the water is too hot, the bread won’t rise.  If its too cool, it will take longer to rise.)
  • 1/4 cup oil (I like to use grapeseed oil – its healthy and neutral in flavor)
  • 1/4 cup honey

Here’s how to make it:

1) Put half the flour (1 cup whole wheat and 1 1/2 cups white), all the yeast and salt in a bowl.  Mix.

2) Add the water, oil, and honey.  Mix.

3) Add the other half of the flour (1 cup whole wheat and 1 1/2 cups white).  Mix well. The dough should feel soft like new play dough and should pull away from the sides of the bowl and stick to itself.  If it seems like you need a bit of extra flour, only add 1/4 cup at a time.  If you add too  much flour, the dough will be too hard, like clay, and will not rise as well.

4) Rest the dough for 10 minutes. During this rest, the dough will rise some.

5) At this point, you can pinch off a bit of dough to be given to the Lord as a contribution as our ancestors were commanded to do when they came into the Promised Land (Numbers 15:17-21).  Challah actually refers to the portion of the bread that was donated in Temple times to the priests. Even though we’re not in the land and don’t have the Levitical priesthood in tact, I think its a neat way to remember that the first of all we have is to be given back to our heavenly Father in gratitude for His provision.  You can either take an olive-sized piece and burn or discard it, OR you could take a larger portion and make a separate loaf to give to someone else as a gift.

6) Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle some flour on top and knead for several minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

7) Break off about one third of the dough.  (I like to use a wide spatula or dough cutter – like the one to the right – to do this.)  This will be the dough for the top braid.  Separate this ball into three equal parts and roll into approximately 8″ or 9″ ropes.  Don’t worry if the ropes are longer or shorter.  Longer ropes will make for a longer loaf, and the opposite will be true of shorter ropes.  Once you have the ropes made, braid them.

8) Now take the larger portion of dough, which will be for the bottom braid, and separate it into three equal parts.  Roll into approximately 14″ or 15″ ropes and braid.

9) Place the larger braid on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.  Lay the shorter braid on top of the larger one.

10) Allow to rise until double in size.  This will take 45 minute to an hour away from a draft.  I like to stick my loaf in the oven just so its out of the way.  Please  note that the oven should not be on if you decide to stick it there.

11) Once your dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 325 degrees, making sure to remove the loaf before the preheating process begins if you’ve allowed your loaf to rise there.

12) While the oven is preheating, you can brush one beaten egg white onto your loaf to add shine and color.

13) Bake on the middle rack for 45 to 55 minutes until nicely brown.

I like to try to time it so that the bread is coming out of the oven close to the time we are ready to eat it.  Warm challah is an incredible way to bring in Shabbat!

The Covering

While the bread is waiting on the table, it is traditionally covered.  Some people have a special challah covering while others (like myself) use a cloth napkin.  The covering symbolizes the dew that covered the ground.  When the dew had gone up, the manna was revealed (Exodus 16:13-15).  In the same way, when the cover is removed, the challah is revealed.

The Blessing

Here is the blessing typically recited before receiving the gift of bread.

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe
Who brings forth bread from the earth.

It’s been a part of the tradition of God’s people for a very long time.  Though it’s not a blessing specifically commanded in scripture, it does have its origins in scripture.  Psalm 104:14 says:

You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth.

In the following graphic from Hebrew4Christians.com,  you can see the Hebrew, how to pronounce the Hebrew, and the English.  (Note that Hebrew is read from right to left.)  To hear a recording of what the Hebrew actually sounds like, you can press the audio icon next to the blessing on this page.

Happy Challah-making!!!

Pumpkin Muffins

Here’s a delicious gluten-free fall treat!  A friend passed this recipe to me, so I don’t know its origins.  Since I have altered it a bit, I don’t feel completely bad for posting it without the source listed.

Either grease muffin pan(s) well or use liners.  I prefer to skip the liners whenever possible.  It saves money and allows hungry people to get right into the goodness rather than having to deal with drooling on themselves while trying to remove the paper.  🙂

This recipe will make 24 muffins.

In a small bowl, mix:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

In a larger bowl, place:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 12 eggs, mixing well with puree after adding each egg
  • 8 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add flour mixture to egg mixture and blend well until floury lumps have disappeared.

If desired, you can gently fold in:

  • 1 cup (or to preference) chocolate chips

With a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the batter into the muffin pans.  Bake for 20 minutes.

And voila! A lovely fall treat for the whole family.  🙂

African Meat Curry

As I mentioned in this post, we’ve been studying countries and cultures.  In conjunction with our study of Kenya, we made a dinner from the book, Cooking the African Way.

Though I didn’t have everything in the precise form the recipe requested, it still turned out great. In fact, my dad said we should bottle and sell the sauce.  I wouldn’t go quite that far, but we definitely saved the leftover sauce for later use.

In a large frying pan, heat for 1 minute:

  • 1/2 cup  vegetable oil

Add and stir:

  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger root, cut in half
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed (I used ground cumin)
  • 4 whole cardamom seeds (I didn’t have this, so I skipped it)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (I used a teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon)
  • 4 whole cloves (I used a few dashes of ground cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Stir in and cook about 10 minutes:

  • 6 oz tomato paste


  • 4-6 pieces chicken (I used both drumsticks and boneless breasts)

Reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 35 minutes.


  • 2 medium white potatoes, peeled and quartered

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.


  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander (I didn’t have this, so I skipped it)

Simmer uncovered 10 minutes more.

I served the curried chicken and potatoes with steamed broccoli and sauteed asparagus.