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.

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.  🙂

Mom’s Famous Cake Frosting

Okay, so the frosting isn’t actually famous.  And mom says it didn’t originate with her.  She thinks she got it from her mom, but since her mom (my memere) doesn’t make this exact frosting anymore, our family attributes it all to her.

I’ve tried several healthy frosting recipes, but none of them came close to being pleasing to the palate.  So, I’ve resigned myself to using this not-so-healthy (but terrifically pleasing) frosting until I decide to venture into further healthy frosting explorations.  I figure that since I make healthy cakes/cupcakes, a thin layer of this frosting won’t hurt too much.  Plus, I can make it with organic sugar, milk, and butter to lessen the fact that it’s not actually healthy. 😛

Now, in the name of full disclosure, I need to confess that the recipe I have listed here does not produce my moms delicious frosting exactly.  I’ve been unable to get it just right on my own.  There are two reasons for this.  When my mom makes frosting, she uses the whole box of powdered sugar and covers a giant cake with a thick layer of it.  Since I usually make only a dozen cupcakes, I don’t need that much frosting.  So, I’ve tried to reduce her recipe.  (That’s reason number one.) But since her recipe is already ball-parkish in its measurements, that’s been tricky to do. She adds things without measuring precisely.  (That’s reason number two.)

Update: On Anson’s 4th birthday, I finally nailed the frosting.  This amount will make enough delightful frosting to cover a dozen cupcakes. It will produce a much thicker frosting than what is pictured above, which is a good thing, since that thinner frosting always melted away into the cupcakes after an hour or so.

In a small bowl, mix:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 Tablespoon milk (we use almond milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake/Cupcakes (with a secret!)

This is such a fun recipe!  You do NOT have to be gluten-free to appreciate how tasty it is.  And moms everywhere can feel good about feeding one of these “treats” to their kids. This has been our go-to birthday/special occasion recipe for the last year or so.

I found the recipe on Lauren’s Healthy Indulgences blog, but I’m always paranoid about the original blog/site going down and the recipe being lost forever, so I’m reprinting it here for safety’s sake.  🙂

This recipe includes no flour, sugar, or dairy.

I’ll let Lauren tell you about the secret ingredient in her own words:

“The cake is made out of black beans. Beans, seriously! Even if you’re the fiercest of bean haters (like I am), you’ll fall head over heels for this moist chocolate cake. I haven’t have a flour- and sugar-based chocolate cake in a very long time, so my roommates had to confirm this cake’s rockstar status. Safe to say they agreed with me, and hungrily polished off the slices I provided for them. Served with a cold glass of almond milk, it was all the more refreshing after a day spent soaking up the Carolina sun.”

Makes a single 9” layer cake (can be halved and stacked – see above) or 12 cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

If making a cake: Spray a 9″ cake pan with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray, or just grease it with a thin layer of butter. Dust cocoa all over the inside of the pan, tapping to evenly distribute. Cut a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan, then spray the parchment lightly.

If making cupcakes: Put cupcake liners in pan.

In a blender, combine until liquified (no lumps!):

  • 1-15 ounce can of unseasoned black beans, rinsed (or about 2 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon stevia (Note from Erika: I left this out the last time I made them. Erich and I liked the cupcakes even more without the extra sweetness, especially since the icing I often use for this is so sweet.)

In a bowl, whisk together:

  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

In another bowl, beat:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted organic butter OR extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4-1/3 cup honey

To the butter, add:

  • 2 eggs, beating for a minute after adding each one

Pour egg mixture into blender with bean batter and mix.  Add cocoa mix and blend on high for 1 minute until smooth. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.

For Cake: Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

For Cupcakes: Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

After 10 mins, remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Once room temperature, cover in plastic wrap or overturned bowl. For best flavor, let sit overnight.  Frost immediately before serving.

Here’s another bean cake, this one made with white beans instead of black, that I intend to try soon.