Keto Triple Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Let them eat cake or more precisely let them eat Keto Triple Chocolate Zucchini Cake! I am embarking on a chocolate for breakfast quest. CHOCOLATE should be a food group unto itself! Sometimes I try to see how many meals and snacks where I can incorporate chocolate. But today is all about cravings that make you stray from a healthy lifestyle. I’m trying to eat healthy in 2020, but the cravings are working against me.

Keto chocolate zucchini bread

Why Zucchini?

Zucchini isn’t a very exciting vegetable. It looks a lot like a cucumber but has less flavor. (I bet you can’t even describe the taste without using the word wet or bland). But this is zucchini’s true charm. That this vegetable is a completely blank canvas for adding other flavors. Need a filler in your omelet? Need texture added to soup? Zucchini is a good, healthy choice. If I’m craving carbonara I can use zoodles (zucchini noodles) as the understudy for spaghetti and save a ton of calories. Zucchini even does a pretty good french fry impersonation when coated in heavily seasoned breadcrumbs (or pork rind crumbs for the keto dieters). So it was fate that made me build a keto chocolate zucchini bread.

Zucchini’s Healthy Profile.

The lowly zucchini checks many boxes on the “good nutrition” page. One large zucchini is only about 55 calories. If you leave it unpeeled (which we will for this recipe) it has over 3 grams of fiber and feeds your body calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.

zucchini combines with sweet ingredients for a healthier chocolate cake treat

Zucchini is cheap nutrition. It’s available virtually year-round and often for less than a dollar per pound. It stores in the fridge for several days uncut. It freezes well so you could cut up your bounty right away and seal it in plastic bags for future use.

Mixing Methods for Keto Bread

Unlike typical quick bread, when you are cooking without traditional flour and gluten, you have to pay more attention to the cooking methods — you know that traditional wet into dry or dry into the wet process. The answer when baking whether keto or conventional is to mix all the dry ingredients together and add them to the wet ingredients in thirds.

Dry into Wet?

Dry ingredients are traditionally lighter and less dense than the wet mixtures in baking. That simply means that dry ingredients will have a tendency to float on top of the wet. If you mix wet into dry ingredients the first third of the mixture will form a skin on top and make it difficult to get the remaining moisture ingredients evenly mixed without over mixing. With traditional flour blends, you risk creating too much gluten in overmixing and creating a tough biscuit or cookie. With keto flours — almond, rice, coconut — overmixing will release too much of the leavening carbon dioxide and result in a flat, denser final product.

A finer product.

My big recommendation with these low carb recipes is to add one additional step. Beat the eggs and all the wet ingredients with an electric mixer or hand mixer for 5 minutes so they get thick and well-combined before you start adding the dry ingredients. This will help the eggs mix well first, and allow the dry ingredients to incorporate with minimal mixing. You’ll get a lighter, finer bread texture.

The right pan.

I bought a silicone loaf pan for my keto baking, and I love it. Everything pops out of the pan and even an egg-white angel food cake base for a strawberry shortcake came out flawlessly. This recipe makes one average loaf size bread or 12 standard muffins. If you are using a traditional metal or glass pan, butter or spray the pan well and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper, then butter the parchment. This will assure a simple release and a beautiful end product.

Ingredients

KetoChocolate Zucchini Bread

Dry Ingredients

Melt Together

Wet Ingredients

1/4 cup of Lily’s Sugar-Free Chocolate Chips (this is what makes this bread triple chocolate and it adds just one more layer of chocolate — so don’t omit it! Mix the chips in with the batter during the last step and hand stirring.)

Executing the Quick Bread Recipe

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 Fahrenheit. Pro Tip: Preheating your oven for a keto bread is important because once the baking powder, baking soda, or eggs are mixed according to directions the leavening chemical reactions and carbon dioxide bubbles that make this recipe rise begin escaping the batter.
  2. Prepare the pan. If you are using a traditional glass or metal baking loaf pan (for muffin tins I recommend using cupcake liners) butter and spray liberally and add a parchment paper at the bottom.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients in a sifter or sieve and gently mix together into a medium bowl.
  4. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat on medium for approximately 5 minutes until they turn a light yellow color and thicken slightly. Next, add the remaining wet ingredients and mix to combine well.
  5. Reduce the mixing speed to low if you are using a mixer or hand mixer and add 1/3 of the dry ingredients. When the flour is mostly mixed (it doesn’t have to be perfect) add the next 1/3 and repeat until the flour is mixed in.
  6. Turn off the mixer and gently stir with a spatula to make sure all the flour is incorporated.
  7. Fill the prepared baking pan and immediately place it into the oven. Set the timer for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes rotate the pan 180 degrees and set the time this time for 20 minutes. Total baking time should be 45-60 minutes depending on your oven and humidity in your area. I start checking at 45 minutes just to be sure I don’t overbake it. The bread is finished when a toothpick inserted at the very center comes out clean.
  8. Cool the finished bread 10 minutes before you remove it and set it on a rack to cool completely.

Optional ingredients.

As if triple chocolate wasn’t enough! Sometimes I want some additional texture in this bread. Add one of these ingredients during the final stirring of the batter with the chocolate chips. The total addition should not exceed 1/4 cup so if you decide to add two or three items, measure the entire addition into 1/4 cup.

  • pistachios chopped
  • coconut (unsweetened flaked)
  • peanuts chopped

Air Fryer Breakfast Burritos

Air Fryer Breakfast BurritosIf breakfast is your challenge when you’re trying to eat healthily, Air Fryer Breakfast Burritos are a flavor-packed alternative.  I fall into the trap of eating cakes and cookies instead of building a good breakfast. Air Fryer Breakfast Burritos are my “go to” recipe when I want something tasty with a big presentation factor.

 

Air Fryer Breakfast Burritos
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Spicy
Packed with nutrition and a lot of flavors, Breakfast Burritos are quick and most of the recipe can be prepared well in advance.
Ingredients
  • Black Bean Mash:
  • 2 15-ounce cans of black beans (rinsed)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chile in adobo
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (optional)
  • Spicy Filling
  • 1/2 pound spicy chorizo
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 yellow, red or orange bell pepper chopped
  • Eggs – 1 per person
  • salt and pepper
  • Salad Topping
  • 1/2 head Romain lettuce finely shredded
  • 10-12 grape tomatoes halved
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 diced avocado
  • Sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded.
Instructions
  1. Make the beans in advance. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook about a minute until fragrant. Add the beans, 1/2 cup of water or chicken stock and the chipotle pepper. Cook until the liquid is reduced and the beans are heated through and soft (about 30 minutes). Mash with a potato masher leaving some texture. Stir in the cilantro. Set aside to cool.
  2. Put the tomatoes, avocado, green onions and salt in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper and fold together. Squeeze in the lime juice and oil cilantro and watercress. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet until it begins to shimmer. Add the chorizo after removing it from the casing and brown, stirring frequently, until crumbly. Remove the sausage and set aside. Add the onions and pepper to the drippings and cook to soft. Add this to the chorizo and set aside. Beat eggs in a bowl and add to skillet and scramble to soft curds. Remove from heat and add back the chorizo, peppers, and onions.
  4. Place a flour tortilla on a board and spread with beans on the lower half. leaving a 1-inch border at the bottom. Top with some chorizo and egg filling. Sprinkle grated Monterey Jack over this mixture. Fold in the sides of the tortilla and then roll from the bottom into a cylinder. Place seam-side down in the basket of an air fryer. Repeat until all the tortillas are assembled (1 or 2 per person). Brush the top of the tortillas with canola oil and “fry” at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.
  5. Transfer burritos to a platter or individual plates. Top with salad mixture, salsa remaining Monterey Jack and a dollop of sour cream.
  6. I like to serve this with citrus slices.

 

The nourishing and warming aspects of oatmeal

oatmealOatmeal — that breakfast staple of our grandparents — reigns supreme in your breakfast recipe repertoire.  But it can also become one of your family’s favorite mealtime side dishes with just a little imagination.

This week the entire US is experiencing a blast of truly cold weather with many states not even getting above zero.  This is a very good week to warm up the kids and family with gourmet oatmeal breakfasts.

My family has battled the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s for over a year.   My Mom was diagnosed three years ago with the disease.  Surely by now, everyone knows the disease affects memory loss, but unless you’ve witnessed the decline of a loved one you probably don’t realize that the disease is accompanied by a loss of taste, anorexia and an inability to eat and digest a lot of food types.  However, oatmeal has remained one food that Mom would eat and we were able to add all kinds of supplements and flavors to keep her strong.

Oatmeal is a power food — high in fiber, calcium, and potassium — with a low glycemic index.  It is known to reduce blood pressure and help maintain heart health.   Oatmeal is rich in nutrients and phenols that provide antioxidants and it is naturally anti-inflammatory.

Best of all, oatmeal — rolled oats or steel-cut oats — are neutral in flavor and provide whole grain benefits while accepting a variety of flavor additives.  They are also budget-friendly and available in every American grocery store.

Here are just a few ideas to amp up your oatmeal and expand your whole grain culinary taste.

Breakfast Oats

Oatmeal and your favorite fruits!  Oatmeal pairs well with almost any fruit for a perfect breakfast cereal. After cooking your oats, mix in blueberries, honey, and cinnamon: Or mix apples and maple syrup, or pears and pecans with this great grain.  Add any dried fruit and your favorite seeds or nuts to change out the routine like apricots and toasted pumpkin seeds or cranberries and pistachios.

  • tropical_oatsPut a tropical twist on your oatmeal by adding yogurt and pineapple, mango and coconut to your bowl. Yummy!
  • Chocolate oatmeal — absolutely yes.  Add a drizzle of melted semi-sweet chocolate and 1/2 a banana to your morning oatmeal for a dessert-style breakfast that’s still pretty healthy. For a healthier version at 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa, 2 teaspoons of raw honey and a banana to 1/2 cup of uncooked oats and 1/2 cup of coconut milk.  Refrigerate overnight.
  • Oatmeal pancakes put a new healthy twist on a family favorite weekend breakfast.  Oatmeal pancakes keep the family from getting hungry all morning and they taste great with any traditional pancake toppings.
  • Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
  • Granola
  • Parfaits

Oatmeal Side Dishes.

  • Steel-cut Oat Risotto.  Replace the arborio rice with steel cut oats in the preparation and mix in mushrooms, asparagus and Parmesan cheese for healthy side dish option.
  • Roasted tomato and basil oatmeal is a fabulous side dish for any lean protein meal.
  • Roasted vegetable oatmeal creates a filling base for eggs for a lighter evening meal.

Refrigerator Oats are ready when you are.

Use simple canning jars that can be reused for this healthy breakfast treat.

Basic refrigerator oats are made by adding 1/2 cup of rolled oats (Use old-fashioned rolled oats for the texture.  If you use quick cooking oats you’ll end up with a pasty, gummy texture.) to 1 cup of milk (soy, almond, coconut, or even plain old 2% or whole milk) in a jar or container.  Top with fruits, nuts, spices, and sweeteners.  Refrigerate overnight, and in the morning it magically has become a hearty and flavorful breakfast porridge.

Here you are only limited by your own imagination.  My favorite recipes are:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal, 2 teaspoons Chia seeds, 1 cup milk, 1 diced apple, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of honey.  Cover, shake and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning top with a drizzle of homemade caramel or chocolate sauce.
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal, 2 teaspoons Chia seeds, 1 cup coconut milk (remove the cream at the top of the can), 2 rings of pineapple cut in chunks, 1/4 cup of blueberries (frozen or fresh), 1 tablespoon blanched almonds, 1 tablespoon of honey.  Top with a spoonful of Greek yogurt and toasted coconut.
  • For picky eaters – mix 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 2 teaspoons of Chia seeds, 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1/2 a small banana, 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter, and 1 cup of milk.   It will taste like desert to them, but you’ll know it’s packed with good things.

 

 

 

 

 

Guilt Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

chocolate smoothieLast night, about 10 pm, all I could think about was pizza. Ordering pizza was the last thing I needed to do at that hour — it would blow a weeks diet and probably make me sick in the end.

After fighting the urge until 11 pm I finally opted for a homemade smoothie and that actually did the trick.

The vegetable smoothie and the fruit smoothie are a staple in my diet, but trying to concoct a gourmet sweet drink without the calories took a little thought — but thankfully not much effort. Here’s my chocolate peanut butter smoothie recipe!

Guilt Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
Recipe Type: Smoothie
Author: Mary Sage
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: 2
This is a quick, no guilt craving killer.
Ingredients
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tbsp natual peanut butter
  • 1 cup ice cubes
Instructions
  1. Combine everything in the blender or Ninja IQ 1100. Blend on high until smooth.
  2. Makes 2 servings — but that’s only if you really want to share.

This basic recipe can be altered easily by substituting coconut milk (get the canned version) for the almond milk and leaving out the peanut butter for a wonderful chocolate coconut treat.

Another version of this smoothie is a double chocolate.  Elminiate the peanut butter and substitute 1/4 cup of mini chocolate morsals or sugar free chocolate flavored syrup.

Poached Eggs: The best of way to poach and serve eggs

The perfect cooked egg is the most difficult task in the kitchen and most necessary.  An under cooked egg is not appetizing.  An over cooked egg — scrambled or otherwise — is inedible.

poached eggs nothing fancy

Basic Poached Eggs

Poached eggs are an elegant breakfast or dinner.  When I was a kid our Sunday suppers often centered around eggs, and most of the time it was poached eggs on toast.  My Mother was gifted at creating dinner where bread was the basis — canned asparagus, stewed tomatoes, creamed corn and the lowly egg over toast made for an economical and filling meal. But poached eggs were my favorite.  They were, and remain, the perfect topper for toast, waffles, salads and English Muffins (aka their fancy cousin cuisine of Eggs Benedict).

Poaching eggs is easy and doesn’t have to require special pans.  In fact, my favorite method utilizes just a sauce pan and a slotted spoon.

What you’ll need:

A medium sauce pan
a slotted spoon

Fill the pan with water.  You’ll need at least 3 inches of water or liquid in the pan.  Bring the water to boiling.

Add the vinegar to the boiling water.  Vinegar acts as a binding agent to hold the egg white together.  If you don’t add the vinegar the boiling water will break the egg apart.

Reduce heat to medium low and allow the boiling to reduce to just a soft roll to simmer.

Crack the egg and gently lower it into the water then release it from the shell.  In the beginning you might find it easier to break the egg into a custard cup or very small bowl and lower it gently into the water.

Gently swirl the water around the egg to form it into a round.  Then leave it alone for 2-3 minutes.  As you can guess, the longer you leave it in the water the more firm the yolk becomes.

Use the slotted spoon to lift the egg from the water and roll it onto the paper towel.  Blot off excess moisture and then roll it onto toast, a plate, salad, or muffin.

Other tools to poach an egg.


This pan was a staple in our kitchen during the 60’s and 70’s.  If you aren’t comfortable dropping your eggs into the boiling water and getting them to form up, or if you just want a more processed look, this is a great way to achieve the perfect poached egg.

You can buy an egg poaching pan at the hardware store for about $15.00.  This CHEFS Hard Anodized Egg Poacher Pan – 4-cupis a multi-tasking beauty as a 4-cup braising chef’s pan, sauce pan, or with these non-stick cup inserts for poaching.  I’ve used the egg cups also to freeze stocks and individual gelatin molds.   It’s quite useful for $59.95.

You pay NO shipping costs from now until December 31st–that right —FREE SHIPPING on any Order at CHEFS Catalog through New Year’s Eve.

What to do with a poached egg?

poached eggs on toast

Classic Poached Eggs on Toast

There is nothing better than a classic. These poached eggs are served up the traditional way. A little seasoning — basic salt and pepper — and resting on plain old bread.

 

 

 

 

 

Poached eggs dressed up

Dress up the bread on your poached eggs and add some vegetables as garnish

 

If you want to enhance a classic poached egg, try changing up the bread. Rest your perfectly poached eggs on a baguette, sliced grain breads, croissant or English muffin. Just remember that the calories and the fat content are changed dramatically based on your choice of breads and accompaniments.

 

 

 

 

 

Hard boiled or poached, eggs are welcome addition for lunch.

Hard boiled or poached, eggs are welcome addition for lunch.

 

The poached egg added to this luncheon salad really dresses up the presentation as well as the nutritional value. The poached egg, replacing the more traditional hard boiled eggs, makes this salad dressier for a special occasion.

 

 

 

 

 

Eggs Benedict

Classic eggs benedict

 

Eggs Benedict is an American classic. The original is an English muffin with a piece of Canadian ham topped with a perfect poached egg and spoonful of hollandaise. It was first served at New York’s Waldorf Hotel.

 

 

 

 

Healthier Eggs Benedict

Eggs “Benedict” for the new millennium

 

It’s almost a sin to mess with the basic eggs benedict, but I do prefer this modern updated poached egg sandwich by The Weekend Gourmande.  This uses replaces the hollandaise with cheddar cheese and adds sautéed spinach and sliced tomato.