An Abundance of Zucchini

Shredded Coconut Zucchini Muffins

So I feel a lot of my cooking inspiration comes from having an overabundance of something. I’ve had pounds of potatoes, carrots, lemons, apples and now zucchini. My mom and grandparents have been pawning off all of their zucchini from their gardens to me and I was getting overwhelmed with them all! I felt I could not eat them fast enough and was getting kind of sick of them cooked in a medley of other veggies for zucchini tacos, quesadillas, sides, etc so I decided I should find another way to use them.  I was going to another dinner party and thought I’d bring some zucchini bread… but of course I can never just do something normal so I looked up a bunch of zucchini muffin recipes and blended a couple together to make a shredded coconut zucchini muffin that was so moist and delicious! I am always hesitant about blending baking recipes as I am really just an amateur baker that still doesn’t know all the chemistry behind baking… however I do it anyways. I like to experiment and I supposed I have been the baker in my family for as long as I can remember, so I guess reading all those recipes has really started to rub off on me enough that I can kind of pull off a recipe blend… But I digress. Without further ado, here is the delicious recipe I have created:  The trick to get them so moist is to make sure you use really fresh zucchini which will naturally be very juicy (you may even want to strain them a little if they are too wet). If for some reason your zucchini seems a little dry add a little water to the grated squash to add some moisture.

Shredded Coconut Zucchini Muffins

Makes about 12

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I did 2 cups whole wheat & 1 white)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 2/3 cup melted unsalted butter (might try with coconut oil next time!)

You don’t need a mixer for this recipe.

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon,salt & coconut. In a separate large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter.  Stir these dry ingredients into the zucchini mixture.

2 Coat each muffin cup in your muffin pan with a little butter or vegetable oil spray. Use a spoon to distribute the muffin dough equally among the cups, filling the cups up completely. Bake on the middle rack until muffins are golden brown, and the top of the muffins bounce back when you press on them, about 25 to 30 minutes. Test with a long toothpick or a thin bamboo skewer to make sure the center of the muffins are done. Set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from the tin let cool another 20 minutes.


Food Overload

Yesterday I got a call from my friend, Karen, that she had too much produce donated to her non-profit cooking club she runs and asked if I wanted some. I went over for a nice relaxing girls’ night sipping wine and watching her cut up produce. She ended up making this really good (and so simple!) dish with caramelized onions, tomatoes and lentils. I left her house with a full belly and a full box of produce, inspired to get down and make something good with all this food before it went bad.

This morning I did an assessment of all the items I had… 4 bunches of asparagus, 5 1lb bags of baby carrots, 2 heads of lettuce, 4 bags of those mini colorful potatoes and 1 rouge Roma tomato. I called my mom to see if she wanted anything and I gave her a good chunk of it… perhaps she will be able to use it in one of her classes she teaches at the Boys & Girls Club.

After I figured out what I had, I decided to make a roasted asparagus soup, the lentil dish Karen got me into, and carrot bread (more like zucchini bread and less like cake). I browsed through a few recipes of each and made my own version of the asparagus soup and then pretty much stuck to the carrot bread recipe except replaced butter with coconut oil… well because I just like it! Everything was pretty easy and quick to make too 🙂 and the first two things are vegan! For those of you who are into that. And for those of you who like quick easy meals these can all be frozen and taken out for when you don’t feel like making food! Yum now that’s my kind of frozen dinner!

So first comes first: Asparagus Soup

Asparagus soup

Makes about 8 cups

  • 2-3 bunches of asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 cups vegetable broth, warm
  • Blender
  1. Turn the oven to 425F. Put the asparagus on a baking sheet drizzle with olive oil and lightly season with salt & pepper. Leave in for 10-15 minutes. Should be bright green and not too limp.
  2. Meanwhile chop up onion and put in a pan with about ½ -1 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium low heat until onions are soft and almost golden. Add minced garlic and sauté until onions are a nice golden brown (caramelized). This whole process should take about 15 minutes.
  3. Put all the ingredients in the blender, puree & serve! You may top with some lemon zest too.

Next up: Lentil dish


Makes about 5 servings

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 5-6 Roma tomatoes, diced
  1. Sauté onion in a pan with olive oil or butter. Cook over med-low heat for about 15 minutes or until your onions are soft and golden.
  2. Add tomatoes, lentils and splash of water. Cover pan and let simmer for about 15-20minutes.
  3. Enjoy! Great with a slice of bread to soak up the juices… almost like a stew… I’m sure it would taste great if you added some sausage or pancetta in it too.

Finally: The Whole Wheat Carrot Bread

whole loaf     Carrot Bread

I found this recipe here. Since I didn’t really change much except for using coconut oil and honey I am not going to type it all out, but here are my notes: I didn’t have a loaf pan so I just used a small 8×6 pyrex pan, which made slices short and skinny but just as tasty. Seemed to turn out pretty well, moist, flavorful, not too wheat-y tasting. I definitely wish I had remembered to buy raisins though because I am missing those juicy little bites (I think those golden raisins would be the best!) Other than that the only thing is that I wished it used more carrots it barely made a dent in my 3 lbs! Guess I’ll just have to hunt for more carrot recipes 🙂

Anyways I still have a lot of food left over. Since I was so healthy today I think tomorrow I might make potatoes au gratin with prosciutto and… ok something healthy with those carrots and a salad… I still have 2 ½ lbs carrots, 1 head of lettuce, and 2 bags of potatoes.

Lemon Day

Apparently Meyer lemon season is January through May so I have been really exploring my options on what to do with all these suckers. I found a few recipes I decided to try out all in one day:

Lemon Ginger Mint marmalade from In Jennie’s Kitchen

This turned out really good. I gifted almost all of my 7 half-pint jars and told them to use right away since I wasn’t sure of the shelf life. I found that it is quite tasty on a piece of toast with ricotta or even a scoop in a cocktail!

Lemon Ginger Syrup from Time for A Little Something

  • 3 large lemons, juice and zest
  • 2-inch piece of ginger (grated but don’t need to peel)
  • 3 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • ½ Tbsp citric acid

Place all ingredients into a large heatproof bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves, covered and left overnight. Strain the syrup through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Pour into sterilized bottles or jars and seal. Gift or use whenever you feel like it! I put it in the refrigerator after I break the seal.

Mixed this with tequila and triple sec to make a great margarita! 1 ½ oz syrup, 2 oz tequila, 1 oz triple sec. Good with other mixed drinks too… perhaps gin & mint & sparkling water… I also wonder how this would be with hot cider and a shot of rum or whiskey on a cold night…

Preserved Lemons:

Slice up a bunch of lemons into thin wheels. I placed mine in a half-pint jar. Just layer the lemons up adding a little salt to every couple slices. Squish them in as much as you can, pushing some of the juice out so it covers the last slice. I add a thin layer of olive oil and then set them on my window sill for about 3-4 days. They will be nice and soft by then. You can use them right away or keep them for a couple months. I like to rinse them a little and use them when baking fish or chicken or diced up in a couscous or rice pilaf with olives or currants.

Pasta with Pancetta, Garlic, Lemon & Olives adapted from Sweet Paul

This was so easy and a perfect, fast meal to make after my all lemon day.

  • 3oz diced pancetta or about 8 slices, diced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 12 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ cup kalamata olives
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 1 lb pasta
  • Fresh herb (thyme is my choice)

Boil water pot of water. Fry the pancetta in a dry pan until crispy. Remove pancetta and add olive oil to the pan. Fry the garlic over medium heat until fragrant and lightly golden. Add olives and lemon juice. Add pasta to water and cook until al dente and drain. Place in a large bowl and add the sauce, pancetta and herbs. Enjoy!

*If you are only eating one portion at time I just cook the amount of pasta I will eat and use just a portion of the sauce & pancetta and save the sauce in a container to use another time.

Lemon Tart

Right now the tree in our back yard is bursting with Meyer’s lemons. Earlier this week we filled a 20-quart pot and a crate with them and we probably could have picked more. It’s been overwhelming, but also kind of great. I even went to the café nearby and traded a bag of probably 30-40 lemons for my lunch there. So it only makes sense that I would have a Pinterest board with all things lemon.


Last Saturday I was invited to a potluck and I knew exactly what I wanted to make. I’m really not a huge fan of desserts, but I love making them, so have been waiting for an occasion to make this lemon ginger tart I came across. I did some tweaks because I wanted to try it with coconut oil instead of butter and here is what I came up with:


  • 8 Tbsp of coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup sugar (may cut to ¼ cup next time)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Couple grinds of sea salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ almond meal/flour
  • 1 Tbsp ginger (only because that’s all I had, probably would do 2-3 Tbsp next time)

Preheat oven to 350F.

I used olive oil pam to grease an aluminum (1-use) pie pan (8 ½ inch), but probably could use coconut oil.

In a large bowl, combine the melted butter and the sugar. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to form soft cookie-like dough. Transfer the dough to the center of the pan. Using the tips of your fingers, evenly press the pastry along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. The pastry will be quite thin. I found that I had some dough leftover so I pressed the remaining dough into a nonstick muffin pan.

I placed the items into the oven rotating about 10 minutes in and then left in for another 10 minutes until golden brown (the cupcake molds cook faster so keep an eye on them). Your finished crust should give a little to a light touch in the center, and be firm but not crumbling at the edges.

Poached lemon topping:

  • 3 lemons, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar

Wash and dry lemons. Cut them into as thin slices (think about how thick of skin you would like to bite into. I like mine as thin as I can cut them).

Bring water and sugar to a boil. Poach the lemon slices in the sugar water for about 10 minutes. Drain them with a slotted spoon onto a plate. Be careful that they don’t get bent because as they cool they will stay like that. I saved the lemon infused syrup and brought it to the potluck to mix in cocktails.


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ¼ sugar (probably will only put in ¾ cup next time)
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 8 Tbsp coconut oil

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with sugar. Add the lemon juice and zest. Pour the mixture into a double broiler or bain-marie over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until it starts to thicken (about 20-30 minutes).  Remove from heat and add coconut oil. Spoon the filling into the tart pan and let cool.

*For the cupcake size ones I gently took the crust out of the pan placing on a plate before spooning the filling in

Decorate with the poached lemons, slightly overlapping them on the large tart and choosing smaller slices for the individual size.

I got a ton of compliments about it at the potluck! The slight essence of coconut was perfect with the lemon, almond and ginger. I will just try with a little less sugar and a little more ginger next time, but that is just a personal preference. Bon appetite my little lemon/dessert lovers!

lemon tart lemon tartlet

Adapted from:

Deodorant, Mascara,Tinted Lip Balm & Nachos

I had been discussing all my projects with my friends lately and one of my friends had been talking about all the things on Pinterest she wanted to try, so I suggested a Pinterest Party! … well when I say party I just meant her coming over to my house and doing some of our pins before the premier of Girls. Anyways I decided on trying to make my own deodorant, since I had just ran out that day, and mascara to go along with the make-up theme plus it had some similar ingredients… well just one actually, but whatever. She wanted to try out making tinted lip balm using old lipsticks and of course nacho cheese because who doesn’t want a snack while watching tv!

So for the deodorant I had seen a bunch of different posts with many different varieties and from those I made my own twist. It is so simple and you just need 3 ingredients and an old deodorant container (cleaned out of course!). Mix together in a heat proof container:

  • ½ cup of baking soda (deodorizer)
  • 4 Tbsp of coconut oil (moisturizer)
  • a few drops of Tea Tree oil (anti-bacterial)

I had some trouble mixing it at first (it was too dry) but I just put it in the microwave for a few seconds to melt the coconut oil and it was a much better texture. I poured it into my deodorant container (after I made sure to crank the bottom all the way down again) and popped it in the fridge to help it set faster. It makes a little more than the deodorant container can hold, so we just filled another small container for my friend to take home. I’m sure it would be perfect in one of those mini deodorant containers, but we didn’t have one.

I loved the light coconut, tea tree oil scent it has, and of course you can add whatever essential oil you want to it. It goes on just like regular deodorant and I find that it has been working better than deodorant I would buy at the store. I really tested it out the other day climbing the steep hills in SF in all my winter gear. I was exhausted and couldn’t breathe by the time I got to the top, but I smelled just as fresh as when I started!

Next was the mascara. I found a great tutorial on Thank Your Body’s blog. I was trying to be good and to re-use an old mascara tube, but it took forever! Next time I will just be going to the beauty supply shop and buying an empty one. I like the way the mascara goes on, but I think I want it to be a little thicker. I may try adding more beeswax and activated charcoal next time to see if that helps. I would say it compares to Mabelline’s classic pink bottle mascara, but I think I’m going to see if I can get it to be more voluminous. I do love how easy it is to wash off despite how well it stays on. Haven’t had any flaking or traveling to the under-eye area.

So since I don’t really wear much lipstick my friend had a bunch that she offered for use in our project. It was pretty easy. Melt equal parts lipstick and Vaseline (we just eyeballed this) in a large spoon over the stove top. I don’t have a gas stove, but the electric burners work just as well by just hovering the spoon over the heat source. We just poured it into our containers and put it in the fridge to set.

Once we had all our beauty products done we dove into the nacho cheese. My friend found the recipe at Kitchen Simplicity. We were a little worried at first because it was pretty thin for a while, but it thickened up. Even so we decided to add more cheddar (because we wanted it oranger), more hot sauce and some of the jalapeno juice to make it taste even better. It still had a slightly weird cornstarch-y taste texture, but with the right chips (or over french fries) you didn’t even notice!

All in all it was a very successful Pinterest/Girls Premier party, which only got better when my sister came home with wine! Definitely will be doing this again! Time to start brainstorming what to do next time…


I was working with this organization, Sprouts Cooking Club, for a couple weeks and throwing ideas back and forth with the founder. She knows I love to craft and thought that I may want to help teach an apron making class with kids in a few months… Problem was that I had never made an apron before and had not even touched my sewing machine in years (not from lack of want, but lack of space to use it in my last place). In any case she gave me some fabric she had and told me to try it out.

That night I went home, unloaded my sewing machine from my trunk (yes, that is where I had been keeping it) and laid out the fabric… I went searching for an apron with a shape close to what I wanted. I measured 1-inch extra around the whole thing (except for in the arm hole area where I measured and extra 2-inches since I wanted to have an adjustable strap that fed through there, around the neck and tied behind). After I cut the whole thing out, folded, ironed, pinned and sewed each 1-inch seam I did the 2-inch arm holes. I made sure there was enough room to feed a strap in and then sewed it down. I found that part quite difficult because of the curved fold. It was harder for me to see what I was doing. I definitely need to work on finding instructions on how to do this… Since I didn’t look at any tutorials I was really winging this whole apron.

I decided the apron was looking pretty boring so I used a different fabric for the strap (cut a long strip, sewed the edge and flipped right-side out so it looked clean) and pockets. Overall it turned out pretty cute. Just had a few problems:

  1. Figuring out how to cut straight lines (the only reason mine turned out straight was because the fabric was striped so I could follow the lines)
  2. Figuring out how to sew the curved area where I feed through the straps
  3. Forgetting to fold over the seam so the fabric raw edges weren’t shown on the inside, and
  4. Cutting the strap wide enough so that when I sewed it there was enough room to easily flip it right-side out (I sewed the whole too small the first time, it was nearly impossible to flip)


Needless to say she called in the professionals for her class, though I still may assist. Definitely have some work to do before I can teach a class to children, but very happy with the outcome of my apron!


I used to cross-stitch a lot when I was in elementary school because my aunt used to give my sister and I patterns for gifts. Yes it was weird, but surprisingly kept us busy so we weren’t running around screaming and fighting. Now I have not done for quite a while, but since I’ve been in such a crafting mood lately my sister requested my aunt to give us a pattern for a x-mas gift. The pattern was pretty simple… just a small teddy bear holding a present. I dove right in and finished it the next morning! I had forgotten how relaxing it was and immediately wanted to do another!


My aunt had a ton of patterns at her house, so I swung by to find one I wanted to do. It was a little overwhelming at first. She had binders, magazines and books full of patterns! I finally settled on this cute one with the names of spices in different fonts and colors. Then went to go find the embroidery colors I wanted. My aunt had probably over 100 different colors! Even then she didn’t have some of the colors they recommended but I picked some that I thought went well together.

On the way home I went to the library and to pick up some audio books to listen to while I worked on this project. Did you know they have these amazing things called Playaway now? You just plug in your headphones and pop in a AAA battery and you have your very own small portable book on tape, which was fantastic since I wasn’t sure I even had a CD player anymore… stay tuned for book reviews

Cross-stitch turned out great. Finished it in about 2 days… I think I may try to create a pattern of my own for my mom’s business logo as a gift to her. Once I figure it out I will post again… also if anyone has any tips please feel free to share otherwise I will be hunting for them on Google 🙂


Crocheted headband

So I decided to graduate myself into the next level of crafting and go beyond tracing and try out crocheting. It has been pretty cold here lately, and since I find it easiest to just throw my hair up into a bun when I want to run some errands my ears have been freezing. I used to have this great warm knit headband perfect for occasions like this, but I still have all my winter stuff in boxes in my garage and I really did not feel like digging through it all.  I saw this tutorial by People Webs and decided to just make one!

So here’s the thing… I haven’t crocheted since I was in middle school. I had to look at a few tutorials to understand what the abbreviations meant and then how to do each stitch. I found it useful to just YouTube each thing I didn’t understand. It was really helpful to see someone doing it because sometimes it can get confusing when it is just a written tutorial especially when you are new to the lingo.

The end product turned out really well… I did many more stitches than the tutorial measured out because apparently I do it pretty tight (though I like it that way… don’t want that cold air breezing through all those holes!). I also did a couple variations… I didn’t have any buttons (well more like I didn’t want to go dig & find them at the moment), so instead when I finished the band I cut the end string quite long, so I could connect the other side by weaving the end in and out the whole length.  This made a perfect circle. I attached the bow to that side to cover up the spot I connected. In the end it was just a tiny bit loose because I misjudged the stretch of the yarn, but I just weaved under the bow to tighten it a bit.

Miss you!

One of my closest friends moved to Boston this past year and I have definitely been missing her. I was excited to hear she was coming home for the holidays, so since I had recently caught the DIY bug I had to make her a little something. I found a great project on Pinterest that was perfect and so simple! It was a cup that had your state on one side and their state on the other and on the inside it said “Miss you!” I ran over to one of those dollar stores and browsed through the kitchen section. I couldn’t find any cute mugs, so I just got a small white bowl. Since I just did it from an inspiration photo and not a tutorial here is how I did it:

  1. Go online and do an image search for the state outlines you want to use.
  2. Find a size that fits you cup, bowl, whatever and trace it
  3. Cut it out and tape the outline onto your cup and trace it with a sharpie
  4. Add details and writing and put it in the oven at 450F for about 40 minutes to set design.

It was pretty easy to make/use the outline and you can save it so you can do one for yourself! Much easier than free-styling it, especially if you are doing a state with crazy borders. Plus it’s so easy to work with the sharpie on the glossy surface because if you mess up you can just wipe it away with water until you are satisfied with the way it looks! I think it turned out great! Don’t you?

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