Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Zucchini Muffins with Walnuts

Over the weekend TH (aka DB, but changed by popular demand) and I stopped by his parents' farm. Momma TH had a wonderful all natural garden with plenty of veggies. I ended up going home with pounds and pounds of beets, and large Ziploc baggie of green beans, and a few summer squash and giant zucchini. I love zucchini but my taste buds have also been getting bored with my typical ways of cooking it. I've never made zucchini bread so I decided I would venture into desert land with a *hopefully* more healthful twist.
Zucchini Muffins with Walnuts, SF and GF

1 cup quinoa flour- homemade ( TH purchased a Blendtec so I used to it make my own flours! SO AMAZING)
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 brown rice flour- homemade
1 tsp baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons flax meal
2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini- about one large baby
3 eggs
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup "date syrup" (see recipe below)
1/4 cup honey
1 cup chopped walnuts

Blend dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a smaller bow mix eggs and the other wet ingrediants leaving out the zucchini and walnuts. Combine the dry with the wet ingrediants in a stand mixer. The batter will resemble a cookie dough and I will admit, I was nervous at this point. Add in all of the shredded zucchini and turn the mixer on medium. Let the mixer do it's thing for a couple of minutes. Before you know it, all the moisture in the zucchini will release and a batter will form. Stir in walnuts and pour into well greased muffin tins.

Bake in a oven set to 350 for 25 minutes.

The finished concoction

And the closeup. See all the green zucchini bits?

How to make "date syrup"

Take roughly 1/2 cup of hot water and place 6 pitted dates to soak. After an hour, place in a mini processor and blend the dates with the water. You will have about a cup of a sweet syrupy liquid. There will be small bits of date in the mixture. I suppose you could use a blender for smoother results, but when baked into muffins, I can't tell there are date bits in there. I store the mix in the fridge in a glass jar.

Wish I had a picture of the syrup, but I used it all today :)

Monday, August 9, 2010


After the MPRE (round II) this weekend I went skydiving with DB and some friends over at Skydive Oregon. Our appointment was at noon, however due to overcast skies and some rain, we didn't take off until nearly 5:30p. We were lucky though because the group after us had to call it quits due to rain.

The 7 of us with our instructors and 2 camera guys piled into a little jet plane thing. Inside teh cabin were two long benches perpendicular to the cockpit on each side of the plane by the windows. We piled in half on the right, half on the left straddling the bench and packed in like sardines. I was in the very back (front of the plane), furthest from the door. Each of our instructors sat directly behind us so we were in a student/instructor/student/instructor pattern along the benches. I didn't really know what to think as we took off. I was nervous but trying to remain calm. about 15 minutes later we finally reached our drop point at about 12,500 ft. The instructors double checked our strap in points and made sure our harnesses were tight. DB was near the front and I wanted to see him take off. By the time the door opened and I looked up, DB was already gone! These instructors weren't wasting any time. Soon my instructor was telling me to scoot up towards the door. He had me sit on the edge of the plane and hang my feet out. immediately, they were blown to the side due to the speed of the plane. I said something along the lines of (oh Sh!T!) and then I could feel my instructor rock back, forward, back, and.....

We were flying. I tried to tilt my head back as we were told to do in training, but I didn't remember to do that. The instructor pulled my head back and I opened my eyes about 10 seconds (1000t down) in. Once I spread my arms out to stabilize I was able to focus on breathing and tried to take everything in. It's a lot to take in. Finally it was time to open the chute. My instructor tapped me on the shoulder to signal and with a light tug everything went silent. our speed went from 150mph to 10mph in a matter of seconds. the view was spectacular.

Would I do it again?

The expierenced was really fun and it wasn't all that scary once I got out of the plane and stabilized. However, I really can't handle all the built up anxiety going into the actual dive. I have enough anxiety in my life and I just hate adding more.

It's also pretty expensive. Again, while it's a unexplainable experience, I don't feel responsible pay hundreds of dollars to jump out of a plane to my potential death.

I'm so happy I did it, but I think I'll stay grounded next time.

The experience was awesome. Free falling is totally an unique experience.

Our group before takeoff

Right after we deployed our parachutes

DB landing

Getting ready to touch down.

Happy to be alive

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Where did the year go?

Today was officially the one year anniversary of DB and The Beagle. (okay me too) I got a wonderful surprise at work:

So The Beagle doesn't look very happy, but I thought the flowers were wonderful :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Lemon Bars

I've had lemon bar pictures on my camera for a good month now. I thought I'd finally share them:

SF, GF Lemon Bars
*Adapted from Gluten-Free Baking Classics


3 eggs
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons GF flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 FRESH lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 Lemon extract

1 cup GF flour
1/4 teaspoon Stevia powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Combine ingredients for the crust until crumbly. Press into a baking dish and pre bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

While the crust to baking, combine filling ingrediants and mix on high speed in a stand mixer for about 2 minutes, or until well blended.

Pour filling into baked crust and stick back into the oven for an additional 20 minutes.
Remove form the oven and let cool.

Cut into triangles and enjoy!

Aw... Lover-face.

T.J.'s Favorite Pasta Bake

I competed in the Amica Mid Summer Olympic Tri today. I went in with a goal of finishing under 3 hours. The weather was perfect. Upper 60's and overcast. The water this time around in Blue Lake was a bit warmer than last, but still murky. I haven't been training all that hard since my last triathlon becuase I've just been putting it off. I also could not sleet last night. I ended up waking at 4am. Giving me 4 hours of sleep. Not Good.

The Swim:
Started out good except my left rotator cuff was killing me. Last Wednesday I did a workout involving the butterfly stroke which must have aggravated my shoulder. I tried to ignore it during the race and I was able to most of the time but every once in awhile, it hurt. :(
I finished the swim and came out of the water covered in marine plant life. Seriously. There was some epic plants wrapped around my arm. gross.


Didn't bother to dry off, except my feet. Decided to wear my socks and DB's sun glasses.


The flat course was fantastic compared to last month's Hagg Lake. My legs did feel fatigued and I could tell that I had slacked on my bike workouts over the past couple of weeks.

I was able to transition quickly, again, sitting while I changed into my running shoes. No hat this time, just sunglasses.


I was the slowest in my age group! First half was super slow. Second half after I ate a electrolyte gel was a little faster. My pace was at 9m 21s. I think more towards 9:40 first half and just under 9 second half. Legs felt good. A little pain in my right knee but nothing to write home about. I have been having trouble with my left knee so the fact that it was only my right knee today, was great. Also, Hood to Coast will feel like a piece of cake since I won't be swimming and biking before my runs.

I wasn't sure my exact time overall because I didn't get a change to look at the results. I did however get an award for 3rd place in my age group. M.Y.'s dental school friend kicked my butt and got 2nd place. 1st place was from Tacoma, WA and killed it on the bike. I had the 2nd fastest bike time, 3rd fastest swim and slowest run...heh.

Once DB and i got home, I had to drive over to Ocean Park to pickup my mom (long story). I didn't get home until just after 7pm. I checked the results online and.....

My final time was 2 hours 51 minutes!!!!

I'm so happy.

DB also got 2nd in his age group for the duathalon. Way to go boyfriend! I'm excited to see how we compare at the MAC Dash Sprint tri in September. I'm going to have to get quite the head start on the swim to be any threat to DB. (his running splits are crazy fast).

DB with his Silver medal, Me with my Bronze.

The next athletic endeavor will be Hood to Coast. I got lucky number 9. aka the most difficultly ranked and longest legs. Thanks team. Did I mention that I got the SLOWEST run time in my division today?

Last night for dinner I made a pasta bake with gluten free shells:
DB told me to call it his favorite, so here it is;

T.J.'s Favorite Pasta Bake


1 - 16 oz gluten free pasta shells
1 1/2 cup chopped up fresh mozzarella
3 links of Aidells Artichoke and Garlic Smoked Chicken Sausage, sliced
5 large Roma tomatoes, diced
1 large zucchini sliced
3/4 cup shredded parmigiana cheese

Cooke pasta according to package. Once cooked, drain and combine with the rest of the ingredients in a large casserole dish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Itallian seasoning.

Place in a 375 oven covered, for 30 minutes. Stick under the broiler with the lid removed for 10 minutes.

Gluten Free and precooked. Great for quick meals.

Okay, I have no idea why this photo is sideways. I couldn't figure out how to make it right side up either.

Do you see that stringy, cheesy, goodness?

Oh. I also discovered Nutella. You know those Ferrero Roche candies? Well I can't eat them becuase they have that shell in the middle that is made with flour. I bought Nutella and found that it was processed by the same company. Holy cow I'm going to be fat.
My waist-line will be cursing you later.

I will post pics from the tri later. They are on DB's iPhone.