Zucchini Bread & Flower Power Muffins

Vegan and Gluten Free (recipe below)

Cooking with plants has a lot to do with “listening”. It really feels like the plants talk to me and tell me how to cook with them without communicating via words!

When I cook, I often feel like I’m being led by my ingredients without knowing in advance where we’re going. I’m usually delightfully surprised when we get there.

I believe it was the choice to go vegan, which I made in 2011, that changed my entire culinary life by catalyzing within me this “listening” to an inner-guidance. With that, I have also continued to feel a more vibrant enthusiasm for discovering creative ways of cooking and non-cooking.

In short, by committing to plants for my nutrition, I’ve become a better creator in the kitchen! I enjoy preparing meals so much more than ever and I feel a far deeper connection to my food and the environment.

I suppose the interference to a natural flow of intuition has been removed by the shift in my diet and my intentions. That said: I’m always learning! I love trying new recipes, learning about ingredients, and adapting as needed.

When I first got to Boulder, I totally failed at vegan baking. People said it was a matter of adjusting to the altitude in the Rockies compared to where I was coming from, which was basically sea level on the East Coast. I don’t know. Either way, I kept trying and after 3 years, I am finally baking goods that I enjoy. I am not an expert baker. Like everything, I’m experimenting more often than not and looking for leads from different recipes online – then trying to adapt them to the available ingredients and learn something along the way. That is the case with this recipe. I was wondering why similar recipes called for both Baking Soda & Baking Powder. Here is a helpful discussion on the distinction between Baking Soda & Baking Powder and why both can be used together.

In this recipe, I enjoy the moist and crunchy texture and well-balanced flavors of the bread and muffins but it may change next time. Time and place make a difference.

There is also one thing I forgot here and missed after my first bite: raisins!

I just forgot to add raisins and would definitely recommend doing so if you are going forth from here.

Lastly, another shout out to my neighbors who handed me the zucchini in this bread and these muffins directly from their garden. I returned to them with a share of the goods.

Zucchini Bread & Flower Power Muffins

Vegan and Gluten Free Recipe

(makes one 9″ loaf and six 3″ muffins)

The base:

1 cup Gluten Free Flour (I used the King Arthur brand which blends White & Brown Rice, Whole Sorghum, Potato, Tapioca, Xantham Gum, Vitamins and Minerals)

1 cup Buckwheat Flour

1 cup Chickpea Flour

2 teaspoons Baking Soda

2 teaspoons Baking Powder

2 tablespoons White Wine Vinegar

1 tablespoon Flaxseeds

2 tablespoons Water

1/2 cup Raw Agave

1/4 cup Safflower Oil

1 tablespoon Salt

The body:

1 cup fresh Applesauce (I made a homemade applesauce with locally picked green “paradise apples” blended with cinnamon, fresh lime juice, a little water, and a dash of raw agave to taste)

3/4 cup chopped Walnuts

1.5 cups grated and chopped Zucchini

The bread top:

Fresh fruit jam (I used raspberry jam) and/or Vegan butter (I’m currently loving Oat butter)

The muffin top:

Freshly picked Nasturtium flowers (or any edible flowers)

What I forgot and would add next time:

1 cup of soaked Raisins

The process:

Pre-heat oven to 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 6 cup muffin pan and 9″ bread pan with a little oil. Mix your base together in a big bowl. Gradually, add the body to the base then pour all into pans. Bake for 30-45 min. Check-in with a toothpick to determine the precise time (when the toothpick can be removed without any sticky batter). Muffins and bread turn dark gold. When ready, remove from oven and let cool. Top muffins with fresh flowers. Top bread with vegan butter and/or jam. Taste. Enjoy and share!