Recipe of the Week: Chocolate Chip Zucchini cookies - Zookies

Zucchini is starting to appear at the farmer's markets and in my friends' backyards here in Fresno. What to do with this abundance of zucchini? My friend Brandy Freeland shared this recipe for "zookies" with me. I changed it up to make it my own. These cookies are light and buttery in taste with the consistency of a coconut macaroon. These are a great way to sneak some squash into your kids' snack time. And who can go wrong with some dark chocolate morsels to feed your chocolate cravings?


1/2 cup organic butter, softened

1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup

1 cage-free, organic egg

1/2 teaspoon organic vanilla

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups organic zucchini, shredded

1 cup oats

3/4 cup coconut, shredded

1 cup dark chocolate chips


1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and maple syrup.
2. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat well.
3. Sift in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until incorporated.
4. Stir in the shredded zucchini, oats and coconut.
5. Stir in dark chocolate chips.
6. Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto greased cookie sheets. Flatten slightly with spatula.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes until golden brown on the edges.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.


Cooking Club: The Great Gilmore Grill-off for Father's Day

Tonight we hosted the first Great Gilmore Grill-off on our deck with our Cooking Club friends. We had four families who had a "throwdown" to put Bobby Flay to shame. The night included: Four main dishes to die for. Three Hot Daddy Judges in honor of Daddy's Day. A gaggle of kids in the pool. Even homemade "Death by Chocolate Gelato." And a whole lot of fun!

Tonight's Menu:

Warm Italiano Spread with Crackers
Appetizer Pizza with Carmelized Onions, Honey & Pluots
Baby Greens salad with Grilled nectarines, Maple Pecans & Goat Cheese

Warm Italiano Spread (Prepared by Shawna)

1 pkg (8 oz) Neufchatel Cheese
1/4 C. Pesto
1 Plum tomato, chopped
1/4 C. Italian 5 cheese blend, shredded

1. Heat grill to Medium. Unwrap Neufchatel cheese and place on 8" square of heavy foil; top with pesto, tomatoes, and shredded cheese.

2. Place foil on grill; cover with the lid. Grill 8-10 minutes or until shredded cheese is melted and Neufchatel is softened but holding it's shape.

3. Transfer foil to platter and serve with crackers.

**Can make it year round by baking at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes instead of grilling.

Dorina's Baby Greens & Grilled Nectarine Salad

-1 red onion, thinly sliced
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-Mixed organic baby greens
-5 large nectarines
-5 tablespoons butter, softened
-1 cup whole pecans
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-1 8-ounce container crumbled goat cheese

1. Add maple syrup to a small pan. Pour in pecans. Turn to medium heat and stir for approximately 5 minutes until pecans are coated and slightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

2. In same small pan, add olive oil and red onions. Saute approximately 10 minutes until onions are translucent and carmelized. Set aside.

3. Cut nectarines in half. Spread softened butter on nectarine halves. Grill on medium-high heat for approximately 5 minutes until heated through and grill marks show.

4. Assemble salad adding greens, pecans, onions, nectarines and crumbled goat cheese. Toss. Serve with dressing of your choice.

Competitor Main Dishes:

The competition was fierce and fun. We had four families/individuals competing for the top 3 spots and prizes. And the winners...

Benedicts' Bombdiggity Shroom Burger by the Benedicts
4 Portabello Mushrooms, cleaned and destemmed (marinated)
1 large red onion
Fresh Basil
4 Foccacia Rolls
Mayo/Garlic spread

1. Marinade mushrooms in sauce for at least an hour. (We used a local marinade "Jamaican Jerk Sauce" from the Clovis Market Fest.)
2. Caramalize onions for 30-40 minutes until onions are a slight brown color
3. Grill mushrooms for 5-7 minutes on each side until tender
4. Place foccacia rolls on grill until slightly toasted
5. Mix mayo/garlic and spread on rolls
6. Top each "burger" with onions and 3-4 basil leaves. Top with second half of roll and enjoy!

Awesome Andrade Nopale & Jalapeno Burger by Mary Andrade
To livin'up any grilled item, take veggies, in this case Nopales (cactus) and red onions, from the garden and throw them on the grill as a topper. Add fresh tomato, whole wheat buns, and any exotic condiments you like, and you are good to go!

To grill nopales:
1. You can buy large 'leaves' of nopal in the grocery store, or find them in many gardens. Carefully remove spikes with a sharp knife, if they are still attached.
2. Wash nopal well and then slice into long, thin strips, about 1/2 inch wide. Nopales have a very thick juice that starts to ooze out as soon as you cut them, so when you are done cutting your strips, rinse again well under cool water.
3. Add a dash of salt, and you are ready to grill. To grill, you can use a veggie basket, which is easier to manage, aluminum foil, or you can just throw them right on the grill.
4. Nopales are done when they have grill marks and look slightly wilted. They add a tangy zip to any BBQed meal!

Maple Apricot-Glazed Salmon by the Johnsons

2 cedar planks, soaked in water for 2 hours
4-6 salmon filets
salt and pepper
ground ginger
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon coarse ground mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice

1. Rinse salmon and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a large shallow baking dish. Season with salt, pepper and dash of ginger.
2. In medium bowl, combine maple syrup, apricot preserves, brown sugar, mustard and orange juice. Pour over salmon.
3. Prepare planks for grilling. Put salmon on planks. Close lid of grill and cook for about 15 minutes until fish begins to flake.
4. Remove fish from grill and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Beef & Squash by Ken & Company

Homemade Ice Cream Bar
Homemade Blackberry Raw Milk Ice Cream
Homemade Chocolate Gelato
Toppings: Fresh cherries, chocolate chips, Chocolate Moo Sauce, Coconut & more



"Go, Mama" Workouts

We consider part of our healthy journey to stay physically fit and enjoy exercise. My baby girl is three months old now. For the last three months, I've been walking, swimming, running occasionally even doing a little yoga but nothing consistent. It's time for this mama to kick it into gear. My hubby is a personal trainer and it's about time I put his skills to work right here at home. I asked him to come up with some unique workouts I could do at home in a relatively short amount of time.

Ericlee made up the following three workouts for me using the concept of Crossfit. That is a style of exercise that blurs the lines between cardio and strength and emphasizes fun, unique workouts. Each workout has a competitive flair because you race against a stop watch and try to beat your last time at the routine. We decided to use equipment we have at home but these are pretty inexpensive to buy. (In other words, no gym membership required and your kiddos can run around the room while you're doing it!)

What you need:
1 workout ball
1 pair of 8-lb. dumbbells (or more - that's all I can handle these days since I already carry around a chubby 15-pound 3-month-old on a regular basis)
1 stretch-resistant band

WORKOUT #1: (3 rounds)

*15 Bulgarian standing lunges (Back leg should be propped up on a step, stool or chair and you lunge down with the opposite forward/leg)

*15 Chest presses (Lay on top of the ball at the middle of the back and do a chest press with your dumb bells, touching them together in the middle above your head.)

*15 Triceps curls with hands on each side of one dumbbell (Keep your elbows pointing forward and arms close to your ears. Lower the weight behind your head, bending at the elbows.)

*15 Crunches on the ball (Make and X across your chest with your arms. Lay down with the ball at the small of your back and crunch upwards.)

WORKOUT #2: (3 rounds)

*15 Wall squats with arm curls (Stand against a wall with the ball at the middle of your back against the wall. Spread feet shoulder-width apart. Put dumbbell in each hand and squat like you're siting down in a chair.)

*15 Shoulder press (Sit on the ball, holding dumb bell in each hand and pressing weights together in an arch over your head.)

*15 Mountain climbers, alternating legs (Make your body look alike a mountain with hands and feet on the ground. Kick opposite legs with one bent and one straight simultaneously moving like you're climbing.)

*15 V-ups (Lay down on the ground. Bend at your waist and bring your hands to your feet in the air, forming a V)

WORKOUT #3: (3 rounds)

*15 Burpees (Jump into the air and clap your hands above your head. Then touch the ground and kick your legs back like you're going to do a push-up. Bring legs back in.)

*15 Lawnmower pulls (Put dumb bell into one hand while the other hand rests on the ball. Lean over the ball with back straight and legs comfortably spread in a walking position. Lift arm like you're starting a lawnmower. Do 15 and then switch dumb bell to other arm.)

*15 Sit-ups

*15 Supermans (Lay down on the ground with face to ground. Touch toes to ground with heels up and fingers in a thumb-up position. Lift thumbs and heels up with legs straight. Only stomach should stay on the ground for this exercise.)

Any questions about the exercises? Leave us a comment and we'll explain more or post pics. More "Go, Mama" workouts to come...if you all express your interest. Post your times for fun and we'll all race against the clock. These workouts are cheap and time-effective!

My goal is to do two of these workouts a week for starters and run two days a week (2.2 mile-loop by my house) What's your goal? Go, Mama!
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