Paleo Chili Chocolate Zucchini Bread; I wasn't sold on the first or second version of this recipe. I left a loaf with Raj and he did some market research with friends. A perk of knowing a food blogger- recipe development tasters are always needed. By the third attempt I was posted in front of the oven anticipating, willing it to cook and cool faster, I couldn't WAIT to eat some. It took practice, but this chili chocolate zucchini bread is killer!
Do you garden? I have seen some Facebook postings of gigantic zucchini people are growing. Eating paleo, there is so much you can do with zucchini: loaf and “noodles” and so much more! I adore grilled salmon with zucchini noodles. I intend to garden, some years I even get a few things planted, but by the middle of the summer, I'm immersed in work and my poor plants die. Apparently, they need water? This year my mom was kind enough to make up a couple of planters for me, and my roommate helped with watering, so as a team we have successfully grown a few: tomatillos, tomatoes, celery, and herbs. No zucchini in those pots but luckily they are found in abundance at the farmers market, in an array of sizes and colors. I would love to see your garden or home-grown zucchini, #theprimaldesire and post them on social media: Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!
It has been brought to my attention: sometimes I am not a good listener. The last 3 months have been filled with: my friends, my family, Raj, and even my boss telling me I do too much. I have this compulsion to do more; the most; be the best. I am a workaholic. I struggle with a healthy work-life balance. My strive for perfection is unattainable yet I push for it, and my compulsion is hurting my health. I was asked, “Why?” The answer is long and involved, but the short version; I want to be the best, but at what cost?
Last year I hit a wall. It was coming for a while, years even. Prolonged stress got the best of me (not just work, but the end of a long relationship and moving were thrown in there too), and my body revolted. I was gaining weight, despite eating less than 1400 calories, and exercising for at least 30 min per day, (oh if I knew then what I know now). I was battling depression and anxiety, and they were winning, I cried every day. My thyroid got sick of the soy and aspartame I was feeding my body and quit. My cortisol worked overtime to make up for it, and threw my female hormones askew; I suffered from adrenal fatigue. Serious self-loathing and an inability to cut myself a break sealed the coffin on any reasonable physical health. I was tired, despite sleeping 12 hours per night, I spent at least half of my “sleep” hours anxiously awake, tired and willing myself to sleep; without success. If not for amazing friends and family support, I wouldn't have made it. I don't want to go back to that. Since I seem to be unable to see clearly for myself, (I do learn, just sometimes it's a little slow) I have to use my listening skills. “Hey Holley, you do too much” means, silly girl, take better care of yourself. Sometimes it's okay to cut out early, or spend the day at play. It's funny how things come to you in the right time: mid-vacation I came across an article about working less and being more productive. I am inspired.
I have already made changes to my diet that have helped considerably, eating Paleo, cutting out; processed food, soy, and grains has helped my anxiety. Increased calories and fat has helped both anxiety and depression. I regularly see a naturopath about my hormones (thyroid and female), I will go into this more in-depth in coming posts. Good food and real food is under-utilized in the healing process! Meditation has helped decrease cortisol levels and increase restful sleep. Are you doing the meditation challenge with Raj? I wasn't going to as I missed the first couple days: “it was too late to go back… ” or at least that's what I told him. When I said the words out loud; I realized how silly they sounded. 20 minutes per day, I can find that time, and I have been every night. You can go register and catch the next 14 days of the program! Do it now… I'll wait…
I played on vacation, an afternoon at the corn maze was dusty country fun:
We took the kids to Drumheller museum. Dinosaur bones are impressive! I had never been before. We all learned and of course, played.
I decided that being out of cell service and taking the long way home was good for me. I took the scenic route, singing along with my classic tunes, stopping at second-hand stores and taking pictures. Each little town filled with rich history and abandoned brick buildings. I feel renewed and I have pledged to work no longer than 8.5 hours per day. It's good for me.
Work less, quell stress, eat right, and play. This is my goal. Do you ever find yourself doing too much? How do you realize and cope? Any tips to help me stick with the change? Please leave them in the comments below. Now about those gorgeous zucchinis that you have grown or purchased: Paleo Chili Chocolate Zucchini Loaf! You won't be sorry!
- 3 oz chocolate (70% or higher)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup raw honey
- 1 habanero (seeded and grated- Like it hot? Leave the seeds in)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch cayenne
- 2 tbsp cocoa
- 3 tbsp coconut flour
- 1/2 tsp soda
- 1/2 tsp crème de tartar
- 1 cup walnuts
- Grate zucchini, salt it, and set aside.
- Melt chocolate and coconut oil together, mixing well in a large bowl or food processor.
- Add honey, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon. Continue to mix.
- Squeeze out the water from the zucchini, a cheese cloth or an old, clean tea towel will help press as much moisture out as possible. If you miss this step your loaf will be mushy.
- Add zucchini to processor and pulse.
- Add habanero (or the Chili pepper of your choice) to processor and pulse.
- Add cayenne, cocoa, coconut flour, soda, crème de tatar and mix.
- Add walnuts (optional) and stir.
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and pour the mixture in.
- In a pre-heated oven bake at 350 F for 40 min or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Any chili peppers would do for this, Thai, jalapeño, habanero; not a fan of spicy? Avoiding nightshades? This loaf is delicious with the chilies omitted as well.