Zucchini Cherry Walnut Muffins made with Gluten Free Flour

If you’re like me, you had an abundance of Zucchini in your garden. We roasted them, grilled them, souped ’em and donated them. We still couldn’t keep up with the overflow. Fortunately Zucchini freezes well. Just shred or chop and freeze. I pulled out a bag of frozen shredded Zucchini to make this family favorite last week, while we still had afternoon sunshine and temps warm enough eat outside.

To skip the Step-by-Step How To instructions with photos, click the JUMP TO RECIPE button for the quick printable version.

Here’s your Instructions for making your own Gluten Free Zucchini-Cherry Muffins tea party.

SUPPLIES: You will need a small colander, 2 small bowls, 1 medium bowl, and a muffin tin for 12.


  • 2 cups of Gluten Free flour mix
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of grapeseed oil or safflower oil
  • 1 Tbs pure vanilla
  • 1 cup of grated or shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup of frozen cherries, drained and chopped.
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • Zest and juice of one large lemon (about 1/2 cup)
  • butter to grease your tin

FIRST – Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and butter your tin really well. You don’t want to leave any bits of this delicious muffin in the tin. Rinse your frozen cherries under hot tap water to start the defrost process. Let them sit in the colander over a small bowl to drain while you’re prepping the rest of the recipe.

SECOND – Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Mix well so that the baking powder and salt are fully incorporated in the flour.

THIRD – Beat the eggs and sugar together in a small bowl. Add the oil and vanilla and mix well.

FOURTH – Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Mix just until blended. Over mixing will reduce the air pockets, making your muffin hard, which is tricky for any muffin mixture, especially gluten free. The mixture will be thick and that’s okay. The moisture from the zucchini combined with the moisture and acid from the lemon juice will change the texture of the batter. The batter will look and feel lighter once you add those two ingredients. Which is the next step.

FIFTH – Gently mix in the zucchini, juiced lemon and lemon zest. Again, don’t over mix. Mix just until blended.

SIXTH – Fold in the walnuts and the drained, chopped cherries very gently. Be careful not to mix/stir the cherries into the batter. This will make sure your batter stays light and airy and also won’t turn it pink from the juice of the cherries. If you’re looking to increase the protein and fiber in these muffins, add more walnuts, up to a 1/2 a cup.

SEVENTH – Fill your greased muffin tin with batter to just below the rim of each cup. Using the butter to grease your tin instead of muffin/cupcake cups helps them brown a little better and you won’t have soggy muffin bottoms that stick to the paper cups.

EIGHTH: Bake your muffins for 25-30 minutes, until the top of the muffin top springs back when you touch it and they’re golden brown. They should come out of the tin easily if you’ve greased it well. Let the muffins cool completely before eating. Resist the urge to butter them while they’re still hot like you might do with wheat flour muffins. Gluten Free bakery is doughy or gluey while still warm. The texture is much lighter after it has cooled. My husband, who loves loves loves bread, thinks these taste like bread. It’s a richly flavored and textured treat.

They’re satisfyingly delicious on their own, but don’t let that stop you from slathering them with your favorite jam.

** You can adjust this recipe using wheat flour with these substitutions

  • Substitute the GF for 1/2 white wheat flour and 1 cup white flour, 1/4 cup almond flour, this is the combination I use when making the muffins for the family who don’t have wheat issues. It’s delicious too. If you don’t have the combo of flours, just use all white flour and add an extra 1/2 cup of walnuts to for some extra protein and fiber.
  • Substitute 2 tsp of baking powder with 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 1/2 of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt
  • Substitute a whole lemon with 2 Tbs of fresh squeeze lemon juice and the zest of one lemon. You’re using the lemon here for an added freshness to the flavor rather than to adjust the texture of the GF flour.
  • If looking to add more protein and/or fiber you can add an additional 1/2 cup of walnuts.

The Teapot, matching sugar bowl, cups and saucers are a vintage set by Noritake in the Lexington pattern. If you want to serve your muffins or just have lunch on this set, visit our shop at The Charmed Table on Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/listing/1101329940/vintage-noritake-teapot-sugar-bowl-cups?ref=shop_home_active_12

Soup, There it is!

The official end of summer is here.  I actually saw a lone tree that beat the crowd and changed its color already. It was a young tree, probably only planted a few years ago, and it was a beautiful rust color. Youth showing off.
If you have a veggie garden, you’re probably still harvesting and now have more  tomatoes than you know what to do with, and probably plenty of peppers and beans. If you’re like me, you’ve harvested them a little late. I seem to forget the beans once the tomatoes finally ripen, and forget the Eggplants, any stray Zucchini and definitely the Kale and, oh yeah the herbs too.  What I do with the over ripe veggies and neglected herbs is put them all in the same soup pot. I make Minestrone.
pot of minestrone photo
This tomato based soup benefits from a long slow cook, which tenderizes the green beans and kale that have become fibrous in the heat of late August and early September (and because I waited so long to pick them 🙂 ). Also, the longer the pot simmers the richer the flavor of the tomatoes.  You can use almost every vegetable or fruit (yes, tomatoes are a fruit) you have in your garden right now to make this soup. You can make it with or without chicken broth. Adding water to your pot instead of chicken broth just makes broth out of your veggies at the same time you are making your soup.  Or – instead of water you can add vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade, to add an extra layer of richness.  We made our soup the same day we harvested, so it did take us about 4 hours start to finish.  We knew that was the goal for the day, so we set aside the time together, and it was actually fun. Almost meditative, maybe.

This is some of the harvest we used in the soup – onions, carrots, potatoes, and kale.

Basic Recipe for Minestrone (means “big soup”)

Here’s our recipe for a single pot of Minestrone. You can double or triple it to make a giant pot. You can even adjust it to include pasta, which is the traditional version. Also you can adjust it to include more of the veggies you like or exclude the veggies you don’t like. It’s all good.
Olive Oil – 2 to 3 TBS (enough to cover the bottom of your pot)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 large potatoes, cubed
2 cups chopped Tomatoes
1 cup beans (fresh from the garden, rinsed from the can, or dry beans that have been soaked and then cooked)
1 cup of chopped string beans  (yellow, green or purple string beans, whatever you have in your garden or strikes your fancy at the market)
2 cups of broth or water
1 cup of shredded Kale
1/2  cup of chopped zucchini
1/2 cup of chopped celery
1 Tbs each of finely chopped/shredded  fresh Oregano and Basil (if using dried reduce to 1 tsp of each)

We used everything we picked that day, doubling our recipe.


FIRST: Add the olive oil to the bottom of your soup pot and warm on medium heat. Saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil until they are translucent, roughly 5 minutes.

I had about a cup left of this veggie broth which I added after the onions and garlic were cooked. 

NEXT: Add the carrots and your green beans, and toss for a few minutes to coat them in the olive oil. ADD  your chopped tomatoes and herbs, salt and pepper, and your broth or water.

Having a food processor makes it a lot easier and saves your hands for the garden. I did also add some hand chopped tomatoes for texture. You can do it either way.

Here the pot full of veggies before it has cooked down. It smells as good as it looks.

Let this gorgeous pot simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
NOW: Add your zucchini and potatoes, let cook for another 30 -40 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. The soup will thicken and as the tomatoes break down and the other vegetables will soften.
NEXT: Add the shredded kale and if using cooked beans add them as well. Simmer for 20 minutes. If using pasta, add 1/2 a cup of small pasta and cook for another 10 minutes.  Check to see if you need to add more water or broth. The soup should be thick and the vegetables tender with a sweet mellow flavor.
You can serve this hot right away with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and maybe some crusty bread. This soup tastes even better the next day, and the next, and the next – if it lasts that long. In fact, we freeze it in quarts so in the long cold nights of January we have warm soup made fresh from the garden to brighten our spirits.


Soup’s On

Last week snow, this week rain.  So much rain that there is not only zero snow left anywhere, but some areas now have flooding.  Cold and wet weather means indoor sports only. Like cooking 🙂

In my humble opinion, there’s nothing like a good bowl of soup on a cold rainy day and great broth is the secret to great soup. It’s even better if its bone broth.
Making your own broth is surprisingly easy. You can purchase a ready made rotisserie chicken or make your own.   Roast chicken is usually a paste or rub made with spices and/or herbs and oil and/or butter, and garlic. The rub/paste is put on the skin and under it. Herbs and garlic are usually also stuffed in the chicken cavity.  Sure it has all the good smells and tastes, but can be messy and time-consuming, and it’s always tricky to get moist breast meat.  I have an easy recipe with only a few ingredients which gives you moist breast meat with a light smokey taste.
Preheat oven to 450 F
1 Whole roasting chicken with any giblets removed.  Mine was 6lbs.  Rinse out cavity
3-6 Whole Jalapenos – the amount depends on the size of your chicken. You want to completely fill the cavity with the jalapenos and the lemon. I used 5
1 lemon, cut in 4 equal pieces
4 Tbs of butter, cut up and divided
6 cloves of garlic, diced or put through a garlic press.
Salt and Pepper for the top of the chicken.
And that’s it!
The secret here is that the Jalapenos go in the cavity of the chicken whole. The oils from the jalapenos permeate the chicken helping to keep the breast meat moist and gives it a mellow smokey flavor without adding heat. The heat is in the seeds not the skin.
Wash and stuff the Jalapenos and the quartered lemons in the cavity of the chicken.  Mix the garlic and butter together and divide it in half.  Stuff half the  garlic and butter mixture under the skin of the breast on each side. The skin slides up easily.  Salt and pepper the top of the chicken and put it in a roaster, or a dutch oven (fancy name for really big pot).
I used all organic ingredients. This is especially important if you are making bone broth. If you can’t do organic, go for pesticide free produce and antibiotic and hormone free poultry.

She’s full.

You can see the lumps of butter and garlic stuffed under the skin. I’ve also closed up the opening with hooks I had left over from the Thanksgiving turkey. You can also use bamboo skewers.

Roast the chicken at 450 F for 10-15 minutes and then reduce the temperature to 350 F and cook for 20 minutes per pound or until the thermometer reads 165 F.  Place the thermometer in the inner thigh close to, but not touching, the bone.
You can see the temp at 175 F in this photo. You can also see potatoes I tossed in the pot 30 minutes before the chicken was done, because a girl’s gotta have her potatoes.

After we feasted, I put every last bit in the fridge to make my broth soups the next day.

I made the broth the next day. If you can’t make the broth within a couple of days of purchasing your bones or making your roast, they’ll last in the freezer for months.

FIRST – Cut off as much chicken meat as you can and set the meat aside.


SECOND – Put the entire chicken in a really big pot, (I used the same dutch oven that I roasted it in), or in a slow cooker and fill with filtered water and 2 Tbs of unfiltered apple cider vinegar.  If your pot is on the cook top, simmer on low for 6 hrs before adding anything else to it. If your bones are in a crock pot, you can let it cook for a day or two, until the bones are really soft, before adding anything else to it. When the water has turned a golden color, add what you would add to stock. I added Rosemary, Thyme, garlic, onions, carrots and fennel. If you have produce that’s not sparkling fresh, but hasn’t gone bad, add it. I’ve added ginger root when I’ve had it. You can not taste it in the broth but it does add a nice depth of flavor to the broth.


THIRD – Strain the broth with cheese cloth into glass containers and refrigerate for your soup.  If you’re not going to use it right away strain the broth into freezer safe containers and freeze for 3 months.

mmm – bone broth

I used some of the broth right away to make the Potato Rosemary Soup
Rosemary Potato Soup made with Chicken Bone Broth

And used the rest to make Rosemary Chicken and Rice Soup a few days later.
Herb Chicken and Short Grain Brown Rice Soup made with Bone Broth

The recipes for both of these Soups are the first recipes on The Charmed Eats blog page. Just click Charmed Eats (a/k/a Recipes) on the top of this page