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Creamy Cauliflower Pasta Bake

Creamy Cauliflower Pasta Bake

Winter is here and so is the desire for comfort food! Try this healthier casserole version of a Creamy Cauliflower Pasta Bake!   Mash it up! Nope, not potatoes this time! Instead, I am talking about the nutritious and versatile cauliflower! Sneak in this cruciferous […]

Healthy Ginger Orange Cranberry Bread

Healthy Ginger Orange Cranberry Bread

This healthy version of orange cranberry bread is bursting with fresh cranberries, citrus flavors, and a hint of ginger spice! These berries are cran-tastic! Cranberries make their appearance this time of year thanks to the beautiful relish sauce on Thanksgiving, but this beneficial fruit should be […]

Review on an exciting and new Vegan Cookbook!

Review on an exciting and new Vegan Cookbook!

Curious about vegan cooking? Look no further, this new vegan

cookbook, Fuss-Free Vegan is sure to please all palates!

 

I am not sure where to start with this amazing new cookbook, Fuss-Free Vegan by Sam Turnbull, the genius blogger behind It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. It unites meat lovers and vegans into one beautiful book filled with delicious comfort foods that we can all relate to! As a flexitarian, and being married to a lifelong vegetarian, this book shows you that even the meatiest dishes can be made 100% vegan. Sam shows you her secrets to staple ingredients for vegan cooking, for example, a healthy and hearty cheese substitute (known as life-changing mozzarella) that I cannot wait to try!  From her carmelized onion pizza to her tofu bolognese, I was truly salivating over every page.

 

If you have been curious about vegan cooking or just wanting to get into a healthier lifestyle with plantbased meals, this vegan cookbook is for you!  To check out Sam’s work (she does the recipe development and photos herself by the way) visit her website, https://itdoesnttastelikechicken.com.

And if you are ready to try out these fun recipes, visit her website here for the cookbook!

Curry Roasted Carrots with Yogurt Dressing

Curry Roasted Carrots with Yogurt Dressing

Want to spice up a holiday feast this year? These tasty curry roasted carrots will make an exotic side dish to any main entrée thanks to its addition of creamy yogurt dressing and pomegranate seeds!     Don’t Forget the Sides! When it comes to […]

Simple and Delicious Vegan Gumbo

Simple and Delicious Vegan Gumbo

Enjoy this Louisiana classic with a vegetarian makeover! This simple and delicious vegan gumbo uses less oil and includes heart healthy fats and proteins!     Making a Dark Roux… Since this was my first time making gumbo, making a dark roux was a complete […]

Quinoa Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

Almost time for the holidays? Try a meatless main dish!

Bursting with seasonal cranberries and rosemary flavors, try

this Quinoa Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash at your next

holiday meal!

 

 

 

Feed that Healthy Gut!

This stuffed acorn squash may be the main star in this recipe, but I want to talk about the chopped onions. These flavorful, edible bulbs are an excellent source of prebiotics. Nope, not probiotics, the trendy “good bacteria” making its way across yogurt labels and kimchi! Prebiotics, such as inulin, are non-digestible fibers (naturally found in food) that enhance the growth of probiotics. In other words, they “feed” the good bacteria. Other food sources of prebiotics? Bananas, artichokes, and even asparagus. These two gut health promoters interact together like peanut butter and jelly. For more on prebiotics and probiotics read this resourceful article by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics here.

 

 

stuffed acorn squash
The adorable vitamin-rich acorn squash!

 

 

stuffed acorn squash
Try this naturally gluten-free and vegan stuffed squash at your next holiday dinner!

 

 

More about this recipe…

This healthy Meatless Monday recipe is ready in under 40 minutes! To make your weeknight simpler, cook the quinoa ahead of time. Cooked quinoa can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Quinoa is a nutrient powerhouse thanks to its complete protein content; about one cup of cooked quinoa packs in 8 grams of protein. This grain is also an excellent gluten free option for those that are gluten sensitive or prefer gluten-free diets. If you are not on the quinoa bandwagon yet, brown rice, or other whole grains, can be a tasty alternative.

For more stuffed squash recipes, check out my spaghetti squash recipe and “fried” rice stuffed squash on the blog!

 

Quinoa Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4

Serving Size: One half acorn squash with stuffing

Quinoa Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash (or other small squash for roasting), halved and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, cooked

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
  2. On a greased or foil-lined sheetpan, place squash cut side down on pan. Roast for 30 or until browning achieved.
  3. While the squash roasts, in a large skillet or pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and cook for 5-7 minutes (until slightly both mushrooms and onions slightly browned).
  4. Stir in the rosemary and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  5. Transfer the onion mixture to a large mixing bowl. Combine the quinoa and cranberries. Stir well to combine. Set aside.
  6. Once the squash is soft (by piercing with a fork) remove from the oven and slowly scoop the onion and quinoa mixture into the squash, fill to the top.
  7. Optional: Return the stuffed squash to the oven to heat the stuffing for an additional 2 minutes.
  8. Turn off the oven. Serve with a side salad or other non-starchy vegetables for a delicious meal!
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No Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Oat Bars

No Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Oat Bars

Pumpkin season is here! Try this simple and delicious No Bake Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars for a healthy snack or convenient on-the-go breakfast this fall season!

Creamy Roasted Broccoli Soup

Creamy Roasted Broccoli Soup

The fall season is finally here! Why not cozy up with a warm cup of this naturally gluten-free and vegetarian Creamy Roasted Broccoli Soup?   With hints of lemon and topped with parmesan cheese, this healthy version of a broccoli soup classic is sure to […]

Pesto Tilapia Sheet Pan Dinner

Pesto Tilapia Sheet Pan Dinner

Dinner in under 30 minutes with little to no

cleanup? Try this tasty and simple Pesto Baked

Tilapia Sheetpan Dinner for your next

weeknight meal!

 

 

Mealtime is Key

September is National Family Meals Month! Not only is preparing meals at home better for your wallet, it’s also better for your health! Click here for more on Family Meals Month and the health benefits of eating more at home.

 

tilapia sheetpan dinner
This Chive and Walnut Pesto can be used in so many ways. Freeze it for up to 6 months.

 

Tips for Easier (and fun) Ways to Make Meals at Home:

  • Keep your pantry nicely stocked with healthy non-perishable items such as: dried or low sodium canned beans, canned tomatoes, tomato sauces, whole grains (pasta, brown rice)
  • Don’t have the time for homemade meals every night? Try batch cooking or meal prep on a day you have time before the busy work week. For more on batch cooking and meal prep click here.
  • Pick seasonal items! This makes it fun for families to try a new produce item during its peak time.
  • Get everyone involved. Not only is eating a meal together more enjoyable, so is having extra help in the kitchen!

 

tilapia sheetpan dinner
This Pesto Tilapia Sheetpan DInner is ready in under 30 minutes with little cleanup!

 

Tilapia Sheetpan Dinner Recipe

This sheetpan dinner could not be easier. Just like a crockpot, there is very little cleanup and only one cooking method used. In this recipe, simply make the pesto ahead of time, arrange your ingredients, and bake.  Leftover pesto can be freezed for up to 6 months in an airtight (freezer-safe) container. Use leftover pesto in your favorite pasta, salads, as a spread, and marinades for other meats, fish, or tofu.

If you prefer other fish or meat items for this recipe, make sure to have the proper cooking time and temperature. The fennel can easily be roasted longer, just continue checking the meal at least halfway through cooking time. For this recipe, I turned over the vegetables halfway to allow even cooking and browning.

 

 

Pesto Tilapia Sheet Pan Dinner

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 to 4 servings (based on number of fish fillets)

Serving Size: 1 fillet with 1/2 cup vegetables

Pesto Tilapia Sheet Pan Dinner

This sheetpan dinner involves very little cleanup! Serve with whole grains or a mixed greens salad.

Ingredients

  • Chive and Walnut Pesto:
  • 4 cups arugula (or other leafy greens)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup unsalted walnuts
  • 1/4 ot 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2-4 6 ounce Tilapia fillets
  • 1-2 fennel bulbs, sliced (stems removed)
  • 3/4 - 1 cup corn kernels (equivalent to 1 ear of corn)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
  2. In a large food processor or high powered blender, combine the ingredients for the pesto and pulse until a paste consistency is achieved. Set aside.
  3. Arrange fish, fennel, and corn evenly on a greased or parchment paper lined sheetpan.
  4. Spread pesto (one tablespoon at a time) on fish fillets.
  5. Optional: Toss fennel and corn with pesto
  6. Bake tilapia 15-20 minutes until fish easily flakes. Turn vegetables over halfway through cooking time.
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Lavender Honey Glazed Apple Muffins

Lavender Honey Glazed Apple Muffins

As apple season arrives, it’s time to get out those cozy sweaters! If it isn’t obvious enough, my favorite season is fall, and yes I am a fan of anything pumpkin-flavored! With the colder weather approaching, hot cereals are the go-to breakfast routine, so why not change it up with muffins! Using a seasonal favorite combined with the uniqueness of lavender, these apple muffins will not dissapoint!


My Food Adventures

Healthy Spiced Zucchini Banana Bread

Healthy Spiced Zucchini Banana Bread

Two bread favorites are combined in this healthy treat spiced with hints of cardamom and cinnamon! Try this zucchini banana bread for a great make-ahead breakfast or post-workout snack!

We have all heard it before. When you have leftover ripened bananas make banana bread!  Well, what if you have an excess of both bananas and zucchini in your kitchen? To prevent food waste, I figured the two quick breads favorites could blend nicely together to make a zucchini banana bread. Could this be the new peanut butter and jelly, or rice and beans? Probably not, but I promise you it is delicious as a quick bread!

 

The Freezer is Your Friend

Since 2015, it is estimated that about 40% of food made in America is gone to waste. According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), up to $120 worth of groceries is wasted per an average household of four in the United States.  If you account for all of these households across the nation, that’s billions of dollars in a year. The NRDC suggests freezing your leftovers within 3-4 days and fresh fruits and vegetables that show no signs of mold. Storing extra foods in the freezer can make it easy to forget it’s there. The NRDC recommends to keep your freezer organized and meals easily accessible.What’s more upsetting is that while we continue wasting food, we cannot forget that there are others having trouble accessing food.

zucchini banana bread
Leftover spiralized zucchini? Don’t let it go to waste!

Social Media is Not the Only Beauty Critic

What would you say if I told you that most produce is wasted because it is either deformed or just “ugly”? Sad, right? These produce items are rejected by retailers and most likely end up in a landfill. This leads to the food waste issue which then leads to environmental issues that we are all unfortunately aware of.

The Ugly Fruit and Vegetable Campaign, mentioned in a recent article by Food and Nutrition Magazine encourages consumers and retailers to buy this “ugly” produce. Retailers can sell the produce at a better value which is a win-win given it makes foods more affordable for consumers. We have all heard the saying that beauty is on the inside that counts. Well, this is true for the “ugly” produce. This campaign is trying to encourage customers that the nutrients are truly the same in both aesthetic and deformed food items.

Ugly Produce is Beautiful is another campaign trying to influence consumers and retailers to be less judgmental.  Sarah Phillips, a pioneer in the food industry, creates gorgeous images and recipes to make our society more aware of these easily rejected food items.

Besides these inspiring campaigns, there is even an app called Food For All that delivers leftover food from restaurants for a cheaper cost. College students, rejoice!

 

Zucchini Banana Bread for Breakfast or a Post-Workout Snack!

Whether it is breakfast, dessert, or a snack, this quick bread provides a good source of potassium, fiber, and carbohydrates. To make it more balanced and hunger-fighting, add a protein like one tablespoon of nut butter. Another option? Serve it with a 6oz serving of protein-rich yogurt (or a dairy alternative).  Adding in the recommended protein will benefit those hard-working muscles post exercise.

The zucchini banana bread recipe includes both whole white and whole wheat flour. If you prefer avoiding the white flour altogether, use 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour for the dry ingredients portion. Don’t miss out on the flax seed meal! It adds in beneficial omega 3’s and fiber to make this bread more nutrient dense than other baked goods. Did I mention that this bread only uses 1/3 cup of vegetable oil? Thanks to the nutritious zucchini and banana pulp, this bread is still just as soft as other versions. The warm flavors of cardamom, cinnamon, and allspice will make you forget that this is also refined sugar-free!

I would like to give a very special thanks to my mother-in-law. This recipe was created with her tremendous help and support. Not only is she a beautiful person inside and out she is also an incredible baker!

 

 

Healthy Spiced Zucchini Banana Bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Healthy Spiced Zucchini Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole white flour*
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 to 1 cup banana, mashed (about 2 small bananas)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (about one small zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional**

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Mix all of the dry ingredients (not including the walnuts) in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Whisk the wet ingredients and then combine with the dry.
  4. Stir in the zucchini and optional toppings, such as the walnuts, dried fruit, etc.
  5. Pour batter into a greased or non-stick loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes using a clean knife or toothpick to test if it's done.

Notes

* If you prefer not to use white flour, use 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour for the total flour portion. **Optional toppings: dried fruits, nuts, coconut, chocolate chips

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Kathryn Pfeffer-Scanlan MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian and recent transplant to Boulder, CO. After working as an inpatient dietitian for almost five years in Boston, she is expanding her expertise in the health and wellness industry. Katie is passionate about cooking and food photography, sharing her culinary adventures on her food blog, One Hungry Bunny, and exploring her new Rocky Mountain surroundings. Follow Katie on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


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