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Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad

Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad

Lay off the mayo with some heart healthy avocado! Try my new recipe for this Creamy Avocado Macaroni Salad at your next cookout!   Hold the Mayo… When it comes to our favorite side dishes at summer cookouts, we mostly think of creamy coleslaw, potato […]

Harissa Spiced Salmon Burgers

Harissa Spiced Salmon Burgers

Add some spice in your life this summer season with these delicious and healthy Harissa Spiced Salmon Burgers! Move over beef patties!

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

Want a dish that hydrates, restores energy, and satisfies hunger? Try my new recipe for this Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl!

 

I received free samples of NuGo Nutrition bars mentioned in this post. I was compensated for this blog post. The opinions and comments of these free products are all mine.

 

Beautiful smooth and tart cherries for a sweet or savory dish, or even deliciously on their own!

 

Summer’s Sweet and Sour Pick

With cherry season here, so is the abundance of fresh pies, jams, and cheesecakes! Cherries may be most often recognized in desserts, but they are also delicious extras in savory dishes. Try tossing them in a salad or risotto, on top of bruschetta, or even as a glaze. These stunning stone fruits make an appearance from late spring to summer, so get them while you still can!

Cherries are a top pick (no pun intended) when it comes to boosting your health thanks to vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants, such as quercetin and anthocyanins to name a few. They have been studied for their possible effects on post workout recovery, our sleep cycle, cancer benefits, and even arthritis. For more scientific details, visit Eating Well’s article on the nutrition benefits of cherries.

 

cherry smoothie
Dealing with insomnia? Cherries contain a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that controls our sleep cycle.

 

 

cherry smoothie
Cherries and chocolate are the other “peanut butter and jelly”!

 

A Favorite Snack

I fell in love with NuGo Nutrition bars this year when I moved to Boulder.  Just last month, I used the NuGo Slim Crunchy Peanut Butter as a topping for various desserts, including my Creamy Peanut Butter Strawberry Chia Pudding. The NuGo Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip in my opinion is the most versatile flavor of the other versions. Thanks to its subtle sweetness, I can eat it alone, add in my yogurt, and yes, top on my smoothie bowls.

This is the ideal snack for a late afternoon or post workout. Whether I am training for my next running event or lifting weights at the gym, these bars pack in the nutrients I need to restore energy. The real dark chocolate coating makes it a perfect combination of a snack and dessert in one! Having the cherry smoothie as a post workout snack or meal will provide me with the potassium and antioxidants my sore muscles need.

More reasons why I love the NuGo Dark in Chocolate Chocolate Chip:

  • Packed with 10 grams of protein
  • 200 calories or less making it a great pre- or post-workout snack!
  • Vegan and Gluten-free for those gluten sensitive or on specialized diets
  • Rich in antioxidants from real dark chocolate

 

 

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

Chocolate Cherry Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
  • 1 cup frozen, pitted cherries (or 3/4 cup if fresh)
  • 1 medium banana, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon nut or seed butter, unsalted preferred
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, optional
  • Additional ice cubes to thicken, optional
  • 1 Nugo Dark Chocolate Chocolate Chip bar, chopped (for topping)
  • *Additional topping choices: unsweetened shredded coconut, nuts, cherries, sliced bananas

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine all of the ingredients except the toppings. Cover and blend until a smooth and thick consistency is achieved. Add additional ice cubes to thicken if necessary.
  2. Slowly transfer the smoothie mixture into a bowl and fill to the rim. Add the NuGo bar topping and additional toppings (about 1/4 cup each) of your choice.
  3. Serve cold with a spoon and enjoy!
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Light and Healthy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

Light and Healthy Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho

A fulfilling and nutritious meal in under 30 minutes! Try this summer classic, Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho for a light and healthy dish this season!     Gazpacho Basics Ice cream is not the only summer refresher! Stay cool with vegetables! Gazpacho, a cold soup summer […]

Tasty BBQ Jackfruit Naan Pizzas

Tasty BBQ Jackfruit Naan Pizzas

A quick and healthy pizza in under 30 minutes! Try these tasty BBQ jackfruit Naan pizzas for your next Meatless Monday! Jackfruit, a magical, mysterious, and mouth-watering fruit that fools even meat lovers! The delicious fruit is taking over the role of chicken and pork […]

Berry Rhubarb Mini Cheesecake Bites

Berry Rhubarb Mini Cheesecake Bites

Good things come in small sizes! Enjoy these inidividual mini cheesecake bites, bursting with berries and rhubarb, for under 200 calories!

 

More than a Pie Filling!

We may recognize rhubarb as the perfect pairing for strawberries in pies and jams. Its natural tartness balances out the sweetness of fruits like strawberries and blueberries. Besides delicious desserts, rhubarb can make an excellent addition to savory dishes such as a fish topping or even a fancy cocktail. Get them while you still can! Rhubarb season generally peaks between April to late June.

Ranging from light green to a gorgeous pink hue resembling colorful celery stalks, rhubarb is loaded with beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins C and K, and heart healthy potassium. In only a 1/2 cup serving, rhubarb contains at least 1 gram of fiber and only 13 calories. For more about the benefits on rhubarb feel free to visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food and Nutrition Magazine.

 

 

mini cheesecake
Using granola as a crust adds in healthier fats and protein!

 

 

mini cheesecake
Mini cheesecake bites prior to raspberry topping!

 

 

Mini Cheesecake for One

These individual mini cheesecake bites are fun for a group or even solo! Each bite sized treat is less than 200 calories!  Thanks to the addition of greek yogurt and fruit, this cheesecake has much less saturated fat and sugar. Instead of graham cracker crust most commonly seen in cheesecake recipes, I used a granola with less added sugar. Many granola products can carry excessive amounts of added sugar, so always check the nutrition label and aim for less than 10 grams of added sugar per serving.  My new local favorite, Boulder Granola, carries only 2 grams of sugar per serving.

This cheesecake recipe took a few attempts to get the right consistency and flavor. Actually, this was my first experience making cheesecake. I guess you can say I go more for savory than sweet! Baking continues to be a mystery, but as long as I have my blog I will continue to share my adventures in the kitchen!

 

Berry Rhubarb Mini Cheesecake Bites

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours

Yield: 12 mini cheesecake bites

Serving Size: 1 cheesecake

Calories per serving: 191

Fat per serving: 11

Berry Rhubarb Mini Cheesecake Bites

Ingredients

  • Granola Crust:
  • 2 cups granola
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted
  • Cheesecake Filling:
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 package of cream cheese (1/3 less fat version used in this recipe), softened at room temperature
  • 6 oz whole milk greek yogurt, strained
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup raspberries, finely chopped (thawed if frozen)
  • 1/2 cup rhubarb, finely chopped (thawed if frozen)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Prior to preparing the cheesecake filling and crust, set aside a greased 12 muffin tin ( I used parchment paper cupcake liners).
  3. In a large food processor, pulse together the granola and oil.
  4. Evenly distribute the crust mixture to the bottom of the muffin tins, about 1-2 tablespoons per scoop. Press down with your fingers or using the back of a spoon flatten out the crusts. Bake the mini crusts for 5 minutes in the oven or until slightly browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine, combine all of the cheesecake filling ingredients except the egg and fruits. Using a mixer, whip all of the ingredients until a smooth consistency is formed. Make sure there are no clumps of cheesecake. Add the egg and whip until incorporated (do not overmix the egg). Stir in the fruit. If you prefer pureed fruit, blend together the rasperries and rhubarb in a blender or food processor prior to baking.
  6. Spoon the cheesecake filling up to the top of the muffin tins. Gently transfer the muffin pan to the oven and bake for 20 minutes (or until the middle of each cheesecake slightly jiggles).
  7. Once done, remove from the oven and let cool. Transfer the muffin tins to the refrigerator and chill for at least 3 hours to let the cheesecakes set.
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Sauteed Radishes with Pesto and Chives

Sauteed Radishes with Pesto and Chives

A simple side dish in under 20 minutes! Try my new recipe for Sautéed Radishes with Pesto and Chives for this spring and summer!   Radiant Radishes   You may have seen radishes in salads or as a beautiful flower garnish at restaurants. Or, maybe […]

Basic Vegetable Frittata Muffins

Basic Vegetable Frittata Muffins

Try these protein-packed frittata muffins for your next brunch or meal prep for a busy week ahead in only 30 minutes!   Skipping breakfast due to a hectic work schedule? Or planning a summer brunch with friends? These vegetable frittata muffins are quick and guaranteed tasty!  […]

Creamy Peanut Butter Strawberry Chia Pudding

Creamy Peanut Butter Strawberry Chia Pudding

A new summer treat filled with healthy fats and protein! Try my new Strawberry Chia Pudding with a chocolate peanut butter topping!

 

I received free samples of the NuGo nutrition bars mentioned in this post. I was compensated for this blog post.

 

You could say I am on a berry kick! Last week I shared with you my Berry Lavender Lemonade recipe and now, a strawberry chia pudding! It is no coincidence either. As summer approaches, so does berry season! Bursting with vitamin C and fiber, berries should be your next favorite fruit in desserts, sauces, or even breakfast recipes.

 

strawberry chia pudding
NuGo Slim Crunchy Peanut Butter Nutrition Bars for a nutritious layer!

 

 

Watch your back Flax!

When it comes to summer time desserts, we mostly think of cold pies, scoops of ice cream, and decadent puddings. Trendy versions of ice cream are now “nice cream” made from frozen bananas and pies are now “no bake”. A not-so-new pudding version is slowly taking over at a cafe and smoothie store near you. Yes it’s chia pudding.

I did my first simply chia pudding chia pudding last year.  You may notice a difference in the quality of the photos as I continue to learn more about food photography! Many of us may ask, well what is a chia? Sounds like a wild animal, doesn’t it? Chia is a type of plant that provides the nutritious superfood chia seeds. You may recognize chia plants from the tv commercials showing grassy plants shaped as a puppy or even Mickey Mouse.  Similar to flaxseed, these tiny, but mighty seeds are packed with healthy fats, protein, and fiber!

 

 

strawberry chia pudding

 

 

How-to: Strawberry Chia Pudding

Just like my simple chia pudding, and most standard recipes, the trick is to let the chia seed pudding chill overnight (or for at least four hours). This gives the seeds time to absorb the milk which results in  a more viscous consistency. Most times making chia pudding I have always used almond milk. For this version, I finally tried it with low fat coconut milk. Coconut milk and other milks, like soy or cow’s milk will lend a bit more creaminess thanks to their adequate fat content.

To give the popular chia pudding a new take I used my favorite nutrition bars. I have been eating NuGo Nutrition bars since I first reached out to NuGo several months ago. Their passion for quality, plant-based ingredients in their bars and recipes is such an admiration. I have contributed previously to their blog about plant-based meals and really enjoy the recipes they share. Not only are they extremely considerate of their consumers, but they also value good quality nutrition in their food products.

 

 

strawberry chia pudding
Strawberry Chia Pudding with nutrition bars make a fun snack or dessert!

 

In this recipe, I used the NuGo Slim Crunchy Peanut Butter bars as a middle layer in the chia pudding.  What I love about these bars is that each are packed with 17 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber! This pudding parfait can be excellent as a dessert or breakfast! If you prefer the strawberry chia pudding without the bars, I highly recommend trying these bars as a new go-to snack. The box of bars doesn’t even last a full week in my house!

 

Creamy Strawberry Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes

Serving Size: 1/2 cup with one nutrition bar for topping

Creamy Strawberry Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

Ingredients

  • 2 cups strawberries (thawed if frozen), stems removed
  • 1 can or 1 1/2 cups lite coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup plus two tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (for those gluten sensitive, make sure certified gluten free)
  • 4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 NuGo Slim Crunchy Peanut Butter bars, chopped, optional

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine the strawberries and coconut milk. Pulse until well blended and the strawberries resemble a puree. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chia seeds, strawberries and coconut milk mixture, vanilla extract, and maple syrup. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.
  3. Transfer the mixture to food containers with an airtight lid and cover.
  4. Chill for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. This allows the chia seeds to absorb the liquid and form a viscous consistency.
  5. Once a desired pudding consistency is achieved, layer with the chopped NuGo bars, optional.
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Healthy Lemonade with Berries and Lavender

Healthy Lemonade with Berries and Lavender

Summer is almost here and so are our busy schedules! Try this Healthy Lemonade with Berries and Lavender to de-stress and relax the mind!   With the warmer weather coming, this lavender lemonade will be your next favorite summer refreshment or cocktail! Read on to learn more about the […]


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.


All Time Favorites

Healthy Lemonade with Berries and Lavender

Healthy Lemonade with Berries and Lavender

Summer is almost here and so are our busy schedules! Try this Healthy Lemonade with Berries and Lavender to de-stress and relax the mind!   With the warmer weather coming, this lavender lemonade will be your next favorite summer refreshment or cocktail! Read on to learn more about the […]


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