No Meal Planning But Plenty of Cookies

I quickly interrupt your sugar coma for a much healthier chili recipe…


The BOY has decided that we wouldn’t meal plan this week and since I spent the weekend up to my elbows in chocolate, sugars, and candy, I was okay winging it for dinner.  But, I did want a healthy option for lunch this week.


I can’t figure out how this recipe hasn’t made the blog yet!  If I had to guess, I’d say that it is hiding somewhere on one of these pages because it is one of my all time favorite chilies, but somehow I missed it on my Recipe Page.  This is another classic…I’ve been making it for years.  But since the BOY is not a fan of eggplant or zucchini, I haven’t made it as often this past year.




However, when I walked into the store with nothing planned and saw eggplant and zucchini on sale in the bins by the front door, I knew that I needed to have this chili.  It’s probably strange to see me using my stove instead of my favorite crockpot.  I have made this recipe in the crockpot before, but just didn’t have the time this week.




I love how easily this recipe comes together…it is so low maintenance!




And totally healthy and filling!




I was thrilled to have it for lunch this week, and you’ll love having something healthy in your fridge to dine on in between cookies and sweets!




Turkey and Vegetable Chili

From Weight Watchers Cookbook Everyone Loves Chicken



1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lb Lean ground turkey breast

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic gloves, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (I subbed in a can of mild green chilies)

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (low sodium if able)

1 small eggplant, diced

2 zucchini, diced

2 tsp chili Powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt (optional in my opinion)

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 cup water



Heat the oil in a nonstick Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the turkey ad cook, breaking it p with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until softened and fragrant, about 4 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, water, eggplant, zucchini, chili powder, cumin, salt, and oregano; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well softened and the flavors are blended, about 40 minutes.

Serve covered in your favorite toppings ie cheese, scallions, and sour cream

Freezes well!

Almond Butter + Zucchini = Bread

A few friends and I have been talking about a camping trip all summer.  A few weeks ago, we determined that Labor Day Weekend was the only weekend we were all free to get away.  My brother lent me his hiking pack, a sleeping bag, a head lamp, and some other outdoorsy type stuff.  My most experienced camping friend suggested that we do a backpacking trip in Michigan and we were all for it! 




We decided to split up the food responsibilities.  The goal was to pack non-perishable, light weight foods since we had to carry everything with us on our backs.  Along with some granola and trail mix, I am in charge of breakfast.  That’s perfect because it is my favorite meal, and I had some blog inspired ideas already brewing.


The first was Tina’s Zucchini Almond Butter Muffins.  I’ve had my eye on these for awhile and was just waiting for a few minutes to shred up some zucchini.  The time came on last Monday and I decided that I would make the muffins into loaves for my Labor Day camping trip.  My only hang up…I didn’t want to use one of my farm fresh eggs which I absolutely LOVE for baking.  I know…sounds crazy, but I only have a few Wisconsin eggs left.  So…I did a little online research and decided to substitute in a flax egg for binding and applesauce for flavor.




It created a thick dough that fit perfectly into 2 small bread pans.




The bread baked up nicely, which I was excited to see after my egg experimentation.




I was eager to try this bread, after drooling over Tina’s muffins for weeks, so I sliced off a warm slice.



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Believe it or not, almond butter and zucchini taste GREAT together!




I ate one mini loaf of bread during the week and froze one for our camping trip.  It froze, thawed, and traveled really well.  We ate it morning one of our trip smothered with almond butter and fig spread and still had a few slices left for the trail.




I have many more backpacking photos of the stunning Manistee River and a few more camping recipes to come.






Paleo Zucchini Almond Butter Muffins (or Bread)

Recipe from Carrots N Cake



1 cup almond flour/meal

3/4 cup almond butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup grated zucchini, pressed and drained

3 eggs (or 3 Tbsp flax with 6 Tbsp warm water and 1/4 cup applesauce)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp honey



Preheat oven to 350*F.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and blend well.

Coat muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray (or use paper liners) and divide batter among nine cups.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until muffins are cooked all the way through.

Allow to cool before serving.


Makes 9 muffins

Note: To make into bread, follow instructions as written.  Pour into 2 mini loaf pans and bake for ~30 minutes.

Coconut Ginger Zucchini Bread

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve been on a bit of a zucchini bread kick lately. 




I had previously been eyeing (and telling everyone who would listen) about this Boozy Banana Bread recipe. And, I had one last zucchini left when I came across this recipe on Little Bitty Bakes. I drew inspiration from both recipes to create this Coconut Ginger Zucchini Bread.




I tried to ‘lighten’ up the bread a bit.  Mostly because I knew that I would want to eat the entire loaf and would feel better if I used some healthier ingredients.




If you are not a fan of Whole Wheat flour (because it does change the texture of the bread), go ahead and use just white flour (or whatever flour your prefer).  However, I found that the wheat/white combination made this bread really hearty and delicious!




Turbinado (or raw sugar) is my favorite to use when making bread.  I am sure it is good in cookies and other pastries, but I haven’t experimented with it much.  You need less sugar to get the same sweet taste, and I love the flavor that it adds to quick breads!


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If you’re not a huge fan of coconut, fear not.  Neither am I, but in a bread like this it adds just a hint of taste that compliments the ginger and cinnamon.




I absolutely LOVED this bread!  And as predicted, I wanted to eat the entire loaf.  Especially, when I tasted how good it was topped with this Trader Joe’s Fig Butter.






I saved a few slices for breakfast, shared a bite with my Mom and brought the rest of the bread to work where it disappeared quickly.  I was worried about the whole wheat texture of the bread, but people really liked it.  The only thing I would think about adding to this bread is a little applesauce for moisture, but it is certainly not necessary!


Have some leftover shredded zucchini???  Don’t forget you can freeze it for later OR try out one of my other favorite recipes:


Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread


Zucchini Pineapple Quick Bread



As for the Boozy Banana Bread…I see THAT in my immediate future!




Coconut Ginger Zucchini Bread

Inspired by Liz’s Ginger Spice Zucchini Bread


1 cup raw sugar or Turbinado

1/3 cup butter (or butter substitute…I used Earth Balance)

2 eggs

1 medium zucchini, shred finely

3/4 cup white flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp ginger (add more if you’d like…I did!)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flours, soda, salt, ginger, and cinnamon.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the zucchini and eggs; stir until mixed well. Add the flour mixture and stir just until combined.  Do not over mix!

Fold in the coconut.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Allow the bread to cool before removing from the pan.

Meatless Monday {On Friday}

The BOY took his last final on Monday and immediately hit the city with his law school friends in celebration!  Although he asked me to join him, I had had a busy day of personal training and acupuncture (along with laundry and all of the other things that didn’t get done while I was in class Saturday and Sunday).  Since I knew that I was on my own for dinner, I was psyched for a meatless Monday.  When I got back from my appointments, I was starving and although I didn’t have a specific recipe for dinner, I had lots of fresh produce and grains that I knew I could turn into a filling dinner.  I drew inspiration from the Whole Foods sweet potato quinoa burgers when ‘creating’ this meal.




I shredded up a whole bunch of veggies and stirred them into cooked quinoa topped with dried cranberries.


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I wasn’t sure what to do regarding spices, so I went with the basics (basil and sea salt) and added in a few of my new Spice House finds.




To hold the mixture together, I stirred in egg whites and formed 6 patties.


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I baked them in the oven for ~ 15 minutes, flipping one time.


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Even after 15 minutes, a few of my patties still broke apart a bit when I removed them.  I figured this was okay because it happens even with my Whole Foods burgers sometimes : )




Meanwhile, I roasted up some veggies as a side.


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Not all of my burgers fell apart, but even the ones that did, tasted great!




Everything came together to make an incredibly tasty and filling dinner.  The burgers have a strong veggie flavor and the basil is the perfect compliment.






And the leftover burgers (although not in true burger form) were just as tasty for lunch the next day!





Vegetable and Quinoa Burgers

Makes 6 burgers


1 1/2 cups shredded veggies (I used zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms)

1 cup cooked quinoa

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 tsp sea salt

pinch of white pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp basil

2 egg whites


Stir together your veggies, quinoa, and spices.  Stir in 2 egg whites.  Form into 6 burgers and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, flipping once, until starting to brown on the top.


***This recipe is a work in progress and forgiving!  Get creative and have fun! 

PS I would definitely add in some sweet potato next time too!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

Warning: this bread tastes nothing like zucchini and it is dangerously good!




So I had some leftover zucchini from this tasty bread, and I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.









To make Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread.




I haven’t made this bread in a little while and I forgot how unbelievable it is!




It has the right amount of chocolate flavor and the zucchini makes it moist and delicious!




And with extra chocolate chips scattered throughout the bread, this breakfast tastes more like dessert!




It will be your new favorite zucchini recipe!

PS This bread freezes well!



Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

From Cooking Light July 2004



    3/4 cup sugar

    3 tablespoons vegetable oil

    2 large eggs

    1 cup applesauce

    2 cups all-purpose flour

    2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

    1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)

    1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

    Cooking spray


      Preheat oven to 350°.

      Place first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed until well blended. Stir in applesauce.

      Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating just until moist. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack, and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.



      Looking for more zucchini recipes this spring:


      Zucchini Pineapple Quick Bread


      Moroccan Couscous with Saffron


      Oil-Free Zucchini Walnut Raisin Loaf


      Zucchini Bread Pancakes for One


      Zucchini, Sweet Potato, and Raisin Muffins


      Eggplant, Zucchini, and Tomato Tian


      Sweet Cream Cheese Filled Zucchini Bread


      Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownies


      Zucchini Pasta



      What is your favorite zucchini recipe (other than this one that is)?

      Zucchini Season

      I get so excited for zucchini season!  Sounds crazy, right?  I wish that I had zucchini in my garden…actually, I just wish I had a garden or at least a neighbor who grows the HUGE zucchini and is always happy to share.




      Why do I get so excited for large fresh zucchini?  Well, I like them on the grill and they are super tasty in soup, but my favorite thing to do with zucchini is to bake with them!




      One of my favorite summer time breads is this Zucchini Pineapple Bread that I discovered a few years ago in Cooking Light Magazine.




      Of course it was the first zucchini bread I made this season!  I know I shared it with you last summer, but it is SOO AMAZING that I had to bake (and share) it again.




      This recipe makes two loaves.  I gave one to a friend and froze the other.  One little piece of bread broke away while I was sliding it out of the pan.  I would have been sad about it except that I scooped it right  into my mouth for a taste!




      If you are starting to see zucchini popping up at the farmer’s market or you are beginning to get them in your CSA, save this recipe!




      Just an FYI if you find the really big zucchini…shredded zucchini can be refrigerated for a day or two OR frozen to pull out for future baked goods.  The rest of my zucchini went into the fridge for my next baking project (coming soon!!!)






      Zucchini Pineapple Quick Bread

      From Cooking Light June 2008

      Makes 2 loaves of bread




      3 cups sifted all-purpose flour (about 13 1/2 ounces)

      1 teaspoon salt

      1 teaspoon baking soda

      1/2 teaspoon baking powder

      1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

      2 large eggs

      2 cups sugar

      2 cups grated zucchini (about 1 1/2 medium zucchini)

      2/3 cup canola oil

      1/2 cup egg substitute

      2 teaspoons vanilla extract

      2 (8-ounce) cans crushed pineapple in juice, drained

      Baking spray with flour



      1. Preheat oven to 325°.

      2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, salt, and next 3 ingredients (through ground cinnamon) in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

      3. Beat eggs with a mixer at medium speed until foamy. Add sugar, zucchini, oil, egg substitute, and vanilla, beating until well blended. Add zucchini mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Fold in pineapple. Spoon batter into 2 (9 x 5–inch) loaf pans coated with baking spray. Bake at 325° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.


      This recipe freezes well!

      It is slightly addicting!

      A Kind Dinner

      After 3 days of saltines, my appetite came back with a vengeance tonight!  When I got home tonight, I was happy to find this clean meal from The Kind Diet book waiting for me in the fridge. 



      This was the first recipe that I tried from the book, and I must say, I was not disappointed. 



      The fresh roasted veggies are perfect for this light, yet hardy meal!



      Add in some whole wheat couscous.



      And seasoned veggie broth…sadly though, as mentioned before, I was unable to find saffron, so I subbed ins some other spices.  I think it will be MUCH better with the saffron, but is still worth making without it.



      And then you just have to wait…



      For this delicious dish to be ready.



      It makes a healthy side or a filling meal.



      And I knew just where to go for a little something sweet…the freezer is full of treats!




      Moroccan Couscous with Saffron

      Recipe from Alicia Silverstone

      Serves 6



      • 2 cup(s) of peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/4” to 1/2” cubes
      • 2 cup(s) of yellow onion, large dice
      • 1 1/2 cup(s) of carrots, cut into 1/4” to 1/2” cubes
      • 1 1/2 cup(s) of zucchini, cut into 3/4” cubes
      • 2 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
      • 1 tsp. of fine sea salt
      • 1 1/2 tsp. of freshly ground black pepper
      • 1 1/2 cup(s) of vegetable broth
      • 2 tbsp. of Earth Balance butter
      • 1/4 tsp. of ground cumin
      • 1/2 tsp. of saffron threads
      • 1 1/2 cup(s) of whole wheat couscous
      • 2 scallions, white and green parts, chopped


      1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
      2. Place the squash, onion, carrots and zucchini on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
      3. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once with a spatula about midway through.
      4. While the vegetables roast, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan.
      5. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the butter, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, saffron and salt to taste.
      6. Cover the pan and steep for 15 minutes.
      7. Scrape the roasted vegetables and their juices into a large bowl, and add the couscous.
      8. Bring the vegetable broth back to a boil, and pour over the couscous mixture all at once.
      9. Cover tightly with a plate and allow to stand for 15 minutes.
      10. Add the scallions, toss the couscous and vegetables with a fork, and serve.