March 31, 2014

Cheesy Italian Chicken Bake


Hi everyone!

Today, I wore my slippers into my car... and almost left for work. So I went upstairs and changed my shoes and brewed another cup of coffee. Yep, Mondays...

Anyway, I thought I could at least get a yummy recipe posted that takes very little prep and time. That way, if you're experiencing a similar Monday to me, you can have dinner taken care of quickly.


Chop about 5-6 roma tomatoes, 1/2 can of artichoke hearts (I did not use marinated), and 2 cloves of garlic and place in a bowl. Drizzle with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tsp of sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix in 2 Tbsp of all purpose flour as the chicken and veggies will create a lot of juice.


Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray and lay 4-5 chicken breasts. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread veggie mix around and between the breasts. Stick in a 350F oven for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is done.


Then top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese and broil for a few minutes until cheese is browned and bubbly. Add fresh basil and it will wilt a bit from the heat.


Serve over pasta or with a side salad. I used this cute multicolored pasta from Trader Joe's. Not too much though! Just about 1/2 cup.


Enjoy!

Jessica

March 30, 2014

Homemade Iced Coffee

Good morning!

Before you head to the coffee shop and pay around $3 for your iced coffee, check my easy recipe out.


Now that it's warmer, iced coffee sounds so satisfying. With this easy recipe you can have your own home brewed iced coffee in a big jug in the fridge and it'll last you a couple of weeks, depending on how much you drink.


Simply add about 1 lb course ground coffee and gallon of water in a large bowl or jug and let sit 24 hours. This does not need to be refrigerated. You can stir it around from time to time.

When it's ready, place a strainer over a large pitcher and line with a coffee liner or cheese cloth. Pour in the grounds/water solution a little bit at a time. The strainer and coffee liner will catch the grounds and allow the cold brewed coffee to drip in to your pitcher. You will have to replace the liner a few times as it gets saturated with grounds. The whole process takes about an hour. I was watching a movie during it, so I would pour enough to almost start trickling over the liner and then walk away for 15 minutes.

(Yes, I believe my sink is from 1973.)

Once you strain all the coffee, you should have about a gallon of home brewed iced coffee at your disposal. Keep in the fridge. Typically, cold brewed coffee is much stronger than drip, so I like to pour about half coffee half almond milk into my glass. Sweeten as desired.


Jessica

March 28, 2014

Best Ever Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos

Hi everyone!

Last night, I made what I consider one of my top dishes ever! Seriously. It was a a flavor explosion in my mouth. I am a big fan of fish and shrimp tacos, especially in San Diego, the supposed origin of the fish taco. (See here for more info on that)


In reality, the concept of a shrimp taco is pretty simple. Shrimp, tortilla, some type of sauce, and of course, avocado. But what sauce and marinade is really gonna kick these tacos up a notch? I found it! And it's very simple.


I used a pound of raw, deveined and peeled shrimp. But after my boyfriend and I easily gobbled down every last shrimp, you may want to go with 2 pounds. ;-) Marinate the shrimp in a combination of honey, tequila (I used El Jimador Reposado. As a liquor promo girl, I'm picky about my liquors, and El Jimador is a great, inexpensive 100% agave tequila), fresh squeezed lime juice, cumin, and onion. Leave marinating in the fridge for 1-3 hours.

Before you start to cook the shrimp, have all your toppings prepared because shrimp only take a few minutes to cook. I made a super duper easy chipotle crema to top the tacos with. All you do is add 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (canned) and 1 cup of Greek yogurt to a food processor or blender and pulse until blended. I added a couple tablespoons of milk to thin it out enough to pour into a squeeze bottle. You can also sub sour cream for the yogurt, but you know how I feel about my Greek yog.

Heat a skillet on medium high with a Tbsp of olive oil. Pour out the marinade from your shrimp. Dump in shrimp and make sure to spread in an even layer quickly. Cook for about 2 minutes on one side, then flip the shrimp and cook another 2 minutes until they are pink. Be careful not to overcook.


I like to use corn tortillas because they are MUCH healthier and pretty low calorie. Plus the corn gives it that traditional Mexican flavor. Heat the tortillas if you need to and get ready to assemble! I put 4-5 shrimp in a tortilla and topped with a couple slices of avocado, a sprinkling of fresh cilantro, and a drizzle of the chipotle crema. Sooo ridiculously good!

The tequila lime flavor is super yummy and then the chipotle crema gives it a nice spice without burning your mouth. The avocado needs no explanation. :-)


Jessica

Best Ever Tequila Lime Shrimp Taco

1-2 lbs raw shrimp, deveined and peeled (unless you want to do that yourself, which is a lot cheaper!)
1/2 cup tequila
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 sweet onion, diced
salt to taste

For the chipotle crema:
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (canned)
1 cup of Greek yogurt
1-2 Tbsp of milk if necessary to thin out sauce

Garnishes:
1-2 avocados, sliced
Fresh cilantro
corn tortillas
lime wedges

Mix all ingredients for marinade in a large bowl or freezer size Ziploc. Add shrimp and marinate in the fridge for 1-3 hours.

Add chipotle peppers and yogurt to a food processor and blender and pulse until well blended. Pour into bowl or squeeze bottle.

Heat a skillet on medium high with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Remove shrimp from marinade and place in a single layer on the skillet for 2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for 2 minutes or until pink and cooked through.

Place a few shrimp on each corn tortilla. Top with avocado slices, fresh cilantro, and a drizzle of chipotle crema. Garnish with limes.

March 25, 2014

HIIT It or Quit It

I'd like to introduce you to my good friend -- HIIT -- High Intensity Interval Training.


Imagine 10-15 minute bursts of vigorous exercising 2 to 3 times/week that has MORE BENEFITS than an hour long run...

Too good to be true?

It's 100% true and more.

High Intensity Interval Training

This is primarily composed of 30-45 seconds of sprinting, cycling, stair climbing, etc at your maximum intensity, and then 30-60 seconds of low intensity walking or jogging.

For example, for 45 seconds sprint at about a 12 on a treadmill or an all out sprint somewhere outside, then reduce it down to a 3.5 and walk for 60 seconds. Are you wondering how fast a "sprint" actually is? Imagine you're being chased by a mountain lion and run that fast.

Repeat 3-8 times.

What does this do for you?

- Increases your anaerobic fitness level (endurance training only works your aerobic level, but you need to work both or you're just half assing your time at the gym)

- Raises your HGH (human growth hormone). At age 30, this hormone declines rapidly. This hormone is what keeps you fit, healthy, and young. Looking for anti-aging secrets? Here it is and it's free. Doing HIIT keeps this hormone level raised, thus, slows down the aging process and keeps you feeling damn good!

- Preserves muscle mass. This is especially important if you're looking to tone and get rid of any excess flab. Hours of steady state cardio eats your muscle, so you end up burning any muscle you do build with weight training, thus, the flab doesn't tighten.

- Increased post-exercise oxygen consumption. You keep burning calories after the work out. Unlike steady state cardio, when you pretty much stop burning calories when you leave the gym or stop the work out, HIIT keeps you burning more calories 1-2 hours after you stop.

- Reduced abdominal and subcutaneous (around organs) fat. Steady state does not burn fat this way.

- Increases your metabolic rate. You'll burn calories and fat more efficiently.

- Saves time. Get the same results and more from 15-20 minutes of HIIT and you can throw in weight training or yoga and be out of the gym at the same time as you were after jogging or using the elliptical for an hour.

You can do HIIT with almost any exercise you want. You can do pushups for 50 secs/march in place for 10. You can do kettle bell swings for 50 secs/jump rope for 10 seconds. The variation and intensity can be developed based on your individual preference and fitness level.

The basic premise you should understand, is to go ALL OUT until you feel like you can't breathe/are going to pass out/might die (not really), and then take it down to low intensity and catch your breath for a bit. Then, go ALL OUT again!!! And repeat. You should only get to about 20 minutes max of HIIT, otherwise it becomes too exhausting for your body.

You will build up how many times you can repeat sets of high and low intensity. You may only be able to do two or three at first. But eventually, like with any exercise, you will build up the strength. Once you're comfortable, increase the reps, jog during low intensity instead of walk, etc.

There are tons and tons of HIIT work outs online. My personal favorite is Melissa Bender. She has 100s of work outs on her blog that are free.

I also use a HIIT timer free app on my phone called Seconds so I can time my intervals.

There is a lot of info out there on HIIT and all the benefits. I encourage you to check it out. Here's a good example of a HIIT work out:


Remember: If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you. Is that 30 minute jog on the treadmill still challenging you or is it just part of your routine now? Might be time for a change...

March 24, 2014

Baked Strawberry Banana Oatmeal

Hi everyone!

It's been a week since I've posted, eek! To make up for it, I'm posting probably the most popular recipe I've ever made. I've been asked for the recipe multiple times, even by a guy who just saw my boyfriend's baked oatmeal he brought to work. It is seriously amazing. When you first say, "I made baked oatmeal," people kind of look at you crazy. Baked oatmeal...what? But trust me, they love it! It's very adaptable as well.

*If you wanted to substitute fruit or leave out nuts, whatever, it's very easy to alter.

But I'm sticking with my tried and true baked strawberry banana with walnuts and chocolate chips.

First, you mix up your oats, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Slice 1 cup strawberries. Mix in half of those, 1/4 cup walnuts, and a 1/4 cup chocolate chips to the dry mix. Pour it into your greased 9 x 13 or 8 x 8 baking dish. Top with the remaining sliced strawberries, walnuts, and chocolate chips.


Using the same bowl (easy cleanup, yay!) melt 3 tbsp of butter (or applesauce if you wanted to do a vegan dish). Pour in two cups of milk of choice. I used Silk Almond Coconut, but you can sub any type of milk. Add 2 tsp vanilla and 1 egg (leave out for vegan, sub 1/4 cup applesauce) and whisk all together. Slowly and evenly pour the wet mixture over the dry.


Now, give the dish a little shake to evenly distribute the wet mixture into the dry. You might have to tilt the dish a bit to evenly coat all the oats.


Slice 1 banana thinly and top the oatmeal with the banana slices. You may have to use two bananas depending on how thinly you slice it and if you use a 9 x 13 versus an 8 x 8 dish.


Pop the dish into a preheated 375F oven for 30-35 minutes until the oatmeal looks evenly browned.


Serve warm right out of the oven or warmed up the next day. It warms up fantastically for a quick breakfast (or snack!). I like to cut into 6 portions and keep in Tupperware in the fridge. So easy for my 6am mornings.


Each serving (1/6 of the casserole) has about 350 calories, so it makes for a hearty breakfast. You get fiber, protein, and fruit in every bite. As I said, this recipe is so adaptable. You can easily leave out the chocolate chips if you need to cut back on sugar and/or replace the brown sugar with stevia. Or leave it out and drizzle honey or maple syrup over the top. Sub the fruit and nut options, whatever you want!

I'd love to hear what kind of creative and delicious combinations you come up with so leave a comment telling me what you make!

Enjoy!

Jessica

Baked Strawberry Banana Oatmeal
Adapted from Inspired Taste
Serves: 6
Calories: 350

2 cups (175 g) old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup (70 grams) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (55 grams) walnuts, chopped
1 cup (125 grams) sliced strawberries
1/3 cup (58 grams) semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
2 cups (473 ml) almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 large egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled, thinly sliced


March 17, 2014

Gluten Free Soaked Oatmeal Pancakes


Hi everyone!

These soaked oatmeal pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast recipes ever and ridiculously easy! I found them about 2 years ago on Pinterest (link) and have made them tons of times since then. They have an unusual method, but they taste heavenly and they are super healthy! I'm all about lemon poppy seed pancakes with a lemon glaze at my favorite breakfast spot in my hometown, Austin, TX. But I know those are really more like dessert. :-) So, when I'm not eating the amazing lemon poppy seed pancakes, I make these "soaked" oatmeal pancakes and I'm still pretty dang satisfied.

The night before you want to eat them, you add 1.5 cups of old fashioned oats (not quick or 1-minute oats), 1/4 cup yogurt, and 1/2 cup warm water to a bowl. Mix together until oats are damp and then leave in a warm place on the counter overnight. The reason for this "soaking" is to start a fermentation process with the oats, which are a grain. Supposedly fermenting grains helps to make them easier to digest as well as bring out more of their nutrients.


Am I convinced this happens after 12 hours? No. But who cares? These pancakes are damn good, so I ain't changin' the recipe up. Plus, I do think this process makes the oats softer and chewier which helps with the great thick texture of the pancake. But here's what your "soaking" batter will look like.


In the morning, or whenever you choose to eat these (breakfast for dinner is a good choice sometimes), you will add the remaining ingredients. Crack 3 eggs into a bowl along with 1 tsp baking powder, a pinch of salt, 1.5 tsp cinnamon, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk together, then pour into the soaked oats. The oats will be kind of hard and stuck together, but eventually you will get the eggs mixed in. Batter will be lumpy.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and use coconut oil or butter to grease. Add about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. You might have to spread the batter out a bit with a fork or spoon so that it gets thin enough to cook. I always end up with about 6 pancakes, or 3 servings.


Allow pancake to cook around 4 minutes until edges begin to crisp and you see bubbles forming. Then flip to the other side. That's where I always have trouble... and fling the batter a bit. But maybe you are a pro-pancake flipper and don't have that problem. Cook for another 3 minutes or so until both sides are equally browned.


Now you're ready to serve! I like to add organic strawberry jelly and a touch of real maple syrup (none of that HFC junk!). But it's up to your taste buds. You could add nut butter, plain syrup... the possibilities are endless.



And the best part of these pancakes aside from the scrumptiousness, is that they are only about 224 calories per serving (2 of 6 pancakes), with 11 grams of protein. I find that the protein and fat from the eggs really holds me over more than regular old oatmeal. This complete and hearty breakfast is definitely fuel for the journey.


All gone!

Enjoy!

Jessica

Flour-Free Soaked Oatmeal Pancakes

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup yogurt (I use Greek, but any kind will work)
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
coconut oil or butter for cooking

Directions

The day before you wish to serve the pancakes for breakfast combine the oats, warm water, and yogurt in a medium bowl. Mix well, mashing the oats down into the liquid as much as possible. Leave in a warm place overnight, or for about 12 hours.

In the morning preheat your skillet over a medium heat.

Whisk the eggs, baking powder, salt, and other flavorings together in a small bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the oat mixture and stir to combine. The oats will seem hard and stuck together at first, but will eventually loosen up and mix. Batter will be lumpy.

Allow your coconut oil or butter to melt in your warm skillet. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter on the skillet for each pancake. Gently spread the batter until 1/16-1/8 inch thick.

Allow to cook until bubbles form and the edges and top begin to dry out, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and allow to cook another 3 minutes or so.

Serve warm with butter, nut butter, jam, honey, or real maple syrup.

March 15, 2014

Skinny Baked Sesame Honey Chicken

Hi everyone!

So, I have to admit, I've always been nervous trying to make Asian dishes. The stir frying, all the necessary ingredients I never seem to have on hand... I get intimidated. However, I finally succeeded at creating a sesame chicken dish that was amazing! Also, it's much healthier than traditionally fried sesame chicken you get from restaurants. The reason for this, aside from knowing every single ingredient that goes into the dish, is that it's actually baked!


It really didn't take me much time at all. The longest process was 45 minutes baking in the oven, while I waited hungrily for the chicken to finish. But during this time, I prepared a side of asparagus and zucchini sauteed in a bit of butter and garlic. Since the sesame honey chicken does have kind of a lot of sugar in it, I determined I didn't need to add another carb like rice. You're already getting carbs from the brown sugar, ketchup, and honey that goes into the sauce. But you could stick with the Asian theme and have broccoli, mushrooms, red bell peppers, etc. I just happened to have zucchini and asparagus on hand.


First I cut up 4 chicken breasts into cubes. Then I put about 1 cup of corn starch in a gallon size Ziploc and 3 beaten eggs in another gallon size Ziploc bag. I used tongs and put the chicken chunks into the cornstarch bag and shook until all chicken pieces were covered. The next part gets a little messy. You will need to take the cornstarch covered chicken out of the first bag and place it into the egg filled bag. Shake around again until the egg has saturated the chicken. The mixture will be very thick. You could also do this same process by putting the cornstarch and egg in two separate bowls, but I didn't feel like touching raw chicken and egg.

Plus, look at my adorable pig tongs! I never get to use them, so this was a good excuse. :-)

Heat 1/4 cup of canola oil in a large non-stick pan. Add the chicken mixture to the pan and saute until chicken is browned. At this point, I got nervous because the chicken seemed to form an egg-like crust. However, this is the "breading" that the delicious sesame honey sauce will adhere to in the oven so that the final dish has that great glazed texture you find at P.F. Chang's. Mmm! Once the chicken is browned (should be almost cooked through), place it into a 9 x 13 baking dish prepped with non-stick spray. After this, use a medium bowl to mix the sauce: soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, garlic, rice wine vinegar*, sesame oil*, garlic, and cornstarch. Mix together then pour sauce over the chicken and stir to cover chicken evenly, so it looks like this:


Bake at 325F for 45 minutes. Every 15 minutes, stir the chicken around so that the sauce coats it evenly. You'll notice the sauce starts to thicken and glaze over the chicken, sticking to the "breading" formed with the egg and cornstarch. When finished, it will really start to look like the Asian sesame chicken dishes you know and love.


Serve with a side of veggies or steam some brown rice and top it with the chicken. Don't forget the final ingredient: top with sesame seeds once you plate the chicken!



Skinny Baked Sesame Honey Chicken

4 chicken breasts
1 cup cornstarch
3 eggs
1/4 cup canola oil

Sauce:
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup soy sauce (or shoyu for gluten free)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar*
1 t sesame oil*
1 t minced garlic
1 T cornstarch
additional sesame seeds for garnish

Preheat oven to 325F. Cube chicken into bite size pieces. Place 1 cup cornstarch into one gallon size plastic bag. Place 3 eggs, beaten, into another gallon size plastic bag. Add chicken into cornstarch bag and shake around to coat. Using your hands or tongs, remove chicken from cornstarch and place into the bag with eggs and shake again to coat.

Heat 1/4 cup canola oil in a large non-stick pan. Add chicken and saute, stirring often, until chicken is mostly browned (will be mostly cooked through and will finish cooking in the oven). Transfer to a 9 x 13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.

Mix all ingredients for sauce together in a medium sized mixing bowl. I did not have sesame oil and left it out and subbed out white wine vinegar* for rice wine vinegar as I didn't have it on hand. My version was still delicious the way I made it, but the original recipe calls for sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. It may lend it a more authentic taste, but if you don't have those uncommon ingredients on hand, don't sweat it! It'll still be great.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir to evenly coat. Put chicken into the oven for 45 minutes. Every 15 minutes, stir to make sure all chicken is coated with the sauce. You will see that the sauce starts to thicken and act as a kind of glaze on the chicken. When done, remove from oven and add sesame seeds as a garnish once you plate the chicken. Serve with veggies and/or brown rice!

UPDATE 4/15/15: I remade this recipe using the rice wine vinegar and sesame oil and we thought it was way too tangy. The sauce was definitely overpowering, so I suggest making it with white wine vinegar. I'm not sure if the sesame oil made a difference. I couldn't really taste it.

My boyfriend thought this was a big hit, and I hope you will too! Enjoy!

Jessica

March 10, 2014

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Drink lemon water every morning! I think with the beautifully sunny weather we've had lately, I'm in total summer mode. All I want are salads, lemon flavored things, the beach, and light, summery drinks. Which brings me to my new found love: lemon mint water.


I especially love the taste of mint mixed in drinks, salads, and with chocolate. It lends the lemon water a sweet, fresh taste. I recently read about the benefits of lemon water, and there are plenty! Not to mention it tastes so light and invigorating.

Benefits of Lemon Mint Water:
-Lemons are a rich source of vitamin C
-Drinking a big glass of lemon mint water first thing in the morning is one of the best things you can do. It hydrates you after many hours without liquid and helps wake you up.
-Even though lemons are acidic, they actually help to alkalize the body and balance out pH levels
-Lemons detoxify your body by dissolving toxins in the liver
-Lemons relieve indigestion and bloating. Mint soothes an upset stomach.
-Lemons can help with aging by smoothing out wrinkles and getting rid of blackheads from the inside out
-They can suppress cancer cell growth
-Best of all, lemon water can help aid in weight loss by eliminating toxins, streamlining digestion, and hydrating your body.



Flavoring your water naturally with lemons and mint can help inspire you to drink more water instead of reaching for artificially flavored drinks or (heaven forbid!) a soda.

I'm a big time coffee drinker, trust me. So I understand when people say, "What?! Wake up and forego my morning coffee? Blasphemy!" But just wait 30 minutes and chug your lemon water first. Take a shower, get ready, or whatever it is you need to do in the mornings, and save your coffee for the drive to work or 1/2 an hour after you consume the lemon water. After 30 days, let me know if you notice a difference! It's such an easy, inexpensive, fresh modification to your day, and one I think you'll surely enjoy.

Lemon Mint Water

1 lemon
1 sprig of mint
glass of water

Or you can make a whole pitcher and slice up a couple of lemons, throw in some muddled mint leaves, and keep in the fridge. Also, it looks so pretty! You can't help but feel happier just looking at such a sunny thing.

Jessica

March 9, 2014

Soaking Up the Sun

It was absolutely gorgeous in San Diego this weekend. It's always nice, but last weekend was really rainy, and it has been a bit chilly to lay on the beach. This weekend was beautiful without any clouds and 80 degrees, which is hotter than normal. We took advantage and had an amazing lunch at one of our favorite restaurants with a beautiful view, and of course, spent time at the beach.

If you ever visit San Diego, you must go to C Level. My boyfriend and I went on our first official date here and we have loved it ever since. Look at this awesome view of the city and the bay...

Cheers to a beautiful day!


We ordered a seared ahi stack topped with a blue crab salad, avocado, papaya-mango salsa, and served with house made taro chips.


My entree was grilled mahi tacos topped with a pineapple salsa served on corn tortillas. The pineapple salsa tasted sooo amazing with the fish tacos.


And I had a "dry and racy" white wine flight in honor of the beautiful California weather.


So, you see? It's possible to eat out and have a fabulous time while still making healthy choices. I had a couple of drinks, but I rarely drink, and I still got my workouts in this weekend. The ahi stack was all protein with root vegetables for chips and my fish tacos were the healthified option of grilled versus fried served on corn rather than flour tortillas.

I hope your weekend was great as well! More recipes to come this week. Cheers!

Jessica

March 7, 2014

Skinny Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Good morning!

Muffins, again! I know, I know, I just posted a muffin recipe a couple of days ago, but I couldn't resist. We had a couple of zucchinis that needed to be used up and I have never actually made any type of zucchini bread or muffin. I was curious to try since I'm all for incorporating veggies into all meals! Traditional zucchini bread is actually not good for you at all... even with the veggies. It contains white flour, oil, and loads of sugar. All of that negates the benefits of the zucchini. So, I decided to try out a recipe that was low calorie and provided more nutritional benefits. And I think these turned out pretty darn good! They are not extremely sweet, which I enjoy, especially for breakfast. With only 1/3 cup brown sugar in the entire dozen, the sweetness mostly comes from the banana and dark chocolate chips (only 1/2 cup of those!)


Preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin tin with paper liners. Then you have to shred the zucchini. I thought this would be the hardest part, but in reality, the zucchini shreds like nobody's business. Just use a cheese grater. I think the original recipe I based this off of used the big shredder holes, but I opted for the small ones on the cheese grater since I figured it's best for the zucchini to be small and unnoticeable in the muffins. It worked great! I used one medium sized zucchini, which means I still have another zucchini to use up! More muffins?! ;-)


After I shredded the zucchini, I put the pulp between a couple of paper towels and squeezed out some (but not all) of the water. It's very watery, and will start to pool beneath the grater. But you don't want to squeeze it dry as the water helps to make these muffins super moist and delicious. I also had to create a banana mash, which I always do by placing my banana(s) in a plastic bag and squeezing until there are no more lumps.


Whisk your whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl or electric mixer stand, beat the egg and brown sugar together until combined. Add the melted butter, milk, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add the zucchini and banana and stir. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.

Here come the chocolate chips!

The batter will be a little thick, but that makes it easy to plop into the lined muffin tin.


Bake for 12-15 minutes. You always want to be careful when you use whole wheat flour as it's drier than white flour and therefore your end result can be dry if you cook it for too long. You want to take it out of the oven JUST as the middle is beginning to cook through, because they will keep cooking a bit when you take them out.


Ta-da! Look at those cute little green specks in there!


And with only 160 calories per muffin, you don't have to feel guilty snacking on a couple of these.


Enjoy!

Jessica

Skinny Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
Adapted from How Sweet It is

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup low-fat milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/3 cups freshly grated zucchini
1/3 cup mashed banana (1 small-medium banana)
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Shred zucchini with the small side of a cheese grater. Squeeze out some of the moisture between a few paper towels. Mash banana in a plastic bag. Melt butter, and set aside to cool.

Whisk dry ingredients in a small bowl, set aside. Add sugar and egg to an electric mixing stand and beat until combined. Add milk, vanilla, and melted butter and mix. Add zucchini and banana and mix. Slowly add in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.

Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 full. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until middle just begins to set. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


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