Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Shake

Though it’s only the very beginning of fall, pumpkin spice and everything nice is already popping up everywhere! Though I’m not sure if I’m fully ready to embrace all of this until the weather cools off a little more and the leaves start to change, I still decided to stock up on pumpkin and get creative with this recipe. Also, I know pumpkin puree is sold out everywhere right now, so pro tip: check the health market section of your local Hy-Vee and you might find some hiding out from the masses there!

This is a “recipe” that I started making the other week as only a chocolate peanut butter shake, but then when I thought about posting it on here, I got the idea to add a little bit of pumpkin in for some added nutrients and fall flare! The pumpkin is subtle (you can always add more if you want more flavor), but I think it goes great with peanut butter and chocolate.

Health Benefits:

  • fairlife chocolate milk is a great refueling option, as it has 50% less sugar than regular chocolate milk, provides 13 g protein per 8 oz (1 cup), 350 mg of calcium and is also lactose free.
  • Peanut butter is another source of protein and healthy fat. I suggest using a natural peanut butter that does not have added sugar or palm oil.
  • Pumpkin is rich in vitamin A, minerals and beta-carotene, which your body is able to turn into vitamin A.
  • Oats are good source of carbohydrates that provide you with energy.
  • Protein powder is an optional addition to this shake, but adds protein. Make sure you know what is in your protein powder and how much you are getting per scoop/serving.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkin Shake

  • Servings: 2 1/2 - 3 cups
  • Print

A great breakfast or refueling option for fall that tastes as good as it sounds and is quick and easy to make!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • 1 cup fairlife chocolate milk
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • 1 scoop protein powder

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add ice as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Pour out and enjoy!

Brit


Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

This dinner recipe is not one that I would normally think to try, but I was inspired by a similar Hy-Vee recipe that I made while at work. It smelled too good while making it not to give it a little twist and a try! I’m very happy with how it turned out and how easy it was, so it will definitely get added to my meal rotation now.

I made this recipe as a single chicken breast, but it was a large breast so I actually only ate half of it for dinner and saved the rest for left overs. However, this recipe can easily be multiplied to feed many more and would also be a great recipe to throw into a crockpot if that’s your style! I have a hard time adding serving sizes to recipes because what I might consider to be a serving, might not be the same for you or someone else. So, always take servings with grain of salt and understand that it’s okay if you eat more than that and it’s also okay if you eat less than that. Remember that nutrition is individual!

Health Benefits:

  • Chicken breasts are a popular source of protein, as one breast provides an average of 55 grams of protein.
  • Pineapples are very rich in vitamin C and manganese, but also contain antioxidants, digestive enzymes (“bromelain”) and more!
  • Mozzarella cheese is relatively low in sodium compared to other cheeses and provides both calcium and protein.

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken

  • Servings: 1 chicken breast
  • Print

An easy and delicious dinner recipe that is full of flavor and is sure to become a new dinner staple!

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup pineapple, diced
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (I used Primal Kitchen)
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon green onions, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Place thawed chicken in an oven-safe pan, top with BBQ sauce and rub in slightly. Add green onions, and pineapple on top of chicken, then top with mozzarella. 
  3. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes (chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165° F).
  4. Remove from oven, serve and enjoy!

Brit


Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes with Almond Butter

I am a big fan of sweet potatoes and have recently discovered a delicious way to make them that works great with breakfast or as a snack. These are pretty simple, but it’s a good way to mix up my sweet potato routine and makes for a little bit of a sweeter treat.

This recipe can vary depending on the size of your sweet potato(es), how much cinnamon you want to use and how you want to cook them. If your sweet potato is larger, you might only want one, but if they’re smaller (like mine) you could use two. For the cinnamon, I recommend up to 1 teaspoon, but I only used a little more than 1/2 teaspoon. This is up to you, so just add it in a dash a time, mix it up, then decide if you want more or not. Lastly, I have given an option to either bake these in the oven or use an air fryer. It is quicker to air fry, but either way they turn out great, so you can use what you have and is easiest for you!

Health Benefits:

  • Sweet potatoes are nutrient-dense, offering antioxidants like vitamin A and C, potassium, fiber and more- they’re so much more than just another starch!
  • Almond butter is a great source of healthy fats, protein, fiber and compared to peanut butter it contains more vitamins and minerals. Remember to read the ingredients though and get natural almond butter made without palm oils and sugar for the healthiest and most nutritious option.
  • Though 100% pure maple syrup is obviously high in sugar, it still contains some vitamins and minerals, like manganese and zinc.
  • Cinnamon also provides health benefits, as it is spice that is packed with antioxidants, works to support metabolism and can act as an anti-inflammatory.

Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes with Almond Butter

  • Servings: approximately 2 cups
  • Print

This is a simple, delicious and sweet way to make sweet potatoes that can be eaten with breakfast, as a snack or even as dessert!

Ingredients

  • 1 larger or 2 smaller sweet potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • salt and/or cinnamon to taste

Directions

  1. Chop sweet potatoes into cubes and add to a small bowl. 
  2. Drizzle with maple syrup and toss. Add cinnamon a dash at a time, mix together, then add more as desired.
  3. For Oven: Pour onto nonstick pan and bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes, tossing halfway.
  4. For Air Fryer: Cook at 400°F for 10 minutes, tossing halfway.
  5. Once sweet potatoes are cooked, drizzle with warm almond butter. Sprinkle with salt or a dash of cinnamon if desired and dig in!

If you’re a fan of sweet potatoes like me, you need to try these ASAP! I promise it’s an amazing combo!!

Brit


Air Fried Cinnamon Apple Chips

This is the perfect recipe for apple season and makes for a very healthy and tasty snack!

These apple chips are a super easy recipe to make in an air fryer and are made even tastier with a little bit of cinnamon. If you want to get in the mood for fall, or just love cinnamon apples, make this recipe and fill your kitchen with the scent of a fall cinnamon apple candle- trust me, it smells so good! This is even better than a candle though because you actually get to eat what smells that good!!

I made these apple chips with McIntosh apples from the farmers market and though they aren’t picture perfect, they are local and taste just as great! For this recipe you can use whatever apple you have available to you, is in season, or is your favorite! As always, recipes are a great guide and way to get ideas, but you should let your creativity flow and create food that you actually enjoy.

Health Benefits:

  • Apples are a nutritious fruit and a popular choice when meeting the daily recommendation for fruit intake, which is 2 cups. They are a source of carbohydrates to give you energy and also provide fiber, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, polyphenols and more!
  • Cinnamon also provides health benefits, as it is spice that is packed with antioxidants, works to support metabolism and can act as an anti-inflammatory.

Air Fried Cinnamon Apple Chips

These are the perfect snacks to make at home during apple season. They're easy to make, healthy, delicious and as a bonus they make your kitchen smell like a candle!

Ingredients

  • 2 apples
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

  1. Wash apples and thinly slice with a knife or mandolin slicer, then remove seeds, stem and core.
  2. Sprinkle apples with cinnamon and toss to ensure it is evenly distributed.
  3. Place apple slices in your air fryer and try to spread them out as much as possible.
  4. Begin by air frying at 300° F for 25 minutes, setting the timer for 5 minute increments to toss and turn the apple slices.
  5. In order to get them crisp, air fry at 350° F for 2 minutes, then toss, turn and repeat for another 2 minutes.
  6. Remove from air fryer and enjoy warm! They are best fresh, but you can also store them in an airtight container once they have cooled. I recommend air frying them at 300° F for a couple minutes to re-crisp them and heat them up if you are storing them.

I hope this recipe turns out great for you if you choose to make it and that it gets you ready for fall as we near mid-September already! Thanks for being here and reading this much!!

-Brit


Let’s Talk About Food Waste…

I haven’t shared much on environmental sustainability yet, but it is something that I am becoming increasingly passionate about. The threat of our climate crisis is only growing and dismissing it as unimportant, far-off or (and it’s awful I even need to say this) a hoax is ignorant and only adding to this urgent, time-sensitive issue. As a dietetics student, I am also passionate about nutrition/health and at the intersection of this and environmental sustainability, you will find the topic of food waste.

Food waste is not a simple challenge to tackle. It goes way beyond just the food you put on your plate and don’t eat, or the produce you forget to use and then throw out. It starts at the beginning of food production and continues to occur all the way down the chain until it reaches (or likely doesn’t) the consumer. So how big of an issue is this really? Let’s look at some numbers courtesy of The World Counts…

Every year 1.3 BILLION TONS of food is lost or wasted! This is enough to feed the worlds hungry FOUR TIMES over!! There are 822 million people who are malnourished and around 9 million people worldwide die from hunger or hunger-related disease every year. Food is something that so many people, myself included, take for granted. Plus, there are people privileged enough to CHOOSE to LIMIT their caloric intake (which is a part of diet culture and NOT something I support) while there are people literally starving because they don’t have the same resources or access to food.

Not only is this food waste not reaching the mouths of those in need, but it is also negatively impacting the environment. Growing and raising food to feed the growing population of our planet requires resources such as land and water. Due to this, food production contributes to “water shortages, climate change, deforestation, pollution, loss of soil, loss of biodiversity” and more (The World Counts). This food system takes so much from the environment (without giving anything in return) that by 2050 it could collapse if effective change does not take place soon. Before this even happens, the food system is going to be negatively impacted in areas of the world that are already being hardest hit with environmental changes. In fact, this is already happening in African countries. According to The World Counts, there were 20 million people in 2017 that experienced acute food insecurity as a result of climate change. These numbers are only going to continue to rise, and though they might not impact you personally right now (that’s called privilege), they will in the future.

Now that these issues have been addressed, what can you do to help fight this issue?

  • VOTE! Voting for candidates that support environmental activism is essential for slowing the negative effects of climate change and finding solutions. Voting with your dollars is also important, you might not think this has a big impact, but people add up. Support those that are local and do a little more research before you head to the grocery store next.
  • Plan your meals, use what you already have and save leftovers to get the most out of the food that you buy. This will also end up saving you money!
  • Compost. This may seem like a scary idea to some, but with a little research you’ll find that it’s easier than you think and doesn’t require you to be a gardening pro. By composting things like peels, rinds, egg shells and more, you are preventing these items from entering land fills where they would emit methane instead of breaking down.
  • Get informed and educate yourself on these issues so that you know what is going on in the world around you and can look to find solutions that you can incorporate into your own life.

I hope you can take something important away from this post and will be a little more conscious about your choices in the future. If you made it this far, thanks for reading this and I believe that YOU can help make a change!

Brit

Resources: https://www.theworldcounts.com/challenges/consumption/foods-and-beverages/food-waste-facts/story


Shrimp Scampi Zoodles

I think this is going to be the last zucchini recipe for a while, but I’m not making any promises! With all of the zucchini from our garden this season, we’ve had to get more creative than just eating it as a side or baking some bread. So, we bought a spiralizer (the KitchenAid attachment one) and got cooking!

Zoodles are such an easy way to get in some great nutrients for a meal (and use up a zucchini or two). I love the zoodles and think they taste great, but remember that real pasta, carbs and all, are also totally okay to eat without justification or modification to your diet. I love pasta in all of its many forms and want to remind you that a balanced diet includes ALL foods, even if diet culture tells you differently! So now that I’m off my soap box, if you don’t have or like zucchini, feel free to try this recipe with regular noodles- the sauce is the best part so it’ll be great either way.

Health Benefits:

  • Zucchini is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  • Shrimp is a great protein option that provides selenium, vitamin B12, iron, phosphorus, iodine and more. However, it is higher in cholesterol than other seafoods, so be aware of this if you need to watch your cholesterol.
  • Though there is not an abundance of lemon in this recipe, it is still a good source of vitamin C.

Shrimp Scampi Zoodles

These zoodles are fun to make and are a great base for this delicious and flavorful shrimp scampi sauce!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups zoodles, 1 medium zucchini
  • 3 cups shrimp
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Spiralize one medium zucchini to make around 5 cups of zoodles.
  2. In a skillet pan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and shrimp to the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook shrimp until it is pink, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove shrimp from the pan and place it in a bowl. I covered mine in the microwave, but you will reheat them again at the end.
  4. To the same pan, add the white wine, parmesan, lemon juice and the rest of the butter. Let simmer, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove a few tablespoons of the sauce and place it in a small bowl. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of corn starch to the liquid, depending on how thick you would like your sauce, and stir together until corn starch is incorporated and mixture is thickened. Add this back into the pan with the rest of your sauce and mix until it reaches your desired consistency.
  6. Once sauce is done, add in your zoodles and cooked shrimp. Toss to coat everything with sauce and cook only until zoodles and shrimp are both warm. Remove from heat, serve and enjoy!

If you try this recipe out, let me know what you think! Once again, thanks for checking it out and making it to the end of this post!!

Brit


Coconut Aminos Salmon

I am a big salmon lover, but we usually make it with lemon or a creamy sauce. So, when I discovered how great of a replacement coconut aminos are for soy sauce, I knew I wanted to try a teriyaki-like recipe for my favorite fish. Coconut aminos sauce is less salty and more sweet than soy sauce, which is something that I love because I always feel like soy sauce is way too salty for me! Along with this, coconut aminos sauce is gluten free, soy free and usually has more than 50% less sodium than most soy sauces! Trust me when I say you will want to put it on everything!!

Health Benefits:

  • Salmon is a great protein option for your health! It is full of Omega-3 fatty acids, packed with B vitamins, offers potassium and provides antioxidants that benefit heart health.
  • A great replacement for soy sauce, coconut aminos comes from the sap of coconut blossoms. It is low glycemic and contains minerals, vitamin C, B vitamins and amino acids.

Coconut Aminos Salmon

A super easy and healthier salmon recipe that is both sweet and salty!

Ingredients

  • 2 large salmon fillets, or 3-4 smaller
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • olive oil, for cooking

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together. Add to a sealable bag or tupperware with salmon facing flesh side down in the sauce. Let marinate for 15-30 minutes in the refrigerator. 
  2. Once salmon is done marinating, heat enough olive oil to cover a large skillet and add salmon, skin side down. Pour the rest of the marinade on top of the salmon and cover with a lid or foil.
  3. Cooking times will vary based on the size and thickness of your salmon and how you like it done, but the internal temperature should reach at least 145° F. Making this recipe I cooked my salmon on medium-high heat for 17 minutes to achieve two, large, well-done fillets. So, my suggestion would be between 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. I recommend serving over rice with a delicious side of veggies and drizzling the remaining sauce over the salmon (and even your veggies, too)!

To make this salmon recipe a full meal, I simply serve it over rice and then pair it with my favorite veggies! I personally think it goes great with roasted broccoli, but use what you have and like. Thanks for checking out this recipe, making it to the end of this post and maybe giving this salmon a try!!

Brit


Blueberry Lemon Zucchini Muffins (GF)

I recently tried a blueberry zucchini bread recipe and loved the idea but not how the product turned out. I was going to do some recipe testing with it to make it fluffier, but then I got the idea to make it with lemon and into muffins! After a test run or two, these muffins were born and I am very happy with the outcome!!

I have been loving using zucchini to bake with because 1) we have a surplus of it from our garden and it’s multiplying faster than I can even shred it! and 2) it incorporates so nicely into baked goods, adding some nutrients without altering the taste! It’s kind of amazing how much zucchini you can pack into a recipe without even noticing it in the final result.

This recipe uses 1:1 gluten free flour, but if you are not gluten free and want to use regular AP flour you can. Since it is 1:1, the ratio should be the same, but know that the texture could change slightly. If you want to replace it with another type of flour, such as oat or almond, you will need to look up a conversion and adjust the recipe as needed.

Health Benefits:

  • Zucchini is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants– similar to most squash.
  • Also packed with nutrients, blueberries provide an abundance of antioxidants, along with some vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese.
  • Lemons are a good source of vitamin C, provide fiber and even assist in the absorption of plant-based iron.

Blueberry Lemon Zucchini Muffins (GF)

  • Servings: 10 regular muffins
  • Print

These zucchini packed muffins are flavorful and fluffy with the perfect golden brown coloring! So tasty and a great way to sneak in some extra nutrients!!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups zucchini, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup
  • zest of 1 lemon, 1 tsp (or lemon extract)
  • 1 1/2 cups 1:1 gluten free flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F and spray 10 regular sized muffin tins with non-stick baking spray (this eliminates waste because you don’t need the muffin liners). 
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine zucchini, eggs, sugar, coconut oil, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir batter just enough to incorporate the flour mixture.
  4. Gently fold in blueberries and fill muffin tins nearly all the way up with batter- leave only about 1/4 inch of room at the top. This allows for the muffins to puff up more and have a rounder top.
  5. Bake at 400° F for 20 minutes or until tops begin to turn golden brown. Let cool slightly, then remove from tins and place on cooling rack or enjoy warm!

I hope you give these muffins a try and are as happy with them as I am! Thanks for being here!!

Brit


Fresh Garden Salsa

When you have a lot of ripe and juicy tomatoes, you make salsa! This salsa is made from fresh tomatoes, onions and peppers and is especially delicious on these hot summer days! Our peppers aren’t spicy and I liked that the salsa remained very mild and refreshing, but if you like spicy salsa, go for it!

We were fortunate enough to able to get a lot of the produce from our garden, but if you don’t have that option, I recommend that you shop locally at your farmer’s market. That way you know it’s fresh, in season and you’re supporting your community! However, if you do purchase from a grocery store, check where your produce is coming from and make sure if it’s coming from a larger company that you support their mission and ethics- you vote with your dollars.

Health Benefits:

  • Tomatoes provide vitamins C, K and A, antioxidants like lycopene (which provides the red color) and more!
  • Onions also provide an array of vitamins and minerals, including folate and potassium.
  • Though it depends on the type of pepper you use, most are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants.
  • Cilantro is found to help the body get rid of heavy metals like aluminum, lead and mercury, along with protecting from oxidative stress.

Fresh Garden Salsa

This salsa is fresh, juicy and refreshing, making it perfect for the summertime heat!

Ingredients

  • 3 tomatoes, or 3 cups diced
  • 1/2 onion, or 1/3 to 1/2 cup diced
  • 3 to 4 small peppers of choice, or 1/4 cup diced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, for cooking

Directions

  1. Optional: Boil water in a small pot. Once heated, carefully add tomatoes to the pot for around 30 seconds. Remove from water and peel skin one at time.
  2. Dice onion and sauté in olive oil until lightly browned. Roughly chop the tomatoes, peppers and cilantro.
  3. Add everything to a blender with lime juice, salt and pepper. Pulse quickly to achieve a restaurant style consistency or skip this step for some chunkier salsa.
  4. Stir gently to ensure ingredients are mixed throughout and serve with your favorite chips!

I hope you’re able to find some fresh produce and give this recipe a try soon! Thanks for checking it out and let me know how it turns out for you!!

-Brit


Healthier Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Zucchini’s are coming in full force in our garden and that means lots of zucchini bread over here! We usually make a family recipe, but I wanted to make it a little healthier by switching up a few ingredients. I used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, loaded it with more zucchini, switched to 100% maple syrup instead of granulated sugar and changed a couple other things, as well!

I’ve grown up eating zucchini bread so I’ve never been skeptical of it, but if this is your first time hearing about it, don’t shy away! It’s another delicious bread to try and just as good as banana or pumpkin bread in my opinion. The spices and fluffy texture paired with fresh zucchini makes this bread comforting and tasty in any season that you might crave it. While we have a surplus of zucchini from the garden in the summer we are constantly making zucchini bread, but we also shred and freeze it so that we can make this bread whenever we want!

Health Benefits:

  • Zucchini is full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants– similar to most squash.
  • Whole wheat flour contains the bran (providing fiber, minerals and antioxidants), endosperm (mostly carbohydrates) and the germ (containing vitamins, minerals, protein and more). Refined grains like white flour only has the endosperm, so does not provide near as many health benefits as whole wheat flour does.
  • Using 100% maple syrup is a great recipe replacement for granulated sugar as it is a natural sweetener that is also full of antioxidants!
  • Coconut oil is sometimes overhyped for its health benefits, but I do find it to be a better option than vegetable oil in most cases.

Some substitutions can be made and result in a fairly similar outcome, like replacing honey for maple syrup or using a different oil. However, if you choose to use a different type of flour, you will need to make some adjustments to the recipe. A simple google search should tell you the proper conversion to use for the flour that you are replacing whole wheat with.

Healthier Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

This is a healthier take on my families classic zucchini bread recipe that uses whole wheat flour and other alternatives to create a delicious bread that's a little bit better for you!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups zucchini, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup 100% maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk or DF alternative
  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F and grease a standard bread loaf pan.
  2. Shred fresh zucchini or thaw frozen zucchini and lightly drain excess liquid.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together zucchini, eggs, maple syrup, coconut oil and milk.
  4. Add in remaining dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  5. Pour into greased pan and top with a little extra shredded zucchini to add some color and decoration to your loaf.
  6. Bake for 55 minutes or until toothpick can be inserted and cleanly removed from the center. Let cool slightly before removing from pan and enjoy!

I hope this recipe inspires you to get baking and that making healthy swaps in classic recipes is easy and can still taste great! Let me know what you think of this recipe and how it turns out for you!!

Brit