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


Triple Berry Overnight Oats

Not gonna lie, it took me a while to give overnight oats a chance because I was worried about the consistency and usually have time in the mornings to make breakfast. However, I finally gave them a try and honestly I regret not making them sooner! These oats are creamy, fruity, flavorful and most importantly they have a great texture!! Plus, they’re soo easy to make and taste good hot or cold!

This recipe can serve as a great overnight oats base, letting you get as creative with it as you want. Listed below are examples of other add-ins and possible substitutions. For example, I used lactose free milk and a dairy free yogurt alternative because that’s what works best for me, but you should use the products that are available and work best for YOU. Get creative with your meals and remember to mix it up so that you don’t get bored of eating your breakfast! Remember, food is fuel for our bodies, but it is also a creative outlet, something to be enjoyed, is comforting and can bring us together.

Easy Substitutions & Additions:

  • Maple syrup can easily be replaced by honey.
  • Flax seed can be left out altogether or replaced by chia seeds.
  • Milk can be dairy, lactose free, almond, oat, soy– it’s up to you.
  • Yogurt can also be dairy or an alternative of your choice.
  • Spices can be added, like cinnamon, to add flavor and creativity.
  • Bananas and other fruits can also be added or used to replace any berries you don’t have or want.
  • Nut butters are another great addition for both flavor, protein and healthy fats.

Health Benefits:

  • Oats and flax seed are a good source of fiber, which is important for our digestive health.
  • Yogurt and milk both provide calcium and protein, essential for our skeletal and muscular systems.
  • Mixed berries are high in antioxidants, vitamin C and even fiber (most Americans don’t eat enough fruits and veggies or fiber).
  • Protein powder is an extra boost of protein, but a lot depends on the brand and type you use, so do your research.

Triple Berry Overnight Oats

These creamy, flavorful overnight oats have a great texture and are so easy to prep for breakfast or snacks!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 to 1 cup mixed berries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 milk
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed
  • 1 tablespoon or 1 scoop protein powder 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients into a mason jar or glass tupperware and shake well or stir until combined.
  2. Refrigerate overnight and eat cold (my summer preference) or heat in the microwave and enjoy warm!

I hope these yummy overnight oats make your breakfasts or snacks both easy and delicious! Thanks for being here and making it this far!!

Brit


Easy Breakfast Egg Muffins

These egg muffins are packed with veggies and protein, making them a healthy, quick and easy breakfast meal prep option for the week. They’re super easy to make and can be quickly reheated and eaten before you head out the door, but they’re also a great option to make if you have time for a sit down meal in the morning.

This recipe is the combination of add-ins that I like best and works for me, but it is a great recipe to customize! You can pack in more veggies, take out or swap the meat, use dairy free alternatives and more. That’s the great thing about cooking, if you have a base recipe, you can get as creative as you want!

Health Benefits:

  • Eggs are a great source of protein, are packed with nutrients and boost HDL cholesterol (the good one).
  • Spinach is rich in fiber, along with containing carotenoids, vitamin K1, folate, iron, calcium and more.
  • Tomatoes contain vitamins C, A and K, along with other nutrients and green onions provide an array of antioxidants.
  • Ham is another good protein and iron source, just know that it is usually higher in sodium.

Easy Breakfast Egg Muffins

These veggie and protein packed egg muffins are a great breakfast option and great for meal prep!

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup ham, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons green onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 9 muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl, then add all other ingredients and mix until evenly distributed.
  3. Pour mixture evenly into greased muffin tins and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Enjoy warm or let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

I hope you find these as easy and delicious as I do and enjoy them for breakfast (or any meal of the day). As always, let me know if you make them, how they turn out and if you have any questions!!

Brit


Avocado Salmon Salad

This recipe is a simple and healthy lunch, snack or even dinner option that I recently threw together and loved! I am a big fan of both salmon and avocado, so I’ve had this idea for quite some time and am glad I finally gave it a try.

The salad is super versatile and can also be easily customizable to your preferences. You could eat it with pita chips (my favorite) or crackers, on toast or a bagel, as a sandwich or even plain with a spoon! There are also a variety of substitutions below that may help you choose the ingredients that work best for you.

Health Benefits

  • Salmon is a great source of protein, heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial vitamins and minerals.
  • Avocado is also full of heart healthy unsaturated fats and other nutrients, such as vitamin K, folate, vitamin C and potassium.
  • Greek yogurt is another great protein source and is also packed with probiotics to promote gut health and calcium to support your skeletal system.

Substitutions

  • Canned salmon or cooked and shredded salmon can be used to achieve this delicious recipe, but you can also try it with chicken or tuna if you have that available instead.
  • If you are part of the 20% that thinks cilantro tastes like soap, leave it out or replace it with some herbs of your choice, such as parsley or dill.
  • As always, if you don’t like an ingredient or don’t have it, leave it out and get creative with ways to replace it with what you have!

Salmon Salad with Avocado

  • Servings: 2 servings
  • Print

This healthy salmon salad recipe is perfect for a quick and easy lunch and can be eaten in a variety of ways- with crackers, as a sandwich, on toast or even plain.

Ingredients

  • 5 oz can of salmon, drained or 1/2 cup cooked salmon, flaked
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • 2 teaspoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • garlic salt to taste
  • pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, add all of the ingredients and gently stir until combined.
  2. Pair with pita chips or crackers, put it on some toast or a bagel, make a sandwich with it or eat it plain and enjoy!

Thanks for following along and I hope you also enjoy this quick and easy recipe!

Brit


“Avocolada” Smoothie Remake

This creamy green smoothie is inspired by Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s “Avocolada” smoothie. It’s packed with lots of nutrients and is a great summertime drink, even if you don’t consider yourself a green drink lover!

These reusable “Hip” straws are flexible and have a seal that can open/close for the easiest cleaning ever!

Health Benefits:

  • Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fats that your body needs to function properly, along with containing fiber, vitamin K, folate and more.
  • Coconut water is about 90% water, but it also contains electrolytes, making it a great option for hydration.
  • Spinach and kale are both healthy greens, offering lots of vitamins A, K and C, iron, calcium, folic acid and more.
  • Bananas are known for being a source of potassium, but they also provide other antioxidants and carbohydrates which provide energy.
  • Pineapples are rich in vitamin C and manganese, aiding with growth, metabolism, maintaining a healthy immune system and more.
Not pictured: banana and ice

This green smoothie is creamy, delicious and packed with lots of great nutrients to fuel your body!

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. or 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 avocado, ripe
  • 1 cup spinach, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup kale, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup pineapple, fresh or frozen
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ice to reach desired consistency

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. If needed, and depending on whether you use fresh or frozen ingredients, add ice to reach your desired consistency.
  3. Pour into two glasses, top with coconut flakes and add your reusable straw for a fresh and easy green smoothie!

I hope you get the chance to remake this green smoothie full of goodness sometime this summer and if you do, let me know how it turns out and compares! As always, thanks for being here and checking out this post!

Brit


Sour Cream Cherry Pie

This recipe, like the Dreamy Strawberry Pie, comes from my grandmother’s cookbook and is a seasonal family favorite! We always make this with fresh cherries from our cherry trees, but buying cherries from the store works just as good! You can also substitute the cherries for blueberries if you aren’t a cherry fan or if they aren’t in season.

The pie has a sweet sour cream filling with the perfect amount of tartness from the cherries. Along with this, it has a vanilla wafer crust that makes for the perfect pie combination! This recipe is not a healthier version and definitely contains sugar and fat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it when you want. Besides, cherry season doesn’t last all year!

Sour Cream Cherry Pie

Another perfect summer pie for cherry season that balances a creamy, sweet filling with the tartness of cherries and pairs perfectly with the vanilla wafer crust!

Ingredients

  • 40 vanilla wafers, crushed
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar, for the crust
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup sugar, for the filling
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups sour cherries, pitted

Directions

  1. For the crust, crush approximately 40 vanilla wafers, which should equal 2 cups afterwards. You can place them in a large bag and use a mallet or rolling pin, but you can also throw them in a blender or food processor until they are all crushed up.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix crushed vanilla wafers with melted butter and the 1/4 cup sugar. Press into a pie pan and bake at 350° F for 10 minutes.
  3.  For the filling, beat 3 eggs in a medium bowl and add the 3/4 cup sugar and sour cream. Mix well, then fold in the pitted cherries. Pour filling into the baked vanilla wafer crust and bake at 325° F for 1 hour, then chill and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this pie recipe as much as my family does and maybe make it for your next summer gathering! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let me know! Thanks for being here and checking it out!!

-Brit


Kale & Greens Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpeas

This is a healthy and delicious caesar salad recipe that is now my new favorite side salad with dinner. It’s pretty simple and makes for an easy side, but can be built up to make it a meal. For example, you can add salmon or chicken to it along with some roasted sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts and whatever other toppings you like and have available.

Health Benefits:

  • Kale is a nutrient dense food that contains high quantities of vitamins A, K and C. Along with this, calcium, magnesium, potassium and iron can also be found within these dark leafy greens.
  • Chickpeas provide carbohydrates for energy, fiber that aids in digestion and gut health and are a plant-based protein.
  • Bolthouse Farms Creamy Caesar Yogurt Dressing is a better alternative to many dressings, as they use no artificial preservatives or flavors, have less total fat than the leading brand and are also a small source of protein.

Kale & Greens Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpeas

A healthy and delicious caesar salad recipe that can be eaten as a side or built up to a meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 4-5 cups chopped kale and greens
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Creamy Caesar Yogurt Dressing
  • grated parmesan, to taste 

Directions

  1. Start by heating a skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and add in the drained chickpeas. Sprinkle in the paprika, garlic powder and cumin, then stir gently to coat all of the chickpeas. Continue to stir occasionally on medium-low heat until chickpeas are hot and begin to crisp.
  2. While chickpeas are roasting, wash and chop greens, then mix in bowl with 1 tsp olive oil and lemon juice. Gently massage greens in this mixture to lessen the bitterness of the kale.
  3. To put the salad together, add your caesar dressing (I recommend Bolthouse Farms) and toss your salad to incorporate it evenly. Next, add and toss the majority of the roasted chickpeas and your desired amount of parmesan. Top it off with the rest of the chickpeas and another sprinkle of parmesan for visual appeal and enjoy!

As always, I’d love to know if you try this recipe and hear any feedback you might have from it! I hope you enjoy and have a great rest of your day!!

-Brit


Sustainable Swaps: Wool Balls

Wool ball car diffusers/ decoration pictured on the left and wool dryer balls on the right.

My family recently started making our own wool balls, as we have a surplus of wool from when we used to have some sheep at our farm. It’s a simple and fun process, using only wool and possibly some dye. If you’re local to KC, follow @nseasonshawnee and @balancedbybrit on Instagram to find out when we will be selling these items at our farm stand!

Wool balls can have many different purposes that can turn into easy sustainable swaps for you to make in your life! Two ways to do this is by using larger wool balls in the dryer to replace dryer sheets and using smaller ones that are strung together as both a car diffuser and decoration. You might still be wondering why you should make this switch or how these products are used, so let me further explain…

Wool Dryer Balls

Switching from dryer sheets to wool dryer balls is a super simple and easy swap to make in your life that is a more sustainable choice. Using wool dryer balls has many benefits, such as reducing waste, limiting chemicals/ toxins and saving you money!

Dryer sheets are usually only used once, then thrown away. This adds up if you think about how often you do laundry and how many other people use dryer sheets for their laundry too. Wool dryer balls have the same benefits of reducing wrinkles, while also cutting down on drying time. They can be used for years and are made only of wool (and possibly some dye), which means you save money and don’t need to worry about toxins or chemicals!

If you like using dryer sheets to get a fresh scent, you can add essential oil drops to your wool dryer ball prior to adding it in with your clothes. This way, you can choose your favorite scent (lavender for me!) and not have to worry about all the chemicals that are getting on your clothes and then touching your skin.

Wool Ball Car Diffusers/Decoration

These are super cute and versatile additions to any car! We are making ones that can be hung on your rearview mirror or clipped onto your air vent. These can add a pop of color and some fun decoration to your car, along with diffusing the essential oil of your choice. Again, this sustainable swap is great because it is a reusable and isn’t full of all the chemicals that are in most car air fresheners.

I hope these simple sustainable swap ideas make you think about the changes you can make in your own life and how easy it can be if you are just more conscious of the products you are using. Again, we will be selling these products and other goodies at our farm stand later in the year, so stay tuned for that if you’re local to KC!

Remember, it’s not about everyone going completely zero waste, it’s about people making lifestyle changes where they can that work for them… balance!

-Brit


Dreamy Strawberry Pie

This pie comes from my grandmother’s cookbook and is my all-time favorite dessert and yearly birthday request! It’s especially perfect in the spring and summer with warmer weather and fresh strawberries.

Though this recipe definitely has sugar and lots of cream cheese in it, it makes me happy and is totally okay to enjoy every once in a while, as long as you are still providing your body with the nutrients it needs. You don’t need to “earn” this dessert by working out more or limiting your calories that day. So just enjoy this perfect combination of strawberry glaze, fresh strawberries and cream cheese filling with a hint of orange!

Tips & Tricks

Your pie crust doesn’t have to be homemade. Store bought saves time and still tastes great in my opinion. In the pictures for this post, I used a store bought crust because we had it. If you don’t have any on hand or want to get a little more creative, then make your own! It’s all up to you and will taste great either way!

When choosing your strawberries, save the best looking ones to place on top of the filling and use the ones that aren’t as pretty (or are frozen) for the strawberry glaze. I used about eight large strawberries to place on the filling, but if yours are normal sized you will probably need a few more.

While your pie crust is baking, get to work on the strawberry glaze! Once your strawberries are starting to warm up and soften, mash them up to your desired consistency. Then, add in the corn starch and sugar mixture and stir until the glaze is thickened and glossy, not cloudy anymore. Take it off of the heat and let it start cooling.

By now, hopefully your pie crust is pretty cool and your cream cheese has softened so you can start on the filling! Use a standing or hand-held mixer to cream softened cream cheese with the rest of the ingredients. For the orange juice, you can juice the orange you use for the zest, but if you don’t have oranges or want to save it to eat, feel free to use some orange juice from your fridge. Wait until crust is cool, then spread filling in an even layer on the bottom of the crust.

Now it’s time for the pretty strawberries! Wash and vertically cut the strawberries in half, then arrange in circles on top of the filling layer. Space them out and arrange them however you want, they’ll still taste the same, but below is a picture of how I arranged mine!

Lastly, once the strawberry glaze is cool, carefully pour and spread it on top of the filling and fresh strawberries. Then the worst part, putting it in the fridge for 4 hours to chill, but in the mean time you can lick the bowls!

Dreamy Strawberry Pie

  • Servings: 1 pie, 8 slices
  • Print

The most delicious combination of strawberry glaze, fresh strawberries and creamy orange filling!

Ingredients

  • 1 pie crust
  • 3 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp cream
  •  8-12 fresh strawberries, halved

Directions

  1. Bake a pie crust of your choice (homemade or store bought) and get out cream cheese so it can start to soften.
  2. For the glaze, heat and mash strawberries to desired consistency in a saucepan on medium-low heat. Stir together 1 cup sugar and corn starch in a bowl, then add to strawberries. Stir on heat until mixture is thickened and translucent. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. For the filling, use an electric mixer to beat together cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar, orange zest, orange juice and cream. Beat until smooth.
  4. Once pie crust is cooled, spread filling in an even layer on the bottom. Arrange fresh, halved strawberries on top of the filling and then pour cooled strawberry glaze on top. 
  5. Refrigerate for 4 hours so pie can set, then enjoy!

Thanks for being here and checking out one of my favorite recipes! If you bake this, I hope you love it as much as me (but that might be hard)!!

Brit


Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Granola

This healthier granola recipe is not only delicious and easy to make, but it is also super customizable! It’s a fun way to get creative and there’s really no way to go wrong.

This recipe has now become part of my weekly routine, but I rarely make it the same as the time before. I switch it up depending on my preference that day and the nuts and fruit we have on hand. This granola can be eaten as a topping on yogurt, like cereal with some milk, or by the handful as a tasty snack.

Health Benefits:

  • Oats are a great source of both carbohydrates and fiber, meaning they provide you with energy and promote digestive health.
  • Nuts not only are a plant-based protein, but they are also a healthy fat that provides long-lasting energy and many other health benefits (like reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol and aiding in hormone balance).

Easy Substitutions & Additions

  • Use any combination of nuts that work for you: walnuts, pecans, almonds, peanuts, etc.
  • Replace raisins with cranberries or coconut flakes
  • Substitute honey with real maple syrup (I might be biased but I think this is best with local honey- especially when it’s from your dad)
  • Add flax seed for some added fiber benefits
  • Add pumpkin, sunflower or any other seeds for added flavor and healthy fat
  • Get creative with your spices (I sometimes like to add in a sprinkle of nutmeg to this recipe)

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Granola

This tasty homemade granola recipe is easy to make, healthy and totally customizable!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup nuts (1/2 walnuts & 1/2 almonds)
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F and grease a baking sheet, preferably rimmed
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, dried fruit, cinnamon and salt
  3. In a small bowl, mix together melted coconut oil, honey and vanilla
  4. Pour wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until all is evenly combined and moist
  5. Pour onto greased baking sheet and spread evenly
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, then take it out and mix it up with a spoon so it can be cooked on both sides, return to oven and bake for another 15 minutes
  7. Let cool completely before removing from baking sheet and storing in an airtight container

If you try this recipe, I hope you enjoy it and if you have any questions, comments or feedback for me I would love to hear it! If you chose to customize your homemade granola, let me know what you used in the comments!

Brit