Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

This muffin recipe is one of our absolute favourites! It’s one a friend sent me a while back and it’s right from the Ambitious Kitchen ! They’re so moist and delicious and the best part is that they’re HEALTHY (minus a few chocolate chips of course!) Like most toddlers, the twins LOVE to bake with me. They’re always asking me what I’m up to in the kitchen and whether they can help or not so I try to intentionally plan a few meals through the week that they can help with. We had a play date yesterday afternoon so we made a batch of these muffins together in the morn!

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INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 small to medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt (I used Fage)
  • 1/2 cup mini or regular chocolate chips (I like mini)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and generously spray inside of liners with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Squeeze shredded zucchini of excess water with a paper towel! This is an important step.
  3. In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon; set aside.
  4. In bowl of an electric mixer, add mashed banana, oil, honey, vanilla and eggs; mix until smooth. Add in zucchini, applesauce, and yogurt and beat again until well combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Remember not to over mix the batter — we want moist muffins! Gently fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips.
  5. Evenly divide batter into muffin cups. The batter will probably reach the top of each muffin liner, but that’s okay — we’re making big muffins! Alternatively you can reduce the size and bake 15 muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

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Enjoy!! And thanks so much for reading! xo

natalie-xo-1

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Healthy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s FRIDAY and that calls for some tasty chocolate chip cookies! This recipe is from one of our favourite snack cookbooks Super Healthy Snacks and Treats and I actually LOVE how they turned out!!

Here’s what’s in em:

1/2 cup of almond milk

2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds

2 cup spelt flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup of granulated sweetener of your choice

1 cup of dark/bitersweet chocolate chips

 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix wet ingredients (almond milk, sunflower oil, vanilla extract) and flax seed in one bowl and set aside to thicken.

Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

Combine everything together and roll dough into golf ball size balls. Flatten them to about 1 cm thick and arrange on greased cookie sheet.

Bake the cookies for around 7 min and gently transfer onto a cooling rack.

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Happy cookie baking!!

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Healthy Toddler Trail Mix

Since I’ve gotten on track with my own health, I’ve become a lot more conscious about what I’m feeding my kiddos too! It’s so easy to grab a granola bar or some cookies for a snack when running out the door, but all that sugar adds up so fast and I think it’s so important that we teach our kids about proper nutrition from a young age! I’ve been telling the twins that when they eat their veggies and fruit, it will make them big and STRONG and they associate that with being able to ride a skate board (since I told them it’s for big kids when you’re older and stronger) so it seems to be working! 😛 But seriously, with two VERY picky toddlers, I’ve been trying to be creative and find things that they enjoy AND are healthy. With park season in full swing, I was looking for healthy snack ideas I could grab and go with. Because I don’t have time to make homemade muffins every day, this easy snack mix was the next best thing and the boys LOVE it! I think they’ll always love cheerios and dried fruit is like candy to them so win and win!  So here we have:

  • pretzels
  • dried peaches
  • dried apple
  • regular raisins
  • yogurt covered raisins
  • cheerios

You can be so creative with what you include but I’ve seen so many on pinterest with chocolate, marshmallows etc., and while thats ok for a treat once and while, I tried to keep this one as healthy as possible! 🙂

 

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21 Day Fix Banana Muffins

Baking is something I love to do (I’m a lot better at it then cooking…ask my husband! haha). But I stopped for a while because I didn’t trust my self-control after a batch of cookies or muffins exits the oven! :S

Lately I’ve been focusing a lot on finding balance in my life. You need to be a little stricter with yourself when you’re aiming for big goals but once you reach them, it’s all about maintenance and balance. I have to remind myself that its OK to have a muffin – especially when it has no flour or sugar! This recipe was super easy to throw together and SO yummy! Not to mention HEALTHY.

  • 3 banana’s (ripe)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cups quick oats
  • 2 scoops of vanilla shakeology (if you don’t use shakeology, you can use another vanilla protein powder or substitute with 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line with silicone or foil liners, or you can use coconut oil to grease the muffin tin.

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until mixture is smooth.

Divide mixture evenly between 12 muffin tins.

Bake for 18-22 min.

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Why I always start my day with Oatmeal

In my monthly challenge groups, at the end of each day, we all share what we ate for every meal for accountability. It’s fun to see what everyone else is cooking up and most of my challengers have a lot of variety in their meals. Not me. I’m totally a creature of habit and I’m fine eating the same things over and over again. I mean I’ll make different types of salads for lunch, and I’m forced to be more creative with dinners since my family would not be impressed if I fed them chicken and sweet potato every single night of the week. But my breakfast has been the same for as long as I can remember:  a good hearty bowl of oatmeal. It’s my absolute favourite meal of the day. And I was eating it long before the “oat bowl” even became a thing.

My favourite type of oats are steel cut. Now I’ll admit I used to top it with a good little sprinkle of brown sugar and smother it in cows milk since thats how I grew up eating it. But since I’ve eliminated most sugars from my diet, my favourite way to dress it up is by adding some berries, a few almonds, a little almond milk and a pinch of cinnamon! Delish!! There are so many yummy ways to make it!

 

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After doing a little research, here’s a couple health benefits I found to eating oatmeal on a regular basis:

Fills you up – I’ve gone through phases in the past where I would eat bagels or muffins or a slice of toast for breakfast…. especially while I was pregnant! Breakfast foods high in sugar and fat can make you feel full for a brief period, but then you’re hungry again. That’s what I always found when I would eat the above foods. The fiber in oatmeal fills you up and leaves you a lot more satisfied. I find I’m not craving as many snacks later on during the day.

Whole Grain – Oatmeal is a whole grain, and eating whole grains can lower your risk for a number of different diseases, including high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Oatmeal also contains a plant chemical called lingens that has been found to prevent heart disease.

Lower Cholestoral – Oatmeal contains a specific type of fiber called beta-glucan. There have been a lot of studies done that have proven the effects of this fibre on cholestoral levels. One-and-a-half cups of oatmeal contains more than five grams of fiber so eating it on a regular basis can really help lower your cholesterol.

Immune system booster – The high fiber in oatmeal protects against heart disease and boosts your immune system. It helps your immune cells find and repair parts of the body that may be fighting a bacterial infection.

Stabilizes Blood Sugar: When you’re eating a lot of fiber, this helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and will help provide that mid-morning crash, which happens when you eat a lot of sugar and empty carbs early in the day.

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So there you go. I bet you didn’t know how healthy a single serving of oatmeal could really be!

Thanks for reading.

xo Natalie

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