Monday, June 26, 2017

Cinnamon Zucchini Muffins

This breakfast or snack recipe for Cinnamon Zucchini Muffins is the best way to use up summer produce.

We had a lovely weekend hanging out with friends at a neighborhood party, a local park and an early dinner outdoors on Sunday. I chopped my hair for the new season and I'm ready to embrace all things summer.

Baking with summer produce is at the top of my list. I made a batch of zucchini muffins on Saturday morning, inspired by my last post on zucchini noodle recipes. I don't know why I was previously intimidated by zucchini muffins - chopped zucchini is so easy to bake with. If you have a spiralizer, the easiest thing to do is spiralize a zucchini and chop the spirals into small pieces. This took less than 5 minutes.

These Cinnamon Zucchini Muffins are made healthier by incorporating white whole wheat flour, yogurt, and bananas.

I topped each muffin with a light sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar, which isn't required but highly recommended.

We aren't growing zucchini in our raised garden bed this year, but buying it every week at the grocery store instead. I'll be making another match of these muffins ASAP.

Cinnamon Zucchini Muffins
Yields: 16-18 muffins


1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 egg
1 medium zucchini, shredded or finely chopped
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Muffin topping:
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Mix wet ingredients - mashed bananas, oil, yogurt, egg, and vanilla extract.
*Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl - flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
*Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. Stir in chopped zucchini.
*Add batter to lined muffin tins and top each muffin with a sprinkle of cinnamon-sugar.
*Bake for 20-22 minutes.

Looking for more muffin recipes? Try my:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

15 Zucchini Noodle Recipes for Summer

One of my favorite summer vegetables is a crunchy zucchini - the easiest way to enjoy it for dinner is by making zucchini noodles. This recipe roundup includes 15 of the best healthy zucchini noodle recipes for summer.

This post contains affiliate links.

Warm weather makes me crave lighter lunches and dinners, and follow up each with a huge bowl of watermelon for dessert. Zucchini is in the summer squash "family" - it's low in calories and high in potassium {source}. We have been incorporating spiralized zucchini noodles {zoodles} in place of pasta a few times a month, but I would like to make this a weekly habit now that seasonal zucchini is available again. I use the Paderno spiralizer to "noodle" my zucchini. I have been using this spiralizer for a few years - it cuts vegetables very well and cleans easily.

This post includes 15 zucchini noodle recipes for summer from a handful of my favorite food bloggers. Check out these amazing zucchini noodle ideas by clicking on the recipe link below or the direct link to each site.  

Chicken Satay Zoodle Salad 
from Taste and See

Scallop Scampi with Zucchini Noodles 
from Garden in the Kitchen

Caprese Chicken Zoodle Bowls 
from this blog

Zucchini Noodle Pad Thai 
from Danielle's Kitchen

Lobster Scampi with Zucchini Noodles 
from Le Petit Eats

Asian Orange Sesame Zoodle Salad 
from Vitamin Sunshine

Skillet Pepperoni Pizza Zoodles 
from Make the Best of Everything

Rainbow Noodle Salad 
from Lauren Cary Cooks

Taco Zoodle Bowls 
from this blog

Stir Fry Zucchini Noodles 
from Veggie Inspired

Zoodle Bowls with Thai Peanut Chicken 
from Coffee & Crayons

Miso Zucchini Noodles 
from A Virtual Vegan

Zoodle & Grilled Corn Salad 
from Apples for CJ

Vietnamese Zucchini and Carrot Salad with Peanuts 
from Karen's Kitchen Stories

Bucatini and Zucchini Noodle Cacio e Pepe 
from Pinch and Swirl

Thursday, June 15, 2017

6 Thoughts on Running after Pregnancy

Now that my baby is six months old, I have six thoughts to share on running after pregnancy.

This post contains affiliate links.

I have been a casual runner for years, as mentioned numerous times on this blog. "Casual" meaning I run for fun and for the health benefits, not to win - it's nice to see improvements and increased speed, but I choose not to make it a priority. My relationship with running has changed over the past year, before and after baby C joined our family. I keep hearing comments from people like this: "Oh I hear running is terrible after pregnancy" and "Running is never going to be the same again." Running is definitely not quite the same but it's not terrible! Caveat: Everyone has a different pregnancy experience. Talk to your doctor before beginning any workout routine.

1: The run itself won't be as hard as expected.

This may not be true for everyone, but it was true for me. I took a clean break from running for 7 months. I expected to be the person that ran straight through, but running became quite uncomfortable just a few months in and I was pregnant during the {hot} summer. Besides general discomfort, I also worried about getting overheated and decided walking would be a better use of my time. When I had my first run in January of this year, I expected it to be awful. I ran 3 miles and while I took a few breaks, overall it felt good.

2: The pace will be slower.

Even though running feels pretty good post-baby, I am taking it a lot slower. I'm already not the fastest runner - the quickest race time I have had is around a 9:25/minute mile. I have lost at least 1.5 - 2 minutes per mile at this point and I am absolutely okay with this. I know it will come back with time and effort and for now, I'm just happy to get out there when I can.

3: Early morning races are easier {once your baby sleeps through the night}.

Hear me out on this one - I have always been an early riser and never one to sleep in. Having a baby has made me an even earlier riser most days, especially on nights when baby C sleeps right through. His sleeping habits are very good at this point {knock on wood}. He typically wakes up once in the night.

Before I went back to work in May, I read a lot about being a working mom and one of the suggestions was to wake up an hour before your family for the "golden hour." For me, the golden hour means time to have my first cup of coffee, take a shower, and work on this blog before work begins, if I have extra time. For race days, using the golden hour to get ready and wake up has worked very well. I have run three races this spring, and for each of them had no problem feeling awake and ready to drink my early coffee before heading out the door.

4: Getting out the door takes extra time.

Even with the golden hour, getting outdoors for a run or for a race is not a fast process. For me, it requires feeding the baby and pumping before getting myself ready, which combined can take 30 minutes or longer. I occasionally try to multi-task by having my coffee and/or breakfast at the same time.

5: Expect to take breaks.

Despite the positive comments so far on running after pregnancy, it has been quite a challenge. The hardest part is not the act of running - it's letting go of the "mom guilt" and finding time to get out there since I have gone back to work. I have only run a handful of times in the past 6 weeks since I started working again, even though I work from my home office the majority of the week. My goal for the summer is to figure this out - I want to have a routine where I'm able to run twice a week, with a third workout of weights, yoga, barre, etc.

6: Make plans to incorporate your baby.

To resolve the issue of taking long breaks, I'm looking forward to incorporating baby C into my runs and making it a family affair with K when possible. I was gifted a jogging stroller but haven't actually used it for "jogging" yet - based on what I have read, the recommended age for using a jogging stroller is between 6-8 months. The age to start using it may also depend on your baby and/or the stroller you purchase. I have the J is for Jeep All-Terrain Jogging Stroller. For city living and running, I have heard great reviews of the BOB Revolution FLEX Stroller.