Zucchini Berry Breakfast Muffins

I have been baking oatmeal into lots of baked goods lately, in an attempt to create a variety of reasonably healthy and filling breakfast options. Having food ready to go in the morning has been really helpful in getting my days off to a good start the last few weeks, and this recipe is no exception.

These muffins are delightful because they combine hearty oats with fresh seasonal raspberries and blueberries. There’s nothing better than baking with fresh fruit, and I certainly miss berries in the Fall and Winter when they’re not as juicy (or affordable). Plus, the zucchini in these muffins keeps them moist and lighter than the average oatmeal muffin, so these won’t leave you feeling weighed down. Perfect for a summer morning!

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Banana Hazelnut Bread

I have neglected my poor blog lately! I decided to take a bit of an extended break while I finished up my undergrad degree… and I am officially done! Come June 12, I will have a Bachelor’s diploma in my hand and a huge smile on my face. Right now, though, all I have to worry about is an entire summer stretching out ahead of me… bliss!

I can’t say that I cooked a lot while I was studying for my exam and writing my final paper, but I did manage to whip up a few snacks and meals here and there. I am really looking forward to cooking for myself more now that I’ve finished my coursework. I have big plans for May, including some Spring cleaning in my apartment (it looks like a tornado landed in here…) and in my tummy. I’m aiming for fresher food with lots of produce, vegetable-based proteins, and as little refined sugar as possible.

But enough about that and on to the recipe!

This particular loaf got me through a week of breakfasts, and was inspired by my mom’s recipe for hazelnut cake (which I’ve blogged about before). That cake is so nutty and sweet, I can’t get enough of it! Or maybe I can — after all, it is cake, and often I’d prefer a healthier alternative — that’s where this bread comes in. The nuts improve the bread’s nutritional profile as they are a source of protein, so this is probably one of the best candidates when it comes to having a baked goodie for breakfast.

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Foodie Friend Friday #3: Becca’s St. Patrick’s Day Salad

Happy Friday, everyone!

This week, I am so excited to feature a recipe from my friend Becca. Becca is one of my oldest and dearest friends. We met when we were 15 and we are kind of like soul sisters… the type of friends who lose sight of one another every once in a while, but pick up wherever we left off when we reconnect. We had a wonderful reunion back in February and I’m glad we’re keeping in touch more these days. I absolutely love this girl, and I wish I could be in her kitchen at all times because the type of food she makes is just my style! Perhaps someday the stars will align and we will live in the same city…

Becca also started her very own food blog recently, so you should check her out at The Cozy Kitchen and spread the food blogging love — especially if you’re on a gluten free diet. She’s got you covered, and then some!

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, she has created a detoxifying salad for you… so if you’re planning on having a few drinks tomorrow, keep this recipe in mind as a pre- or post-celebration meal. You may want to use it to nurse your body back to health later.

If you’d like to see the last two installments of Foodie Friend Friday, click here (#1) and here (#2).

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Healthy Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant parmesan is amazing, but if you bread and fry your eggplant before layering it with tomato sauce and huge amounts of cheese, it’s not as healthy as it could be. Why not find a way to cut down on the fat without compromising the taste of this classic?

That is what I set out to do this week, as I had a beautiful little eggplant from my CSA share begging to be eaten. I also had fresh tomatoes, onions, and garlic from my share, so I decided to make a fresh tomato sauce. When I realized how the sauce and eggplant could be paired, I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind!

I didn’t have bread crumbs and was weary of improvising with oats or another type of grain, so I forewent that step altogether. As a result, this eggplant parmesan doesn’t have the usual slight crunch you might expect. However, I made up for the lack of crumbs by making a ginormous batch of roasted garlic and using the mashed up, sweetened cloves as a delicious layer in between my eggplant slices. The taste is out of this world, and the consistency of the mash is similar to soft cheese, so I was able to skip that extra cheese as well.

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The Healthiest Homemade Granola

My old housemate Marlaina is possibly just as zany as I am when it comes to finding and creating new healthy yummy recipes. One morning this summer, she showed up to my house as usual for our daily exercise video (that makes it sound like we’re grandmas, but we were actually huffing and puffing through Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred — not a grandma workout, let me tell you!). With her was her newest creation: yet another version of homemade granola.

Now, I have a bit of beef towards granola. It is constantly touted as an extremely healthy breakfast and snack option because it packs a lot of fibre and protein. While all this is true, it is also very high in fat, since those delicious clusters are held together with oil. Thus, even the smallest portion will eat up a considerable percentage of your recommended daily fat intake, and clock in at a few hundred calories. It just seems to me that granola balances precariously between the healthy and less healthy food zones.

But Marlaina’s most recent creation was different, in that it doesn’t use any added fat at all. Her secret ingredient?

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