Posts Tagged With: breakfast

Gluten Free Zucchini Bread


It’s time to start using up the goodies from your garden….or if you’re like me, the excess veggies donated from other people’s gardens!

This paleo and celiac-friendly zucchini bread is another stolen and slightly altered recipe from the wonderful Ellie at Healthy Training. I found myself grabbing chunks of it for an on-the-go breakfast and the 2 loaves I made had disappeared in less than 3 days. It’s sweet enough to feel like dessert without any added processed sugars.

 zucchini bread



  • 1 cup grated zucchini, water squeezed out
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 ½ c almond flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ c chopped walnuts
  • ½ c craisins



  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease 2 small loaf pans with coconut oil.
  2. Combine almond flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl
  3. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, banana, honey, vanilla, and oil. Mix thoroughly, then mix in dry ingredients until combined.
  4. Fold in the craisins, zucchini, and walnuts. Spoon batter into the loaf pans, filling each one ¼ full.
  5. Bake 30-40 minutes or until golden and set (check the middle with a toothpick).



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What’s really in that sweetener?


I have a teensy weensy obsession with coffee (as if you didn’t already know that from posts like this one and this one).

I also prefer that my coffee taste like a candy bar, so I tend to load it up with flavored creamers and fake sugar. Naughty. Although I do consider myself a bit of a health nut, I just can’t seem to break this habit and switch to black coffee. Bitter… icky…boring…ugh. Can’t do it.

My little cancer packet of choice has always been Sweet ‘N Low, as it tends to be the sweetest of the many brands in the “fake sugar” category. I wanted to fully understand my addiction, so I did a little research on the various artificial sweeteners and their effects.

  • The artificial sweetener in Sweet ‘N low is saccharine, which is an organic molecule created out of petroleum (whoa) and introduced in the early 20th century. In the ‘70’s, animal studies found that it caused cancer in several organs and a warning was added to the label. This warning has since been removed but the stigma remains that saccharine is not completely safe for consumption.
  • If you’re more of a NutraSweet or Equal fan, your artificial sweetener of choice is Aspartame, which is a combination of phenylalanine and aspartic acid with methanol (2 amino acids). The FDA has done a number of safety evaluations of Aspartame, and reports have come back free and clear. However, other studies have shown that this sweetener may be an “excitotoxin”, like MSG, which can cause brain damage.
  • Splenda, which is made from Sucralose, may seem to be the least offensive of these first 3 little artificial devils. Sucralose is essentially sugar which has been chemically refined so that our bodies are unable to metabolize it. Thus, it’s calorie-free. Sucralose is also 600 (!) times sweeter than regular sugar.
  • Finally, there’s stevia, which is a calorie free, herb-based sweetener. There’s nothing artificial about it, which immediately gives it a vote up in my book. A number of brands have popped up, including Truvia, Pure Via, Sweet Leaf, Steviva, etc. Stevia is safe for diabetics – it will not spike your insulin levels.


One tidbit I was already familiar with is the fact that many artificial sweeteners “trick” your body into thinking it’s getting sugar. According to, fatty tissues can perceive sweetness, and although artificial sweeteners have no calories, they can cause your metabolism to slow. This tricks your brain into eating even more calories, which will then be stored as fat. So that mid-afternoon Diet Coke may not be so harmless after all.


The Verdict

Reading up on the various types of artificial sweeteners was a real eye-opener form me. Ideally, we would be able to appreciate our coffee, tea, and baked goods without the aid of sugar or other sweeteners (right!). Unfortunately for many of us, the sweetness is what makes these foods and beverages enjoyable. That tasty morning coffee is one of my favorite reasons to get out of bed in the morning 🙂

For me, it comes down to choosing the lesser of several “evils”. Given the many studies that have pronounced saccharine and aspartame unsafe, I decided to switch my daily sweetener to Stevia (or more specifically, Truvia brand). However, it’s important to read the labels carefully. Many brands contain additives (even Truvia is blended with erythritol – a sugar alcohol). If you’ve just gotta sweeten, pure Stevia would be ideal, along with other natural, unprocessed sweeteners such as honey and agave nectar. I do feel better knowing that the first thing I put in my body every morning is not chemically processed. See ya later, Sweet ‘N Low.


What’s your favorite sweetener? 

Categories: Miscellaneous Musings, More Eats | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Post-Thanksgiving Leftover Egg Bake

Turkey. Gravy. Stuffing. Corn. All in their nice individual Tupperware containers taking up the entire fridge for the week after Turkey Day. But you stuffed yourself silly on Thursday and want something different. So there it sits. Maybe it makes its way into the freezer, only to get heated up in January or tossed due to freezer burn.

Last year, we had about 30 friends over for our first-ever “Friendsgiving” celebration. We had SO MANY FREAKING LEFTOVERS that we couldn’t even fit them all in our house (including our chest freezer). Luckily there was a snowstorm and it was cold enough to leave the food outside. The next morning, we decided to experiment with a new way to use up the leftover goodies.

Enter, the Post-Thanksgiving Leftover Egg Bake.

Remember that episode of Friends – the one where Rachel makes a trifle, and the pages get stuck together and she mixes together beef, jam, and some other horrendous combinations of food?  Well, this is sorta like that, only it actually tastes good.

So pull out your leftovers and let’s get started.

Here’s an example:


Mashed potatoes
Green beans
8-12 eggs
Salt & pepper
Shredded cheddar cheese


preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Grease a 9×13 baking dish.

Pull apart croissants and cover the bottom of the dish.

Top croissants with shredded turkey, gravy, corn, stuffing, mashed potatoes, eggs, or whatever else you have on-hand.

Beat eggs, mix in about ¼ cup of milk, salt, and pepper to taste.

Pour egg mixture over leftovers.

Top with 1-2 cups of shredded cheddar and bake 30-45 minutes or until eggs are set.

Eat. Rejoice. Give thanks.

Do you have a similar day-after-turkey-day tradition? Did my creation miss any key Thanksgiving leftover ingredients?

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Healthier Alternatives to your Coffee Shop Obsession

News flash: I am a coffee FREAK. And one of the vices I just can’t seem to break is that I love it laden with sugar and cream. Although I’ve limited myself to just one Caribou Coffee run per week, I have also learned that there are several lower-calorie options for those of us that just can’t lay off the caffeine.

The next time you’re at the coffee shop register, try one of these alternatives instead:

You Love: Frappucinos
Then try this: Order an iced coffee with a sugar free flavor. Most coffee shops have at least 3 or 4 sugar free flavors such as vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, etc. Also, ask for it without whipped cream and chocolate on top and save yourself about 100 calories!

You Love: Mochas and their creamy, chocolat-y goodness
Then try this: There’s really no getting around this one, as a mocha has got to contain chocolate. But you can reduce the calorie count by ordering it with skim milk, no whip, and a sugar free flavor. And you know how there’s always extra chocolate at the bottom of the cup? Order it with ½ the amount of chocolate – you probably won’t even notice the difference, but the scale will.

You Love: Lattes and/or Cappuccinos
Then try this: These are not quite as bad as the two above options, as they contain just espresso and steamed milk. Ask for it with skim or soy milk instead and save up to 10 grams of saturated fat and 100 calories.

You Love: Chai Tea Lattes
Then try this: Chai Lattes contain whole milk and honey. Reduce calories and fat by ordering it with skim or soy. Or better yet, try green or black tea instead for a boost of antioxidants.

You Love: Coffee with cream and sugar
Then try this: Coffee doesn’t have to be all bad, even for those of us with a sweet tooth. Add a dash of skim milk and a packet of Truvia/Stevia to your daily brew, and you’ll only take in a negligible number of calories. Bonus: a cup of coffee 1-2 hours before exercise has been shown to increase performance!


What other coffee shop hacks am I missing?  Let me know in the comments below!

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Breakfast Frittata with Bacon, Mushrooms, Spinach, and Red Peppers

WOW. Life has been keeping me too busy to blog lately. Sorry about that. I’ll try to do better, I swear.

A weekend up at the cabin and we were put in charge of Sunday breakfast. Since there was also going to be some ah-maz-ingly naughty biscuits and gravy, we decided to keep our recipe paleo-friendly to even things out a bit.

Our frittata turned out very yummy and the leftovers were great reheated. Enjoy!


  • 8 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 10 slices bacon
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups packed spinach leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and hot sauce in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Fry bacon in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Allow bacon to cool on a paper towel, then cut into small pieces. Reserve 2 teaspoons of the pan drippings.
  4. In the same skillet with the bacon drippings, cook mushrooms and red pepper for 5 minutes. Add the spinach leaves and cook just until the spinach wilts. Return the bacon to the pan.
  5. Pour eggs over the spinach mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the eggs are set.
  6. Remove from the oven, allow to cool 5 minutes (eggs will continue to cook) Cut into wedges and serve. Bam! Egg pie.

Next time I make this, I will definitely and add in some pepperjack cheese and sun-dried tomatoes…not that it needs it, but why not?


photo credit

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Grilled Bell Pepper Breakfast Cups with Egg and Chorizo

We can’t take credit for creating this ingenious recipe, but it was far too enticing not to try. This is adapted from MDA.

It happened to be raining out, so we decided to try grilling these indoors on our 2nd favorite kitchen tool – our cast iron grill plate (obviously, the cast iron skillet is #1).  Also, we skipped a couple steps and just purchased link chorizo at the grocery store, rather than making our own. Cheating? Maybe a little, but it makes for a much quicker cook time.

Serves: 2 -3/ Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 12 oz Mexican chorizo sausage (3 links)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 6 eggs


  1. If you’re using link chorizo, cut the casing lengthwise, remove the meat and discard the casing. Place chorizo into a skillet and brown on medium heat, chopping up into fine crumbles.  Warning: chorizo is SUPER YUMMY. Try to refrain from eating it all before you prep your peppers.
  2. While the chorizo is cooking, cut bell peppers in half from top to bottom and remove seeds.
  3. Place bell pepper halves on grill plate. If they are sitting wonky-like, take a toothpick and stab through the side so it will sit evenly.
  4. Crack an egg into each pepper half. Add 2 spoonfuls of chorizo on top.
  5. Scramble the last 2 eggs and pour egg mixture on top of the chorizo.
  6. Top off each pepper with 2 more spoonfuls of chorizo.
  7. Allow to cook until the eggs are no longer runny. Note: the peppers WILL char. This is normal. Using the indoor grill plate, we needed to tent the peppers with foil for the last 5 minutes for the egg to finish cooking.
  8. Remove from heat. Peel off any charred skin from the peppers before eating.
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What I Ate Wednesday #3

You know what YOU ate today….but aren’t you sometimes just a teensy bit curious what other people scarf on a regular basis? What I ate Wednesday is a mini food journal where I’ll tell you about my day. The goal here is to reflect on my eating habits, spot changes that occur as a result of my schedule or mood, and maybe learn a little about myself in the process. It’s NOT about judgment or guilt, and it’s just for fun!  I will pick a random day each week to highlight what I shoved in my pie-hole. Warning: it may not always be super-exciting.

Caribou Coffee had $2 blended beverages to celebrate summer. Yay! In case you didn’t know, I am obsessed with coffee drinks…and caffeine in general. I went for the northern lights cooler with sugar free caramel. Yummm….

Lunch: Mixed greens salad with tomatoes, croutons, and lots of red and orange mini sweet peppers, tossed with raspberry vinaigrette. Also some baby carrots, raspberries, and blueberries.

We have been putting these sweet peppers in EVERYTHING lately – and at $5.99 for a big bag, they are a great deal! perfect for salads, stir frys, in eggs, etc. etc. etc. Kind of a pain in the butt to de-seed each one, but very yummy indeed.

Snack: You know what they say about an apple a day…

Dinner: Fresh Atlantic cod and asparagus with balsamic vinegar and garlic on the grill, with mashed cauliflower on the side. I love summer…

Photo credits: Apple, Peppers

What did YOU eat today? Was it typical, or out of the ordinary? 

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What I Ate Wednesday #2

You know what YOU ate today….but aren’t you sometimes just a teensy bit curious what other people scarf on a regular basis? What I ate Wednesday is a mini food journal where I’ll tell you about my day. The goal here is to reflect on my eating habits, spot changes that occur as a result of my schedule or mood, and maybe learn a little about myself in the process. It’s NOT about judgment or guilt, and it’s just for fun!  I will pick a random day each week to highlight what I shoved in my pie-hole. Warning: it may not always be super-exciting.

Started my day off as usual with 2 mugs of coffee with French vanilla creamer and truvia

Lunch: My obsession – Byerly’s salad bar. Work is about 20 steps away from Byerly’s. I’d eat one of these every day, but I’d be dead broke…so I allow myself one per week. Spinach and field greens with broccoli, artichokes, toasted beets, cottage cheese, matchstick carrots, blue cheese crumbles, walnuts, and dried cherries with balsamic vinaigrette. Mmm….mm…..mmmmmmmmmm

Snack: a handful of these guys

Dinner: Pan-seared sunfish and creamy mashed cauliflower (recipe to come!).

Dessert: Ashley’s signature dessert drink to satisfy my sweet tooth…whipped cream flavored vodka, kahlua, a dash of banana liqueur and milk for what I like to call a banana Russian 🙂

Photo  Credit

Did I just make you thirsty?

What did YOU eat today? Was it typical, or out of the ordinary? 
Do you have a “signature” drink?

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Ike’s Food and Cocktails

A hot Sunday morning calls for a bike ride…it’s pretty much a summer tradition in our house. This time around it was much more about the destination than the workout…but 300 some odd calories burned is a nice bonus. We decided on a leisurely ride to downtown Minneapolis for lunch, and met up with some friends at Ike’s Food and Cocktails.

This was one of those times that I really wished I liked bloody Marys. Mike chose Ike’s because so many reviews said they had the BEST bloodys in town. This thing is truly epic. A meal in a glass “garnished” with celery, pickled asparagus, lime, pepperoncini, black olive, green olive, onion, baby pickle, cheese, beef stick, and a jumbo shrimp…yes, really. somehow they make all of this stuff fit in a glass. Oh, and there’s vodka and tomato juice in there too.


The waitress walked over and put a sticky bun bigger than my head on the table. We looked at her with confused stares and said that there must be some mistake, as we definitely did not order THIS:

Apparently, anyone who comes in for food between 10AM and 2PM on the weekends gets a free one. wHaAaT? There’s no need to order food after you stuff a loaf of bread, stick of butter, and cup of sugar into your pie hole. Okay, so I may have indulged a little…and paid for it with a tummy ache later.

Our friends all opted for the Aji Tuna sandwich – a beautiful, thick piece of fish cooked perfectly medium rare. Yum.

Hubby was debating and mentioned possibly getting a burger. Someone at the table behind us felt so strongly that these were the BEST BURGERS IN THE TWIN CITIES that he turned around to gloat about their deliciousness. This helped him make up his mind and he was not disappointed by this:

By the time we got around to ordering, I had a tummy ache (see bad-decision-giant-sticky-bun reference above). So I just went for a “cup” of chili. Note that a cup at Ike’s is more like a crock, so no need to order the bowl!  The chili was so-so…but we are biased toward our own recipes so maybe I’m not the right person to provide an official chili review.

The Bottom Line

I was pleasantly surprised with the charming atmosphere at Ike’s –  nice large bar, funny quotes on the wall – for some reason I had pictured more of a dive. If I had a bigger appetite, I would definitely go back and try their Saturday/Sunday brunch buffet or a burger. Other than those items, there wasn’t much on their small menu that jumped out at me.

Yum rating: 7/10

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