30 Oct

Whole Wheat Banana Pumpkin Muffins

Happy (early) Halloween!

What are your plans for Friday? We’ve been planning for a while to have a scary movie date-night together, complete with popcorn and a special Halloween dessert. Plans are to watch “Cube” and the original “Halloween” movie. We both love psychological thrillers and haven’t seen these yet! I’m so excited! Still trying to think of a yummy dessert treat to make us. Anyone have a suggestion?

I thought it would be super appropriate to share a pumpkin recipe with you the day before Halloween. I had a whole bunch of ripe bananas that needed to be made into something, and I also had a can of pumpkin. A simple Google search and I started putting together a recipe!

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I made a double batch and brought these to work. It was funny, because I brought a Tupperware container of about ten muffins and at the end of the day they were ALL gone. For our small office, that’s pretty quick! Everyone loved them and said they were super moist and couldn’t even tell that they were made out of whole wheat flour.

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The brown sugar and oatmeal crumble on top adds a melty, chewy, and sweet taste to these rich and moist muffins. I like to eat these warm with a big pat of Brummel and Brown (awesome yogurt and butter spread, has anyone else tried it?!).

Here’s the recipe!

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Whole Wheat Banana Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin Banana Muffins 12 576x1024 Whole Wheat Banana Pumpkin Muffins
Yields 18
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
  1. 4 large, ripe bananas
  2. 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  3. 1 cup granulated sugar
  4. 1/2 cup milk
  5. 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  8. 4 tsp baking powder
  9. 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided
  10. 1 tsp salt (I use Morton's Lite Salt)
  11. 1/2 cup brown sugar
  12. 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  1. Preheat your oven to 375º F.
  2. Mash the bananas in a bowl. Add the pumpkin, sugar, milk, applesauce and egg and mix with a hand mixer until smooth.
  3. In another bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  4. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined.
  5. Add 18 paper muffin cups to muffin tins and spray with cooking spray.
  6. Pour the batter into the muffin tins.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, nuts and pumpkin pie spice. Sprinkle over muffins.
  8. Bake for 23-24 minutes.
Zen & Spice http://www.zenandspice.com/
 What are you doing for Halloween?

28 Oct

Cranberry Chicken Salad

Hi friends!

So what’s for lunch this week? I’m having this tasty cranberry chicken salad, courtesy of the The Cranberry Institute! I am part of the Cranberry Bog Blogger group, which means quarterly I get sent cute little boxes of cranberries and supplies to make a recipe. This time, I received a box full of dried cranberries, salt & pepper grinders, and a cute red whisk to make this two-ingredient dressing!
  Cranberry Chicken Salad 2 576x1024 Cranberry Chicken Salad

Four Tidbits about the Tiny, Tart Cranberry:

  • Cranberries naturally contain the flavonoid proanthocyanidins (PACs). The unique structure of the PACs found in cranberries offer properties that prevent bacteria from sticking to cell walls.
  • The PACs in cranberries may help prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract, such as E. coli associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • MyPlate suggests trying dried fruits, including dried cranberries, as a snack because they are easy-to-carry and store well. Perfectly portioned single-serve packs of dried cranberries are an easy grab-and-go snack! Remember, 1/4 cup is the perfect portion size.
  • Cranberries are naturally fat-free, have little sodium and align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations.


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Add cranberries, in various forms, to some of your favorite recipes to boost fruit intake.

  • Use cranberry sauce as a spread on turkey sandwiches (Thanksgiving is right around the corner!)
  • Turn fresh or frozen cranberries into a cranberry relish
  • Top pancakes or waffles with whole berry cranberry sauce instead of butter or syrup
  • Mix fresh or frozen cranberries into store-bought or homemade applesauce
  • Add dried cranberries to oatmeal for added layers of sweet and tart flavor (My favorite, Quaker Warm & Crunchy Granola w/ Cranberries & Almond)

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This chicken salad is very easy to make. I cooked my chicken in the toaster oven (it’s the perfect size without having to heat up the whole oven!) and then diced it up. To make the dressing, you combine a fat-free poppy seed dressing with reduced fat mayo to make it creamy. In a large bowl, you combine the chicken, dressing, green onions, celery and cranberries!

I ate it on whole-wheat bread with baby spinach. Great for a low-calorie, high protein lunch.

Cranberry Chicken Salad 41 576x1024 Cranberry Chicken Salad
Cranberry Chicken Salad
Cranberry Chicken Salad 41 576x1024 Cranberry Chicken Salad
Yields 8
  1. 1 cup dried cranberries
  2. ⅓ cup 100% cranberry juice, unsweetened
  3. ½ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  4. ⅓ cup fat-free poppy seed dressing
  5. 16 oz. grilled white chicken meat, diced
  6. 1 cup sliced celery
  7. ¾ cup thinly sliced scallions
  8. 2 cups shredded fresh spinach
  9. 16 slices of bread
  1. Place cranberries and cranberry juice in a saucepan and heat slightly. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature. Cranberries will absorb all liquid. Hold.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and dressing.
  3. Stir in diced chicken, celery and scallions. Toss well to coat. Stir in reserved cranberries and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
  4. To Serve: For each serving, place ¼ cup spinach onto a slice of bread and portion ½ cup salad on top of spinach. Top with another slice of bread and serve.
  1. Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 390, Calories from Fat 100, Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 12g, Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 800mg*, Total Carbohydrate 57g, Sugars 17g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 13g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 10%, Iron 20%
Zen & Spice http://www.zenandspice.com/
What is your favorite chicken salad recipe?

21 Oct

Roasted Peaches with Vanilla Bean Yoghurt

Hi everyone!

I am excited to share today’s recipe with you! The yoghurt brand, Noosa, recently reached out to me to see if I wanted to taste test and create a recipe using their brand of yoghurt. I’ve heard lots of good things about Noosa, but have never actually tried it myself. I was so excited to try it for the first time!

The verdict: creamy, smooth, flavorful and rich! Especially when paired with roasted peaches and a honey drizzle! I tried the plain flavored Noosa because I wanted to add some of my favorite flavorings– fresh vanilla bean and honey. 

Roasted Peaches Vanilla Bean Noosa Yogurt 1 687x1024 Roasted Peaches with Vanilla Bean Yoghurt Read More

16 Oct

Turkey Veggie Protein Cups

Do you ever get into a breakfast rut? I sure do.

I tend to eat the same breakfast for months on end before I switch it up. For the past couple months I’ve been eating a whole-wheat English muffin, two fried eggs, and a glass of milk. Before that, I had a six-month obsession with strawberry banana smoothies, and before that I ate peanut butter and honey toast for what seemed like years.

I’ve desperately needed to find something new! I looked to Pinterest for ideas. I saw quite a few varieties for egg protein muffins and I decided to combine a few and make up my own.

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