Zucchini & Carrot Meatballs

This summer was so full of adventure and relaxing time with my boys before the beginning of kindergarten for my oldest son, Travis. We enjoyed our summer guilt free with busy days which meant little time to blog. My hope is to bring more inspiration into the fall and holidays sprinkled in with a little realness of motherhood.

Zucchini and sun dried tomatoes are the star of this meatball show. Zucchini is a late summer veggie bloomer so I was happy to use them in these meatballs. You’ll see that I love using veggies in my meatballs to add some extra vitamins for my boys. I like finely shredded zucchini because it’s less noticeable than something like chopped spinach.

I grate the zucchini over a paper towel to make it easier to squeeze out the liquid. Chopped carrots in my blender make it easy to add those to my meatballs as well. Sometimes my kids can be picky so I like adding hidden vegetables to meals when I can.

The sun dried tomatoes have been making their appearance in my meals lately and I have to say I’m digging it. I wish I had more than 1/4 cup to add to this recipe but next time I would add closer to 1/2 for the flavor.

I said we were adding some realness to motherhood here and surprise surprise my kids didn’t gobble these meatballs up like I thought they would. Usually they love meatballs no matter what I put in them but not tonight. My hubby and I approved whole heartedly on these balls so I’m convinced the boys were having an off night. I really don’t let it bother me that much if they don’t like my dinners because I still encourage (make) them to eat 3-5 bites so they try it and get a healthy meal. I let them know they don’t have to love everything I make but they do need to eat it to stay healthy. What ways have you taught your kids about eating healthy? Let me know some tips!

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 zucchini grated & drained
  • 2 medium carrots shredded
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in big bowl with hands
  3. Form medium sized balls and put on greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes or until meatballs are golden brown.
  5. Serve over noodles of choice with sauce.
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Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

The summer is fast approaching and fresh zucchini and blueberry bushes are starting to bloom at the local farms. My garden isn’t really big enough for zucchini so I tend to get them from friends or farm stands. There are so many meals and baked goods to make with zucchini. I love that it’s mild in flavor with low calories and can be used as a substitute for pasta on occasion. Blueberries are another fruit that’s showing up at our farm stands as well and who can’t resist some fresh big blueberries? My little guy calls them “bluebears” and it’s simply adorable.  

When I was younger my nana used to bring us blueberry picking every year. She made sure we got the biggest ones and our buckets were full to the brim. Then we’d go back to her cute house in the woods and eat a big bowl of blueberries, milk and sugar. Yup- it was the best. I thankfully got to bring my youngest son blueberry picking with her one summer. Now that she’s passed away, I still make it a point to bring the kids blueberry picking to remember her as well as show them where their food comes from.

Once the blueberry bushes are ready you can bet we’ll be out there picking and making these muffins again! I usually have all of the ingredients on hand so they’re easy to whip up when we’re needing some comfort foods. Maybe this year I’ll let them have her infamous blueberry, milk and sugar treat.

I made these muffins healthier by using a combination of whole wheat and all purpose flour. It takes some density out of the muffins and still makes them taste like they come from a bakery. I don’t like using white sugar so I use coconut sugar and maple syrup to sweeten them up. The banana and coconut oil is a substitute for oil in traditional muffin recipes. Zucchini adds a bit of vitamins and minerals to sneak in there as well. Next time you go blueberry picking, save some for this recipe!

Healthy Blueberry Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (water removed)
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix egg, coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup and vanilla extract in small bowl.
  3. Grate zucchini and squeeze out liquid.
  4. Add mashed banana and zucchini to wet ingredients above.
  5. In separate bowl mix flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  6. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry and mix.
  7. Add in blueberries and combine.
  8. Line muffin tin with liners or spray with coconut oil. Spoon mix into cups and bake for 15 minutes.
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Zucchini Brownie Bread

I love/need/hate having some baked chocolate goods in the house. Love because cmon- it’s chocolate. Need because I crave a little treat sometimes and like it to be healthy if I can. Hate because I’ll want to eat the whole thing.

Making breads and muffins is a favorite of mine. I like the kids to have some baked goods in the morning if I’m not quite ready to make a big breakfast or just want something simple. I called this a brownie bread because it was chocolatey like a brownie but kind of like a bread because it wasn’t as dense/fudgey. You can never tell there’s zucchini in baking because it’s masked by so much other good stuff, but it makes you feel better knowing there’s at least a liiittle bit of healthy stuff in it. Coconut palm sugar has a low glycemic index meaning it doesn’t raise blood sugar quickly.

Trav helping mix the dry ingredients

I like (sometimes) having the kids help me with baking because getting them involved makes them excited to eat what we make. Travis has loved helping me pour ingredients in and mix them. He also gets stuff out of the fridge that I need which can be helpful (when he doesn’t drop eggs on the floor).

Evan helping mix the wet ingredients

Evan helped himself up to the counter (thanks to learning from his brother) and was really gentle with mixing. Look at his little face- he loved it and really was better than I thought he’d be.

I honestly like to get inspiration from a few different recipes when I bake. There’s always a few things I want to include and I can never find the recipe that has all of them, so I tend to mix and match. I’ve been experimenting like this for awhile so I’ve gotten better at it but also just don’t stress too much if it doesn’t come out perfect. I like learning and using whatever I have on hand.

Zucchini Brownie Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup packed zucchini (water removed)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together (whole wheat flour-cocoa powder) in separate bowl.
  2. Grate zucchini over a paper towel in a bowl. Tightly squeeze water out of zucchini with towel and add to measuring cup until it's full.
  3. Beat egg and add remaining wet ingredients together except for chocolate chips.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Spray loaf pan with oil and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. Top with additional chocolate chips before baking.
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