Quinoa Zucchini Fritters

I don’t know if any of you have every made any recipes from Oh Sweet Basil but she has the cutest family and the most delicious recipes and she is someone I think I would love in person too! She has SO many great recipes, my fave is probably her buttermilk pancake recipe. But for tonight I am sharing one of her healthier ones. I had a zucchini that needed to be used up and saw this recipe and made it right away. I LOVED it, my hubby loved it and if Olivia wasn’t such a picky eater I know she would have loved them too. My hubby even had co-workers wanting the recipe when they saw him eating it on his break at work! So I am sharing her recipe because it is amazing. I altered it just slightly from hers, mine were delicious and I am sure hers are too! It’s a perfect way to get some great protein into your meal and use up some of the zucchini that might just be coming out your ears! Super fast and easy and dinner will be on the table in no time!

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½ Cup Quinoa,  uncooked
1 Cup Chicken Stock or Broth
2 Cups Zucchini, shredded
2 Eggs
1 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
½ Cup grated Parmesan Cheese
½ teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Marinara or Spaghetti Sauce for serving
Avocado or Olive Oil

Heat Marinara sauce either on a pan on the stove or in the microwave.

Combine the quinoa and chicken broth in a pan on the stove. Bring to a boil, put lid on and turn down to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking grate the zucchini. Place it in a strainer with a pinch of salt and let some of the liquid come out. Place it in a towel or paper towels and wring out the excess liquid.

In a large mixing bowl add the quinoa, zucchini, eggs, bread crumbs, Italian season, Parmesan and salt and mix until combined.

Heat a skillet over medium heat and drizzle in a little oil. I actually didn’t use any oil for these, just cooking spray and they browned nicely. Form patties with your hands and cook 4-5 minutes per side until they are golden brown. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel covered plate.

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We dipped them in spaghetti sauce and they were delicious! Reheated well the next day too.

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It Doesn’t Matter How Many Times You Fail

It’s hard, believe me I know it is hard. It’s so hard to keep up a healthy lifestyle. Why is being sedentary and eating all the bad food SO easy?!? Why is it so hard to find the time to exercise and to make myself eat things that are actually good for my body? I love pretty much all fruits and veggies but why does chocolate and ice cream and cookies have to taste so darn good? This is my struggle right now and I am sharing it with you so that I have someone to make me accountable. I started this blog so that I could talk about what is going on in my brain. What I have dealt with and what I currently am dealing with and everything in between.

My little girl used to get up around 7 in the morning and once she started sleeping through the night this was great. I would get up at 6:30 and get a 20-30 minute  workout in before she woke up. It was working so well. Then she decided to get up at 5:44 on the dot. Every. Single. Day. Not exaggerating here. Every morning when I would hear her cry out I would hit my phone to see the time and it would said 5:44 exactly. This went on for probably a month and I thought I might die. I was so tired. And I went for days without working out. I tried doing it while she was awake but that didn’t work. She just wanted me to hold her or would crawl on me or was grabbing at my weights. And more mornings that not I found myself getting showered without every getting a bit of a workout in. This just wasn’t working for me.

I decided to change the way I was thinking though and figure out a way to make my new super early mornings productive and find a way to get my sweat on in spite of Olivia being up. So walks became my activity of choice. I would load her in the stroller between 6:15-6:30 in the morning, armed with a bottle of milk, a sippy cup and some graham crackers. We would head out for 30-60 minutes depending on how far from home I wandered. (Don’t you hate when you walk a long ways and then realize you have to walk ALL the way back?!)

This new schedule was working great for me but after a couple of weeks I started getting a little tired of it. I love going on walks and that time of that morning is awesome. No traffic yet so it is still peaceful. The air was cool and it was great watching the sun rise up over the mountains. But I was needing something a little more.

I was sharing my body frustrations with my mom because lately I have also been struggle with the new me. The “I had a baby 14 months ago and haven’t had a hard workout since” body. She is great, like amazing. If you don’t know my mom you are really missing out. But she suggested that I workout when Olivia goes to bed. I am lucky and her bedtime is usually between 6-6:30 but I am also usually starving by the time she goes down. So I decided to change my schedule again and see how it worked.

So I made sure I got a snack late afternoon, changed into my workout clothes before I put her to bed and once she was in bed I didn’t let anything distract me. It felt good to work up a sweat and I found it helped relieve stress on the “it’s been a month and baby is STILL working on breaking 4 molars all the way through” days. It was early enough in the evening that it didn’t affect my sleep at all and I have found it has actually made me more productive in the evenings. I haven’t done it every day but a handful of times the past two weeks and it’s been nice. We still go on walks most mornings but I look forward to my little time to sweat it out in the evening.

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The past 14 months have been all about changes. I have a hard time with change and have had them thrown at me left and right and sometimes from both directions at once. But I am stronger this year because of it. I have learned that I can do really hard things. That even though I might “fail” in my own mind that I can pick up the pieces and try again. That I am strong and smart and capable and I can make things happen. I wouldn’t trade this new life for anything and although I know that I will keep struggling, that I will figure it out just in time for it to all change again, but I know that I can roll with the punches. I can make it work. I can figure out new ways to be happy and healthy when the old ones just aren’t an option. Because by darn I am going to find the confidence in myself that I so desperately want so that my little girl never has to struggle the way that I have. That she will always see how brave and strong she is. That she will be so strong that what the world throws at her won’t even phase her because she will have confidence in herself and her body. Because honestly, that is the thing that matters the most to me. That is when I will truly know that I have succeeded.

Healthy & Hearty PB Banana Pancakes

I saw a video somewhere on Facebook, sorry I don’t remember the source but I made these pancakes from what I remembered and changed up what I couldn’t exactly remember! They were really good and hearty and I love the little bites of melted chocolate. A healthy start to your day and a great way to use up those over ripe bananas! It’s nice to have alternatives so that you don’t always have to use them in banana bread.

These took me maybe 5 minutes to put together and in about 15 minutes from start to finish we were eating. Just don’t be expecting light and fluffy pancakes, the texture is a mash up of a pancake and an oatmeal cookie. Yum!

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You just need one bowl and a fork to mix these up.
Smash up 2 very ripe bananas, the more brown spots the sweeter the are!
Add in 3 eggs and stir the bananas and the eggs until they are mixed together very well. Add in 2 Tablespoons peanut butter, any variety.
3/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 tsp salt

For the peanut butter I used PB Powder. I love the stuff! You can buy it at Costco or Sam’s Club in a big tub but you can also buy it in the bulk section as Winco. Try it out, I use it in place of a lot of things that have peanut butter in them. Same results, same great flavor but a fraction of the fat and calories!

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Stir everything together and cook it on medium heat. Once the bottom side is browned, flip it over. Make sure you don’t have the temperature too hot, you want the insides to be able to cook before the outside is burned.

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Enjoy them warm with another smear of peanut butter, Nutella or Biscoff…or all three. We ate ours with maple syrup. And if I had some bananas that weren’t over ripe I would have added sliced banana on top.

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I felt like they were more filling than normal pancakes due to the oatmeal. It made 2 big ones for my hubby, 2 medium ones for me and a little baby one for Olivia…who decided she was done eating before they were even cooked…1 year olds…

My Latest Struggle…

Bear with me, this isn’t a sales pitch, just bear with me.

So once upon a time I worked for an insurance company, Meridian Insurance. (If you need quotes let me know, I will hook you up, everyone there is great!) I had just graduated from UVSC with my degree in Social Work and had high hopes of a profession in that field until I saw what they paid people with a bachelors degree. Practically nothing. I didn’t want to go back to school and was trying to figure out what to do…and I was depressed because for a myriad of reasons and life was rough for me at the time. One day I got a call from my good friend Jen and she asked if I had found a job yet and said they had just fired their receptionist and did I want to come in for an interview. Long story short, I was hired on the spot and 8 years later was leaving because I was having a baby and wanted to be a stay at home mom.

16 months before I left my job I had gotten married right before my 33 birthday.

3 weeks after leaving my job I had a beautiful baby girl and was suddenly at home all day long with just a tiny little baby.

It was hard. Really really hard. I loved that little baby so so much but felt like my world had suddenly been turned upside down and I just didn’t know what to do about it. That is a lot of big life changes in not a lot of time.

My husband has a great job and I have been blessed to be able to stay at home but I have just felt like I need something to do. Not a craft or a sewing project because I get all excited and go and buy everything and start it and then completely lose interest. I didn’t want to go out and get a job where I had to leave Olivia but just needed something that I could do for me. Something to feel like I was making a difference.

Over the summer it has just gotten worse. Not many people know this but we are buying a house and will hopefully be moved in by the end of the month. We have been really smart in planning and saving and it won’t cost us much more than our rent currently is but I have just felt the desire to help out. Whether it was grocery money or money for house projects or the fun things like a washer and dryer. I just have felt the need to contribute.

Then through some interesting conversations over the course of a weekend with my good friend Kathryn, I suddenly had an opportunity present itself. I decided to become an Usborne Book Consultant. Now I am not a sales person at all. At all. But this was books and I love books and want Olivia to have billions of them (literally). I loved the idea of sharing my passion for books with others and making a little income on the side. And it is perfect for me. I can do house parties (which I will in the next couple months) or I can talk to preschools, schools or do book fairs. But the most popular thing is parties on Facebook. I can do it all from the comfort of my living room after Olivia is in bed. I can do as much or as little as I want with it and again the best part is the books!

I have been doing this just over a month now and absolutely love it. I have already received a box full of books to start me off and am obsessed with them. I love my parties that last under an hour and during that hour I get to share awesome books with people. I finally found something that I am loving doing, something that is a stretch for me but I need this chance to grow. That large part of me that has been struggling for the past 14+ months isn’t struggling quite so much because I am doing something for me.

If you are wanting a little something to do on the side for you let me know. I would love to share more of what I am doing, maybe it is what you would love too! Or if you love books and want the chance to get a lot of free books let me know, you can host a party and I can hook you up…slight sales pitch there… 😉

https://l5526.myubam.com/347531

 

 

 

Spaghetti Squash Primavera

Have you tried spaghetti squash? I just discovered it a couple of years ago and love it! I don’t eat it often but when I do I think why don’t I eat this all the time?!? It’s a great substitute for pasta if you are watching your carbs or are trying to eat a little healthier. It’s a great way to get more veggies into your diet without really even trying. It’s delicious in just about every way and I have SO many recipes on Pinterest that use it! Now don’t think, well I hate squash so I won’t like this. Give it a shot, you might just be surprised!

You can microwave them or cook them in the oven but I didn’t want to heat my house up so I decided to try the crock pot and it worked perfectly! Wash the squash off and puncture it a handful of times with a knife so that the steam doesn’t build up and you have a spaghetti squash explosion! No one wants that. Promise. Put them in the crock pot on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6. Mine were pretty small and were done in about 3 hours. Once I could easily pierce them with a knife I turned off the crock pot and set them out to cool off some so I could handle them. In the meantime I am going to show you one of the most delicious and easiest sauces. I just threw a bunch of stuff together and it was SO good. I could have eaten it by itself.

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Chop up 1/2 cup of carrots and 1/2 cup of celery. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and heat it. Add 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and your celery and carrots. Cook on medium for about 5 minutes.

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Cut up 1 cup of broccoli into little florets. Dice 1 medium zucchini. Throw those into the span along with some salt and pepper.

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Grab any type of spaghetti or marinara sauce that you like whether it’s store bought or homemade. Add 3 cups of it into the veggie mixture and stir it around. Bring to a simmer then turn to low and let it cook for about 10 minutes until the veggies are tender.

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While the sauce is simmering, prep your squash. Cut it in half and scoop the seeds out. Use a fork to separate the strands of squash, it should look like spaghetti noodles.

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Put the squash in a bowl, add the sauce and eat as is or add some cheese. Some parmesan would be delicious but I dug through out bottomless pit of a chest freezer and couldn’t find it. I know it is in there. But then I remembered we had some fresh mozzarella so I cut a little of that into tiny chunks and stirred it all together to get the cheese a little melty. It was so good! Don’t be fooled by the awful picture…my apartment doesn’t exactly have the best lighting at 7 at night. But trust me this was SO good. I ate a pretty large serving along with a bowl of watermelon and was pretty stuffed afterwards but you know what, I don’t have to feel bad about it because it was SO good for me!

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This would be a great recipe to add to your list of things to make with zucchini once you have it growing out your ears!