Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins {Gluten Free}

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Just last summer, Olympic marathoner Shalane Flanagan and her childhood friend Elyse Kopecky released Run Fast. Eat Slow.; an amazing cookbook full of nourishing recipes highlight ingredients that fuel and replenish. I’ve made many of the recipes from the book and each one was as satisfying and delicious as the last.

One particular recipe that has been quite popular is called Super Hero Muffins. The muffins are made with almond flour, shredded carrots, zucchini, and delicious spices. They make for a quick breakfast or snack that’s filled with tons of “good for you” flavor and leaves out all the empty sugar.

The Change Up

With a busy week ahead and a wicked chocolate craving I had every intention of making Super Hero Muffins and adding some chocolate chips. However, a very key ingredient wasn’t available at my grocer. The spot on the shelf where I grab almond flour on the reg was empty. I briefly contemplated the option to create my own almond flour, but realistically I don’t have a food processor and it just seems like more work than I’m willing to put in. As I scoured the isle for an flour alternative I spotted a new product the grocer was carrying, quinoa flour. I know nothing about quinoa flour but it seemed like a good alternative.

Now that my plan required slight alterations, I decided to go full out on this chocolate craving and picked up some cocoa powder too. I wanted to experiment to see if I could create a delicious treat that satisfied my chocolate addiction and that I didn’t have to feel completely guilty about.

So that’s basically how I ended up with Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins. Check out the recipe below.



2 cups quinoa flour

3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats (gluten free)

1 cup Nestle Toll House Baking Cocoa

2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips

3 eggs, beaten

1 cup grated zucchini

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup dark amber maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa flour, oats, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, zucchini, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients mixing well until just combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips. The batter will be thick.
  6. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling each to the brim. Bake until muffins until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. 25 to 35 minutes.


The Results

I was pretty pleased with how the muffins turned out. Although I find almond flour quite tasty, the quinoa flour acted a bit more like regular flour in comparison. For example the muffins made with the quinoa flour were slightly lighter and fluffier and less of a nutty taste than muffins made with almond flour.

I’m still working on my family and friends to eat food without refined sugar. One of my kiddos and husband will normally eat one muffin but still would rather have a regular muffin. Oh who am I kidding. They would rather have a cupcake. But for me, I prefer the “NO REFINED SUGAR” option and am kind of pleased that I got this chocolate chip muffins all to myself to eat for breakfast or as my afternoon snack for the entire week.

Speaking of afternoon snacks and cupcakes. I did recently discover that my local grocer, in addition to the quinoa flour also has fresh ground peanut butter. Oh my heavens. You grind the peanut butter right there on the spot. It comes out all warm and gooey and smells amazing. Well I decided to add a tasty dollop (giant scoop) of the peanut butter on top of my muffin. It acted as peanut butter frosting on top of a delicious chocolatey cupcake. It was like heaven I tell you. Pure and simple heaven.

If you decide to make this recipe, I hope you enjoy.

Have you tried the Run Fast. Eat Slow. cookbook? Which recipe is your favorite?

Chili-Lime Glazed Ham {21 Day Fix Approved}

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The trouble with cooking a glazed ham is that the recipes often include brown sugar and some sort of fruit juice. If your goal is to reduce sugar intake then a traditional glazed ham is not really a part of your meal planning… until now.

The holidays left me with a sugar hang over and frozen hams just begging to be cooked up. So after searching the internet for hours, I couldn’t really find any recipes that met my need for reduced sugar and only used the minimal amount of spices I happened to have on hand. Therefore, I had to do some creative thinking and came up with the following Recipe

Chili-Lime Ham

Because this recipe only uses a minimal amount of REAL maple syrup, there is NO refined and meets those 21 Day Fix clean eating recommendations. It’s also important to note that unrefined natural sweeteners like maple syrup contain higher levels of beneficial nutrients, antioxidants and phytochemicals than white table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. This glaze has so much flavor and isn’t sticky sweet.
The proportions here are not hot spicy and my kids gobbled this one up.


1 Tbs dark real maple syrup (not Mrs Buttersworth but the REAL stuff. The darker you can get it, the more nutrients)
1 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp cumin powder
1/8 tsp red pepper powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 tsp Adobo sauce and half of an Adobo chili sliced (use more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp fresh lime juice
Fresh lime zest
These are the measurements I used to glaze a 3.5 pound ham so increase measurements for a larger ham.


Bake the ham according to packing instructions. In the last hour of cooking begin to glaze the ham with your glaze mixture. I like to mix the glaze with the ham juices that accumulate in the roasting pan as well and pour that over the ham. Cover ham and continue cooking. Also, I leave my ham uncovered for the last 15 minutes or so of cooking to get a nice “crust” on the ham.

Oh So Easy BLT Salad

It’s summer time in Oklahoma and the cooking ain’t easy. The heat and humidity are a great excuses to “cook” cereal for dinner. Or if you’re feeling fancy you can make this “Oh So Easy BLT Salad.

blt salad


1 bag of salad of your choosing. Romaine or field greens work best.

1 medium tomato, diced

1 medium avocado, diced

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

6 slices of bacon, cooked, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil

Lime juice, to taste

Salt and Pepper, to taste



Toss greens, tomato, avocado, feta, and bacon together in large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and squeeze fresh lime juice over the top. Toss again. Top with salt and pepper and enjoy!


Like I said, this is an incredibly easy salad to prepare but with the avocado, feta, and bacon it’s pretty filling as well.

Keep cool, friends.


Slow Cooker Beef Stew {21 Day Fix Approved}

21 Day Fix Approved Beef StewWow, what a crazy few days here in Oklahoma. The freezing rain that has taken down many trees and power lines in the metro area and left so many without electricity has really wrecked some serious havoc. I can’t think of a better meal for these cold days than beef stew. It’s so filling, comforting, and when you make it fresh (not from a can) it can really pack layers of great flavor.

I was able to adapt the Beef Stew recipe from Autumn Calabrese’s 21 Day Fix Cookbook, Fixate, to create the following slow cooker recipe. With busy family schedules, I turn many recipes into slow cooker friendly recipes. There is nothing better than a balanced, 21 Day Fix approved meal ready in your slow cooker once you get home from work.



Ingredients – Beef Stew

1 tsp olive oil

1 lb. 10 oz raw lean beef stew meat

1 medium onion chopped

2 medium carrot, sliced

1 medium celery stalks, chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

8 cups low-sodium beef broth, divided

1/2 cup red wine

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

3 bay leaves

1 can diced tomatoes

2 large sweet potatoes or parsnips, cut into 1 in cubes


Directions – Beef Stew

  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat
  2. Add stew meat; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until browned
  3. Add onion and celery; cook stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
  4. Add garlic; cook stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  5. Add 1 cup broth and wine; cook, stirring constantly scraping bottom of pan so beef doesn’t stick, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until liquid is reduced in half.
  6. Place contents of saucepan into slow cooker. Top with salt, pepper, bay leaves, carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and remaining broth.
  7. Cook in slow cooker on low for 8 hours or high for  5 hours

21 Day Fix Beef Stew


Butterfinger Shakeology

That left over Halloween candy can be enticing. Good thing there is Shakeology with its benefits of reducing cravings, boosting the immune system, and improving digestion to help give you strength to stick with your health and fitness goals. Here is a great Shakeology recipe to have instead of that guilt of eating the rest of that candy.

1 Scoop of Chocolate Shakeology
1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

1 1/2 Tbsp of Butterscotch Pudding Mix

1 1/2 Tbsp of Peanut Butter

Add ice and blend to taste.

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

What I love about this recipe is that it is sooo simple but packs big flavor. I also love to make this soup because it’s gentle on the wallet. Many of the ingredients I typically already have around in my pantry anyway so if I’m in a pinch, I throw this recipe in the ol’ slow cooker.


2 tsp olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 15oz can no salt added black beans
1 14oz can fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp ground oregano
1 pound chicken breast

For serving:
Tortilla strips or tortilla chips
Shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
Diced avocado, diced roma tomatoes, sour cream (optional)

Heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion and garlic, stirring until soft, about 3 minutes.
Add all ingredients to slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Remove chicken from soup and shred,
Return to slow cooker.
Allow to cook until heated through.
Serve warm with tortilla strips and cheese and other optional ingredients.

chicken enchilada soup

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Pork carnitas are so versatile. They’re an easy and filling meal you can enjoy all year round. Sometimes when meals are cooked in the slow cooker all day they can end up bland and mushy. The chipotle peppers, spices, and juice come together nicely to create a slightly spicy and sweet heat that isn’t overpowering. After the first time I made these, they quickly became a family favorite.


  • 1 (3-pound) boneless pork shoulder, trimmed (I substitute pork loin cause I can get those packages of two for one at Sams)
  • 10 garlic cloves, sliced (Substitue 1 and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 chipotle chiles canned in adobo sauce, drained and chopped
  • Fresh Salsa, pico de gallo, lime wedges, and Carb Smart tortillas for serving


  1. Combine garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Place roast in a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker. Sprinkle pork on all sides with spice mixture.
  2. Combine juices and chipotle chiles. Pour juice mixture over pork. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until pork is tender.
  3. Remove pork from slow cooker; shred with 2 forks. Skim fat from cooking liquid (if you use pork loin there will be no fat and very little cooking liquid). Combine Shredded pork and 1/2 cup cooking liquid; toss well.

Spoon pork into Carb Smart tortilla, top with salsa, pico de gallo, fresh lime juice. Serve with black beans, brown rice, or a sauté of corn and zucchini.

Adapted from Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight
Adapted from Cooking Light Slow Cooker Tonight


chocolate strawberry smoothie

Post-Workout Chocolate Strawberry Banana Smoothie

If you’re anything like me, you graciously enjoy the 5AM drive to the gym each morning for a little “me time” while the rest of your family sleeps.  But hectic schedules filled with work, family, and errands make meal planning difficult. So the hard work put in at the gym is thrown away with less than ideal food you choke down throughout the day out of convenience rather than nutritional value or even taste.

That’s how protein smoothies became my savior. They are easy and help to meet your nutritional needs in only 5 minutes. Better yet, getting the right mix of protein and carbohydrates within 30 minutes of a workout or race can help with and replenish glycogen stores to help shake that tired, zombie feeling.

My favorite smoothie right now is a chocolate, strawberry, banana concoction. I like to think the strawberries are helping with inflammation of my sore muscles, but really I just love chocolate and strawberries together.  I find that drinking one of these after my intense workouts prevents me from becoming ravenous a few hours later and regretfully finishing off whatever snacks or junk food I can find.


In a blender, mix the following together until smooth:

1 scoop of protein powder

2 oz almond milk

2 oz chocolate milk (for an extra chocolate flavor, otherwise you can use just almond milk)

1 ripe banana

1/2 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup of ice

In addition to a smoothie like this, it’s important to drink plenty of water after your workout. I personally aim for drinking at least 8 to 16 oz right after my workout.