Archives for zucchini

Whole Foods Cooking Class Part 3

It’s our first harvest from the garden… a zucchini!!  Shocking, I know. 😉 (For those of you who read the original garden post, go and check it out again; I’ve added some updates near the bottom! Or just check it out if you want inspiration for starting your own garden!) The recipe below was inspired by the Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini recipe already on the blog, which wasn’t my recipe at all, but I loved it so much I posted it anyway – and of course gave the book credit! Check out that page when you are done here, for another amazing stuffed zucchini recipe. I was also inspired to stuff our first harvested zucchini, because my mom was telling me stories about how she would stuff zucchinis from our garden when we were kids! “They would hide under the big leaves and grow as long as your forearm! I had to scrape out the seeds and stuff them!”I kept telling her I think that happened before I was born… because I barely remembered it happening… being the youngest of 5 isn’t easy sometimes.

This lunch came about because we needed something quick during the work week – we both work from home so that makes cooking healthy lunches on the fly much easier! It started as just beans and rice, so we could get a complete protein cheap and easily… then I decided to stuff them! Since the only other stuffing of a zucchini I’ve done is the one I just mentioned above, I think this qualifies as a recipe I’ve never made before, so I’m using it as my week 3 assignment for my Whole Foods Cooking Class at SWIHA. 🙂 I felt very excited as I was whipping this up in the kitchen and therefore it was a “little dash of this, a little dash of that” measuring system. 😉 Below is a quick breakdown of the recipe.

1 c. uncooked brown rice, cooked in 1 3/4 c. water for 40 minutes (yields ~ 2.5 cups cooked rice)
1 tbsp. coconut oil (stir this in after the cooking is all done)


1 – 7″ zucchini, cut lengthwise, with seeds and some flesh gutted and baked in a 350ºF oven, in a pan with 1/2″ of water for 10 minutes


For the filling, combine in a warm skillet:
1/2 c. onion, diced (cooked alone until somewhat translucent ~5 min on low-med heat)
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
zucchini guts

Season the filling directly in the skillet with the following spices to taste:

  • cumin
  • parsley
  • chili powder
  • cayenne powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • favorite salsa (can use as a seasoning and stir into skillet, or use as a topping; pictured below)


This is one of my favorite salsas! It really packs a punch in the spice department, but the flavor is SO GOOD – which is rare to find.   IMG_2983

The end result of this new recipe experiment was very tasty, filling and easy to prepare – with little hands on time. The brown rice of course took about 40 minutes to cook, but it takes about 5 minutes to get it started and then you just leave it and do other things!


This recipe serves two and I will definitely be making it again! Yay for my Whole Foods Cooking class and a winning recipe this week! (albeit a little late… whoops!)IMG_2988

Plant-Based Eating :: Volume II Day 4

Day 4 Volume II

Today was my first day back to work in 5 days; yes FIVE days! So I was back to “planning my meals ahead”… which I’m not very good at. 🙂 I will say I’ve resigned myself to the fact that convenience foods are better than no foods! In the past if I didn’t have enough time to prepare a lunch from scratch, I would either make due with tidbits (almonds, cereal, oatmeal, etc) hidden in my desk drawer or simply eat out. Neither of these options are what I would consider ideal. Too much eating out, no matter how healthy it is, seems to catch up with me eventually and I start to feel run down. Not eating enough food during the day, leads to a HUGE dinner at night. I’m a work in progress.

As I was trying to get myself out the door by a specific time this morning and failing miserably, I threw together an über healthy smoothie chockfull of broccoli, celery, zucchini, spinach, banana, water and a scoop of vanilla protein powder. Now, before I go on, ask yourself what was missing…

Give up? SOMETHING COLD. Not only was this smoothie warm because it had no ice and nothing frozen in it, but it was “spicy” (for lack of a better word). I’m not sure how or why, but it was. Look at the size of that thing!


I was bound and determined not to waste it, so I vowed to chug it down. I hopped in the car and along the way gulped down the green “goodness” (if I keep telling myself its good, it will be good, right?!). Plus, it always helps to take my morning vitamins with something besides water. IMG_2788

By the time I had swallowed the last pill, my stomach wasn’t feeling so hot and my throat felt like I put pepper in the smoothie. What the?? Chemicals maybe? Whatever it was, it couldn’t be good. (This lead me to a lunchtime surf of the web, clicking on topics relevant to ‘Do’s and Dont’s for juicing/smoothies’. I learned a lot! And let me tell you, that smoothie is still in the fridge. I haven’t been brave enough to give it a second shot.)

The plus side to this morning, was that my cube was decorated by one of my co-workers as a belated birthday. Made me smile, despite the horrid smoothie.


Yes, those are army men, mixed with farm animals and dinosaurs… and glitter balloons.IMG_2795

I will keep it up for a couple days. 🙂IMG_2800

So, the smoothie was a bust and once my stomach settled down, I ate a Clif Bar (convenience food #1). MUCH BETTER. (240 calories, 40 carbs, 6 g fat, 11 g protein)IMG_2801

For lunch I had a pre-packaged salad from Trader Joe’s, called the Vegetable and Grain Country Salad. From my first bite, I fell in love. I think it’s because it has fresh dill in it! There is also cabbage hidden under all that bulgar. (convenience food #2… 400 calories, 52 carbs, 20 g fat, 10 g protein)IMG_2804

After lunch, I had some black tea with a little honey. IMG_2805

Then, of course, there were some office treats! HOMEMADE. Thanks a lot Melissa! 🙂 I had a little chunk and it was incredible, as always! I estimated the nutrition information on this one… (125 calories, 17 carbs, 6 g fat, 2 g protein).IMG_2806

Late in the day, I had green peas and a frozen Trader Joe’s Veggie Burger as an early dinner. (convenience food #3, pulled from my newly purchased emergency frozen stash – I needed SOMETHING green in the emergency stash! See… making progress…)I didn’t get my workouts in this morning (I really needed sleep… I haven’t slept well in a couple weeks…) so I needed fuel before my workouts! (335 calories, 46 carbs, 12 g fat, 13 g protein)IMG_2809Still feeling exhausted, I came home from work and reluctantly got started on the P90X workout, Shoulders, Tris and Chest + Ab Ripper X. I LOVE to run, but really don’t like any other type of workout. I only do them so they will help me become a better runner. 😉 Shortly after finishing ab ripper, I stepped outside to get a short run in. Mr. Zucchini Runner worked on a second dinner for me and a first dinner for himself. It was a recipe I found on a blog earlier in the day for zucchini ribbons with a vegan alfredo sauce. Thank you Lisa’s Project: Vegan! Its a jellyfish! AH!!!!


Did I mention it was 102°F when I finally made it outside for 5k? No? Well, it was. Thank goodness for the volleyball courts having cooling sprinklers for the sand on them! A group playing basketball turned them on for outdoor A/C and I was able to run through them and cool off at the halfway point. I didn’t push nearly as hard as I normally do. Running in that kind of heat is a whole other type of running. I made sure my heart rate always felt comfortable and as a result I was able to cool down pretty quickly when I got home. I also had a 3/4 frozen water bottle with me to drink and squirt on my arms.


Dinner was waiting for me on the counter, since it was raw, it didn’t need to stay warm. It. Was. Amazing. LOVED it!! You should go check it out on Lisa’s blog. (176 calories, 13 carbs, 11 g fat, 6 g protein)IMG_2833

Final totals for the day:

Calories 1,276

Carbs 168

Fat 55

Protein 42

Sugar 52 g (getting better everyday!)

Well, because of my smoothie mishap I was way low on my calories for the day. Fortunately, I wasn’t hungry in between meals and there is always tomorrow to do better!